I would like to take this time to formally announce my intent to be an amateur athlete maybe I’ll even join the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union). Oh wait, I don’t want to do that because then I can’t make money at my “free” sport of running. Also the closest Union is in New York City. That’s a little far away and some more money I would have to spend to get there.
Oh wait one more minute…. I guess you never have to actually announce your intent you just become an amateur by definition: 1 : devotee, admirer. 2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession. (Merriam-Webster)
Well I would say I am well on my way following that definition…
I guess there is no big announcement then. Sorry guys, I hope you will stick with me then.
How about a race recap of this weekend’s Eastern State 20 miler instead and an update of how my training is going for Vermont City Marathon in May?!
I have to say the weather could not have been better. It was in the low 40’s with a light breeze off the ocean, basically a tailwind for the whole race. The sun was shining bright despite what all the weather men said it was going to be overcast all day (needless to say I have a sunburn that looks fabulous!). The course started just over the bridge in Maine from New Hampshire. We then ran the whole state of New Hampshire along the coast into the state of Massachusetts. So crazy to think in one race you can run 3 states. There was some great crowd support even if they had to be spread out over 20 miles. Dave was able to get around pretty easy and see me at two locations during the race and at the end. This race was great because if you wanted to see your runner more it would be pretty easy to do that as the roads were open and as long as you took your time you could just leap frog ahead.
I started out faster than I wanted but really tried to just stick to what felt good. I was very relaxed because I had no real goal other than finish and test out my plan. My plan called for 20 miles this weekend with the speed to be close to marathon race pace which I’m hoping will be 9:30 per mile. Also, I always think it’s fun to do a race with 600-800 of your close running friends instead of a 20 mile training run where you are the only one running.
It was nice to settle into the pace and just chat with some people along the course, listen to my music (sometimes dancing along), and just loving the experience which was never a huge challenge. I have to say I love that last statement. I expected to hit a wall and it just did not happen. In fact after the half marathon point in the race, I got faster by 20 seconds per mile. That’s crazy isn’t it! I thought “Hey I only have 7 miles left, I can do this, I’ve done pace work longer than this”. So I did. I sped up and just keep speeding up until my last 4 miles were 8:07, 8:08, 8:09, and mile 20 was 7:53. Holy Cow! (I use that phrase a lot right now) And to top it all off, I felt great. I felt strong! And I kept thinking, “this training plan is working, all my hard work is paying off”.
Isn’t it great to have things begin to come together?! After 5 marathons, I changed to this new training plan with twice as many miles, running twice as much in a week and really focused on what I want my next marathon experience to be like. And the answer is strong! I want it to be strong!
How do you define strong? I define it as giving it your all, leaving it all out there, making you a priority and doing with confidence more than you ever thought you could. On Saturday, I felt strong! Like a superhero! I don’t know about you but I love that feeling. Dave might be tired of me talking about it because I was so shocked at what I had just done, I couldn’t stop talking about it (really he is very proud but I am sure he will tell me to stop when it gets old). I had conquered a huge thing in my life, I had gotten rid of the wall that usually comes halfway through a race where you are looking at your watch and thinking survival. I wasn’t surviving, I was thriving.
I was able to finish the race strong enough to be in the top 20% of my age group (the overall winner was from my age group as well, which just goes to prove us women in our 40’s are unstoppable). I actually came in 25 out of 125 women. I like the top 25. It has a nice ring to it. I also have a first ever PR for a 20 miler or by garmin a 20.15er of 2:53:05 which turns out to be an 8:35 average pace. Yeah!!!
So how is my training going? Well if you have not already guessed it, awesome! I’m feeling better after each long run, more confident about the marathon distance, and really working on staying healthy, getting massages often and balancing my work and training, which is hard at times but doable. (If only I could declare my amateur status and get sponsor for at least the race fees or shoes) 😉
Tomorrow with my training run I will surpass last month’s miles of 239 and I still have 3 training run days left this month. It’s crazy to think I could run so far in a month.
How is your training going? Any recent races where things just began to click and you felt invincible?!
Enjoy these pics from the rest of our weekend: