Seeking a balance in training

I'm sort of at a crossroads with the training, in that I am not entirely committed to going to bed every Friday by 10:00 AM so I can run my long run. Don't get me wrong. I would love more than anything to run several miles every Saturday morning, but Friday is the only night I get to go out. And, going out is a vital ingredient in my quest to build a social life.

Yet, so is running. I have enjoyed meeting people so far in the marathon training program, and I am definitely not going to drop out of it. I still plan on running in the Richmond marathon in November. I'm going to continue to boost my mileage each week, but I do have to seriously weigh what my goals are, and achieve some sort of a balance. Do I want to run as fast as I can, or do I simply want to finish?

That is not a decision I have to make today! This entry is mostly a place to organize my thoughts on the subject. I also promised I'd update folks, so here we go.

I do need to figure out a way to keep better records. My life is still somewhat in an organizational crisis, to put it mildly. I'm working a full full-time job, still trying to run a business, co-parenting two awesome kids, and I'm trying to train to run a marathon. Thanks to the donation of a car from my friend Nick, I'm also re-learning the guitar and actually gearing up to write songs.

Let's go back through the past two weeks of training in reverse chronological order. Today I went to the gym for the first time in 15 days. Since I moved back into my house in Charlottesville, it's much more difficult to get to Gold's Gym. I'm still trying to find the time to go three days a week, but I'm also not hard on myself if I don't go. My plan is to seriously work on weight-training after the marathon, but to continue getting acquainted with the equipment until then.

Yesterday, I went on an amazing run through the City, about 6 or 7 miles or so. I didn't map it out, but I felt pretty good at the end. The rain cleared up for exactly the time I needed. I ran with no pain except on a couple of downhills where my right knee kept telling me my form was incorrect. I made some adjustments, and things got better.

I took Sunday off. But, that's okay. I had a fantastic day for reasons that have nothing to do with exercise.

On Saturday, I overslept past my alarm and woke up at 6:08 AM. The training program began at 6:00 AM. My back-up plan was to go run the Fairview 5K, but I failed to get the correct directions and so I drove around looking for the pool to no avail. Got home by 8:00 AM to start a long-run, and aimed to simply run for two hours. Off I went, and everything went swimmingly. Went from my house up to the University of Virginia, to the track, down to Barracks Road shopping center, up the huge hill on Barracks Road, to the downtown mall. Here I had a sip of water. Ran down to Riverview Park, ran the loop, but on Chesapeake Street at about an hour and a half into the run, my body just stopped. I wasn't in pain. Didn't feel particularly tired. I was just out of energy. I didn't bring anything with me, and so, I just accepted it and walked for a while.

Do you know how when a cell phone's battery dies and you keep turning it on anyway, hoping that there's more juice? That's kind of how I was. I'd run for a bit, then stop.

And you know? I accepted it. I knew that I needed nutrition to keep going, but I didn't have it, so I didn't feel bad about it. A previous version of me would have been upset the rest of the day. But, I just took it in stride, and made my way home as best I could.

Quickly on the previous week. Ran 5 miles Thursday night to test out a knee problem that cropped up on Tuesday afternoon when I tried running. The night before I'd run 8 miles, 3 more than I should have. I had miscalculated the cumulative amount I had run in the past 7 days. And, my knees definitely let me know that I needed rest and wasn't actually ready to run 40 miles in a one-week period!

The reason I'm training is to learn how to train. I've always been the kind of person who just does things quickly, always resisting other people's advice. I can't be like that anymore. That kept out a lot of good ideas. But, again, that was the past. Everything now is about the future, and about learning to accept my limitations. Learning how to ask for help. Learning that while the world can be a scary place, there is certainly something fantastic about being human in the 21st century.

And, that future includes a marathon. This fall will see me training as best I can, despite the many demands on my time. I know this Saturday I'll be out at White Hall at 6:15 AM, aiming to run 14 miles. My training to date has me on schedule for that, and I am so looking forward to it. I aim to run about 7 miles tomorrow morning, and to run a very easy 3 on Thursday night.

Of course, to do that, I'll have to find a babysitter! Anyone want to look after two awesome kids for an hour? I'll barter audio production services or in-kind babysitting. Heck, I'll even write a song for you in exchange.

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