Posted by: runawaynotes | May 16, 2013

Well, this is going to be a very different training season

This Wednesday, I went to the orientation meeting for RunOn early marathon/15K training program, and my main takeaway from that meeting was “This training season is definitely going to be very different from what I am used to.” Even the orientation itself was like nothing I would have expected at DRC. An orientation at DRC is like a first day of school. Everyone is there – the place is completely packed. You have your freshmen (first timers) who are sorta looking shell-shocked and are hanging on to every word the principal (that would be Vishal) says. You have your sophomores (the returning runners), who have already done this once and know the drill, and are coming back for another round. You have your juniors (those who have done the training before and are moving on to the next level) – those guys have done their half training, and are getting ready to take on their first full marathon training season. So, there is this feeling of familiarity and comfort, yet a whole new level of excitement and slight apprehension because you are about to joing “the cool kids” club. And then there are seniors – those are the guys that have done marathon training before, kicked that marathon’s butt, and came back to do it again. Everyone is excited; you see a lot of old friends; you high-five each other, ask about latest races that people have done, and tell your own “battle stories”. All the pace leaders are lined up along the walls like proud teachers, and you can come up to them and chat and get a feel for what they are like. Well, RunOn orientation was nothing like that. 

There were about 10 of us (all girls). Most of us were there to hear about the full marathon training program, only a couple were there for the 15K. I was the only one who have done a marathon before. Some people have never even done a half marathon. I guess RunOn orientation is really just for the ones who are not familiar with the training at all, or else this is going to be the tiniest running group I’ve ever been a part of. Some people were taking notes (that was weird). Overall, it felt a lot more formal than DRC. Can’t say I enjoyed that vibe. Plus, I was a little disappointed that I could not get a better idea of who I would be running with (since none of those people actually were there). So, my anxiety about whether or not I am going to fit in is definitely still present. However, I really liked the coach who was describing the program. He seemed like a really nice guy who has been doing this for a long time and really took pride in his work and the people he coached. Mitch’s presentation had a great balance of “informative and encouraging” and “are you sure you fully realize what you’re getting yourself into”? He gave overview of the training schedule, the types of workouts we were going to do, and all the perks that we would enjoy as a part of the training program (yay for tech shirt, socks, and SAG wagon). He also gave a very honest assessment of what our social life outside of running would be like (i.e. nonexistent) and brought up all the things we need to consider before taking on this commitment (travel requirements, family issues, child care, pet care, health issues, etc.) I think some of the girls wilted a little bit after hearing all this.

Since I already knew the drill, I was fully aware of what I was signing up for, so that didn’t faze me. What did give me a pause was the whole “no listening to music while running” requirement. I have already written a post about my relationship with music while running. I need my distraction. I had to go through a half marathon training program without my iPod once when I was a pace leader and was responsible for the safety of my group, and let me tell you – I did not enjoy it. I cannot imagine having to run for 4.5 hours without music. My training group better have some pretty cool people to talk to, otherwise this whole experience will take on a whole different level of suckiness. I guess the upside is that you don’t get sick of your music by the time the race day rolls around, so you actually get to enjoy it a lot more when it really matters. Another thing that was different from DRC training was that all of our workouts would be mileage-based. With DRC, only our long Saturday runs were based on mileage. All the speed/hillwork/recovery workouts were based on time. So, the faster you ran, the more mileage you got. Obviously, there was no real incentive for me to run any faster than I absolutely had to 😉 So, I will be honest, I might have taken it a bit easier on myself during some of those runs that I did on my own. I guess that is not going to fly this time. If I have to do 6 miles, then I have to do 6 miles, regardless of whether it takes me 50 minutes, an hour, or and hour and 10 minutes to do it. I guess that’s one way of keeping yourself honest.

I decided to skip the “magic mile” time trial and just asked them to put me in a 10:30 conversational pace group. I think this is where I am most comfortable, and considering the fact that this is going to be my hottest training season yet, I am not planning on setting any speed records. This means that my first training run is going to be this coming Tuesday (5:15 am, yay), which would be the first time for me to meet my new running group. I am really excited and really nervous at the same time. I should be getting my welcome email some time today, which would also give me access to the training schedule. I already know that we are going to have few 18 mile runs, a few 20 mile runs, and the longest run will be 22 miles. I also know that Too Hot to Handle 15K and Tour Des Fleurs 20K would be a part of the training program. I am really curious to see what the Tuesday and Thursday workouts are going to be like. I still have a bit of shopping to do (some hats, bras, and shorts to get me through the summer runs), but otherwise I feel like I have everything lined up to kick off this training season. And I don’t know why, but for some reason I keep hearing Effie Trinket’s voice in my head: “And may the odds be ever in your favor”. Must be those 18-mile runs coming up in July.

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