55 vs. 97 - Do What's Right For You

The sweat already started to bead onto my forehead as I headed out the door for my morning run and I could feel the sun beating onto my shoulders. I chided myself about starting earlier, but unless I begin before dawn, it's almost always going to be hot this time of year. The easy miles have gradually been feeling easier and some days I have to glance at my watch so that I don't go too fast on the easy days. I tend to run faster without realizing it (a bad habit that I quickly rectify, cause I love my easy days - and they are necessary/vital), when I think about running another marathon, working on my form or focusing on finishing a race fast no matter the time on the clock - I think the adrenaline starts to kick in and I have to remind myself to slow down. The question that has been nagging in my head for a couple of weeks is: "Will I be ready to race a marathon in October?" I don't know why that question rears it's ugly head. I don't have a reason to doubt my fitness and my coach has laid out a solid plan for me to prep for the Ventura Marathon on October 21st. October 21st is fifty five days from today and at the beginning of last week I was determined to be ready. Nothing has changed as far as steadfast preparation, but the thought would pop up at random times: "Do you feel rushed? Are you trying to take on too much at the same time?"

This is me super up close and personal after one of last week's morning runs #bareface

Kids at home. Starting Suite Run. And you guys - I started coaching! Yes, I know - All.The.Things. I have a few clients right now (I love it so much already) and I'll give you all the details in another post. I think because I will finally have all three off to full day school (for the first time in 11.5 years, I will not have a kid home with me), I wanted (needed) to have a meaningful purpose to fill the day. I started wondering about my ultimate purpose in life - I've been home with my kids for so long and although it's the hardest job I've ever had, do I need more now? The answer is a resounding yes and I've done so much soul searching about my feelings and how to navigate through it all. Honestly, I look at women who have worked outside the home and balanced a family and think how cool that they have an amazing career to keep them going. Then, I shake it aside, because the grass always seems greener, right? I have to simply start from where I am now and build my own career.

We each have our own path in life

Anyway, back to whether I'm taking on too much right now... I will take a huge breath when the kids go back to school after Labor Day and I will be able to organize my day accordingly. With all that said, the thoughts at the start of my runs lately have nagged my mind about whether I can run as fast as I know I can - and inch closer to my goals in the time allotted. The thing about the marathon is: you get one shot. ONE SHOT. One throw at the dart board to make an impact and then you have to let the body heal, recover properly, slowly ramp up and start another cycle all over again. There's a good 5-6 months in between each marathon cycle, if you don't want to risk injury or overtraining. I knew going into Ventura that I needed to give it everything I have or I would not have another chance until probably springtime. Long story short (and if you are still reading this - thank you) and after a big heart to heart with Jerold on Friday, I have decided not to run the Ventura Marathon.

Scene from Saturday's gorgeous mix of trails and road. Lots of time to quietly think - I had the best time.

However, there is a bit of a twist. I will be at Ventura - to run the half marathon (Use my discount code - GoNatalie2018 to get 10% off!). It's a fast and honest course and I ran a big PR there last October. I can't wait to go back in fifty five days and run even faster in the half.
I have decided to run CIM on December 2nd! After our talk on Friday, I made the choice to move our December plans around a bit and go for it. Racing CIM gives me more time to settle into life and training, I have unfinished business with that course and I love the fact that the marathon championships will take place there again this year. You guys - I can't believe I didn't cancel my hotel... I thought about it last week, and put it on my to-do list. I'm really glad I didn't, cause I know the hotel sold out super early this year.
Anyway, there you have it. I now have ninety seven days until the marathon and a sigh of relief coursing through my body. Look, I know at the end of the day, I would have mentally rose to the challenge and made myself ready for the Ventura Marathon, but this decision feels so, so good. I'm really happy to go back to Sacramento and race my heart out.
Training hasn't really changed - I'm still running a lot and I have double runs once or twice a week (not to split up the original run of the day - I've had questions about this in the past - but to add an easy extra 3-4 miles to get more miles in my legs). This week of training definitely had some difficult points - one run I cut in half, and my tempo run this week was 3 x 2 miles and I only did 2 x 2 miles. Ugh. Also on Sunday's 15 mile long run - 10 miles I ran easier at 7:41 pace and then the last five miles at 6:55 pace. When I got to the tempo portion, I ran one mile and then I stopped. I just stopped on the side of the road when I had 4 more miles left to go. Total time stopped was about 45-50 seconds of contemplation and then I realized - this stuff isn't easy my friends. Running can be really hard at times - so what do you do? I knew in that moment that I had to for real suck it up and finish the dang thing. Finish it. It wasn't pretty, but I finished with 15 total for Sunday and 62.3 total miles for the week.

There was zero smiling on this run. PS: I take my pics after the run is completed.

This coming week, the plan is to hit well over 70 miles and I will be ready. Coach tells me to take it one day at a time and you have to, otherwise it's really overwhelming.

In other weekend news, we had the most amazing ice cream sandwiches on Saturday afternoon...

It's my heart wrapped up in these 4 humans.

We did a good amount of work on Suite Run and spent some quality time in Westwood vetting running routes from one of the hotels along Wilshire Blvd. We have a really pretty 3 and 5 mile route and the map will be up shortly on our site. The great thing about Suite Run, is we get to explore so many parts of our city up close and personal.

Along the Wilshire corridor in Westwood near UCLA.

We set up a few interviews with some fantastic people! You won't want to miss it so subscribe to our newsletter so you can get edition #3 delivered to your inbox :)

Have a wonderful start to your week my friends. 

Never stop dreaming.


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