“Mellow as the Month of May.” (Half Marathon Training, week 4)

Carole King.

The first week of May coincided nicely with the very center of this training cycle. I find this month to be a particularly optimistic one with summer on the horizon and such. And optimistic would also be the perfect word for how I’m feeling about running lately. Although my Saturday long run was a bit draggy, all in all I came away very encouraged with the total mileage (first to creep near 30) and my Thursday interval session.

Monday 5/1: 3.4 miles easy (9’19” avg pace)

Tuesday 5/2: rest  Normally this is my strength training day. But I had a late night and poor sleep so my trainer was kind enough to move my appointment to Friday. This was both a blessing and a curse, as you’ll read below.

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rest day inspo courtesy of Darwin le Dog.

Wednesday 5/3: 4 miles easy (9’26” avg pace)

Thursday 5/4: 6 miles w/ 3x 1 mile at half marathon pace + 10-20 sec (8:30-8:40) w/ 1-2 min rest between sets (9’02” avg pace)  I ran my splits at 8’22”, 8’14”, and 8’22” all the while feeling extremely cruisey and controlled. So I was absolutely thrilled with this workout, especially coming off of a ho-hum weekend 5k.

Friday 5/5: Strength training

Saturday 5/6: 10 miles LSD (10’05” avg pace)  The first 7 miles were pretty rough, and I’m chalking this up to the previous Friday’s strength session. While I wasn’t particularly sore, still, David’s current plan includes this lower body triple punch: abductor, leg curl, followed by leg press. Then, just to completely knock out the hamstrings and glutes, we finish the workout on the lower back machine. Anyway, it was a good reminder why I should continue to schedule easy runs after strength days.

Sunday 5/7: 5 miles easy (9’33” avg pace)  If it hadn’t been for my boyfriend, I probably would have only done about 3 miles. John has been running a lot lately (he completed a 70 mile month in April!) but this was our first one together! It’s super motivating to have another runner in the house. And one of the best parts of this run was that he picked the route, so I could just follow along and not think too much. 🙂  

Total Weekly Mileage: 28.4

I’m pleased to have hit my target of 28 miles, and to find that on Monday I felt only a little tired and still fairly strong and uninjured. On the horizon: a 12 miler, more mile repeats, and a 5k part deux!

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“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” (Half Marathon Training, week 3)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Last week in brief: I pulled my mileage back little bit and ran a 5k on Sunday. While the training runs were decent, the race and my performance were really very meh so I’m planning a second attempt on May 14. Recapping these two 5ks in tandem could spark some revelations (?), so I’ll post-mortem my experience at the Marin County Half Marathon, 5k & 10k in a couple of weeks.

 

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Marin County Half, 5k, & 10k. The location sure was a beaut!

Before I break down last week’s schedule I want to mull over a running epiphany that I had 20 minutes into my 6 miler last Thursday. First of all, is a running epiphany a thing? Like runner’s high?

In the last several weeks, I’ve become very interested in improving my pace at shorter distances, a contrast from 2016’s marathon-centered training (a sub-4 goal in LA and what might be called a “finish with dignity” goal for NY). Even earlier this year I was still very tempted to set my sights on a late fall marathon, however my attention has slowly but increasingly moved towards halves and even 10ks and 5ks. So as I was running along Mission Bay last week just about to do my first repeat, a simple but declarative sentence rang loud, out of the blue and clear as a bell: I should see if I can get 10 minutes off my half marathon PR this year.

The clarity and decisiveness of this inner voice has stuck me, even if I’m not sure what to make of the idea. But to be honest, it feels more exciting and motivating than anything I’ve come up with in a while. To be precise, this means a 1:42:35 finish / 7:50 average pace, which at my current fitness and running schedule, is just bonkers. 

But back to the present moment, in which we revisit week 3 of 8 of this current training phase. 

Monday 4/17: 3.7 miles easy (9’34 avg pace)

Tuesday 4/18: superslow strength training I completely crushed this workout, btw, with improvements on every machine.

Wednesday 4/19: 4.5 miles easy (9’52 avg pace)

Thursday 4/20: 6 miles w/ fartlek – 3x 2 min fast w/ full recovery + 4 strides (9’03” avg pace)

Friday 4/21: Rest

Saturday 4/22: 3 miles recovery/shakeout (10’39” avg pace)

Sunday 4/23: 5k race – watch stats: 23:42 finish, 3 miles (7’57” avg pace) Short course. My “official” race results indicate a time of 23:30 at a 7’27” pace, which doesn’t make a lot of sense (3.1 at 23:30 miles is a 7’34” pace and 7’27 at 23:30 would be 3.15 miles, which would make the course ever so slightly long which it was not). This confusion certainly does account for part of the reason why I want to run another 5k ASAP, but it’s not the entire motivation. My experience at the Marin 5k was valuable in that did indicate that I need more practice for when the tough gets going and doing a few more races between now and June 4 should help hone in on more constructive mental attitudes and pain management techniques.

Total Weekly Mileage: 20.2

And capped the week by reaching my monthly goal of 90 miles in April! Happy May errybody.

training diary: half marathon prep – week 1

As I mentioned in my last post, if all goes to plan then I will be busy training for a half marathon PR this spring/summer. First up is See Jane Run on June 4 in Alameda, followed by Santa Rosa in late August. I ran the Santa Rosa half back in 2014 and have done the 5k distance at See Jane Run twice.

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Bubbles @ SJR last year.

For this impending race, I have developed an 8-week training plan that’s fairly conservative and loose, targeting consistency while building up a comfortable base with 5 runs per week: 3 easy, a Thursday speed workout (low key-ish like fartleks or pace runs), and a weekend long run. As for tune up races, I’ve got a 5k race to close out April and then Bay to Breakers as usual on May 21.

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Breakers! 2017 will be my 5th consecutive year running. BTB is infamous for their back of the pack shenanigans, but I think that the actual race course is awesome and it’s definitely a contender for my favorite local race. It’s also hell of historic – the event began in 1912 as a way to lift the city’s spirits after the devastating 1906 earthquake.

So here’s how last week, April 10-16, played out:

Monday 4/10: Rest My intention had been a 4 mile run commute after work, but I was so exhausted from a fun-filled weekend that I decided that I might be better served by an early bedtime.

Tuesday 4/11: Superslow strength training Also – a brisk walk with Darwin to/from the studio.

Wednesday 4/12: 5 miles easy (9’20 avg pace)

Thursday 4/13: 3.6 miles fartleks @ 8x 1 min on 1 min off.  (9’14” avg pace) I was supposed to do 10 repeats but I didn’t have time! This was my first speed workout in a while so it’s just as well to get back into it probably.

Friday 4/14: 5.3 miles easy (9’10” avg pace) A very invigorating run. I really enjoy this loop that takes me through Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, and Mission Bay, passing AT&T Park right in the middle. Highlight of the week!

Saturday 4/15: 9.8 LSD (9’54” avg pace) My plan called for 9 miles, but I found one of those magical hidden trails in Golden Gate park, and so my halfway point went a little long. I was mildly annoyed because somehow my apple watch cut the run short while I was paused at a stoplight 6.5 miles in. Ugh.

Sunday 4/16: Rest After a lousy sleep, this recovery day was a bit rough. I felt draggy all day, but I did manage to take it really easy and spend a lot of time off my feet I capped off the week by cooking a lovely almost-vegan Easter dinner and eating a piece of cake. 🙂

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Spring vegetable cous cous with spicy pesto. Yemm.

Total Weekly Mileage: 23.7

All in all it was a great kick off to half marathon training. After a good night’s sleep on Monday, my energy levels were solid and I had a lot of fun on these runs. I’d say 75% of my meals and snacks were healthy, and except for Saturday night, I got at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. These peripheral things become so important as mileage increases, and I often don’t pay enough attention in favor of just trying adhere to my daily run calendar. But I really feel it when I eat junk or don’t get enough rest, and I keep reminding myself to prioritize this aspect of training. 

So this week, in addition to just putting down the mileage of course, I have a few goals for making sure I’m in good form to get it done:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep
  • Eat intuitively and limit alcohol
  • Put in a little time for stretching and foam rolling (even if it’s just 5 minutes)

 

“These are a few of my favorite things.”

Maria von Trapp aka Julie Andrews.

Happy Holidays! Are you running? Resting? Gearing up for big things in the new year?

My days and weeks have been consumed by preparation for the LA Marathon. With race day on February 14, my schedule is starting to reach the apex. These are the big important runs, folks. I’ve completed my 18 and 19 milers, and continue to grind out the mid-week pace runs best I can. This week is a step back in mileage (which will hopefully include a 10k race on New Years Day) before digging into the two 20 milers scheduled, the first one with a MGP finish. I can’t believe it’s only one more month until taper time.

 

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nailed goal pace in golden gate park last week!

In other news I am pleased to announce some new ambassadorships!

Earlier this year I was selected as a “Branch” for the Oakland Running Festival! I am thrilled to help spread the word about this fabulous race that I’m sure will only continue to grow due to its fabulousness.

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Here are a couple of things that I think make the event special:

Courses

I’ve run the half course twice now. In 2014, I smashed my sub-2 hour goal with a 1:55, and this year landed a one-minute PR, besting my Santa Rosa time after a three month running sabbatical due to a bout of ITBS. So in my experience, this is a PR-friendly half girls and boys. With a hilly start, the full course boasts an elevation profile worth major badass points. Feeling social? Run the relay. Feeling greedy? Run two races in the “We Run the Town” challenge, taking on a 5k before lining up for the half marathon.

Oakland Pride!

Oakland spirit is fierce! Highlights include Raider Nation, the impressive art installations by Crucible and American Steel, Brown Sugar Kitchen cheer station and the massive crowd support around the final stretch of Lake Merritt. I love finishing at Snow Park and chilling out with a beer post-race.

And what’s better is that you no longer have to pay full price because I have a discount code for you! Enter “bodle” at checkout for 15% off any distance.

This year, I’m also an ambassador for NuunLook, we all know that hydration is complicated and personal. I don’t like sports drinks, and for whatever reason sometimes water – whether filtered, bottled or tap –tastes sort of plastic-like or metallic to me. Enter Nuun: a variety of flavors for every palette, no added sugar and under 10 calories per tab, and electrolyte enhanced. This combo works well for me, and I’m happy to support the brand as an ambassador because I believe it offers a unique option where sports hydration, nutrition, and recovery is concerned.

2016nuunbassador

Happy New Year!

“Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.”

William Butler Yeats.

Well hello and Happy New Year!

So I took a blogging hiatus during the last half of 2014 when I came down with a bout of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. I completed my last race of 2014 in September (DSE Oyster Point 10k) and surprised myself by finishing in 49:07, running pretty even splits and averaging just under 8:00/mile.

DSE Oyster Point 10k Splits: September 21, 2014

DSE Oyster Point 10k Splits: September 21, 2014

It was a promising start to CIM training, but sadly the IT issue flared up soon after, forcing me to bow out of both Rock n Roll San Jose and the marathon. After a frustrating several months of trial and error, I have now been happily pain free since January 2. I attribute this recovery to diligent foam rolling, stretching and yoga practice, professional massage, rest, better shoes, and tiny miracles beyond human understanding.

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the latest haps:

1 — I’m upping my yoga game

In early January I attended a 3 week yoga “boot camp” series at my local studio — 75 minute classes / 6 am / Monday thru Friday. I would call it almost life changing. Although awkward at first, I became intoxicated by starting the days active and early, and made a lot of progress with my practice. I’ve definitely come away with a better understanding of the nuances of the poses and am improving the practice of mindfulness. I’m really just starting to scratch the surface and it super exciting. Hopefully the momentum will continue, but I know finding a balance will be somewhat tricky as I return to running more seriously. Anyway, it was a great way to kick off the year.

2  — I ran my first race of 2015 / first post-injury!

A Brazen Race was the perfect kickoff to a healthy, happy 2015. I was pleased to comfortably run an 8:15 / mile average – clocking in at 28:42 for the 3.5 mile race feeling fresh and in no more in pain than one would expect for a sunny 5k.

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photos courtesy of the Brazen photog crew. Love these guys!

3  — I’m noodling the hell out of my 2015 training schedule and narrowing down choices for a summer marathon

I’ve been slowly building mileage since the beginning of the year and I’ve got a solid plan to carry me to 3/22 when (if all goes well) I’ll run the half distance at Oakland Running Festival again this year. In the meantime I have 2 tasks: first, decide on type/amount of speedwork to take on during marathon training (among other details) and second, confirm the goal race. Right now the main contenders are San Francisco and Grandma’s.

This Sunday I will be volunteering with SFRRC at the Kaiser Half so to all of those running Good Luck and I look forward to cheering you on!!

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” (See Jane Run 5k Race Recap)

Henry Ellis.

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I’d planned a beautiful mantra.

Mile one for the body. Mile two for the mind. Mile three for the heart.

Spiritual as it sounds, it seemed the most logical way to achieve the goal: stay firmly situated in all here-and-now moments of Alameda’s See Jane Run 5k and PR by at least 25 seconds. To this end, I’d run the first mile to the best of my physical ability: trusting my base and my speedwork, visualizing form, and tuning into effort.  Mile two, I’d concentrate, focus, and moderate my inner dialogue. At last, I’d go balls out and stay strong, triumphant, driven. Upon crossing the finish line feel the pulse slow and the body cool and the mind quiet to a calm understanding of the beautiful world that lies peacefully between testing your limits and being a great genius about it and doing your very, very best.

Of course, the best intentions are often interrupted by the need for simplicity in times of distress. In these situations, an elaborate mantra then becomes:

Hold on.

Gone out to fast? Hold on. When in doubt? Hold on. What’s the purpose of running a fast 5k anyway? Hold on. Will the wheels come off? Hold on. God, these women in front of me are freaking fast, and they don’t even look like they’re trying. Hold on. Oh hell yes — clearly I’m crushing my sub 25 goal — which means I could slow down and still PR?

Hold. On.

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Official Finish: 23:07

First in the 30-34 AG! Technically I came in second, but the girl ahead of me won first overall, so I snuck in and snagged the first place prize: Compression Socks/Sleeves, which I unfortunately don’t use. I know people love them…but they don’t work for me.

With a big PR and a checkmark beside one of my goals for this year (sub-25 minute 5k), obviously it was a great day. Even so, event organizers left little to complain about. The sun caused many talented Half Marathoners to wilt somewhat, but the weather was manageable for the 5k. The start and finish areas were fairly mellow, family-friendly, and pleasant overall. The only thing missing was water! Goody bags included chocolate almond milk (yum), Clearly Kombucha provided product samples and deals (excellent), and of course, as the hallmark of the race would suggest (“I run for chocolate and champagne”), wines of all kinds flowed (I’d prefer beer, but okay). All nice perks, but with a lovely view of the Bay, it was a “water, water everywhere” kind of situation. Surprisingly tough for thirsty finishers to locate a bottle.

Too excited to look cool.

Too excited to look cool.

Naturally, I wonder if this PR might change the game for my upcoming races. Runners World and McMillan calculators reveal finishing times beyond my expectations. I understand a single 5k may not be the best barometer for longer distances, so we’ll try not to get ahead of ourselves, yes? For now, the rough plan is to keep my head down and forge ahead with the speedwork and mileage building in preparation for the Santa Rosa Half at the end of August. After a slow, undisciplined week, tomorrow it’s back to the reality of training!

Hope your summer training and races are going well! I feel for those bearing the heat and storms out East.

Training Diary 6.22.14 — Speed Phase Week Four & See Jane Run Race Week!

Kathryn and the Bad Luck Mondays. A good band name, right? Like Iggy’s Stooges, Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Richard Hell’s Voidoids, the Mondays surround me with their music: the cold cough of a struggling Volkswagen against a midnight ocean drone. The 8-inch blade of a Wustof slipping off a new sponge like a record player needle. Is it Mercury’s retrograde? Or maybe a the result of a summer workday, the worst one of all.

Anyway, poetry aside, I have 3 loose stitches and a mess of gauze interfering with the use of my right hand. So blogging was a little delayed this week. This also means that this coming Saturday I will need to bow out of Jason Crandell’s yoga workshop at Yoga Flow that I registered for ages ago. Sad times. But downward facing dog is a no-go until these fuckers come out on July 3.

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At least last week (minus the car issue) was productive (spoiler — I PR’ed the 5k! BOOM!)

Monday — Vinyasa Yoga / 60 minutes

Tuesday — Strength Training  It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned how much I hate doing this. Thank god it’s only 20 minutes and that I get a shoulder massage right after. Gaaahhh why does strength training have to be so important?

Wednesday — Tempo Run / 5 miles / 8’43” pace  After last week’s debacle, I made sure to come up with a decent plan. I needed a good workout, and I needed to finish encouraged. No more sad sack tempo face. Mile 1 warmup (8’26” – a bit fast obviously), mile 2 -3 tempo pace (8’29”/8’22”), mile 4 cooldown (9’38”), mile 5 strides/fartleks (8’32”). Challenging but not over the top, although I think as I become more comfortable with these kinds of runs the top speeds need to increase and/or roll out more progressively. But look at this steady pacing! A major improvement from last week, I’m ashamed to say that I even had a little bit of fun. I’ll crack you yet, devil run!

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Thursday — Rest

Friday — Easy Run / 3.7 miles / 9’00” pace

Saturday — Yoga from Hell / 90 minutes  Well not really yoga from Hell, but class was more intense than expected, and left me slightly worried that lingering soreness would impact Sunday’s race. BUT I had that great buzzy post-shavasana glow as I left the studio — always the sign of a great class.

Sunday — Race! See Jane Run San Francisco / 3.1 miles / 7’27” pace  Crushed my sub-25 goal with a 23:07 finish time! Yay for speedwork! Hell, yay for tempo runs! Yay for beginner-friendly women’s races that allow me to place first in my age group! Stay tuned for the recap in a few days…

Training Diary 6.15.14 — Speed Phase Week Three (AKA – I hate Tempo Runs)

Maybe more accurately: I suck at tempo runs. Unfortunately the only solution is also the least attractive: practice, practice, practice. Hal Higdon calls them “the thinking runner’s workout,” but I never expect so many of those thoughts to be “Oh my God, what fresh hell is this pace? Ugh, Kathryn. You are a terrible runner. ” Sometimes you need matter over mind. So I try to visualize beautiful robot-movement in my form, and relax my facial muscles to catatonic slack— totally unfeeling, absolutely numb. Imagine my legs as machines, incessantly — endlessly — moving. Don’t look at the watch. Never look at the watch. Seriously, stop checking the fucking watch. GPS is the devil. Running is torture. How on earth do people do this? What ecstasy it would be to walk — or better, to stop completely, hinging at the hip, pressing palms firmly against thighs. Ugh. Kathryn. You are a terrible runner.

I’m realizing that of course I’m doing it all wrong, or at least mostly wrong. Here’s Friday’s workout:

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So for example, if I’m looking to run a 24:30 5k, then according to Runner’s World training paces calculator, my tempo pace should be more like 8:20/mile. Currently I’m completing a ¾ mile warm-up (or so), and then increasing my pace too suddenly, subsequently crashing and burning by the end? On the other hand, I know these runs should feel hard, so maybe it’s more an issue of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Or probably some combination.

Either way, I dread that the secret actually lies in a painful learning curve.

Monday — Easy Run / 5.75 miles / 9’27” pace  A make-up for last week’s delayed Sunday long run. Not very impressive for an LSD, but still meaningful enough for 5k training. Besides, a run-commute home along the Embarcadero and through Potrero Hill? Best de-compression ever. Half a mile from our apartment, I stopped at the market for fresh herbs and cruised home for dinner. Summer. Ah.

Tuesday — Easy bike ride and strength training.

Wednesday — 6×400 / 4 miles / 9’33” pace  A beautiful morning in the Haight. 6’44 / 6’25 / 6’49 / 7’00 / 6’51 / 6’55 An improvement from last week — almost all intervals in the sixes. I’m doing a lot of walking between sets, and reading conflicting information regarding the better approach: Avoid a cooldown, or rest enough so that every interval can be performed at full quality?

Thursday — Dynamic Flow Yoga Class / 90 minutes  A class full of arm balances, which I love.

Friday — Tempo Run (from hell) / 3.6 miles / 9’08” pace  See above.

Saturday — Rest.

Sunday — Long Run / 6.6 miles / 9’49” pace  A meandering exploration around Noe Valley, Duboce triangle, and the Mission. My long runs have become a bit prescriptive, always with the go-to 8 mile route or 10 mile or 14 mile route that I know well. Kept this one interesting with some new and some familiar hills, neighborhoods, twists and turns.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry.

With uncertainty about even finishing this year’s Big Sur Marathon, the race was just about all that I could focus on in the first half of 2014. Now, coming off that high, I’m starting to make plans.

Let’s begin by taking stock of last year’s ambitions.

2013 Running Goals

1 .  Finish first Marathon — completed on 10.6.13 at Portland Marathon

2.  5k PR (under 26:00) — completed on 5.13.13 at DSE Mother’s Day 5k Marina Green

3.  Break 2hr in Half Marathon — not completed. But I PRed at The Giant Race on 8.4.13 (02:00:25)

4.  Place in my age group — completed on July 4 at LCA Red White and Boom 5k

5.  Run 900 miles in 2013 — not completed, and not even close, really. 744 miles. Still, not bad. That’s roughly the distance from here to SLC.

San Francisco to SLC

As I alluded to above, earlier this year I had just two goals that would take me through to the end of spring: first, break that damn 2hr half and second (and highest priority), finish Big Sur in one piece (and smiling, ideally).

Now that both of those are happily checked off, I’ve put together what I think is a rather ambitious list for 2014.

2014 Running Goals

1.  Participate in a social running event (club run, volunteer for a race, fun run)

2.  Run a 10k (I’ve never raced one…)

3.  Break 25 minutes in 5k

4.  Break 4 hours in the Marathon

Only laziness or inattention (or injury, I guess) can keep me from completing the first two items, so these should be easy wins. But the time goals will take some real focus and training. The plan is to add specified speedwork and higher mileage (responsibly, of course) via modified Hal Higdon plans. I’ve organized my training around three key races.

 

See Jane Run – 5k – June 22

5k speed phase

5k speed phase

 

Santa Rosa Marathon – 13.1 – August 24

Half Marathon Training - building mileage/speed work

Half Marathon – Mileage building/speedwork

 

California International Marathon – 26.2 – December 7

CIM training. Am I crazy? Sub 4 is nuts.

CIM training. Am I crazy? Sub 4 is nuts.

Anyway, even if I don’t hit the ideal finish times (very possible), I’m hopeful that I’ll end the season a stronger and more disciplined runner. Last year, I found my heart wasn’t broken when I didn’t go sub-2 hours on the first attempt. I ran a smart race, learned a lot, and knew that the next time I’d reach my goal. And that’s exactly what happened!

For the record, non-running goals include more writing and reading, hitting the driving range a few times, and completing the 6 week yoga bootcamp at my local studio. The bootcamp is probably insane, but I’m determined to make this the most productive (and fun?) summer ever! Viva la 2014!

Next up: Bay to Breakers this Sunday. Hoping I don’t end up next to the naked brigade again this year…but whatever.

“Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth.”

Eckhart Tolle.

Well TGMIJAO! (thank god monday is just about over!)

On Saturday I ran a fun 5k race out in the East Bay. In this recap, I’ll reflect on 2 ways I went wrong followed by 3 things I did right.

Race: Dam Jingle Bell Dash – 5k race
When: Saturday December 14, 2013, 9:15am
Where: Orinda, CA
Number of Finishers: 253
Recorded Time: 25:24
Achievements: PR (:4 seconds); 2nd in my AG; Top 10 female finishers (#8). All good things. Yay!

ImageI made only a few mistakes, but they were “duh” moments that caused momentary undue stress and could have been easily avoided.

1) I arrived penniless.
This was a small local race and I wasn’t pre-registered, which means I should have had cash or check ready to pay for the bib. So I wasted 20 minutes driving my ass back up the hill to Safeway and worrying about whether I’d find another parking space in the rapidly filling lot.

2) I dressed inappropriately.
Steam rolled off the reservoir as I drove down to the San Pablo Reservoir Boat Launch.  The dashboard of the VW read 30º, but iPhone assured me that it would reach the low 40s by 9am. Alas, it was frigid up to the start of the race. I waited for the gun wearing an oversized sweatshirt and sweatpants over my planned race clothes: shorts and a lululemon run swiftly tee. Earlier that morning I’d contemplated adding my comfy long-sleeved finishers shirt from Portland. Why did I so immediately disregard this harmless idea? I ended up racing in my lululemon sweatpants (still over my shorts), t-shirt, and mittens. Not too terrible but this definitely could have been better executed.

Doy!  Luckily though, a few key moves set me up for a good race.

1) Even splits!
Mile 1 = 8’08 / Mile 2 = 8’09” / Mile 3 8’10” — Yes!

2) I left just a little bit in the tank…
I suck at digging deep in the final moments to sprint over the finish line. But I think that the combination of the consistent pacing coupled with a rare burst of energy (I can’t explain this) is how I achieved my new personal best. And by the skin of my teeth, too… a 4 second PR! Hey, I’ll take it. 🙂

3) When the going got tough, the tough kept running
For whatever reason, I wasn’t 100% focused that morning. It started with those dumb logistical snafus. Then, in the first couple minutes of the race, I had this overwhelming disinterest in what I was doing. I remember distinctly thinking, “I do not want to be racing.” Bummer. Who doesn’t love the usual punch of adrenaline that pushes you over the mat?

Early in the second mile, a stream of negative thoughts interrupted my flow. This kind of thing isn’t entirely unusual, and I’m learning to recognize it as a trick of the mind. They reverberate as loud and suddenly as sirens, false alerts rooted in the physical stress that comes from a hard effort.

I’m proud of the way I was able to work through these moments of annoying internal monologue, as they can quickly become anti-mantras if you choose to believe them. Another classic mistake? Forceful attempts to ignore or silence them. Like hungry children begging to be fed with attention, like ravenous zombies pounding on the windows of abandoned buildings — Inevitably, they will break through.

Notice your thoughts objectively. For a moment give them space. Recognize them, disagree with them if necessary, and move on. Continuing to run is non-negotiable, no matter what intrusiveness threatens to hold you back. I appreciate your opinion, Brain, but I’ve got this.

Truth be told, I was hoping to finish this 5k a bit faster. I am working towards a solid 8’00” pace. I’m not worried, it will happen. As for this race, there were some unanticipated challenges, if minor. The course was hillier than anticipated, my mind wasn’t completely centered, and I had to slow down twice for ICE ON THE ROAD (what??!!!). All in all I’m very happy to call this my last race of 2013, and am just about ready to kick off a new season of training!

Here’s to finishing strong in 2013!