My training schedule this week was still under 20 miles. My long run last Sunday was 8 miles, and I have to say it felt pretty easy, but I think that was because I completed it on a 1/2 mile flat loop at Hobgood Park in Woodstock. Here is what the last two weeks have looked like:
Sunday:7 miles on Hobgood Park track Monday: off Tuesday: 3 miles on gym indoor track Wednesday: off Thursday:4 miles on gym indoor track Friday: off Saturday: off Sunday: 8 miles on Hobgood Park track Monday: 4 miles gym indoor track Tuesday: off- fitted for new shoes at Big Peach Running Co. Wednesday: 4 miles gym indoor track Thursday: off Friday: 4 miles gym indoor track Saturday: off Sunday: 9 miles on Kennesaw Mtn trails
My training program makes 2 miles optional on those "off" weekdays, and I have been opting not to run on them so far, but this week I plan to do 2 miles of speedwork and some light cross training with weights. I want to strengthen my core, and my hamstrings a bit more.
I went to Big Peach Running Company on Tuesday and got custom fitted for a new pair of shoes. Sounds expensive, but it is a free service they offer, and their shoes are not priced any higher than a regular sporting goods store. They look at your footprint and arch, and then video tape your ankles from behind while you run on a treadmill. This helps them learn whether you need to correct your stride with your shoes. It was quick and painless and very, very cool! I must have tried on 10+ pair of shoes before finding the perfect ones. I should add that the sales girl was very friendly, extremely knowledgeable and did not mind one bit humoring my wishy washy shoe choosing. They just genuinely love running there, and it shows.
I needed those shoes badly, and had been putting it off for a couple of months now because I did not want to spend the money. Later in the week I returned with Nick, where he bought me an Amphipod hydration belt, thankyou Nick, and I replaced my old Nike+ plus shoe sensor. When my long run hit 8 miles, I think I decided it was ok to take myself seriously with all this marathon talk...I am taking care of business. I am really making it happen, and it feels amazing.
I also downloaded two audiobooks with the itunes gift cards I got for Christmas with the intention of switching to those to pass the time as opposed to my played out playlists. The first is "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan. It chronicles her battle with cancer. I am sure it is a good book, infact excerpts of it about friendship brought me to tears..but during a run it was like molasses in my veins. I will save it for the next time I am stuck in traffic, or can't sleep. The other book was "How to See Yourself as You Really Are" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I read "The Art of Happiness: a Handbook for Living" this Summer and it really made a profound connection for me in practicing peace and happiness through suffering, a concept I believe in wholeheartedly. Naturally, I was excited to see this one on itunes. However, this one is not a pleasure read...it is very hard for me to follow as it weaves in and out of Buddhist principals that are way over my head. The concepts are worthy of studying, but not while I am flopping around the indoor track at the gym. Audiobooks as motivation get the thumbs down for now.
For Christmas Nick got me a MyRoadID bracelet so that if I freeze into a block of ice on the side of the road, or have a heart attack..the person who finds me can call and hear a computer generated voice detail my vital information. We cracked ourselves up plugging in completely inappropriate phrases and then playing them back to check their accuracy. Great for safety on those long lonely trail runs, and highly entertaining on a quiet Thursday night in front of the laptop.
Yesterday, I ran at Kennesaw Mountain, and was joined by Kristy P and her son Pooch for the first 1.5-2 miles. It was nice to see a friendly face out there! This was my first time on those trails so I didnt really know my way around. Well, long story short I took the wrong trail a couple of times and went way off course...so bythe time I hit 9 miles I was still 2 miles away from my car. I had to call Nick to meet me at the closest drop in and drive me back...but I ran the full 9 miles I had planned on. Nick made me a huge meal afterwards. He is so supportive, I dont know how I got so lucky.
What is more amazing to me than running 9 miles is that I attended two girls night parties Saturday, and managed to make it without partaking in cocktails. I still had fun, but the dynamic of being social has changed for me. I am getting some good natured slack about what this world must be coming to when I decline a cocktail on my off weekend (the kids were at dad's house) to get up early and squeeze in church before a Sunday long run. I am not making any crazy over the top declarations about changing my life completely. I have always liked balance. But I do like what I am learning about myself through trying some different things, and committing to this running goal without excuses. Every Sunday as my mileage increases I am exhilerated by the realization I am doing something I have never done before. I am growing and improving in ways I cant describe. The rewards for the effort are already infinite, and I'm not even half way there.