Until I started marathon training in the Fall of 2007, I had never run with anyone else. I was lucky that my husband met Jenny through a run club and introduced us. She ran a few long runs with me during that training cycle for Fargo 2008. I remember that I was struggling with the higher mileage, and she told me about buckets. She said that running fitness was like a bucket with a little hole at the bottom. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to fill up the bucket the first time. Once the bucket is full, it's about consistently filling the bucket a little at a time to compensate for the little hole at the bottom.
Before the Fargo Marathon 2009, I felt like my Running Bucket was pretty full. After the marathon, my bucket was a little low from the effort, but nothing to worry about. Shortly after, I took my Running Bucket and dumped some fitness into a Swimming Bucket and a Cycling Bucket. My running fitness helped me jump into both of these sports and enjoy them from the start. I feel strong when I am doing them, and am not struggling the way I did when I first started running.
The Running Bucket, however, has paid the price. It is very, very low. It's pitiful. I'm still struggling to run 4 or 5 miles without walking. I was going to run 6 miles today, but needed to walk the last 2 miles. There were moments in the run today, though, that I felt like my old self. For the first time since I started the tri training, I think I'm making headway in filling the Running Bucket. My legs are feeling stronger and my quads and hip flexors are complaining less. I'm starting to feel like my body is adjusting to the increased training hours and the different activities. I'm not there yet, but I think I just need to keep at it and not give up.
The Rochester Triathlon is only 12 days away. On the one hand, I don't think I'll be ready for the Olympic distance in time for the race. The 6.2 mile run after the .9 mile swim and 24 mile bike is going to be a challenge. I'm predicting that I will have to walk some of the run, particularly if it is at all hot or humid on race day. But on the other hand, I know that I wouldn't be pushing myself to get my run back together if I had just signed up for the Sprint.
For now, I'm going to try my best to fill my bucket. I don't know long it will take until it's brimming again, but I feel fortunate that I have the good health and time to find out.