Thursday, July 3, 2014

Plan of Attack

The only way to get over a bad race is to move on to a new one. After allowing myself a few too many days off, a few too many chocolate bars, and a few too many pouts about Boston, I had to decide what’s next. I needed the kind of race that would give me the best odds of running well: a fast and flat course, good competition, and ideal weather. Of course, when choosing a marathon there are other “life factors” as well—things that have nothing to do with running—friends’ weddings, travel logistics, my desire to spend all of December eating Christmas cookies.

With these factors in mind, it came down to either Chicago or the California International Marathon (CIM). Both are fast (CIM is actually net downhill, and not in the paradoxical way Boston is), both will have plenty of runners around my pace, both avoid any major life events (although CIM, in early December, cuts an entire week off my Christmas cookie enterprise). Chicago, of course, can be cruelly hot. CIM is a little harder logistically: it’s in Sacramento, which is not exactly the easiest place to get to. It’s also later in the season than usual, meaning a shorter turn around for a spring race and a much longer buildup, which can be an overindulgence that leads to burnout.

In the end, CIM won, based entirely on weather probabilities. But I have to be careful; with the race still six months away, I can’t start training yet. Instead I plan on spending some time *not* marathon training. I don’t mean sleeping in and eating cupcakes (that is what the post-marathon slouch weeks are for), I mean concentrating on weaknesses and things that usually get put aside when long runs and high mileage take over. My plan is to spend the summer keeping my mileage low while focusing on shorter races (5ks, egad!), cross training (back to the much maligned bike, ugh), strength training and flexibility (Namaste).

I'm planning to work on flexibility to get back to my
more gymnastic roots. As of now I can barely touch my toes.
But after I mentally agreed to this strategy—and used it to further justify that CIM was the best choice (I’ll get some speed back! I’ll be stronger and fitter when marathon training begins!)—I continued to mostly sleep in and eat those cupcakes. I planned out the rest of the races leading up to CIM, which includes the Army Ten Miler. On the entry form, I had to fill in my expected finish time. I wanted to write 60, because that’s what I want to run, gosh darn it. But even typing that ambitious (completely outlandish?) pace gave me pause. 

Really, Teal? 60? Can you run two miles at that pace right now? 

Probably not, but I’m going to use all this time to get stronger and faster… Right?? 

I suppose I should probably start…

And with that, my competitive pilot light reignited. It's time to run some shorter races, get a strength routine going, and learn to do Sun Salutations. Up first is the Firecracker 5k this Friday, which may serve as another reality check to get that flame burning a little brighter. I have almost two months before serious CIM training starts, hopefully I can get stronger, leaner, faster. And then the real fun will begin.

Dream big,


  1. It was either Mark Twain or Albert Einstein who said: "If you can blog about it, you can do it." Go Teal go!!!

  2. I'm always up for some yoga! - Caitlin

  3. Good luck today! Hopefully, you can enjoy how soon -- comparatively speaking -- the finish line appears.

  4. I guess you are not racing in National Club XC Championships.