Race Day, Reading Tea Leaves
So, I have a race next weekend. In my favorite city in the world. Run by my favorite organization in the world.
I haven't really been talking it up- there is a reason I've never run the NYC Half.
Above is a snapshot of my current training level. Note the nosedive it has taken since February 1.
Note that my attitude towards this race needs no adjusting. I registered for it hoping I would get in. Best case scenario, I get to go to my favorite city in the world right after my anniversary AND do a race I've never done before. #winwinwin Worst case scenario: I wake up to snow and ice, then roll over and snuggle my husband while I tell him sorry about that $175 I paid for the race and promise to eat my money's worth from room service I just ordered.
Note that my worst case scenario still rocks. Notice anything else?
I'll help you: I'm drawing no conclusions from my upcoming performance. It will not define me in any way.
If I decide to run it and do well, it will be a surprise. If I do poorly, well #fuckspring. That would say more about what I've had to manage since Feb 1 than who I am as a runner or an athlete. If I don't improve on my previous HM performance (1:50:38 in San Antonio in December) that doesn't mean my running career is over, the best days are behind me, that heart rate training is a JOKE and my coach should be fired along with Ellie and Alex Lanton. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't mean anything either way.
I had goals for myself even though this isn't my A-race, and I was a little disappointed to let them go after day 7 of no running back when my ears were infected. I let those goals sail into the sky like big red balloons and gave myself some perspective: this race was an add-on, it always was. Am I ready for a half? Sure, I am a little undertrained but I think I will be ok. Am I ready to post3babyPR? No way, my lungs still rattle and ache and we all know if you can't breathe you can't run.
I tell you all this to reinforce what I tell you guys all the time: key workouts that show me what you've got, those definitely happen. I watch those workouts closely. Not every workout is a key workout. Not every race is a key workout. Just because you put a race on the calendar doesn't mean you're ready to run it, and not every race will be a PR even on a good day. What DOES matter is the perspective you have every single day. Do you still love running? Do you ache a little bit on days you don't get to go? Do you look forward to anything in your training plan, or say, "GOODY!" when you see a tempo run in your inbox? you have a choice, do you still choose running?
My 5-year anniversary was yesterday and I want to close with something my uncle told me before he officiated our wedding ceremony. "Marriage is a commitment you make not once, but every single day for the rest of your lives. Commitment doesn't deprive you of choice- you won't be happy or faithful or fulfilled just because you took a vow, you will be all those things because you decided day by day to keep that vow and all those days add up to make a beautiful life. There will be bad days, but keep each bad day in perspective. Remember why you made the commitment in the first place, and I hope you choose to keep it in both good and bad days." I feel the same way about running. I intend to do it for the rest of my life. I choose every day that I can train to do so. The days I cannot will never define me. I will not allow them to define you either, no matter how much you argue with me.
If you are running the green tomorrow, GOOD LUCK!
You are coached. You are loved. YOU ARE WELCOME!
Coach MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she coaches all kinds of runners for $30 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her Marathon Selection Guide!