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Monday, October 25, 2010

Tough Decisions on Goals

I've made a really tough and reluctant decision, but in the end I know I'll be better for it long-term.  I basically told my coaches I don't want to do the USA Fit Full Marathon; I want to switch to the Half Marathon.

Yesterday's craptastick run in the Houston Half Marathon really only solidified what I've been thinking about doing since probably, well honestly, probably before Redman.

The bottom line is I need to get better at running and truly there is absolutely no rush for me to do a full-marathon right now.  If there is a reason, someone clue me in.

It makes logical sense to me to work on my getting my half-marathon better and more consistent before moving on to bigger things. I'm not afraid of a tough challenge; that's also what gets me into trouble.

Here's my current reality:  Over the last year it's become increasingly difficult to keep my head in the game when it comes to running.  I feel as if I'm just only making backward progress where running is concerned. I see improvements in cycling and swimming all the time, but not with running. I know everyone tries to be encouraging, "the weather is bad."  "It was a hard day for everyone..."  "Don't be so hard on yourself..."  I've been putting in the training and working too hard not to see it pay off.  Maybe part of it is my body doesn't want to "play" under it's hormonal imbalances right now. I have to wonder if moving forward and continuing with the Full might not be the best thing for me physically.  I really feel like the thyroid, hyperprolactenemia and anemia issues are hindering me.  Unfortunately, the protocol for treating and leveling out these imbalances doesn't just happen overnight.  The constant stress I put my body under with training, doesn't necessarily help that either.  Then there's the whole thing with not being able to drop weight. 

At yesterday's half I missed the half-way cut-off by 5 minutes.  I didn't know there was a 3 hour cut-off for the whole race.  They diverted me, which took 1.2 miles off my course.  I crossed the finish with only 11.8 miles recorded, but I chose to bypass collecting the medal and finishers shirt.  Even on the results they posted me as finishing with a negative split! Everyone had a rough day.  It was extremely humid AND it was a tough course. 

The whole reason I started with my first half-marathon last year was because it would force me to run and as a result I would hopefully get better. That's still my goal:  to get better; not necessarily to go a longer distance. Sometimes I lose sight of that with the excitement of looking for the next big goal.

Yes, I want to do a full Ironman one day, but until I decide when that will be (2012 at the earliest). I don't see the need to rush doing a Full Marathon. I really, really enjoyed doing the 70.3 and I want to do more of them, for sure, in the near future -- so getting my half-marathon more consistent would definitely help to that end.

It's a hard decision because I don't want to be seen as a quitter or weak in the mind.  One of my coaches said, "you just need a Win in the running area."  He's completely right.  I need to see I can achieve some kind of reasonable goal with running before I completely throw-in the towel out of frustration.

There are lots of things I can practice doing another half-marathon:
  • Nutrition
  • Pacing -- actually learn what my right pace is and be able to run it without my Garmin!
  • Negative splitting
  • Run a little faster and figure out what the right interval is for me.

I don't need a podium finish to prove that to myself, I don't have to run single digit miles, but I do need to see something positive happen given the effort I invest and, at the least, get back to where I was last year more consistently. Last year I was trying to break 12 minute miles... this year I'm struggling to stay under 15... something is not right. 

I just want to put yesterday behind me and start fresh.

I will still keep USA Fit as my "A" race, but switch to the half.

4 comments:

Mel said...

I think that is a great plan!

You are definitely not a "quitter". Everything written in this post shows how dedicated you are!!! I think getting better/more consistant with your run is a smart way to train.

I look forward to reading about your improvements :)

Christine said...

I'm going to toss out an idea. My guess is that you're over-trained right now. It happens to lots of athletes. You keep working harder and harder and you go backwards. It's so incredibly frustrating.

You didn't really take a recovery break from your awesome 70.3. Have you considered taking a two or three week break from running?

It's hard. It's so incredibly hard to take a recovery break, but sometimes your body needs to have recovery. You body will simply refuse to make progress until you allow it to fully rest.

Let your body rest. Let your brain rest. Recovery is a required part of the process. (I can't tell you how hard I struggle with learning this!)

Your goals will be there waiting for you when you've rested.

Donna said...

@Christine: I actually did take about 3 weeks off from running; just did a couple easy runs here and there. Absolutely nothing strenuous. In fact, I ran so little I was worried about doing the HHM! I know recovery is important. Thanks! :)

sharla said...

I'm going to agree with your reasoning and I think it's a positive thing too.

I'm having thyroid balancing issues right now and am starting to get pretty sick of the whole thing. It adds another dimension to training.

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