Last fall, Katie, my Ragnar SoCal team captain, suggested that we try to have a reunion of sorts of our Solemate team in Indianapolis for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Rather than trying to organize another Ragnar team, she thought (wisely) that it might be more fun to just hang out in one spot together and then run a half. This is the nation’s largest half marathon and supposed to be a really good time. The race course goes from downtown to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where we will run 2.5 miles around the track (one complete lap) and then back downtown. The race is on May 2nd. When she first proposed this idea, I was excited … but I also know that May is an incredibly busy time in our family since there are so many “end of the year” activities as the school year winds down (our kids finish in May here). I also already knew that my husband was scheduled for a business trip that week. I went ahead and registered for the race just in case I could pull it off, I didn’t want it to be sold out.
Months went by and I couldn’t really commit. Paul is usually really supportive of this sort of thing, but he was even a hesitant about me going based on what we know a weekend in May can look like. But, eventually, we decided that it would work out – especially if our older daughter is driving by then. He was invited to a guys’ trip a couple of weeks later – when we do actually have a big gymnastics meet on the calendar already – but I told him to go ahead and plan on it, thereby evening out any guilt I might be having for my own trip. So, I’m in. I told my Solemates I was going and booked a flight! I will be sharing a hotel room with Bonnie (who was out here for Ragnar Trail – my vegan, animal loving Virginian, Van #2 Solemate who I adore) and another amazing woman, Nancy. Nancy is friends with John Hulsey (our Solemate co-captain) and has, consequently, run in several other Ragnars with him and also with both Bonnie and Hilary. Having gotten to know her through Facebook, etc., I can’t wait to meet her in person. She is a ball of positive energy and light. Unfortunately, not all of the Solemates can make it this time. Hilary, Colleen, Dean and Tay have work commitments that won’t let them travel.
Another added bonus is that I will get to see my cousin, Missy, when I am in Indianapolis. She plans to pick me up on Sunday so we can go get lunch together before I fly home.
Having run 3 half marathons already this year, I have not been too happy with my finish times. I did not train properly though, so you get the results you train for. I hoped to have a better race this time, so I am following Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Intermediate Training Program. I really like it so far, especially since it seems to have a bit lower weekday mileage than the last program I used (for my first half marathon). It incorporates some strength training days (which I am still doing at Koko) and at least one rest day. On Wednesdays, it calls for some pretty intense workouts – either Tempo runs or Intervals. Intervals are soooo hard but I do think they are the key to increasing speed when distance running. I still have some really awful runs mid-week and I feel like I am never going to improve past my typical 11:30/mi pace. But sometimes everything clicks and I can maintain a 10:00/mi pace for a pretty good distance. The 12 week training plan also includes some scheduled races on a few of the weekends. The races I had hoped to do don’t exactly fall on the correct week, but I can shuffle the mileage around a little bit to get pretty close. The 5K I ran several weeks ago, for instance, was one week off. I am running a 17K/10 miler this Saturday when I was scheduled for an 8 mile race. I won’t do the 10K race on the schedule next week, however.
Anyway, I am committed to following this training plan as best as I can. I have not cut myself very much slack at all. The first couple of weeks were a bit of a rough start. I had a bladder infection that really knocked me out for at least a week, but I wasn’t starting my training from scratch since I had been running quite a bit already – so I didn’t get too worked up about missing a few Week 1 workouts. But as we move through Week 5 already, I have really been on top of all of the runs and especially the Wednesday speed work. I’ll set a few race goals as I get closer to the race day. I would love to get back to where I was last year for my first half marathon – a 2:30 finish. Ideally I would love a 2:25 … but based on how I’m struggling now, I don’t know if that is realistic. Regardless, I seem to do better when I have a plan to look at every day and let it guide me. If I leave it up to how I “feel”, my runs don’t have much intensity or purpose and, more often than not, I end up kind of slacking on them. Having a training plan helps me organize my thoughts around my eating and food too.
I haven’t been blogging much … but I have been taking care of business!