three things thursday

1. Lauren over at Failed Muffins went on vacation for a week, so I polished up a post outta the vault for her yesterday.  Go drop her some sweet sweet love!

2. Emily and I are going out this weekend to stomp on the face of the inside loops of the Reston course.  I'm thankful for training partners that also have hilly races coming up so I don't have to complain to myself all day.  Like one of my favorite crazy redheaded girls says, hills are for heroes!  

3. I've got some thinking to do.

I've got quite a few friends in IM training this year, and lately, instead of watching them work out and think, "that's insane, I could never do that," my thoughts have been turning to, "Maybe I could do that."  But it's a huge commitment (mmm, durrr).  It would mean that I'd spend 4+ months in a single training cycle (plus maintaining a solid base for 2-3 months before that), which is actually kind of a long time.  4 months, plus race and recovery, with no other race on board as an A race.  No trying to PR the half next spring.  No going out and riding a billion miles just because it seems like a good idea.  Lots and lots of structure.  It would mean a serious clamp down on eating 9 cupcakes in one day, or getting drunk on a Wednesday, or not running for 2 weeks just because it's hot out.  And the run is honestly what concerns me most about this.  I get injured, a lot.  And right now I'm working with an amazing PT and I feel stronger and better about running than maybe I ever have.  But having a great few weeks of 5 mile runs does not translate into 26.2 after 114.4.  It makes it seem ridiculous that someone with my propensity for injury would even consider this.  I don't have years of marathoning under my belt.  I wasn't a competitive swimmer.  A race like this would be all heart, to finish somewhere in the front of the straggling back of the pack.  

Then there's the flip side.  I might actually be able to do it.  I have no dreams of winning, just finishing.  But I'm strong on the bike, and I fully believe that the bike leg makes up much more than 1/3 of a triathlon, especially as the distances get longer.  I'm not weak in the water, I'm steady but average.  I know I've only done one 70.3, but I LOVED the distance.  I smiled all the way through the bike, and I feel like if I had had more than 3 weeks of run training, I probably would have smiled the whole way.  I know that having a few great 70.3s also doesn't mean an IM is for me.  I've got enough brains to realize that it's a lot harder than simply "twice the distance."  But the longer I ride, the more I realize that I'm in this for endurance, not for speed.  I love to ride long, and when I'm in shape, I love to run long.  Nothing in my life has ever given me a better feeling of accomplishment as the first time I saw the mileage click over to "14" on a run, or the first time I blew past "100" on a bike.  Distance is exhilarating.  So why not go longer?

And then there's the tiny fact that I'm stronger, right now, this year, than I ever have been in my life.  Even despite the totally necessary rest day festival of the past week, I'm running cleanly, riding strong, and even pulled a pretty tough swim workout out of my ass a few days ago.  And I've felt strong all year, despite getting injured, so much stronger than I felt a year ago.  I look back at my log from last summer and I can't believe how far I've come.  I spent half marathon training being excited for every long run, because I couldn't believe what I could do.  What happens after another year of living this life?  How far can I take this?  How strong could I actually be?

So like I said, I've got some thinking to do.  But the poet told me last night, and has told me before:  What is the theme of your life?  Mine: You have no idea what you can do.