Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Re: Confusion over common definitions

Dear Universe,

The other night when I was wishing to myself "man I wish I were hot" I appreciate that you were listening, that you wanted to help me out. But I think we may have gotten our signals crossed. I meant 'hot' in a Victoria Secret model sort of way, not in an air conditioning broke down on us in the middle of July kind of way. I understand, you may have been confused. Hot is such a vague term, and in your credit the number one definition tends to be "having or giving off heat". I should have clarified, I get that now, I should have said I was referring to the Urban dictionary definition, 'smoldering sexual appeal'. You went with the 'having a higher than desirable temperature' meaning, I see that. However, I was hoping that if we could clear it up, if we understood each other, maybe we could get to work on the hot in the Gisele Bundchen way.

Also, now that we're clear on the meaning of hot, whose responsibility is it to fix the air conditioning? I was sort of thinking since it was your bad, you could take care of fixing it, we would certainly appreciate it.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

5 Miler Race Recap

"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through."
-Rosalynn Carter

Last Thursday's training at the Lynchburg track had me really pumped on Friday. I was thinking of faster 5k times and completing half marathons. I didn't let Saturday morning's looming race get me down, I fought my anxiety off and laid my clothes out before going to bed. I slept a little less than six hours before jumping up and out of bed to gear up for the flat and fast race.

We managed, with the help of my wonderful brother and his girlfriend, to leave before the kids awoke. This gave us enough time to properly warm up for our five mile run. I did a good stretching session and then we jogged a mile warm-up followed by a little more stretching. My knee was hurting at a level 2 so I took several Aleve and began to worry if I would be able to run the whole five miles.

I started talking to other runners I know, with each run we meet a few new people. People with similar goals, people who've come from the same place, people who love to do what we love to do, run. I think the conversations were as good a warm up as any, hearing others fears and worries, aches and pains. We took our places at the start, as near to the front as possible, let the faster runners pass us. I placed myself behind a runner who is in my age group and a slightly faster runner than myself. My plan was to pace her as long as I could. I did after all have a lofty goal of under 42 minutes for the race.

The horn was blown. Off we went. I stuck with Todd for about 1/8 of a mile before he was gone at which point I realized I had passed the runner I was supposed to be pacing with. She then spoke up and I realized she was behind me, 7:20 pace, she warned. I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up that pace for five miles but there was a spark of pride that I was leading my running buddy, we finished mile 1 in 7:18, a mile PR for me. Then my shoes laces came undone. I had to work my way over to the side and stop. I hate, HATE, hate having to stop to tie my shoes, but at a race, precious seconds slipping by. I tied them as quickly as possible and looked up to see my running buddy a good 100 meters ahead. I had to do a little sprinting to catch back up but I knew that I had to keep pacing her if I had any chance of placing. I caught up to her but made sure to stay behind this time. I know myself, I do better running right behind someone then right beside them.

I was feeling good despite the heat. I kept right along pacing, mile 2, 15:12. As the half way point neared I started to slow, I couldn't, like I'd feared, keep the pace. A running buddy of ours passed me and told me I was doing a good job pacing. I started to see the people ahead running back towards the finish. I started to count them. My running buddy whom I was pacing with began to get farther and farther ahead. At the half way point I was the 68th runner, the time was 19:18 at 2.5 miles. My pacing buddy, having gotten quite the lead on me, cheered my name as she ran back off of the island. For some reason this moved me so much that I picked up my pace, for me, for her, for runners everywhere. I decided to focus on my 5k time. I was starting to wear down but I was gunning for a PR, I finished 3.16 in 24:18. A new 5k PR even if it wasn't an actual 5k race. I guess my running coach was right, I can do under 25 minutes and now I don't have to wait for October to know for sure. At four miles a female runner gained on me, time 31:50. I decided I could, I must finish in under 40 minutes, I could do it. I tried to pick up the pace, I felt like collapsing. I accepted, for the first time in my racing history, water from the volunteers, I poured it on my head. So cold it gave me a start. I trudged on. I started counting trees, counting seconds, counting steps. I just wanted it over with. At 4.5 I had exactly four minutes to finish in under 40 minutes and I was loosing energy quickly. I rethought not having anything but a handful of Peanut M&M's pre-race. I rounded the turn coming off the bridge to the homestretch and there was my running coach, out to cheer on his runners. He called my name, he cheered me on, I pumped my arms. Neck and neck with the female runner pumping along beside me I had completely lost track of my running buddy/pacing buddy. With the finish line in view I saw the big time board, twenty seconds to finish in under 40. I let out my sprint, I gave it all I had crossing the finish line at the same time as a 13 year old cross country runner, 39:50. They gave the 68th place to her, the 69th to me. I didn't care. I had three new PRs, I had finished the race two minutes faster then I thought was possible for me given perfect circumstances and I had held my spot in the race until the very end not letting others gain on me even if I couldn't pass those ahead of me. I realized my knee wasn't bothering me. I realized for the first time that I was drenched in sweat. I found my husband waiting for me at the end of the shute with a cup of water in his hand for me.

I finished 24 seconds behind my pacing buddy who took the third place in our age division. I am not jealous, I am thankful, had it not been for her I would never have finished in under forty minutes. Besides, she turns thirty today, thus leaving my age group for two years before I join her in the 30-34 ranks. I went up after the race and congratulated her, she did the same to me. I love running. I love racing. I finished 59 seconds behind Todd who went out too quick and burned out, usually at a 10K he has me by about six minutes at the finish. I ran an overall 7:58 pace. My fastest overall race pace to date. My Ukrop's 10k pace was 8:14 and I went around with a smile on my face for days. Today however there is no smile. I'm too busy planning, too busy scheming, calculating pace and locating races throughout central Virginia this coming fall.

I came home and began training for next months half marathon. I took a day off in between of course. I am starting to believe in myself, in my ability to run any distance. Call me crazy, but I've even started considering running an ultra next year, a 50K race in February.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coming up on 11 months

So I want to go pro, so I did the logical thing and hired a running coach.

Ok, so I would love to go pro but know it's never going to happen and I simply cannot afford the individual love and attention of a running coach so I did the next best thing in these parts. I joined the local training group for the Virginia 10 Miler, which I plan on running here in about eleven weeks.

It wasn't cheap as free and it isn't a large group (probably because it isn't cheap as free) but tonight's first meeting has me stoked and believing that I might just be able to run the 10 miler in 90 minutes.

Last year I ran the 4 miler portion of the race. I had just had a baby not quite 5 weeks earlier but I ran the race in 45 minutes, despite the feeling that I was about to collapse it was an amazing experience. And even though we have two half marathons on the calendar before the 10 Miler I feel a true desire to do well at that race as it is my anniversary.

That's right, I ran my first mile at the VA 4 miler last year, my first mile since high school that is, and have been running miles ever since. But I'm big on anniversaries and I want to make a statement about the last year. For me, a 90 minute 10 miler would do it.

For my first group training (there are five other people) we did 4x800 and hill repeats. I've never done this sort of speed training, or hill repeats. For the amount of pain involved you would have thought I was at Disneyland. I ran with a guy who runs the trails with us on Wednesdays and who paces quite well with me on the trails. Being the ultra competitor that I am I decided to run his paceat the Lynchburg College track this evening (funny thing, both me and my running partner went to Lynchburg College, neither of us had been on the track before tonight). It was work and it was hard but I LOVED it. My times weren't half bad either: 4:06, 3:55, 3:40 and 3:23. My coach thinks I can run a sub 25 minute 5k right now. Unfortunately, we don't have another 5k on the calendar until October.

My coach is going to send me a weekly training schedule, I am to follow it and follow up with him weekly. I can run in addition to his workouts but he will formulate a plan for me that should help me attain my new goals.

The last two weeks I have run over 20 miles a week. To ultra runners that may not seem like much, but to me who hasn't run that much since pre-knee injury it feels awesome. My knee is still giving me a little trouble and I usually take Ibuprofen before runs but it is nowhere near as bad as it was in May. I need to do better however at doing my stretches before and after runs.

This weekend we have a 5 mile race. Everyone I know who has run it tells me that it's the only 'flat and fast' course to run in Lynchburg. I am nervous. I think I prefer hills to be honest. I want to see sub 42 minutes but I don't know if it's in me. I have done three five mile trails and the fastest was 48 minutes. Can I really shave off six minutes on race day?

From now until Saturday morning I am going to lay off the running and focusing on hydrating and fueling for the big day. And maybe peruse the many race calendars and schedules on line.

I would love to find a 5k to test my coach's theory out before October.