Friday, September 30, 2016

Least, worst, most - preparing for my 4th half-marathon

I am supposed to run in the Fort Wayne Fall Festival's Fort4Fitness half marathon tomorrow morning. This will be my fourth one. The first was in 2012 - which was also my fastest time (1:47) - followed up in 2013 with Jane and I running together (2:26). I had to settle for the 10k in 2014 because of my brief regress into smoking cigarettes, and last year Jane and I ran the half together again (2:27).

This year is likely to be our slowest time, and as of right now I'm actually just hoping I can even participate. This is the least prepared, worst shape, and most weight of any of the previous years. Plus I wrenched my back Wednesday and was barely able to walk yesterday. I still couldn't do it today, but considering the improvement I made yesterday, I'm still hoping I can run tomorrow. But still....

This is somewhat of a toss up. On the one hand, my legs probably feel the freshest of any year because I haven't been running as much. On the other hand, though, I haven't been running as much. Last week was the longest run of the summer for me and that 10 miles just about killed me. Not only have I not been running as many days a week as normal (3-4 days/week as opposed to 4-6), but I haven't been logging as many miles either. I used to average about 5 miles per run on my short runs, and then do a long run once a week. This summer I've only been doing 2-3 miles on short runs, and there were way too many weeks when I only ran once or twice. So, while my legs do feel fresh and I don't have any knee, foot, leg or back pain, I'm also a little worried about adding 3 more miles tomorrow.

A natural consequence of not being well prepared is that I am not in very good shape either. I have just recently started to get my breathing down, but I'm still struggling more than in previous years. I get winded easier, and my legs tire quicker. Actually, aside from last week, I still wonder if I will make it during the first mile of almost every run. Not only from a physical standpoint, but I'm not in very good mental shape for running either. I lack confidence and a comfort level of knowing what I can handle or how hard I can push myself. Sometimes it's like I can't even remember how to run - foot placement, stride, speed, etc. I don't like not knowing what to expect.

Following each of the first two conditions, perhaps the one I dislike the most is my weight. This will be the most I've weighed for a half, by quite a bit. I am tipping the scale at 170 lbs right now, which is 15-30 lbs heavier than the previous times. I was probably around 140-145 the first year. Generally I don't like to get over 165 in the winter. I don't know what my problem is right now. I think I got down around 160 a couple months ago, but.... not right now. I was really hoping to be around 155 this summer. Instead I will be running for a couple hours like I'm carrying a couple sand bags around my belly. It's one thing to lack conditioning, but this could have been helped, and it's probably the most serious of issues facing me this year. It exacerbates the other two conditions. So I'm a little bummed about it.

All in all, I am still just hoping to be able to run tomorrow. If not, I'll be disappointed. So I'm not going to think about not being able to do it just yet. If I do run, I will be relieved on several levels. I hope to take another week off running afterward, and then I would like to start back on the treadmill for awhile. We'll see how it goes.