Girl On A Mission

Countdown to Vegas
Right now I am super focused. My next race, the Rock n’ Roll Vegas Half Marathon is 8 weeks away. Until yesterday I did not have a training plan. Having not run much since the last half marathon at the end of August due to an injury, I wasn’t even sure why I had signed up for this next half. But it had just seemed like such a exciting race. My previous half marathon gave me such an adrenaline rush that I couldn’t wait to do another and so I looked for one that landed somewhere in the middle of the calendar between the last half and the full marathon I am running in March; a race that would be flat and not overly challenging. Something fun! Vegas turned out to be the perfect choice. The Vegas Rock n’ Roll postcard “hint” that was in my last half’s schwag bag made finding the race a snap. I had left the postcard out on my dresser and it had been winking it’s bright Vegas lights at me for weeks. That’s some great marketing!

I must admit… I love Vegas. It is Disneyland for adults (and yes, I love Disneyland). In Vegas, there is something for everyone and never a dull moment: gambling, spas, shopping, award winning restaurants, poolside parties, nightclubs and amazing shows. Because this race would be a mini vacation I knew I had to do it on my own without any racing/running buddies. It will be slightly uncomfortable to be in a crowd of thousands when I won’t know anyone, but I am psyched and my focus will be on running my own race. This race is all about me. Thankfully I do have some support. I recruited my mom to accompany me, although in the end it was her final prodding that got me to register. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to physically do the run. Mom loves to gamble and loves Vegas as much as me, if not more. So the plane reservations and hotel accommodations were made right after I registered for what is now my most expensive race to date. The trip was set.

I Have A Plan!
So… until yesterday, I didn’t have a plan. Initially I was thinking I would just sort of wing it not knowing if I should just start my full marathon training plan in four weeks and the half would just fall nicely in there on one of my long run days or if I should follow some other training strategy. That seemed like a bad idea, but I was unsure of what to do… I mean, I know I can run a half… I’ve done it twice now and have a good number of long runs under my belt. Still…

I subscribe to Runner’s World magazine and my email box gets inundated with all sorts of solicitous spam from them and their affiliates. After countless messages to try their “Smart Coach” program I thought I’d check it out. With the regulatory “try it free for 30 days” gimmick highlighting the ad, how could I pass that up? I laugh.

8 week countdown to my Vegas Half

I signed up. I can wholeheartedly tell you, I don’t think too much of it. The plan is rather basic and I wish it were more intuitive. Yes, it did allow me to come up with my personal 8 week plan based on my age (cough), my last half’s time, and what time I wanted to accomplish in this race (which is always adjustable), and while that does please me, that pretty much is it. I want to be a complete running nerd and be able to input how many miles I actually did do each day and what my pace was, so that it can adjust my plan to how I am exercising. Is that asking too much?

There is one additional plus. Each day I receive an email reminding me of my next workout. Not that I need it, because I am obsessive when it comes to this, but it’s still nice. Today, it says rest day or I may choose to do some cross training. My Smart Coach also reminds me of the importance of a rest day and that sometimes runners undermine their training by overdoing it and not to fall into that pattern. Guilty. There is also a handy tip to keep you motivated. Today’s said “successful training for a goal race does not require perfection”. For someone like me, that is tough to swallow (I’m a do it “come hell or high water” type). Despite that, I am going to listen. In some ways, a secondary goal is also to see how well this plan works for me. Of course there will be some adjustments. I can’t always run the same exact miles it calls for, especially if I am on a group run, which I will not sacrifice missing at the moment. The miles will be close. And the rest day, as I am only taking one, falls on Saturday, which is a day I run with a group, so I will swap it with Friday. I am going to do my best to be flexible, however, I thrive on following a plan and won’t stray very far from it.

One interesting aspect of this training program is that it is completely different from any previous plan I have completed. For both my last two half’s, I followed an intermediate marathon training plan. Yes, a full marathon training plan for a half marathon race. No, I never did a run longer than 12 miles, but I did all the rest of them. It included five running days, one cross training day and one rest day. Yes, I may have over trained I suppose, but I really enjoyed the extra mileage. Really. On this new plan I will be running only four days a week as opposed to the five. It is an adjustment and I am curious to see how it stacks up when I actually do the Vegas race. I want to beat my previous time of 2:05:57. My target time is to run a sub 2. With this plan that goal seems possible. In eight weeks, we will know. In the meantime I am on a mission to remain focused and pumped and be the best athlete I can be.

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