Goals & Dreams

So what have I been up to lately?

To back up a bit, after the news that my Boston cat died (metaphorically speaking, no real cat died in the making of this blog), I was bummed. I was kinda expecting it, but still hoping against hope that I would somehow sneak in. After all, I did run over 4 mins under by BQ time and never in the history of Boston, was there ever a cut off time so extreme. Just my luck that this would be the year. 

Ben promised me cake if I didn’t make it into Boston, so I texted him that he needed to bring home chocolate cake. Then I texted Leah the news. 

And for a few hours, that kinda was it. I had to work and I didn’t have time to be upset. 

But in the back of mind I kept mulling over different things. Right after CIM, Leah asked me I regretted the 36 seconds (I ran 3:40:36). I had thought about it before she asked and I honestly answered, “No. I know I gave it all I had. I put it all out there. I thought over every mile and there’s nothing more I could have done to go 36 seconds faster. I did everything I could do.” I still stand by that answer. I’m still very proud of my race performance at CIM. It is one of the best races I’ve done and it is best executed race I did. 

I know I could go to Boston as a charity runner, but it’s important to me to go as a qualifier. Maybe someday I will want to pursue this option, but not right now. It’s not the right choice for me at this time. 

Back in January when I was thinking of what I wanted to accomplish running-wise I had 3 goals for 2018:

  1. Sub-22 5K
  2. Sub-1:40 Half
  3. 3:30 Marathon

I will accomplish none of them this year. 

None of this is the fault of coaching nor was it overly ambitious goal-reaching. I mean, they are obviously overly ambitious otherwise, I would have accomplished them, but what I mean is that those goals weren’t completely outlandish. They were pretty reasonable A-level goals to have considering my running history and current level of fitness. The problem was that I was returning back to work full-time. The year of living like a pro-runner was over for me and I had to go back to balancing work with training. Work affected training (and recovery), thus I didn’t make as much progress as I would have liked from January to May. I maintained fitness, rather than gaining fitness. 

I made tentative plans to run the Tucson Marathon in December. I couldn’t fully commit because of work, but the idea was that I was going to go into marathon training in August and if all went well with work, then I would register for Tucson in Oct. 

After the news of the death of Boston cat, I re-evaluated my plans. To be honest, while training wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great either. I have a good sense of how I think my overall training is going. It was feeling very much like Steamtown 2016, where I had a mediocre training cycle and sucky race. While I know people who love marathons and run them for the sheer joy of running a marathon, I am not one of them. Personally, I don’t see a point in running one if it’s not to meet a goal. This isn’t a knock on people who feel differently, I’m just explaining that I’m not one of those people. I really don’t  want to run a marathon unless it’s for time (with the exception of Big Sur and probably Boston, but that has more to do with not being able to train for time because of my work schedule). 

So after a few hours, I texted Leah. She agreed with my plan. I texted Ben. He was on board.

Then I asked Helly a question.

This is my BIG announcement – I’m running for another BQ at Phoenix Marathon in Feb 2019. 

I pulled out of Tucson. Again, I don’t see the point in running marathon if I know I’m not going to do well and I just don’t like running marathons to just do one for the heck of it (with Big Sur and Boston being the exceptions to that rule). The moment I made that decision, a huge mental weight fell off me. I hadn’t realized it, but training was taking its toll on me mentally and I was approaching burn out. It was the right decision. Leah gave me a couple of weeks off to rest (ahhh!) and started me with a new cycle of training. 

I’m on Week 3 and I can feel the difference between this cycle and the aborted cycle. Things are going much better. 

Unlike last time where I trained for CIM in secret, I’ll be openly training for a BQ at Phoenix. Will I go 3:30???? Errr . . . honestly I don’t know. Do I think I can go 3:30 one day? Yes, absolutely. Can I do it by Feb? I just don’t know. I do know that I will train as hard as I possibly can in order to run the best possible race I can for Phoenix. I will have a better sense of what my time goal should be in Jan. Until then, I’m just going to run and train hard. 

Leah is super excited for me. We’re going to be increasing volume and adding more hill training for this cycle. I’ll try to do more posts about training, but it’ll be constrained by work demands. I honestly thought about doing a weekly post about my training, but I quickly realized that 1) I hate writing those types of post and 2) I don’t feel like committing to a post I hate doing once a week. If you want to know what I’m doing, follow me on Strava or feel free to ask. 

29 thoughts on “Goals & Dreams

  1. Good luck!!! You were so close so hopefully some great training and good circumstances will tip you under time. I just followed you on Strava. 🙂 I’ll be running a marathon in June (the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso, Norway!!!) and am aiming for a solid PR so it’ll be fun to follow your training before mine kicks in in earnest.

  2. I’m so excited to hear that you’re trying for another BQer. It’s insane how your time didn’t get you in. At this rate, I’ll never get in. I’m far too slow at this point. Best of luck to you in your training!

  3. Great news! I was disappointed for you when the Boston cat died (I really like this metaphor…I’ve been using it for all kinds of contingency statements), but I’m happy to see you’ve regrouped and got this goal. From what I’ve heard, Phoenix is a great PR race with good conditions. You’ve got 3 solid months building on your training this fall… I believe you can do it!!

  4. Oh, that’s exciting! Good luck! Yeah, that whole Boston entry thing was a mindf*ck for so many people this year (not me; I just sit on my ass and watch the standards galloping off into the sunset ;)) But but but…I like following your training in weekly log format! Come back and log it on SR!

  5. This is all kinds of relatable, as I too have struggled with balancing marathon training with the return to a full-time job, particularly rationalizing slightly lower mileage overall than what I did last winter, when I didn’t even run a marathon. I haven’t actually missed any days, but I’ve seemed to always had at least a day or two a week where I ran a mile or two fewer than what was on the the plan because I couldn’t get out the door early enough before work. I also miss not being able to nap every day like a faux pro runner.

    I’ve got family in the Phoenix area, so I’m debating coming out for that half in Feb! I’ll let you know if I go for it.

  6. So exciting Elle! I hear good things about the Phoenix course. I’ll be rooting for you during your training – I know you can get another BQ 🙂

  7. Yes! You got this girl! After BQing twice this year and also not making the cutoff, I didn’t think I would want to try again. Yet here I am, hoping to BQ at Phoenix too! 🙂 WE GOT THIS! Hope to meet you there!!!!!

  8. I felt that ^ warranted it’s own comment space. Anyway, I’M SO EXCITED YOU’RE COMING BACK!!! You’ve already done the hardest part of the course (the second half) so you’ll cruise through the first 13.1!! You know Phoenix isn’t pretty, but it *does* get the job done:) And this time, I’ll get to run you in!

  9. Pingback: A Retrospective on 2018 | A Fast Paced Life

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