A Tale of Two Halfs

The emergence of the Black Death in December inevitably led to the complete ruination of my winter running plan.  I lost two half marathons, a 10 mile trail run and a fun 10K with the girls.  I also lost a lot of mileage, a fact my quads are still vehemently reminding me of.  Even though I know that the required break was needed and ultimately has resulted in my escaping the miserable tendrils of the worst chronic sinus infection I have ever had, it is frustrating.

I am very goal oriented so when I lay out that calendar and put goals on it, I achieve them.  If I can’t achieve them, I feel I have failed.  This never ends well.

I have been attempting to reason with myself that this is in fact not failure but merely a minor setback in the grand scheme of things.  After all, the big event, the Tahoe Trifecta, is still on the calendar and though I have lost mileage now it isn’t likely to affect my ability to complete three halfs in three days.  I spent a lot of time this weekend staring at the limited edition hand signed poster from last year’s event that my mother insisted I had to have.  Big picture, Liz, think of the big picture.

I plan things. See how organized I was the night before the 10K at last year's Tahoe series? Just wait until this year.

I have also reasoned with myself that I have done an excellent job of not gaining any weight during my down time.  Of course, that nagging voice in the back of my head keeps saying, “But I bet you’ve lost some muscle mass, Pudgy.”  That is probably true but it’s not like I could possibly have undone all the hard work of the last 14 months in three weeks. Still, my favorite jeans are a little snug which makes me want to run ten miles a day until it is all gone even though I know that is NOT going to help me at all.

Since reasoning with myself usually results in a great deal of self loathing and moderate to intense binging while watching hours upon hours of “Friends” reruns, I have set about contemplating the month of May.

Why May?  Well for one, it is when the half marathon session comes to a close with one of two events:  The Rock N River Half Marathon or the Silver State 50/50 Trail Half Marathon.  It is also a busy month with the dogs.  There is not one but two critical tournaments in California I will be competing in with them.  And for some reason, every single one of these events is on a different weekend in May.  In fact, they are on alternating weekends:  half, tournament, half, tournament.

Here I am (left) after the 5K at the Rock-N-River in 2011. I look happy because I am happy!

This has set something up in my mind, particularly as I contemplate the Trifecta.  Initially, I had planned to do something like this:  10K, tournament, half, tournament.  (By the way, it is pretty normal for me to have something going on every single weekend that time of year.  I sort of thrive off all the activity.  I am weird like that).

Now, however, I find myself contemplating running both half marathons.  I think it is reasonable to expect that if I am comfortable running long runs over 10 miles on back to back weekends or even back to back days (that 24 mile weekend is still my favorite) I should be comfortable running two halfs with 14 days between them.

Holding a plank on a plank after 20 miles? No problem. Two halfs in 14 days? Even less of a problem, I think.

When I consider this from a non-obsessive runner perspective, I understand that this probably sounds absolutely insane.  Why would I subject myself to this?  Isn’t it too much?  The truth is, I’m not subjecting myself to anything.  I choose to do it because I love it.  And no, it really isn’t too much so long as I am smart about not only the training but fueling my running addiction.  From the obsessive runner perspective this sounds pretty mellow if not practical in comparison with other things I could be doing, like trying to run my first 50K and chasing it down with a trail half the next day or something like that.  I know people who do that.  They are the people who make me feel perfectly sane in my attempt at the Trifecta.  They are also supportive and encouraging of my May.

As for the two flyball tournaments sandwiched in between?  I’ve got this.  Both promise to be intense but they are both completely doable.  It’s a whole different muscle group.

So there you have it.  It is all decided.  In order not to torture myself with remorse over the failure to complete goals, regardless of whether or not illness played a role in it, I have decided to channel all my energy into both halfs and both tournaments in May.  Bring it on.