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Funny How It Works

It’s funny how things work.   I started my blog way back when just to keep track of my fitness journey.   When I started and even now, I write my blog for me.     Really.      It’s my way of processing things and expressing myself.   I’m always surprised that anyone reads it, but I do know that there are a few who follow my journey.   Even with that, when I write; I don’t think of that and write for me.   If I didn’t I might not put it all out there as honestly as I do.

So first of all, if anyone is reading this…..     Hi there:)

Now I’ve been pretty open about how much my running has sucked lately and how disappointing I’ve been.    Again, I do this because writing helps me to process things and sometimes it even gives me an Aha moment.    Then sometimes, someone will send me a message or a comment to open my eyes to that not only are people reading but they have insight and words of wisdom too.

Then sometimes you get a message from someone unexpectedly.  Someone who I’m shocked my blog even makes her reading list.   Someone who if you look up badass runner in the dictionary will have her picture and stats.   Someone who inspires me and leaves me in awe.   Someone who honestly I would now be too embarrassed to run with, but know that she wouldn’t bat an eye at taking a run with me.   She’s just that awesome.

Anyway,  sometimes it helps to hear things that you know to be true but somehow it rings truer when coming from someone whose badassness can’t be questioned.

 “Try to not apologize for pace or distance. You got out there. That’s it! You ran! You sweat! You put in the hard work! You feel pain and elation! Focus on the feeling not the pace. Fuck it.”

“In the end, it’s not about your pace or your time. It’s about the journey”

“Don’t run for anyone else. Run for yourself.”

These are words that I know are true.   These are words that I’ve tried to tell myself too, but somehow when I said them to myself I felt like I was copping out or making an excuse.   Now she is not the first to say these things to me, but somehow when I read her message to me, I really just wanted to cry.

She (and others) have been right.  I’ve been too focused on pace and distance.   I’m doing the best I can on any given day.   Like everyone some days are better than others. As long as I’m doing what I can, what more can I ask for?    I’ve always ran for me.    I’ve ran because I enjoy pushing my limits and the actual feel of running.  I think somehow I got caught up in a bit of a pity party.   Kind of stupid actually.

I need to focus on the basics which is running to run.   Running because it is what I want to do.   I need to remember that this is actually something that I both want to do and enjoy doing.  No one is making me run.   This isn’t gym class.

I need to find the joy!

So today I went out for a run (shocking).   Before I left though, I turned my Garmin to only show me distance and time of day.   I set my timer for my 3 to 1 walk ratio and out the door I went.   I ran on feel.   I ran to run.   I ran for me.

You know what?

I had a great run.   I don’t mean pace or distance.   Truth be told, I wanted to do 12 today but due to time restrictions I only got 7 in.   During the run, I went only by the way my body went and it felt good.   I know if I had had the time that 12 would have happened today and I would have felt good about it.   I also felt good about the 7 that I was able to do because they were a happy 7.    I ran by feel.   I walked when the timer went off and ran again when it beeped again.

Now I will admit that I am never going to run without my Garmin.   Just not going to happen.  What I can do though is like today take the focus off it and put it back on the run.   The funny thing is that when I allow my body to do it’s job, it knows what to do.   Today I did not feel choppy in my run.   I did not feel pressure.   I just enjoyed the beautiful running weather.   When I did download my run though, I did notice something.    I was pretty consistent in it.

So maybe it’s time to just say….

Just run

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All Is Not As it Seems

 

 

Still Plugging Along.    Still trying to figure it out.   One thing I’m trying to get a hold of is my Pace.   It is ALL over the place.   It is not reflected in the picture of my runs, but like peoples post’s on Facebook many times when you look a little closer everything isn’t as pretty as it seems.

Case in point.

This was last night’s run.   On face value it looks like a beautiful run.    Paces are on target.   I’ve got some nice negative splits going.   But when you look a little closer all is not as it seems.

This run started in the evening which on a normal day would mean that it was cooler.   Not so much right now.   It was still hot and the humidly was so thick that you could cut it.   This was supposed to be just an easy and slow run.    Started out accordingly.   Once I got out there, I knew due to the heat I more than likely do a walk/run.

Now I admit that I don’t follow the plan accordingly for the walk/run method.   Maybe I should.   Maybe I won’t.   One of the reasons is because I like to adjust my walk dependent upon the course.   I would much rather run down the hill than up it.   And I admit that part of me is digging my heals in a bit and really not wanting to embrace it.   Not because I don’t think it’s a valid plan or there is anything wrong with it.   It is 100% because it’s not a plan that I got to choose and was foisted upon me.

Heals dug in.

Not smart and I’m trying.   Oh so trying to get my head out of the neither region and realize that this is me.

So here is what the truth of my pretty split run.    I started out running.   Did some walking.   Then some running.   Then some walking.   Then some fast running trying to make up time.   Followed by heavy breathing and walking.    Pattern repeated.

This was not a smart run.   My paces bounced all over the pace.   I even sprinted at the end hitting a 7:39 pace.   That, I admit, was fun and felt good.    Not smart.   I need to be smarter.

Yes, this type of running will fly when running 3 miles and I might even be able to do it for a half.   But as everyone knows a Marathon is a whole different beast.   As those who have been here for a while remember, I hit the wall and I hit it hard at the NYCM by running the first half like I didn’t have the second half to run.  I even questioned Was It A Waste?  Not a smart race.   I was able to push through the wall and finish NY, but I honestly don’t know if my body could break through the wall if it hit it now.

I need to pull it all together.   I need to give up this dream that I’m still going to pull a 4:30 in Chicago.   Yes, it’s still there.   Come on, you know I’m an optimist.   I think this is what is my biggest problem is.  I keep hoping that some how my body will fix itself and things will work again like they did before.

  Plus I have forgotten how to hold a pace.  I used to be able to run beautiful cut-down runs holding my pace within 5 -10 seconds of set pace.  Practice makes perfect and I’m out of practice.   I think that if I went out yesterday and ran the whole 3 miles at a 11:45 pace or slower that I could have run more consistently.   Probably wouldn’t have needed to walk either.   It’s harder than it sounds.

Now before you say, leave your watch at home.   That’s not happening.   I’ve also set it to where I can’t see the pace and that doesn’t help.   This is just another step forward in the acceptance process of where I am and I’m still fighting it.   Just because I know it, does not make it an easier.

One Day at a Time.

One Run at a Time.

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Seize the Day!

It is not an exaggeration to say that I ran one of the best races that I’ve ever run yesterday.  The weather was optimal for running.   I ran a smart race.   I had beautiful pretty splits.   I felt good.   Great running time and a nice finish.   What more could a girl ask for on a Sunday race day?

The funny thing is that this was another race that I went into without an actual plan.   Nope.   Nada.   Clueless.    Like any tutu runner, I was more concerned with coordinating my outfit which I do believe that I did so perfectly.

bronx10m_5  Mission accomplished!

When walking and getting into the corrals with my MRTT Mama’s, I was saying that I was just going to run the Bronx 10 Miler as a training run.   I was just going to run it at a solid 10:30 pace like many of my training runs.

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Gun goes off and we are off.   I start off with my friend Kim.   I tell her just go ahead as I don’t want to affect her race as I’m going to be going slow.    She goes her way, I go mine.   Then a funny thing happens as I’m trying to maintain my 10:30 pace, I realize that I’m going too fast.    I feel good.   I know from experience though that starting out too fast can be a real problem, so I change my mindset to running a smart race.

Seize the Day mentality.

I still have not thought on overall time, but I figure I will try to just keep my splits good.   I did runt them faster than I was trying, but I was feeling good and felt like I could maintain the pace.    I figured that it was only 10 miles and I could just keep going.

It seemed to work for me.  I did a couple things to distract me from the actual running during the race.   First, I listen to those around me while running.    I listen to the sounds of the feet, conversations, and just pay attention to where I’m actually running.   Kind of taking in the sites.   One of the other things that I did was take the time to say Thank You to every Police Officer that I ran by.    Just a simple, “thanks officer.”    They probably were like who is this crazy lady in red, but I figured they deserved it.

Then I get to the finish line which this year is on a downhill as they changed the course a little.   I’m feeling a stitch in my side, but I push it hard at the end.   Why not?   I can always breathe after I cross the finish line.

So my non race strategy really paid off!    I think that I am more happy with my splits than my actual finish time.

Now hopefully, I will be as happy with this run this morning as I get ready to head out for my 15 miles today.   At least I am running a slow pace!

Let the training continue.

NYCM marathon bound.

 

Some Like It Hot

I admit, I like it hot

but only when swimming at the pool or on the beach.

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For running, I much prefer a balmy 60 degree day.    Fall is a beautiful time to run (usually).   That being said,  July is not usually perfect running weather in Jersey.   That doesn’t keep me home though and I know it doesn’t keep anyone home that has a big fall race on the calendar either.    It just causes us to make adjustments or pay the price for not.  Most of us just don’t want to though or think it doesn’t apply to us.   I make them usually kicking and screaming.

The most obvious and easiest adjustment should be to get up super early and run before the heat of the day.   During the school year, I normally do my runs mid morning.   In the summer, I like to sleep in when possible.   Beating the heat does not allow for this.

Boo early runs.

Boo.

I will admit that depending on what type of run that I am doing, I may sleep in and just deal with the heat.   Yes, I may suffer a little bit in the heat but I got to sleep in or may even go for an evening run:)   I will say this does not work for days where I have a specific pace or cut down run.    This really only works on slow steady days.

Runner’s are usually all about the numbers.  When you’ve already embraced the running slower approach in your training, it is even worse.   You think to yourself, “Well I’m already running XYZ pace, so I’m good.   I don’t need to slow down any more.”

FALSE

Here is the thing –  coaches, articles, friends and even Google will tell you that heat is a huge factor in training.   I imagine if you live a a place where it is hot ALL year round and 80’s is a cool day that your body had adjusted to the heat, so this probably doesn’t apply to you.   For me though, I can tell that the heat makes a difference.    Even once my body has adjusted to the higher temperatures of summer, I still need to adjust (slow it down).  Here is the thing, no one wants to feel like a speed walker can pass them because they slowed their pace down to what feels like a stand still.   Sometimes, I admit, I think that I should tape a sign to my back saying….

I can run faster

Really

That being said, if you try to nail your assigned paces that were designed for the perfect running day (50 to 60’s), then you are going to overwork yourself trying to hit those paces.   You may not even be able to complete your run or if you do it won’t be pretty.   I’ve been there.  As much as we want to pretend it isn’t so, if you run a 10:45 pace on a 60 degree day, then when the temperature soars to 80 you need to slow down to 11:05.   There are some good online calculators for adjusting your pace due to heat.   The hotter it is outside, the more you need to slow down.  You get the same benefit running slower on a hotter day.  Really.

Really, it won’t kill you to run slower.

Then there is this.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Normally, I run with my Fitletic belt with 2 bottles.   Now that we are in the midst of summer, I have added an additional 2 bottles.   I plot my routes to go by friend’s houses, parks, or even 7-11 so that I can refill them.    I may also break out my running vest as that has bigger water bottles and more storage.   Although, I think I will save that for long runs only.

The bottom line is we are all grown ups and know what we should be doing.   Now we just have to do them.

Be safe.

Be smart.

Run.

How Slow Can You GO?

slow_down

We all know that I’ve never claimed to be an expert at running.    I readily admit that I have so much to learn, but that isn’t to say that I don’t have some knowledge as I’ve been at it a few years now.  A running friend recently asked me about my running.   She’s gearing up for marathon training as many of my running friends are and she wanted to know about my paces.   She specifically wanted to  know about the “running slower” in training.   As most of you know, my coach and now me, swear by this approach.   My coach can give you all the schooled reasons why it makes more sense to train slower (Chronic Runner), I can just give you my take on it.

Before I wisely started working with my coach, I would estimate that almost ALL of my runs were at the same pace.   It didn’t matter if it was a long run, a short run, or anywhere in between.   You could count on an almost steady 10:20 pace.   I thought I was doing good, but I was wrong.    It wasn’t good for my body and it wasn’t good for my training.

I know that concept of slowing down to speed up sounds entirely crazy.    I know it doesn’t make any sense.   It goes against the grain.   You think to yourself if I’m going to get faster, I need to run faster and I need to run faster a lot.    Well, yes, yes you do need to run faster.   Here is the thing though.  You don’t need to run faster ALL the time and honestly most of the time you should be running slower.   Seriously.  No joke.  No lie.

The first thing that my coach had me do when I started with her was to slooooooow down.   Most of my daily runs except the ones designed for speed were slowed down to 11 minute pace or slower.   I didn’t get it.   I thought this doesn’t make sense, but I listened.   I followed her advice.   These slower days balanced out with days where I pushed it and ran hard.     There was a balance that I didn’t have before.   It was the key that I was missing (that and most of the key chain).    I didn’t always understand, but I understood enough to know that she was right.

Here is the thing too.    Before I slowed down, I battled plantar fasciitis.   I battled it a lot.   Taping my foot.   Running in pain.   I just thought, “this is part of being a runner.”   I was wrong.   Now, I am not saying that I am always pain free.   I am not saying that new shoes and inserts have not also helped.   What I am saying is that running slower when I didn’t need to be running fast helped.   Not only with injuries, but also allowing my body to have the juice it needed on days I needed to run fast and then allow it  recover from those hard days too.

Here is the bottom line from all this slowing down.    I am an average runner.   I do not have what is considered the “runners body.”   I am short with short (but powerful) legs.   I am a few pounds overweight.   You know what all of that means?   NOTHING.    Really.    Not only have I been able to run longer distances without injury since slowing down, but I have also run faster than I ever thought I could.    In my 5K last week that I PR’d in 26:26.   I ran the fasted mile that I have ever run. EVER.   I ran a mile in 8:12.    This was unimaginable to me.   This still boggles my mind.   Yes, I realize it’s only a mile but my 3rd mile of the 5K was 8:19.     I may never get any faster that this, but I know that I would never have made it here if I hadn’t slowed down.

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How slow can you go?

Running By The Numbers – The Brooklyn Half

Let’s start with the first number which is very impressive.

There were 26,482 finishers for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half.   This is a record breaking US finish count for a 2015 Half Marathon.   I am happy and honored to say that I am one of them.  More women than men finished too with 18,759 women crossing the finish line.

Then there is my finish time which not as impressive, but a good time that I am very happy with.

Official Time 2:14:47

This is right where I wanted to be.   I wanted to be at 2:15, so I can’t believe how on the mark that I was with this.   Might have something to do with that I followed a plan this time.   What was my plan you ask?

Go out at 10:20-30 for the first 10, start cutting down the last few miles a few seconds a mile.

I will say that in the beginning it was hard to follow the plan, but I reigned myself in.   It wasn’t hard because I’m Speedy Gonzales.   It was hard because I always go out too fast.  It was hard because I was caught up in the excitement of the start of the race.   It was hard because my ego took a little bit of a bruise allowing myself to be passed and  needed to be seriously checked.  It was easy though because I knew I had a plan that I needed to follow.    I think I like having a plan now that I’ve experienced running with one.

As far as the ego even though I know I’m not competing against the other runners,  it really is an ego killer being passed left and right by them.  It’s human nature (or at least mine) to want to pass them and not be the one feeling like your left in the dust.  That is UNTIL you remind yourself that you need to stick to pace and not theirs.   I’ve heard race bystanders yell at other races and even yesterday the chant, “Your race, Your Pace.”   I never gave it much thought till yesterday where I internalized and owned it.   It made so much sense.   This was my race and I needed to run it.   I needed to allow myself to be passed.   I was not competing with those passing me.   I was challenging myself and in order to do that I had to follow my pace.   It was a good pace too.   And although I didn’t hit every mile goal I was pretty darn close.

10:16

10:18

10:09

10:20

10:39

10:24

10:03

10:22

10:10

10:25

This was right where I wanted to be.   I was doing the math to keep me there and I used my Garmin to keep me on pace.  If you know me too, you know that I hate math but it kept my mind occupied.  Each mile I would mentally add my goal 10:20 to my time and try to hit the target.   More often than not, I did.   Although, I do need to adjust my setting for time display as it was only giving hours and minutes and not seconds which really is key in pacing.   Then at mile 10, I took some Gatorade and allowed myself some freedom.

Mile 11 – 10:00

Mile 12 –  9:56

Mile 13 –  9:39

Then the .1 at 8:21 as I always like to sprint at the end if I can which I did since I controlled my pace!

I think because I kept a good pace that it helped with my feet too.   I was able to run without the foot pain that has made me walk during races in the past.   I think it is a combination of new shoes, new running plan, and just being a little smarter in my running lately (thanks to my running coach).    Now this is not to say that after the race I was fine because I did have some heal pain and it’s not that my feet were not sore.  They were and I did waddle a little on the walk to the car, but

Runable and livable..

Brooklyn

Sex/
Age
Overall
Place
Gender
Place
Age
Place
Net
Time
5K
Split
10K
Split
15K
Split
20K
Split
Pace
per
Mile
AG
Time
AG
Gender
Place
F46 18,759 8672 422 2:14:47 0:31:40 1:04:47 1:36:58 2:08:15 10:17 2:04:26 6512

There is more to talk about as this really was a great event.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you a little more about the actual event and not just boring but important numbers:)

Do you follow a race plan?

PS – Don’t forget to vote

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