Kicking off Dallas Marathon Training

Today, I began my 16-week training program to run the Dallas Marathon on December 9th. I kicked it off with a 5 mile run of mostly hills on my road. In the past two weeks, I have been studying different training plans, and yesterday I made my final decision.

I felt like I was standing in front of the dessert table at a buffet.  All the plans looked challenging, with a variety of runs to keep me from getting bored. I wanted to make sure I had enough challenge to push myself to a faster finish, but not so many miles that I would inflict injury. Just like the dessert table, I knew there was one that would be better for my body than the others. I just hope that’s the plan I chose.

As I was poring over the training plan, I got excited, yes, a little geeked-out over the prospect of what my legs will cover over the next 16 weeks. There will be a few weeks where I will run more miles in a week than I ever have.

That’s a great feeling, whether you run five miles or fifty. When you do something you never thought possible, take time to revel in the accomplishment. That’s the beauty of running.

What level are you ready to take your running to this fall? Have you finished a 5K? Are you ready to move up to a half marathon? I ran Dallas in 2010 for my first half, so I’m a little partial to the distance. Most half marathon training plans are for 12 weeks, so you have a little time to get your mind frame ready.

I’ll be posting on my progress along the way, and I’d love to hear about yours. Just remember: whatever your goal, whatever your plan, make sure to enjoy the process.

A Hot Half

I ran a half marathon this past Sunday. Yes, I know it’s August, yes I do live in Texas, and no, I’m not crazy.

Well, maybe just a little bit.

The summer temperatures have been high, but not nearly as bad as last year, and I have been steadily building up my mileage over the summer. I felt prepared for the race, and I wasn’t nervous about running in the heat. I ran my last half marathon in June, and it was warm too.

So I went into this race planning to run for fitness as part of a challenge I entered with Mellew Productions. The challenge is to run a half marathon each season. I began mine in January and will finish in October. I didn’t set a specific time goal, but I was shooting for a range (2:05-2:15).

But Sunday wasn’t nearly as hot as anticipated. Thankfully, we had great cloud cover for most of the race. The sun peeked out a few times, but I was through mile 11 before the clouds moved out. I was pleased with my pace for the first 9 miles, but the last four slipped away from me.

Overall, my time of 2:09:00 was about a minute per mile slower than my PR, but for an August run in Texas, I’m okay with that.

Usually in the week following a race, I analyze my race. I problem solve where I struggled, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I think I could have pulled a faster last four miles, but no way could I have beaten my PR from January. This morning, as I tried in vain to reach my 10K pace in a tempo run, I wondered if the miles I’ve been piling on this summer affected my speed. Was that why I slowed toward the end of Sunday’s race? Maybe. Or maybe the heat is harder on me than I think it is.

But the best part of my post race analysis is the excitement I get from planning the next race.  Whether it is a 5K, 10K, a half, or full marathon, I’m ready!

Am I alone in this?  How do you analyze your races?



A Goodbye to My First Running Shoes

It is time for me to say goodbye to you, my New Balance 759s, after a two-year relationship.  I thank you  for all the miles you’ve carried me through.  You were my first pair of “real” running shoes bought from a running store.  It was a move to show myself I was serious about running.  I’d say “mission accomplished.”

My First “Real” Running Shoes

I had finished my first two 5K races, and nervously put a half marathon on my radar.  For the long miles in my future, I sought you out – the perfect fit for my long, skinny foot with just the right amount of cushion.

I thank you for getting me through twelve weeks of training for the half marathon.  We even trod out our first trail race together (and discovered we were in over our head) .  For all the aches and pains I had from long runs, at least none of them came from my feet.  Then you carried me through the finish line of that first half marathon in Dallas.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before we would need to part ways, so I bought a replacement pair of 759s to give you rest.  It just wasn’t the same.  When I noticed a new pain in my leg, though, I knew it was time to retire you from the regimen of running.

But I couldn’t bear to part ways, so I moved you over to “comfy shoes to wear with track pants.”

After weeks of continued running, your successor (my replacement pair of 759s) started wearing down.  It had been one year since I made that first trip to the running store, and I searched for another pair.  I checked shoe guides and websites, and I could not find a size 11.  I went back to my running store to discover you were replaced with a new model.

I bought the comparable model, the 880, but there will never be another shoe for me like you.  You had become too worn to wear for everyday use, so I moved you over for a season of gardening.  But, alas, after two years of use, your tread is gone.  It is time to wish you a final farewell.

Rest in peace, my New Balance 759.