In June, I ran the Anchorage Mayor's Marathon, and wanted to be faster than 5:00. My time was 5:26:43. That was a miserable race for me.
In July, I ran the Angel Creek 50, and DNF'd at mile 30.
In August, I ran the Anchorage Runfest 49k, and wanted to beat 6:00. My time was 6:24:01.
In September, I ran A Day at the Beach, a 12 hour race, and I really wanted to get 50 miles, but I knew that everything would have to go perfectly for that to happen. My B goal was to do at least 10 laps, or 43 miles. I ran 41.7.
I didn't have a terrible summer. I did work A LOT, which not only made me fall really behind on blogging, but was part of the performance problem, I think. Other than that, though, it was actually a really good summer and I had a lot of fun. My mom came to visit:
And so did my 21 year old son:
I did a lot of running (I only missed 4 days), and some backpacking:
I had a lot of fun this summer. And even during my races, I was having fun. Well, with the notable exception of the Mayor's Marathon in June. (You can read about that here). I think there were a few things going on this summer though, that negatively affected my performance.
Maybe one of the biggest factors was work. I worked A LOT of overtime this summer. There were so many day where my training plan called for, say, an 8 mile run, and I was lucky to get 1 or 2 miles after a late day at work. My job is also super high stress, because the decisions I make have huge impacts on peoples' lives, It is really difficult for me, sometimes impossible, to not work the long hours. And both my family and my running suffer when I do.
Another factor was my diet. As many of you know, I lost a significant amount of weight a few years ago, and I've mostly kept it off, by becoming active, and mostly staying away from fast food and junk food. In the last year or so, though, I've let that slip a lot, and I've put on 10 to 15 pounds. Hauling the extra weight around has to affect my speed.
The other factor, that really is probably a big one, and that I let myself forget when I get frustrated with my performance is that I am really new to running. I ran some the summer of 2014, but 2015 is when I really started getting serious about it. I ran my first marathon just a year ago. And 3 of the races where I didn't do as well as I wanted this summer were firsts in terms of distance for me.
When I ran the Angel Creek 50, I'd never run further than 28 miles. That day, I ran 30 or 31 miles, and DNF'd because I got lost in the fog, and then slowed down so much I could not meet the cutoff.
When I ran the Runfest 49k, that was the first ultramarathon I had ever completed, and the furthest I'd ever run on pavement. I also ran the last 10 miles of that race with excruciating foot pain, and still was less than a minute per mile off my goal time.
When I ran the 12 hour race, that was the first time I had run further than 31 miles, and the first time I had ever run a race for time, and the setup was completely different than I had experienced before. Like really, I should be freaking proud of myself for running over 40 miles. Not beating myself up because I missed 43 miles by less than a mile and a half.
SO, I have a plan. It's sort of got 3 parts.
1. Manage my nutrition and training better. Get more strength workouts in, make time for longer runs, get enough sleep, and get back in control of my diet. That's the physical aspect, and one I can take total control of.
2. Manage my time better. Work smarter, not harder. Find ways to get things done faster, so I have to work less overtime. And sometimes, even if I don't get everything done, leave work anyway. It will still be there tomorrow, most of the time. I've been doing this long enough to know when it is really important enough to stay late for. This not only gives me more time for my fitness, and for my family, but it will also reduce my stress.
3. Give myself a break. At mile 37 of the race this weekend, I was feeling all disappointed in myself, because I knew I wouldn't have time for another lap. I decided I wasn't going to run any more races until I got stronger and faster. But you know what? Instead of feeling disappointed, I should have been so amazed at myself. I was running MILE 37 of a race, and I was STILL RUNNING. I was still smiling, and I was still enjoying the run. At that point I had run 7 miles more than I'd ever run before, and way farther than most people ever will or could run. Why I let that negative self talk in, I don't know. I have to learn to be kind to myself.
And really, when all is said and done, I had a great summer. I spent time with family, I spent time outdoors in this beautiful Alaskan summer, and I did a whole lot of running. I just haven't had time to blog about it all yet, but I will. I'm grateful for all that I was able to do this summer, and I'm already planning next summer's adventures...
Oh, and there's a trail marathon coming up...