Monthly Archives: May 2014

Going back to Cali. . . got my sights on a PR

So, I am tapering next week for another race. My husband and I are going to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon.  Until yesterday,  I could not decide between a marathon or a 1/2 marathon.  My comfort zone right now is the marathon. I am an average marathon runner, but I have no doubt in my mind I can run and finish strong.

The challenge is to me is the half.   My best half time is 2:02. I want to beat 2:02. This is the first year, since I have been running that I spend several months averaging 40+ mile weeks, mostly on the trail. 40 miles on the trail at an average pace of 13.00 min/mi takes me approximately 9 hours. 40 miles on the road at an average pace of 9:30 min/mi take me approximately 6 hours. Running 40 miles on the trail gives me 3 more hours on my feet each week versus running on the road. The trail also includes at least 950′ feet of ascent and descent, along with roots, rocks, water and mud.

This time spent on the trail was more than enough for a PR in my 50K in February, and it completely prepared me for my first 50 mile in March. The rest that I allowed my body, following my 50 mile race, plus the time I spent preparing for that race gave me all I needed for the trail marathon in April. This training has also given me some good training times on the track and the road. Definitely, improvements from last year. So? Why not shoot for a PR in SD?

I practiced my visualization on the trail this week. I replayed the finish line with a time of 1:55, over and over. It is funny how the more details I added to my visualization that day, the faster I was able to run on the trail, even in the heat and humidity. It made me smile.

I am not going to be afraid to say, I am going to go for it! I will sign up for the race with the 1:55 pace group. The forecasted temps are low of 58 and a high of 69. The weather could not be better, NO humidity!! I have put the mileage in for the past 3 weeks, two at 40 mile weeks, this week at 35. Looking forward to my taper week.

Plugging these thoughts in. . . from Bobby McGee’s book, Magical Running.

When you’re fresh, be subjective: I’m strong. I’m relaxed. I’m prepared. I love racing.

When you’re fatigued, be objective: arms in, shoulders down, relax.

Trying is often a way of not being responsible. (p.164)

Once I know I have the choice of either exhaustion or challenge, the answer becomes clear, meet the challenge. (p. 186)

I can commit to an excellent level of running, no matter how I feel.

In running, it is required that you deeply know and believe that you have the ability.

Race recap in a few weeks.



Just A Little Patience

 A switch went off and I realized that the immediate gratification days were over and now, in order to find continued success, I must learn patience. In the subsequent three years, I learned the importance of rest, periodization in training, and, for lack of any better way of putting it, the importance of letting the training come to me.

It turned out that in my decade long build-up, I had been in a cycle of more, better, faster and was never allowing myself to just revel in the training and, in the wise words of veteran ultrarunner Tim Fitzpatrick, I never allowed the training to just “sink in.” Once I understood the need to do that and found a way to integrate a patient approach with my training, I embarked on a seven-year joy ride of training and racing between 2004 and 2011 that only ended when injury got the better of me. -Andy Jones-Wilkins,

This quote ‘hits the nail on the head’ for me, in this season of running. There is a high in the cycle of more, better, faster. BUT, there is a maturity and peace in allowing myself to just revel in the training. . . allowing the training to just sink in. There is a spectrum we can enjoy as runners, that can take us from the 100 yard dash to the 100 mile ultra run, from the track to the road to the trail. There is so much you can choose to do and be in this spectrum. Not one choice makes you less of a competitor. Not one choice makes you more of a competitor. You are still a runner. You still need rest. You still need to train. You still need to eat well to support your training. You CAN have continued success.

I’m going to leave you with a few more quotes that I keep close. These are from the book, Flow in Sports by Susan Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihayi.

Life is most exhilarating when we are deeply involved in a complex challenge. The best strategy for enjoying life is to develop whatever skills one has and to use them as fully as possible.

The race must be won in the mind a hundred times before it is finally won in reality.

Self-concept is not static: every day the self-concept faces new challenges that will either enhance or detract from it.

They’re Baaack. . .

Heat and Humidity, ‘nuf said, right?

I’m not going to lie. It is tough transitioning to heat and humidity from the minor break from ice and cold, but I am starting to dread it less. Why? I am not exactly sure. Maybe, it is because with it brings new clothes. 🙂 Maybe, it is because I am changing my state of mind. Although, I love summer running clothes, especially tanks. I think that I like the annual challenge of preparing my body for another round of summer. As the days grow warmer and more humid, I am now reminding myself that it is not so bad. It would be a shame to only run in the cold and take summer’s off. 😦

I have had two very warm and humid runs this season to speak of. One run was a 9-miler on a Sunday afternoon around 1:30 pm. The other was an 11.5-miler on a Thursday, late morning, around 9:45. BOTH were hot. BOTH were humid. I bombed the 9-miler because I did not run with an electrolyte drink and I did not “-pre-hydrate”, nor did I drink enough on the trail in that amount of time. (Remember, when you are on the trail, you are going to be out in the elements longer. So, 9 miles might take me 2h 15min on a hot day. 11 will take almost 3 hours.) I think I also started to panic a bit. I was not nervous that I would never reach water again, but I could not stop thinking about it, which caused me to worry that I was now going into hydration deficit (dehydration).

The 11.5-miler was completely different. I drank about 16 ounces of water on the way to the trail. I carried 16 ounces of powerade, and I timed my mileage so that I would get to water by the time I finished my powerade. Also, when I stopped for water, I drank 8 ounces first and splashed my head, face and neck with water. I filled up my bottle and headed out for the rest of my route. I was still hot, but I was not in any type of water deficit. I also did not feel like I was in danger of dehydration.

Running in the heat and humidity for the first couple of weeks will also make you feel like you are out of shape. Please remind yourself that you are not out of shape, you have not lost fitness. It is hot. It is humid. Your body has to work harder to cool itself off. By drinking, consuming electrolye capsules or beverage you are helping your body to stay cool and cool off. Here is a bit about the science of your body cooling you off. Also, keep in mind that glycogen stores are depleted faster in hot, humid weather. I quoted a good article in the Sport’s Research Intelligence Sportive Newsletter about heat, training, glycogen.

To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher. –Mayo Clinic

When you train in hot weather, your body uses more muscle glycogen, which can result in fatigue sooner than in cooler weather. Even when you do become acclimatized, you will not perform at your best, though acclimatization can slow down this increased glycogen use.

Acclimatization increases your blood volume and improves transfer of heat from deep body tissues to your outer shell. Sweating starts sooner during exercise, and after 10 days of training in the heat your sweat capacity is nearly doubled. Sweat also becomes more diluted in an attempt to preserve the body’s electrolyte balance. -Sports Research Intelligence Sportive , “Drinking It In”

Be patient as you move into summer. Do not ‘dread’ the heat/humidity. There are many ways that you can keep yourself cool and enjoy the added challenge of the weather. Remember, you cannot control the weather but you can control how you prepare for it, what you wear and how your mind thinks about it. You are not the only runner who will need to get used to the heat. We all will. Press on!

I’m leaving you with three great quotes from the book  Flow in Sports: The Keys to Optimal Experiences and Performances. by Susan A. Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihayi.

If you choose challenges that match or threaten to exceed your level of ability, you need to know how to control the anxiety and the state of arousal that your choice will cause. (p. 538)

Practice the skills to the point that you can forget you have them! Then, abandon yourself to the performance. (p. 51)

The issue of whether you are a better athlete than your opponent is one you can do nothing about. You can do something about how much of your physical and mental equipment you will be able to put to good use. (p. 541)


Training partners are sacred

Still, training partners are sacred. In 17 years of competitive running, I’ve only found two good ones.

-Jenn Shelton in her article, “Lessons from a 200-Mile Week”, Trail Runner Mag

This is one of the most meaningful quotes that I have read in a while. This article is also very funny to me, worth a read. Gosh. Why are my training partners sacred? Because they spend time with me. These women are some of the most beautiful, some of the most insightful. We spend hours each week on the road, on the trail. The hours we spend are when our kids are asleep or our kids are in school. I cannot remember a run that I regretted or a run that did not energize me.

I have talked through some serious struggles of my life, eating disorders, family stuff, kid stuff, married stuff, MY issues. I put it all out there. I have also laughed so hard. Hmm. . . I think in a way we found each other but I also think, in a way, I chose these women. I continue to choose these women. Our group may change. We train for different races. We run together at different times. Part of me wants to invite anyone interested in running to be a part of this ‘core’. BUT, then, they would not be sacred.