Monday, August 20, 2012

A Fresh Start

"Every day is a fresh start; don't measure yourself by yesterday's troubles." 
~Dagny Scott Barrios, running writer

This was the Women’s Half Marathon Motiviational Monday post on Facebook this morning, and talk about a post with perfect timing for me!  After training hard for the Fargo Marathon in May and finishing with a time that exceeded my expectations, I knew I needed a break from a strict running schedule.  I took a couple of months off from following a structured plan and focused more on strength training to build some muscle. However, I have a relatively busy race calendar that kicks off next month, so I knew I had to keep up my endurance.  Maria is training for an Ironman-distance race in October, and I decided that accompanying on her long runs would help me maintain my endurance, and having a training partner would hold me accountable and make getting up before the sun rises every Sunday bearable.  The first few weekends, the runs were fantastic.  Our pace was nearly a full minute faster than where we were last year at this time, and we were both feeling great.  The last few weekends, however, have been miserable for me, with yesterday being the most difficult long run I’ve had since last summer.  The plan was to cover 9 miles outside, go into to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike, run 6 additional miles on the treadmill, and finish up the day with some ab work.  I was actually really looking forward to yesterday’s workout.  I was feeling confident and energetic after another strong week of training in the gym, I got to sleep in since we weren’t starting until 6:30 AM, and I had loaded up my iPod with some great new music.  However, 2 miles in, my legs were done.  Maria appeared to be feeling great (despite biking 100 miles on Saturday – she’s a warrior!), and since I am just tagging along on her training plan, I did my best to keep up with her.  Our splits weren’t too bad:

Once we got inside, however, I had no illusions about keeping up with her pace on the bike or the treadmill.  She managed to cover an entire mile more than me on the bike in 30 minutes and finished the 6 miles on the treadmill a couple of minutes faster than me (I finished in just under 51 minutes).  After literally having to use every last ounce of my willpower to get through 3 abs exercises, I was really frustrated and discouraged, and I spent a lot of yesterday wondering what I’ve been doing wrong these last few weeks – is it my diet, am I not resting enough, am I resting too much, do I need to do more steady state runs during the week, etc.?  I didn’t come up with any answers, but the post from the Women’s Half Marathon gave me some much needed perspective and served as a reminder that there are going to be bad training days – days where every step is painful, days when my heart is just not in it, and days when my body literally cannot do what I am asking of it.  But there are also going to be great days – days where I feel like I can fly and mornings when I get to watch dolphins frolicking as the sun rises over the bay and I’m reminded of what a gift running has been in my life.  It takes both kinds of days to prepare you for the mental and physical challenges of running a marathon. 

So, thanks to a reminder from Facebook, I’m putting yesterday behind me and I’m focusing on the week ahead.  Here’s what it looks like:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday:  5 Miles of Repetitions: 4 x (200m in 0:48 with 200m jog) + 2 x (400m in 1:36 with 400m jog) + 1 x (800m in 3:11 with 800m jog) + 2 x (400m in 1:36 with 400m jog) + 4 x (200m in 0:48 with 200m jog), Chest/Triceps/Calves
Wednesday: Tempo Run:  3 x (12 minutes at 7:27/mile pace with 2 minute rests), Personal Training Session (Back/Biceps)
Thursday:  Stairs, Boxing, Legs/Abs
Friday:  Interval Run:  6 x (800m in 3:24 with 3 minute recovery jogs), Shoulders/Calves
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: 18 Miles

And here’s what will be cookin’ in the kitchen:

Sweet and Spicy Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew Sweet and spicy flavors are so delicious together, and I love using the crockpot on days when I don’t feel like spending a ton of time in the kitchen.
Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta I am going to reduce the pasta to 8 oz and add shredded zucchini and carrots; I also plan on using about half the mozzarella that is called for.
Rustic Crusty Bread This is my go-to recipe for simple and delicious homemade bread, and the tutorial is so clear and easy to follow.  I need to find a whole wheat bread recipe that is this convenient and tasty, so let me know if you have one.
Orange Cashew Rice with Baked Fish  I’m going to make this with flounder and brown basmati rice.  I love cooking fish with citrus flavors, so I am sure this will be a winner.

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