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Was It A Waste?

I’ve been talking about the marathon a lot.   I probably will continue to talk about it a lot.  In a recent conversation,  I was asked since I didn’t reach my goal if I thought having a Coach was a waste.   I’ve got to say emphatically NO.    I’m sure that we have all heard that expression, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”    The same is true with having a Coach.    A Coach will guide you, prepare you, and get you were you need to go but it is up to the runner to take the final step.

Here is why I think that not only was it not a waste that it got me to the finish line.

My Coach has prepared me.   She gave me the tools that I needed to not only get to the starting line, but haul my behind to the finish line. Did not always take the tools given, but they were there for me.  That is on me and not her.

Training was hard.   Training on some days was much more intense than I wanted.  Training was never a walk in the park, but that wasn’t what I wanted either.   You can only get out of something what you put into it.   I also know that due to my life, I did not do everything that I needed to do to be ready for a 4:30 marathon.    If I had followed the plan, I’m sure I would have gotten there.   Besides she is a Coach not a miracle worker!

Here is the thing, I and I don’t like the way this will sound because I don’t think of it as a failure.   I blew the 4:30.   She gave me everything I needed in training and even for the day of the marathon to get me there.   She was upfront and honest about the fact that 4:30 was pushing it for this race.   That being said, she gave me the paces, encouragement, and tools to use.   I just  let myself be carried away till I ran right into the wall.

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This is the wall.

This is the face of someone trying to pull her shit together and get it done.

This is the face of someone who knows that she needs to keep moving and not give up.

I think if I hadn’t been working with my coach, I would not have known how to push through this wall.   She gave me the tools that I needed to push through, keep moving, and squeak in under 5:00.      Yes, I am also a stubborn mule who doesn’t give up easily.   That is true.   That being said,  all of the training, hard runs, and insight gave me what I needed to dig deep and know what to do.

Preparation.

No it may not have been pretty, but I kept going.

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I walked when I needed to.

Yes, I kept smiling because I’m in the NYCM!

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I ran when I could

and most of all

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I crossed the finish line!!!

And life is meant to teach us lessons.   I have no regrets, but I did learn the lesson of listening to my Coach.

Just because something does not work out the way you wanted or expected, does not mean it is a failure.    Failure is never trying in the first place:)

Do You Have The Time?

I’ve been trying to get my act together.   To not miss any workouts.    To be better.

I said to a friend not too long ago that it’s not that I don’t want to run the NYCM, it is that I don’t want to train to run it.    Well even though I have the cape, I’m no Wonder Woman and will need to train.  That being said, it also occurred to me that I’ve got some other things coming up before NY.   One of them being the Sandy Hook Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.    It is the race that started it all.    It is the race that led me to discover the joy of running.  It is the race that changed it all.    I’ve done it three times now and it holds a special place in my heart.    It will never be as good as the first time when a bunch of us ran it, but I still love it.

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Today my training plan called for 40 minutes of swimming.   I haven’t been really good about getting my swims in.   My coach might have even said (yes she did) that I was treating the swims as optional.    It also occurred to me that I’m only two weeks or so away from Sandy Hook and I really need to get my swims in.   Plus swimming really is a prefect cross training activity for running.    It was also made that much easier to go because hubby had a house full of work friends over to do their Fantasy Football Draft.

The hard part of any training is actually getting out the door.   Once there and in the pool, I wondered why I hadn’t done more of it.    I got into a rhythm of swimming my laps.   A rhythm that will leave me once I hit the bay with no floor, breaking waves, and a mass of other swimmers.   The swim is my least favorite part of the Tri.    I end up loosing the rhythm and strokes so easily done it the pool.   I panic a little and end up doing too much back stroke, head out of the water, gasping for air, and looking like I don’t know how to swim.    Yet, I still do it.

So tonight in the calmness of the pool swimming my many laps, I was thinking a great deal about my September 11th Triathlon.    I came up with a plan.    A shocking non plan.  Something that is so out of what I would expect me to come up with as a plan.   But once I thought about it, I knew was what I needed for this event.

I am going to run it naked and I don’t mean without my Trisuit!!!

I am going to run it sans Garmin!

Shocked?

I know normally, I would be but when the thought came to me, I knew it was perfect.   I knew it is what I need to do.    I know it might help me to focus on the moment without fear of time.    Besides the beauty of a race is that even if I don’t know my time during the race, I can certainly find out as soon as I cross the finish line.

Here is my reasoning…….

As far as my training goes,  I am really only trained for the run.     I have never trained for it like I did the first year.     I do this race only because I enjoy the race.    I want to not focus on what my watch says that I am doing, but what my body tells me I’m doing.    I don’t need splits to tell me that.    This is not to say that I am not planning to go out there and give it all I’ve got, because I am.    That is the point.    Let my body decide and not my watch.

I guess I will find out the morning of September 11th if this is a crazy thing to do or not.   I do know that if it’s one thing I’ve got is more than enough crazy to go around.

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Have you ever run an event without your trusty watch?

 

A Necessary Evil

I’ve been good in listening to my coach.   I’ve done the required runs with the required paces.   I listen to the things that she asks me to do because I know that she knows what she’s talking about.   That being said, I may have slacked off a bit on the cross training.   Not until recently did she really give details on cross-training.   It had been more of telling you to cross-train.   So I will say that my cross-training may not have been what was expected, but I was doing my runs.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

I know that’s not really the way it works.   There is more to running than the actual running.   I know.   When I first started running, I was doing Crossfit which I loved.   Loved.   Loved.   Loved.    At the time though, I really couldn’t justify paying for both Crossfit and having a coach especially when I already belong to my local YMCA.    Besides I was finding that between recovering from an event or tapering for one, Crossfit was no longer a good fit for me.    For a while I was good about continuing my cross-training.    Then little by little, things just slipped away to the point that I really was not doing much more than running.

 Ooops.

I also know that if I want to improve my running, I can’t continue just running.    I need to get back into doing other things.   Maybe tone up my abs a little.   Now I’m not deluding myself into thinking that I will ever get washboard abs or even pre washboard abs.   I’m thinking maybe I should have a little less jiggle in the pouch.    No amount of running is going to make that happen which really does suck.

As I said before, now my coach through Training Peaks is giving specifics.   I will admit that yesterday she said 4 sets and I only did 2, but baby steps.   Besides I’m sore today from just 2 sets.   I couldn’t imagine how sore I would have been with 4 sets.    What really stinks too is that there really is no excuse not to do these things as there really isn’t much equipment involved and what is involved I already have.

Here is a sample of my workout

10 push-ups, 20 Kettle-bell swings, 10 burpees with push-ups, 10 bicep curls, 15 triceps dips.

Back in the hey day of Crossfit, I could have killed this workout.    Not so much now.   I had to break them up some.    I realized how just because I can now run around the block a few times, does not mean anything when it comes to cross-training.   I realized that I missed it a little too.    So I will continue to add these back in and do more than just the running.

I even went today and did the elliptical and stationary bike today per my schedule.

It is a necessary evil that I really shouldn’t avoid.

Besides I do like it:)

Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

 

What do you do for Cross-Training?

Do you like Cross-Training days?

Chasing the Dream

Although we have had some cold spells recently, winter did not official seem to arrive until this week.   We had a dusting of snow and with any luck we are going to be hit by a big snow storm this week.   Yes, I said with any luck.   I love the snow.   I love to run in the snow.   It’s nice.   It’s peaceful.  It’s beautiful!   And there is also something that makes you feel a little bad ass about running in the snow.

All that being said, it has been pointed out to me that there is only 8 weeks until the New York City Half.   Oh no!!   This will more than likely bring fast paced runs which the snow and ice might wreck havoc with.   I hope it doesn’t force me inside to the dreadmill!

This is the half that I really would like to hit what will probably be my max PR for a half ever.   This is the elusive sub 2 that I am chasing.   I will be content with this and can then hang up my speed shoes afterwards.  (maybe) As the saying goes,  “Don’t put off ’till tomorrow what you could do today.”    This is kind of how I feel about this half.

As someone who will be turning another year older this year, I know that my time to pick up speed is short especially when I didn’t start off that fast.  Not that I’m getting that old, but I will be getting to the point where I will have to say that I am in my mid to late 40’s.   I am a Master Runner:)   I once thought that title was assigned to elite runners.   I didn’t know it was something that I could age into.   It sounds impressive anyway to say that I am a Master Runner, so I’ll take the title even though I only earned it by the number on the calendar.   I will continue to  push the envelope as long as I am able to which will be a LONG while to come and today.   Well maybe not today as I technically am still in recovery from my trail marathon,   but soon.   Very soon.

I’ve got to say though that I am a little apprehensive about it.  I am thinking about what it  will take to get me there or I should say how far I’m going to have to push myself to make it happen   I think what might be making me nervous is the fact that my coach keeps telling me to make sure to follow her recovery plan for me as she wants me to go into my training recovered and rested.   My question is “WHY?”

Maybe I don’t want to think about that today and just enjoy another 5 mile easy jog.   The rest will come soon enough or more accurately the hard work will come soon enough.

I do also think of the expression that sums it up

dreams

So I guess my dreams are big enough, because the ones I’ve dreamed up this year scare me a lot!

 

What do you dream of doing that scares you?

 

I Do Have My Eye on the Prize!

Well I am getting close to the finish line of both my marathon training and my quest to complete the 9+1 to get into the 2016 NYCM.  Both have become equally important to me and I want them both.    Yeah, I’m like that.

Yesterday, I had the Bronx 10 Miler which I actually thought would fit very nicely in my training plan, but do to a hiccup in my schedule did not.   I still needed to do it though because it was race number 8 out of 9.    In talking with my coach, it was decided that I would push back my l6 miles long run a day till Tuesday.   This is an important run as 12 miles with any luck will be at my goal marathon pace of 9:50 to 10:05.    So it was determined that I would do Bronx slow and steady.   My mantra was to be, “This is not my goal race.”   I was told to keep my eye on the prize.

Was I disjointed that I wouldn’t be racing Bronx.   You bet.    Did I want to race?   Maybe a little:)    But I knew what was important.   I was going to keep my eye on the prize.  I lined up with my friends, but told them all I would see them at the finish line.   Dawn was planning to push it and I was so excited for her, but I knew that we wouldn’t be able to run it together and besides she didn’t need me.    Initially I thought about starting in a slower coral, but I wanted to start with my friends.   When the race started, I started slow and steady.   I ran the first 3 miles around 10:15, but I really wasn’t paying attention to my watch.   I even stopped to take a picture around mile 5.    I was not pushing it or at least I didn’t think so.   Then I ran into a woman and her husband that I’ve met at several races through a mutual friends.   I decided to run with them.   Slow and Steady.   We literally were chatting the whole time.   I wasn’t paying attention to the time.   I just was running.   Slow and Steady.   Conversational pace.

We cross the finish line together.

We pause for pictures.

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I even meet an online running friend from the group Runners United NYC.   I recognized her from her beautiful hair and went up to her and asked if she was ConfidentCurls and introduced myself as Accidentally Running Mama.   Yes,  just like that!   Then we take a picture together and until meeting her in person I did not realize how tall she was as I already knew how short I am.  It amazing how inspiring people can be that you’ve never met in person and there are actually a few that I only know online that I can’t wait to meet in person at the Marine Corps Marathon!

Bronx3Then I meet up with my Mom’s Run This Town Mama’s.   Excited to hear how they all did and that Dawn ran the race that we all knew she could run.   Yeah, Dawn!!   That is until she tells me that I’m going to be in trouble.    She points out that I did exactly what she knew I would do which was not do a slow jog.    Then I look at my time and realize that she may be right.   I get home and look at my splits and although VERY pretty were not on the agenda for the day.

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They are pretty.   Aren’t they?   Dawn laughed because she pointed out that my coach has me so well trained I do negative splits without even trying.    There may be some truth to that, but I also know that every run is not this pretty.   The truth though is that my coach has trained me so well that I was running this race at a faster pace, but I felt good doing so.   I, really, was chit chatting away.   I did not feel out of breath.   I did not feel like I needed to stop.   I was just plugging away.   Now, maybe I should have paid more attention to how fast I was plugging away, but I really didn’t feel like I was pushing myself.   Although I will admit that when I was getting close to the end, I did take it up a notch.   Yes, I am one of those people that no matter the race or the pace; I will give it all I’ve got at the end.

  Can’t help myself.

BronxMakes for  nice picture though.   Don’t you think?

So now today is a Rest Day.

  I will respect the rest day.   I will honor it and keep it holey.   Ok, maybe not that far but pretty close.   Seems like I’m starting out on the right foot anyway.    Because I do know that the only way I will not be in trouble with my coach is if I nail tomorrows Long Run.    Yes, I do know that I am a grown woman who can do what I want when I want.   That being said, the reason that I have a coach is to listen to her guidance and the things she tells me.    She really is much smarter and wiser than me in the ways of running.   She didn’t accidentally start running.

So rest, relax, and carb load today.

RestHas this ever happened to you?

Do you have Running Friends that you’ve never met in person?

Suck it Up Buttercup and Smile

I’ll let you in on a not so secret secret

Running a Marathon is hard.

I’ll let you in on another not so secret secret

Training for a marathon is even harder.

Yup, I said it.

I think that the training is just as demanding as running the actual marathon,

maybe even more so because you don’t tend to have cheering fans on a training run even if using Nike+

but

in a very different way.

Yes, Running a Marathon is VERY hard

as the saying goes,

If it was easyIt really is the truth.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to run a marathon if you don’t want to.

What I’m saying is that since I for some reason have said that I’m going to run a marathon, I need to train so that I can finish said marathon.    Anyone who has read the last few posts, might know that I’ve been struggling.    My struggles though have been more mental which has made my running suffer.   I made the mistake of letting the doubts creep in.   Yes, everyone has doubts time to time.   The trick is to use your doubts to motivate you to push through not give you an excuse to fail.   I needed to take a step back.   A brief one as I’m running out of time to flub my training.   I messed up a run.   I missed some runs.   I was becoming my own worst enemy.   I needed to get out of my way and just run.

I went back and looked at my training runs realizing that I was able to do these runs that I was flubbing.   I talked to Dawn.   I talked with my coach.   Both had very similar words of advice for me.

” You have done so well with this training and IT IS NOT EASY. “

NO it’s not easy.   I never expected it to be easy, but even though I ran a marathon last year; this is my first time marathon training.   I just did not take into account how hard it would be, but I’m realizing that is a good thing.    I need it to be hard.   I need to push myself.   I want to do this and most of all I want to enjoy doing this.

Today, I went for a training run where I did not worry about my pace.   I needed this run to get my head in the game.   I only wanted to finish my 9 miles.   I downloaded a mix on my Rock My Run App, put on my sun block, loaded up with water, and out the door I went.   I used to run to think about why I started on this journey.   I really just fell into running because of my first Sprint Triathlon.   I hated it, but over time I realized what it brought into my life.    That although not a “fast” runner, I could be a steady runner.   It was something that I did for me.   I also thought about how far of come, how much I’ve accomplished, and how much I can still accomplish if I just keep my head on straight.

Back to the run.   I did it.   I did what I set out to accomplish.   Running just to run.   Running for the joy I get out of it.   Then when I looked at my splits, I realized that I wasn’t that far off pace from what my training plan called for 20-25 seconds.    Average pace ended up being 11:06 in 1:37:12.   My head is back in the game….   At least for today!

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Weekly Training Recap

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So it appears Marathon training is in full swing!   Somehow it snuck up on me and apparently I am in the thick of it already.   I was looking at my miles for the Month of July as June I hit 100 and I wanted to see if I would this month too.   Not a problem as I hit it today and we’ve still got a little more than a week to go.  Not even sure how that happened.  This is when I realized that I’m in marathon training.  This past week I ran 30 miles alone!

The surprising thing even with the higher miles I’m feeling pretty good.   I’m noticing that on my faster pace runs that is usually when my Plantar Fasciitis bothers me.   I think between my orthotics, taping my foot, the stretching, and heating my foot it is all coming together.   It’s a slow process and I wish it would just hurry up and go away, but it is better.   I think this may just be something I will have to just realize is part of my running.

Boo Hoo!

Anyway, in looking at my training this last week, I’m realizing that really my runs have just been steadily getting longer.   It’s not just that I went from zero to a hundred overnight.   I’ve been adding a mile to most of my runs over the last couple of weeks.   Very sneaky, Caolan, very sneaky.   It’s good this gradual increase because first of all that is what your supposed to do and secondly I didn’t even notice.

I was also able to sneak in two group runs this past week.   One was a group run that I intentionally let myself fall behind on as they were running at a 9:40 pace and I was supposed to run a little slower and I knew my faster cut-down was 2 days later.   I ran faster than my pace called for but I did have the company of another mama runner who also didn’t want to keep up the faster pace.   Then I was able to do my nice easy 5 with my girlfriend who didn’t mind that I was slowing her down to an easy 11 mile pace.   I needed these group runs:)

Now as I’m in the thick of it, I am also preparing for our annual family vacation to Vermont.   I’m working with my coach to make sure that I don’t loose steam on vacation.   This will be the first vacation that I really try to continue with a training plan while there.   It should be interesting.   She is also going to make this a set back week which I need anyway.   Hopefully this will help and the hills of Vermont will be kind to me.

How do you keep up with your training on Vacation.

A Little Help From My Friends!

I had a great run yesterday.   It wasn’t because I was fast because I wasn’t.   It wasn’t because it was easy because it wasn’t.  It was great because I had the support of my fellow Mama friends to gt me through it!

Yesterday I needed to do 12 miles.   I didn’t feel like doing it.   I couldn’t do it in the morning since I knew that I wouldn’t have enough time to get it done while my youngest was at his summer program.    I didn’t want to do it during the day, so that left the evening.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out the door till around 7:00.   I literally was running down the street as my husband was getting home.   Hey, dinner was on the table!   What more can a man ask for?

Anyway, I thought that I would be fine to be back before it got too dark.   I thought I went out prepared.   I wore my pink reflective vest, socks, and wrist bands.   I even work a small light on my visor.    Then about 5 miles into it, I am beginning to realize that I made a slight miscalculation on the sunset.   I ask Siri what time the Sun will set and find out that I miscalculated by more than a half an hour.   At this point, I am literally miles from home.   I didn’t want to have to call my hubby to pick me up and I wanted to get my run all the way in considering this was my first real week of marathon training.   Don’t want to get off on the wrong foot.   It’s not dark yet, but I know it’s coming.    What’s a Mama to do?

Call for reinforcements!!

BAMR Friends!

Friends

My long running routes, I usually loop to a local park.   A park with facilities and water fountains that I use to refill my bottles with.    As I was getting closer to thus particular park, I messaged the queen of night time blinky running, Janna.   As a plus, she is also only a 5 minute drive from the park.   Unfortunately, she was in the midst of a piano lessons but informed me that Dawn was at the park.    She told me that if Dawn didn’t have any blink on her that she would sent some back with her.   As I was running in the park, I started to call Dawn but then saw her across the parking lot!    Once I caught up with her, she informed me that unfortunately she did not have any blinky on her but would happily bring me back some after picking her daughter up at Janna’s!    So while waiting for Dawn to come back, I ran a half a loop around the park with another BAMR from my MRTT group that Dawn had been running with.    Then Dawn came back.   Suited me up so that I could safely make it home and off I went.

I finished the run, but did get slower as the miles went by.   More so because I wanted to be safe and visibility wasn’t that wonderful.    My headlamp may be good for camping, but it is not a running headlamp.   I did change my return route up a bit to stay on streets that I knew had some lighting.    By the time I got home it was dark, but i got in my 12 and that is really my goal.

To top it off my pace was off the whole run too.   I should have been running at a 10:45- 10:55 pace, but ended up running an average of 11:09.   Part of that is because I didn’t double check my pace before I left and really thought that I was supposed to be running an 11+ pace as I have been.   My bad.   Although, I don’t know that I had a faster pace in me anyway.   I guess I will see next time!

After coming home, getting a protein smoothy, stretching, showering, and eating; I went online and bought some more blinky’s to be better prepared next time.   I already had some, but I realize that what I have is more for dusk time running not it’s dark running.    The goal of all my runs is to come home safely and if I have to light up the night with my runs to do so, I will:)

Do you run at night?

What is your favorite night time running accessory?

What’s Your Plan?

So as you know, I’ve been following a plan.   A very specific plan with specific paces, miles, fuel requirements and such.   I’ve never followed a plan so strictly before.    I think the closest that I’ve come when I was training for the Runner’s World Hat Trick but even then I was a little more flexible with my plan.    Now, I do love having a specific plan that I know is designed to help me maximize my running potential and will have me prepared for the Marine Corps Marathon.    That being said, you do have to give up something when following your plan so strictly.

I miss running with my friends:):)

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Now don’t feel sorry for me and I will also admit to being a little hormonal as I write this, but I do miss the ability to just join in any run that my group is having.   Now part of this is me as if I have a plan to follow, I need to follow it.   Plus I am paying to have this plan made for me, so I really need to follow it.  And part of it, I don’t want to have to tell my running coach that I ignored her very well thought out weekly plan for me:)

I know that some of this is also a learning curve as I adjust to following a plan so strictly and I will learn to fit the group runs into my schedule as I was doing in the beginning.  Now that the kids are off from school it really does make it a little harder on  everyone’s schedule too. Plus I can now officially say I am in Marathon Training.  I will adjust.   Right now, I’m still trying to work my summer runs into my summer schedule.   Trying to decided when to run and knowing that on some days I’m going to have to run EARLY.   I don’t mind leaving them for short runs, but I don’t like the thought of being across town if they need me.  I’m still trying to work my runs into my schedule with the boys, let alone a group schedule.

Plus I’ve been working very hard on my pacing and I need to make sure that I keep that up.   I feel like I am finally getting a handle on things.   I don’t want to loose that.   I am learning how important it is to be able to regulate my pace and I need to keep working on that to improve it as I’m learning how important that will be in the actual marathon.   So if my 6 mile run has a specific pace for it, I need to run that pace.   Then my recovery runs might be too slow for the group as I am running them at 11+ paces and I need to keep them slow.   Many of my running friends are also beginning their Marathon Training too.    We all have our own training plans to follow as ultimately we each have to walk to the starting line of our events.

Maybe part of this mumble jumble is the fear of beginning marathon training.   To know that it’s real.   To know that it’s only a short 113 days away.   I don’t know.   What I think is that maybe I should go get a chocolate bar and I will feel much better.   That and getting my run in today!

Are you following a plan?

How flexible are you with your plan?