Friday, August 3, 2012

The Halfway Point

Every time I have crossed the finish line after running 13.1 miles I ask myself - as I am in pain, fatigued, cramping, out of breath, did I mention PAIN - if I really want this to be halfway.  I have not found a way to explain it.  Yes.  I want 26.2.  It's been tricky to find a race that I want to enter.  The marathon 'season' coincides with my professional busy season, so many conflicts.  Recently I came across the race that calls me.  I have a work conflict, but I found a way around it.  I really want to do this race.

It's the Golden Hills Marathon.  It takes place practically in my backyard, the East Bay Hills. It's put on by an ultra race organization, so the marathon is kind of tossed in there.  When I inquired about a cutoff time they said there really isn't one because the last 50 milers come in hours after that last marathoners.  I feel confidant that, without a cutoff time, I can at the very least finish.  I will undoubtedly have to walk the hills.  But I will finish.  I looked at previous times and it looks like the last finishers come in around 9 hours.  I'm hoping for somewhere between 7 and 8.

Early this year I read Born to Run.  When it ended I stumbled upon, and it has been the continuation... in fact, I'm finding it all quite exciting, inspiring and quite nearly addicting.  I consume information about ultra runners...

Through this information I have distilled endurance running down to four factors;
  1. Fitness
  2. Nutrition (ie; calories consumed during exercise)
  3. Hydration
  4. Mental Toughness
I can increase my fitness level through training just as I did to run my first half marathon.  It seems impossible at the moment, but keep putting one foot in front of the other - don't overtrain - and I'll get there.  I'm experimenting with what works for calories, trying to find things that do not make my intestines want to purge (if ya know what I mean!).  I carry water.   This may may be my biggest challenge; mental game.  I am learning ... and improving... but I have found my mind to make some very STRONG arguments.  Just walk.  Just stop.  Why do you do this anyway?! You're too out of shape.  ETC.... This is why I am very grateful that I get to train on all segments of the GHM course.  I will know what to expect.

Today I did Section One.. the first 4.3 miles of the course.  Oh my.  Can you say HILL?!... It nearly discouraged me until I remembered an article on a runners blog about her struggles with this very part of the course... granted, she was doing the 50 and so she was doing this hill after 26 miles... but nevermind that.  My fitness level says this was a hard frigging hill!  However, at the top I was rewarded with vistas that made my heart go pitter patter and filled me with a feeling of this is why I do this stuff... 

The next few months are going to be very challenging.  But I am looking forward to it.  In fact, I'm nearly giddy.....

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