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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reality check

The Bar Harbor half marathon was a running reality check for me. It brought home a few factors that I ought to be aware of:

- I am old(er) than when I was a little faster.
- I no longer have a good, strong distance base. I ran distance consistently for several years before ever running a half marathon under 1:40 the first time. Right now, a half marathon is the farthest I've run in almost two years.
- I, um, have gained weight. This is a tricky issue to talk about, because I'm still a healthy weight, I was just faster when I was lighter. After my first surgery, I gained ten pounds. When I was able to exercise again, I lost five. The other five stayed. I repeated that performance after the second surgery, and now I'm dragging an extra ten pounds around the race course. It's not easy.
- I have a changed stride. One frustration from the surgeries is that my extension is shortened.
- I have been running my workouts too fast. I was basing my workouts off about a 1:34 half marathon, which is what I guessed (loftily hoped?) I was capable of, but I'm nowhere close. Time to slow it down a little!

Now I need to figure out how to get some speed and endurance back. I think I need:
- Slower workouts
- Probably fewer hard runs. I don't do well with lots of tough runs.
- I should probably try to lose these extra pounds - ugh, boo. I love my food.
- More distance


  1. It's really hard to come back from a long absence from running, and it's especially hard when the reason for that absence is surgery. It's hard to reset our expectations and approach to training because being patient with ourselves is so so so difficult. I totally get that. The good thing is that you learned something from this experience and hopefully it will result in an adjustment to your training and your expectations!

  2. Slowing down is key. Ever seen this article?

    Maybe try plugging in your latest half marathon time into the McMillan calculator and seeing what your workout paces "should" be, not what you want them to be. I SO get how frustrating it is. I've never had any hip surgeries, but I've spent the past 3 years on the injury roller coaster, and I'm definitely not getting any younger. But hey, being a masters runner has been pretty good to me so far! :) Good luck, and I hope you figure out a plan that works for you.

    1. Yep, first thing I did after that race was adjust my training paces!

  3. It's hard to let go of what you used to be able to do and have to face the new reality. I had to deal with that after my bouts of overtraining syndrome really slowed me down. But once I accepted the new norm and went with the flow, my workouts became so much more enjoyable. I seriously think you'll be back running close to what you want - just not yet.

  4. I feel like we're in a little bit of the same spot - minus surgery (knock on wood for me). I've slowed down over the past few years mostly due to injury. Definitely added a few pounds, but only enough that I think only I notice it and people would lose it if I complained about weight gain. But like you said, it definitely makes a difference in my times and how I feel running. I've definitely trying to embrace slowing down (to run faster? It still boggles my mind) and being more aware of taking care of my body. But I sure do miss the days where all I did was head out the door and run!

    1. I miss that more than anything - just tying my shoes and running out the door.

  5. You will get back there, but it will take time! I recently have been having low back pain and a athletic trainer friend of mine told me something that I hated... it was this: it took months and months for your injury to happen; why would you expect it to go away in a few days (or weeks)? Same thing with the trained before for years. You just need to give this "training cycle" some time.

  6. I have had plenty of these type of race "reality checks" after an injury. Last fall was the worst. It just takes readjusting time goals/ paces. I switched everything. 5ks were at 10 k pace, 10 k's went to half marathon pace and my half marathon was my marathon pace. This led to a much more enjoyable race experience. You'll get back to previous times. The extra weight will probably come off as your distance base increases. Good job for putting yourself out there. You are naturally very talented and once you are able to train for a while injury free you will really start to see your times drop!