Training officially kicked off this week for the Indy Monumental Marathon. After a week of extreme sun and humidity here in NC, I'm happy that this week feels a bit more like being on vacay back in Maine...
This week consists of 60 miles, all comfy pace, but the real fun begins next week. Training each week will consist of one "speedier" workout (long intervals, fartleks; etc.), a long run done at a specific pace depending on the week, a tempo to ingrain in me what 6:17 pace feels like, and a whole lot of super slow recovery runs. My weekly mileage will peak at 83. I'll focus on upper body strength and core 2x week, commit to more stretching and massaging, see Dr. Jeremy at EPC for ART and Dr. Chris at Guilford Ortho for dry needling when my foot becomes a bugger, and experiment with.......
Nutrition. Now mind you, I ate three freezie pops after my run today, and I'm currently eating Doritos as I write this post. I cannot and never will be someone that sacrifices one of my big loves in life: FOOD. However, I do know that I need to fine tune my choices to maximize energy stores while also figuring out some of my digestion issues. My body can no longer tolerate many foods that I used to love and rely on for nutrients, i.e. bananas, cow's milk, and beef. The latter is more likely a full-blown allergy, and I'm currently awaiting the results of an alpha-gal panel that my doctor ordered. This would also put me at risk of lower iron/ferritin, which is crucial in endurance sports. So, while awaiting clarity here, I'm focusing on what I can choose: general complex carbs that will keep me fuller and burn/release slower (lots of pasta and brown rice), post-run immediate recovery (currently trying UCAN products), and cooking meals with vitamin-rich veggies (beets, spinach, chick peas, avocados; etc.). My next step will be to improve my on-the-run choices. While GU gels have always worked well, I can physically feel that I need more calories and electrolytes to sustain my pace/endurance. This may simply mean I need more gels, or I may need to add something else, perhaps an energy drink (will try UCAN also).
Side note, if you're in the Greensboro area, you must try the grits bowl at the Green Bean...grits, spinach, sweet potatoes, egg, bacon, feta cheese...hearty and delicious!
Above all, the most important component of this training will be perspective. Many people have asked me: "You've really put your goal out there. What will you do if you don't get it?" Ummm, I'll probably do the same thing as if I DID get it...cry. Okay, no, just kidding. Here's the thing...as long as you're honest with yourself and doing your best with where you are in life, that's all you can do. Whether that means you hit your goal or not, it will be what it will be. If I cross the finish line and fall short, but know in my heart that I did EVERYTHING I could, then I'm okay with that. However, if in my heart I know I could have done more, then I'd probably feel regret and wonder "what if?" I feel fortunate to have a genuine love for running; it isn't all about competing for me. So, OTQ or not, I will keep on trucking for the sake of my happiness (and that of my family).
However, for now, I'm all in. I want to be on that Olympic Trials start line. I've always enjoyed working hard, but this feels different. It feels like a ticking clock of sorts, but one that emits excitement, not nervousness. Every workout is an opportunity to improve, not a test that I could potentially fail.