I was a lot more pumped than sad when all of the awesome race results started pouring in Saturday morning. All of my teammates had seriously strong races, and the collection of PRs that showed up in the newsletter this morning only made me slightly wistful that I had been there and nabbed one of my own. Instead, I stayed put in bed for most of the day, venturing out to the gym to do some core and booty-busting work to wake up my glutes that had been allowed to sleep for a solid week while I coughed and wheezed.
Sunday morning I set out on one of my favorite runs - the 4-mile Sunday morning recovery loop that I did all spring with Beth. My legs felt springy and bouncy and happy to be running again, and we chatted our way down into the mid-9s without a lot of effort. Around mile 3.5, my lungs started complaining about the slightly cold air and tightened up a bit, but we finished out the run pretty smoothly and I was able to hold my own in the big pancake breakfast that followed. My achy shins? Turns out a week off was exactly what they needed.
My plan for this week is to err on the side of rest. I woke up this morning and intended to go to the gym and do a light swim and another round of glute wake-ups, but after 5 minutes in the pool I realized that my HR was going nuts and I didn't have a lot of energy, so I shut it down and spent my time stretching in the hot tub instead. I'm hoping to get in a light run tomorrow morning (Tuesday), swim easy on Wednesday and do a shake-out run on Friday, and that's basically going to be it. I feel like my legs might get a little stale with all the time off, but I think these 3 & 4 mile shake out runs are going to be enough to keep me fresh for Sunday. At this point, they have to be.
As for my goals... My science project contest is still going for Philly, and you're welcome to make as many guesses as you want based on my physical and mental status throughout the week, and I'll still send beer and chocolate and cookies to whoever gets closest. All this rest has been good for my body but has also given me a lot of time to think about racing. At Waterman's, I let my head get the best of me. I crashed my bike, and physically, was fine. However, I was completely unable to recover mentally, and I managed to drag myself all the way through until mile 7 of the run, and then I crumbled into a sobbing, foot-stamping, why-God-why mess. I've talked before about my athletic abilities, and how the one thing I believe I have going for me is a ridiculous ability not to give up, and that failed me last month. But instead of dwelling on it, all I've been thinking about is how NOT to let that happen in this race.
I set up that science contest because I wanted to make sure that I set a reasonable goal for this race. I haven't had a training cycle dedicated to the half marathon. I actually spent 3 months in a 70.3 training cycle which I truly believe was a bad fit for me, and it took at least 2 of the 4 weeks between these races before I felt like I was myself again once I laced up my running shoes. But it doesn't matter. I had a great training cycle in the spring and it all fell apart 2 weeks before race day, and that didn't matter either. I'm going to try and channel that great training cycle this week while my body rests and heals, and when I toe the line on Sunday morning, I'm going after that sub-1:50 I wanted last March. I probably won't hit it, I might not even come close, I might blow up in the most spectacularly awesome fashion and end up walking it in, but if I'm healthy when that gun goes off, I will turn myself inside-out trying to make it happen. At this point, where my head is, I think I need to go after it this way. Setting a conservative goal that I can definitely achieve and then achieving it? That's not how I roll. I'm going after the slightly ridiculous, the no-way goal, and will I be disappointed if I don't hit it? Sure, but not as frustrated as I'll be if I don't go after it at all. I choked out this mantra to Amy last spring, when I was running one of the many 5Ks I've run coming back from injury after injury, and I'm sure it'll be in my head as I fight through 13.1 miles on Sunday. Your heart is a weapon the size of your first. My heart is full, and my mental game is strong, and I will kick your ass with that. Every time.