Sunday, February 15, 2015

Definitely Not a Prequel, Not a Sequel, but More of a Soft Reboot

My last "big" race, the 2009 Finger Lakes 50k Trail Race finished in 
5 hours and 31 minutes... almost six years ago.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I completed my last road race, the 2011 MVP Rochester Half-Marathon. At the time, that had been my first race in twelve months, following a 3 year span of racing distances from 5k to 32 miles nearly every other week. While I finished the 13.1 mile 2011 half in 1:42, it was the slowest time I had previously put forth in the distance. I was happy with my effort and proud to simply finish. Once again though, life interceded and I slowly pulled away from the training necessary to finish a race to the standard with which I had become acquainted. It was time, again, for a break.

A month ago, while at a dinner party, a friend of mine shared that he had recently completed a winter half marathon with very little training. While I was, at one time (four years ago now) a fairly competitive road racer in my age group, the past two years have been full of jogging/running only in fits-and-starts. Yes, I did run trails at an easy pace with the girls high school cross-country team that I coach this past August and September, and was running regularly in late October before pulling my left hamstring, my dedication has been inconsistent. Since that hamstring pull (an injury which still aches on occasion), my "training" has consisted of quick walks to the car and going to dinner parties.

Which brings me back to that friend who successfully ran the winter half; while we were talking training shop, he shared his target time for an upcoming half, a time that (in the past) would have been one I would have had little difficulty achieving. I suggested that maybe I could "probably" pace him in his efforts to hit the time. The problem is that now, I have just over ten weeks to run myself in shape and continue on my long, slow road to running a race.

With this goal in my mind a sat down and wrote out a (very) modest training plan designed to put me in a position to finish a half, though whether or not I will be able to me my friend's expected performance time remains to be seen. The challenge is in accepting the reality that I am not the same runner, or person, I was five years ago and that those times and miles may no longer be realistic--frankly, I'm not at the place where I am willing to (or need to) sacrifice what it takes to elicit those performances. This is no sequel to the 1.0 version of me.

I would however, once again, like to finish and maybe (just maybe) extend my training beyond this initial goal of 13.1 miles. This soft reboot begins today and with the clock ticking there is little room for deviating from the plan I have set forth for myself. Thus far the greatest barriers remain my body (the hamstrings still ache) and the weather (I just cannot bring myself to run outside in -24° on-skin temps), but I'll continue to take it one training session at a time.

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