becoming a happy adult in a sunny sustainable world.
So, now that we are three weeks into 2013, it’s finally time to start with the resolutions.
Ever since I dipped my toes into the multisport water, I’ve been trying to do everything. And, trying to do everything well. I was a lucky duck in 2009, running my first marathon at BQ pace just two weeks after my first half-ironman. I thought I could do it all. From about July 2009 to March of 2010, I did nothing but PR at anything I tried my hand at. Every half-marathon faster than the last? No prob. Run your first, poorly trained, marathon and BQ? What of it.
I felt invincible. I thought things would continue on like that. And then it didn‘t. Two things happened: I got sick and I tried to do too much. I wanted to PR in a 50K two weeks after a half-ironman. I wanted to PR in a marathon but only put in 3 days of running a week while still multisport training. And I’m sick of that. I’m sick of being good but not great. So, this year I focus on one thing: the half-ironman. I want a Vegas spot. I want to go solidly under 5 hours. I’ve had many doubts about what I can and can’t do. Doubts about whether I can move from being a back of the front of the packers up to the front. Doubts about whether my old speed is recoverable.
But. I know that I can be faster. I know that I have untapped potential. I know that I have wicked speed that I can find again. And I know that I can get to Vegas. I know that if I focus on this and only this, I will get there.
But, for now my goals/resolutions for the year are reasonable. I perform best when little is expected of me. I still choke big time. And, while I plan on working on that, I’m not bulletproof yet. So, reasonable is it.
Super Top Secret Goal: I’ll let you know in June. This one is NOT reasonable.
So far, the year is going well. Unlike the last few years, I’ve been swimming and riding during the winter. I’ve been improving. I’ve been keeping all three sports fresh. I’m going to be leaps and bounds ahead of my 2010, 2011, 2012 self when tri seasons starts in March.
After two years of misery, I had a shockingly good race on Sunday and a surprise 3 second PR! Booyah.
Do you like the face as I finished? I’m all “what the f just happened?”
I’ll take a surprise PR ANY day.
More to come later, but just FYI…I’m back bitches.
So, with those goals in mind, and trying not to overload myself with too much and too many different types of goals, I’ve made (what I think is) a pretty darn well planned 2012 racing schedge. Nothing more longer than 13.1 or 70.3 and nothing too jammed together (and the fall to be filled out with some B/C races)
Oh and the beyond part…2013, a return to the IM…IMFL
I walk out my door last Friday morning to find this:
I stood up my training partner and he leaves this. Best. Training. Partner. Ever.
I’ve named my friend Max. And he’s still out there on my sidewalk to remember to smile every day when I leave for work. Usually I forget soon after I arrive at work. But still, at least a few smiles in the day!
So, I was already planning on posting about my playlist for the marathon (the post about ipod v no ipod can be another day…because, screw it, I’m ipoding it during the race…), and then one of my formspring questions was: “top 5 musicians/bands . . . go!” And figured, what a great joint post. Yes. (also, note, I’m totally enjoying the questions. They’ll all get answered! Promise. )
Well, My favorite bands/muscicians are kinda embarassing. But, I don’t claim to like “good” music. I claim to like happy music. I’m the queen of guilty pleasure music.
So, moving on to my marathon music and my marathon plan. My marathon playlists are very deliberately crafted…and can take hours and hours to make. There are “stages” of music (which match my race plans):
Pre-race: Mellow. It’s just what it sounds like. I try not to waste energy on being hyped up, so I use a lot of the music I would use for yoga classes. Just zen…trying to let the external distractions fall away.
Mile 1-3: Chill. There is such a tendancy to go out way too hard…and well, I mentally don’t do well when I hit it hard and start to fade. So, I have some more relaxed music to remind me to just “relax” into the first few miles. The first few should feel eeeeeeasy. I’m just settling into the pace.
Mile 4-13.1: Happy. My “happy” runs are my best runs. Where it feels effortless, bouncy and happy. That is what I’m going for in this chunk of the race…so the music mimics that, happy, bouncy, light. And, yes, this includes Miley Cyrus, numbers from musicals, and songs from Disney soundtracks. Don’t knock it until you try it. But, for the rest of the first half of the race, I’m just enjoying it. Or trying to enjoy it. I don’t want to waste my mental energy (or physical energy just yet).
Mile 13.1-20: Tough. This is where you start to doubt yourself. I always need to remind myself how tough I am. So, the music turns to harsher beats. More deliberate messages to listen to, lyrics that I can channel and stay tough and moving forward. (e.g. Feelin Alright by Joe Crocker or Stronger by Kanye)
Mile 21-25: Angry. These are the miles that HURT. I have to get angry to push through it. I think of crap that makes me angry and I listen to angry rock music and and I push. I push hard through those miles.
Mile 25-26.2: Balls to the wall. At this point I’m just pushing as hard as I can and probably won’t even be noticing the music anyway.
Ok, so sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately, I’m battling getting sick, so I’ve been sleeping and drinking lots of water, hoping to get better before the marathon. But, it appears I’ll just be running the race sick…in thunderstorms. :-/
But, folks, I’ll be back full force on Monday. If you want to stalk me during the marathon, because who wouldn’t…my bib number is #384 and you can get race day updates here.
And, what’s your favorite running song?
5K race reports are pretty amazing. Soooo much quicker than all these marathon and tri RRs I’ve been doing.
This 5K is at the local YMCA and it’s a race I’ve run every Thanksgiving that I’m home since I was 13ish. So, since I was finally home for T-giving for the first time since college, I knew I had to run the race even though this is technically my two-week “off-season.” It’s a fun race because I always see peeps I know including many of my former high school cross country and track teammates. Plus, it’s always fun to go out and see all the cute little current runners on the THS cross country team in their uniforms.
Anyway, so I was, as written last night, hoping for a PR, in the 22s. But, sadly, that wasn’t to happen today.
Turkey Trot 5K Stats:
Ok, in my defense, those splits are not as wildly erratic as they may seem at first glance. While I did go out too fast, the first mile is mostly downhill and the second mile is all uphill…and the third mile is rolling hills. But, really, this is a mad hilly course. I’m ok with this race (not really disappointed but not really happy either); which is actually an odd reaction given that it is, for all intents and purposes, an “adult” PR (i.e. fastest 5K since I have been post-pubescent). I’m mostly not ecstatic because I feel that I could have run a faster race if I had been a little smarter. But, c’est la vie, and for my first 5K in a long time…and without very much speedwork over this past year, it’s not a bad race.
But, here is how the race went: Mile 1: Stuck behind a whole lot of slow walkers, so I had to dodge in and out of the crowd for the first quarter mile. It took me that long to build up any kind of speed. By the time I broke free from the crowd, the course was headed downhill and I strided out, allowing gravity to do the work and got my speed up to under 7min/mile. Mile 2: Starts uphill…and long ugly uphills. And, it starts hurting. I wonder why all of my hilly running in Augusta hasn’t helped me run these hills better. I sloooow down. And at one point, I get a little discouraged and walk (wtf? in a 5K? I didn’t walk one step when I ran the Augusta Half when I was running nearly as fast for 13.1mi). Mile 3: Ah, yes! We are almost done! I come up on a mother and son running together. The son can’t be more than 8 years old and he’s wearing this Boston Marathon finisher jacket that is way too big for him and is clearly his mothers. It was such a cute sight that I actually got distracted from the pain some. So, I just try to keep the pace below 8min/miles, knowing that I probably won’t break 23min and just want to finish at this point and get on with my “off-season.” I had enough to pick up the pace to under 7min/mile for that last .1 of a mile.
But, had I known I was sooooo close to breaking 23min, I may have pushed harder in mile 3. I think, like Philly, my mind gets in the way. I feel the pain of the race and think, oh you can’t keep at this, slow down…stop… And, really I’m not sure if that’s true at all. I think I could have pushed harder. And I would have been ok. The pain is temporary.
And now, a justification for declaring this time a PR:
The last time I ran under 23:00, I was 16 and 115ish lbs. I am now 26 and…well…a whole heck of a lot more than 116lbs (as I should be). But here’s the thing, my 5K PRs when I was that light and young were under 22mins. And those PRs are nearly a decade old (and will be in Mar). So, that begs the question, at what time do you determine a PR to be so old that it’s not even really applicable as a reference point? And, I think, nearly a decade is a pretty large time period over which to be comparing race times. So, I’m making an executive, declaring this race a new PR. That way, I have a better comparison point for improvement than a PR set when I was a twig.
Finally, please take a note about my HRs. Those ridic high rates are WILDLY out of character for me. I think it is a sign that I need some time off. There is a big connection between physical burnout and rises in resting and exertion heart rates. And, I’m going to read my 200+ HR to be a sign that I need a break.
On another note, I really hope that when I’m a grownup with my own family, that well all go and do these races together. I loved seeing that mom and little boy run together. Anytime I see a little kid running these fun runs with a parent, it makes me want to be that parent. I also love seeing an entire family come out and race together. My old neighbors always come out and run, which is fun because one of the daughters and I ran on a relay team together that was one of the top in the state my senior year. She always beats me now….I credit that to her being a long distance runner and me being a middle distance runner…:) I was always a miler or less. But, Mom, Dad, and the four kids are always out there running. Even now that all the kids are out of college, they all get up and run it in Thanksgiving morning.
My daddy usually will come with me, but really it’s always just me running…and sadly today, I was one my own totally, as Daddy prepared the Turkey at home. And it’s not bad, I mean I knew other people there. But, I do wish sometimes that I could recruit more people out…even if its just to walk the 5K (or the 5miler TT that I do when we are in NC for the holiday). Perhaps, I’m just aching for someone to go to all these races with, especially since it’s such a big part of my life. That said, I am thankful that I am able to run. period. even if I’m running by myself.
Lets start out with this: I was registered for the full marathon in Philly. Originally, it was my “goal marathon” of the season. I was going to run Chicago to see what a marathon is like, and then I’d run Philly to qualify for Boston if I didn’t in Chicago. But, I BQed in Chicago and was left with the big question: what now? In all honesty, I didn’t expect to qualify in Chicago, so I always figured I would run Philly to BQ. I was left feeling exhilarated by a great race and scared that I would never be able to race like that again. Because of that fear, I put a lot of pressure on myself to train hard and race harder. After another good race at the Augusta Half Marathon, I burned out a little. I considered running the half at Philly; I considered not running anything at Philly.
After three weeks of running twice a week, and no run longer than 7 miles, I thought, heck, I can run the full marathon.
And, that was the intention I had when I left Baltimore.
But, that’s not so much what happened.
I got to the start line, and as I discussed in part 1, I forewent (foregoed?) starting with the 3:30 pg. We walked up to the start line and took off:
One of those blurry orange blobs is me, I think.
First 10K: 49:19//7:51/7:47/7:50/8:05/7:57/7:52
I was hunggggggry at the start line. The delish bagel from panera was not enough. Crap. That’s why I usually do PB with the carbies. The fat and protein hold you over. So, I start off, with a hungry belly. I try to be mellow into the beginning of any race because hitting a wall is awful. But, as I start out, I think to myself, I think I started out in the 7min/mile range in Chicago and that was totally fine. And this is a faaaaassssst course, I will totally be fine.
So, I refuse to allow myself to run 8min/miles+.
I’m trotting along, and this is not hurting tooooo bad. I’m so going to beat 3:30. yessss.
But then…there start being hills. Wtf? I thought this course was flat and fast. I even looked at the elevation chart before the race and it appeared to be a pretty flat course sans hills. But, these hills appeared. And there didn’t seem to be any hills at all. And the course should be downhill and flat.
The hills hit me hard. Not physically so much as mentally. I got mad. I seriously got mad. At everyone. And everything. And the hills. And so much at the freaking geography and geology that created said hills.
I got mad and I said “F this.” Why am I doing this? I’m uber mature. Seriously. I think this is the point where I mentally gave up. I gave up because I was mad that there were f-ing hills.
Second Half: 8:02/8:20/8:02/9:03 (!!!!!!!)/8:20/8:20/7:59/7:23
Ok, so you can see where it starts going downhill?
I saw my dad at the 10K mark and was already wondering if I was going to want to run the full. But, I was still determined to see if I could keep up the pace. If I could keep on about an 8:00, I would beat 3:30! But. Mile 8. Mile 8 happened. And I couldn’t keep it up anymore.
I got my first side stitch in a race. Heck, it was the first side stitch I’ve had since I was about 8. I told myself to just relax and breath deeply, and the stitch would resolve itself. But it didn’t. And I had trouble breathing deeply because it hurt so badly.
And then, as we approached the Philly Zoo, we hit a real hill. And I walked. Oh, the horror! (do you see the 9:00 mile?!?!). But, fortunately, this helped the side stitch. And I was able to run side stitch free for the rest of the run. But, I had decided at this point, I’m done. And I’m only doing the half marathon.
I was mad at the hill. I was mad at myself for going out so hard. I was mad at myself for being mentally weak.
And, I just couldn’t do it for another 16 more miles. It wasn’t even the physical part that was so bad (though, it was pretty bad. I had hit a rough rough wall). The mental was awful. The constant hating the race. And hating myself for hating the race. And hating myself for hating the race and giving up because of that.
I ran out the last 3 miles trying to keep up the pace, but my legs were so heavy.
And, so what have we learned?
I finished. And it wasn’t a PR. And it wasn’t the most brilliant race performance. And it wasn’t even a fun race. But, I learned that I need to work on my mental game. And I should never start out a race thinking that I don’t have to run the full if I don’t want to. Because honestly, are you ever going to want to? I’m newly energized to change up my game and train hard next year.
Stay tuned for the season recap…and the newly solidified 2010 race and training plan.
Highlights of the Race: Someone dressed up as Ben Franklin; The back of a runner’s shirt that said “Relax, neither of us if going to win,” stopping running
My Daddy and I left Baltimore to drive up to Philly Saturday afternoon, made it into town at four-ish. We went to the expo, picked up my packet and all that and then headed to a little market to grab dinner before going home. I had a greek veggie wrap (I’ll eat anything made as a vehicle for tzatziki sauce…again, I’m Greek.) and a Birch Beer.
I was exhausted, so I laid out my things, before going to bed at 8pm.
I had gotten my marathon nutrition out (I rarely bring GUs with me for a full marathon)…3 gels: Espresso Love GU, Chocolate Power Gel, Vanilla Gingerbread GU (thanks Noah!)
I woke up at 4:45am, and ate 2/3 of a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera. Brought PB but didn’t use it. This would later come back to bite me in the arse. Got dressed:
Don’t judge. I know I look ridic and like heck. But, please, make a mental note of the color of sweatpants that I’m about to pull up over my skirt.
But then, we left to go to the course at 5:15. At this point, I really wished I had booked a hotel within walking distance from the start like I had in Chicago. But, anyway, we packed up the car. The leftover cups from our dinner drinks were still in the cupholders of the car; unfortch, my dad and I had picked up brown flavored water as a coffee-a-like in the hotel lobby. As an environmentalist, I was not just going to dump the cups out on the side of the car so that I could stick the to-go coffee cups in the cupholders. So, I nestled my little cup of disgustingness and caffeine in between my legs and stuck my father’s on the middle console, thinking “surely, he won’t knock this over when he get’s in the car.”
If I should have learned any lesson over my lifetime, it really should be that anytime I think “surely…blah blah blah” I will be wrong.
And I was.
My dad got in the car and swung his arm back onto the console without looking. And I flipped out to save his cup (because my father is ridonk anal retentive about car cleanliness, am I not right, sister?). And I saved his cup from spilling. But in that effort, I knocked my cup, which was so happily nestled safely between my legs, into my lap. And holy heck. It was HOT. I think I gave myself first degree burns on my inner thighs. And my throw away sweatpants were soaked in coffee.
Here’s the real ironic part. Those sweatpants were purchased at the college where I took the LSAT after I spilled juice in my lap 20 minutes before exam time. I refused to take the LSAT with wet pants. So I went and bought those sweatpants at the last minute. Apparently, I just need to learn how to stop spilling stuff in my lap.
Fortunately, I brought two pairs of throwaway sweatpants, and changed into those sweatpants while my running skirt dried (it did eventually…)
So, then it was time for a pre-race photo shoot with daddy:
(See the black sweatpants? Different color from before…) Ok, any musical lovers get this reference??? My mother requested this sign.)
And in the tradition of marathon weekend photoshoots (see e.g. Chicago), I had to get one of me pointing at something.
Then, we parted ways, I made it to my corral (I was seeded with the 3:30-3:40 marathoners) and looked around for the 3:30 pg. The group was on the other side of the road from where my Dad would be standing at the start, so I figured I would meet up with them later. This turned out to be a fatal mistake…
And today, ladies and gents, we discuss the dreaded “B word”
I’ve been battling whether it’s true or not, but I think after this weekend, it is blatantly obvious that I have contracted a bad case of the burnouts. I read an article by Jeff Galloway, who suggests asking yourself the following questions:
Burnout Quiz: A “yes” to any of these questions means you may need a boost (see below for remedies)
1. Are you unmotivated to run on 2 or more days per week? YES…in fact i have no motivation to run. ever. anymore.
2. After most runs these days, do you feel less satisfied than you had been feeling during the previous 1 to 3 months? always
3. When you run a good time in a race, do you skip past the enjoyment of your achievement and immediately project ahead to your next goal? i completely skipped the BQ excitement for focus on a 3:20 mary
4. When you run longer than usual, does it give you very little or no sense of achievement? none.
5. When you have a bad run, or a bad race, do you feel discouraged and defeated for several days or more? how about discouraged all of the time
6. Do you often find yourself looking for excuses to stop a run early? my shoelaces are untied?! guess i have to stop now.
I answered yes to each and everyone of those questions…it’s pretty obvious when i have absolutely no desire to run (except that i know i should be running and scared that i will get slow and fat if i don’t run) that i’m facing a little of something mental going on.
But, i don’t think the gravity of the situation has been made evident to my readers. Like. i don’t think i would go out and run if my life depended on it. i just do not want to. and i’m dreading next year now because i have this full ironman that i registered for and frigg, i don’t even want to run one mile.
i’m not sure why or when it set in and I’ve spent the day trying to figure that out.
So the three main potential culprits are:
I have been in “race mode” since May…and in major race mode since September. I had the Half Ironman 9/27, the Chicago Marathon two weeks later, the Augusta Half-marathon 3 weeks after that…and now, i’m facing down the Philly Marathon three weeks after that. These four major distance events are piled all on top of each other. If I could race for fun (and not for time) then it wouldn’t be a problem.
But I’m so stressed out about PRs everytime I race, it’s no fun anymore. Because I’m setting myself up for failure. Because, I can’t always improve.
And, my problem is…if I’m not going to do well, I don’t want to do it (I know I know…not a good attitude). But I set these insanely high expectations of my races.
there definitely isn’t an overtraining problem based on volume…because i’m at like 10miles a week and nothing else right now…BUT…i put a lot of pressure on myself with each run. every run is at tempo pace (8:00-8:20min/mil) and i can’t get myself to run easy. because, if i’m not running hard, i’m not going to get better. slow runs will make me slower.
the thing this, i SO KNOW that this is flawed. that the way i train and run is not good. i know it. but i’m too scared of getting slower and fatter and oausgboasbnasf. that…aosgubaosfbas…i just can’t stop. (i’m super frustrated just thinking about this).
there is also the theory that meeting a long time goal can bring about mental fatigue. and i did that in Chicago. i qualified for Boston, a goal i thought would be a long time in the getting. so, here i am, without any real goals and lost without direction.
it’s a huge let down, actually. i met the BQ goal and already started thinking about how i have to get my marathon time under 3:30.
i am pretty sure that overracing and overtraining both played a major part in my burnout. so the question is what do i do?
because, i for sure cannot be like this for much longer. i’m so miserable…miserably unhappy that i find myself in this situation…miserably sad that i don’t have the oomph to get me going for the philly full…miserably scared that all of this non-running is going to make me get slow and fat…miserably frustrated that i can’t seem to make myself “snap out of it”. i kinda just want to cry. if i was able to cry, i would be.
so my 5 faithful readers: what to do?
The next couple of days in Chicago, Kell and I were certainly a sight to be seen. Sunday, during the afternoon, was actually not too bad. We hurt and were sore, but we were mobile. And mobile enough to go get greasy food and make a stop to pick up cupcakes:and make a trip to Niketown on Michigan Ave to find out names on the giant Chicago Marathon posters…
and I found my name…I was quasi-hoping that it would be misspelled/mispronounced in some of the ways that happen at work (pinnochio, pelloply, penop…). Sadly, they got my name perfectly right. But, I was still excited to find myself:
Then we went in the niketown store to look for official Finishers gear. I was convinced to get a customized finisher shirt to commemorate my BQ on my Birthday:After that, we had to say goodbye to Mags and set out to try to fall asleep. Man, if you had asked me before the race if I thought I would have any trouble falling asleep–I would have said, no way! But, oh wow. With all the marathon soreness setting in, it was nearly impossible to sleep, even with a great deal of wine to help the situation. I think I slept maybe 4 hours–woke up at 5:30 am unable to go back to sleep and ended up watching 3 episodes of Dexter on my computer.
When Monday morning came around, I was very sad to discover that I could barely walk. I kind of fell out of bed. My knees were swollen and painful, my calves were tight, my ankles were sore…the one part of my body that was actually working was my tummy and I could not wait to EAT EAT EAT. Kell and I tried to amble over to the West Egg Cafe for brekky, but were quite taken aback when we found out that we had to get down a long flight of stairs to get to the road with the restaurant. Going downstairs was impossible. It took us maybe 5 minutes to get down and we had to turn around and go down backwards. It was a sight. We decided that this was probably what it felt like to be old. I don’t want to get old.
After gorging ourselves and having my third meal with guacamole in 12 hours, we went around for some shopping and sightseeing. I forced Kell into the American Girl Store and proceeded to tell her the back stories of the three dolls I had growing up. It’s actually kind of embarrassing how much detail I recall…We eventually made our way back home to the hotel because I was exhausted from not sleeping and from walking around. We had a dinner date with a couple of our sorority sisters from college. And it was my birthday. Did I mention that? IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY! I’m actually not normally all excited for birthdays, and really didn’t celebrate from the time I was 14 to 24. But this year, I was quite happy with the marathon and such so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me! I got birthday brulee, it was delish. I ate both:At the end, we walked home, went to bed…and woke up and had to pack up to go home. I was seriously heartbroken to go home. It was exactly what I needed: four days of amazing friends, lots of barrel laughs and reminiscing, a great race, and lots and lots of delish food. I really don’t think I’ve laughed as much as I did in years. It was kind of like being back in our soph year suite.
A public defender super heroine by day, I am a cupcake baker extraordinaire by night. And come weekend, I am an IronPerson. I deal with an NPR addiction daily and I dream of one day having Carl Kasell on my answering machine. I strive to be the best fur-mommy I can be, and when I have time, I'm learning to be a grownup.