Little Rock will be my 6th marathon. One thing that I’ve noticed happen in all 6 of my marathon training cycles is that I reach a point where I’m tired of the training, tired of the miles, tired of thinking about the miles, wondering WTF I’m doing this craziness for, and wonder HTF I will be able to get through the rest of the training. I call it my “WTF Moment”.
My first 4 marathons were long training cycles (17 -18 weeks) and I noticed the WTF Moment happening more than once during those cycles. My 5th marathon training cycle was only 12 weeks, and I think I only really noticed it once. For me, this is why I like the 12 week marathon training plan. It’s long enough to get me in race shape (assuming I’m not coming off a complete slump, then I think I would need a longer training plan), but it’s short enough that I don’t hit the “WTF am I thinking” stage more than once.
I had my WTF Moment this week. I’m in week 6 of training, 1/2 way through. So seems pretty reasonable that the WTF Moment would happen this week. It was a busy work week and it seemed so impossible to fit in all the training, particularly when it is ultra-cold, ultra-snowy and ultra-dark/early for my runs.
But, in each training cycle something always snaps me out of the WTF Moment and makes me hit the training with a new and improved vigor. This time what did it was The Hills. What hills? The Little Rock Marathon hills. I was messing around on the computer this morning and googled Little Rock Marathon race reports and started reading. Every blog/report I read talked about the hills. Now, I had done research on marathonguide.com and read about a basically two-mile long hill at mile 15, and then an evil short steep hill at mile 25. So I was prepared for those, and had decided to incorporate hill work into this training cycle (which i’ve never done in previous ones). But the blogs/reports were talking about more than just these hills. They are talking about the first 16 miles of the race being hilly. Really hilly according to some. Ultra-painful and challenging according to some. Maybe they are wimps. Maybe they are exaggerating. Maybe the course route has changed. So I looked into it further. And they are right. Credible sources say the marathon is hilly.
From the Little Rock Marathon website: “When asked if there are hills in Little Rock, we love to affectionately say “What Hills?” There are some bumps in the road…but hey life is full of bumps in the road.”
From Wikipedia: The Little Rock Marathon Course is described as relatively hilly. Running great Bill Rodgers once said “any marathon worth its salt has a few hills. Little Rock is a little salty.”
But I also ran across alot of blogs/reports where people got PR’s on the Little Rock course. Where they said they had trained for the hills and hills weren’t as bad as they were hyped up to be. Where they embraced the hills and kicked the hills in the butt.
The Little Rock Marathon Hills kicked me out of my “WTF moment” and gave me a new perspective on the rest of my training. They gave me the kick in the butt that I need to get me through 6 more weeks of training. After my epic fail yesterday, I had planned on doing my long run tomorrow and slogging through it. Instead, I did it today (because it was a balmy 13, -1 wc and sunny!) and picked a route that gave me about 13 miles (of 15) that were rolling hills. And I did the 15 miles at 9:27 pace, which is pretty decent for me considering my sort-of-marathon pace-longish-run-from-hell yesterday.
Am I mad/disappointed now that I picked Little Rock, with all it’s hills? Nope. They don’t sound impossible. I’ve already done more hill training than I ever have for a marathon. I’m also doing pilates and core, which I usually give up on. I’m going to step up the hill training a bit and be one of those people whose race report says, “Hills? What hills?”