These women inspired me.
I celebrated my big 40th birthday last fall and always assumed my fastest days were behind me (not that I ever considered myself "fast"). However, connecting with these women gave me the drive and desire to really push myself. Reading about their training and their dedication and all their various workouts lit a fire in my belly. I decided to follow the lead of many of the women and hired a coach who would give me a weekly training plan and offer advice and feedback on my workouts. A coach who would help me realize whatever potential was still untapped within me.
At first it seemed strange to even think about hiring a coach. That was only for collegiate or professional or at least very fast runners, right? Why would a 40 year-old, stay-at-home mother of three need a coach? And how, exactly, could a coach who lived in Boston help me with my running?! Well, basically, he provides me with an online training log that lists what workouts I need to do each day -- how many miles to run and at what pace(s), when to do cross-training along with various tips and advice about my form or what to focus on for each specific run. Additionally, he provides feedback after I log each run and he tailors the next week's workout based on how my running is progressing. He congratulates me and recognizes my effort when I complete a great run and encourages me when I have a difficult run. And he answers any questions I have that are related to running. (He also holds a PR of 2:33 and has completed 31 marathons, among other running accomplishments!)
|my online training log|
So here I am at almost the end of February with a few months of training behind me and the Boston marathon looming ahead of me. I spent some time earlier today looking through the last few months of training logs -- at my runs, my paces, my 800m repeats -- and tried to determine what I have gained from all of this. Have I gained endurance? Yes. Have I gotten faster? Yes. Have I learned how to run a proper track workout? Yes. Have I improved my running form? Yes. But the most important thing I have gained in the last few months is confidence.
I was hoping to put it all to the test a couple of weeks ago with my first race of this training cycle -- a local half marathon here in Portland. I had a few friends who would also be running the race and was so excited to see them and to run this race. Despite the difficult course, I fully expected to run a PR and to use it to help determine a realistic goal for Boston.
But then all my plans changed. I woke up the day before a race with a sore throat. I was almost convinced it was all in my head -- sort of like the taper madness and race jitters that are so familiar to marathoners in the week or two before they toe the line. As I was tossing and turning the night before the race, still awake way past 1am and barely able to swallow, I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be running the race.
Turns out I had strep throat. After what was already a cutback week in my training, I was forced to take even more time off the next few days as I did everything I could to recover.
|just some of the things that helped get me healthy|
I was disappointed about having to miss the race and I began to doubt that I really was improving at all. As I laced up my shoes and headed to the track for my 8 x 800m workout later that week, I was convinced it would be a disaster. Surprisingly, I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did I run my fastest average 800m times of the training cycle but they were so consistent and were all within a couple seconds of one another. And they didn't even feel that hard. I followed up that workout with several more good ones the rest of last week and this week, too.
With just over seven weeks until the marathon, I am really starting to get excited. There is something very special about the anticipation of race day. So much can go wrong in all the days and weeks leading up to the race and, even on race day, so much is out of our control. But the unknown only seems to contribute to the beauty of it all. And it makes that perfect race, when you do experience it, even sweeter than you thought possible. I have high hopes that Boston is going to be very sweet.
In the meantime (i.e. in my life outside running), I have been keeping busy and enjoying some warm-for-Portland-in-the-wintertime weather.
|yes, "warm weather" is all relative...we still have to wear jackets|
|helping with "tummy time"|
Hope everyone has a great weekend!!
Do you think it is possible to get faster in your 40's?!
Have you ever worked with a running coach? If so, did it help you accomplish your goals?
Have you ever run a "perfect" race???