Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Changing gears

Monday was a rest day for me before I begin my serious training for the upcoming triathlon season. I am still ticked off about the race from Sunday, but my anger is wearing off. I would have been OK with the change to a 10 miler had it actually been a 10 miler. I received an email yesterday from the race people with some half-assed excuse about why they changed it to a 9.55 mile race. I'm still not buying it. But I am looking at the big picture and see that I held a great pace over that distance. My splits were all over the place because of the heavy winds, but I dug in, put my head down and fought through it. I am happy with my personal effort despite not setting any kind of PR. I had a solid 7 months of running and saw my times come down.

Yesterday I came home and debated where I was going to ride. The weather looked sketchy and I didn't know if the predicted rain would hold out. I knew if I stayed indoors to ride it would never rain and if I went outside it would come pouring down. Obviously I chose to ride inside and it never rained. Oh well. I got a solid hour on the trainer in. Hopefully I will be outdoors more often soon. I'll also be heading back to the pool this week.  I've gone sporadically this winter/early spring but now I will be more consistent.

This morning I went out for a short run. It was designed to be an 'easy' run as part of my recovery from running 13.1 miles. But since I came no where near that distance Sunday, I wasn't worried. I still kept the pace easy and was enjoying the early morning run. Today is a long day at my clinical (9a-8p) so I had to get up early to get the run in. I snuck home for lunch and and to put my feet up for a bit. I will head back shortly for the afternoon grind. Then the week is more than halfway over!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Half Marathon and PR that weren't

Yesterday was supposed to be my half marathon "A" race, but mother nature had other plans for me. I had trained for months and was prepared to crush my PR and had lofty goals. Saturday night it rained like crazy. As a result, a river flooded out part of the race course. When we arrived Sunday morning, we heard the race director announce that the course was shortened to a 10 miler. At first I was disappointed, but after a few minutes I changed my focus and prepared for a 10 mile ass kicking. I knew my pace would change and I quickly set a new time goal for the day.

When the gun went off I ran like a fiend. I knew I had to go out hard because the winds would kill me later. I was feeling great until ~mile 6. The winds were really taking a toll on me. I was battling to hold on to my pace while fighting the winds. I tried to hide around people, but it was too wide open.

Long story short, I made it to mile 9 and was fighting to hang on. This was the only uphill on the course. I struggled up and could see up the road was the final turn. I looked at my Garmin and got a feeling that this was not going to be 10 miles. I kept pushing down the road and was passed by a few people in the shoot. When I crossed the line I saw that I killed my 10 mile PR. Problem was, my Garmin said it was 4/10 of a mile short. I waited for the Wingman to finish and saw what his Garmin said. He came in short as well.

Overall I was happy with the pace I ran. I really killed it out there. The pace I held over the distance I ran was the fastest I've done. Well, I was happy until I looked over the race results today. They listed the race as a shortened 9.55 miler. What?!?! Why did they say it was a 10 miler knowing it was not the distance? The race organizers should be ashamed of themselves for not admitting Sunday morning what the true distance was. I know the Garmin came in short and that the course had to be short, but to tell us otherwise is stupid. And to add insult to injury, the pace they avg is based on the gun time, not my chip time. They did wave starts so I had ~2 minutes added to my time. The avg time for my chip time is was actually counts. I've never seen a race calculate the time this way when there is a starting mat. It's so frustrating. Needless to say I will not be doing another race organized by this particular company.

So now I don't have a PR to show for my efforts, but I have an ass kicking pace for a long distance under my belt. When the next 10 miler comes up next month, I will be ready to kick some serious butt........unless it's super hot out, then all bets are off. But for now, the runner is leaving and the multisport athlete is entering. It's time for a change.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Final run

This morning I had one last "shake out" run to keep me loose before the big race. I had 2-3 miles scheduled so I sound up splitting the difference and running 2.6. It felt so nice and easy. I can tell the last few weeks I am taller when I run. In the past my strides were so short that I would "collapse" down into my stride and my trunk would bend forward. Now, I feel more upright. I call that progress.

When I run I like to listen to music. Most of the time it's just something to distract me while I think about anything and everything. Heck, at times I've even had other songs going through my head while a different one was playing. And once I get home, I couldn't even begin to tell you what I was listening to. This morning was no different. I was thinking about the race and what I was looking like from mile 10 to the finish line. I was picturing myself finishing strong when suddenly this popped into my head:

"Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no
I got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh ho, I got to keep on moving"

Wow, how did THAT get in there?!? That's definitely not on my playlist. I tried to think of other things and turn up the volume on my earbuds, but alas, it didn't help. I made it home and tried to shake off the cheesy lyrics. Thank goodness once I got home I was busy downloading my data and updating my training log so the song was just a bad memory.

I have my race day outfit picked out and I will wear my moderately cushioned shoes for this race. No lightweight trainers for me. I'll save them for shorter efforts. Right now 10 miles is pretty much my distance limit for those shoes. I have a 'special blend' on my iPod to get me through the race. There are a few songs that I seem to hit repeat on during my runs that keep me moving along. I've reloaded the iPod and it's fully charged. My GPS watch is fully charged. My gels are ready to go, no shot blocks for me this race. They just don't agree with me. Saturday is packet pick up and then I head to my cousin Cindy's house. She lives ~15 minutes from the race site. After the race Sunday we'll head back to her house to clean up and then head to my aunt's house to meet up with the rest of the clan.

"Running is a big question mark that's there 
each and every day. It asks you,
'Are you going to be a wimp or
are you going to be strong today?"
                               - Peter Maher

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taper Workouts

This week is an "easy" week. My workouts are shorter in duration and designed to keep me "fresh and loose." I shifted Wednesday's workout to Thursday to take advantage of the warmer weather. I flew home after clinical today, did a few things around the house, and then changed for a 3 mile run. I dressed lightly for the run knowing it was much warmer out. I planned a simple out and back and true to my poor planning, I was running home into the wind. I felt like a slowpoke and when the run was over, I reviewed the workout. My pace was actually pretty quick. I certainly felt like I was running slow and easy but I guess my taper legs were faster than I thought.

After the run I changed into some cycling clothes for a quick "flush out the legs" ride. I debated for a few minutes which bike to take out. If I took the road bike out I know I would pedal easy. If I took the tri bike out, the temptation to ride fast would be great. Sticking to my HOTS status, I grabbed the tri bike and went out. I actually felt comfortable and relaxed on the ride. Same as the run, I had an out and back planned. I wore shorts and not tights for the ride. I think I was even smiling out there. I can't wait for next week to come. With the weather getting nicer, I can't wait to begin some serious outdoor cycling.

"Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience.
You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them,
and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head."
                                                       - Henderson

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holy cow, it's only Tuesday

I went through most of my day thinking it was Wednesday. I'm not sure why that is, but I was really hoping the week was almost over. My big race is Sunday and I just feel like I want to get it done. All of the work is done and any running this week is all about keeping it "fresh and loose."  That's been most of my workout feedback over the last week - "fresh and loose." My legs felt fantastic after my last 8 miler and the pace was pretty spot on too. I've been studying the race course for all of the turns. I want to make all the tangents so I don't add extra mileage by taking wide turns. I don't have much wiggle room to make my goal time and every inch I can spare on pavement will be needed. I have also been eyeballing the weather. If it is going to be windy, I will have to make sure I duck behind someone as I run to shield me.

I can tell I'm getting a little restless and I want to run. The feeling I have is "let's get this started already." I am eager for a long run. I'm like a horse being led into the starting gate for the big race.

The other nice thing about the upcoming weekend is visiting with my cousins. The last time I saw them was at Michael's funeral and it wasn't the best of circumstances. Now I can sit down and relax and catch up. 

Sunday night the Wingman and I went out to dinner with our friends. We haven't seen them much because of my crazy work schedule lately, but now that my schedule is easing up we had a chance to get out and have a great dinner and get up to speed with how everyone's training and lives are going. I will be going full tilt into multisport mode next week and am eagerly awaiting it. Wingman and I have been outside for a few rides and I am chomping at the bit to really open it up on the road. The last couple of rides I had to hold it back so I don't ruin the taper. Needless to say Wingman wasn't happy when I had to draft off of him and not the other way around. He said he was going to tell Jen that she can't schedule workouts like that anymore. In reality, he has been riding a lot lately so he doesn't need to draft off of me anymore. 

Ugh, tomorrow is only Wednesday and it's my longest day of this week 9a-8p. After that the days get shorter and hopefully the weather gets better.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ready to transition

My last triathlon was in September 2010 and what I took out of that race was a great bike segment and a shitty crappy miserable forgettable run segment. The whole drive home (and it was a loooong drive) all I could think about was how I blew up a perfectly good race by turning out one of the worst running performances ever. Something had to give and I decided quickly to take advantage of an actual off season to work on this glaring weakness.

Since late September I've been dedicated to running and pushing the envelope. My focus was setting PR's throughout the fall culminating with the half marathon that I am running next weekend. I took on the role of the "PR Hunter" and was taking aim at every race I lined up for.

I think the real key of my success was changing my mindset about my running and really making a commitment to change. I saw a great quote today that sums it up:

"the only way to find the limits of the possible
is by going beyond them into the impossible."

Next weekend I will stand on the starting line of the half marathon with a PR in sight. And when I cross that finish line, my triathlon season will officially begin. This running experiment was definitely worth the investment. I feel I have laid down a great foundation to springboard off of for the upcoming race season. It's been a great ~7 months of running and I am ready to move on and change up my focus.

My first triathlon is in early June. It really will just be a training day for me to give me some intensity in my workout and see how well I run off the bike. The real racing begins in July and peaks with my "A" race in September. Plus Team BAMF is reuniting for another race this summer. Our motto for the race this year is "Go big or go home!"  It's going to be a great summer of racing!!