*Big breath* Maybe I should have posted half of this post earlier in the week to make it shorter but oh well... I'm a little behind. What else is new?
Marathonfest started Tuesday morning at 4:30 in the morning. I had to leave my house at 4:00am. I was actually so excited I couldn't sleep Monday night. I've been looking forward to the start of this program since I signed up a while ago. How was it? In one word... disappointing. But don't worry this story has a happy ending on Thursday (this morning). But... I'll start with Tuesday.
I got there and had no idea where to go. I parked where the handout said to park but couldn't find a way to get around the fence that went around the track so I ended up having to walk all the way around the block and that was frustrating. As soon as I got to the track I saw a whole of runners taking off. I asked the last one in the group "is this marathonfest" and he replied as he ran by "yeah we're warming up feel free to join" and then off he went.
Joining a warmup where I had no idea how long or at what pace they were going (and they were SPEEDY!) didn't sound like a lot of fun so instead I meandered over to the track in hopes that I could warm up properly by stretching and jumping in place since I didn't want to get too far from our workout-start area. There were a few others there, no one said anything to me... I realize at this point in the post I'm seeming very needy. I guess I was just expecting someone to be there to greet new people on the first day and make them feel like they're in the right place. Something to make this seem at least an ounce of comfortable.
That's when... Robin appeared and made my morning at least a little bearable! We walked around the track and I told her that despite my text the previous night saying how "not nervous" I was, I was suddenly very nervous. We quickly found out her group was not training in the same place mine was and we had to part ways. I was pretty sad about that. We waved goodbye and I put on my big girl panties and got ready to do speedwork.
The leader then explained what we'd be doing... some set of laps around the track, rest laps, more running laps, another couple rest laps... and then handed out pieces of paper with pace charts on them and goal times for the marathon. It all looked pretty foreign so I passed them on to the next person without really reading them. She mentioned "10k pace" at one point so I figured I'd just use that as my pace.
After about an hour of "the workout" we were done. Robin appeared again (she's magical!) and asked me how I was feeling. I was just short of bursting into tears. I told her I was disapointed and bummed. No one had talked to me, I felt alone even though there were 100+ people on the track... it wasn't at all the happy group experience I was looking for. Being the concerned "mom" she is she recommended maybe I switch to her group since they seemed to be a bit more friendly... I told her I wanted to try this for at least a week and see how it went. She gave me a chocolate chip clif bar from her car (this woman is SERIOUSLY magical :D it's my favorite flavor), gave me a concerned hug, and drove away.
I spent the next few days really thinking about what I wanted to do. Running has always been fun for me. Granted I've had a few hungover runs but those were mood-specific, not workout specific. If I had don the same run not hungover it WOULD have been fun. I feel like this speed workout wouldn't have been fun regardless (especially since I was in a GOOD mood this morning). I talked to my friends about it who are also doing hte program (but in the evening so they were not at the workout) and they told me "speedwork isn't supposed to be fun but you won't reach your full potential otherwise".
I feel like that is complete BS. What the heck is my "full potential" anyway? Is "full potential" what you get when you put EVERY second you possibly have into training? Cause if that's it I can't do that anyway and I don't know why I'd even aim for "full potential". In my mind... running is a condiment to my life... like ketchup. I like ketchup... but the main idea isn't the ketchup, it's the fact that the ketchup makes the hot dog so good (in this analogy the hot dog is life). If the ketchup stops tasting good I'd rather just have the hot dog. Or... if the "really good "brand of ketchup becomes too expensive I'll switch to the generic because it's really not about "how good" the ketchup is. I kinda feel the same way about running. Running makes me happy. It helps me keep stress out of my life. It's super fun. If it stops being these things then why am I doing it? What's the point? I was starting to think I just wanted the hot dog. Screw the fancy-schmancy "training program" ketchup and go for the grocery store brand (a.k.a. training on my own).
This is why I didn't write a blog post on Tuesday. I knew it would be negative and and I just wanted to give this a real chance before I ditched or bashed it on the internet. I've talked to others who have done the group and LOVE the experience so I figured maybe it was just a bad day... try again?
On to Thursday (this morning)....
As bad as Tuesday was, today was THAT good. We were not doing speedwork (thank god) but instead doing a 3.1 mile time trial to determine our pace groups for the upcoming long runs on the weekends. I already picked a pace group (a nice slow one with walk breaks) so I wasn't really concerned about my time. I had even emailed back and forth with my paceleader, telling her my story and I knew what she looked like from facebook (yeah.. I'm a stalker :D). I was excited to meet the people I'd be running with on Saturday! I knew in order to be "fast enough" for my pace group I'd need to hit a 31:00-32:00 minute 5k. My average is 27 minutes.
So... right before the start of the 5k I met a woman (not in my pace group) who was also training for her first. We started talking and realized we have the same 5k pace so we decided to run together. Furthermore, seconds before the gun went off I realized I was standing next to my paceleader and my future group! I waved cheesily and said "Hi!" and she said "Are you Lauren?" and we quickly introduced me to the group. They all seemed seriously fun and laid back. I was already feeling great at this point...
The 5k went great, I ran with the girl I had met first and we finished in 27:15. I asked the organizer if I could stay in my "slower" group even though my time put me in a faster group and she said "of course!". After the race I met back up with someone from my pace group named Mark (I think?) and we talked for a while. He told me the group is one of the more laid-back ones and mostly just full of friendly people that like getting long runs in on Saturday. This sounded amazing to me after hearing so many people stressing about their times and paces at the speedwork on Tuesday. We waved goodbye and I walked to my car with a giant grin on my face. I am REALLY looking forward to Saturday now. The schedule said 10 miles but Mark is going 12 and I have a feeling I'll be joining him. I don't really want to drop down to 10 after doing 14 last week.
So.. all in all it was a great experience today. Check out my NEW marathon training schedule as of this week. Pretty exciting.
Once again, thanks Robin for being so supportive of me!
I can't believe ANYONE out there would really read this ENTIRE post lol!