You run one marathon, and your perspective totally changes.
Before we finished the Wisconsin Marathon in May, I thought any run longer than 6 miles was long.
Before we finished the marathon, I dreaded, nay just fretted, any long-ish run and planned to stop a certain number of times for walking breaks.
Before we finished the marathon, I trained not for speed but to finish.
But now, almost four months removed from the marathon and eight of 12 weeks into half-marathon training, I have a different outlook.
We had a 10-mile run on our training plan yesterday—our longest since the marathon. We plotted a new route—partly on an unexplored part of the local multi-use trail and partly through downtown—and we just ran.
I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t worry about walking breaks. I didn’t get bogged down with a time goal (although I had one in mind, as usual).
It was a decent run, albeit a little shorter and a bit slower than hoped, but we ran over varied terrain and climbed some hills; stopped to get a drink and give Dexter a drink and stopped to walk and catch our breath; and navigated around some punk kids, who refused to yield either the sidewalk or the shoulder to us and instead slowly pedaled their bikes behind us (as we ascended a steep hill) and then passed us on the grass along the sidewalk. It also was about 85 degrees with not a cloud in the sky; it was hot.
We finished 9.8 miles in 1:54, an average pace of 11:33 per mile.
I’m proud of that 10-miler. And I’m really proud of my new, more take-it-all-in-stride perspective on running.
I haven’t really been anxious about a training run since the marathon. Sure, I’ve not always felt 100 percent prepared nor been jumping-up-and-down excited, but I’ve never really worried about a run. I just lace up my running shoes, set my iPod and take off.
I haven’t really worried about speed, either, since the marathon. Yes, I feel disappointed when my pace drops below 11:00 a mile or when my body struggles to keep up with my determination. But I haven’t beat myself up; instead, I’ve celebrated the awesome runs and put into context the less-than-awesome runs.
I haven’t even been nervous about our upcoming half marathon. I feel very calm, very prepared and pretty jazzed about the race.
Here’s what I’m most looking forward to about this race:
- It’s cheap, with registration at just $45 through the end of next week.
- It features a flat and fast course that takes runners through all four of the Quad Cities, on bridges over the Mississippi River and across an island.
- It appears to be a well-run race with aid stations almost every mile, entertainment along the course and good crowd support.
- It offers pace teams.
- It offers an expo the day before the race and a party after the race.
- It features a sweet medal, as well as technical shirts and a special gift to the first 5,000 registrants in honor of the 15th anniversary of the race.
Christopher and I both are really pumped for this race. It’s going to be the perfect way to cap off a hell of a year of running for us.
Oh, I have to give mad props to my brother, Kyle, for completing the Couch-to-5K program and running outside for the first time last week, running about 2 miles at 12:00 pace. I am so proud of you, bro! Keep up the good work!