Posts Tagged ‘ running ’

Let’s go have a smoke…

Lately I can’t tell if I just walked past someone smoking or if it’s just the smell of the state of Montana on fire.

Tomorrow is the Two Bear Marathon. A few weeks ago I made a decision to switch to the half marathon. It turned out to be wise for more than my original reason.

I had originally switched to the half because my pelvis and SI injury from the winter was still giving me some problems. It’s made a lot of progress, but laying off the mileage has really helped.

However, I feel very undertrained for this race because I’ve been unable to get much running done the past few weeks due to the severe smoke and very dangerous air quality in the Missoula area. Local fires have produced so much smoke that it looks like fog has rolled into our valley.

I’m in my hotel room in Whitefish right now. There is smoke in the air but not nearly as much as is south of us. And the locals say the morning should be pretty clear.

Im excited to race with my new hydration pack. And I bought a new long sleeve tech shirt for the race (at least for the start line). My goal is to keep to my 10:1 run:walk ratio. Do that 13 times and I should be done.

It should be a beautiful course too. A little hilly, but a net decrease in elevation! Woohoo.

Doubt & Expectation

My last half marathon was in Idaho Falls almost two weeks ago now. Following that half, I was supposed to dive into building up mileage for the full marathon in Whitefish in the fall. I’ve done about 5 runs since Idaho Falls, and they’ve all been under 6 miles.

I’ve skipped two long runs now, and I’m getting behind in my mileage build up. At this point, I can still build up my mileage but the only expectation I could have would be to finish the full marathon, not to enjoy it or improve my ability to run it.

I’m having some weird athlete’s psychological problem with doubting myself. I have run so many miles in my short return to running, yet lately I’ve feared running — feared the pain, feared dehydration, feared injury. The doubt is ruining my ability to run and the joy and stress relief I receive from running.

I think the doubt stems from putting such a large expectation on myself (the Two Bear Marathon in Whitefish) without the proper time to prepare for it. And having done two marathons that I had to finish out of pure will, I don’t think I could do it again. Not like that.

I’m not cracking under the pressure; I’m just shutting down entirely.

I had serious goals for improving my speed and endurance this season. But I largely forget that I’m coming back from some serious injuries and that it’s impressive I managed two half marathons already this season at the pace I’ve managed.

So many people try to convince me to just stick to half marathons because ‘oh, it’s just as challenging as a full’ (NOT!) or ‘it’s a good distance’ (whatever). I don’t mean to knock the half marathon, it has it’s own challenges, but it’s just not my distance. I crave the full marathon like I crave conquering mountains on my bike. A few people I know, when discussing marathons, always try to tell me, ‘oh, well, I like doing the half because it doesn’t wipe me out’ and then they insinuate that even though they never have done a full, they could if they wanted to, you know, just like snapping their fingers. And I just nod and raise my eyebrows, because a half is nothing like a full and those that would compare them are completely ignorant. Just the commitment for training between the two is enormously different! Not to mention all the race prep.

All this is to say that I want to run another full marathon. Then another. Then another. Halves are just speed exercises to get me there.

And back to the point, if I really want to reach my goals in the full, maybe it would behoove myself to back off the mileage and enjoy improving my pace and endurance this summer and fall, and find a full in the winter or spring to race.

I’ve got to find a way to relieve the pressure though, or I’ll never run again.

Missoula Half Marathon Race Report

After the perspective a few days will give to any endeavor, I’m ready to give my Missoula 13.1 Race Report.

After a wonderful 5k experience the morning before, I was a little worried how my legs were going to be holding up come Sunday morning. I was a little sore, and did feel the effects of the 5k about halfway through the race, but I still finished strong.

I awoke at 3am after preparing everything I’d need for race day the night before. Hopped on my bike and, ringing my bell furiously all the way to scare of bears and deer, headed for downtown Missoula to pick up the shuttle to the race start on Blue Mountain. I arrived as early as I could handle, with about 45 minutes to sit around and wait for the race start. I practiced my race pace a bit. Used the port-a-potties numerous times (I always freak out that I’ll have to go in the middle of the race and end up waiting in some port-a-potty line while minutes tick by and my pace goes down the tubes).

Finally it was time to go. The race organizers forgot the “READY, SET, GO!” and the cannon went BOOM and we went off. The first 5 miles or so are pretty much all downhill, with very slight inclines between the downhill portions. Thanks to the downhill, up until mile 9 I was (AMAZINGLY) set to finish in almost exactly 2 hours. That would have been about a 9:53 mile pace, and I was going faster then that. Then, the prior day’s 5k started to wear on me. I could feel my left hamstring making the old familiar “I’m unhappy” twinges. But I dug deep and decided to focus on my pace and cadence and stick to my plan–walk all the aid stations. My pace slowed a bit, but I finished exactly as I had planned. I was shooting for somewhere between 2:10 and 2:20, and I finished in 2:12:28 with a 10:07 race pace. And because I laid back a little bit at the end, I finished the race with plenty left in the gas tank.

I usually sprint the last half mile to mile, full out at a 5:15 or less mile pace. But for some reason, maybe because I didn’t realize it was about to be over, I didn’t get my sprint into gear until the last quarter mile. It’s okay though, no regrets, a great race, a great time had, and I feel super strong from it.

After a couple of days recovery I’m back into training and getting ready for the next race and the road to marathon success. Next up is the Idaho Falls Half Marathon in two weeks, where I’m hoping to PR and sub 2 hour thanks to a super fast course (straight downhill for 6 miles then perfectly flat for the rest…are you kidding?!). Then I’ll continue increasing my mileage as I prep for the Two Bear Marathon. I am considering, and it will depend on other vacation plans, doing the Pocatella Marathon a few weeks before the Two Bear as a training run. Two Bear is going to be so brutal, Pocatella might be a good prep for all that elevation gain… but we shall see.

That’s all for now. My stats weren’t anything to report about, I was basically at the beginning of the middle of the pack, at the end of the first 1/3 of all the finishers. I’m happy with that.

What’s my motivation?

I enjoy running. But I can’t think of any workout I’ve actually been excited to do. Days like today, when I just want my 8 mile run to be done rather than care about running it, are particularly difficult. I feel like an actor asking “what’s my motivation?”

And then I have to go down the list of things that this run is going to accomplish. In short, everything on that lists means that I am going to be closer to being the person I want to be — the strong runner, the confident woman, a force to be reckoned with — things that I likely already am but need to recognize in myself and figure out how to
access. “How bad do you want it?” The coach in my head screams.

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Healing takes time.

Last year, while training for the LA Marathon, I set a personal record of 3 miles in under 27 minutes. On last Wednesday, I ran 3 miles in just 28 minutes, the fastest I’ve been able to do since August 2011. Between a sprained pelvis and SI joint, and the resulting hip pain and hamstring irritation, and a serious shoulder injury and sprained AC joint, getting back to running has not been easy. I’m finally starting to feel more like myself while running though, and I have a new focus and attention to myself while I run.

That said, running that fast the other day has wreaked some havoc on my left heel. It doesn’t help that the same day, I took my first ballet class in a year. So my feet are a little sore. It’s hard to say “I can’t run this morning,” but a smart runner and racer would know that they have a race in less than a week, and it’s better to be feeling good with no aches and pains for a race rather than feel like at this stage that any additional training gains will actually happen. Psychologically, I still need to run, and I will, but I’ll keep it light and easy and if it starts getting too uncomfortable, I’ll stop.

Committing to smart training is a big step for me because I come from a discipline and training that says “play through the pain, perform through the pain no matter the cost.” Now that I’m older, I know what the cost is: giving up future activity and future goals for a run today is not worth the pain of a run that I need for no other reason than to satisfy my irrational need to run and prepare for a race.

Yes, I feel undertrained for the half-marathon, but I think that’s my own insecurity, and this race is no more than a training activity. My goal is to finish it and to enjoy it.

So how do you train yourself to enjoy something? I mean, I enjoy running, but when I’m running an official event, I enjoy about the first 20 miles, and then the last 6 miles are pure and total hell. And then when it’s over, I’m in purgatory–in pain and not at all in the mindset to enjoy post-race parties and celebrations. So when I say I want to enjoy it, I mean I want to finish it feeling good and ready to celebrate my accomplishment with others. You’d think that would be easy. Trust me, it’s not.