Welcome to the latest post from MRG contributor Heather Quinlan, who is sharing her journey of training for four half-marathons this year. Read her introductory post here »  

Hello, May! You are going to be quite the active month for me! However, before I talk to you about my expectations this month, I need to apologize to someone …

Dear “Training in April,”

Let me start by saying,I’m sorry. I feel as though I was a bit disrespectful toward you. You see, you were filled with opportunities and promises to train a little better, run a little longer, move a little faster and, well … let’s just say it didn’t quite pan out like I had hoped it would. Then, when I did get out and tackle longer training runs, I felt flat which left a bad taste in my mouth about you. Because of that, I felt like I didn’t need you as much as I really did. I promise it’ll never happen again. Do you forgive me?

With newfound respect,

Yep, April was … Shall we say, a “challenge.” More than anything else, the challenge was mental. I didn’t run as much as I should have and I certainly didn’t seek my “happy pace” as often as I could. I hate to admitit, but I think I disrespected “the run” a bit. Because I was still regularly cross/strength training, I foolishly assumed I could simply muster the strength and courage to do my one long run a week with the mindset of “Hey…at least I am getting it in!”  But boy, was I ever wrong! My body, accustomed to getting in a consistent number of miles per week (at my pace), was in shock. I don’t run all week and then expect to run 6-9 miles on a Saturday? Yeah, right! What was I thinking?

After my third Saturday in a row of feeling defeated and frustrated post-long run, it was time for me to really figure out what was going on. I could hear my family, always known for a word of wisdom or two, saying “Poop, or get off the pot!” That’s when it dawned on me: I missed the treadmill. GASP! I know, I know – the treadmill, a.k.a “dreadmill,” “mill,” “the path to nowhere” is sometimes a funny thing for runners. We all know that the dusty trail, the great outdoors is a runner’s true playground. However, this girl started her running journey with the treadmill, so it only stands toreason that it would hold a special place in my heart and soles. Thankfully, this teacher had a week off at the end of April for spring break (just as I was having my runner’s epiphany), so I had a solid week to findmy groove and fall back in love with my ol’ pal “Tread.” After my first 3-miler back, sure enough, I was renewed.I felt reborn.

Finding a happy pace on the treadmill.

Last week, I had quite a few memorable moments with my old friend that I may or may not have discovered running outdoors. Earlier in the week, I had a 2-miler at 28:27 that I felt pretty good about, only to improve it a week later at 25:49, which included my fastest mile — maybe ever? — at 12:45 (it was brutal, but I wanted it). During a run and some speed drills the following day, my sprint intervals got up to 8.1 (yep, I felt like a Kenyan!). Friday night, on the eve of my fourth long run of the month, I realized I wasn’t afraid of it like I was the previous three. I felt … prepared. And sure enough, Saturday’s 8-mile run felt as superbly as an 8-mile run could feel (hey, my last four miles were faster than my first four – that has to mean something!), with a time of 1:55:14. FINALLY! I, and my soles, felt whole again.

Run happy.
Run happy.

So now enters May with roughly 20 days until my half-marathon in Traverse City. Am Ias prepared as I should be? Nope,(thank you, mental blockage in April). But am I excited to give these next few weeks leading up to it all I’ve got? You better believe it! When people hear of someone weighing 290+ pounds, running is probably the last thing that comes to mind. It’sfunny, because when I’m running, 290 is the last thing I think of, too. My goal this month is to continue to chisel away at that number while always respecting the run.

May, you should be fun. ;)


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