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To The Races
Summer is over. This is what I have to show for it:
I went to the beach zero times, I went in zero pools, and I didn’t take little weekend vacations beyond going to Brian’s bike races.
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I only have two hard weeks of training left before I start tapering for the Steamtown Marathon.
So…that’s a little scary.
I’ve just been sort of cruising along, following my plan, kicking my mileage into high gear, and rolling with things really well. The every-single-freaking-day 4:30 AM alarm is starting to kick me hard and wear me down, but generally I’m handling the training really well on the physical and mental spectrums.
I’ve racked up a few battle wounds…
…but generally my body is cooperating. [Pause to knock on all the woods. Can you do it too, please? We’re all in this together. High School Musical. Everyone loves a jazz square.]
I haven’t felt burnt out yet, which can happen to me sometimes, and I think that’s simply because I couldn’t run for so much of the past two years and now I’m audibly psyched every time I get to lace up. For real. Every time. Enthusiasm to the max.
Plus, my training plan is only a 12-week plan, not a 16-week or longer plan, and that keeps me working hard, focusing, and prioritizing every run as best I can.
I’m all in.
This week is a bit of a stepback week, which I’m really appreciating. I’m coming off two weeks of big mileage, including a 21-miler to wrap up last week. So this week I’m taking it down a notch before kicking it back up for next week’s 23-miler.
And then I taper.
And then I run Steamtown.
We’ll talk “goals” another time. Because I’m not sure yet what they are. I don’t know that a PR is within reach. I wish I could say I feel super confident, but getting back into shape has been tough for me this time around in terms of building speed. I was able to get my mileage stacked relatively quickly, but my paces aren’t as speedy as I’d like right now, and my long run paces are generally a little slower than they’ve been since I started running marathons in 2011.
All things considered, though, I’m OK with it. Again with the whole “grateful just to be out!” bit.
While Steamtown is my #1 bigtime A-goal this fall, it’s not the only bib I’ll be pinning on. Far from it, in fact. I’m living life in the “saying yes to everything because I said no to everything for two years” mindset. Full throttle, baby.
Here’s what I’ve got going on in the next two months. I’m bracing myself. And should probably get to foam rolling and compression gear-ing ’round the clock.
This will be my first relay! I’ve always resisted relays because the idea of driving through the night without my beloved bathroom access has been a major deterrent. But when you work for a running company, sometimes they say, “Hey, we’re fielding a Ragnar team. You in?” and you don’t remember saying yes, and in fact you remember saying “hell no,” but then you’re signed up and you’re runner #1 in van #1.
I’m nervous about running this relay two weeks before Steamtown, but Coach John has assured me that as long as I take it easy, I’ll be fine. I got to be the first person to choose legs, and I picked runner #1 because I’ll have the shortest total distance (14 miles over three legs) and the easiest terrain. So…I’m the slacker runner on the team. But in my defense, I agreed to make the weekend-long playlist, so you’re welcome, team. I hope you do Celine with gusto. (Meet the JackRabbit team here!)
We’ve discussed. We’re familiar. We’re nervous. I’m nervous. Really, I’m already getting nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve trained and tried to do well at a race.
I’ve read every single recap I can find on the entire internet. If you’ve run the race, tell me every detail. I know I know I know to take it easy on the early downhills so I can save my legs for the uphill at the end. But what else? Where are the Porta Potties?
I’ve been invited to RW events in the past and have had to turn them down every single time on account of that Crohn’s thing. So when I got the offer to trek to Bethlehem, PA, this fall to take part in the Festival — which includes a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon — I, again, was all in.
So now, the downfall here is that the races are one week after Steamtown. So I’ll likely still be hobbling in major recovery mode. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be running the 5K, the 10K, the half-marathon, or some combination of the three — it will depend on how recovered I feel. But regardless, these are fun races for me, not anything close to PR attempts.
I’m excited to make some new friends, see some new scenes, and hang out with my roommate, Kristen. We started an aggressive email chain as soon as we got our room assignments, and I felt an instant click. (Did you, Kristen? Is this one-sided? I’m OK with that. I love you. Love me back.) She’s hilarious, and she knows all about Crohn’s disease because her dad has it, too. How about that? Comfort zone = restored.
Hey, do you want to run one or any of these races with me? Do it. We’ll have so much fun. You can piggyback me to the finish line(s)! Isn’t that the best offer you’ve ever received? Here, let me make signing up easier for you. Click here, and then enter any or all of these discount codes to receive 10% off your race entry.
- 5K: blogAliOnTheRun5K
- 10K: blogAliOnTheRun10K
- Half-Marathon: blogAliOnTheRunHalf
- 5 & Dime: blogAliOnTheRun5&10
- Hat Trick: blogAliOnTheRunHat
So yeah, there’s that.
I’m sorry I lied to you. And to myself.
But again, when you work for a running store, opportunities present themselves in the form of race entries, and while I did pay my full [expensive] entry fee, I was guaranteed a spot in this highly coveted, and that’s sweet. My luck and good fortune here is not lost on me. So I couldn’t turn it down. I’m excited to be able to run this as a fun race, taking in as much as possible, and basically having the best day ever. Again. Hopefully.
Whooooo wants to be my Staten Island Ferry buddy?
(Yes, the “two marathons in one month” thing is a little scary. That’s why NYCM is a no-pressure race. I will race Steamtown, recover as best I can in three weeks, and then run my city with so much pride. That’s the no-plan plan.)
I’m especially excited to have all my November Project friends manning the mile 14 water station. Guaranteed highlight before hauling myself over the Queensboro Bridge.
So now… More core. More yoga.
More healthy foods. More sleep. Maybe no drinking. Definitely more foam rolling. Maybe more ice baths.
So a bunch of races on top of a bunch of other things. I’m part overwhelmed, part psyched as hell. Mostly psyched as hell.
Finally, here’s Abby, the newest love of my life…
WHO’S RUNNING ANY OF THESE WITH ME? Who’s running a different race? Can I come cheer for you? I’m so good with a cowbell. Let me prove it to you. Also also, if you’ve done the “two marathons in a month” deal, how’d that work out for you? Oh, you got injured? Shit. If you didn’t, though, talk it out. What worked? What didn’t? Oh and relay tips! Those would be helpful, too? Where do I sleep? How much do I Instagram?