This Sunday is the GO! St. Louis half-marathon, and there’s nothing more I can do to prepare for it other than rest up. I know, I know… this is supposed to be a cycling blog – but running is what I’ve focused on lately, and running is what your gonna get. I’ll get back to the cycling starting next week.
Signing up for the half-marathon was kind of a hair-brained, impulsive decision on my part – I’m not usually the impulsive type – but at the time I felt like I needed a different kind of challenge. That was 14 weeks ago, and I’ve faithfully followed my prescribed training program – tempo run with the group on Wednesdays, solo speed work at the track on Fridays, and progressively longer runs with the group on Sundays. I did my final workout today – a quick 2-mile run just to keep the legs opened up, followed by a tasty pasta dinner at our group leader’s home for some carbo-loading.
Having completed the full, 14-wk training plan pretty much as specified was in itself an accomplishment. I’ve realized that one of the biggest challenges of a long-distance run is not the run itself, but making it through the training program without missing workouts due to injury or sickness. I missed just one workout, about halfway through, when a chest cold grabbed me pretty good. I got another cold a couple weeks later, but it stayed mild enough to train through, and these past few weeks I’ve felt great. I’ve had no knee pain, no shin splints, no plantar fasciitis, and no back problems – despite doing all my speed workouts on the indoor track (one even on the treadmill). I’ve been fortunate, especially at my age since it takes longer to recover from such injuries. I filled out the training by cycling on three of the non-running days each week and taking full rest on the fourth. And Sundays became truly epic – after finishing the long run, I would go to St. Louis Bread Company, change into my cycling clothes (even on those extremely cold days), and get in another 2+ hours on the bike. Such punishing brick workouts could not go unrewarded, so I would hang at SLBC afterwards and enjoy coffee and pastries.
I have a time goal, but I don’t think I’ll say it here – all my running partners know what it is. All I can say is it’s a stretch goal – especially for a first-timer. I think it’s good to have two goals – one stretch, and one a little more realistic (but still requiring a solid effort). I will say this – I cannot wait to get focused back on cycling! I’m looking at the race calender, and I see two TT’s in April, a TT in May, and a TT series during April-May – not to mention State TT later this year as well as neighboring states if I choose. It’s like I’ve died and gone to TT heaven! (I’ll bet you’ve never heard anyone say that before!). I don’t know what kind of TT form I’ll have, but if it’s off I’ll have fun racing back into it. I may even keep up with the running and hit the biathlon scene this summer, just for the added chances to womp it on my TT bike. And perhaps that is the biggest reward I’m getting from signing up for the half-marathon – a resurgence in my desire to race my bicycle!