My running over the previous several months can be summed up with a line from Top Gun.  “I feel the need….the need for speed!” I’ve been very focused on time goals and getting faster.  After 6 months of dedicated training with several runs of 20 or more miles and 1 mile repeats, I did take 25 minutes off my marathon PR.  Which still puts me somewhere near that back of the pack.  My immediate thought when I finished the NYC Marathon was that I needed to get back into training ASAP so I could “redeem myself” at Disney (I guess I didn’t think a 25 minute PR was worth anything?) with a finish time closer to 5 hours.

Not surprisingly my rational brain and my body felt quite differently.  For the first few weeks following NYC, I found it difficult to get out the door.  I was super busy at work and also busy getting ready for a big family trip to Hawaii.  But I also lost all desire to run.  I just didn’t have to drive in my heart that my emotional brain felt.  I missed a few short runs and didn’t have a lot of energy.  The weekend that we flew to Hawaii (10.5 hour direct flight from JFK to Honolulu followed by a 45 minute flight to Kona) I had 26 miles on the schedule.  My husband was out of town until about 12 hours before departure and we agreed that I’d save my long run for Hawaii.  We arrived at our hotel at 8pm Hawaiian time (1am NY time – after leaving our house at 7am the previous morning).  I was up and out the door by 3:30am for my long run.

My run started in the dark.  Not NY dark.  I don’t think we know dark in NY.  I couldn’t see anything.  I crashed into bushes.  I finally turned on the flashlight app on my cell phone so I wouldn’t mis-step and fall.  I didn’t really have a specific route but knew I’d be safe if I stayed in the general area around our hotel.  We were staying in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area.  You turn off the main road (19) and there in an area with multiple time shares, several hotels, and 2 significant strip malls in about a 6 mile loop.  There are a few side paths to add to the distance. The stars were gorgeous but it was mostly warm, humid, and dark.  I tried to get creative with some trails but it was too risky.  The run was mostly going well.  I was using a 20/40 due to exhaustion, heat, and humidity.  I was trying to get back by 9am but my jet-lagged family was getting antsy.  Finally around mile 19 my husband texted me to find out my eta.  I knew it was time to throw the towel in.

I managed 20 miles and I knew that Jeff Galloway would tell me to give up any time goals for Disney.  And I knew he was right.  I just didn’t have the drive after running a time goal marathon to put in the effort for another time goal marathon.  I have one more mega run before Disney (which I’m trying to schedule as my December is getting crazier and crazier) but most of my runs will be 6 miles or less.  It’s nice to cut back on the distance a bit and I will certainly look forward to half marathon training after doing 2 fulls in a row!

I haven’t given up my goal of getting faster.  Jeff Galloway already has me doing more speed work on my short runs in preparation for my April half marathon.  Tuesdays I run cadence drills and acceleration gliders followed by 1/2 mile “race rehearsal” segments.  The cadence drills help increase foot turnover which leads to faster and more efficient running.  Acceleration-gliders are a form of speed work – they are similar to fartleks in some ways – but also teach running efficiency and improved transition between running and walking.  Race rehearsal segments are exactly that.  You run a 1/2 mile segment at race pace using the run/walk ratio you plan to use in the race.  After each segment you walk for 2 minutes to recover.  It helps get you used to the pace and interval you plan to use on race day.  On Thursdays I have a new set of drills.  I start with cadence and acceleration-gliders but then I do something completely new to me.  I run 200m repeats.  The 1st 200m should be in 60 sec.  I walk 100m and then try to speed up by 1 sec per 200m for each subsequent one.  I started with 4 x 200m and should increase by 1-2 intervals each week.  I’m finding it difficult to get the pacing right, although I did all 4 in under 60 sec, I’m not sure I got the timing exactly straight.  After I do my 200m repeats for the day, I finish with some hills.  That will become more important as my April half marathon gets closer as it is a very hilly course.

I’m at peace with my decision to run Disney at whatever pace feels comfortable.  The weather in Orlando in January can be very unpredictable.  The past 2 years it was in the 80s.  The year before was a bit cooler than that.  And in 2010 it was freezing cold with sleet.  Historically we should be due for some cooler temperatures this year (which is nice for racing but I must say that 80 degrees in January is very nice for vacationing!) but it doesn’t really matter to me at this point.  I can race according to how I feel and not feel tethered by a goal.

It’s hard for me to “give up” on a time goal.  I don’t think I’ll ever really be a “stop for photos at every opportunity” kind of runner (not a criticism at all – I’m too competitive for that).  But at least I can enjoy having my camera and pausing every so often without feeling like I”m missing out on a PR.  I feel good about starting to train for the April half marathon, almost as if the Disney Marathon weren’t really happening, but allowing me to create a new goal.  Although I’m not ready to give up on full marathons completely, I can definitely see that the half distance is more manageable (for me, at least). I’m ok working on my half marathon time for now and thinking about the full marathon when it next arises (likely for the Goofy 2015).