Reflections on training
(But first, someone found my blog by googling "3 mile run in 90 degree heat, is it safe?" I'd like to address that. Yes, it's safe, provided: 1. you are heat trained (or heat training), 2. you aren't doing speedwork, 3. you dump water on your head/body, 4. you are well-hydrated, 5. you pay attention to your body's signals and know when to quit. I've done much longer runs in the heat and know of many ultrarunners who run even longer distances in much hotter weather. Yes, it's safe. But be careful.)
My "duh" moment stayed with me yesterday morning, and I got up and went out for another 5.2 miles. This gave me 13.8 miles in the first three days of the week, which is pretty fantastic for how I've been going. Those 5.2 were very slow miles - on asphalt, I average 13-minute miles. I haven't been that slow since I started running two years ago! I blame it on not topping my glycogen stores properly the night before (a short, but hot, run) and not having enough PowerBar Endurance drink with me while I was out running that morning. I just didn't have enough fuel!
I realized last night that my body was not sore. I was surprised by this; I felt like I should be sore, after running 14 miles over three days after last week's run/hike at the Grand Canyon (photos are up!). It dawned on me that I was doing two things: 1. doing yoga to help my body recover, and 2. actually getting in shape! (Or maybe it's because I was so slow...)
If I were able to continue slowly building my base (in other words, if I didn't have a 50k looming next month), I think I would safely and in good time prepare my body well for the upcoming fall marathon Kiera and I have registered for.
Alas, I registered for the 50k and bought my plane tickets that fateful week this past February. The week I decided I wasn't going to date, so I would have plenty of time to prepare. The week I decided on a whim to go along with my friend's spur-of-the-moment invite to a party. C walked in the room, our eyes met, and the rest was history. Granted, my general laziness plays a much bigger factor into the whole not-ready-for-my-race thing, but I like the our-eyes-met-and-the-rest-was-history story better.
I wrote in a comment on someone's blog recently that I was anticipating a DNF at the 50k. I started thinking about it in the shower yesterday morning. Anticipating a DNF?! Isn't that like setting myself up for self-fulfilling prophecy? I was incredulous at the fact I wrote that, and even more so at the fact that I actually *was* preparing myself for that. Going into it as a training run for the marathon, thinking that if I went for 20 to 25 miles, it would be a great long run in preparation for the other race. But doesn't that de-value the whole experience?! Isn't the point of registering for a race to see if I can go the distance?! That seems almost disrespectful to go into knowing I wouldn't run the whole thing. I started feeling that I would be letting the volunteers down, letting the race directors down, taking up space in a filled-up race knowing I wasn't going the whole distance. Doesn't that just seem selfish? But then I thought, isn't the whole idea of training that much and racing that far kind of selfish anyway?
I decided I was uncomfortable pursuing that train of thought, and I washed it out of my hair and down the drain along with the foaming lather of the shampoo and turned to shave my legs instead.
I bring it back up here specifically for debate, for talk. I still don't know how I feel about it. I still don't know if I will push myself to go the distance, even if I end up hurting myself too much to recover well for the marathon. I feel like I would rather save myself for the marathon; I care more about that race - it's my first marathon distance, it's with Kiera after I begged her to do it with me.
What do you think? How do you approach racing? Distances?