Thursday, September 20, 2012

Words for Wednesday

It's not so much thatI began to run, but that I continued. 

                                                 - Hal Higdon, American runner and writer (courtesy of Runner's World)
Hal Higdon, American runnerand -

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Words for Wednesday

A lifestyle change begins with a vision and a single step. 

                                - Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian and author (courtesy of Runner's World)

Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian and author--

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Run for Green 2012

Last year at this time, I was getting ready to "toe the line" at the furthest distance I had ever done.  I had been released from my walking boot (for a stress fracture) in August 2011 and was determined to "toe the line" for my first 10K at the Run for Green in 2011.

What a difference a year makes!  It's hard to believe that today I ran the Run for Green half marathon without a second thought.  Without nerves, without anxiety...almost without excitement.  It was just going to be another long run, another training run, just another Saturday.  I had no expectations, no race pace or finish time in mind.  I just went to run.

I started off with what felt slow.  I was being passed by so many people.  But it was okay.  I wasn't trying to beat anyone; heck, I wasn't even trying to beat myself!  After about three miles and few runners passed, I looked at my watch and realized that I was keeping an 8:30ish pace.  I was a little surprised and began to wonder if I could actually keep that pace, but I honestly wasn't going to hold my breath...

About four miles in or so, I caught up to Lori, one of my training partners.  We ran, we chatted, we stopped at the water stop, we ran a little more, we LAUGHED.  Word of advice, when abbreviating the word "ridiculous" to say "ri-dic", make sure you emphasize and enunciate the "ri" that precedes the "dic", or nearby runners might think you are calling the lead runner that just past you all, very bad names.....

After running through a residential neighborhood I like to call the Hotel California (because you can never leave...), we reached a nice little green way almost to the halfway point and turn around.  Turn arounds are fun, but disheartening at the same time because you get to see every single person that's running faster than you!  It was at this point I saw a face I thought I recognized. It was Coach Sarah!  My gosh I didn't know she'd be running today!  That was a nice surprise.  She was going fast.  No surprise there ;)

The second verse, same as the first.....

I won't bore you with the rest of the deets.  Bottom line, somehow I was able to hang onto my pace through all the rolling hills and climbs and averaged an 8:41 pace per mile.  I finished in 1:53:51, a huge PR by about 10 minutes.

After the race I enjoyed a bagel and coffee with Jyl and her mom (hugs to you both!).  And a special shout out to Jack, a fine gentleman I met at the finish line.  I hope to see you out on the DART runs soon!!!

Next week....we'll go for a trifecta...I'll be doing the swim, bike, run thing at the Ramblin' Rose.  We'll see how that goes.

I guess it's time I actually GET ON my bike......

Sunday, September 9, 2012

There's a first time for everything....

There is one good thing about training for your first have a lot of "firsts!"

First lost toenail - check (during my half marathon training, so I'm counting it)
First double digit run - check (again, during half training)
First massage - check
First blister - not yet thank goodness, I might faint
First 15miler - check
First 5am run - check that a gazillion times.....
First massage - check (can't wait for my next one)
First doubt that I will continue running after said marathon - check check and check

And this weekend my friends, I reached 2 more milestones.

First 18 mile run and.......

my first ice bath.
This is how the conversation went when I got home:

Kevin:  That's great!!
Me:  Honey, I'm going to need your help in a few minutes.
Kevin:  Are you okay?
Me:  Oh yes, but I'm going to take an ice bath and I need you to put the ice in because I don't think I can bring myself to do it.
Kevin:  Um.....are you sure?  That doesn't sound like it would be good.
Me:  I'm sure.
Kevin: .......well okay......

(in bathroom, me in tub, Kevin with bags of ice)
Kevin:  You are sure about this?
Me:  Yes, just don't splash me because it will be cold!
Kevin:  Honey, this is crazy.  You are crazy.
In my head: Honey, you have no idea.
(Kevin puts in ice)
Kevin:  Well, there you go!
Me:  Thank you honey!
In my head:  Oh holy hell.

I had my doubts, but I knew my people would not steer me wrong!  Worked like a charm.  I was able to move yesterday and today I'm hardly sore.  You know, if it wasn't for some IT band soreness, I think I'd be able to go for another 6 right now.   

But....that would just be crazy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The "E" Word

Entitlement.  A belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. (a Merriam-Webster definition)

This word, this feeling, as an amateur athlete, is getting me into an awful lot of trouble lately; and if I don't reign it in now, it will cause me nothing but problems in two months time.

A handful of peanut butter cups here, some wine or few pints of beer there....skip a short run or a weight session....have a 2nd huge helping of pasta followed by cookie time + a Skinny Cow ice cream...a wedge of brie here....  But I deserve it, right?  Because I (in no particular order)
  1. finished my homework 
  2. ran a long distance 
  3. had a bad day
  4. have been working hard
  5. didn't kick someone in the shin
  6. got out of bed
  7. etc....
Now look.  I am all for celebrating the little victories, but can you see this slippery slope I'm on?  I need to keep my victories into perspective and find a different way to celebrate them....and be very careful with the phrase "because I deserve it."  Why?  The bare bones truth is this.

I set a goal for myself and I am working toward that goal.  Should I celebrate the milestones that I reach?  Yes!  But am I entitled?  Maybe in some cases, but it is a hazy line.  Do I really deserve to eat a 1 pound bag of chocolate covered pretzels (I'm not saying I did or didn't in one sitting while watching The Hunger Games)???  No.  Am I entitled to skip a weight session because I've been good about other training sessions?  No.  How long can I really use the "I deserve it because it's my birthday" get-out-of-jail-free card?

I think that many times, the feeling of entitlement can lead us down rocky paths that circle us right back to where we started from, instead of further down the road to our destination.  Though your destination might be different from mine, that feeling of entitlement can trap us both.

No regret, no shame-on-me, no being hard on myself.  I goofed and I'm learning from it.  I lost my focus and lost my way, but I'm finding it again; rekindling the spark that lit the fire.  From here on in, I am determined to refocus my attention on my destination.  I will celebrate my journey, but in more positive ways that will take me across the finish line instead of keeping me from it.

And after I complete that 26.2, that is when I will have reached my destination.  That is the moment when all the little victories will culminate.  Then and only then I will I say "because I deserve it."

Journey on my friends, but beware of rocks and trees and obstacles along the way.
Keep your eyes on your destination.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summit's Tacky 10K: A Birthday Miracle

When I first received news that the next installment of the Summit Racing Series was on my birthday weekend, I thought to myself that "ooh!  That sounds like a fun way to celebrate!"  So, I signed up, early bird style!

Next time I decide to sign up for an evening race at the end of August in the North Carolina heat to celebrate without knowing what the course would be, someone kick me.

If anyone wants to ever do some challenging hill work, come to Davidson and sign up for a Helfrich Brother's Special.  Then throw in high 80s/low 90s temps with close to 100% humidity just for kicks.

I've run half the course numerous times as it's in our group's route arsenal, but the second half was new to me.  I had never been on that side of town, so I looked at it as an adventure.  I didn't go into this race with any real strategy (not that I really do with any race!).  I was using this as my long run for the week by adding a 2mile warm up and a 2mile cool down.

I knew the hills on the front half and decided that the hills on the second half were going to be just as bad if not worse.  So, at the start, I decided to just take it easy.  Starting at the mid to back of the pack, I was getting passed plenty!  I looked over my shoulder and realized that I was close to bringing up the rear.  It was so tempting to pick up the pace, but I knew I needed to play it safe in order to face the unknown, and was able to keep myself reigned in.  There was still LOTS of race to go!

The first mile brought me to our first hill.  It was one of many that I run week after week, and oddly I felt like it was my old comfort blanket!  I was able to hold steady and as people tried to bite off more than they could chew, I picked them off, slowly but surely.  I was feeling confident that I could hold a comfortable 9:15-9:20 pace through this part.  And that was my first three miles.  The next three brought me into the unknown.  I was welcomed by a very nice down hill.....but where there is down, there is an up.  Lots of ups. It was like I was in the belly of the earth and I had to climb my way out of hell!  Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly, but folks, it seemed like a constant climb without much relief.  Thank goodness for the spectators and the volunteers, and friendly familiar faces at one particular water stop (Randolph family, you were a sight for sore eyes!!!!).  Two more hills, that's all needed to get through before the last .5 and the finish.  On that last climb out, I looked at my watch and saw an alarming heart rate.  Holy hell.  I would expect to see that in a 5K running all out, but not now.  I needed to get that down.  So I brought it to a walk for what seemed like forever but I think it only lasted for about a minute?  I saw it come down 20+ points, I smiled and said "Okay, now get your arse in gear and finish this thing out!"  And so I did.

Somehow, I PR'd!  It was a birthday miracle!
Old:  01:02:00 (September 2011)
New: 00:59:39
I didn't shed that much time off, but on that course, in that heat?  I'll take it!

And as a bonus, Jyl threw me a little birthday party with mini cupcakes and everything!  Once I no longer felt like I was going to toss my cookies, I grabbed that little chocolate and peanut butter bundle of scrumptiousness and ran.  Well, no.  I just sat there and ate it, but I was really stealthy with the grab!

Thank you Jyl, Graham, Thomas and Lori for my birthday celebration!  And Helfrich Brothers, though I'm cussing at you, it really was a great race, a great post-race party and thank you for hiring a band for my birthday :)