Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fit Houston Coach reads my mind

Since my Katy Fit group is still getting organized and a bit light on the communication front, I subscribed to the Houston Fit newsletter and lurk around their discussion boards as well. That gives me a good idea of what's going on over there, what their venues are. I read their newsletter for the Red group and 5/1's and kind of freaked out. Coach Gay must have been reading my mind. Actually, I don't believe in extrasensory perception so I figured she got these thoughts from experience and from trainin many, many first-timers. So, if I'm feeling this, I figure others are and may benefit from the advice. Here's what she said:

"Right now, the marathon may seem a bit like the City of Oz, shining in the distance, so near and yet so far. You may find that you hit a bit of a mental slump at this point-bogged down in that beautiful field of poppies leading up to the Emerald City. While your body is responding to the work you have been doing, your brain may be telling you that the marathon is so far away that you don’t need to work so hard. That inner voice may try to convince you to roll over on Saturday morning and sleep in, rather than coming out to the Park to run. “It’s only 6 miles, we’ve already done that,” it will say. It may tell you “it’s really hot; I think I’ll skip the tempo run on Thursday, it’s only 30 minutes.” Sometimes it is hard to focus when your goal is so big and so far in the future. One trick is to break the big goal (running the marathon) down into smaller goals that are closer in time. Our first big collective goal is the Half Marathon Race (13.1 miles), on Sunday, October 29th, the first race in the marathon warm-up series. (For more information on the warm-up series, check out the Houston marathon website,", Event Information, Warm-up Series. Mark it on your calendar. That goal is about 8 weeks from now. Maybe even that is too far off for you to grasp. In just a little over two weeks, we will run our first 10 miler, on Saturday, September 9th. Going into “double digits” for the first time for many of you is a big deal, so that is a great interim goal.

When the voice starts to work on you, remind yourself of these interim goals. It will be a lot harder to run that 10 miler if you let yourself be talked out of that “little” 30 minute run during the week. Our schedule is made up of building blocks. All of the blocks are important-the short, easy runs, the hills or speedwork, the tempo runs and of course, the long runs. Right now, we are still at work on the foundation. If our foundation is strong, the rest of our building will stand tall. If our foundation is weak, we may have some issues with things crumbling down the road. Don’t think that the temptation happens only to you-we all wrestle with it along the way. The one who gets out of bed every Saturday morning is the one who finishes the marathon in January.

I appreciate what Coach Gay says. I have been feeling exacly this way. In fact, I wanted to do my 20 minute easy run yesterday but when life got hectic, I thought, well, it's just 20 minutes. I'll just miss it.

On the other hand, besides feeling confident at times after Monday's 8 miler, I've also felt a ton of doubt. Something is telling me that running the marathon is ridiculous. Something is telling me that it is soooooo far out of reach that it's more of a pipe dream than reality. Seriously, I really should just do the Aramco Half in January and shoot for Marine Corps, 2007 or Houston, 2007. But, I'm not going to make that decision yet. Besides running at the speed of a faster-than-average slug, nothing has happened yet that has caused me to give up or to reconsider a January, sub-6 hour marathon. Is running at the speed of a faster-than-average slug in August enough to make me reconsider? I honestly do not know. So many doubts. I'm still holding on to a couple of blog comments from back in July. Steve wrote:

"Way too early to think about whether a 6 hour marathon is a realistic goal. Not a lot of data for your demographic - big guy pretty much starting from scratch after an injury but with a running/racing background. The race equivalent charts suggest a 1 mile race of 11 minutes and a 5k race of 39 minutes indicate 6 hour marathon potential. You've done that before, so that's a very good sign. You need to do longer races, however, before you have a high confidence indication of your marathon capability. That's still a couple of months away, so you need to hang tough until then. We're all suffering right now in the heat. The only advantage the experienced marathoner has over you is that they KNOW they're going to feel great when the first cool snap hits, and you have to take it on faith."

Doug wrote:

" is not the time to wonder if the ditch you're digging is big enough. Just dig and stay tuned."

So, I think I'm going to go hardcore now. By that, I don't mean running more than recommended or faster than the plan dictates or starving myself to lose more weight or anything else that the word "hardcore" may imply. I mean I'm going to make this a priority. The time is now. I can't do this halfway. I will find time in my week to complete every workout, on schedule. I will eat properly. I will get adequate sleep. I will continue to eat right EVERY DAY. Now is not the time to put my training at the back of the line behind fishing or working or taking it easy. This is supposed to be a sacrifice. Nothing worth doing or having comes without sacrifice. I will continue to maintain balance in my life (church, family, work, exercise, recreation, fun) but I recommit today to making marathon training a priority, not for the sake of self but for my family's, my God's, my employer's sake.

This has been a PRA brought to you by me. A prize to the first person who guesses what a PRA is. :)


Humble Runner said...

Great post. Check out my most recent post. Same feelings as you, slightly different spin.

Hmmm PRA?? I know PSA is public service announcement.... so all I have to do is find the "r".

Bill D said...

Good post...good advice.

Keep the training going...set some goals along the way and have fun.

The marathon in January is a goal but the bigger goal should be to set yourself up to enjoy your training for years to come.

JustJunebug said...

dang i NEEDED that!!

you know however i still dont know if i have the time/energy to put into running a full just yet...if i do it will be a March/April one somewhere OTHER than Houston.

Vic said...

That's my backup plan too, June. Maybe even Austin if I'm not quite ready.

Anonymous said...

Again, Bill D gets it right. The biiiiig picture is that this is not about checking "ran a marathon" off your to do list, it's about a fit and healthy lifestyle with running as a key component.


Vic said...

Steeve and Bill,

I'm way ahead of you on the ultimate goal thing. Thanks a ton for confirming and reminding me that it's really all about having fun, being healthy and running for life. I'm really lucky to have such an awesome support system of which you two are a big part of. Thanks again!

TX Runner Girl said...

Great post Vic! Oh, and Coach Gay rocks! I was having a pretty good Houston Marathon in '06, but starting getting tired toward the end. Coach Gaye was on Allen Parkway cheering for us and knew exactly what to say to keep us moving. I've heard the proverb:

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time

So, keep setting and obtaining those small goals and you'll accomplish the big one! You can do it!

PRA - Public Running Announcement?

Vic said...

Nope, sorry, Christy not public running announcement.

Anonymous said...


I am hitting that "no man's land" part of mary training where the miles are adding up, but the mary is still 7 weeks away.....thx for the inspiration to keep moving right along---you TOTALLY ROCK!!


ravenclawprefect said...

Wow Vic, what an awesome post. It sure touched on many things that I have been thinking.

My inner loser speaks up occasionally and doesn't take kindly to be beaten down again.

Thanks for sharing that!


jamoosh said...

Coach Gay rocks. She has done great things with the Red Group this year.