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 😉 ) 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 😉 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 😛 ) 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…)