Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mind Games (A Race Report)

Maybe you remember my description of the Up the Lazy River 10k--a great big, giant, killer hill just after mile 3.  Of course, I last ran it in '09 when I had been running less than a year.  The hill killed me.  That is what I remembered and took with me on Monday morning.  The problem with that is I had made this huge hill into the obstacle of the entire race.  I had forgotten all the other rolling hills.  And, the aforementioned hill was not as big and bad as I remembered.  In fact, it was much smaller than many hills I run on a daily basis.  Yet, I could not recover mentally. 

Hubby and I were at Mary S. Young Park early.  The weather was perfect for racing, cool and cloudy, but no rain.  My warm up went very well.  Easy jogging followed by dynamic stretching and some strides.  After I gathered my packet, I met one of our own great bloggers, Teri from (Long) Road to Paradise.  I did not recognize her and actually thought it was someone else.  She is as great as her posts and I enjoyed visiting for a few minutes.  She was co-race director so she had plenty on her plate!

A couple of concerns about the race were bothering me.  The hill... and the fact that my Garmin was not working.  I couldn't decide if I would race better without it or would I miss the feedback to keep me motivated.  This was going to be 10 kilometers of "running by feel."  That would be great if I had really practiced it. 

The first mile felt really good, of course.  I crossed the mile in about 8:30--faster than I would have liked, but not bad.  Mile 2 and 3 continued on a positive note just a bit slower than the first mile.  Just after the water station at mile 3 you turn a corner and meet the hill.  It took me by surprise. 

Why?  I don't know.  I knew it was there.  But it took the wind out of my sails.  Even as I was going up, I realized it wasn't as bad as I remembered.  Yet I just couldn't get my mind around it.  The plan was to take it easy the first of the hill and attack the last third.  I couldn't.  I walked most of the hill. I got passed by a guy running his first 10k while pushing a double stroller with toddlers.  Ouch!

The top of the hill was there with a sharp left turn.  I kept pushing and talked positive.  I would focus on someone ahead of me, but I was pretty alone on this stretch.  I passed mile 4--split 10:00.  Nothing that I could not recover from.  My quads were burning.  My side started to ache.  My lungs were working hard, but fine.  One of these days it will all come together.  I knew a PR was going to be really tough at this point.  It became harder to push through.  I kept passing walkers that had started before the run.  There were no runners to latch onto.  No one was coming up behind to push me forward.  I think that made it more difficult to hold on.  I passed mile 5 and knew a PR was not possible. 

The last mile was just me trying to hold on.  I would slow then push.  I knew I was getting close to the end.  I kept telling myself that it was almost over.  After all, I can do anything for just a few more minutes.  Then it was there--the finish line!  Push, push, push!  I crossed in 56:18, more than 1:20 off my PR.  Rats. 

A day later and the disappointment fades.  A few hours goes a long way to bringing perspective.  Not a great race, but not terrible.  I do think my Garmin would have been helpful to help me start a bit slower and help me push in the late, lonely miles.  Overall, I cannot complain.  I can only take the lessons learned and move forward.  However, I do think I would rather train than race.  I train great, but often race poorly.  Sigh...

Poor hubby!  He gets bored waiting for my races.  He does prefer 5 and 10ks to marathons though.

Ready to race!

The race is the Master's Championship for the club so all masters age groups are just one year.  I got 2nd of 2!  Wooohooo!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Honor & Gratitude

Today I ran a race and spent time with my hubby.  I could do this because so many have sacrificed for my freedom.  All I can say is thank you.  Thank you to my brother, my nephew and my uncles for their service.  Thank you to all men and women who have served past and present.  Thank you to all the loved ones that have been left home to wait and hope.  You have my deepest gratitude.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Depression the deep dark hole that I fall into from time to time.  Sinking into the hole with little hope of escaping.  The darkness is overwhelming and suffocates the motivation from the marrow of my bones.  Life is in shades of gray.  The longer I am in the hole the more I want to stay there.  It is easier to remain buried than to try to dig out. 

Poking holes in the darkness takes more effort than I can manage.  I need help.  Yet the darkness is so suffocating I cannot speak.  Other times the darkness comes so slowly that I don't even realize I am surrounded until the bottom of the pit is at my feet.  Tears wait, but cannot be shed due to the sheer effort that would take.  Weak moments of joy break the darkness, but cannot be held onto. 

Breathing in and out.  That is all I can manage at this moment.  Sheer willpower causes my feet to move.  Knowing tasks must be done is the only pull at my psyche.  I will survive.  One day soon, the effort to poke holes in the darkness will be there.  I will grasp at the walls of my hole and pull myself up.  Light will return and the gray will turn to the colors of the rainbow. 

This hope is my salvation.  Until then, I will breathe in and out.  One day that breath will give me the strength to reach up.  I know that when I reach up, there will be a hand to grasp.  I will hold on with every ounce of strength as the hand will not let me go. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finally Spring!

Lilacs!  Reminders of childhood in the Methow Valley where there was a beautiful bush near the front door.  I loved when it began to bloom and I knew summer was coming!

New growth!  I love the new growth on evergreen trees.  The bright green contrast to the older needles are so soft.

"Sweet Olive" tomatoes.  Tiny tomatoes that are the perfect size for popping in the mouth!  Mmmmmm!
The color of green leaves against a clear blue sky--the perfect color combination!

New blooms in the flower bed signals the end of a very long winter and a very wet spring. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Call Me "Wrong Way"

I don't know if you have ever heard of Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan.  He is actually more than a character from Gilligan's Island.  Well, that was actually "Wrong Way" Feldman... 

Anyway, on Monday I earned the nickname.  I took a wrong turn on my long run and ended way off course.  Truth is that it added a lot of hills and a couple of extra miles, but it was worth it in the end.  Seriously, when I crested the hill and saw where I was I laughed out loud.  I knew I was a long way from where I meant to be, but it was just funny.  I took a quick break at the Y and refilled my water.  Then I headed back out to the one road I was trying to avoid--Elwert.  Up and down and more ups and downs.  And there is very little shoulder.  And busier than I like.  Oh well...  I ended up meeting up with my husband as he finished his round of golf.  That kept me from another couple of miles and a big hill! 

The morning started with hubby driving me to the Mountain View cemetary.  My route started with a quick visit with my mom.  From there I headed toward home.  A gentle downhill for nearly a mile.  Then came the HILL--2.5 miles with an average 4.8% grade and a max of 7%.  Yes, I planned it that way! 

Visiting my mama

I approached the entire route with the intention of maintaining effort.  If that meant walking some of the hill then so be it.  And so it was.  Yet when I walked, I did not stroll, I kept it moving.  It was hard, but so much fun.  I remembered to look back a few times and enjoy the view as well as patting myself for working hard.  It was beautiful up in the hills.  I love running on narrow country roads where I hardly see another person and get stared at by cows.  From there is was a long down hill followed by a lot of rollers.  My splits were all over the place, but effort was consistent.  My slowest mile was 12:35 and fastest was 8:37. 

Looking back gave me the confidence to move forward.
I ended with just over 14.5 miles in 2:25 (9:56 average).  I truly loved almost every minute of the run.  Mentally, I focused well, switching internally and externally.  Even with the wrong route negativity did not enter the run.  There are good runs and bad runs.  Then there are runs that remind you why you put your shoes and get out the door.  This was one of those runs.  It reminded me how strong I am mentally and physically.  It reminded me that I can do what I set out to do.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Freaking AWESOME Day!

Began with a 14 miler with monster hills, followed by lunch with the hubs and chill time.  Ended with a book signing at Powell's in Beaverton where I got to meet Kara Goucher and Amanda from Runninghood!  More to come!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Writing is on the Wall...

So, yeah. I don't ♥ speedwork yet, but I can see the writing on the wall... A friend, Forever Run (aka Sara), from the Loop told me I would love speedwork someday.  That was about 18 months ago.  I laughed in her face...stupid me...  That is too much like saying "never."  Say that word and you are sure to do exactly that!  My mom always told me, "Never say never."  (Of course, she said never say always either and I just did.)  Sure enough the day is coming.  It might as well be painted in the lanes of the track. 

I still was very nervous about this week's intervals.  I ended up procrastinating one day for them.  However, I say it was because I wasn't feeling well.  After my work of the morning was finished, the dog and I headed to the track.  The plan was to run there unless it was too crowded.  Otherwise we would use the bike path.  It wasn't crowded, just a group playing Austrailian rules football in the infield and a few kids playing in the sand pit.  I did my usual warm up--skipping, grapevines, dynamic stretching and strides.  Then we began. 

The first was 2 miles at 10k pace (or somewhere in the 8:30s).  This scared me--8 laps trying to hold a steady pace.  Not my strong suit!  "Relax, find your groove."  I did!  It was HARD!  It was great!  16:58 (8:29) 

Now the die was cast.  The 8:29 average for the first interval meant I needed to keep the rest in the 8:20s.  No letting up!  The 4 mile repeats took a lot of focus!  I had finished what I expected to be the really hard interval and thought these would be easier...NOT!  I followed the things I have been learning and used positive self talk.  I changed my focus between internal and external stimuli based on where I was struggling.  If something internal was starting to cause negativity, I looked outside myself for distraction.  When it began to rain and the wind blew, I focused on cadence and relaxing my face and shoulders.  It worked.  I not only survived I rocked them! 

Once finished, Indy and I headed back to the trail for the run home.  I am not sure who was more tired.  For once he didn't seem to mind the slow going!  I really needed this to be a strong workout.  I needed the mental focus on something other than my regular life today.  Doing better emotionally and a few endorphins sure help!

Warm Up: 1.54 @ 10:08
16:58 (8:29), 8:25, 8:29, 8:22, 8:25
Cool Down: 1.46 @ 11:02

Thursday, May 05, 2011

April Summary

April Miles: 130.4
2011 Total: 380.8

Stationary Bike: 1x for 16 miles
Walking: 2x for 3.1 miles
Strength Training: 8x

High Point: Miles! My weekly mileage is finally back above 30.  That is a happy number for me.  I tend to thrive emotionally and physically at 30-35 miles per week.   Also, my interval workouts were fantastic!

Low Point: I had a couple of days that had some pain and stiffness in my hips/psoas.  A cutback week and extra ice seems to clear it up.  Cross training got left out a bit...

Best run(s): Definitely the mile repeats!  The entire workout was tough, but gave me such a huge confidence boost.

Races: Marine Park 5k.  No PR, but learned a few things and got to meet up with other bloggers!


Yep, I have been missing lately.  Feeling run down and fatigued of late.  Still running 30+ miles a week and enjoying that.  There are just some things that get me down.

1.  My oldest brother has cancer.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much this sucks.  He has surgery scheduled for June.  It hurts to even write about it.  He is my hero!  Too much pain after losing my sister in '96 and Mom in '04.  Prayers are greatly appreciated.

2.  Mother's Day.  I miss my mom so much.  There is still a huge hole in my heart.  I really don't know how I would survive if I didn't know that I will see her again.

Overall, I feel crappy.  My head has ached for days.  I have a low grade fever that comes and goes.  I am giving it until next week--post Mother's day grief--to see if it is psychosomatic or there is something going on.  But no fever tonight so tomorrow is trackwork!  Running intervals takes focus.  Focusing on running means I cannot brood.  Running is my therapy! 

Pity party over.