Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Training Cycle Begins

Yesterday was  Day 1 of my 12 week training cycle leading up to the Fox Cities Half Marathon in September.  The Fox Cities race means a lot to me for so many reasons.  First, it was the site of my very first half marathon back in 2007 where I finished in 2:37:37 (avg. pace: 12:02).  I remember being terrified before that race.  I had only been running for a couple of months at that point and I wasn't convinced that I could finish it...but I did.

Fox Cities - 2007

A year later, I ran the same course (2 weeks before my first marathon) and obliterated my previous time.  I finished in 2:21:49 (avg. pace: 10:50).  That was the most perfect half marathon I've ever run (it was my 3rd).  Everything went right.  The weather was outstanding. My legs worked perfectly. My head was in the right place. I ran my heart out.  If all races felt like that one, you'd never get me off of a race course!

With The Husband - Fox Cities 2008
2009 was a tough one.  I returned to run my 5th half marathon and I fell 29 seconds short of beating my PR and finished in 2:22:18.  The Husband had a great race that day. When he and my in-laws (who had come to cheer us on) congratulated me, it was hard to make myself thank them.  I was beyond disappointed in myself.  I had been so close, but I hadn't quite done it.  (I don't even have any pictures of that day.)

2010 was a disaster.  Somehow, The Husband and I got lost on the way to the Start Line Shuttles (after 3 years of doing this, you'd think we'd have it down to a science)!  We arrived at the Start a full ten minutes after the gun went off!  Talk about embarrassing!  We had two choices: Start running and laugh at our own idiocy or Quit and go home.  We chose to start running.  It's probably the only time you'll ever see us running a race together (he's a much better runner than I'll ever be).  We didn't give a damn about the time. We ran for fun.  (Finishing Time: 2:25:01 avg. pace: 11:04)

This year, I've got big goals.  You see, this year's Fox Cities Half Marathon will be my 10th half marathon and I want to make it a really good one.  At best, I'd love to finish right around the two hour mark.  At worst, I want to take down my PR.  It's stood for 2 years and it's time for it to go down in flames!  For that to happen, I need to run a 2:21:48 or faster.  I think it's very possible (especially with residual marathon fitness).

However, in order to achieve either of those goals, I've got to train and train hard.  Unlike marathon training, which lasts 18 weeks, my half plan is only 12 weeks long (look for all the details in a future post).  Another difference between the previous training cycle and this one: The Weather.  It's been getting quite warm and humid here (my least favorite conditions), so that's going to probably be my biggest struggle.  I guess we'll find out!

Last night was the last yoga class of the session and it was kind of a bittersweet class for me. Not only was it the last class of this session, but it was my last beginner class!  As of mid-July (when the next session starts), I'll be moving up to a more advanced class.  I'm really looking forward to growing in my yoga practice and challenging my mind and my body to do more.  To celebrate, my yoga buddy, R, and I headed out to a cute little local bar to celebrate - she's moving up a level as well.  I enjoyed a New Glarus Spotted Cow and a pile of spicy sweet potato fries and didn't get home until after 10pm which made my 5:30am alarm come way too fast!

This morning I rolled out of bed to run the first 3 miler of this training cycle.  When I headed out, it was a cool and breezy 63 degrees, which I loved.  The run felt good...really good.

Distance: 3.10 miles
Time: 29:50
Avg. Pace: 9:36

My training plan also called for a strength workout today.  By the time I was done with my work day, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was go to the gym, so I didn't!  I settled for a short yoga practice at home and mixed in a lot of core-strength elements.  I kind of love having the option to do something besides lift weights!

The last two days have been full of really good progress toward my goal.  Let's hope I can keep my motivation up for 11 1/2 more weeks!

What motivates you?

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