Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Sore Winner

I am so happy to say good bye to January and hello to February! Knowing that March is only a month away and that Spring Time in the CLE is that much closer has me excited like a kid waiting for Christmas! But, I need to hold back the excitement just a bit. Being the superstitious lady I am, it appears that I still have ways to go before “Christmas,” a.k.a. great running weather, is here. According to Punxsutawney Phil's announcement this morning, we have another 6 weeks of winter to endure. I’ll give this one to the Ground Hog. You win, little guy! But rather than being a sore loser, I suppose I will just follow suit and will be hiding from my shadow, too. I am totally okay with cranking out a few more weeks on the treadmill! Rather than whining about it and letting it get the best of me, I choose to continue to get the best out of it! I am happy to say I knocked out another pretty solid week of treadmill training, and my 4th week of Glass City Marathon training is done!

I feel great and am so beyond happy and surprised that I have been able to jump back exactly where I left off before my hiatus! I don’t want to speak prematurely, but I really think that the break I took in 2013 is EXACTLY what I needed to start to make things happen for me. I feel in my heart that I have more potential than I have yet to put out, and I want 2014 to be the year I start to see what that potential really is. I only want to run one quality, guts-out 26.2 this year, and want to focus the rest of the year on shorter distances. I would love to race a mile under 5:30, as my only mile “race” was against a former crush of mine, who ran a 5:00-something and I only managed a 5:40-something, on the track of my high school on a Friday after teaching all day. I totally underestimated the mile and the ability of my crush! I was p.o.’ed and shocked that a guy who DOESN’T TRAIN managed to kick my butt. I never raced a mile before then, and didn’t go into it expecting to lose. Call me a sore loser, but as soon as I finished, I wanted revenge on my time! Despite my desire to seek revenge, I have been so 26.2 focused since then that I have yet to give the mile another shot. Perhaps now is the time to do it! Just as Punxsutawney Phil ran from his shadow, bringing out the news of an extended winter, my former crush ran from the shadow of me, bringing out an unexpected loss in front of the entire high school football and cross country teams. As an extended winter will not crush my spirit, a (moderately) humiliating loss from some dude won’t either! 2014 is my #BraveToWin year. This is my year to make it happen, so I suppose it’s time to take some risks and give some new distances a shot! Rather than be a sore loser, and I am ready to be a sore winner. Yep, a sore winner! You cannot expect to be a winner without putting all you have out there. If you are not sore after a race, you probably didn’t give it all you’ve got!

But, I will save the soreness for when the time is right! I am not too sore from my Week 4 of training as I’m just in the “building” phase right now. Here is how the week went:

Monday is always my speed day, and so I had a Fartlek workout on the agenda. I had to run 12X1:00 @ slightly faster than 5k effort with 1:00 recovery in between. My 5k goal is 19:00, which is a 6:00min/mi so I began the workout at this pace and progressed down to a 5:45mi/mi.  I ran 2X1:00@6:00min/mi, 2X1:00@5:59min/mi, 2X1:00@5:55min/mi, 2X1:00@5:52min/mi, 2X1:00@5:49min/mi, and 2X1:00@5:45min/mi. I began it with a 15:00 warm up and concluded with a 15:00 cool down, covering 7  miles. On paper, this workout looked like a SNAP! In practice, WHOA it was tough! With just a 1:00 recovery in between, the intervals came back at me right at the moment I “recovered.” It kept me on my toes, introduced me to challenging paces, and overall was an awesome workout!

Tuesday is my recovery day, so I did 40:00 on the elliptical and 15:00 on the bike. In training past, I would push hard on my cross-training days, considering it a waste if I didn’t finish drenched in sweat. I’m now using my recovery days for true recovery. I use cross-training as a means to get my heart rate up without exhausting my muscles. It is intended to be an easy day, so I want to keep it just that.

Wednesday is my second speed day of the week. On this day, I ran a 60:00 progression run. This is one of my favorite workouts! I am a fast-finish kind of racer, so this workout really plays into my strengths. I broke it down into three parts. The first 20:00 I ran an 8:30min up to an 8:00min/mi, the second 20:00 I ran an 8:00min/mi up to a 7:30min/mi, and the third 20:00 I ran a 7:30min/mi up to a 6:50min/mi. Whenever I do progression runs, the hour seems to go by super fast!  I think it’s from the constant anticipation as the pace increases as I go. I covered 7.70 miles and felt great by the time the 60 minute mark hit.

Thursday is my second recovery day, and I ran a super easy 5 mile run. Friday, I was completely off.

Saturday is my long run day. This is my step back week, so I had a 12 miler on the agenda. It was warmer than what it had been all week, but it was rainy and icy. Despite a brief thought of hitting the roads, I was back on the treadmill to finish off week 4. I didn’t hydrate particularly well the night before and my Friday night pasta was covered in sweet Madeira wine sauce. I always tend to underestimate my step back long runs. Or, you can say I think like a complete idiot. HA! In addition to not being adequately prepared, I had swollen glands, a sore throat, and sinus pain throughout most of the week and by Saturday the pain caught up with me. Regardless, I made my way to the gym and hopped on the ‘mill for 12 miles! It was pretty toasty in the Cardio room, and so going into this run dehydrated posed some challenges. Despite the discomfort, I cranked out a pretty decent 12 mile long run in 1:35! There were definitely “I want to quit” and “this sucks” thoughts going through my head as I could not seem to get myself hydrated at any point throughout the run. But, I kept going! My average pace was right around how I like it for my long runs, a 7:50-55min/mi. I finished with a strong last mile, which I try to do for each long run. I try to teach my body (and my mind) to push the pace when my body is fatigued. Then, when the race comes around,  I remind myself of what I did in the last mile of my long runs and try to simulate the same thing.  By the time the run was over, I was drenched in sweat but was very pleased with my accomplishment!

Today, Sunday, I will be heading out for an easy 4 miles (after I finish my coffee!). My mileage this week is just under 36. I have been focusing on being an all-around healthier person, trying to eat a balanced diet with more protein (turkey sandwiches and yogurt for lunch everyday!), and trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night during the week and 8-9 hours of sleep on the weekends.

I’m going to keep plugging away. I am prepared to be a sore winner! On to Week 5. 12 weeks until the Glass City Marathon!

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