Every summer, I go to visit my dad in Wisconsin. He's retired and he spends summers in northern Wisconsin on a lake. My family has been going up to that same area since the 1920s. It's a lush, verdant wooded paradise on a small chain of lakes that very few people outside of our circle have heard of. Plus, it is extremely hilly.
Perfect for training.
Usually, I try to get up there for at least 2 weeks in the summer with my daughter. We swim, waterski, kayak, go boating. We read tons of books and make crafts and sometimes we bake (if it rains). We visit the iron mine, pick strawberries, eat fried cheese curds and we go everywhere we can by boat.
And I run. Up hills, down hills, through woods. On and on I run. I run alone, with my Girl Audge, with my husband. Every day. In a word, it is heaven.
I never knew I'd want to have a running partner until I started running with Audge. The first time we ran, years ago, I was sure she'd kick my butt. She is young, fit, full of energy, and young. And did I mention fit? She has a Master's degree in exercise physiology, is a personal trainer, a yoga instructor, etc. But the beautiful thing about running, especially with her, is that that doesn't necessarily matter. We get together to run and we talk nonstop. I've known her parents since before she was born, and she and her sister stood up in my wedding. So you could say we have some history.
This year during one of our run/chatfests, we talked about how we both wanted to do a half marathon. Problem is, she lives in New York, I live in Colorado. We should plan to meet somewhere to do a race! Yeah!
Yeah. That would be so cool, but you know how it gets.... she teaches college courses... she works.... I work... I have a daughter and husband to take care of.... Fill in any number of reasons, all of them definitely valid.
Then I got her text. I'm coming out to visit Catherine around the 10th of October, will you be around? "Hell, yes! Wait a second," I wrote," the 18th is the Denver Marathon, and they have a half marathon, if you feel like racing." I anxiously awaited her reply. Really? I'll have to look into it... What?! I thought. (Duh, Jen) Quickly I typed "I was thinking about doing the half and I'd love to have a running partner!"
There ya go. Now, I'm signed up to do this thing with Audrey AND Catherine. This is awesome! I better get training!
Have you ever looked at one of those training logs? I subscribe to Runner's World (love that mag) and there are times that I have no idea how to decipher what they've printed. Plus, they have so many plans to choose from, it can be daunting. I got lost somewhere between Yasso 800s, pace charts, tempo runs and fartleks. Checking back issues helped. But I again got lost amongst phrases like ...at the end of the first mile, the even-paced runners were at only 78 percent of their VO2 max, an effort level more akin to a tempo run than a 5-K race--below their potential. (Taken directly from the online archives) Well I know I don't want to be below potential, but VO2 max is getting a little more scientific than I was looking for. Can't I just go out and run a bunch, without killing myself?
Thankfully the answer was yes. I just needed to find a program that spoke to me, also at the Runner's World website. I entered a few answers to a few simple questions and voila! out comes my training schedule. It started July 13 and goes for 14 weeks, culminating in my race on October 18. Perfect.
The first week seemed like a joke. Day 1, 2 miles. Huh? That's it? Day 2, rest. What?!! I scanned down the list and saw the miles gradually increasing. (It also has days with Speedwork and Tempo Run, but at the end of the program is a handy explanation of these terms.) But, Good Lord, it only has me running at 11 minute miles! How lame! Ok, I did it my way last time and that didn't work out so good. But jeez, I can start out a little faster, can't I?
Coming next, what IS a sprint anyway? Lessons learned along the training route