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Apr 6 2015
Resilience (and maybe a bit of stubbornness)

Weeks three and four are in the books for training and I am feeling stronger every day. I find myself constantly evolving and changing as a runner. What used to feel hard is becoming easier. This is great because I often measure myself based on numbers and pace.

It goes beyond that though. Progress in running is also about those things that the GPS watch doesn’t measure:

  • how your body recovers after a long run
  • the perceived effort
  • dealing with challenges that arise along the way
  • and finishing strong.

It took me awhile to get to the point where I could measure progress by more than what my GPS watch said. Training is about rolling with changes as I have found training rarely goes as planned.

Finding the balance in what works for me from a training perspective has been a game of trial and error. For my first marathon, I trained using a program that had me running six days a week with a peak week of 60 miles. It impacted me in ways I didn’t expect. I started to hate running, my body was revolting and I was so tired.

For my second marathon I was running four days a week. I thought this would work well since training for my second marathon started about five weeks after the first marathon. Nope. That didn’t work for me either. I ended up injured.

Now, I run five days a week. Most weeks I have a speed-type workout, a tempo run, a long run and two easy runs. I sprinkle in a few days of strength training to focus on my core and upper body. I started speed workouts the past two weeks, and while it has been tough, I realize how essential these are to improve my marathon performance.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to run an 8k in Chicago. This is where my lesson in resilience came in. It was a blustery morning with strong winds. The race attracted a large crowd and runners were released in two different waves. I was in the second wave and my corral did not hit the start line until fifteen minutes after the gun went off. I suspect this was done from a safety perspective and to alleviate congestion on the course.

At about 1.5 miles into the race, the one thing I feared most as a runner happened. I lost my footing due to uneven pavement or getting tangled with someone else while they were passing and I fell. Two runners stopped to help me up and I continued to run. I hadn’t even assessed the damage to my body because I was determined to finish this race.

About a half a mile later, we were approaching the aid stations and medical tent. I knew there were only two along the course, so I figured now might be a good time to take a look at my knees to see if I needed a bandage. I looked down and my knees were a mess. I veered off to the medical tent to ask for a bandage and was instead escorted into the tent to be evaluated. I could see my PR going out the window with each passing minute I sat in that tent.

The medical staff was awesome. I was not an awesome patient. I just wanted to be back out and running. Their job was to ensure I was ok to go back on that course. After ten minutes, I was bandaged up and released onto the course. I ended up pushing myself hard the last portion of the race, and had it not been for the stop in the medical tent, it would have been a PR. Runners are a stubborn and resilient bunch. We want to finish and sometimes at any cost. My advice and public service announcement is this: if hurt during a race seek help and listen to the staff. They are there to make sure you are safe to keep running.

The next few weeks will start to see some larger mileage. I see a 14 and a 16 on my schedule for the upcoming weeks. It’s been awhile since I have hit that mileage and it will be nice to see how I have progressed since my last marathon. Training for a marathon or other endurance event is about resilience, as well. There are days where you don’t want to get out of bed to train, where work and family obligations make it difficult to fit the run in, or generally being tired. Getting out there and making it happen is what it is all about.

Join Melissa as she trains for the HFM Maritime Marathon. She'll share the lessons she's learning, entertain and hopefully inspire you along the way.

Learn more about the HFM Maritime Marathon.


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