When A Crappy Run Happens…

…a truly great one is bound to follow.

Let me explain.

Whether it’s rational or not, sometimes I get fixated on covering¬†a certain distance. Last weekend, my plan called for¬†12 miles, but deep down, I wanted to do 14. Hey,¬†I thought,¬†I want a PR at Wineglass, a big one. So why not step it up a notch?¬†

Sensing my greed,¬†the marathon training gods cursed me with a (literally) crappy run, the kind of crappy¬†that required a mad dash to the nearest Dunkin’ for an unplanned pit stop. Oh yeah, and it was humid as I’ll get out, too.

Feeling blehhhh…

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…I made my way home early logging — you guessed it — just 12 slower-than-molasses miles, the wind effectively knocked out of my sails.

Damn.

But yesterday, with 16 on the menu, things were different.

Once I warmed up, I almost felt giddy, the kind of giddy that puts a spring in your step so you¬†drop your pace a bit just for the heck of it. The kind that feels so good you can’t help but smile a little from the inside out. The kind that almost convinced me to like summer.

Yes, it was one of those runs that can only be described with a high level of cliche and corniness. The air was cool, the sun made the trees a vibrant green and the creek sparkle. I even ran into a herd of deer and past still-snoozing ducks.

And I ran all 16 miles quite a bit faster than the 12 I did the Sunday before.

Hells. Yes.

I told my mom today, after she’d had a less-than-pleasant workout, that the reason I choose to endure the crappy runs is because they make the amazing ones, the ones where you feel weightless and powerful and free, THAT much sweeter.

I know this is by far a¬†groundbreaking realization, but…

Daily reminder: Check.

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.” – Sarah Condor

A Note To My Future Self That Summer Marathon Training IS Worth It!

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 4.57.36 PMDear Future Megan,

Next summer when you inevitably return from a long run dehydrated and defeated, remember Sunday’s 20-miler.¬†It was epic, it was ahh-MAZ-ing, it was confidence-boosting, you name it. That single run made up for a summer’s worth of slow, sluggish death marches. Yes, it’s hard to see now with stinging sweat in your eyes that the cooler weather will bring with it faster, easier running. But remember that this run proved that it does.

More than once that day, I caught myself experiencing the “runner’s high.” Around mile 12 or 13, we dropped the pace to 7:35. And it felt easy, like we had only 10 steps, not 10 miles, under our belt. I felt smooth and in control, my breathing was relaxed, and I shifted into cruise-control so I could fully take in the gorgeous, sun-soaked scenery around me. (Mind you, I’d been struggling to hold my pace within 8:15-30 range on my long runs so far, so stop feeling discouraged about your long-run splits so far this summer. It’s not worth your time or energy!) Then with four miles to go, I still felt strong, so I decided to try to dip down into the 7s again. I genuinely couldn’t believe it when my splits were all 7:30 or faster. I was giddy for the rest of the day (and week for that matter).

Remember how this run completely changed your mentality going into Marine Corps and how it revealed that yes, you really do love this sport even when you’ve sweat buckets at the butt-crack of dawn Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Remember to feel grateful and thankful for the ability to feel that runner’s high and rush of endorphins that sometimes get dampened¬†by the summer haze. It’s all worth it, I swear.¬†This is your mantra: Summer marathon training IS worth it!¬†

So go take a cold shower, cozy up in bed, cue up Netflix, and get excited. Fall will be here before you know it!

(One-Month-Out-From-MCM) Megan

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?” – Peter Maher

MCM Training | 98 Days ‘Til Go Time

Switched roles and was the interviewee at a 5K I ran last weekend!

Switched roles and was the interviewee at a 5K I ran last weekend!

Hello run-blog universe! Long time, no see everyone!

It’s been far, far too long since I’ve posted here. To get my blogging butt in gear, I’m dusting off the keyboard with a Marine Corps Marathon training update, the first of what’ll become a weekly series until October 27.

MCM will be my fifth (!) marathon, and I’m racing it through work with the Runner’s World Challenge, which, by the way, is one of the coolest running programs around. Not only do you get access to my¬†colleagues’ seasoned advice and coaching, BUT you get VIP treatment on race weekend. Know what that means? Private porta-potties. That’s right. Join us, it’s worth it. (Got questions about it? Ask ’em below.)

Last year I worked the event and got to celebrate post-race with all of the Challengers. No matter the outcome of their race, every finisher said MCM was an incredible experience. One runner’s recap even moved me to tears. That was all the inspiration I needed to want to join in myself in 2013.

So here we are, just 98 days away from 26.2 miles through our nation’s Capitol. And let’s just say my training is off to a, uhhh, bumpy start. The RW Run Streak got me hopped up on speed and strength, which helped me run a post-college 5K PR of 19:42 (and snag a top overall female win!) at a race my old teammate puts on in honor of her mother¬†last weekend.¬†I’ve also been consistently hitting the gym two to three times a week, and I’m already feeling stronger head-to-toe. (And get this, I figured out how to enjoy planks, even the dreaded side planks! Rather that holding a position until my core gives out, I’m rotating positions every 20 seconds, doing at least three sets per gym session. Plus, according to my roomie, shorter bursts are better because you’re more likely to hold proper form. Rock hard abs, here I come!)

photo 2But…that momentum came to a screeching halt when I went on vacation with my family last week. I did one glorious run with my Dad on the beach, but that was it. I’ll be honest, whenever I’m with my family, running goes on the¬†back-burner. I hardly ever see them, so the time is precious. I’d rather be with them than on the roads alone. I’ve got 50 other weeks to do that.

As much as I needed to hit the mental reset button, I’m ready to dive right back in to training. Taking a week off from the get-go has left me a bit anxious, but I know that my off-season streak and newfound need to lift stuff has given me a solid base. Since strict day-by-day plans are still the bane of my¬†existence, I’m going to keep up my flexible routine. Here’s a rundown of my goals and what I’m hoping to do training-wise:

  • This race marks just over a year anniversary since my first marathon. I haven’t run as fast since, so I’d be thrilled with a PR. Don’t care by how much, but you know, deep down I’d love to cross the line in the low 3:2X’s.
  • Speaking of that uber-successful first marathon, I went through my training log and wrote down what I did for my long runs leading up to Steamtown. The goal is to more or less copy that progression since it worked so well last time. Don’t fix what ain’t broken, right?
  • Ideally I’d like to do some sort of speed session once per week, because I¬†finally got the itch to¬†do genuine workouts. It took a year, but the desire has returned. Whether it’s doing Wednesday intervals at work or throwing a tempo run into the mix, upping my turnover to offset those long, slow distance runs will hopefully make me faster come October.
  • No excuses, I’m going to lift at least twice a week. A third time and/or yoga is a bonus.
  • I trained through the heat last year and it paid off. Every time I want to skip out on a run because of the sauna-like conditions, I’ll wipe the sweat out of my eyes and focus on that fact. Yes, summer running sucks, but remembering that it’s only going to get cooler will make those miserable miles worthwhile. And hey, maybe that’s why I ran as fast as I did at Steamtown!

Long story short, my weekly routine should look like this: 1 long run + 2-3 lifting sessions + 1 speed workout – any heat-related excuses = a successful Marine Corps Marathon.

That being said, I’m off to the gym! Tomorrow, I think I’m going to break out the earbuds, knock out 12 miles as early as possible, and use coffee, a strawberry-banana-chocolate crepe, and a nap as incentive to get ‘er done.

Until next week, happy running everyone!

QUOTE OF THE POST:¬†There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people. – Bill Bowerman