BACK TO BUSINESS, BACK TO BASICS.
In deciding not to do any more triathlons or duathlons this season, it was for the sole purpose of concentrating on running again. I know I've said it time and again, but for me getting back to basics is improving my running.
So many times I think wistfully of the zen-like state I would be in when running, especially fast running. I'm not even going to go there, physically or mentally, again until I get the whole run thing back where it needs to be. For me, that means running 3-4 days a week, with a gradual buildup of a long run.
Not that I'll be doing anything gradual right now, considering I have a half marathon to do on October 28! Once again, I find myself undertrained, which while that isn't so bad in itself, its just that I know I will not be satisfied with the end result. I know I will be disappointed in myself and my efforts, but as usual I only have myself to blame. I have seriously neglected my long run base since early summer, not all of it necessarily my fault, but when I look back at the calendar, I realize I have been gone or had full weekend commitments every weekend since before IM Louisville! That's about 7 or 8 weeks of neglect.
And its not that I haven't been doing anything, but my focus has not been on running. And I really hate the thought of putting away my bike this soon, particularly with the absolutely, couldn't-get-better weather we have been having and will have again this weekend. But I know that to be more satisfied with the result of my races, I need to get my run put back together.
And then with the Chicago marathon this weekend, I can't help but think fondly back to Chicago which was my first marathon. For some reason, I have never wanted to go back there. The whole flavor of the race changed the year after I did it, so maybe that's part of it. That and I haven't had a training partner since then who really worked for me. We were so excited to be toeing the line that day! We had trained so diligently and faithfully for more than 3 months to get ready for that race! But we had been training together for longer than that.
This training friend accommodated my schedule or I accommodated hers. It was a mutually agreeable arrangement. She was better at running long distances, I was better at running short. But we matched each others' pace when needed. I found our training program and came up with a schedule, and she arranged for our hotel stay and transportation to the race. And more as well, but you get the idea. We complimented each other's talents. And then, once she started having kids, she just stopped running. Altogether stopped. I don't know why now it is so hard to find someone to run with! We have a huge running and triathlon community of support here, but so far I haven't found the perfect match. Or even close to perfect. Everyone is either too fast or, hard to believe, too slow. Or schedules don't match. Or goals are totally different. Again, you get the picture.
That is something I wish for more than anything else--a regular training partner. One who likes running in the early morning. Or who is willing or able to match my pace. And age doesn't matter. My last running partner was 14 years younger than me! But we had fun with what we were doing, even with our different backgrounds and lifestyles. A regular training partner keeps you committed, gets you out the door no matter what, and gives you comfort in having someone else to help you through the rough spots when they come.
I have even looked at different running and coaching programs, but am not completely satisfied with what I find. Its not that I need motivation, just some direction and one-on-one guidance to get me where I want to be. Because, yes, I really want to be able to run a 4:10 (or better) marathon again.
In the meantime, I'll keep looking and searching for what works and putting it into practice as well. I am hoping that by next spring, everything will turn around as long as I keep putting forth the effort.