Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gearing up for Marine Corps Marathon

To be honest, getting back into the swing of running after Boston hasn't been very enjoyable for me. The main issue has been a struggle with motivation and feeling very tired and worn out even after what I would consider easy runs. I just haven't been able to find my legs again. I'm sure it's due to one part the hit to my confidence after Boston, one part lack of focus, and two parts the return of summer to Richmond.

Excuse my language, but fuck summer. I hate it. Everything about it. I'm already ready for fall.

But I digress.

Officially, I'm already three weeks into a new season with the Marathon Training Team, but I am not starting my structured training for Marine Corps until the week of July 10. So, I have been focusing on a few thing in the meantime: 1) adapt to humid, hot running; 2) build stamina; 3) work on strength; and 4) start to introduce some speed back into my life. 

Regarding humidity and stamina: Only one way to do this, and that's running even when it's disgusting. I've probably been pushing myself harder than necessary during this base building period, but I've got that axe to grind. Something I've been trying to do at the end of every run, no matter how awful I feel, is work on the final burst. This is something that I have never been good at and want to improve on. Not that it's going to help me set any marathon PRs, but I think it will help me mentally when it comes to pushing through exhaustion or feeling momentarily icky. Hauling myself out of bed and going to spin class twice a week has also helped me start to feel like I can get back into the groove of a fully loaded training season.

Regarding strength: My SI joint has been increasingly cranky lately, which is incredibly frustrating. I'm in with BFF Steve just about every week, and every week it takes him a good 25-30 minutes to get me unstuck. It alllllll goes back to my weak hips and booty. I have a tendency, as BFF Steve says, to "hang" from my ligaments when I'm just standing around. Translation: lower back arches in, hips lean forward, booty pops out. Not a good thing. It gets me all out of joint. He said that you can really see it plainly in one of my favorite recent photos.

Now my dysfunction is all I can see!

I have to try to reverse it by tucking in the opposite direction (maybe I should do barre class after all...where's my eye roll emotion...) and being very mindful about how I'm standing, in addition to exercises of course. I'm making a real effort to do those targeted exercises more often and have two dedicated sessions per week of strength training. There are already small improvements and I'm going to try very very hard to keep it up. We'll just ignore the fact that I say that every training season and then well....

Regarding speed: I recently realized that I haven't run a 5k in forever, so one of my first new goals is to set a PR at that distance... which shouldn't be too hard because the PR to beat is 23:04 set in 2014. Wasting no time, I went ahead and signed up for the Patriots 5k on the 4th of July. Marcey and I ran this one back in 2013 and I loved it, so I'm looking forward to revisiting it. I even have designs on a podium finish, so we'll see what happens. Otherwise, I'm pushing myself on these shorter training runs and will start back to formal speed work and tempo runs once the Frankenstein Run Less Run Faster training plan starts in July. Weirdly, I'm actually looking forward to it. I love running fast and I miss it.

Thanks to concentrating on these things, I've been regaining some semblance of my former competitive runner self as the month of June has worn on. I might even be finally turning the corner back into "I'm ready to kick some butt" territory and out of "Woe is me, I'm so slow and out of shape and tired."

In fact, this week my body probably feels the best it has since I don't know when... April of last year? I've had two strong running days, including a progressive run on Monday that ended with a 7:19 mile and a 6.5 miler on Wednesday that was pretty hilly and completed at a 7:51 average with humidity levels in the 90% range.

I'm just going to go ahead and call it the break through week that I needed to throw off the last of the Boston Blahs and instead look forward to crushing some new goals in the fall.

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