Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This week mind has been plagued with stressful thoughts about my workouts and upcoming races. Yesterday morning I woke up and felt so overwhelmed by the pressure I was putting on myself that I lashed out on my husband for requesting a ride to work because it was raining that left me with feelings of guilt and selfishness and made me think what a terrible wife I was being. Was my workout really more important then my hubby getting to work dry? No, but for some reason I made it out to be. I had a early morning meltdown and basically needed to put myself in a time-out, and I did. Wednesdays are always a speed work day for me and yesterday I had a scheduled 6 mile tempo at my 1/2 marathon goal pace. I opted out of the workout and instead took the day off to get a grip on myself.
There are a million things that I could blame my recently sour mood on (which has been quite apparent in my last few postings), but I instead would like to own up to my jerkyness and move on. Lately my focus in life has been on me and my desires which leaves me being a terrible wife, friend, sister, daughter, and Christian. I have let my goals take the foreground in my life and everything else become blurry in the background. Things shouldn't always be about me, so why do I make the world revolve around my desires? Because this is my greatest flaw.
My mind is in need of a time out to reflect on all the greatness I have in my life.
With all of the things going on, I can often forget about the greatness that surrounds me and inspires me to be a better person. So thank you D for your unending support and love. Your joy in watching me embark on my journey makes me love you that much more. You are a wonderfully supportive husband that lets me spend a ridiculous amount of money on races and running gear and is always on the sidelines cheering me on. You push me to go one step further in life and make me want to be a better woman that loves more. Your ability to deal with me everyday makes you a saint, and quite possibly the most patient man in the world.
I hate it when I'm blinded by my selfishness and don't pay enough attention to my family. These people are important and special to me yet sometimes I act like it is too inconvenient for me to leave my city bubble and drive 45 miles to spend time with them. I am grateful for these people and need to stop being a boob. Besides, running wouldn't be as special if I didn't have an audience.
My doggies bring a massive amount of joy to my life. They love me no matter how I look or smell, and are ecstatic to see me when I walk in the door. Maybe I should repay them more for their love with more dates to the beach and park rather then trying to fit in a few extra miles for myself.
It is important for me to achieve success in life and running, but what good is it all if I cannot enjoy life with my loved ones?
Is it normal to have "runners guilt", or am I just off my rocker?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Like I said back here, I feel that age is a state of mind. My mind tells me that my body may be 27 but my vigor for life is that of a younger being inspired by what adventures and goodness may be lurking around the corner. Some days I do feel like I am aging and that my biological clock is ticking, that I should have kids by now, my career should be figured out, I should have traveled the world more, and that I should own land. Yet I am content with where I am in life and do not feel pressured to do things because others my age are. I am me and I value all the things that I have been blessed with.
My workouts this week haven't been going totally as planned. It took my body nine days to bounce back from my 8k, NINE DAYS. What the heck? I have never taken so long to recover from any race, not even a marathon. Yikes, maybe again it is the age thing or maybe its just because I have been running my tail off training for my May races. 60 mile weeks for a half and a 10 miler is a rather big commitment, especially when a lot of those miles are quick. With three weeks left I feel like my body is getting stronger even if I have mysteriously put on a few pounds in the past two months (again maybe the age thing? IDK).
On Sunday I sit down and spend a bit of time thinking about all the workouts I'm going to be doing the next week and on what days I would like to do them. By Tuesday I have completely changed everything up for various reasons. This week the weather has been playing with me a bit, as was my hip. While the hip is back to it's usual self, the weather is still icky. Truthfully I don't mind running in the rain, I actually find it somewhat therapeutic. But after a very snowy and long winter, I am ready to move on to sunny warm days.
So when I see this as the forecast for the day:
I change my workout...AGAIN. My Team World Vision run will have to wait until next week, which is okay because they are only on base mileage now. I am just not in the mood for a 16 miler progressive run in the rain today because I don't want to be in wet clothes for almost two hours today.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I need a vacation. Not one of those long weekend type of vacations, a real vacation with a time out from work and responsibility to relax and get myself together. I feel like my life is a mess lately and that there just are not enough hours in the day to take care of all the necessary tasks that I take on. This has created a waterfall affect that has left me spilling things over to proceeding days and feeling like I am not making progress in the necessary areas of my life.
Spring where are you? Last week it was 70 degrees, this week it has been snowing and cold. I had to break out my winter gear again, and I can't take it anymore. The gloominess has me feeling groggy and antsy. I am ready to say goodbye to my trusty North Face winter gear and hello to bathing suits, the beach, and of course my parents lake house. On top of that I am sick of doing a million loads of laundry of running gear.
My hip feels weird. I say weird because it isn't painful, or even necessarily uncomfortable, just weird. Today I should have done mile repeats but my hip was doing this weird thing where it felt like the tendons were pulling the leg muscles oddly. With the wind, horizontal rain, cool temps and this odd sensation I decided that maybe tomorrow will be a better day for a speed workout. Annoying muscles, do what I tell you damn it.
When will it be warm? My house has turned into a greenhouse. I've got plants in the bathtub and on the window sills and it is making me crazy. Our apartment is dinky and we only have one bathroom, so when there are plants living in it that have to be moved multiple times throughout the day and it makes me want to scream. While I look forward to fresh organic produce grown by moi, I don't like pots filled with dirt occupying my space. Dirt is not my friend because it's well...dirty.
I wouldn't be honest with myself if I didn't mention the brief moment of self-doubt about my upcoming half that I had last night. To achieve my sub 1:30 half goal I will have to run 13 6:50 miles, IN A ROW. While I knew this when I set my sights on this daunting task months ago, for some reason last night I could not stop questioning my abilities. My mind has since come back to reality a wee bit after reminding myself (multiple times) that I am a realistic person who has set a realistic and achievable goal. This is MY goal, and MY body can do it if I just focus and not be Mrs. Crazy Pants.
Yesterday was an exciting day for the running world with all of the successes at Boston. I was over come with emotion with the WR, Ryan Hall not being such a head case and setting an AR, Desiree Davila finally getting the recognition that she deserves for being such a fierce competitor, Kara Goucher getting a PR, and sad with the fact that I wasn't one of the organized 27,000 registrants that sat by their computer on October 18th clicking away to guarantee a spot in the race. Grrr for my terrible procrastinating habits. My day will come again.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Today my legs still feel a bit stiff. I registered to run the Chicago Marathon this fall with Team World Vision and this morning was the first group run, unfortunately I missed it. Instead I opted to hit the elliptical at the gym and give my legs a little break so that on Monday I will hopefully feel fresh once again. Sometimes I think that I should just take a cue from Chase and spend the majority of my day in bed draped in blankets.
Four weeks until my half, and next week looks to have some fairly decent miles on the books. Time to get the hay stacked all neatly in the barn.
Monday: 8 miles easy, weights Tuesday: 5x1600's @6:20 pace with 800 jogging recoveries Wednesday: 8 miles easy recovery, weights, yoga Thursday: 16 miles progressive, 1/2 marathon goal pace for last 4 miles Friday: 8 miles easy Saturday: 8 miles easy, meet up with Team World Vision Sunday: OFF
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sundays 8k has left me with warm feelings of the progress my body is making and that I am traveling down the right path. No negative thoughts, no self-doubt, no angry-tear filled rants about how my race didn't go as planned and that my life has now lost all meaning. There is no longer any room in my mind for the toxic thoughts that once left a negative dusting over every inch of my soul that I allowed to suck me into a black hole of self pity for a poor race performance. Instead I would rather spend my time reflecting back upon a race with a sense of pride for my accomplishment and instead learn from the missteps of the day.
This may seem obvious and clear to others, but for me this is a BIG STEP down a road that I haven't ventured down much. My mental history after a race has been to beat myself down about all of my errors in the race until I finally succumb to self-defeat about how my efforts were subpar and my performance was less then noteworthy. Why would I do this to myself? Who knows, but it has gone on too long and without a positive change I was limiting myself in every area of my life. All of lifes experiences and accomplishments should be reveled in and a sense of joy should overcome ones soul when a mile marker is passed. Life is a learning process, I'm just glad I learned this NOW and not when I'm 80.
I'm not saying that I'm going to stand on the top of Sears Tower (or Willis Tower depending on who you're talking to) and shout to the world that I overcame my fears of positivity and blew my expectations out of the water, cause that would just be silly. But I am finally comfortable saying that I had fun and I gave my best effort on Sunday. PERIOD.
So what if I stood in the back of the elite corral and unintentionally added about 5 seconds to my time, went out WAY too fast for the first mile, stopped for water at mile 4 where I literally came to a DEAD STOP and I didn't really even need the water, who cares if I didn't hug the curves enough and tacked on a little extra mileage? And yes I did run 17 miles three days before the race in brand new shoes that brought on a slight discomfort to my arches and left my legs feeling drained. It happened. All I can do now is learn from it. On to the next race, the next day, and the next experience.
I registered for the Boston Marathon 2008, the day after I ran the Chicago Marathon of 2007. That was the only year in history that the weather conditions in Chicago were so severe that mid way through the marathon the race organizers decided that they had to shut the race down. Yes thats right, the marathon was cancelled about an hour and a half after it started. Ninety degrees with about 90% humidity at the wee hours of the morning caused an immense amount of chaos and panic for the runners and organizers. Things got kind of crazy for awhile. Aid stations ran out of supplies, runners were dropping like flies, helicopters were flying overhead announcing over a speaker that runners need to walk and the course was rerouted and cut short to ensure the safety of all runners. It was madness.
At $100+ dollars for a marathon, it takes a lot for me to throw in the towel. But by mile 3 I had already sweat out everything in me, the heat was making my legs feel heavy, and I could not hold a steady smooth cadence. Thoughts were rapidly producing in my mind for those first 9 miles about what was best for me, and at the 9 mile marker I finally said to myself "this is not worth it today". There are a lot of things I would do in life to challenge myself or to receive a medal, but that day I decided that the conditions were not worth a medal. My safety and well being trumped the thoughts of goal achievement and a sparkly medal.
Feeling like a quitter, the very next day I decided to register for the Boston Marathon of 2008 (those were the days when registration wouldn't close in a measly 8 hours). It wasn't until a few days later that I received my acceptance email to the race that I decided to tell my husband that we would be spending several days that upcoming spring in Boston and I would be racing the most coveted and famous race in America. Bill Bowerman in Without Limits said that "it is easier to beg forgiveness then ask permission" and I heeded his advice, and my husband eventually got over my impulsive decision.
After such a stinky race at Chicago in 2007, I wanted vengeance and to have payoff for all of those grueling miles my legs put in. My fitness became my focus, and peaking at Boston was all I could think about. Instead of taking time off after training for Chicago I opted to continue pressing on through the fall months thinking that I would then be in the shape of my life when I begun training for Boston in the winter. That was quite possibly the biggest mistake I had ever made in my entire life.
Naturally I ended up with an injury in week 3 of training that I just could not shake off. Stubborn is my middle name, so I refused to go to a doctor or seek treatment. My knee was constantly in pain and I could barely walk let alone run. Instead of seeking the appropriate treatment, I treated myself and continued to be creative with my training methods. Because running was out of the question, I would instead spend hours a day at the gym on the bike or elliptical. By the time April rolled around I was able to run a bit here and there and decided that I was still going to make my best attempts to run Boston.
My husband thought that I was nuts. I was gimping around everywhere, yet my mind was filled with thoughts of how I was going to cruise up those hills and have a rock star performance in Boston.
Once we arrived to Boston, I felt like my body had magically healed. The beauty of the city had filled my heart with hope and I knew that I would be fine. HA!
The hills killed me. Really killed me. My knee was screaming every time the ground wasn't level, which was basically the entire race. Somehow I made it through the first half running and was under two hours and thought that I would finish under 4 hours. But I didn't. I had to walk up every hill and my quads were screaming at me the last few miles wondering why I was torturing them. My body hated me for what I was doing to it and I crossed the finish in 4:09, my worst marathon time ever.
Boston taught me a lot of lessons that year and it took my body 9 months to bounce back to normal. I was a dope that allowed myself to be blinded by my goals that I refused to adjust. I could have cancelled my trip and waved my registration until the next year, but for some crazy reason I just could not admit that I had an injury...which I very clearly did.
Some of my life lessons from Boston are:
You cannot train for a marathon on a bike or elliptical. There really is no comparison.
Take time off to let your body rest. The human body is not a machine. Joints and muscles are not always as resilient as we think, they need time to rest and repair. Marathon training puts a lot of stress on the body, the best repayment for hard work is rest. Too bad I didn't realize this then.
Always wear sunblock while running, even if it isn't the summer. Tan lines on your legs from cropped spandex and being burnt on one side of your body isn't cute. It took two summers for those ugly tan lines on my upper calves to disappear from the Nike cropped spandex that I wore that day...it was really hard to look cute in dresses.
Goals can be adjusted and there will always be another race. Listening to ones body is difficult, and sometimes we have to admit to defeat. Ignoring discomforts and constant pains will not help the body in the long run. I have decided that I want to be a "forever runner" and not a "right now" runner.
I think that I lost my mind in the early months of 2008, but have since come back down to reality. Boston and I will have a rematch one day when my body is ready for it, and when we do I will cruise over those hills and have the time of my life crushing all of my expectations. Boston will not let me down again because I am now a more sensible women that has a lot more respect for my body and its limits.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I felt a bit on edge this morning about starting in the lead pack of runners in a race of this size, but having family there to support me and tell me that me that I am going to rock it and that I have super human speed was the perfect recipe to ease my crazy mind. Starting in the elite corral in a field of 32,427 finishers was pretty cool. Apparently elite racers are cool enough to have their very own warm up area and restrooms, which I was very much appreciative of this morning because I was running a bit behind schedule.
I felt a wee bit out of place in the company of elites. The majority of them were wearing singlets in support of their running clubs and looked amazingly fast, so I made a choice to line up at the very back of the corral. Little did I know at the time that elite athletes go by clock time and not chip time for official finishes, so I unintentionally tacked on at least 5 seconds to my time...whoops.
The race started promptly at 9 a.m. and it was at least 70 degrees and rather humid, almost identical conditions to the Chicago Marathon. But the temp didn't faze me, I was all smiles.
I had a great time and had a PR of 40 seconds. My official time was 32:38, but my garmin said otherwise at 32:33 because of the 5 seconds it took to cross the start and it also let me know that I covered 5.01 miles...whoops again. So I guess hugging those turns could have possibly picked me up another 5 seconds or so.
When I race I am constantly reminding myself to run my own race and not feed off other runners pacing, but today that was a bit of a problem for me. Mile 1 I went out way to fast, and I'm talking almost sub 6...yikes I am not that fast, yet. It caused extra lactic build up in my legs that caught up with me around mile 4. Never in my life have I gone out that fast, I actually have a history of going out way too slow and being too conservative. Today must have been opposite day for me.
I have never been great with speed. 5k's, 8k's, 10k's scare the poop out of me because I have always told myself that there is not a speedy muscle in my body. Today I challenged myself to let that go and find some speed somewhere. Spending the past several weeks focusing on the way I view myself as an athlete and what I am mentally capable of handling proved to be a resourceful way of spending my time. As crazy as it may sound talking to yourself and acknowledging that you have the power to move mountains has a lot of resonance in times of trial. Positivity has wonderful potency.
The best way to celebrate a successful run is to eat as many calories of sugar that your body can hold, which I did with my Ann Sather's cinnamon roll french toast that was filled with a marscapone cream. Yummo.
I finished 455th out of 32,427 people and had a 40 second PR, which I would call a success considering that I decided to forgo any type of taper for this race. The hubster and I went for a 3.25 run/walk after we got home and spent the day enjoying the beautiful weather by stopping into Home Depot for the early stages of our "urban garden" we are working on this week. Basically I had the best day ever, and I look forward to tomorrow.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Today I received my confirmation email for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k for this upcoming Sunday. When I opened it I almost had a heart attack. ELITE CORRAL??? FOR REAL??? ME???
So this race is the largest 8k in the world, registration closed at 35,000 runners this year. There are some pretty amazing runners who venture to this race because of the flat fast course, por ejemplo...Deena Kastor holds the American women's 8k record on this course with a speedy 24:36. Super fast right? People like her start in the elite corral, and apparently they start next to average runners like me...who will be coming in about 8 minutes back from Deenas record time.
This is big new for me and I feel nauseated just thinking about being considered fast enough to start alongside elite runners. I mean I have always thought that I was kinda-sorta-a-wee-bit-fast, but never elite. Today my small little world of recreational running for wellness and self-achievement has turned into something slightly bigger. I feel honored, nervous, crazed, and excited all at the same time to be considered one of the luck handful of folks that show up for my favorite race as an "elite" runner.
Yikes. Whoooooooa. Eeeeek. That is weird to say.
While I attempt to wrap my head around this insane new, I also need to remain focused on my upcoming May goals. This weeks marks 11 of 16 in my training cycle for my upcoming half marathon.
Monday: 8 miles on the treadmill at 1% incline
Tuesday: 16 miles progressive
Wednesday: 8 miles easy recovery
Thursday: 8 miles at a steady state pace, strides
Friday: 8 miles easy, strides
Saturday: OFF, EXPO day
Sunday: Shamrock Shuffle 8k
Nothing crazy this week in the plan, about 60 miles without any craziness. Main goal for the week is to keep myself focused (and remain calm) for Sunday and show up to the line strong, speedy, confident, and well prepared without a taper. I'm not worried, as I have forgone a taper several times in the past and raced my way to some PR's. Big note for me is to heed my hubby's advice to "not psyche myself out crazy" which I have a tendency of doing. Dually noted hubs.