I don’t know when or how I decided 30 was a year I would run the infamous runner’s holy grail…the “marathon”. Granted, know that I am aware of Ultra’s, this really isn’t the holy grail. But for the average runner, the non-deranged that is, this is as good as it gets. Apparently, 30 is a big deal, so why not commit to something BIG during my celebratory year? I could have swore that I already posted this to the blog, but I guess I was incorrect. Many, many months ago, I signed up for the 2013 California International Marathon. I signed up earlier in the year, right when registration began – which was twofold. I got a sweet baller-on-a-budget entrance fee, geez…this marathon running stuff is expensive. Conversely, it’s been slowly eating away at me, knowing training was looming in my future.
Until the day finally arrived – the first day of training. I knew all along I’d need some assistance with this training program, so I already mentally committed myself to the local Fleet Feet. It was just a matter of signing up and paying for the training group. Apparently, there are 150 of us in the group, but about 60ish only show up on any giving training day.
Training starts as summer is winding down, so I knew my social athletics was going to interfere with some of the training, which it has so far. But I’ve been pretty diligent in sticking to the program – well, being sick was not part of the 9 mi easy run two Sunday’s ago. You get over it (kinda)..
Here are some of the running lessons I’ve learned in just a mere, few short weeks:
1. I’m not a group runner – I thought I’d enjoy potentially finding someone who would be at my exact pace – this has yet to happen. They have stretching & core workouts after every run, but I leave every time. It’s probably very selfish of me and very un-team like, but I just liked to get home, stretch, use the roller, and enjoy my recovery or protein shake in peace. No Kumbayaing for this girl…
2. I’m fiercely competitive – they say “easy” run, but all I want to do is crush the damn run. I have a very lofty (dream) pace goal for the marathon, so I want to push every run to the limit. However, I know these trained professionals are here to help me, so maybe…just maybe, I should listen to them. Also, I hate being passed up by other runners, it pisses me off. I do, however, love when I get to pass another runner. Probably a tad too competitive for a training group, but they are little victories and losses in my mind.
3. Running is not cheap – new shoes, fuel, silly water bottle fanny packs, new clothes, socks, hats, races, etc.! The actual ability to run is free, but to run freely you need all these other things that cost MONEY! Well at least if you want to run comfortably and for long distances. Parking fees were something I was not expecting when I signed up with the training group either. They have us driving all over the greater Sacramento to get our train on.
4. 5AM, nice to meet you – fitting in workouts is an art, an art in learning how to get your butt up earlier than most. If you want to have a social life during your training, you just get it done. Don’t complain about it, just do it. That dinner with friends will taste that much better, knowing you already knocked out your training run for the day.
5. Good Days vs. Bad Days – they happen. Tracking my intake, how I feel, and notes have helped me realize what works and what doesn’t. Some days you are just going to run bad/slow, you just deal with it. Other days you feel strong and you enjoy it. I try not to beat myself up over the bad days, but sometimes they get to you.
6. I’m like my own therapist – when I’m running solo because I haven’t found a pacing friend, I seem to get really lost in thought. Sometimes I have things to contemplate and other times I don’t, which is when I get to actually take in the scenery around me. Or, if it’s a hard day – I’m just thinking about finishing the damn run! Maybe I isolate myself or maybe I just haven’t met a good running partner, but I tend to be lost own thoughts and gait.
7. Just smile – people really need to smile often. Being a super mouth breather, I know that sometimes you are just trying to get through the run. But really, how hard is it to just give a quick smile/good morning/hi to a fellow jogger/runner. You’d be surprised how many people are surprised when you show some happiness on the trails/streets/roads. I enjoy seeing them smile after I say a quick hello and then go on my way. I get it, some days life is difficult, but imagine if someone smiled at you on one of those days, wouldn’t you feel better? So fake it and try to be cordial to all the other people out there working their butts off, just like you. If not, just keep your head down and keep on truckin’ Wow, apparently I had more to say about running that I even knew. I’ll keep trusting in my training….