Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where I am with things

Turns out that keeping a running blog together when you're not really running is tricky and it becomes quite the hindrance. 

Since the Chicago Marathon last October, I've taken a total of 3 weeks off. 1 week to recoup post marathon, and 2 weeks to get a very persistent and nagging pain in my heel under control. It was a tough decision to make taking all that time off to do nothing, which pretty much sealed the deal for me that it was the right one. And my blogging followed.

But as it turns out, I survived.

My legs have been back up an runnin' for just over 5 weeks now. Mileage hasn't been impressive when compared to the numbers I was putting in last year at this time, but that has become irrelevant. As it turns out, I seem to simultaneously be both my best and my worst encourager. I can push myself harder than I ever thought, then just not know when to stop. Seems that building myself up just as quickly as I can tear myself down is my achilles heel.

Right now I'm just getting back into a routine with the basics. 5 runs per week of easy mileage mainly without a watch, and making my best attempt to get some of the strength I've lost back through circuit training. Taking that time off was probably the best thing I've done for myself in a long while because it gave my body the chance to have a mini-reset. After months of struggling with my own mess, the legs are finally feeling like they are back to normal.

I learned a lot in 2012, most through my ugliest of moments (which there were plenty of...running and otherwise).

Racing is fun.
It's taken me years to realize this, butt loads of lost race entry fees on races where my head just wasn't in the game, and plenty of self-induced heart ache for my mind to truly grasp this concept.

Racing is fun when I let it be fun.
When I don't let the outcome of the day define who I am,
when my training isn't the only thing I'm worried about,
 and when I stop over thinking it and just get out there and move.

I can honestly say that even though I struck out at quite a few races last year, I never toed the line of a race wondering why I was there. I wanted to be at every single one of those starting lines, where most time I dance around like a fool trying to keep the anxious excitement I have to be moving under control.



The second racing stops being fun where I can't smile at the starting line, I know that I'm not out there for the right reasons and it's time to evaluate what the heck I'm doing.

Mileage notions and expectations are bogus.
The most important lesson I learned last year would hands down be that I can take mileage, and I can take intensity. But when I add those two together, it doesn't equal anything of quality and instead I just beat the crap out of myself.

That became pretty apparent when I finished 11 seconds off my 5k PR on no speed training, very little mileage, and a heart that was ecstatic to be racing again on Thanksgiving.




All those miles won't mean a damn thing if you can't get to the starting line healthy.
Being flexible and logical will most likely bring more successes than the bulk of a cycle.

Appearance means nada.
Looked the part last year...



and that didn't get me much further than the year before when I had more meat on my bones.

Right now I'm feeling very grateful to just be running and don't really feel like I need to set out a blue print of races I want to tackle and PR's that I'm going to hunt down in 2013. Instead I've decided to just move forward slowly and continue building my fitness back up. Don't really know what that means as of yet or where that will lead me, but for once in my life I'm not too concerned about the destination.

2013's plan as of right now...

is that there is no plan. AMEN. Hallelujah.

Just going to run. Plain and simple as that.

22 comments:

  1. This is a good reminder to all of us. Sometimes it's better to just see where the journey takes us, not script it out in advance. I always do the latter, but am trying to do more of the former. Great post!

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  2. Amen to that! Just run. That was my summer. and fall really. And I love your blog no matter what you write about. I hear you on the blogging falling when you're not training. That's why mine was more like a whiney journal this summer instead of anything remotely to do with running. Ha! :) and yeah, all the intensity and mileage are worth nothing if I can't get to the starting line...grrr. Happy New Year Britt! I think good things are ahead for you...And I hope you write about them ...even if they have little to do with racing and running.

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  3. Two things I like from your pictures: Mr. Stern McGrumpy in the background of the first picture - and then in the one of you running, the kid giving you the side-glance as you blow past him.

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  4. I love your outlook on 2013. While I have a minimal (2) amount of races planned, I have big goals. But I don't even have a time on those goals - because running has become so much more fun when I take the pressure off. I have learned that I put enough race pressure on myself, no matter what race it is, that I don't need to slap an arbitrary number on any of those races just for the heck of it. It makes the race more fun. And it lets me just go out and do my thing. Here's to a great, fun, go with the flow year of running to you!:)

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  5. "All those miles won't mean a damn thing if you can't get to the starting line healthy." TRUE!!!!! I am going to steal that brilliant quote for my blog. It sounds like you have a good "plan" for 2013 :-) Stick with it and kick some ass!

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    1. thanks, and by all means use the heck out of those words!

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  6. I think 2013 will end with some awesomeness out of you and your run-loving!
    It takes a lot of growth to recognize that you need to tune down the aggressiveness & "big" plans for the year.
    you're definitely following your path and that's all that matters!
    can you pencil in one small goal: to get to Cali and run a fun-race along the beach & sand w/ Liz!!! :)
    xoxo!

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  7. When you ran 11 seconds off of your PR, you were obviously more relaxed with no expectations, and that is likely why you did so well. But do you also think that you took the first mile easier and thus were able to turn on the speed for miles 2 and 3? In the rare case that I actually run negative splits, I am amazed at how many people I pass in a 5k during the last mile who must be running some wicked positive splits!

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    1. i wasn't wearing a watch that day, so i'm not really certain that my splits were negative. by my rough math, they were pretty consistent. but going out relaxed and easy in mile 1 help a lot. the most difficult part about racing a 5k with a very deep field is doing your own thing and not going out with everyone else, think that was the 1st time in my life i was able to do that.

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  8. yeah to just running. The BEST way to start is by just running:) ENJOY!

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  9. I'm loving your attitude in 2013! Sometimes it's great to get back to basics. This is going to be a great year for Chicago Runner Girl. :)

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  10. If running isn't fun what's the point? The mind will break before the mind and if your head is not in the racing/training game right now then that's a big indicator that your body simply needs a rest. Sounds to me like you have the perfect frame of mine for the now.

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    1. thanks kris! coming from a speedy gal like yourself, i'll take that as a sign of better things to come ahead. i'm finding as i'm getting older that racing can still be fun when you toe the line under prepared and still don't PR.

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  11. Great post. Thanks for putting it all in perspective. I am looking forward to following you on your journey.

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  12. great outlook hon....but I must say, that second pic doesn't justify the words "meat on your bones" lol. You are very trim and fit! Rock on hon!

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    1. thanks michelle. that pic is actually from last spring when i was most likely the leanest i've ever been. slim for sure isn't always better, especially when it comes to distance running.

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  13. Amen to no plans! It's so easy to get caught up in PRs or goals and forget why we are at the start line. You've got a great "un-plan" for 2013. :)

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  14. You look amazing and a great inspiration. Maybe one day my blog will be as popular as yours!

    -C

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  15. I think it sounds like a GREAT plan my lovely! xxx

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  16. Loved this post, Britt! Sometimes no plan is better because then you will have time to help me with my plan to become as speedy as you!! I think I might come to Chicago this year to run the marathon..... I'm going to make a game time decision on registration day. I'm terrified but I think it's time for marathon #2 (AND meeting you, obviously).

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