One of the things I’ve always liked about running is that my progress and success have almost always been about simply doing prescribed workouts. If I had the discipline to complete all (or at least, most) of the workouts in a given plan, I could count on improving. With the added element of a Garmin, I’ve been able to not only do my runs, but do them at precise paces, making my progress all the more predictable and in my control.
But alas, that isn’t the full story, now is it?
While completing workouts and hitting paces are still aspects of running that I can micromanage, the reality is that those aren’t the only things that factor into running improvement. As I’ve pushed myself down this road of marathoning, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I don’t always have rule over how my body responds to 30 mile weekends or, more obviously, things like the weather or whether I catch a seasonal flu. Lina and I have both run into problems the past week with our bodies due to running, despite following a very meticulously planned training program.
As mentioned in my previous post, I took a week off from running in an attempt to fix a possible over-training situation, and Lina’s surgery knee has been buckling and giving her lots of pain. Both of us hit very, very low points during which we realized that maybe Chicago won’t be the perfect race we have been envisioning for months. These issues with our legs, happening a mere two weeks before the race, are showing us that even though we’ve spent months trying to control the outcome of this marathon, there are no guarantees.*
So both of us are doing what we can, at this point, to increase our chances of having a good race. These measures include resting, running slower, stretching, eating enough, sleeping enough, and most importantly, altering our race plans for Chicago.
Lina was hoping to try and BQ (Boston Qualify) at Chicago, and I was hoping to break 3:45. Lina has decided to run with me instead, and while I still hope to break 3:45, we had a long conversation about relinquishing control to the running gods and simply running however feels right. If we start out and realize that 8:30 pace isn’t in the cards for us, we are going to accept it and have fun because we’ll at the CHICAGO FREAKING MARATHON. If our bodies magically decide that October 13th, 2013 is the day to dominate a marathon, then dominate we will.
Essentially, we’ve come to realize that when we can’t control an outcome, we can still control our reactions and our attitudes towards that outcome, and we’ve made the decision to be content with whatever the day brings our way (so long as we both finish!). No matter what, we’re going to road trip to the biggest race of our lives and we’re going to be a part of something bigger than we’ve ever before experienced.
That’s pretty awesome.
Tomorrow, we run our last “long” run before the race (a measly 8 miles! ha!), and I’m really excited. We are officially into single-digit days until the race!
*I think there’s a lot of room for managing the outcome of a 5K, a 10K or even a half marathon. But a marathon is such a different beast, and it’s one that notoriously refuses to be tamed.