A good number of ultra-runners don't run marathons. They say they are too boring, or they aren't inspired, or they want to challenge themselves by doing longer distances. I think those excuses just sound better than the truth: marathons are really frickin' scary!!
When I decided to train for a marathon, I thought eight weeks would be plenty of time considering that I already had the endurance for the distance. But it has been more than four weeks and I am still coming around mentally to take on this challenge. You see, in training for an ultra, every day feels like a positive step getting me to the fitness level I want. But marathon training is a series of bitch slaps constantly reminding me that I am nowhere close to where I want to be. I go out for a hard effort that leaves me gasping for breath, only to see my cute 4 M tempo run didn't even hit marathon goal pace. It doesn't exactly instill confidence.
Which is likely the reason I was full of dread for the Roaring Run Half marathon on Saturday. It doesn't help that I ran my half PR (1:21:15) here two years ago so I had a very concrete historical data point for comparison. But I needed the workout if I ever plan to get where I want.
The lead woman started at sub-6 pace (and held on for a 1:18 finish!), which is out of my league on my best days, so I was free to run my own race without getting swept into the competition. There was fatigue and slowing, but also a bit of mental ease. After gutting something out like the last 30 miles of 100km Worlds, running hard for a hour doesn't seem that bad. So mostly I just played little games in my head to pass the time and then it was over. But not watching the time did leave me rolling my eyes a bit at my finish time of 1:26:01. Oh well, not going to dwell on how lame that 0-1 looks right now.
Like the 10k two weeks ago, this is way off my best, but actually a bit better than I expected. And my 10k split was faster than the Cascade 10k. So I am going to call this a step in the right direction rather than a bitch slap reminding me that I am just a shadow of my prime self. Well, it it was both, but let's focus on the positive; I'll never make it another four weeks of marathon training if I don't!
Post race celebration was a slumber party for Megan with fondue. I am also pretending that cheese and chocolate are excellent recovery foods!