This week's training has had its ups and downs. I don't know if it was my 20-miler on Sunday or carrying my little guy around on errands that same afternoon, but my back has been really unhappy with me. Doing yoga the day after the long run, I couldn't even do half of the stretches and found myself doing Child's Pose for a good portion of the class. By Wednesday's mid-week run I felt okay enough to try running, and I actually did surprisingly well. I finished 4.25 miles in 40 minutes with each mile done in less than 10 minutes. Miles 2 and 3 were completed in 9:05 and 9:15, respectively. And, that was on a hilly course (no hill walking this time either!) I don't know if that hurt my back further, but I am sure it didn't help. While running felt alright, I feel Thursday was a little more sore than it needed to be. Today I am supposed to do another 40 minute run, and I am leery. This is where I fail as a runner. I am horrible at listening to my body. So far this morning my back actually feels a lot better - not 100%, but better. So, I will probably try to run, take it nice and easy with no hills, and hope I don't send it back a couple of days in recovery. We'll see how that gamble pays off.
Adding to my stress is that I am actually getting antsy about my half marathon this weekend. I think there is something about a race that you have done a few times. You actually have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what you might be capable of. Now, I realistically don't expect to PR this event. It is, after all, just another training run on my way to Lakefront. However, there is a very small voice within me that keeps saying a PR is not out of the question. And, even if I couldn't get a PR, which for me simply means a 2:11 or better, I feel with all the training I have done this year, I should at least be able to top what I did the last time I ran this event when I ran a 2:14 after a knee injury and no long runs for six weeks.
This year I am so beyond that health-wise and training-wise, and yet my long runs don't really indicate that I have gotten any faster. In any case, hope springs eternal.
As it is, what do they say? You should have three goals for any one event: your ultimate goal, your realistic goal, and your if-all-else-fails goal. For me, the ultimate goal would be a PR, the realistic one would be under 2:20 (even by a hair), and the if-all-else-fails goal is to finish without injury.
My plan for the run is to run the first three miles straight through at a manageable pace (not a hell-bent-for-leather pace), and then run/walk it for the rest. If I feel really good still in the last few miles, then I will try to run them. My goal for the run/walk portion is to not lollygag during the walk segments, which I have a tendency to do, and to be prepared and not spend too much time "off program" during the water stops. That means getting any GUs of cliff blocks ready while on the run and drinking as much as I can on the run.
In any case, I am looking forward to race weekend: kids' runs, expo, seeing friends, hanging out in our club's tent at the starting line (which is new this year), and more!