Friday, September 12, 2014

Picking It Up

When I first started to run for the sake of getting faster, I absolutely hated tempo runs.  They really exposed my weakness, which was holding a faster pace for more than just a few minutes.  Many years went by before I added tempo runs into my schedule, and that is the honest truth.  I think some people naturally gravitate towards running fast in workouts, and others are speed wimps, like me, that can go long and easy or short and fast, but are missing that in between gear.

I would say that around 2011, I become much more comfortable with tempo runs.  Why?  For one, they were always on my schedule, so I didn't have a choice.  But two, I was fit.  I realized that when I was fit, the tempo run, while hard, was always doable, and it became like a game to me to hold certain paces.  I could feel myself getting stronger.

I haven't quite revisited the tempo run yet, but I got one step closer today with some half marathon pace miles.  I determined my paces from Jack Daniels' formula, and made myself work.  I was absolutely terrified to pick up my pace in training.  Terrified of what?  I finally realized I was terrified I would be slow and couldn't do hold the pace.  It is the fear of the unfit.  It is lack of confidence.  It is the fear that prevents me from taking the first step, if I let it. 
Giving myself a pep talk to hit the road.  There is a lot of girl power in those Smash shorts and Enell Bra.  3 cheers for female owned companies!
After hemming and hawing, I got after it this morning and ran the paces.  Done and done.  It was a great starting point for some real training. 

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."  ~ Babe Ruth

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Midway Point

I have made it through the 1st 10k of the Road Race Series.  I wish I had some amazing report to give, but everything is really just blah.  I am in that place where I am not improving, and I am really just kind of barely shuffling through the paces.  (translation:  I am not fit).  I think I secretly expected to be in a different place by now.  I think I really thought I would just magically run faster.  It certainly does not work that way!
This is a horrible pic, but I felt as bad as it looks, so it is truthful :)

I am happy to just be out there, so it is not a huge deal that I am static in my running.  Every morning I race and run, I treat it as a gift, because it is!!!  But, I do know I am nowhere near my capabilities, and that can get frustrating.  It is hard to race when I am not fit!  When I signed up for the series, Gina and I talked about making sure we kept the series in perspective and not get caught up in trying to PR, go faster each race, and search for our old times.  We were really doing this to have some friend time, get miles in, and force ourselves to pick up the pace for some long term gain for winter racing.  I did feel pretty frustrated Sunday, but Gina held me accountable to my original goals. 
 Isla saw a picture of runners on Sunday and pointed to it, said "mommy!," and looked at me!  It was awesome to see that my kid identified me with a group of runners.  That was all of the motivation I needed to keep at it.  (She has also found the dusty box of medals to wear around the house.)

14 months post baby, the barriers to fitness for me include:  lack of sleep/recovery (thank you, Isla, for the multiple wake-up calls at night :), continued hormonal changes with breast feeding, little niggling injuries (leg), and major body issues (back, sciatic pain).  I realize that these barriers are slowly getting lower, but may take a while longer to hurdle completely.  I imagine that by the time I have recovered my body, I will get pregnant again.  LOL! 

On the flip side, 14 months post baby, the improvements to my fitness journey include:  a more solid work schedule so I can plan some training, the ability to have more control over my meals, no more baby weight, decreased feelings of guilt when leaving Isla to take care of myself, and no more pelvic pain.  So, things do get better!  

We are midway through the series now.  I struggle to find something objective to achieve in these races.  Should I set some time goals for the next 10k, 10 milers, and half marathons?  Or just go with the process and journey?  Hmmm.  I think I am sticking with the latter for now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In The Gray

Over the years, I have developed a strong affinity for my HR monitor.  I don't train with it 100% of the time, but when I am serious about developing different pieces of my fitness, especially aerobic, I strap that thing on.  By using the HR monitor, I have avoided a lot of miles in the "gray zone."  Actually, I do anything and everything to avoid the gray zone.  I want purpose to my training and miles with excellent recovery and consistency!  I actually take this part of my training pretty seriously and have seen some awesome benefits to it. 

But, I discovered one time where the running purposeless in the gray zone just might be okay.  GIRL FRIEND TIME!  I constantly find myself running in the proverbial gray zone whenever I run with Gina.  This is mainly because she could care less about HR, and she just simply runs faster than I do in training.  After our last run, where I just hovered in the gray zone for half of the miles, I wondered if those miles were wasted?  It was then that I realized that the mental benefits of running, laughing, and talking with a friend far outweighed the aerobic benefit I would have gotten had I slowed down a few seconds per mile and let my HR fall just slightly.

So, my new rule:  gray zone is okay if the purpose is friend time.  :)
And speaking of girl friend time, am I lucky or what to have some amazing women that I consider good friends? 
 Isla totally approves of Joy, especially when there is a muffin involved.  :) 
 Hunter taught Isla to color with markers, and Isla colored herself as much as she colored the box. 

 How about this little amazing woman?  She decided to put on a show for everyone on stage at the Children's Museum.  Maybe there is some performing in her future?
Or farming....  if not performing, then farming.