Friday, July 14, 2006

Reflection on my running life / Week 4 update

I read Zeke's post today right after I read the link he provided to Andrew's blog ("Are those miles calling me?"). It got me thinking about how my mileage I could do per week vs. how much I really want to do. More significantly, it caused me to reflect on the role of running in my life and how it's changed over the past 12+ years.

When I entered MSU as a freshman in college in 1993, I was 215 lbs and wanted to become fit to meet girls. I had played hockey all my life, but never had run. But I turned to running. It helped me drop 45 pounds in 4 months. I remember the fear I had when I entered my first 5k in Lansing, MI in Fall1993. A handful of 5k's followed and my first 10k ever came about in the Summer of 1995.

In Winter 2000, when I started training for my 1st marathon in Pittsburgh, it was simply because it was on my life's to-do list. After I walled hard, I had to do it again.... I knew I could kick ass if I trained harder. (I dropped 30 min in my 2nd try and an additional 17 min in my 2nd)

After a few marathons, I said to myself, "I don't want to put in the kind of time to try to qualify for Boston"... or "I'm not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice". I said I'll only do one per year (which I did for 5 straight years)... and I graduated to the intermediate level of training.

What used to feel like hard work with time and experience becomes not-so-hard -- and in some cases easy - and you need to push it to the next level to enjoy it. I found that I need to progress to enjoy running. I hope I don't always feel that way, since I know there's a plateau.

Now, here I am 5 years later training for my 7th marathon (my second this year, which I didn't thinK I would do) ... and I'm attempting to qualify for Boston. Later this program, I will do 55 miles in a week - my highest ever.

Whilst I'm proud of my running experience and progression, I am well aware that I don't even enter the stratosphere of the kind of weekly mileage that many other runners do. The blog world has made that abundantly clear to me. Is that by choice? Yes, I think it is.

Despite that fact, there are countless people with whom I interact that cannot fathom the mileage I put in regularly. Even at a mere 40+ miles per week, what I am doing in their eyes is exceptional.

Running plays a greater part of my life than I ever expected. It boils down to time, values and personal choice. I love running, but like all of us, I love other aspects of my life as well.

We all need to dig deep and identify how important running in our lives is. That's often a difficult thing to do since we are always changing as well as things important in our lives. Could I do more mileage?? Sure, I suppose... but right now, what I am doing works for me.

I do want to BQ, so I want do what I can to get there. Am I presently doing enough? I honestly do not know. But I feel good about my effort. That's what matters to me. It gives me confidence and satisfaction to know that I am doing my best while keeping other aspects of my life intact. Perhaps in the coming years, my best effort will continue to elevate me to a new level.

Here is an update on the last two day's runs.

Thurs 7/13 - 10 mile general aerobic

Rise and shine came earlier than expected at 5:20 AM. I was able to start the run at 5:50 on the nose. There was some humidity, but I felt pretty good.

I am targeting 7:45 on these runs - which is 30 seconds slower than my goal pace. I am hoping this is good for the 'getting in the miles'

7:50 154
7:48 151
7:42 155
7:48 158
7:42 155
7:37 158
7:36 158
7:40 158
7:38 158
7:30 168

Time: 1:17:28
Dist: 10 miles
Pace: 7:45
HR: 155 average

Fri 7/14 - 5-mile recovery

I was a little hesitant to go for the 5-miler this morning. It seemed a bit risky to sandwich this run in btw yesterday's 10 and tomorrow's 15. That will be 30 in 3 days. I'm not sure if I have ever done that. But, I want to rest on Sunday and I want to hit all the mileage this week. Plus, I felt good. And, after all, a 5-mile slow run I can do in my sleep at this point. So, I headed off this morn at 6:25.

Time: 44:30
Dist: 5 miles
Pace: 8:54
HR: 141 average

Weekend plan

Sat 7/15 - 15 miles - I'll be running with the CARA group in Wheaton. I'll be running with the 8:00's group. Pray for cool weather.

Sun 7/16 - REST, BABY!

Hope everyone is ready for a good long run this weekend.


mouse said...

I didn't know you were a Spartan! Come October 7th, we'll exchange fighting words, I'm fairly certain. :) I have tickets to this year's game, you know.

there's been a lot of talk lately about how running fits into people's lives, and I feel much the same way you do. Right now, at around 40 mpw, that was hard a few years ago. but now it feels right. and that's because i've grown as a runner. do I want to do more? maybe eventually, if it fits into my life. but for now i'm happy with this plan. it just seems to "fit," you know?

Firefly's Running said...

Awesome mileage!! I hope to get that far, but it will take a little bit more time see for sure.

runnergirl said...

I'm glad that you are comfortable with where you are. I think that is important. I have just recently been struggling with this issue myself, and feel much happier now that I have made a decision about the kind of runner I am going to be, at least for now. And I'm one of those people who can't fathom your mileage!! I say way to go.

robtherunner said...

Excellent post Ryan! I think you summed it up nicely and you have always struck me as a level headed guy that keeps things pretty balanced most of the time.

Considering this is only week 1 for me I do like the program so far and I think it is going to work out well. I am not sure if I could do more than a 12 week program and I am going to be dis-obeying the schedule a little bit to fit in some ultras, and yes I know I said I wasn't going to do this, but since they will be slow I will just add them in as my long runs. I decided on the more than 70 miles per week since I have done this kind of mileage before and the highest mileage weeks come when I am out of school so I will have some more time for running. I need to read up some more on what kind of pace I should be running for the various runs, but so far so good. I will hit the targeted 66 miles this week and got in the strides and the mid-week 12 and 11 milers as well.

Tara said...

Ryan-thanks for sharing your running background. Cool story. You have come a long way and are for SURE gonna BQ. You are training plenty hard. There will always be someone out there training more or harder than you. I think its great you set your limits and remember to still have a life. Good luck in the heat tomorrow. We are carb loading currently (a bit late...but better late than never).

James & Kenya the Duck Toller. said...

Came across your blog on Rob's blog. Good luck BQ'ing.

Zeke said...

Ryan, nice post. I commented on my blog, but I'll say it here too. I think you've really stepped up your training the last few months and are on the fast track to BQing.

BTW, in case you didn't know it, most gals aren't fighting over the distance runners - at least not when I was in college. You'd have a better chance as a hockey player.

Bob said...

I concur with your attitude Ryan and think you are on the right Track.

Your current plan can take you to a BQ. But alot of stars need to align on Oct 22nd for that to happen for anybody. We can always do more, but the one word I hear over and over again is Balance.

It's easy to say miles are king, do more miles, get better, compete.....if it's not in balance with your life and you burn out on it, then where are you??

Sounds to me that you have alot of intrests in life other then running, trust me that's a good thing.

Running Rabbit said...

Thanks for sharing the running background. It's always nice to hear. You are so dedicated and devoted to this...Oh course you will BQ!! You're following a very tough training schedule and you have the mental edge, right? So, no pressure. Only sunny skies ahead...sprinkled with a little humidity... :-)

Susan said...

Great job on putting in 55 miles this week - I'm so envious - the most I've done is 40.