Friday, February 27, 2009

Unleashing the Beast - or - Unlocking the door to new (dis)comfort zones...

Today was a most unusually warm day as the temps reached the upper 80's. I went for a late afternoon run and this is what I came up with:

1. I am beginning to believe I am a faster runner
2. I ran 7:40 without the feeling of imminent death
3. I have been holding myself back from doing this sooner
4. No book, no friend, no coach, no team mate, NO ONE can make you believe what you are capable of if you don't first have faith in yourself and begin to believe in your abilities.

You may argue that others will help you achieve this and I will say you are right. They can, but only to a certain extent. I have been told for a long time now that I am capable of much more (and now I'm not just talking running) but I haven't let myself believe it.

It wasn't until last weekend when I hung on (for dear life) with the guys & Marie for five miles of sub-8 minute miles. Until then, the only time I've ever done that was during a 5k...and I thought I was going to lose my lunch. Not this time. I began to believe.

Then when I went for my run today and ran that same pace without fear - of getting dropped, of blowing up - I did it on my own. And did not feel the Grim Reaper on my heels.

I had crossed a barrier and now there's no turning back.

Let's see what happens next...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

She wore an...

itty-bitty-teeny-weeny red and yellow flamed bikini...

I LOVE my new SPLISH swim suit! Yes, after reading about them on Bree Wee and Amanda Lovato's blogs, I decided to give them a try.

I previously had a TYR two piece that I really liked the design and pattern (who can't feel fast and fierce wearing skulls and crossbones?) but because I'm small on top, the low cut caused a lot of water to pull on the suit. The bottom was a little bit better but still I couldn't get it tight enough. So sadly, I had to put it away and resume my search for a perfect two piece suit.

Enter SPISH.

I had read about them a while back on the blogs and figured it was time to give 'em a whirl...many patterns to choose from and if you don't like those, design your own! And price? Average to low for a suit anywhere else. The fit? Nice and snug. No gapping. No pulling. No slipping around.

I love my new suit!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Observations from the Road...

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to ride alongside some truly remarkable athletes. Since there is no way I can run with them, I make the most of what I can get.

For those of you who are like me and somewhere in the middle, we often time don't realize that the leaders get bike escorts. Or if we do, we never see them! Anyhow, I was fortunate enough to get to participate as an escort (no, not that kind of escort, sheesh...) for the women's half marathon.

There are so many details of the day that I could go on and on and on...etc. But I will keep focused here on the observations I want to share:

1. Having fun - when I saw Gilbert in the early miles of the race, he seemed to be having fun; even making a little small talk with me as I rode alongside

2. Focused - the level of focus that these runners have is incredible

3. Relentless - despite the physical pain and what surely must also be mental pain, they do not back down, give up or give in...even if there's no chance to win.

4. Technique - one of the main reasons I love this job is that I get to watch their running styles and forms. Since I have such a problem with my foot strike, this is a great way to watch and learn.

As I stated earlier, I could go on...but I wanted to point out the things that struck a chord with me. I just love to watch them run!!

Thank you, runners (thanks, Desiree)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Know When to Fold 'Em...

"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away and know when to run"

-Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

Every once in a long while this will happen during training and the decision must be was that day.

And the decision was made - I scrapped the ride. I'm not one to normally bail but it just wasn't in the cards today. It all started with my pre-ride 5 mile run. The run went fine (sidebar: it was my 21st of 21 days of running!) but I noticed that my tummy was feeling just a bit off and I wasn't sure if it was going to pass or become an issue. I figured I'd head out on the ride anyhow. The weather conditions were fairly brutal in that they were very much like last weekend...only colder. Yes, nasty wind and bitter cold. Fortunately, unlike my riding partner, I was dressed appropriately and wasn't all that uncomfortable. But as we slogged out to Fitzhugh, it was determined that we were not getting in a workout at all. We were just going through the motions, my mind obsessed with what my stomach might or might not do and we really weren't getting anywhere. Literally. We traveled just over 12 miles in an hour. Stellar (insert large quantities of sarcasm here).

The decision was made and executed.

The turnaround occurred.

Breakfast ensued.

What did I learn?

That I made the right decision. Turns out that as the day progressed I felt genuinely fatigued, as if I might be fighting off something. I managed to sneak in a nap before getting to all the other plans I had for the day, but I could tell that all was not quite right. So much so, that by the second half of Carrie's show, I was feeling run-down and ready to pass out. I'm trying to be better at listening to my body and this was a good example. Yes, the guilt associated with bagging the ride will linger but at least I will not have run myself into the ground and suffer by having to miss additional training sessions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Running backwards...

Is how I felt tonight on the track.

4x1 mile repeats

Did I have anything left?

This is day 11 of 21 of my run block and I'm really feeling it now. The answer to the previous question is no - and yes. I had absolutely no speed. Every step was a struggle. Every breath labored.

I didn't warm up properly, I was too anxious to get started, done and home early. That certainly didn't help my first mile:


It was a bit frustrating, but knowing that I have really been putting miles on the ol' legs, I tried not to beat myself up too much over it. Hopefully, once I'm done with this block I'll really be able to see where I am with my mile repeats and go from there.

I just really, really, REALLY want to become a better (faster) runner.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Guardian Angels...

Some guardian angels are living right before your eyes!! Mine is named Nancy. This morning, as I was dragging myself into the dressing room at the pool, she followed me in. I didn't think anything of until, with a glow on her face she said she had something for me. I was still half a sleep but I could see she was serious about it. As I turned the bag over, emptying its contents into my other hand, I could not believe my eyes.

An m-dot necklace.

She had replaced my lost m-dot necklace.

I cried.

I am not sure why I deserve such a gesture, but I am forever grateful for the selflessness and generosity of others. I am truly blessed!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Am I really doing this??

Tritobefunny is going to triandkickmyassintorunninggear!!
I agreed to meet Carrie at 7:00 a.m. for a 12 mile run. I'll be honest, I was a little intimidated by the idea, but since I am hellbent on improving my run (and she obliged) I decided it was a good idea. And it was! Aside from the obvious (she's faster than me) she's just fun to be around.

We finished the 7 mile loop in a decent time, but I had not anticipated what was to come. We picked up a couple of friends for the last 5 miles...a couple of just-as-fast-as-Carrie friends. I felt so out of shape as they were all chatty and having a great time and I was just trying to stay upright and not lose a lung!!

The last mile was at a pace just over 7 min/mi. and it felt every bit of it! My legs were on fire, my lungs searing and my heart about to explode!!

But I did it!

Day 8 of 21 - done!