Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Marathon training starts in 23 days!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Thank you for the kind words and prayers here and on Facebook. My grandfather is at home now, and starting speech and physical therapy. He's getting a little better everyday, and we're all very relieved.

2. The half over the weekend went pretty well. After some thinking about the training I did or did not do leading up to the race, I decided not to run with a watch. I didn't want to put extra pressure on myself to have certain splits in pursuit of a specific time. If at all possible, I wanted to have fun.
I definitely gave myself a few pep talks along the way, but I really just ran my own race and kept chugging along. I passed people and was passed. I hit up every water station and gelled as needed. At mile 10 my sister and I caught up with each other and trucked it the rest of the way together. I'm really surprised to see how similar our form is, spooky!
We stayed together until the last 800 meters or so and I took off to see what I had left in the tank.  Still no concept of time, as the course had no one calling out time after the first mile. I rounded the corner about 100 meters from the finish and that was the first and only time I saw the clock. 
The gun time was just over 2:11 and the race was small enough that I didn't think there would be a significant difference between that and my chip time. I was happy, I'd run 2:13 the year before at this race and it felt really good to beat that time by just running by feel.  My PR, I thought, was still standing at just over 2:10 and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bummed that I didn't get it. However, once results were posted online it turns out that there was just enough of a difference between gun and net time for me to get an 8 second PR. Huzzah!

3. I'm hoping to ride this little wave of good running into my next half on June 2. I've taken the week off thus far, but I'll be back in the mix by this weekend. I'm participating in the Westminster Women's Classic 10k on Sunday where I hope to PR, and then the MAC 1/2 Marathon Relay in Maryland on Saturday the 19th. I have a few more weeks of track workouts ahead of me that I'd really like to nail. The original goal was to go sub-2 in June but that isn't going to happen so I'll just shoot for another close PR and attack sub-2 in September when I have more miles under my belt. Marathon training officially starts June 9. Where has the time gone???

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Semi-wordless Wednesday

Apologies for the lack of a race report, if you were looking for one. Other things are occupying my brain space right now.

This blurry picture of my grandparents is from Thanksgiving 2008, and the most recent photo I have on hand at work. I love my grandpa very much, and he had a stroke on Monday. He's recovering at the hospital now, but it was a bit of a scare for me. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words during this time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Race goals?

I wasn't sure this was the post that I wanted to write today. As much as I don't want to, I can't stop brooding about this race. My training has been so haphazard this year that I've had to overhaul all my goals and expectations for the races I've scheduled so far. I haven't had to pare down the schedule yet, in fact I've added in a few more, but when it comes down to performance things just aren't where I want them to be. I have no one to blame but myself, as my lack of commitment is the only thing standing between me and progress. Originally this half on Sunday was meant to be a go at a PR, setting myself up for an even bigger PR on June 2. The race in June is still going to be a PR attempt for me, but not the sub 2 I was hoping for. Sigh.

This will be my fifth half, and I seem to be getting progressively slower at the distance. There are a lot of factors at work here (age, training, etc) but it doesn't escape my attention that my first half and standing PR was run when I was 20 lbs lighter. I feel like I'm stuck in a body that isn't mine, very awkward and cumbersome. Faster gears are harder to find during workouts  My legs continue to feel like dead weight. I wish I could pinpoint where the wheels came off the wagon. Is there truth to the idea that turning 30 screws your metabolism? Is weight gain a side effect of one of the many medications and supplements that I'm currently taking? I'd love to get a clearer picture of what is going on. Even at the peak of marathon training last year I still topped out beyond my comfort level.

Taking all these feelings and factors into account, I'm still afraid to make any prognostications about Sunday. Now that the pain in my legs seems to be under control I don't worry about finishing. I suppose I do have those secret time goals in my head (great, okay, and shoot yourself) but I can't admit them here. I think the biggest challenges will be leaving my ego at home and getting out of my own way. I'm at a comparable level of fitness to last year's go at this race, so I could use that time as a predictor. One thing that I am happy to hear is that so far the weather will be almost perfect. Last year it was very cold and rainy for the entire race. This year temps look to start in the mid 40s, getting up to 70 later in the day, no rain in sight. The race starts at 7:30 so getting overheated should not be a concern.

I guess the smart thing to do would be to leave the watch at home and treat this as a regular long run. Let go of the splits in my mind, try to reconnect with why I run in the first place. I had two good runs this week so I am feeling a bit better about my potential. Use that to dig deep for 13.1 miles. As always, I am open to suggestion and advice. I know that a lot of my teammates are racing this weekend and I wish you all the best of luck. I'll be back at the track on Tuesday; no rest for slightly overscheduled chubby runner.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. One of my favorite girls from my GOTR group had her last practice with us today. She's moving to Michigan, so sad! She's been a real pleasure to coach and has some amazing natural talent. I hope she continues to run. Practice as a whole went really well for a change, even the usual trouble makers were cooperative. I think the "game" we played that got them to run for 20 minutes didn't hurt either. Our practice 5k is next Tuesday and us coaches are really nervous to see how it plays out. Keeping these girls motivated and interested has been no small feat, and we've really tried to drill home how important the practice race will be. We're planning a water table so they can drink and toss the cups like "real runners" and there will be post-race bagels as well. If you have any other fun ideas that we can incorporate into this practice, I 'd love to hear it.

2. I might be hitting the track again tonight. One of my original running partners is slowly coming back from injury and wants to test her legs. Since she's been out of the game for a while, and I've already done a track workout this week, I thought we'd take it easy. At least an 800m warmup and some drills, then maybe 4x400m with 200m recovery and another 800m cool down. The overall mileage is pretty low, but I'm more concerned with my friend having a positive experience than me getting in a workout. If she's feeling good we can add a few more 400s or just lengthen the warmup/cool down. Running experts, does this sound reasonable?

3. I am easily tempted when it comes to signing up for races. Maybe a little too much so. I was reading Runners World last night on the train home from NYC and they had a great article on destination races. Doing one, domestic or international, is definitely on my to do list. If Richmond's entry fee hadn't been so cheap I might be doing one this year. At any rate, they had a great list of solid races and race vacation groups to consider. I am mostly certainly considering one in particular (timing, money, etc be damned). I've bookmarked the website page and need to start scheming on how to pay and train for it. It is so outlandish that it probably won't happen, but at the same time crazy enough for me to want it. Badly. Dying to know where? Go here. Then come back and tell me it is the best idea I've ever had. I'm ready to throw my cap over the wall...


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Track Tuesdays

After a long absence, I got my butt out of bed and hit the track this morning. I haven't shown up in at least a month so I had some butterflies in my stomach, not knowing how my body was going to perform. It was lightly raining when I left the house and it was coming down harder by the time I got there. Coach George adapted the scheduled workout based on the half I have coming up this weekend and the fact that I haven't been out there in quite a while. After a half mile warm up and some drills, I did 400, 800, 800, 400, 400, 400. The first 400 was kind of crap, around 1:49. The 800s were not much better and I'm glad that I can't recall the times right now. However, the subsequent 400s were much better, with the last one coming in at 1:42. I was pleased that I got faster as they went on and I actually thought I had one or two more in me but George told me to pack it in.

I really needed that workout today. I needed to have a good run under my belt before the half. I know that repeats on a track and 13 miles on the road are vastly different, but knowing that my body isn't as banged up as it seems calms me down a bit. I still won't be able to race the half the way I'd originally planned and a PW is still a real possibility. But if I can remember that I am a capable runner, and that this race is a tune up for several others that are on the horizon, I just might be ok. Bottom line, I want to have fun. And I haven't felt like fun was a possibility in the longest time.

I'm still damp and cold, despite a hot shower and warm clothes, but knowing I hammered it out in bad conditions just makes this morning a little sweeter. It did rain on the half last year, so I need to be prepared for that to be the case again this year.  My sister will be on the course with me this time, and I'm really excited for her because this is her first road half and I think she can really kill it if she wants to. My brother in law is going to smoke both of us but having family out there with me, even if we aren't running together, means a lot.

I have to head back up to NYC this afternoon through tomorrow night for work, and I leave Friday for home so I don't see myself getting out for another run before race morning. CAR does have a tempo run scheduled for Friday morning but I'm not sure that is the wisest thing for me to do. I know how sore I can be after tempo runs and I don't want to be worried about that going into Sunday morning. This is going to be my 5th half, so I shouldn't be a ball of nerves. But...I am. A little bit. At any rate, this morning was what I needed. I'm actually smiling today. Good times.