Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boot Camp Kicked my Booty

So... I am SO SORE! Not from our little 'brick' workout on Thursday, nor from the 6M at 8:47 I ran on Friday. Nope. Boot camp-- looks like someone has NOT been doing strength training!

I was supposed to ride 20M or so with some friends and friends of friends Saturday morning, but it was rainy, so I ended up going to Boot Camp at the Rec Center with A. I was sweating like a maniac, and was already sore last night. This morning I went for a little 2M walk just to loosen things up a bit. We'll see how it feels later today and tomorrow.

Since I am not training for anything running-wise, I think I need to incorporate some XT and yoga into my routine over the next few months.

We have boys' piano recital today, then T has a game tonight at 6pm an hour away. Good times.

Friday, May 21, 2010

With a little help from my friend....

A good friend of mine has been great about getting me on my bike, and I am trying to embrace it. For some reason, when I get on a bike, I am very aware of my breathing... sort of like running uphill, but times ten. I guess I will get used to it. It has been nice having someone to ride with; just the nudge I've needed.

Yesterday we rode 10 miles, then ran 3. In my mind, since this was a workout of over an hour, it would be at an easy pace. The bike was fine-- I am super-wimpy when it comes to downhills. I don't quite feel secure on those skinny wheels yet!

Now, here is where it got interesting: we started the run, and my friend started at a pretty brisk pace. I had my Garmin on, and looked down, and we were running in the low 8's. I told her this, and said it was a bit fast, and she replied "I want to run as hard as I can as long as I can". Keep in mind this woman has run a half- marathon and completed an Olympic distance Tri, so she knows about pacing. I took her up on it, and ended up running 8:13 pace for the 3M we were running.

What is interesting to me about this is that since my sh*tband has entered the picture in the past 3 years, I am afraid to run fast and to push myself. I have been held hostage by the mindset that today's run has to fit into a bigger picture of my week, how it might affect my knees/hips and what paces I might run on other days. I realized I have been selling myself short by not pushing myself in my runs.

Now of course this is all within the framework of time periods when I am not following a set training plan, AND running low weekly mileage. Obviously if I was training for a marathon and running 40-50 mpw I can't go out and run 3M one day and then 5M the next day at MP. But- that is exactly what I did yesterday and today. Today I ran by FEEL, and ran 8:47 pace for 6M. Yes, I was pushing myself, but nothing hurt. It helps immensely that the trail I was on has slight incline on the way up, and thus nice little downhill on the way back.

I have gotten so used to looking at my Garmin, and when running too 'fast' backing off. I am going to run at least 1 run a week without my Garmin- maybe a watch, maybe nothing. I'm not saying all my runs are going to be sub 9-minute paces, nor should they. But I am going to try and get over the fear of pushing it on my GA runs.

So THANKS to my friend for opening my eyes to the possibility of really pushing myself without a set time goal or mileage goal. We'll see if I can embrace it....

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 7, 2010

On Tryouts and Training

So... it has been a LONG time since I've posted here.

Running summary: ran a 1:42-something at Philly last fall, which made me happy, and qualified me for NYC Marathon for 2010. I am not going to run NYC b/c we are taking the boys to Disney, but it is always good to hit a goal. My half marathon ultimate goal is still to run under 1:40, and I hope to do that this fall.

I was in a car accident in Mid-December, which kept my running mileage down this winter. Trained so-so to hit a 1:45 at Pittsburgh half last weekend, but made a game-day decision to adjust pace due to the weather (hot and rainy). I considered at one point taking a DNF (which I have never done), but hung in there and had a nice run. A nice run, but not a nice race.

Last night my DS#1 threw up at a school event, and the first thing that came to my mind was "oh nooooo... he has hockey tryouts on Saturday". (great Mom that I am) But it got me thinking. DS#1 SHOULD be on the top team in his organization in his age group this year; he has experience, plays his position very well, and is technically sound. Not the greatest player on the team, but contributes . He shows up, works hard, and is coachable. He has worked hard during the off season at his power skating classes, and with his skating coach. (yes, he is 10, and we are crazy, but he LOVES hockey like I LOVE running) So, what happens if he is sick at tryouts?

In my mind, he deserves to be on the top team, but if he doesn't perform at tryouts (for whatever reason) he might not make the team. A whole season of hockey can come down to 2 hrs on the ice. (now I am being a bit dramatic here b/c he is feeling better, and the 2nd tryout hour is next Thursday). But it got me to thinking about training and race day for runners.

One can train perfectly for a race, and, due to race-day weather, illness, whatever, not hit one's goal. Heck- the elites can even hit their goal paces and not win.

And, then there are days when you line up for a race you really didn't train that hard for (granted this rarely happens in marathons), and the pixie dust hits and maybe you end up surprising yourself with a new PR, or AG award. I guess what I'm trying to say is we have to remember no one deserves a PR or BQ because one trained for it and hit the paces in training. It is what you do on race day that gets those magic numbers. There is a difference between training and racing, and come race day we have to put our mental game into play.

Weak mental game = weak performance.

Sure, there are reasons: it was hot, humid, windy, raining; I was sick, I had my period, I didn't sleep/eat/hydrate well beforehand.

But it is how we respond on race day to the heat, humidity, wind, rain, cramps, nutritional issues, etc. that shows what we are made of. Sometimes the wisest course IS to back off, and save yourself for another day. Some days the best course of action is to push through it and gut it out. Only we know our bodies and true goals; we all have to answer to our inner coach at the end of the day.

The time I had last Sunday: 1:50:xx for a half marathon is 10 minutes (and runners know this is a big deal) off my PR set only 18 months ago. Yet, I was pleased b/c I made the right decision at mile 2: back off the pace, run a smart run, and save your goal time for another day. Granted, I did not train particularly hard or well for this race, so my expectations were not high. But at the end of the day, I was happy with my choices that day. Had it not been hot, humid, and raining, who knows what might have happened?

One of my favorite quotes from Teddy Roosevelt is:


Great advice, and it is what I will tell my son tomorrow, and myself on my next race day.