When I look back at the last six months of my life all I see is chaos. I’m sure its standard for anyone with small kids, especially two or more under the age of four, to feel they are being pulled in every direction. Since November of last year I decided to start my own business as my wife began her own endeavors. We both of course kept our day jobs, if you can call them that. She is a night shift neonatal nurse and I am a full time firefighter/ EMT. This of course goes with our two young children who go to a part time day care only some week days and my running which takes up a portion of everyday. Very little time remains for anything extracurricular.
Despite all of this mess I decided to move up from the world of racing 5ks- kind of fast, to running half marathons- not quite as fast. Despite improving my overall fitness and progressing in workouts, my 5k times hadn't changed much from 2014 to 2015. My goal race was the Palmetto Bluff half in early March, only 12 weeks away.
This may not have been the most logical time in life to add roughly three more hours of running per week to my life but why not keep piling it on, right? The transition from 45 to 70 miles per week was smoother than I expected and I found myself enjoying these extra miles. Running is no doubt therapy once you get past the complete suck feeling of the first few months. So why wouldn’t a few more hours of “healthy me time” make me a happier person?
Slower racing brings with it slower training paces. I definitely liked the sound of that! However, that can be slightly misleading. During these twelve weeks of cooler weather a lot of my time would be spent at my goal half marathon pace. This pace is often referred to as threshold pace and is described as the pace one can sustain for one hour or comfortable hard. I like to describe it to others in a way that I feel is slightly clearer… “This is the pace you would choose if someone was chasing you with a machete and you had to keep moving for exactly one hour, no more and no less; in order to stay alive.” This comfortably hard pace also drags with it uncomfortably short rest periods that separate uncomfortably long reps.
I would be lying if I said there were many mornings that I couldn’t wait to jump up at 5 am for a 10 miler but I only succumbed to the snooze button a time or two. I gained so much confidence and fitness from this short training block and it has provided a great base for me to build on.
I guess what message I’m loitering around here is that you can do it. Maybe your goal is to walk for 30 mins 3 times per week, run a 5k or play a sport in college. Despite your circumstances, and by no means does my crazy life even come close to the conflicts and disasters that take place in the lives of some, you can make it happen. It takes a plan and a lot of help along the way but in the end, if you stick to it, you can look back and truly appreciate what you accomplished. As for me and the plan that I set in motion for my running back in November, I am satisfied. I went 2 for 2 winning the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon (1:12:58) and the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon (1:12:07). Along the way I even ran my fastest 5k since my college days.
Over the past month I have begun racing some much shorter distances and I look forward to sharing the experiences with you in the coming months. Stay tuned.