Tag Archives: half-marathon

Running after 50: working within limits

Sure, I’d like to think I have no limits, it’s exhilarating. It reminds me of the Fool card in the tarot deck. Don’t get me wrong: the Fool is a good card. Mostly. It indicates the potential of doing things that are ill advised but coming out richer for it–richer in experience, knowledge, wisdom and sometimes just plain richer, you never know. So understand: the Fool is a good thing.

The Fool: it's a good thing with the potential for bad.

The Fool: it's a good thing with the potential for trouble.

See–the guy is just about to step off the cliff. Not so good, even the dog is yapping “Look where you step, you…Fool!” But the idea is no venture, no gain.

So, why do I bring this up? I’m not in a limitless place in my running. I made a decision a little while ago to postpone my half marathon plans for a while because stand-up paddle season is here, as is the annual garden-and-ibuprofin two month festival and what I’m finding is I just can’t cram it all in…my poor bod complains too mightily, especially these fasciitis prone feet. And as I’ve said before: I’m in this for the long haul, which means taking care now so I can keep running for a long time. Boring, I know.

But it’s pure math. Training for the half-m would take more than the 18 to 22 miles I run weekly now.  It would take recovery time between runs, if I do it right.  And it’s right in that space between runs where things get messed up.  If the weather is gorgeous, I’m going out on that board, come hell or high water.  And I’ve already experienced what happens when I board and run back to back.

A dear friend of mine was surprised to hear I had forestalled my half-m plans, and not happily so, I could tell. It made me feel a little bad for a while. Also, I just came out of a couple of weeks of feeling bad, post-decision. Turns out a lofty goal for a newbie runner such as a half-m offers is a very motivating thing–gives you this energized identity, this get-up-and-get-out-there motivation and conversation piece that builds energy at every turn. It’s a rush. Exhilarating.

Well, I’ve come out of that funk, and am enjoying my running as much as ever, if not more. The pressure is off, the funk is gone, it’s just me out there running, trying new routes, digging my tunes, loving the blustery weather–being a body in motion. The really great thing that the half-m push did was get me to 7 mile runs and beyond. I love and look forward to them on the weekend. Adding hills and new routes during the week keeps me working on my speed, the weekend runs keep my mind geared towards a longer run and all that it entails.

I still have it in the back of my mind to do a half-m next January or February, leaving me plenty of time for recovery before the paddle surfing season comes around.

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Running past 50: the tyranny of perfection

Halfway through my 10 mile run this past Saturday, the thought came to me: thank god. The tyranny of perfection is behind me.

I completed my 10 mile goal which I’d set back at the beginning of Feb, a little ahead of schedule but by necessity as this weekend was the window of opportunity. I was excited, especially after last Saturday’s 9.25 mile excellent, nay, perfect run. I talked myself down by reminding myself: it’s not likely to be that great every time, cool your jets, girlie.

But I had no idea it would be this bad.

Saturday offered up some pretty lousy weather, rain and wind, gray and cold. I can stand all of it, but wind is what I dread. I checked Intellicast for the wind report but no let-up was in the cards. I felt dreary about it all, suddenly. As the morning wore on, however, I gave myself a talking to…window of opportunity, the importance of setting and reaching a goal that’s all your own, how great I’d feel afterwards…

And I decided to just do it, come hell or high water. I felt excited again, could sense some adrenaline building as I filled my little water flasks, got dressed, stretched and did my core exercises. I checked my course one last time to make sure I knew where to turn around and then I headed out.

I drove to the starting point, hit the button on my running watch and headed out. At first, the weather felt a little balmy. I could imagine this turning out well, especially when I saw a broad rainbow across the ferry run between Bainbridge and downtown Seattle. But then, just as suddenly, the wind kicked up a bit. No problem, I can do this, I said. I rounded the corner at the lighthouse and headed for the long stretch along Alki Beach.

As I headed into my second mile, the wind was picking up a bit more but still not a problem. The sun had slipped away behind rolling billowing clouds. At the Duwamish Head, things got dicey. I was now leaning into the wind and I could feel my energy getting tapped way too soon.

As I headed into the fourth and fifth miles, I knew this was going to be very far from a perfect run. I had to take a brief walking breaks, long before the 60 minute mark, and though I tried to laugh it all off with the perspective of last week to this week’s very far from perfect run, I was feeling an extra pull on my energy.

No energy drain was going to keep me from attaining my goal, though, and that was that. I got to the five mile mark and turned around. At last the wind was at my back…for 1.25 miles. Again when I hit the Duwamish point, the wind had turned slightly and incredibly, I was running into it again.

I knew then that this was going to be a long slog because since it was a S-SW wind–I’d be heading into it from here on out. So I gave myself over to it, paced my walking breaks…and lowered my expectations. STill, though I wasn’t fast–11 minute miles–I did finish what I’d started, and that was what counted for me. I was sore and very tired by the end, depressingly so, since I was so excited to complete this project. But I finished, I hit 10.1 miles and had not one drop of energy left to do much of anything but drive home and do my yoga after-run stretches.

I now know what’s involved in ramping up distance, I know I can do it, and I know how to work with my body to avoid too much wear and tear. I’ll sign up for my first half-marathon soon–this after running my first 5K just last summer. I wish it had been a more uplifting 10 miles, but it was what it was. And after all, perfection really is a sort of tyranny, isn’t it?