Before we talk about Dallas, let’s talk training…and racing.
This past weekend, my training called for 8 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. However, there is a local 10K (which happens to be the first 10K that I ever ran) that I really wanted to run. I got coach approval, registered and all was set……until the monsoons began on Thanksgiving day.
It was COLD and it was WET…….I HATE to be cold! But race or no race, I had to run some miles and running a race – even in wet, cold rain – was certain to be more fun than a regular training run. Luckily, the rain stopped just as the race started….for the entirety of the race!
My body felt really good during the race. I was supposed to keep my heart rate in Zone 2 for the first 4 miles, but I struggled with that because there were SO MANY HILLS. After some reflection I feel that I could have pushed a little harder on the last couple miles, but I was being a bit cautious…..because of the HILLS. I was afraid that if I pushed too hard, too early, that I would lose steam and slow down at the end. I’m still trying to find that magical race exertion balance. In the end, it worked out, because I PR’d by 1:30 (my last PR was in the Spring) and I won my age group!! Miracles never cease to happen! Let this be a lesson to all of you to always run in cruddy weather because a lot of people don’t show up! I didn’t stay for the awards, because I NEVER expected to win my age group. It was so cold plus the announcing of the winners was so slow that I opted for Starbucks after the overall winners were announced for the 5K.
Another cool thing about this race was that I finally got to wear my race shirt from my run club, Renegade Endurance. The jerseys came in the week after I got back from St. Louis and I haven’t raced since then, so it was fun to break it in with a PR and an age group win! (I was too cold to have any pics made at the race site and barely remembered to take the pic when I got home.) #ADHDprobs
Last Long Run
Because the monsoons over Thanksgiving break caused some flooding in my area, I had to run my last long run on the treadmill. <sad violin music>
Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it. My longest run on the treadmill prior to Sunday was 5 miles. I dreaded this run on several levels. This run was my last chance to work on fueling and hydration before the race. The conditions on a treadmill are just no match for being outside. I did tweak my fueling a bit and I won’t truly know if it will work until race day. Terrain was my another issue. There is no preparation for a road race like running on a road! Finally, and I suspect this was highly influenced by terrain (or lack thereof), my heart rate was SO LOW. I try to keep my heart rate low on long runs, but my heart rate was about 15 beats per minute below where it usually is. (If you’re confused – it’s just one more way that my treadmill run differed from a road run.) I could have sped up to increase my heart rate, but then it wouldn’t have been a long SLOW run. During the run, I focused on the fact that, at the most basic level, long runs are about time spent on your feet.
Mentally, I battled boredom. I watched movies, but I am convinced that was not a good thing. As I got into the movie, I paid less attention to what I was doing on the run. This is the precise reason that I stopped running with music – I do not need any additional distractions!
Soooooooo, Dallas is 9 days and counting. This time last year, I was a nervous wreck. I knew that the race was going to be hard and terrible and painful, but I tried to hold on to that hope that my ITB would behave. It didn’t. I’m still shaking my head over it.
This taper is different. Even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time recovering from injuries in 2015, I’ve also gained an unbelievable amount of fitness and strength over the past two months. The difference is that I have been working with a new coach since the beginning of October. In the words of one of my running buddies, “He attacked my weaknesses” and, as a result, I am running stronger and faster than ever. In the beginning, he told me he would get me to Dallas injury-free and strong. I didn’t believe him because at that point, I was still injured – mentally and physically. I had spent SO much time on injury that it was becoming hard to believe that I would ever get over that hump. I honestly didn’t believe that I could be strong enough to run the full at Dallas. But guess what? My coach delivered.
I am more than strong enough to run Dallas. More importantly, I have transitioned mentally from seeing myself as weak and injured to strong and healthy. Instead of a taper filled with anxiety and apprehension, I am filled with energy and excitement because I can’t wait to run this race!!