Running in Albuquerque

Almost three weeks into marathon training, and I’m happy to say I’ve been able to keep up with all my scheduled runs so far. As I write, I am on a flight from Albuquerque to Dallas, where I will board another flight home to DC. I won’t get home before midnight tonight, on a Friday night, after a busy week of work and travel.

Tomorrow, I have big plans to go to Baltimore and see a soccer game with my husband and a good friend visiting us this weekend, so I need to get my long run out of the way early tomorrow morning. I’ll get fewer than six hours of sleep, will get up to run 11 miles, then rush home to shower and get ready for our day. Could I put the run off until Sunday? I could, but I would so much rather get it done tomorrow so I can enjoy the day with abandon.

I’m glad that I’ve stuck to my training plan this week despite the many excuses I could have made to scale back, despite having to get up very early to run in Albuquerque before my work days began, despite having to run in unfamiliar places (which I love to do because it’s a great way to see new places, but also requires more planning), and having to run at altitude.

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I’ve set up my training weeks so they go from Monday through Sundays, with Wednesdays and Sundays designated as off days for running (although Wednesday is usually yoga day), and Saturdays as my long run day. Last week, I did my 9-mile long run on Saturday and intended to take Sunday off, but then a friend asked if I wanted to go for a run on Sunday. I did want to, even though I didn’t need the extra run on my plan, so I said yes. I expected to be slow and tired on Sunday, my sixth running day of the week (a first for me), but to my great surprise, I felt energized and did a quick (for me) four miles.

I ended up having a few drinks with that same friend later in the day on Sunday, leaving me a bit rough on Monday morning. I had already decided that I wouldn’t do my normal Monday run since I did the four unplanned miles on Sunday (even though it’s technically a new week – but running that many days in a row would do me in). Instead, I went to a sunrise yoga class on Monday, my favorite time for yoga. That was the best and worst thing to do; I was so tired and felt a tad sick, and the instructor was in the mood for a tough class, making me seriously question my decision as class began. But of course, there was nothing better for my body than to wake it up with tons of sun salutations and plenty of stretching and twisting to sweat out the toxins.

Tuesday morning brought a hilly, humid six mile run. Felt absolutely awesome. Wednesday morning I had a 5:15am cab to the airport, so running was not happening. Thursday morning found me waking up at 5am in Albuquerque (but 7am eastern time) for a six mile easy run. I used the Paseo del Bosque trail, which wasn’t far from my hotel and offered beautiful views of the sunrise over the mountains and plenty of rabbits playing on the edge of the trail.

This was meant to be an easy run and I tried to take it easy. The altitude (5,000 feet above sea level) left me breathless for much of the run, but I was really pleased that I did it anyway. And then today, Friday morning, I had an easy 3 miles on the agenda, again accomplished on the trail early in the morning, before I had to begin the second day of the workshop that I was facilitating. Both runs were slow, but they were done.

The one area that I did slack on this week was strength training; I did well with that the past few weeks, but this week it just did not fit in. As long as I pick it up again this week, I am okay with that.

[As an aside, I wasn’t too impressed by Albuquerque. Granted I didn’t have much time to explore, but from what I could gather it is a very car-dependent city with not very good food. The trail I ran on was nice, but that was about all I liked about the city. I hear that the sites outside of town (Santa Fe, Mesa Verde, etc) are lovely. But, I think I can check this place off my list.]

This is the choice I made when I decided to commit to the Marine Corps Marathon. When I decided to commit to a busy, stressful job. When I decided that we should get tickets for this soccer match tomorrow. To see how much I could do and to prove that while I can’t do it all, I can make a valiant effort to do the things I want to do. I may crack at some point; I may decided that it’s too much, that I’m asking too much of myself and it’s not realistic.

But I am so determined to not let that happen. I’m going to run Marine Corps feeling as prepared as possible. I really want to find ways to make it all work, to balance work, personal life, and running. After all, I’m not doing this because I have to. I’m doing it because I want to, because running is one of the best parts of my day, because I don’t feel like myself on the days that I don’t run. Because I’ve been excited about Marine Corps since last fall, and I’ve known for months that this summer would be challenging, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

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