Last week I started a 12 week training program to prepare me for the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. I am training alongside my boyfriend, Greg, who has also committed to run the race. We have been talking about the race for months. We have been talking about how and when we would train. He put together training calendars that started in November, then December, then January. The journey to this commitment was rife with conversation, modification, negotiation, holiday scheduling, travel, and a little actual running inside on the treadmill. We call our commitment to train, Derby Strong. The journey to this commitment has also included discussions of being Derby Strong in finances and food. My personal struggles with finances and food have definitely come to the fore as we have mapped our plan. I firmly believe that our success in the race is tied to success across all aspects of Derby Strong.
The moment of reckoning is here.
We are following a modified Hal Higdon Novice Two training schedule.
Yesterday morning was our first outdoor run of 2014. We did 3.67 miles along the Ohio River, a route which usually makes my heart sing. I felt awful. I was breathing like I had not put on my shoes since November. My legs were heavy. My pace was off. My head was a mess. The sporadic training we had been doing over the last few months can perhaps explain the pain I was experiencing. Even the trees and the beauty of the river did not make me feel better. Greg, a longtime runner, found a beautiful stride during the last mile of our run. He ran ahead when my pace became too slow for him. I stayed behind, kept my slower pace, and finished the run a few minutes behind him. It was wonderful to see him in his element.
This run made several things painfully clear: I have a great deal of work to do between now and race day if I am going to be truly Derby Strong. We took before pictures. My short runs during the week have to happen at their scheduled rate and pace. My long runs on the weekend have to build with intensity and ease. I have finished 5 half marathons training alone. I trained for my marathon with a group in 2000, but that was many moons ago. Training with someone else is an adjustment, particularly someone who is more of a runner and over a foot taller than me. Also, each element of Derby Strong is going to require discipline for the plan to work. I have started keeping a food journal, and joined a 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge through Women on Writing. I am using the budget spreadsheet Greg created. In addition, I have included 3 classes of yoga a week in my training regimen. We will see how the next 12 weeks (and beyond) play out.
I am excited to think about where we will be on race day. I am excited to think we are laying the foundation for a solid future beyond this race. My hope is that we are more in touch our health and wellness than we have ever been. I also hope there is more joy than we can even imagine as we meet milestones, feel better, and build lives closer to our hearts’ desires. I am hungry for tomorrow to be better than today. I will share steps along the way.