Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When the Extraordinary Becomes Ordinary...

I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately, and I'm sure it has to do with marathon training just a little bit, but as it is when you are in training for a big event, your life tends to ALWAYS revolve around it in some small way.

I think back to when I first started running and that first 20 minute solid run of the C25K program was EXTRAORDINARY!! I was amazed...I was so proud of that accomplishment...I cried a few happy tears. And then it became ordinary.

I think back to my first 5k and how proud I was to finish it in under an hour...that was just EXTRAORDINARY. And then it became ordinary.

I ran a 10k in the hills of Idyllwild and even though it took me 1 hour and 22 minutes and I was beat by at least one speedwalking grandma, it was EXTRAORDINARY. And then it became ordinary.

I ran a half marathon and even though it was SO. FREAKING. HARD, I finished it and the fact that I ran 13.1 miles was EXTRAORDINARY. So I ran a few more. And then it became ordinary.

I lost a whole lotta pounds by going from 240 down to the 170's and that was EXTRAORDINARY. But now that I've been at the same place for several years it has become ordinary.

I'm training for a marathon and I read all these blogs about people running marathons like they are nothing but a 5k and what once felt like EXTRAORDINARY became something that seemed so ordinary. If these folks can go bang out 26.2 miles in 3 hours on a regular basis then it must not be that big of a deal, right? When you read about people running marathons all the time it seems like "everybody is doing it, Ma, why can't I?!?" After all, it's so ordinary. There's nothing extraordinary about it...

But you know what? All, let me repeat that - ALL - of those things are no less EXTRAORDINARY today. Just because I have already done them, or others have done them, or others have done them better or faster or more frequently, or more easily, or I have done them better, faster or more easily than the first time, it doesn't make them ordinary. They were extraordinary then, and they are still extraordinary now. What makes them even more extraordinary is that they were a BEGINNING; a first step; a starting place.

That I had the balls courage to do them that first time, and continue doing them even through sickness, pain, injury, fatigue, you name it...is truly EXTRAORDINARY. And I can't forget that...ever.

Running a marathon in (goes to check Countdown Timer)...Good Lord, 46 days (how the hell did that happen???) is extraordinary. I don't care if it is ordinary in some people's books - it's not in mine and never will be!

Running 16 miles on a Saturday morning even though I was suffering from the absolute worst visit from that bi*ch Aunt Flo in a very long time is EXTRAORDINARY.

We do a lot every single day that is extraordinary, yet we let it become something that is merely ordinary. We need to stop doing that. We need to celebrate all the little extraordinaries (yeah, I made up a word, sue me...) we come across on a daily basis. Because let's be honest for a moment, sometimes the simple act of not slapping someone is EXTRAORDINARY. ;-)

So, today, my challenge to you is to go and be EXTRAORDINARY!!! Take note of everything you do that is not your usual and is not your remarkable! And never forget this:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jumping Ship?

Hello, World, hope you're listenin' (bonus points if you know what song that is...answer at the bottom of post)! Hey, did you know that apparently there is a movie called "Jumping Ship" that starred Blossom's little brother? Oh wait...I guess he probably has a name - Joey Lawrence! I'm probably dating myself just a bit there, eh? Isn't it funny how Blossom is now on Big Bang Theory and is actually smart IN REAL LIFE?!? I know she's a neurosomethingorother, but I swear I will never be able to think of her as anything other than Blossom.

Okay, so totally not what I'm writing about today, but got a little sidetracked there. Let's get back to what exactly I'm thinking about jumping ship on.

So when I started marathon training I picked out the Train Like a Mother Finish It plan. I really liked that the plan took into consideration the fact that as a mother runner a person might still have other responsibilities in life that could make it difficult to dedicate every single waking moment to a training plan. Heck, you don't even have to be a Mother Runner to have other responsibilities. Now that I'm 12 weeks into training and past the halfway point I seriously wonder exactly HOW people go about training for a marathon. I have been able to hit very few of the actual mileage goals laid out in the plan and that just...sucks. Annnnnnndddddd...that brings about my thinking of jumping ship.

Now, now, now - I'm not thinking of bailing on the marathon yet. But I'm thinking about changing up the training plan. I've found that the way my body seems to work best is if it is a week on and a week off a little less on. Let me explain...

I was able to do the 16 miles on plan on Saturday, June 29. Then Saturday, July 5 rolls around and I could only manage half of what I did the week before. And most of that was in total misery. Same thing when I did the 14 mile run; the next week I dropped down to 9 even though I should have done 15.

Second example, this morning should have been EIGHT MILES with 4 of those at negative split. I was able to carve out time to do 4, period. I woke up at 3:30 AM to do those and it's just not freaking possible for me to get up any earlier than that. I'm sorry...I guess I'm not at that super freak level where I don't need sleep yet. Granted, I had a little gastrointestinal issue that ate up some time, but still. I never would have gotten anywhere close to 8. And I'm okay with that!!! I really am!! If you've been following along you already know that I've confessed that I'm struggling.

I recognize that because I haven't been able to hit my training as hard as I would have liked to that it is going to be reflected in my performance on race day. And I'm coming to terms with that. Would I love to be able to totally kill this thing? Hell yeah!! But the reality is that I'm going to be one of those marathon FINISHERS...I probably will want to die several times, and I think I would be crazy if I didn't. I accept that this is where I'm at right now.

So, when I was researching training plans I had checked out several different options. And one of the ones I had saved and quickly dismissed (at the time I probably thought it was too "simplistic") was Coach Jenny Hadfield's Beginner Marathon Training Plan. So I saved it away in a computer folder and didn't really think about it again. Until today when I pulled up my TLAM plan to look at something and saw this one saved in the same folder. So I opened it...and lo and behold!!! It appeared to be something similar to what I was kind of thinking of Frankenplanning the other one into. HA!

Here, take a look at the Week 12 through whatever is in this small snip of it:

So I'm on week 12 and that means that this weekend would be only 8 glorious miles instead of the 18 on my TLAM plan!!!! And then check out next week - 16 miles. And the week after that, back down to 8! In other words, it does what my body seems to need which is hard week, less-hard week, hard week.

Also, I know I cut it all off but if you look at the preview of the plan on Coach Jenny's website you'll see that the week starts on Monday with an easy run FOR TIME instead of distance. Then on Tuesday, that 30-45 minutes you see on most weeks is actually cross-training/strength. Then on Wednesday it is another run at a moderate effort with some Tempos thrown in there towards the later weeks on the plan. Thursday is another cross/strength day. Friday is an easy effort run for time and then the long run on Saturday is all about actual miles instead of time.

So there you have it...I'm thinking about jumping ship and changing training plans midstream.

What do you think? Brilliant or should I stick with what I was already doing?

(one of my absolutely most favorite songs ever...)