Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Words to Run By

You can make your running into whatever you want it to be. You can go for the gold, or you can simply set out to achieve something you never dreamed possible (even if no one else notices). 
-Amby Burfoot in the foreword to Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running

I am still discovering what my goals will be with running. Most immediately I am gearing up for the May 12K. This weekend some of the fear dissipated when I went for a run with my sister. I continue to think about what my goals will be after the quickly approaching 12K.

Sister #3 and I are going to try to go to the Portland and Seattle Ben Does Life 5Ks this summer if it still works out in our schedules once the official dates are set. I'm trying to decide if my running lengths and typical entry length for races will be 5K, the same length from my cross country days, or if I will eventually want to train for a half marathon. There is a half marathon close to my community each fall. At this point I cannot ever imagine myself training for a marathon, but maybe some day I will get to that point.

Regardless, for now I am just basking in the great feeling that comes along with knowing that I am running again. Though there is often an internal dialogue debating about whether or not I should go, based on the weather or anything else, once I actually get to the road, I never regret it. I know that right now training for the 12K has been extra motivation, so I will have to make a conscious effort to continue running after the race.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Words to Run By

Instead of dreading most runs, I simply went on autopilot. Running became a part of who I am, how I take care of myself. 
-From Run Like a Mother

I am far from where I would like to be as a runner. While I am proud and excited to slowly but surely be getting back into running, I know that I am still probably in the "dreading" stage, especially when it comes to thinking about moving beyond my comfort zone of 2-3 miles. Yet, when I do run, it always feels great. I have been trying to not check the time as much when I go for runs, although I do it some because anytime I do not have a pre-mapped out route by mileage, I estimate based on the mileage I want to do.

Anytime I start (or re-start) something new, shifting the focus in my life, I need to immerse myself in different ways. While reading Run Like a Mother and trying to step back into running the saying "fake it until you make it" popped into mind. I thought about how actually running is a huge piece, but doing other activities such as reading and reflecting about running and my goals have also been helpful.

I loved Run Like a Mother because of what I could transfer as being relevant to where I am at and where I want to go:

  • The need to plan and prioritize in order to find a way to weave running into my life
  • To not be too hard on myself when I am not able to stick 100% to a plan, realizing that sometimes I need to consider the big picture
  • Understanding that it is okay to sneak out in the afternoons after getting home from work, rather than staying home with my family in order to make an investment in myself and my well-being which will transfer to me being more present when I get back home
  • The benefits of pushing myself and not letting fear hold me back

Sunny, spring days are becoming more and more frequent. With my 12K getting closer and closer (May 1st), I am hoping that I will keep on approaching a day when I can say that running is just a part of my life - that I feel like I am on autopilot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lost Sole

So, anyway, running. You've heard my story, my updates, my lament about "going it alone" in the race for both PhD and physical fitness. And yet, here I sit. I am not running. For two three weeks now. I read about my sole sisters' progress and think, "Yeah!" I can picture #3's long blonde ponytail swish-swishing with each foot fall on the pavement in her neighborhood. I can see #2's furrowed brow as she looks ahead to the place where she used to stop and walk but this time she'll blow past it. I am sitting on the sidelines, inert but inspired, and a little voice whispers in my ear, "What's your deal?"

I read about their plans to run together this weekend during a visit to my hometown and I can imagine just where they will run. I close my eyes and I can see every mile marker, fence post, and painted pasture gate on the five-mile loop in my home town. They'll start to the tempo of Little Creek and head toward the winding, paved loop that will take them up a hill whose summit is marked by our old school bus driver's horse barn and two-tone trailer. They'll probably use the silver-painted rock at the fork in the road to High Valley as their destination. What I wouldn't give to join them on their Saturday run together, but instead I need to visualize my own route. My road will be banked by fallow corn and soybean fields instead of mountains. I'll rouse my 6' 5" partner out of bed and bring him along in lieu of my Sole Sisters. And I'll mark different milestones in my new hometown.

I hope I can go all Phil Knight on myself and Just Do It.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Words to Run By

Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
-Lou Holtz

Surprise, surprise. Monday's planned run was almost another run that almost wasn't. I walked through the door fully intending to only be inside long enough to change and then be right outside getting the job done. Yet, one thing led to another and my four year old asking me to get her something from the kitchen led to a little bit of grazing for myself. Then the thoughts started. Maybe I should just snuggle with the girls and readjust my work out plan for the week.

Instead I changed into my running clothes, laced up my sneaks and headed out the door. M's paycheck and debit card zipped securely in my pocket I set off for the bank. The sun was shining, so though there was a cool breeze, once I got going I was basking in the nice, nearly-spring air. Upon arrival at the ATM, my time estimation ended up showing that it was exactly the half point of my intended 2.5 miles for the day.

On the way home, I decided to go a different route, one not so direct and on roads with comparatively less traffic. Throughout the run my stamina was up and I was feeling great. While other events led me to stray from my plan of ab lab/zumba tonight and PT session tomorrow, I won't be missing my weekend run, and I am going to try to fit in one more run either tomorrow or Friday evening.

As I continue on with my training plans, I will keep focusing on the concept of ability, motivation, and attitude, doing everything I can to maintain a positive outlook in order to embrace all the pleasures that come with running.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Birthday from My Sole Sister

Earlier this week I received an Amazon gift card from Sister #2, $30 for my 30th. As always, I was thrilled to be able to skim my Amazon wish lists to choose some books. Here were my picks:

2 Running Related:

And 1 Just For Fun (Sisters #2 and #3 introduced me to Kinsella's books):

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Officially Training Window

Back in January I mentioned different ideas for training for the 12K that I will run on May 1st. Even though in February I had planned on committing more time to running, especially outside, it was almost non-existent, especially with the conference week that threw me off a bit. The day to start training is quickly approaching and Monday will be my first actual run. Now that I have a better idea of my workout schedules and what will work, I decided to adapt ideas from Hal Higdon's 10K plan to accommodate some of my other workout preferences. I have realized that four workout days is ideal in order to still maintain some balance with other priorities (mainly family, school, and teaching, but also some hobbies).

Here is my plan:

Week 1:
Monday: 2.5 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 3 miles

Week 2:
Monday: 2.5 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Sunday: Virtual 5K + a little bit more = 3.5 miles

Week 3:
Monday: 2.5 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 4 miles

Week 4:
Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 4.5 miles

Week 5:
Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 5 miles

Week 6:
Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 5.5 miles

Week 7:
Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: Personal Training Session; Saturday or Sunday: 6 miles

Week 8:
Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: Ab Lab/Zumba; Thursday: 2 miles + strength; Sunday: 12K

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Word Up...

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit."
 - George Sheehan

Like the forceful older sister I am, I 'asked' Lurvis if I could take over the post this week because I saw this quote on the Marathon Training Academy's page and it so precisely fits the place I'm at in my training I couldn't resist.

I have never been, nor will I ever be, speedy. In fact, when I sign up for a race, I always look at the prior year's results in order to answer the very important question; Will I come in last? If the answer is comfortably no, I fill out the form and it's on. 

By the time I finished training for the Worcester Half last summer, I had completed training runs up to 11.7 miles without stopping to walk. However, since I started training for the marathon, I'd yet to run further than about three miles without a 'rest'.  At first, I thought it was just the dynamic of training on my own without a team to push me, but even if that walking period was only about thirty seconds, it was still starting to annoy me. I knew that with the amount of training I'd done, there was no reason I couldn't run for more than an hour without stopping. Any fatigue and 'need' to rest was all in my head. Literally.

So, on Sunday, when I headed out for my five miler, I told myself I was running the whole thing. No questions, just running. In my head, I found myself chanting at times pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down and to remind myself to just take a deep breath every once in awhile. This was just for the first couple miles. After awhile, your body gets into a rhythm and if you don't break that rhythm by stopping to walk, you suddenly find that your well-trained machine of a body is doing exactly what you've worked to make it do. 

The third mile (as is almost always the case) was my slowest mile, but then I picked it back up in miles 4 and 5 and had a great run. When I walked through the door, I felt amazing. I definitely felt like I could have gone a few more miles without really needing a rest, but more than anything I had proven to myself again that I was perfectly capable of doing this if I just get out of my own head for a minute. Plus, I really, really wanted to be able to text L and tell her I'd done it. 

Now, my goal for tomorrow when I head out for 13 is to run the first 5 miles, stop for about 30 seconds to get some water and a couple honey stingers, then at miles 7, 10 and 12, I will stop for water. I just need to make it from 'water station' to 'water station' and I'll be golden.

Arming myself with not only great music to cruise by (have you added Mumford and Son's The Cave and Muse's Uprising to your queue yet? You must!), but some motivating phrases like the one my training partner uses 'Stronger, Thinner, Faster', I'm going to be able to silence that voice in my head that lures me into walking when I know it's not what I need. What I need is for the run to be d-o-n-e done so that I can walk in the door and feel good about another training run ticked off the list, and make my way to the victory that is the ice bath. 

Do you have an internal monologue that gets you past the threshold?