Before this marathon cycle I mostly ran to run. I did not worry too much about my time. I was not really doing track or speed workouts. Nothing very serious was occurring except building my base. My only real experience with worrying about finishing a workout was last February. I ran a "Simulator" run (from the brain trust Hanson brothers). It was 18.3 miles or a 26.2 K run. I was to run 16.3 miles at an 8:29 pace or better with the other miles a warm up and cool down. Guess what? I worried all week about it. But, I did it. I was tired, but so proud and to be perfectly honest, relieved! Did I replicate that pace in my marathon? NO! Do you know why? Me neither, but I have two really good guesses. One, it was my first marathon and I was worried about hitting the wall...the infamous last 10K. Second, I did not trust myself to be great. That is the real reason.
Today was another go around with the 800's. I did 5 this time. Unlike two weeks ago, I did 800m rests instead of 400m. I opted for this because I was doing one more 800 and my legs felt sluggish. Maybe it was a good decision, but maybe it was also not trusting myself. AGAIN!
I finished all my 800's within my pace range (3:39-3:45) or better. I ran them in 3:37, 3:40, 3:38, 3:34, and 3:39. That is a total win, but to me it did not feel like a total win. I was pleased with my effort, but not happy with it. First, I felt like I could have run one or two more. I feel like I should be done, dead tired at the end of an 800 workout. Second, my legs were aching to be done during the last 100m of the 4th 800m and not the last 800. Third, during my first 800 I looked at my watch and was running at a 6:55 pace. I slowed down because I knew I had four more to finish. Maybe I could have kept that pace for five of them and now I don't know.
I have a big dream for my marathon on January 1. To be perfectly honest it will not happen if I don't start really challenging myself on my challenging workouts. I must do it. I have to learn to be brave. I have to learn to push beyond my limits and maybe fail. I have to learn that I may just succeed!
Today I searched Pinterest (a place I almost never go) for visual inspiration. I hope you enjoy them.