coulda woulda shoulda

Well to start this off on a positive note-I ran a whopping 7 miles last week.  I used to be able to run that distance on one given day, but who’s counting.  Part of that included 2 loops of the reservoir which surprisingly weren’t as slow as I thought they would be-and I wasn’t pushing the pace, it felt comfortable.  The heart rate was a little bit elevated though, which pretty much illustrates how out of shape I am.  The (sh)IT band didn’t feel too too bad afterwards…could tell something was still there, but thankfully no pain…of course I made sure to stretch well before/after and ice it down afterwards.  So maybe this distance (not every day of course) I should stick with for now.  But I still feel it’s gonna be a long, lonely road ahead…since seemingly everyone and their mother is training for a spring marathon.  But as I said before, at this point I’m just biding my time til November 30th.  In the meantime, you can bet that when I go home to NJ for the holiday weekend, I will be bringing my quadballer, stretching rope and ice pack with me…

So this past weekend, a bunch of my teammates went to Philly to run either the marathon or the half, and as far as I know, all of them ran really well…lotsa PRs or close to it-congrats!  (yeah that includes some fellow bloggers, I’ll let them tell their stories and won’t spoil it πŸ˜‰ )  And of course, it had me playing the “coulda shoulda woulda” game.  Because as you may remember, when I was trying to choose my fall marathon, Philly was #2 on my list.  Should I have gone with that instead of Marine Corps-knowing that I have run well in Philly for the half and 10-mile distances before?  Maybe I would have had more time for the (sh)IT band to heal or maybe the circumstances would be different where I would not have gotten injured?  Either way-I wasn’t getting to Boston in 2010, it just wasn’t in the cards.  But I really don’t want to end my 2009 racing year on a bad note-I really don’t want my last memory of racing in 2009 to be walking on the 14th Street Bridge in pain.  Even if I recovered in time to do a short race in late December…I don’t think there even are any!  (on a side note, I’m bummed to be missing the Kleinerman 10K-I have done that race every single year since I started running!!  Oh well, guess there’s still the Mini 10K…which also falls into that category.)

And yeah, short…or shorter…races.  I have wondered what my future as a marathoner is, as this is the 2nd time I have been injured during a training cycle (yeah, I had my plantar fasciitis before I started training for NYCM 2005 which I didn’t run anyway…but I guess that still counts.)   Do I really want to be on the DL constantly…no.  I do feel the half-marathon is actually my strongest distance, and I wonder what that 1:37 in the PDR could have been had I really tapered, if my training was more geared towards the half-marathon distance.  Providing I kick this (sh)IT band thing in time (knock on wood) I am targetting a half in early May to hopefully find that out.  But I don’t feel like I’d be content sticking with the half…I feel the half-marathon distance does not get the respect it deserves.  From comments that marathoners are “real runners” as opposed to ones who opt for the half (ahem, Lam) to others that the marathon is the “gold standard” and that training for a half-marathon is “not a lot of work.”  There’s training schedules and tips up the wazoo for running the marathon, but not much out there for a half-marathon (yeah, i’ve been trying to do my research.)  Hell while I’m at it, as I mentioned in this post last year-I feel there are a lot of distances that don’t get enough respect.  I’m just as impressed (hypothetically speaking, of course) with the person who had been working hard to break 18 minutes for 5K and finally did it…as I am with the person who had been working hard to break 4 hours in the marathon and finally did it πŸ˜‰  It’s the journey, not the destination…or something like that.  (And before anyone says it, yes that thinking can be and I guess should be applied to my training for MCM too πŸ˜› )  Or a Flyer memory that stands out in my mind was a coupla years back when we had a track meet at Chelsea Piers, and one of our girls was dying to run the mile and see how fast she can run it.  And run it well she did, came in under 9 minutes, exceeded her goals and was absolutely thrilled.  Don’t know why, but her reaction to racing the mile really sticks with me.

And what if, for whatever reason, someone *can’t* run long distances because their bodies don’t let them (e.g., being too injury-prone).  Does that mean that their goal distances should not be respected because they have no choice but to race short distances?  Or those who need extra recovery time from the marathon distance and can’t run another marathon a week or 2 later…or heck, can’t even run a half a week or 2 later.  I think I fall into that category-I feel compared to my other teammates, I am unusually slow when it comes to recovery…last year I didn’t race til a month after NYCM and it was relatively short (10K), and I felt that-the race distance and the recovery period-was perfect.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this.  But I guess…can we not treat the half-marathon like it’s the marathon’s poor stepbrother/stepsister?  (and same with the mile, 5k, 10k, etc…whatever else I missed!)  I’ve done the marathon, I have no desire to one-up that and go any further in terms of distance…and like I said, sometimes I wonder what could be if I moved down in distance and concentrated on that.  Which maybe I will do…once I get this damn BQ monkey off my back!! :(|)  (which is a whole other story in itself…)

8 thoughts on “coulda woulda shoulda

  1. Good to see you are able to get some running in again! I've definitely had that argument with myself, full marathon or focus on something shorter, over and over again. I've found that focusing on the shorter stuff, with shorter training cycles, gives me a boost when I finally decide to dedicate 4 months to marathon training. Knowing I was able to stick to the different types of training and reach goals at the shorter distances is a big confidence builder. That's one plus to think about as you weigh your options. Good luck with your recovery!

  2. Not everyone is able to run marathons continuously. Make sure you come back at your own pace. It takes a long time, both mentally and physically, for me to be ready to run a marathon after just running one. I want to make sure my body and mind are fully recovered before embarking on another training cycle. It took me four years after my first marathon, before I did my second, and my next one was 2 years after that.

  3. Good to see you running and blogging again.Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. My thoughts are that marathons are hard to do and really hard to do well. Particularly as I get older and busier they get harder. Half marathons are still hard, but manageable. And still a challenge and great experience. So, inside, I enjoy the halfs more; to the outside world, though, a marathon is still the gold standard.

  5. I think you're right! The marathon has been put on a pedastal and other races just don't get the glory they deserve. And I don't agree that those who opt for the half-marathon aren't real runners…don't listen to that! Train hard and do your best no matter what race you choose to tackle. You will get the respect you deserve! Glad to see you're eyeing future races~I'm excited to get back into it!

  6. First of all, I hope you know that personally, I love half marathons more than full ones (9 vs 3 this year) and my comments are NOT meant to be taken at face value. Still, I wonder how doing so means I disrespected the distance. I trained hard and ran hard for my PR (even if it was only by 11 secs) and really proud of my race!In a similar vein, is there any runner who really disrespects anyone else just because they are not running marathons? I doubt it. Anyone who calls himself/herself a runner knows that effort is not quantifiable and so no one can say how much or little anyone else has trained for a given race no matter the distance.So there is no disrespect here. For me, I always train as if no one cares about my running except myself so the only respect I really want is from me. I'd run, race, and train the same way no matter 1, 10 or 100 people are watching or following me. Do your own thing, nyflygirl, and run your own race! You know you can do this and don't let the naysayers get in the way!

  7. flygirl- just race on how you feel regardless of distance and what "others" may think. If any runners care about what others may think, it is going to put insurmountable pressure on oneself.Marathons are definitely not the gold standard imho. raced the 5Ks and recent 5M @ prospect park and I was about to hurl on the last 200 meters. Im in awe for those runners who's able to maintain a 530 pace in the shorter distances. You had an amazing 2009, just carry that momentum and focus on recovery, speed training with coach in the future hence causing more trouble in 2010. πŸ™‚

  8. Hey girl. Good post. As you know, I hear you on the shorter race thoughts. Sorry to hear about your injuries that seem to impede your marathon progress, but I don't think that means you're doomed to injury each and every time. Often, once you get one and learn how to deal with it (my IT band crap wouldn't have lasted near as long had I not done all the wrong things at the start, lol), you might be able to prevent it from hitting you full-on again. So maybe think of them as learning experiences to know how to deal with them in the future.But the shorter races are certainly worth exploring, especially Halfs, since you can have as much fun doing "destination" races with those on the schedule as with marathons. And as far as respectability, I look at it with the mind that professional runners specialize in certain distances and not all of them are marathoners, so it's all good! A great race time is universally acknowledged.Lastly, since you do seem to be enamored of the marathon distance still, you might find that working on the shorter stuff will toughen you up for marathons in future. It'll certainly help in the speed department. So here's to whatever you and I figure out in the coming year or so. Maybe we can share a room at some fun kick-ass Half in 2011. πŸ˜‰

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