My first ever half marathon is the Rock the Parkway Half here in Kansas City next Saturday, April 2nd. I had signed up to do this one last year, but discovered I was pregnant shortly after signing up. While I wouldn't have been very far along at the time of the race and I did continue running short to moderate distances through the first 4 months of my pregnancy, I just didn't think running my first half was a good idea at that time. So, instead I dropped my race entry down to the 5K and completed that instead.
This year, I decided a couple of months post-baby, I should be able to get back in the saddle and aim to do that half that I missed last year. It took me longer than I anticipated to fully recoup after my delivery, so I didn't really get to get back into running until nearly 3 months post-partum. To my dismay, I was running a much, much slower pace than I had been running prior to becoming pregnant. Yes, I knew this would happen, but part of me figured it would only take me a month or so to get back to my old pace. So not true! Do I beat myself up about this? Well, not much but it is hard to reconcile the fact that what my best effort is now pales in comparison to what it was before.
My biggest problem with my slower pace is that it takes me so much longer to complete my training runs. During the work week, this is a big issue for me because of working and Eva. Originally, I had planned to get up early to get the training in before work. Well, I get up early, but mostly so I have time to do all that needs to be done before work and to spend some quality time with Eva. After work, I am usually exhausted and I'd rather spend my time with Kyle and Eva before heading off to bed. And when you are training for a half marathan, often times those weekday training runs increase to 4, 5, and 6 milers as the race nears. Well, I have a hard time justifying spending over an hour on a training run on a weeknight. Shoot, by the time I'd get done and showered, it'd be time to get Eva to bed and we'd be eating dinner at 10pm.
So needless to say, I have missed at least one training run every week. I also have done zero cross-training. But, I reasoned with myself, the most important training run of each week is the long run and I can do that on the weekend. I was doing really well in getting those long runs completed every week, even though they were physically wearing me out at times.
Then I got sick. For 10 straight days, I felt horrible and with only one sick day available to me since coming back from maternity leave, I struggled just to get to work and take care of Eva. That means I did no training runs, no long run...nothing at all until the Westport St. Patrick's Day 4 miler on Saturday the 12th. For my first race after having the baby, I think I did well. I ran the whole of it, albeit a bit slower than I expected. And, I realized about 3 miles in that I needed new running shoes, as my knee and ankle started to hurt. But I did it and finished it and then realized that my half marathon was going to be 3 times as long of a race.
Can I really do this? Should I really do this? Last week, I got back into the training groove and did the majority of my training miles, including my long run on Saturday. That success was due mostly to the beautiful weather we had all week and the fact that I was able to work 8 to 5 every day last week instead of my normal 12 to 9 and 9 to 6pm shifts. But this week has been back to norm and I haven't logged any miles yet. Next week is my taper week.
The question isn't whether or not I can finish the 13.1 miles because I can walk some of it and I am sure, no matter how hard I am dragging, I can complete it. But how satisfied will I be if I have to walk some of it? Knowing that, if would have trained better, I could have finished it running? I don't think I would feel very accomplished.
But if I drop down to the 10k, am I just giving up?
I probably should have realized, in my zeal to get back into running and signing up for races, that I don't have the time that I used to have and that's okay. I should have planned my races accordingly then, focusing on shorter distances that require less time intensive training. Now I know.
So I have continued to delay my decision on whether or not to really go for the half or just do the 10k and move on. I guess I've got another week to decide...