December 20, 2010

Balancing Acts

I thought I may have had a case of writer's block - but maybe it's just that time of year. I’ve noticed a slow down of new blog posts from others that I follow. Between work, holiday shopping and the ramp of both the Galloway Training Program and my own personal marathon training, I haven't stopped long enough to take a breath and reflect on the fact that I’m holding all of this together pretty well! Fortunately, 95% of my holiday shopping is done and with so many people taking time off between now and New Year's, I'm hoping work will be a little less stressful. It's times like these I appreciate running and what it brings to my life even more than I usually acknowledge. Talk about things that help you maintain sanity in this crazy world we live in, especially between Thanksgiving and the end of the year!!! A perfect break from all this end of the year/holiday noise, whether I'm running alone our with our training group members.

This year is different in many ways from the 2009 holiday season. Last year at this time, John and I were tapering for our first marathon. We'd had a couple unpleasant excruciating long runs leading into the taper so while we were anxious about that final 10K on race day, knowing we'd be weaving in and out of all of the major parks at Walt Disney World for 26.2 miles was just what we needed for some added confidence and major anticipation/excitement. We spent Christmas with my family up north and enjoyed a quiet New Year's Eve with friends back home in So Cal. I don't even think we stayed up until midnight. I'm lucky if I make it past 9pm anyway. Maybe if I stopped waking up at 4:30am I wouldn't be so tired but I can't seem to do anything about it now so why stress over it?  This year, we’re spending a quiet Christmas at home with my sis-in-law and shooting out to Vegas quickly for a concert on New Year’s Eve. The Galloway group will be running their furthest distance yet on Jan 2nd – 6.5 miles.  I can’t wait!

I officially registered for the 2011 Grandma's Marathon with the hubby and our BFF's (one is running the half) and am using Jeff Galloway's "Boston Marathon - How to Qualify" training schedule but for a 4:30 finishing time. My goal is to BQ sometime in 2013 which is the year I turn 40. At that age, I'll need to finish in 3:50. With all the success I've had using Jeff's programs, I'm starting to use this formula now and will use it over the next 2.5 - 3 years to progressively shave 10-15 minutes off with each marathon I run until I hit 3:50. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. I do not expect to be able to PR by 38 minutes with each successive marathon like I did this year in Santa Barbara, but I do think it's reasonable to improve my time by 67 minutes over the next 3 years. I’m officially in the 3rd week of this 30-week program. It’s definitely more intense and I can tell my body is ready for the challenge. My mile repeat times have already improved – I think this is also due to the re-introduction of Yoga into my schedule as well as the plyometric work I’m getting in with the XBox Kinect Adventures and Sports games.

Balancing the two training schedules has gone really well. The timing between this group's half marathon training schedule, the next group’s half marathon training schedule and my personal schedule is as close to ideal as it can get. With a few tweaks of my own schedule, most of my very long runs will take place the day after a shorter Galloway training group weekend run. I'm using Tuesday as my optional double workout day and am now doing 2 shorter runs on this day since I have personal Tuesday session goals as well as the Galloway group run.

Having just run our 3rd weekend group run this past Saturday (5 miles - woo hoo!!), starting this Galloway Training Program is like getting a new set of eyes and a new source of motivation. It’s so funny - I am realizing that no matter how many cups of coffee I have before our early Saturday morning runs, my brain doesn't really open up and kick in until we're about a mile into the run. I think maybe I'm just becoming aware of this now because for almost the last 4 years, most of my runs have been with me, myself and I. None of those people seem to care (or notice!) if I’m able to carry on meaningful and intelligent conversations during early morning training sessions. LOL!

This week will be my 3rd week of transitioning into the Nike Lunar Glides. The shoes feel GREAT and I’m getting anxious to run in them more often that just once a week. One more week after this, and then I’ll step it up to using them on 2 shorter runs during the week for the following 4 weeks. My Excel training log is looking crazier than ever with balancing 2 schedules, rotating 3 pairs of shoes, and keeping a cautious eye open for early signs of potential IT band pain.

Here’s an interesting observation – since I stopped using those Medium Arched Sorbothane Graphite orthotics, the aching I’d been having in my left IT band has disappeared almost completely, even with the increase in my training. So that’s it. I won’t buy them again and I would discourage use of them for runners – period.


Johann said...

Love that quote about peace, so accurate. I'm always glad to hear about others that have long term running goals planned like me. I always plan at least three years ahead and find it great to stay motivated year in and year out. All the best and have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

Vera said...

Thank you Johann! I wish you a very merry Christmas and the best of health and happiness in the new year. I look forward to learning more and more about your Ultra journeys!