The cheetah within …

cowcheetah
A basic graph of how I feel about my running as of late.

Last week I blogged about my recent health and weight issues. I hate blogging about those things. But, sometimes that’s just life. Especially when you live with a whacked out thyroid and doctor.

This past week I’ve really been trying to focus on the mentality of what I need to do now, but more importantly, where I want to go as well. After a much needed run at Liberty Park last week I started seeing more clearly what my potential was in running. I stopped looking at running a sub-two half marathon as a one-and-done goal and more like a new standard.

Even running the Run Elevated Half Marathon down Little Cottonwood Canyon this past Saturday I felt that I had SO much within me. Actually, I KNEW that I had so much more within me. Despite my mental disposition of feeling like a slow running cow, I know that within me lies a cheetah. I’m made for speed. I’ve got the legs and with the proper training and dedication I know I can get MUCH faster than I am running now.

I mean … MUCH, MUCH, FASTER.

Knowing the current state of my body, I don’t run well when I am mixing marathons and half marathons together. Training for a marathon and half marathon are two different beasts. Marathons are about miles and half marathons are more about speed, at least for me. And, the two don’t mix very well because I don’t get faster on my half marathon times when I am training and running marathons. I just don’t.

So, I’ve made the decision that for at least the next year I am not going to run a marathon after Big Cottonwood in September. My focus is going to be half marathons, speed work and deliberate training. I really want to get that sub-two half marathon time, but more than that I want to condition myself to that standard. So that is my goal and focus from September on.

In addition to focusing on half marathons I am going to slow down the races a tad. All in all by the end of the year my race total for 2014 will be somewhere around 26 to 27. I’ve felt a need to knock out a lot of races this year, but I really can’t do that again. I need more of a balance in my life. That’s why in 2015 my goal is to run one half marathon a month with a few exceptions here and there. But, I am capping it at 15 races next year. I know that’s still a lot, but it’s still almost half of what I’ve ran this year.

To replace a lot of those races my long runs will be more deliberate. I plan on running more 8-10 mile long runs during the week and weekend. I’d love to run down the canyons more and even find some more routes around the Wasatch Front to run. I sense the need for some more adventure in my running and I am excited to do that.

But, I know that running alone won’t get me towards my goal. I am going to have to continue to work off the weight and condition myself well. I’m going to have to balance my running with strength training. I also need to do some more cross-training to help avoid burnout. Ideally, I’d love to swim a lot more. I am taking adult swimming lessons in October after all. But, I just need to focus on balance. I really feel that.

And, of course to not forget diet. I do need to clean out my diet. Not a lot, but I need to eat cleaner. I need to eat deliberately. I’m such a routine eater that I am sure this won’t be that big of an issue. BUT … you can’t avoid it either. I’ll need to eat more vegetables (who doesn’t?) and watch the processed foods. Food is such a big part of any diet or lifestyle change that I know I’ll have to address all of that in another post. There’s just TOO much to it.

But, it’s important nonetheless.

I am excited for this new focus. And, I’m not going to lie, I not going to really miss the marathon training. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not going to be my focus this upcoming year. It’s speed, it’s consistency and it’s getting a lot faster than I am now.

I want that cheetah within that mental cow that I believe that I am to burst through and take (well, there’s a thought). I know it’s within me. I know I can do it. It’s now just a matter of doing it and staying committed to the course.

So, my initial plan is to take the next couple of weeks to come up with a killer plan to get me there. I am going to focus on getting rid of the excess weight that I need to (my goal to get down to my normal weight is Thanksgiving … funny that’s the goal, because odds are I’ll need to lose it all again the following day … kidding) while pushing myself and working on the speed work and of course running form (gotta learn how to kick those legs up like a pro, right?). But, then starting December 1st (or Black Friday) my goal is to concentrate even more on the speed training working towards my first attempt at a sub-two at the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half on May 9th.

I am also focusing on other races in 2015 that will give me the opportunity to PR and sub-two … Timp, Utah Valley, Deseret News, Run Elevated and Nebo. Just typing that I got this crazy idea of a goal to run all of those in a sub-two? That would take a lot, but why not? Why not try? Why not commit myself to a crazy outlandish goal like that? Even if I don’t reach that goal I’ll at least be striving for something amazing, right?

I am excited about this new vision. I am excited to see where it takes me. I really know that I need to not just push myself in my running, but I’ve also got to balance it out with other things in my life. As hard as this it is for me to say this, on a running blog nonetheless, there is more to life than just running (GASP! … I might have just fainted). But, it’s true.

I was fortunate enough to run for the past three years without much responsibility outside of myself. And, I’m not going to be single forever. I know once marriage and kids come there will go a lot of my free time. Which would more than likely be running. I know I won’t be able to run 25 races year each year, so I’ve got to be deliberate, focus on balance and strive for greatness in the time that’s given me to do what I love.

Because I am destined to be that dang cheetah.

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