Let’s talk about Dallas

Before we talk about Dallas, let’s talk training…and racing.

Believe 10K

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.

My Major Award
My Major Award

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.)  #ADHDprobsIMG_6239

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!

In the end, a run is a run and when I was done, I felt VERY accomplished!IMG_62539 Days and Counting

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!!

Happy Friday!

Jen

 

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I’ll admit it: the treadmill isn’t THAT bad after all

After reading that title, I’m sure that you are sitting in your corner of the world, scratching your head.  WHY would I ever say such a thing??

Turns out, weather in Texas has been pretty cruddy the past couple weeks and Jen has been forced to run indoors….on the treadmill.  In fact, I’ve only been able to run outside once in the last two weeks.  (OK….I’ll admit it’s likely Karma biting me in the ass for posting my sunny post-run photos while the rest of Twitterverse was digging out of 100′ of snow)

Happy, warm, sunny memories
Happy, warm, sunny memories
Aaaaaand today...this time, the white stuff is SNOW!
Aaaaaand today…this time, the white stuff is SNOW!

Back to the TM.  I generally despise any time at all on the TM.  I am MENTAL and running in place gets in my brain.  However, being forced to run indoors has actually helped my recovery.  (Sorry that I didn’t warn you to be seated.)  I can control the conditions (incline, pace) and I am guaranteed a flat surface.  (I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go…for one thing, I really noticed the slope of the road on my run last Monday.)

Last night, I ran 10 minute intervals (FINALLY!!!).  The run felt good.  REALLY GOOD!  I was apprehensive about the jump from 5 min intervals to 10, but, every increase seems easier.  Hey, I’m a distance runner…what can I say?  As far as the ITB – it is behaving.  I can’t emphasize enough how important the regular strength and cross training has been to my recovery.

In addition to the awesomeness that was last night’s run, it was the FIRST treadmill run that I haven’t sabotaged by accidentally pushing buttons.  I have no idea how it happens.  Well, I have some idea.   I’m usually messing with my phone to adjust volume or change the song.  (Sometimes changing songs via the ear buds is just too cumbersome.)  Add in the fact that I’m terribly clumsy, which means I almost always push some button that either resets everything OR loads a preset workout.  *sigh*  Welcome to my life.  You can imagine my excitement when I FINALLY made it through a workout without derailing my zone.  AND, possibly even more exciting is the fact that I woke up without stiffness or soreness this morning.  #progress

You may have guessed by the snow pic that school is out today.  Once again, Texas is CLOSED!  (They were even playing “Winter Wonderland” on the news this morning.)  The day looked to be starting out badly when this happened:

Lesson: don't read Twitter while filling your mug
Lesson: don’t read Twitter TL while filling your mug

But, things turned around quickly (after sucking up the spilt coffee with a straw)snow ice cream

I’m using my day off to hop on the bike trainer and do some yoga (and maybe even a nap!)

Happy Thursday, everyone!  Spring is coming!

Jen

Things I NEVER thought I would say and Daylight Savings is coming!!

It’s been a while since I shared a training update.  It just seems so trivial to give updates on my *monumental* runs <read with sarcasm>.  There is only so much one can say about running 5 min run/1 min walking intervals x 6.  And believe me, it’s NOT interesting!

Treadmill runs aren't interesting, either.
Treadmill runs aren’t interesting, either.

The runs, while small and insignificant, have been going well.  And one thing to note: yesterday was my first run on the road since my marathon on 12/14!  I have been running a 1-mile loop at the park where I ran back when I first started.  It’s hard for me to get excited about running in a circle…whether its 1/4 mile or 1 mile!  I felt awesome to finally be back in my element on the wide open road!  (OK….maybe it isn’t WIDE open, but you get the point.)  The run was difficult, but I think it was just adjusting to the difference in terrain.  The route was flat, but not as flat as the concrete trail at the park.  Even though I felt I was fighting for much of the short 3.4 mile run, I smiled the entire time – especially when I realized that I was “attacking” the “hills”.  (OK – they weren’t “hills” by MY definition.  They were inclines, BUT I’ve been running little to no inclines on those virtually flat trails!)  The best part of that is that I didn’t even realize I was attacking the inclines at first.  That tells me that Jen still has the fire! (Yes, I have been questioning if Jen still had the fire…)

One thing that has made it hard to get overly excited about training is the lack of a training schedule.  I get up early every day to get in my stretch, foam roll and strength, but getting my runs in has been more of a challenge.  Between Alli’s volleyball, Logan’s games, and my work and reffing, finding time to run has been difficult.  Plus when I first started back, I needed more recovery time in between so I was forced to play each run by ear.  Even though I might have been ready to run, if it was on a volleyball day, chances are I just didn’t have time.

When the time changes this weekend, my entire training schedule is going to open up like a blooming flower.  (I admit that I may be a bit delusional in this aspect, but I really do believe it will make a difference in finding a more regular running schedule.)  The time change almost feels like a paradigm shift, of sorts.  I feel like I am finally transitioning from recovering runner to recovered runner;  interval runs are about to end and instead I’ll be building my base.  The mental shift is hard to manage.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to “stick to the plan” and “run smart”, but since I have managed to keep Crazy Jen locked away this long, I might as well throw away the key.

The beauty that is just around the corner
The beauty that is just around the corner

So in honor of “sticking to the plan”, I am sharing a list of things I NEVER thought I would say as a runner:

  • Strength training is fun.  (OK it is NOT as fun as running, but getting stronger really IS fun!)
  • Turns out that cross training is NOT the Devil.  (Riding the bike trainer is riveting)
  • Foam rolling is the BEST way to spend your lunch break.
  • Getting up at 4:45 to foam roll, stretch and strength train is a FANTASTIC way to start your day!
  • Intervals aren’t that bad, after all.
  • I can’t think of anything I would rather spend my money on than myofascial release.
  • Not having a regular training schedule during the Winter months has been so freeing.
  • I REALLY wanted to gain those 5 pounds–I was TOO thin!

Happy Tuesday!!

Jen