Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Speedy Wednesdays

Wednesdays are my speed training days and today was a beautiful day for speedwork. I've alternated between tempo runs and 400s. And I've loved it. Really pushing it, I can run a sub-9 minute mile. I can sustain 10 over a longer period and it feels good. The lungs burning kind of good, but good nonetheless.

But, with 18 days to go, I'm starting to get nervous. I'm starting to doubt that I can sustain the 10 minute pace that I so desperately want. My 12-miler didn't go well. And now I'm tapering. That period before an endurance race where you back off of the mileage and let your body recover a little. Tapering is making me nervous.

So, today, instead of formal speed work, I mixed it up. With less than an hour before picking the kids up from school, there was no time to drive to a track for 400s. Instead, I ran in my neighborhood and included three repeats of Mountbatten Hill. Mountbatten is the cruelest, most unforgiving hill I can imagine. Worse than any hill I've faced on Umstead. Relatively short, but steep as hell. I could barely walk it when I started running 10 months ago.

I save Mountbatten for days when I really need to prove something. And today was one of those days. This had nothing to do with training. Nothing to do with strategy or speed or endurance. Mountbatten is all mental. And today I did Mountbatten x 3.

When I felt the burn of my lungs and calves, I pushed on. When my mind said "stop" I answered, "why?" Mountbatten is the kind of hill that reminds you that you can do anything for 2 hours 12 minutes. Even running 13.1 miles.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Starting in the Middle

I could start from the start. August 18, 2008. The first time I heard the words, "Your daughter has cancer."

But where's the fun in that? Instead, let's start smack-dab in the middle.
In the middle of this charmed life with my red-heads - an amazing husband, a hilarious five year old son, and, of course, my daughter and cancer-fighting hero.

In the middle of training for my second half marathon, just a couple of months after completing my first full.

In the middle of trying to balance parenting, work, and many miles on the pavement.

 In the middle of an ongoing fight with insomnia and a new passion for Bikram's yoga.

 Let's start right here, at 2:57 AM on a rainy Sunday morning. Where we've sailed past Surviving and are moving on to Thriving. Wide awake and ready to run 12 miles in about 4 hours.

After all, this is more than just a memoir of my daughter kicking cancer's ass. But don't worry. We'll come back to that.