I had a little wake up call when I was in Ohio for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. As I was ascending the many, many hills of the course I realized I needed to step up my game if I want to run a comfortable San Francisco Marathon. Here's the thing, I hate hills. I really, truly, deeply hate running hills.
One would think that would have crossed my mind when I decided to sign up for the San Francisco Marathon a few months back...but all that crossed my mind was-
1- A TRIP TO CALIFORNIA! It was just another excuse to get my entire family up to the Bay Area for some adventures and wine tasting!
2- A marathon with my favorite running buddy Gregg!?! Ironically I was easily convinced to run the San Francisco Marathon after running hill repeats in Central Park with Gregg. We were eating burgers and drinking a beer when I told him I was itching to run a marathon. He, in true #GBeastMode form, is running the 52.4 Mile Ultra Marathon in San Francisco and was like "DO THE ULTRA WITH ME!" (The ultra marathoners start at the finish line at midnight, run to the start line and run back to the finish line when the marathon kicks off.) I was like, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA NO. But I'll do the marathon!" And I promised Gregg I would give him a piggy back if he needs it out on the course because that's what friends do! (Not that he's going to need it...but after those hills I might.)
So off I went to marathon training but after Ohio I knew I needed to make a change. Up until that point I was leisurely running along, caught in the tornado of my busy schedule. After my calf strain a few weeks ago my Physical Therapist/Body Fixing Wizard Mike advised me that he didn't think it was a great idea to have me run more than 4 days a week which led to a complete marathon training schedule overhaul. I went back to the drawing board to incorporate both hill repeats and speed work and after yesterday's hill repeats I am feeling pretty confident I am going to finish smiling come July.
Something I've always wanted to do but haven't gotten around to is comparing my scheduled training plan with what I actually do. So above you will see all sorts of empty spaces that will fill up every week with what I actually complete. Already you'll see that I've deviated from the schedule. Monday I was still sore from Saturday's Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon and Sunday's 7 mile run so Mike advised me to take it easy and spin. (I slipped in an easy 4 miles because I wasn't about to sit around at a spin studio for an hour.) Today I have my friend Melissa's birthday dinner so I swapped my speed work for tomorrow and then this weekend I'll be in New Hampshire so who knows what mileage I'll be able to accomplish. (I'm slightly terrified that I am going to get lost in the woods and eaten by a Moose and/or Brown Bear.)
But it's happening! 10 weeks may seem like a long time but in the world of marathon training it's crunch time because every day matters. Now I'm using San Francisco as a fun run. My main goal is to have as much fun as humanly possible and running a comfortable marathon. What does that mean? That means staying injury free so I can take 2 or 3 weeks off before jumping back in to NYC Marathon training. This year I am hoping to break 4 hours at NYC so my fingers are crossed that the stars align and everything goes according plan.
That being said I had the strangest discussion this week, I was talking with a friend about how I didn't think I was very "good" at running but I continue to run because I love it. I run because it means a lot to me and I have so much fun doing it. One of our co-workers jumped in asking why I would continue to do something I wasn't good at. It struck a chord with me because the fact that I'm not a good runner actually taught me something that has served me hugely in my everyday life. I learned what it meant to have to work, tooth and nail, towards something I actually thought was impossible. Running isn't something that comes naturally or easy to me, every single marathon or half marathon I run requires work. Work that isn't always like that ridiculously fun Airbnb Brooklyn Half. Most of my runs are hard and painful but it's because I make it through the really trying runs that I get to go and have the time of my life. I've learned that in order for the end result to feel effortless, I actually have to put in 10 times more effort. And it's 100% worth it. I wouldn't trade it for anything for the world.
So here's to an injury free and trying 10 weeks. And don't stop yourself from doing something just because you're not good at it. If you love doing it, that's all that matters. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.