Archive for October, 2012

“Hills are my friends.”

Posted: 10/24/2012 in Uncategorized
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This was last night’s group run:

An out and back in the dark, on leafy sidewalks.

This is also the type of hill that I am usually pretty bad at – long, slow, gradual. Short & Steep, I excel at – I will race you to the top of those then promptly die.  These, phhhffft. Not so much.

So, to the two girls who had shirts with “Hills are my friends.” written across the back – Thank You. I did not actually see you out on the course, but seeing you before the run put that into my head & I did use that as a mantra once or twice.

Also, to the girl that was pacing me over my right shoulder the entire way back – Thank You. There were a couple of times that I wanted to interval this one, but you were working SO HARD back there to stay with me – I had the feeling that if I quit on it, you would too – so I just couldn’t let you be disappointed in yourself like that.  You totally earned that high-five I gave you when we stopped at the last light before the finish – and you made me push myself to be better at this running thing.

That being said, I really crushed this one. So I guess I’m not as bad at those long, gradual climbs as I thought. I’ve now hit the point that I can’t remember the last time I intervalled a run. I can look at the calendar & say – 2 weeks – Reggae Run had 2 intervals in it, Race for the Cure tanked before that. But my body doesn’t feel those runs in it right now. It is not remembering what an interval feels like. Used to be, I couldn’t remember the last time I ran a run without any walking mixed in. Getting stronger.

I don’t know where to begin on this one. So, jumping right on in, I’ll say –

Race Directors take note: This one got it 100% right. 

If you are a small race looking to attract more people, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. Because I know (1) that I will probably sign up for this next year if the set up is the same and (2) I will be talking this race up to my running friends. In the running community, word of mouth ( & blog recaps!) can be pretty powerful for encouraging or discouraging attendance. 

First off, the race started at 10am – that extra hour (most races start at 9am around here) on a chilly October Sunday morning was nice. Same day packet pick-up was the only option, so I planned to get there @9:15. I parked easily and started to walk over to what was obviously the race pavilion when the sounds of a steel-drum calypso band fired up. A good calypso band! Way to start off a Sunday morning on a fun note! Maine was going to meet me for this run & I caught sight of her blond-headed toddler rockin’ it out to the music. Easy to park – easy to find the race set up – easy to find my friends – good, fun music. WIN!

As I walked into the pavilion, a volunteer directed me to the pre-registered line, which was moving pretty quickly. The volunteers seemed to have it in gear as there were side tables set up to handle same-day registrations & a separate table for I guess what was a groupon deal registration. Well-organized, competent, and fast-moving packet pick-up. WIN! 

The speediness of that left me plenty of time to go jam out with Maine’s little boy before his 1k fun-run – which was BEFORE the adult race. WIN! I always feel bad for parents when they put the fun runs after the adult run.  He did awesome with his two-year old self, and I kid you not – even as the youngest kid there – he sprinted the finish! With determination on his face and his eyes on the lady holding the medals! Hilarious!

Then we moved on over to the start for the adult run – which was going to be an out & back on the loop at Lunken. I’ve written my thoughts on running at Lunken before.  The path at the opening was a bit narrow – which was why all the runners looked at each other like WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? – (and this would be the only point where I would say maybe they had it 99.9% right and not 100% right) when the announcer said 6-8 minute milers & 13 minute miler SPEEDWALKERS should all be at the front.  Huh? Never ever ever ever heard that one before – putting the speedwalkers up front so that all the runners will have to pass them on a narrow path. What? And yes, I did question him on it.  He was not happy that I did and said it was a USTF rule that speedwalkers had to be up front too. Oh well – guess it’s time to brush up on my USATF rules. I’ve never been at race where that was suggested seeding. So yes, I spent the first half-mile working my way around walkers. There’s that.

But then I started to see the quotes about fighting intolerance & hate that they had posted along the 5k route. Lunken is pretty, but can be a very boring run – so having something to read and think about was nice. NICE TOUCH GREAT HUMAN RACE!

It’s one thing to have the pre-&-post race set-up done well, but we all know, sometimes you get out on the course & realize all the energy was spent on set-up, while not much thought was given to support on the actual run. Especially when there’s a 5 & 10k. Sometimes they set up well for the 5k and then just assume that those 10k runners will be fine for that 3 miles in the middle – they’re used to running that far, right? We don’t need to do much for that. That was NOT the case here. I’ve mentioned before that Lunken does not have a water source. Well, they’d trucked out water to set up two well-stocked water stops along the way. One that you would hit twice on the out and back 5k and another just before the 10k turnaround – so that you’d actually run by that twice as well. Four opportunities for water! WELL DONE GHR! WELL DONE! There was a very clear large mile marker at each mile along with a volunteer shouting out times (even nicer since I didn’t choose to wear my Garmin),  there were cones & volunteers at each turnaround, and the water stops were well prepared with plenty of cups ready to go.

As for my own race –

I PR’D THAT SUCKER BY 4 MINUTES & 27 SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER!

Just like last week, I didn’t feel particularly strong for the run, but just raced it very steadily and really worked hard on controlling my pace & effort. Seems like I’m finally starting to get the hang of this pacing thing all you other runners talk about! Really proud of how this run went!

I shook out the cobwebs for the first mile & promised myself that I was going to get to the 10k turnaround without intervalling. I did that last week for the Cyclone run, so I should be able to do that for at least the first half of this one, right? And gradually, I ticked it off – the 1 mile marker told me that I had my first mile at the same race pace for the Cyclones run – nice! Seeing the first water stop set up made me smile. I crushed the only hill there is on that run – a short steep incline. Back in January, I had set a goal time & goal pace for a 10k that was a 4-minute shave off my 2011 best time. At mile 2, I was right in line with my goal pace. Then it started to feel long. Most people had separated off at the 5k turnaround, so it started to get lonely on the back half. I later found out that only 36 people went the 10k distance out of 160 participants. Maine was about a block-length in front of me & I was working hard to keep her there.

Then I asked myself, “what would Steena do” to stay interested? She had suggested focusing on passing the person in front of me – one person at a time – as a way to stay engaged, but that wasn’t going to work here. The closest person would require some sprinting & I just didn’t have that in me without it sending me into a crash. So, how could I make up a game here? At that point, the first male runner came by – so I decided to start counting the females coming back until I hit the turnaround. That way I would know where I was in the pack. This worked wonders! I came into view of the water stop at mile 3 – where I was still in line with my 5k time from the Cyclones run – and the turnaround. I was able to yell over to Maine that she was 7th or 8th female. I myself was in the #10 spot & for the first time, I became aware of how close some other females were on my heels.

Now it was time to start ticking off the back half of the race and see how long I could go without an interval. Somewhere before mile 4 I got passed by one woman, and then lost track of her. At mile 5, I was still making really steady effort but didn’t know if I would get all the way to 6 miles without stopping at least once.

Then, the race went Disney on me. Not dizzy. Disney.

People, I have a thing about birds. I really, really like the little birdies. I was pretty darn ecstatic to find I had a pair of yellow finches enamoured with my echinacea bed in late Summer. Getting the attention of a single hummingbird about gave me palpitations. I really, really like the little birdies.  So, as I was starting to falter after the mile 5 marker, a bright red cardinal crossed my path. I think of cardinals as good luck, so that made me smile. THEN I realized that there were 2 little yellow finches that were kind of cheering me on.  There was a large chain-link fence to the left of the path and they were fluttering from one part of it to another – about 10-15 feet in front of me. I would run 10-15 feet then they would move up 10-15 feet. Repeat. And keep repeating. I kid you not, this went on until they ran out of fence and dove into the grassy meadow to my right.  People, BIRDS WERE CHEERING ME ON.  ????!!!!????

Then right before the 6 mile marker, the girl that had been right on my heels at the turnaround passed me. And I thought to myself – “Okay. She’s worked hard. She should get the finish if she can beat me there.” Then I cocked my head to one side and went – WHAAAA? Where’d that thought come from? I’ve been working hard too & she’s been using me as her pacer for the last 3 miles. She’s gonna need to pick it up if she wants to beat me to the finish. And I pulled back up alongside her and then pushed harder. She picked it up for a second, but I put on a little more speed and put her in my tailwind, amping it up just a little bit more when I realized that I could very well hit my goal time if I tried. I haven’t been even remotely close to the hitting that 4-minute goal all year – and then Boom! There it is.  It’s funny what can make you dig just a little deeper even when you think you have nothing left in the tank.

Finally, the post-race banana & bagel fest. Cheesy as it’s going to sound – this is where the love put into this entire event came fully into focus for me. We all know post-race food – bananas & bagels in big cardboard boxes. Bottles of water that may or may not be iced down or pulled straight out of the plastic-covered cartons.  Well, for this race, someone – or someones – had taken the time to make a presentation of the bananas & oranges. The bagels were carefully laid out on platters with another tray of differently flavored cream-cheeses on ice next to them. There were paper plates & napkins & plastic knives for the spreads. All drinks were iced down and arranged well nearby.

Someone had really put a lot of effort into making sure the refreshment spread was beautiful. There was love in it. The kind of small detail, really care about making this nice, love. Palpable in the air. And when I noticed that – all of the rest of it came into clear focus. The number of volunteers and the amount of extra effort that this race put into making the runners feel cared about. I didn’t feel like a fundraising mechanism. I didn’t feel like I was a 10k afterthought to a 5k. I FELT CARED ABOUT. These organizers put love into organizing this race and you could actually feel it. I have to say – in dozens upon dozens of these things that I’ve done – feeling cared about in that way is a rarity. Have organizers tried to make it fun, have they tried to make it interesting, have they supplied enough? Yes. Most of the time. But to have they tried to make the runners feel cared about? I was a bit in awe of the experience once I let myself take that feeling in.

So I say again – Race Directors: If you have a small race & are looking to attract more people – THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT! You start by caring. If the runners feel cared about, the rest of the fundraising will take care of itself. Personally, I know I will be talking this race up & putting it on my calendar to look for it again next year.

____________

Also, I normally focus more on the race itself than the organization hosting it, but I feel that the Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education needs a shout-out on this one. One, because they did put on a fabulous race set up and also, because they fight hate & intolerance. To me, anyone that fights hate & intolerance gets a thumbs-up. I am not affilitated with CHHE in any way, and frankly, I didn’t know it existed until I saw this race on an event calendar while looking for a race to do this weekend. I’m willing to venture that if they do something like a race, out of their comfort zone, well – they probably try to do a lot of other good things well too. Keep the world honest CHHE. We need that.

When I got the free entry into the Cyclones 5k, the husband & I had been discussing (a) baseball playoffs and (b) how we were going to juggle our schedules to accommodate parking our asses in front of the playoffs – be it at the game or elsewhere.  We were in a kind of frenzy about it and I think a bit of it had to do with knowing it was coming to an end. I know, I know – it’s over! We lost! Stop writing about it already, wouldya?! But you see, in order to understand the frenzy & sadness, you have to know that the whole time there was a little whispering voice of evil and gall asking:

Whatchya gonna do when baseball’s over?  End of season was taunting us like a wicked bitch.

To which I answered:

SUCK IT MEAN GIRL! I GOT A HOCKEY TICKET!

The 5k was the pre-quel event for the opening night of @CincyCyclones faceoff against Wheeling. My registration came with one free ticket & we picked up a spare for Eric. After I rocked out my 5k, I changed into some dry clothes which included my Cyclones jersey & game-bound we went.

Yes, I have a Cyclones jersey. No, I don’t didn’t know anything about hockey.

You see, I really like going to hockey games when I go. Men with big sticks & blades on their feet body checking each other? HELL YES! Did I mention I work out at a boxing studio?  I can totally cheerlead for that shizzle. I just don’t go to games that much – like 1 a year. So I don’t know anything at all about the sport. Call it blissful ignorance. Or amnesia from $1 beer nights.

Hockey always has $1 beer nights.

So, the Winter is going to be about following our local hockey team – and learning about the sport.  I’ll probably be blogging about it along the way. Why? Because they’re athletes too – same as runners, triathletes, boxers, ballet dancers, baseball players, etc. Their sport requires a great deal of cardio & strength, just like running. And as part of learning about the sport, I’m curious about their training. 

To get the ball rolling – here’s what I learned so far (in 1 game):

  • Sitting next to a little kid that will dance with you to the dance-cam music is just good fun. Even if little kids are ALWAYS sticky, or about to be sticky.
  • Hockey fans – well, they are a passionate breed. Baseball fans could take some notes here. My personal favorite is the long howl ending in a loud “See Ya!” to the opponent’s players banished to the penalty box.
  • A lot of baseball music is also played for hockey. Hearing “Brass Monkey” (Ryan Ludwick’s batting song) made me misty-eyed.
  • Also, hockey fans are an accommodating bunch – they really don’t care as much about where their seats are. When we realized my sister (& family) were also at the game, my husband batting his baby-blues at two nice ladies got us a seat change so we could sit next to them. The family. Not the ladies. Our seats were SLIGHTLY closer to the ice, so it was to their advantage, but still – I think we would have had a harder time getting someone to change seats with us at GABP.
  • Season-Ticket Guy is the loyalist fan EVER. I mean as in most-loyal, not as in ‘he’s a loyalist’. Gotta be clear. I mean he could be a loyalist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I don’t know that. I didn’t ask.
  • Hockey is a MUCH cheaper date than baseball. The Cyclones tickets we got would’ve cost @$13 each and they were row F – as in 6 rows off the ice by a goal.  We usually pay @$20 each for nosebleed tickets in GABP. Then the Cyclones had $1 beer, $1 hot dogs & $1 pizza slices.  If you want to hunt for them, there are $1 hot dogs at GABP, but even the cheap beer is $8. Con: there is no good beer option at hockey. But really, we can be stuffed & drunk at hockey for $10 in concessions. This particular date night – the 5k gave us 2 free beers & 1 free food item – so we got out of there for $4 (in more beer & pizza) + parking.
  • Hockey plays about 3xs a week – as far as I can tell. Not as much as baseball, but not as what? only once a week? as football. I can dig 3xs a week.
  • Finally, we’ll have to do the same hunt for game-watching on TV for hockey as we did for baseball – which means date nights over beers out someplace around town. It’s the little things that keep a marriage happy. And apparently the sticks & bats.

As an aside –

The background on Season-Ticket Guy:  A few years ago, Eric & I went with our band of usual suspects to a hockey game & ended up sitting next to a guy who was seriously decked out for the Cyclones. Face painted. Game jersey. All the gear. Yes, ALL the gear. Of course, since I had my jersey on – the guys made me sit next to him, then they scooted away when we both started a dance-off to get on the dance-cam. Seriously – they moved several seats away and wouldn’t come back.

Season-Ticket Guy & I looked like quite the fan-couple. In conversation, season-ticket guy told me (a) that he had season tickets because he was SUCH A BIG FAN! and LIKED HOCKEY SO MUCH!,(b) no, he didn’t know anyone on the team, and (c) that he was dedicating himself to getting on the dance-cam as many times in a single game as possible. He had a record & a goal to beat it the same way that I set goals for a distance run. He had purpose.

Then it occurred to me that he had seat #1 & I had seat #2. He had season TICKET. Not season ticketS.  Then I started to scoot-away slowly too. Seriously, who buys 1 season ticket? Taking in the big picture of the face paint & the garb & the dance aspirations – I began to understand the not-by-choice lone-wolfiness of my dance partner. He had season ticket & has been entered thus into the logs of history.  

Well, I am happy to report that Season-Ticket Guy is still there. And he has a friend or two now. Or at least I think he does – there was another guy with face-paint & garb there with a girl (an actual girl!) sitting in between them. It could be she was trapped, but I’d like to imagine the Tela-Tubby happiness angle. Oh, and he’s added a kilt to the outfit. It went very well with the Irish jig he did when some jiggy music came on.

I saw it on the dance-cam.

Interweb, once again I have been duped.

I am sitting here staring at some pulled pork titled “carnitas” and lovely yellow corn. The corn is supposed to be chili-lime flavored. In actuality it has no flavor at all. Lunch cafeteria. *sigh* Somehow they manage to take all the yum out of food. It used to be pretty decent, but they keep reformatting it under the guise of making it healthier.  And I guess they’re successful in that the only thing that is ever adequate anymore is the salad bar. Once in awhile though, I get sucked in by the specter of Mexican yumminess only to fall prey to a mirage. Ugh. Back to the salads…

So – SPOILER: I PR’D THIS SUCKER BY 55 SECONDS!!

Shouldn’t have, but I did.

I came in with 8 seconds to spare on the overall time goal I set back in January & with 3 seconds of breathing space on my pace goal for 2012. Somehow, I pulled out a miracle on this race – because it did NOT feel like PR material while I was actually running it. 

The course was relatively flat – only @50 ft in elevation change for the whole thing – most of which is subtle down before the race ends in two short ramps back up. Some people were a little miffed about the uphill end – but that didn’t really bother me – at least not so much as the 2-3 steps (going down) that were inserted in between the two ending ramps. It’s weird to run uphill, up, up, up – STAIRS! – DOWN! (but only for a split sec) – then up, up, up again. The stairs were weird. My quads did not like that & went a little gooey in response.

What did bother me about the course the most was the scenery & the fact that NO ONE was cheering. Crowd support = ZERO. First, while there are a lot of pretty downtown running options, they started us with the first mile & a half going through an unused underground bus tunnel. Yes, you heard me. If this were a halloween run, Okay. But it wasn’t. It was just running through an underground bus tunnel – a cold, gray, concrete place that brought derelicts and dead bodies to mind. That right there is probably why I brought my pace up. The we turned the block out of the tunnel and started through an industrial area that smelled of asphalt for about half-a-mile. Then we got back into the prettier part of town for the last mile.

Not your prettiest course. In fact, it was so boring that my left foot started to fall asleep in mile 2. While running. But again, at least it was flat.

I hadn’t fueled right at all – the race started at 5:30. About 1pm I had a piece of peanut-butter toast when I realized all I’d had so far that day was coffee. Around four-ish, I had most of a can of Chef Boyardee Lasagna (DO NOT JUDGE ME!) with a half-grin at myself knowing that I would probably be tasting it again later. Had to get something in my stomach though. Oh – and when we left the house to go, I chugged half-a-glass of water when I realized I’d also had NO water all day. Serious laziness & bad planning on my part. *head-meet-palm*

So needless to say – with all of that non-fueling & bus-terminally-ness going on – I shouldn’t have PR’d this. And my run did NOT feel like I did – honestly felt like I was running snail pace the whole time – slogging through water or something. I saw my friend Red at the start and the only focal point I kept coming back to was that I did not want her to pass me. Never hit a place where I felt good, though I did find a steady form for most of it & talked myself through the rough patches where I just wanted to walk. I ended up with a stitch in my side for the last 1/2 mile but was going to be damned before I quit at that point.

Then I rounded the last corner – about 30 ft from the finish – and the announcer told me I was moving way faster than I thought. Had I been able to breathe well at that moment, I probably would’ve smiled. 

I’m proud as hell of the PR & of the mental work I did on the course, but I can’t help but wonder how I would’ve done if I’d actually prepped for the race the way I should have. Hmmmm…

Well, I met my goal – once – so I know it’s possible. Now to do it again. (I never really consider a time goal met until I’ve hit it three times. Anyone else like that?)

No races on the horizon officially right now – but I need a 6-miler this weekend and there are 10k’s near me on both days – so maybe…

 

Well, baseball season has come to an end here in Cincinnati. The Giants stunned the Reds with an unfortunate loss last Thursday night & my Twitter feed has been flowing with signs that all the favorite players are packing up and heading to their off-season homes. *sigh* It really is Fall now.

Eric & I were fortunate enough to get tickets to two of the three Division Championship games that took place at GABP – including the final game. I have to say, even though we lost, the entire experience was pretty damn cool.  I’ve never seen that many people (over 44k on both Tues & Thurs) in one place, geared out, and cheering their lungs out in unison. Reds fans can make some NOISE!

The Budweiser Clydesdales kicked off the event, followed by hometown boy Nick Lachey singing the National Anthem.

Our FOUR team mascots were auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance.

We have no idea what “The Gapper” (left) is supposed to be.

Even Mr. Redlegs doesn’t know.

And just over 44,000 people losing their ever-loving minds about every strike thrown and on every single crack of the bat. This is one angle of the stadium from where we sat, but trust that every angle of the stadium was this packed with crazy Red goodness.

It’s a funny thing to me that I’ve come to enjoy this team so much. Until about 3 years ago, I’d watch a game here or there – get caught up in the story of specific players, but not really take in the team as a whole. Then 2 years ago – we re-did our kitchen and MANY Summer days were spent listening to games on the radio while we stripped, sanded and stained woodwork or ripped out linoleum staples and re-laid tile. When we got done working for the day, and with no kitchen to cook in, we’d go grab and a bite and watch what was left of the game at the bar. I learned a lot, but more significantly, I began to really care. To pay attention.

This past year, I became ‘that’ girl. The one that knows the stories behind many of the players – a few personal facts, whether they’re on a roll or in a slump. Morning coffee at the office was all talk about last night’s game. I missed out on a few girl’s nights to go catch a game with my husband instead – it had become part of our thing that we do – date nights at the ballpark or beers on the corner seat of our favorite pizza joint to talk pitches with bartender Jimmy – a former ballplayer himself.  There was even cross-over into the running group, as running buddies would jockey for position to see the game on TV at post-run beers. The Reds changed from hobby to community for us.

So needless to say, I am sad to see the season come to an end. But I can’t argue that it was one helluva season. Our players were truly amazing this year! My brother was in Oakland for their Division loss and said  that the fans there – despite the loss- gave Oakland’s players a standing ovation as they left the field for the final time of 2012. Honestly, I wish we’d done that here, because our players certainly earned that. But we didn’t, and it’s ended. On to the next thing.

2013 is a way off and the Fall sports beckon. *sigh*

First, some min0r details from the race website:

Run course, bad EKG reading or both?

This is not a course you plan to PR on. NO ONE PR’s THIS COURSE.  Not only does the course feel exactly like it looks – what the description fails to mention is the worst transitions from downhill to uphill occur at <90-degree angles. So you end up coming to almost a stop to turn a corner before you begin into an uphill. The Reggae Run 5k has the reputation for being the worst 5k course in the area. Fortunately, the party afterward is so AWESOME M’ON! that it makes all the pain worthwhile.  Frankly – if there weren’t a lot of beer at the finish – no one would run up that last hill. These people know how to bait & trap runners.

Also fortunately, they only time the first 50 men & women across the finish line. No chip timing for this run – probably because there isn’t much of a point because NO ONE PR’s THIS COURSE. That being said…

This was one of those runs where I could feel all the cross-training I’ve been doing pay off.

I felt REALLY GOOD about how this run went!!

I can’t even say specifically what made it good, but just that it was good. I stayed in control of my pacing & my effort through the whole thing. I was proud of it – which is saying something. I am very good at beating myself up about unfavorable outcomes – so to get to feel proud of a race was a nice treat and was promptly celebrated with much beer, dancing & reggae music. Also, I’d made good training decisions in Friday’s bootcamp – opting to skip the 325 lunges & squats I was supposed to do in favor of keeping my quads & hamstrings in good shape for the hills.

Nash & I ran most of it together – somehow we seemed to find a mutually happy pace and chill out together with it. Chit-chatting along the way. Knowing there was no chip time – I didn’t bother to bring my Garmin either- so no clock pressure from myself either. We stayed together until the water stop at the half-way point, where I took a short break to drink and she ended up about 30 feet in front of me. I had dry mouth at the starting line, so I was ready for aqua. I gave her a thumbs up to go on ahead when she looked back to see where I was – then I gave her a big smile when I caught up to her on the uphill, when we again stayed together for awhile.  It was nice to catch up to her and know that she didn’t expect that  I hadn’t killed myself doing it – no sprinting – just a steady push to make it happen. Again, control. I had control. The talking had stopped though, since we were both huffity-puffing our way up, up, up. 

Finally, I did let her go in the last push when I took a single interval to give my core a break – it was starting to feel shaky.  This was on the last big hill and I didn’t want to upset myself too much – I had a party to go to after! It would just be wrong to have my stomach too upset to have a beer when I got finished, right?!

I picked it up again when I caught sight of our guys cheering us on – can’t disappoint the fans! – and kept it going all the way through to the finish line where I saw the clock time giving me over a 2 MINUTE PR for this course!! (not an overall PR – just a PR on this course) WOW!!!  I don’t know exactly how much of a PR it was because it’s all by gun time, but I do know generally that I’d never finished it under 38 min before and when I pulled up to the chute – someone’s big head was in my way of seeing the clock, so I kept seeing 3?:32, 3?:33, 3?:34… until they finally moved enough that I could see the clock said 35:38 and said to myself  “Self – it would be really nice if you could get this done in under 36.” So I made that happen at 35:50. Which I know sounds absolutely abysmal for a 5k – but trust me – NO ONE PR’s THIS COURSE. It’s not a great time, but it’s not shabby either. Nash ended up being about 3 minutes over what her finish would usually be in a 5k too, so it’s all relative on this one. I’ll happily take my 2+ minute course PR thankyouverymuch.

What was even better than the PR itself, was feeling that good about the way I ran it. I ran it smart, with good control & monitoring of my effort. Good decision making. No crashing.

How lovely it is when that happens.

Now on to the next one: Cyclones Power Play 5k this upcoming Saturday!

 

Just got back from a quick walk on the paths around my work campus. Peeps, sometimes 10 minutes of fresh air in the middle of the workday makes all the difference.

My office has a 4-mile trail (2-mile out & back, pea gravel & hilly) available to employees, in addition to 2 very-affordable gyms, and we’re encouraged to make use of them. It’s a pretty nice perk.  In pre-bootcamp days, I used to make use of the gyms 4xs a week – sometimes twice a day if I needed to lift & run. Now, with more running outside & the bootcamp, I’m usually down there once a week for some treadmill time. Also, I used to make a 3pm walk outside part of my daily routine -but I’ve just been too damn busy lately. Fitting it in today was a pleasant reminder that I need to get that on my daily to-do list again.

Also – today, part of the path was shut down for tree-trimming. I heard a chainsaw and looked up to see a man high-up in a tree at a reasonable distance. Am I the only one to find that whole thing absolutely fascinating? I could watch people cut down tall, dead trees all day long. Maybe it’s the hard hats. A guy can be cutting cucumbers – then put a hard hat on him and all of a sudden it’s a very fascinating thing I want to know all about.

So, Race for the Cure 10k didn’t go well. I PR’d it by 69 seconds, but still – I’m chalking it up to a crappy run.

First, Friday’s bootcamp just left me sore & fatigued. Particularly in my core & quads. We were doing a series – 3xs through – that included 3 minutes of unicycle crunches – so 9 minutes of unicycle crunches in total. If you’re ever really mad at your stomach for something, 9 minutes of unicycle crunches is STILL a cruel & unusual punishment. That is a LOT of unicycle crunches – and it’s not too friendly on the quads either. I knew within an hour of leaving class that I was going to be REALLY sore – not a good sign.

Then I got the call from Nash. She was signed up for the run too, but hadn’t been feeling well all week. Could she run with me? She needed someone to set [slow] pace for her. Even not feeling well, Nash is still faster than I am – so this worried me a little. I’ve mentioned before that where I seed myself & how fast I go out are super-important to me if I want a good race. But what kind of a shit friend would I be to say no? And we had a good run at Color Me Rad together. And I already knew I was sore – odds were not in favor of a good run anyway. Why not at least try it?

And then, I thought – well, 3 easy miles on the treadmill at lunch will help loosen up all that lactic buildup trying to set in from this morning. *head-meet-palm*  This was not a helpful idea.

Saturday morning, I knew before I left that my core had absolutely nothing to give me on this run. My intercostals were sore & fatigued. At mile 1.5 – halfway through the first climb – dead.  Every movement hurt something. My legs felt like lead. I told Nash I needed a walk break. We took a minute interval & decided to try to keep it to one walk break per mile.  At 2.5, I asked for another and told Nash to go ahead as she had finally found a groove (at more than a minute over her usual pace, if that tells you anything – neither of us were in good circumstance for this). 

I managed to make it to 4.5 before I took another interval, but at that point my head wasn’t in it anymore. I had already started wishing that I had signed up for the 5k instead and wondering exactly how bad this run was going to get. At 4.5 we had to run past a water-stop, then double back to it before going into the final mile. Psychologically – I was gone between 4.5 & that water-stop. I had to take a longer interval. I felt defeated. My body was bitching at me to just walk the rest of it. At the water stop, I reminded myself that I have run that last mile of the route many times on my own – I fought to keep a hold on it and barely managed to do so. I felt like absolute shit when I crossed the finish line, though I did manage to do it running and with a 69 second PR.  But not happy at all about it.

Had I made better decisions about training on Friday, I probably would have had a much different run Saturday. I get to own that. Phhfffft. Probably the last 10k of the season too. *sigh*

In comparison – I ran 6 miles last night with the running group. Probably 6.1-ish since my Garmin is a little conservative. We were working intervals, so a 1.8 mile warm-up, 3 loops around a block, then 1.8 miles back. Including stop signs, traffic lights, bad sidewalks, 3 lazy water stops where we actually took time to chat between loops. Ya know – a lot of time wasting opportunities – where I never stopped my Garmin clock. And I finished that run in only 5 seconds more than the Cure run. 

Saturday’s run = not good. Last night’s run = quality mileage.

Choosing Change

Posted: 10/03/2012 in Uncategorized
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Happy October Interwebbers! I’ve got change on the brain. AREN’T YOU EXCITED?! It’s like a new hat!

Over the weekend,  and rather unexpectedly, my gym changed up trainers for my 5:30am bootcamp. My initial reaction wasn’t very good, mainly because RESISTANT TO CHANGE will be inscribed on my tombstone – not for anything to do with the trainers, the gym, or the bootcamp itself. It’s just that Change and I stopped getting along some time about first grade and I’ve never forgiven her.  Then there’s her cousin, Sudden Change – she’s the real bitch.  Her, I need to throw down with from time-to-time – and I never know when or where it’s going happen. Oh, and Change-for-Change’s Sake.  WTF is with that? Nonsensical, gibberish-speaking flibbertygibbit, he is. I digress…

 This also threw me for a loop because the people I see before I have my coffee need to be chosen carefully. It’s just good safety. And I really liked working with the trainer I had. So this was a big bummer for me. ‘Resistant to Change’ wanted to stomp around about it for a minute or two. 

When combined with changing up my training plan to rebalance the running back into it*, and some of the changes happening at home, ‘handling change’ was something to mull on over the weekend. Lift the hood on my mood. Kick the tires on my thought process. Make sure I’m looking at these changes in a way that is healthy – because health is as much a mind set as it is a good workout. ‘Resistant to Change’ wanted to stomp around because I hadn’t found a healthy way to think about things yet. And resistance to change is a mind set that has no place at the gym.

You can not stay standing in the same place and make progress at the same time.

Do the thing you’ve always done, get the result you’ve always gotten. This is what we hear all the time, and it’s very applicable in most of life’s decisions. However, in a workout routine, the body adapts. It becomes more efficient.  It gets used to the routine and finds a new state of normal/plateau. The same exercises you always did no longer have the same effect. If you want to get faster, stronger – progress – you have to be willing to mix up your routines a bit. Work in different ways, with different people. Up the weight resistance. Look at your eating habits. Try new exercises & routines. Run sprints, fartleks, hill repeats.  This is part of why I go to a bootcamp and run with a group though I am perfectly capable of hitting the gym & the pavement on my own. Left to my own devices, I struggle with changing my routines. I need someone to push me into the deep end of the pool and shock me into kicking harder. Shock me into change. And once in awhile that change has to come in the form of a new training plan – or a new trainer (in this case, my regular trainer’s usual sub).

This is the healthy thing I needed to remind myself of – that change has the potential to bring a new result if I open myself up to it. If I kick harder – and in the case of bootcamp – punch harder, push-up harder, focus harder.

So far I have survived two bootcamps with the new trainer. I haven’t died from the change. I won’t die from change – unless it’s from green beans to snap peas. Then we have some problems. But I don’t think that applies here.

You have to be willing to change.  Get chummy with it like it’s new underwear. Roll around in change like it’s got that new-money scent. Kick Sudden Change’s ever-changing ass with your supreme awesomeness. Laugh in a Japanese accent at Change-for-Change’s Sake.

Change for the better, the healthier, the progress.

*PR’d the Race for the Cure 10k on Saturday by 69 seconds – that’s 1 whole minute and nine seconds! (And frankly, I had a crappy run. I think it would’ve been better on a day when I was less of a mess.)