Ups and Downs (and not just on some freaking big hills)

Blog, Sue Cloutier

Ahh, spring! After one more large dump of snow on April Fool’s Day, it seems that *slightly* warmer  spring weather is finally here. Which amounts to two sunny days in the upper 50s (!), and now several cooler days filled with rain. They can’t all be glorious, I guess.

My Run for the Border Half Marathon went quite well! I did decide at the last minute to wear my watch, which meant it was not charged, and died about halfway through the race. The weather was cool, but not uncomfortably cold, and we had another great tailwind, which seems to be a regular boon to this course. I ran strong, despite my nagging cold and some pre-race heartburn, and really only struggled in the last mile and a half. That was probably due to not having run over 12 miles in training thus far. But I did run it all, and kept a consistent turnover despite the fatigue. I am happy with my 2:12:44 finish, just seconds ahead of October’s Rockfest time of 2:12:46; and landing smack-dab in the middle of my 2:10-2:15 estimation. Success!

Not a personal record, so it’s hard to be triumphant, but a definite success on the road to that inevitable PR. I will break two hours. Maybe not this spring. Maybe not later this spring. Maybe not this summer. But fall, I see you there holding my 1:59:something. I see you.

Since Run for the Border I have been pumped to start putting some serious mileage and workouts in. The snow is melting, the cough and cold is fading away, and my marathon is calling my name. Or was…

I got back to the speed work. One really tough 12x400s workout, which was brutal but I nailed it. Eight miles at marathon pace. Two easy runs. An oh-my-god-so-many-giant-hills sixteen miler which I still can’t believe I ran through. That is a run that makes you question your sanity, the kind that asks you “Why do you do this to yourself?” and “Seriously? You’re going to keep running?” The kind of run that makes you feel like you are dying. You know, the kind of run that turns you into a marathoner.

So, thirty-eight miles in total last week. Not too shabby, but I can do better in these last few weeks before my marathon. My marathon? If it was my marathon, I would have registered for it before it sold out.

And today I completed my second speed session, 8x600s. After some quick calculations, I figured out that I would be running it at a 9:09 pace instead of last week’s 9:20 for my 400s. A faster pace over a longer distance interval? That can’t be right… But holy crap, did I do it! And holy crap, did it feel easier than last week. Guys, I think I might be onto something with this training thing. I see you 1:59.

About that marathon. You know, the race that I’ve been doing all this training for? It doesn’t look like I’m going to get in. I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointing that is. I really, really wanted to run this course. I mean, it’s not too late, but the race director pretty much told me, “Don’t count on it.” Well, they were her exact words. Pouty face.

So, as I am wont to do,  I started thinking about alternatives. Maine Coast Marathon hasn’t sold out yet, but I’m honestly not all that interested in running it this year. Partly because I was training for a downhill race, and partly because I know with 100% certainty that I will be working that night as it’s Mother’s Day, the biggest day of the year for the restaurant that I work at.

I’m just not excited about any other May races… Although. I did notice that there is a trail running festival on May 28th that features a 50K option. So that might be something. Regardless, I’m going to continue my training, and see how the waitlist for Sugarloaf pans out. And there’s always pushing down that half marathon time. I see you.


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