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Training: Week 14

So much happened this week, I'm not sure where to start.

First, my ankle feels much better. It's stiff first thing in the morning when I walk down the stairs, but otherwise hasn't bothered me. I stayed off it Saturday and Sunday last week, and I just resumed the training schedule Monday. It wasn't awful, but I could tell I recovering instead of progressing.

All week I debated what I should do about my long run. Should I try for the 12 miles or cut it back to 10? Maybe do the 11 I missed? Should I try to schedule it with my team or just get it done early? Run near home or return to Oak Openings? (If you haven't noticed, I tend to overthink things.)

Anyway, I decided I needed to do all 12 miles as originally planned. Due to potential conflicts, I decided to go Friday, and because Kyle was willing to go with me, I headed back to Oak Openings to conquer the trails. If anything, I wanted to experience the gorgeous scenery again.

The first half of the run was decent, and I kept a good pace. But I struggled to make it through the second half. Like, really struggled. I think part of it was running most of my route on the Rails to Trails path. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice paved trail and I wish we lived closer to it. However, straight and flat also meant straight and boring. With no running partners to distract me, I was wavering in my resolve to finish.

Just before mile 10, I took a walk break for some Gu and water. Then I saw Kyle and Kenlee coming up behind me on the bike so I waited to chat. I'm so glad I saw them because I needed motivation to finish. But when they took off I realized the only way I could back was to run. So I did. Those last two miles were slow and grueling, but I never stopped.

At mile 11, I was nearly walking, but I kept trotting along. "You did not work the last 14 weeks to stop now," I told myself. And then Katy Perry's "Roar" started to play in my headphones, and I turned it up to blast out my doubts. Unfortunately, I turned it up too loudly because I thought I heard my Runtastic app telling me I hit 12 miles, but really I stopped at 11.97. Normally the perfectionist in me would have trotted along the extra .03 to finish, but my legs were just done. Close enough, I decided. I walked the rest of the way to the car and thanked my lucky stars that I made it through injury-free this week.

Today (Saturday), I tried something completely out of my comfort zone. You see, a while ago I realized that I had run at least one race a month since April, and I wanted to keep that streak going as long as possible. September was tripping me up, however. I searched for some local 5Ks, thought about coughing up the cash for a zombie run, and discussed the possibility of a 10K in Fort Wayne.

Then one day last week, the Williams County YMCA posted on Facebook that they were looking for volunteers at their triathlon. Perfect! Maybe I won't run a September race, but I'll still "participate" in one, right? Despite my initial nerves over not knowing anyone there, the experience was great. The coordinator, Heather, asked me to take pictures throughout the event and catch everyone crossing the finish line.

Hiding behind a camera helped me with my social awkwardness (kind of) and also gave me an up close look at how a triathlon works. Let me tell you, all the athletes were amazing and inspiring. Swim, bike, run and keep a smile on your face when it's over? Yeah, I suddenly felt like my 12 mile training run was nothing. Kyle and I had talked about creating a team to compete in the race a few months ago, but we didn't know anyone who would want to do the swimming portion.

Well, after witnessing the race up close, I decided I want to try the whole thing someday. Swimming lessons can help me with my doggy paddle, and Kyle can surely push me to a faster pace on the bike. Triathlon has definitely been added to my racing bucket list.

But FIRST, I have to focus on my half marathon. With just two weeks (!!!) to race day, the nerves are setting in. A million questions are jumping through my mind every day. What should I wear? What should I eat? Will I really feel better after a two-week taper? Did I train hard enough? Did I run far enough?

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

P.S. Like the new look? I played around with some design things in blogger, and I think I like the result. If you're viewing this on The Bryan Times website, click through to to view the blog in full.


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