Not only has my running blog suffered from benign neglect, but my running has also suffered from not-so-benign neglect. Over the last few years I have found it harder and harder to maintain a consistent training schedule and the result is that I’m slower and heavier than I’ve ever been. In January Rich and I ran the Goofy Challenge. Although the half marathon on Saturday went very well, I hit the wall – hard – during the Sunday marathon. We did finish but the last third of the race was difficult and painful. I was pretty disappointed that my training hadn’t been better and spent a lot of time thinking about how to do better. I know that I need goal races to get me motivated and I also thought that choosing shorter distance races would give me the opportunity to train to get faster rather than just focusing on the endurance needed for longer distances.

With that in mind, I picked the Garden City for a Cure 5k as my spring goal race. With children’s schedules, work obligations, and travel, I had a limited number of weekends to race. Earth Day weekend was ideal and the Garden City race claimed a flat and fast course. Plus it was a fundraiser for cancer which was a bonus. I bought and downloaded the Runner’s World training plan to break 30 minutes in the 5k and enthusiastically started training.

A brutal, non-stop winter meant that much of my early training was done on the treadmill. My foot pod has not been re-calibrated with my Garmin which means that I’ve been dependent on the treadmill to calculate pace. Not always a safe bet. My first few weeks went well and I was able to hit my target paces. And then my crazy travel schedule began. Two days in Washington, DC for a conference with early mornings and evening events. The following week featured a one day trip to Chicago for a meeting with a 6am flight there and 6pm flight home. Then I drove the kids to Tampa for Spring Break.  While I did run a few times in Tampa, I had heat acclimation issues which meant that my paces were off. The 21 hour drive home with a 4:30am arrival totally knocked me out for a week. And suddenly I found myself one week out from my race with virtually no speed work done and no long runs. I knew that I would not be able to hit my goal time and I also knew that I hadn’t prepared properly.

Race Day was sunny and a bit chilly. I definitely overdressed for the race as it was at least 5 degrees warmer in Garden City than home. The race had all the warmth of a local fundraiser with nice volunteers and a friendly atmosphere. The course was quite flat and ran through the local neighborhood around Garden City High School. Lots of enthusiastic locals were cheering along the way with plenty of official and unofficial water stops. It was definitely a fun event and one that I could recommend to anyone in the area.

I tried to keep my heart rate below 175 for the first 2 miles and below 180 for the last mile. I walked a few times to get my heart rate back down as needed but finished strong. My finish time was 33 minutes. Almost one minute per mile slower than I had hoped. I told Rich after the race that while I didn’t run the race I had hoped to run, I certainly ran the race that I had trained to run. IMG_8608

(Thanks to our friends Clara and Christine for the awesome finish line photo!!!)

What next? I’m starting a diet bet-type competition tomorrow. I need to lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. I have a big presentation in mid-May and my 25th college reunion coming up so it’s good timing. I’m going to sign up for 5k series near me at SUNY Purchase this summer. The first race is in late June so I have time to reboot my training plan. Rich has helped me to come up with creative ways to fit training into our busy lives. Last weekend I wore my running clothes to my daughter’s lacrosse practice and went for a run while she was playing. I think I need to do a better job of looking at my weekly schedule and planning around it each week. And I think that losing some of this excess weight will help me get faster.

Missing out on my spring running goal has helped me re-evaluate my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and motivated me to try again. I’m always happy to hear other people’s tips and tricks for getting it done!