Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Q word

Honestly, it was probably inevitable.

The workout started fine. Cold, but fine. 800m warmup, plans for 6-8 800s with 400m recovery. The warm up was fine, and the drills and strides before the first 800 were okay too. By the end of the first 800, however, something wasn't right.  I was three seconds off my target pace, which isn't bad for the first interval. The problem was that I already felt tired. My turnover was poor, I couldn't engage my hamstrings, and my shins were aching.

The second and third repeats were each an additional 2-3 seconds slower then the one before it and the shin pain was worse. I'd had a tough run the morning before but I was trying to convince myself that it was because I'd taken four days off in a row and am struggling to get back into a routine.  And that is part of the truth. But the real culprit, at least for now, is my damn shoes. My beloved Kinvaras. As soon as I put my new pair on last week, they didn't feel right. Not like the prior pair, which I loved and ran MCM in.

These didn't hug my arch and had no cushioning. I had similar calf and shin pain last week when I ran in them but I thought it was a lack of stretching or being out of shape or anything else. I just didn't want to have to return my pretty pretty shoes. It looks like I have no choice, especially once Coach George basically told me they were a piece of crap.  Not that it mattered, because I was already upset about QUITTING on the workout. So I wandered up and down the final 100 meters of track, crying about being fat, slow, and a quitter. Usually I can leave my shit on the track and power through, but not today.

All in all a pretty bad start to my morning. I'm going to return the shoes tonight on my way home, going back to my old Triumphs. I'm not sure what I'll race in on Sunday, my old dead Kinvaras or new Triumphs. I like a little time to get comfortable in a new pair of shoes before I race in them, so it is a tough call. Although to be honest, I won't really be racing this Sunday. I'm in no shape to do more than treat it as a long run and practice for the 1/2 I have coming up in 5 weeks. I just want it to be over with and I hate going into a race with that feeling. Being under-trained sucks, especially when it is no one's fault but your own.

I'm going to go back to eating my feelings now. You may carry on with the rest of your day. Thanks for stopping by. Obviously, advice and words of encouragement are always welcome. Oh! And thanks to Cris and others on the track this morning for their kind words as I trudged along. It was much appreciated.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Breaking out the power drill...

I love a reason to bust out my drill and this might be my happiest project yet!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Wildebeast is back!

I know, I owe you a race report on the Rock and Roll Half Marathon Relay. Bite me. I'll get to it, I promise.

Today is a somewhat auspicious day in my little running world. Why? Because I dragged my ass back to the track after a 5 month absence. You heard me. Hello, CAR, did you miss me? I'm not sure the track missed me as it decided to thunder, lightning, and pour rain about 10 minutes into the workout. However, we runners are of hearty stock and kept on trucking.

Today's workout (for the newbies like myself) was 2x1200 with a 600 recovery jog and 4x400 with a 200 recovery jog.  I don't mind 1200s, although I like 800s and 400s better. I'm not sure if it was my lack of enthusiasm or my prolonged absence but my times weren't that great. I hovered between 6:30 and 6:50. Although I did lose 10 seconds on one because my damn shoe came untied. Regardless, that makes for somewhere between an 8:40 and 9:10 mile. My 5k PR pace is 7:55 so...yeah. Not great.

The 400s were a happier story to tell, hitting 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, and 1:49. I felt great after I was done, despite the icky feeling in my shins that tells me my shoes are toast. I was honestly a bundle of nerves when I left the house this morning for this workout, so having a positive experience was key. I know that two weeks of track workouts isn't going to make a dent in my Cherry Blossom performance coming up on April 1st but I have bigger fish to fry.

That brings me to what many of you have probably been looking forward to hearing. I think I found my motivation to run. After what seemed like weeks on end, motivation has come back home and I have Tuan to thank for it. He sent out an email on Sunday night to our team with a great story about a fellow teammate's journey to a marathon PR at RnR over the weekend. It wasn't all wine and roses, rather it was a reminder of what it really takes to achieve your goals. The hard parts and the ugly parts and the I want to quit parts are all in there with the good stuff.

I've been beating myself up a bit lately about the race schedule I made for myself this year and how because of my recent slothness would probably need to change it or accept mediocre performances. Tuan's email reminded me that there are a few goals of mine that are still quite achievable this year if I'm willing to put on my big girl knickers and get down to business. One of those is the elusive sub-2 half marathon. I emailed Tuan right away and threw down the gauntlet: can I do this? His immediate response was YES, but...with the but being all the hard work that I'm scared to do.

I need to go back to the track.  I need to run more than 3 days a week. I need to push past comfortable into the unknown. I'm going in search of my potential, something that terrifies me to the core. I am scared to find out what I'm capable of, in the event that the answer is "not much." Anyone who knows me knows how hard I am on myself and how driven I am by fear. With Tuan's confidence buoying me, my mind started to think that fear needs to get an asskicking.

At this point it was after 11 pm on Sunday and I needed to get up the following morning at 6 to run with Anne but sleep was nowhere in sight. Lights out, under the covers, mind furiously racing. What was a girl to do? Duh, whip out the credit card (or in my case, just memorize the damn number), grab the iPhone, go to the CAR website, and really put my money where my mouth is. Yup, it is officially official. No more lurking, I am now a member of the Capital Area Runners. Let's all high five!

I didn't sleep a wink, I was buzzing with so much energy. The run the next morning was a real mess, but I kinda didn't care. I was just happy to get my butt out there and get moving. Honestly, my brain never computed that run at all and instead was obsessing over what the track workout was going to be like this morning with all the usual CAR gazelles. Yes, this is where the wildebeest reference comes in. Right now, and possibly until forever, I lack the graceful and effortless stride that I see from so many of my teammates. It can be a real confidence killer, unless you can comes to terms with your ability, in that moment. And right now I'm the wildebeest, crashing around the track. Welcome home.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Or we could call this post "peeking out from under my rock."  Either way, here we go.

1) GOTR coaching is going pretty well. We've only had two practices so far and I really like the group of girls that we have. There are only 10 of them and 4 of us coaches, so I think we have excellent crowd control. I led practice today, for the first time, and I was really nervous. It went pretty smoothly and the girls were all smiles, so I'll call that a win. I'm looking forward to when we get into more of a groove with the coaching and creating closer bonds with the girls. I got my first little 3rd grader hug today and it just melted my heart. We definitely have some athletes in our group and I hope they inspire the other girls to keep on trying. Come race day it might be hard for me to keep up!

2) Have I been running? Wha? Huh? Well, sort of. I did 5 miles the Saturday before last with my sister and BIL. The pace was definitely slow but what I needed to get through it. And...then I didn't run again until last night. Oy my training is a hot mess. I have Rock and Roll DC this weekend, but just the 1/2 marathon relay, so I'm only slightly scared to do it. Bigger demons are looming, with Cherry Blossom about 3 weeks away and my next 1/2 just 7 weeks away. The sooner I get back into a groove, the better. I'm making some significant life changes right now and I'm hoping that my training and motivation will be one of the first things to be impacted. I definitely miss the excitement I felt at the end of last year into early this year, thinking about my crazy race schedule and the related time goals I wanted to hit. Right now I mostly feel fear but I'm working on it.
3) Don't let me handle your finances. Between a few band gigs and some concert tickets I sold, I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket. Credit card payment,  you say? Save for the gardaute school you got accepted to for the fall, you say? Sounds too practical. Enter my latest investment. Sigh. She's pretty and not at all my style. But she's mine now. Oops.

 Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend and please have a SAFE St Patricks day!