I needed to post today because I’m needing a distraction after the election. If anyone else is like me, reading something positive will help you get through the day.
I’ve been coaching a few people locally, and I’m finding it really rewarding. I haven’t hung out a shingle for my coaching services, but I am accepting new clients. My “fees” are in the form of donations to charity, and I’m willing to work with runners for what is affordable to them depending on their running goals. I am currently RRCA level 1 and NAASFP certified, and I just started working on the RRCA Level 2 certification. If you’re interested in being coached, shoot me an email or comment below.
Since my BQ at the Wineglass Marathon last month, I’ve resumed training. With my personal trainer, we’ve started doing a heavier focus on lifting, which is a lot of fun. This aspect of strength training got a little neglected during marathon training as we kept on top of any niggles I was feeling and addressed mobility and flexibility. I’m hoping to do an unassisted pull up one of these days. This strength work has been critical in keeping me injury free. I’m so grateful for my personal trainer who gets that running is my number one goal and designs his training around supporting my running. I had a couple personal trainers before him who, while great, tended to give me the workouts they wanted to give (a lot of crossfit/boot camp/tabata type stuff) and didn’t keep in mind my race goals and schedule. I ended up with an injury from one because it was too aggressive. She wasn’t a good fit. She was one of those “pain is temporary, glory is forever” people, but that didn’t do me a lot of good when I was limping three days before my first marathon.
I took a couple of very easy weeks of running post-Wineglass, but then I ran a 10k I’ve been wanting to run for the past few years, the Great Pumpkin Challenge. It’s held in the park I like to train in, and I had a 90 minute long run on the schedule, so I thought I’d run 4 miles pre-race then run the 10k for fun.
As usual, I did not look at my watch for the race, and just picked a tempo that felt like I was working, but not too hard. Imagine my surprise when, after running hard up a pretty good incline and around the corner to the finish, I saw the clock and realized I was going to finish with a sub-50 minute time and get a new PR. I also managed to negative split the race, which considering that all the hills are in the back half was also a pleasant outcome. I was 4th in my age group, so no award. But then, I’d gone into the race thinking I’d be satisfied with a 54 minute finish.
After a ton of research and deliberation, I recently switched coaches after being with the same one for three years. I’m so super excited about this change and have really been thrilled with my new coach, who is with the RunSMART program. Because the Boston Marathon is so far off, I decided I wanted to focus on shorter race distances in the interim. My PRs for races shorter than a half marathon are very soft. In fact, unless you count the first few races I ever ran in the spring of 2013, I’ve never trained specifically for shorter races. In other words, lots of room for improvement.
Basically, I need to be more aggressive in where I line up to start races and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m so used to holding back early in the half and full marathon, that I find it hard not to panic when I feel that lactic acid start to build up or my breathing gets hard.
The new workouts have been fun and a good new challenge. We aren’t quite up to my usual mileage, but we’ll get there soon. I want to stay in half marathon shape because it’s my favorite distance and I’d like to be able to hop in and run one if I’d like. Plus I’d like to maintain my aerobic base since I feel it will really help with the shorter distance racing.
The weekend before Halloween I decided to run the Goblin Gallop 5k, again for fun. I love Halloween races with people in costume and lots of little kids and families participating. I wore a shirt with Munch’s The Scream on it and some Halloween socks. I think the socks brought me good luck because I ran a 24:19, only one second off my PR. Again, this was not a full race effort. My splits were: 7:59, 7:45, 7:38, 6:56 (.1). I got second in my age group and a cool pint glass.
Last weekend my coach assigned me an 11 mile fast finish long run. For the last 3.1 miles, I was going to run the Revolutionary Run for Veterans cross country race. I warmed up on the race course with 8 miles at an easy to moderate pace. As I did this, my legs felt kind of tired because I’m not really used to running off road these days. But my coach had told me to not worry about “saving” anything for the race, so I just did my thing. The race was delayed to start (ugh), so I kept running around in circles for another half mile (with stops and starts whenever I thought the race might get underway) as I waited for the announcements to end. This race starts with running across a field, and then has a big bottleneck where only 2 runners can fit. I didn’t line up right in the front, but close, because there were 300 runners and I knew from previous runs that this spot is an issue. It really made a difference and I ran the first mile in 7:35.
The second mile is the hardest, with some single track, a short but steep hill, and roots, grass and curves on a dirt trail. I ran this mile in 7:46. I did feel this one some in my legs, but my breathing wasn’t particularly labored and I could still speak in full sentences without trouble.
The third mile has a short but very steep hill on pavement, them returns back on the path from mile 1. One lady passed me in this mile, but otherwise I wasn’t passed by anyone after the first half mile or so of this race. I ran this mile in 7:45.
The last bit is down a hill then back up a little onto grass, which really feels tough and slow. I was shocked to see that it was still 23 minutes on the clock as I approached the finish. I ran the last .1 at 6:56 pace for a finish time of 23:55. A new PR by 23 seconds. On a hard course with 8.5 miles on my legs before the race start.
I was 5th female of 158 and first in my age group. Pretty darned exciting for me, even if it was a small race. It also shows me that, as I suspected, a good deal of my “problem” with shorter races is mostly mental and being afraid to push myself for fear of falling apart in a race. It’s a silly fear, one I keep reminding myself that no one cares but me how I do in a race and so what if I fail, but it’s easy to say when not in the moment. I still struggle with feeling upset about my DNF in December despite that it was CLEARLY the right decision given my health at the time.
So, it’ll be interesting to see where I go from here as I train for a couple goal races. I have a 10k goal race in December and I am looking for a 5k to run in early to mid-January. I’m also running a 5 mile Turkey Trot, which I will make an honest effort of, but it also is a huge, crowded race (4000+ runners), and the first couple miles can be difficult to jockey for a place to run.
I’m really having fun with the new workouts from my coach, although I’m finding it hard to “feel” the faster paces in a consistent manner. I’ve become a huge fan of not looking at my watch and running by effort, but the faster intervals have been a little all over the place as I try to reintroduce myself to speed work. Yesterday I did a hill workout that was getting a bit more consistent, so I’m hoping that I will quickly be able to gauge my paces better on the faster end of my speed.
I’m sad that it will soon be winter. Temperatures have been darn near perfect for running lately. I’m a wimp once temperatures go below freezing and when there is ice and/or snow on the roads. I don’t mind treadmill running at all. In fact, I’m behind in a bunch of tv shows and look forward to catching up while running on the treadmill. But I’d rather be outdoors and enjoying the park.
Speaking of the park, I have a couple huge pet peeves. First, why is that horses are allowed to shit all over the pedestrian paths? I know, I know, you can’t prevent a horse from shitting where it wants, and I have no problem with horseback riding in the park, but it is gross to have to sidestep piles of poo. My second, related, beef is with dog owners. Why oh why do some of them pick up their pet’s poop in a baggie and then think it’s ok to leave the baggie laying around and not throw it in the trash? How is that better than just leaving the shit on the ground?!?!?! Now you’ve littered and your poop-filled baggie is not biodegradable. I also don’t like it when people take their dogs off leash — we have leash laws. I don’t care if your pet has never bitten someone or is the sweetest doggie ever. That’s what all pet owners say after their pet has an incident: “Weird, Fluffy has never bit anyone before!” And it is scary as a runner to have a dog, friendly though it may be, run at you. I love dogs and they generally don’t scare me, but for crissakes people, leash your pet in public parks!
/rantIn non-running news, we closed in our screened porch so now it’s a three season porch. Sadly, they just finished and it’s too chilly out there to use. We’re also looking into theater seating for our basement media room. We’ve been meaning to do it for 8 years, and I finally got really sick of the cobbled together futon and office chair combo we have going on down there. The one issue is that the chairs we like are soooooo comfortable that we think we’ll fall asleep while watching our tv shows, lol. Tough life.
I guess I could ramble on, but I won’t. I hope everyone else is doing ok. I’d love to hear how your fall is going, if you care to comment below. Or give me any book or television show recommendations. Or tell me anything else you want to talk about 🙂
Best wishes to everyone!