So now that Goofy Challenge is over and done with I'm busy trying to figure out exactly what my goals for the coming year are going to be. I have lots of little ideas of things I'd like to work on and things I'd like to accomplish and yes, I'm even already signed up for 5 races and have several more on the registration horizon.
But until I get my year sorted out, I was issued a bit of a challenge of sorts.
I've always lamented about how much I dislike speed work and running at the track and doing drills. When I trained for my very first half marathon back in 2008 it was during the speed training that everyone, including myself, started to get injured. I just had it in my head since then that speed work is evil and more likely to hurt me (physically) than it is to benefit me (speed wise). So, I've pretty much neglected it short of tempo runs and the odd little ladder drill on the treadmill.
Anyhow, my running friend Solana, who you may or may not know from her blog Cavegirl on the Run (and who is also obsessed with speed training) is convinced that she can speed train me to a new half marathon PR. And not just a new PR in 2013 but a new PR on February 10th!
She figured that I'm likely capable of a bit more than I think I am and has offered to coach me through some speed work until my next half marathon. I still hate speed training but I'm not one to back down from a challenge so I've agreed. And so far the workouts have been killer. Maybe they wouldn't be for someone who regularly speed trains but for me they've been toughies! My hamstrings have been angry little muscles this past week. Ouch.
I think my main problem with pushing my speed limit is that I don't know how to be uncomfortable. I've written about it before because I've known for awhile - I tend to run at a pace I know I can maintain and finish at. I've always been scared that if I push too hard I'm going to burn out and not finish. I'm not comfortable running at an uncomfortable pace. But Solana is. I kinda think she thrives on the pain and the achievements it brings her. She's always called it "Beast Mode" so therefore I have become her "Beast in Training"...
So maybe this little challenge is just what I need to learn how to step out of my comfortable box and find the joy in pushing my body and seeing what it can do. All week I did my workouts as prescribed by the Beast (er, I mean Solana) and even added a couple extra reps to some of them (I'm a good student) and it's been going well I'd say.
This morning I ran my first post-Goofy race and it gave me the chance to test my ability to get uncomfortable. If I do say so myself, I think I passed with flying colours but I'll let you decide when I lay it all out in my race report hopefully tomorrow. Here's a spoiler though - even Solana herself said she was proud of me. Aww.
I think my year is falling into place when it comes to race plans and goals but this little speed/PR challenge is a fun way to get some of that mojo flowing again. So, do I think I'll PR at my next half marathon? My current PR is 2:09:57 and you can be sure that I (and Solana) will be doing everything I can to see that I do!