One month from today, on December 4th, I’ll run the California International Marathon (CIM). This will be my 5th marathon in a 54 week span–just over a year. I’ve raced them all, seeking a PR or BQ in each. None have been fun runs or training runs. So each has brought the requisite mental and physical pressure which wears a runner down over time. Chickamauga in November 2010 (3:48), Disney in January 2011 (3:40); Myrtle Beach in February 2011 (3:28); and San Francisco in July 2011 (3:33).
I am excited to see what I can do as I enter peak mileage of this training cycle. Funny, the time between marathons 1 and 2 and 2 and 3 was almost a year in each instance. Back then, I didn’t cross train or do much core, and recovery time from those races was much longer. My fitness level was such that recovery became a slow process and the races themselves were difficult.
I am at the stage in marathon training where my mileage is peaking, my paces are settling in nicely, and my strength can be felt. (And passive voice can predominate! LOL) I am slowly approaching my fitness peak for the race, and I can feel it. Sure, I’m tired. I ran 240 miles in October along with a ton of cross training (see last post), and I’ve run 2,166 miles for the year, but this is my favorite time of the cycle. The race is not too close, so I don’t find myself muttering “OMG. OMG. what have i done? 26.2 miles is a Looooong way. Holy Smokes!” And the miles seem to just click by as I run. I guess this is why I’ve raced so much this past year. I love this process and how it feels.
But I am also planning to take some time resting after CIM. The rest of December will be a rest and recovery period for mind and body. I know I need it. I am approaching that place where one risks burn out. But part of me is kicking and screaming, shouting “No! I’m cool. All is well. No fatigue here! Where’s the next race, baby!” But I’m fooling myself. Of course it took a friend to convince me, but I see the need for rest. I will embrace it, when the time comes. Until then, I’ve got 30 more days to run my fanny off! Perhaps this is why I don’t want this cycle to end? Is this the hardest thing a runner does–rest? I think so!
But I’ve had a great training cycle to this point! The long runs have been wonderful, the tempo sessions (a lot of track work) have fostered a great deal of growth, and the hill work (my weekly climb up and down Mountain Street) has produced strong legs. I’ve got a great plan written by a great friend. And I cannot wait to see how I do! Just one more month! Yikes!