I need a new plan for my spring races. Almost a year ago, I registered for the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. I wasn’t running a ton at the time, but had no doubt in my mind that I would be ready for 13.1 by the time the race rolled around. A friend is running it with me, so we’re making it a girls weekend road trip. When I registered, I was feeling confident, apparently, because I put an anticipated finish time of 2:15. Yes, I was going big with a PR. Why not come back strong?
Earlier this year, I also registered for the River Bank Run 25k, a race I’ve done several times. Last year, I dropped down to the 5k, but this year, it was back to the big game. Two weeks after the half marathon, it was a perfect build up. I started the year feeling so confident about how things would progress.
But, after a year of minimal running and feeling slow, getting back into the groove has been harder than I anticipated. I thought that once I got into a regular routine, things would start to fall into place. Which they may have, had I ever gotten into a regular routine. But, I’ve struggled so much. I feel discouraged when I think about where I was two years ago compared to where I am now. Two years ago Mindy weighed less and ran faster. A 5k was a warmup distance and now it’s a struggle. I had more muscle and flexibility. Everything about my fitness just felt better then.
Not falling into that comparison trap is incredibly hard. But, it keeps happening. And that discouragement about where I am now often leads to less motivation. I wish it were the opposite. I want to get back there, so it should push me to work harder. But, it doesn’t.
So, when I finish a run averaging more than a minute per mile slower than I was two years ago, I beat myself up. I know I shouldn’t. But, it happens. Then, I just don’t want to run. I feel like I’ll be in this current state forever. That where I was two years ago is this impossible goal. That was where my head was for these first few months of 2017. Thankfully, I’m starting to shake out of that and feel like I’m really making progress.
Between all of that, a week of being miserably sick, and everything with my grandma, I never quite fell in line with my training plan. I think I had one week, maybe two, where I got in all of my workouts as planned. The rest of the time, not so much.
Suddenly, that puts me at a week out from Nashville. Last weekend, I ran 6.2 miles of a planned 7 or 8. Well, ran a little and walked a lot, to be honest. Although 5 miles the week before felt great, this was a different story. I ended feeling like crossing the finish line in Nashville was nothing but a pipe dream. I still feel that way, at least a little.
A year ago, my goal for this race was a killer PR. Today, it’s simply to cross that finish line and hopefully have some fun along the course. I’m going to run as much as I can, but be okay walking a lot of the course, too. More importantly, if I can finish with a smile on my face and a healthy body, all the better. It’s still an admirable goal. Running a half marathon or a 25k is something most people will never do. I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again, for better or worse. Once the 25k is under my belt, I can start really thinking about the Chicago Marathon.
But, one step at a time. Literally and figuratively, of course. I need one more long run under my belt tomorrow. I’m hoping for 8 or 9 miles. Reaching 10 would be a dream, but I’m also going to be very careful to not wreck my body a week before the race. On race day, I hope that muscle memory kicks in and that, along with adrenaline, will carry me through the miles.