The last month was truly challenging. Not only did my mileage continue to increase, but my job's workload spiked for a couple weeks, and the social demands on my time stayed constant. Summer, I find is a much harder time to fit running into my life than winter, when a lot less is going on.
Week 5: The whole week felt great except for the long run. My mind and body felt completely opposed to starting the 12 miles. Even when I got started, every step was a struggle. I'm not sure what was going on, but the hot, humid weather may have had something to do with it. Week 6: I started to feel a little run down this week. Either I was showing symptoms of overtraining or I just needed to toughen up. Still, I managed to nail every run. Week 7: This wee things really seemed to fall apart. I missed two of my runs and felt completely demotivated. Missing the runs only made me feel worse. When the weekend came around, I had signed up to build some shelves in my garage with Dad. I postponed the long run to Sunday, which was sunny, hot, and humid. My pace slowed to a crawl and I wanted nothing more than a air-conditioned coffin. Instead, I got to spend the entire afternoon building shelves in a garage with no air conditioning. For the first time, I had concerns about my marathon goal--not so much covering the distance as meeting my time goal. Week 8: Wow. After hitting the bottom, things really turned up this week. My body felt rejuvenated and every run felt great. The cooler temperatures probably helped. When I set out for the 6-mile run, I hit the first mile in about 9 minutes and planned on keeping at that pace. Then my legs lit up and hit a really comfortable stride. I finished in 50:15, a fast time for my training runs. The rest of the week went like that. In the late miles of my long run, I felt like I had a lot of excess energy and hit a 7-minute mile before slowing back down to avoid killing myself.
Standing here at the two-month mark my hopes are still bright. I'm starting to remember what it's like to run faster and I'm beginning to hit distances I've never run before. I'm definitely jazzed about the upcoming month when I really see how things shape up.