Anyway, I'm really not going to go back to structured blogging, but I wanted to write down some things... talk about what happened especially over the last few weeks and what I'm looking forward to.
First of all, I'm really enjoying some downtime. That said, I really get annoyed with the downtime. I'm not really on any sort of "plan" - be it running or lifting or whatever - and while some days that's very liberating other days it pisses me off because I want that goal/that purpose/that drive for a true end result. but it is what it is... pretty soon I'll be bitching about fitting all my runs into my life schedule again so I'm trying to chill and enjoy.
For all intents and purposes 2015 is done for me, as far as training/running goes. I may... just may.. do a five mile race here in the coming weeks but if I do I will not all out race it. I'm just itching to do something.
So, my final thoughts on my training cycle and MCM are this:
I loved the training plan I chose. Funny thought: this was just a free plan offered by the Clif Bar company. I was attracted to it by the low mileage (since I was coming off an injury and still run/walking for those first few weeks), as well as the 2x weekly speedwork. I also liked the fact that it was 4 days per week running with the flexibility to add easy miles and/or cross training on the other days - which I did take advantage of and was running the standard 5 days per week by the middle of the plan. I only modified it slightly - it scheduled 2 runs of 19 then 21 miles and I thought that sounded stupid, so I just did 2 20 milers. And the tempo runs I made true tempo runs, not race pace miles sandwiched inside a warmup and cooldown (that is NOT a tempo run!). In general, I think it was a nice, well rounded plan that was super flexible so that it could "grow with me", so to speak, as I fully recovered from my stress reaction and felt ready to take on the longer/harder stuff. I did hit 50 miles a week at peak, which as you know is short of the 55 I was at before, but really.. that's not too shabby in the world of casual marathoning.
I did not follow the nutrition plan that came with the running plan because I was trying to follow the Racing Weight book. Which was a fail for me, like I've posted before.
I felt totally prepared for the race, but in the end it was the mind over matter issue on top of the awful weather that did me in. I pulled the classic "go out too fast" scenario and then faded and couldn't mentally get over myself in time to really bring it in. BUT - I still pounded out a 9 minute PR, and achieved my B goal of a sub 3:50 (A goal was 3:45). I also didn't walk a single step of the Iwo hill or any of the rest of the race, which was a big positive over last year. So, even though the race didn't go as planned, I consider this whole cycle from day 1 of run/walking to feeling awesome in the days AFTER the race (seriously - easiest recovery ever) a huge success.
What's next? Well, like I said right now I'm in that limbo point. I'm not training for anything, I'm just taking care of myself and staying fit.
I am planning on tackling some different things in 2016. I absolutely plan on MCM again. I want to get into the lifetime club so bad. My "goal" early 2016 race is actually pretty early in the year so I'll be starting a training plan by the beginning of December. I've enlisted the wisdom of a coach/someone who is a more seasoned and talented runner than I'll probably ever be. One of the things that has been brought to my attention is that supposedly I am doing my running journey a huge disservice my consistently running my "easy" and ESPECIALLY my long runs (unless there is a prescribed workout within the run) too fast. Now, I've been running by a heart rate range that I'd calculated and thought that was good enough but I'm told I need to run "slower than that slow". So, it's going to be tough but I'm gonna try it. I've been kinda trying out the paces on the runs I've done this week and I still ran every one (of the three I did) faster than the plan! I guess I need to take some time and focus and hone in on what it's supposed to feel like. Of course, once winter rolls in it's easier to go into turtle mode anyway to prevent death by ice patch. But, anyway, I'm looking forward to a different type of training, different type of plan, and different race and a different goal. I know this is gonna sound bad, but running has gotten a little boring as well as frustrating for me and I need a change in perspective to keep me motivated.
I also - and this may be a shock - will not be doing an intense weight training plan in between or during running cycles. For the last two years I've done that and I've gained some serious muscle (I'm no Ronda Rousey but I could beat a bitch down, just sayin'), but the honest fact is I'm bulkier than a runner is meant to be. I really noticed this in recent pics. So, I need to pare down and I will be following a plan tailored for endurance athletes and running functionality. This will be a lot of core work, hip/glute strength and some upper body. I won't be doing hours upon hours of curls and benching and shoulder presses and all that because I need to focus on other areas. And the core work takes #1 priority.
I was kind of inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers to do a 30 day vegan challenge but my family is totally against it. I guess I'll think of something else to do like the Yoga challenge I did last year (that's kept me doing at least some form of yoga on the regular all year!).
Well, that's all that's on my mind right now regarding the current status of life. In the coming weeks I'll be cleaning up my nutrition a bit again (I've been on an OMG eat all the crap I couldn't have during marathon training binge for two weeks and that's not real smart with the holidays coming at us), but other than that it's just keep on moving and loving life. :)