Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ugly Run Day

Last Tuesday just two days after my 5K PR I had a great 10 mile run.  It started out good, I felt great the whole time and I exceeded my expectations for my pace finishing with my fastest mile.  My overall pace for that 10 mile run was 11:49.

Yesterday coach had 13 miles on my plan.  My training at the end of last week and this past weekend was not spot on as Ken and I were able to take a little couple weekend away which did not include triathlon training.  I asked coach about the jump from 10 miles last week to 13 this week.  She said if it was easier to wrap my head around 12 that would be OK.  Why, yes, 12 sounds SO MUCH EASIER than 13.  13 is a race.  I have done 13 exactly two times, both were races.  Why would I do 13 in training?  LOL 

I just decided 13 is only a race number.  We all know it is unlucky so why would you do it if you didn't have to?  I worked in hotels for years and the 13th floor is almost always used for storage rather than guest rooms.  Having said that 12 didn't feel very lucky yesterday.  The plan was to repeat last week start off slow for the first couple of miles and then do what feels good.  Nothing felt good.  I should have known I was in trouble when the first mile felt long.

I have been doing my long runs in Terry Hershey park.  I generally go just past half way for distance and turn around.  The out and back prevents me from cutting my runs short which I would have definitely done yesterday if I was on a shorter loop.

I tried a new hydration bottle yesterday.  It is a Camelbak bottle bigger than my Fuel Belt bottle I usually carry.  I realized immediately it was difficult to store the bottle in my Lululemon Dart and Dash shorts so I held the bottle for the first two miles until it was a bit lighter and I could store in the side pocket.  During mile 4 the bottle popped out and when I heard it hit the ground I was able to retrieve it.  Yesterday I turned around shortly after the 6 mile mark.  Once I turned around I stopped my watch and took a minute to put in my earbuds and use my ipod Shuffle.  I don't use music when I run outside but with this long solo run I thought it might come in handy.  I am so glad I had that music to get me through the next six miles.  Unfortunately, because I had the music I did not hear when my bottle full of Cytomax hit the ground somewhere around mile 6.  I reached for that bottle at 7 and it was gone.  Going back wasn't an option, I had no desire to add mileage to this already miserable run and I was short on time having to pick the girls up from school.  The good news is this park has plenty of water fountains, I got through just fine.

The last 2 miles were painful, there was walking.  I told myself this is a good mental day because the Ironman is going to hurt and I will have to keep going.  At the end of the run I could not fathom going another 14.2.  A marathon is a long way.  Then I reminded myself this was my longest training run by 2 miles.  Back when I started running in 2009 two miles was 4 times around the YMCA track and I couldn't do it without stopping.  I've come a long way baby.

The pace for those 12 miles? 11:46 but the finish was Uuuuuugly!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Tights

Last week I was fortunate enough to be gifted a pair of recovery tights.  I already have a pair but thought these would come in handy as my training increases having two pair would be nice.

Tuesday I had a good 10 mile run and thought this would be a great time to test out the new tights.

My original pair of tights are Zoot similar to these but without the super cute pink stitching, mine are a few years old.  I have long felt these tights were well worth the money I spent and worth their weight in gold.  The ones I own are technically active recovery meaning you could exercise in them and these are Zoot's big Daddy tights.  My husband owns those but doesn't care for them.  They slide down his tuhkus and the stirrup style cuts into the arch of his foot.  He likes what they do for his legs but he is uncomfortable in them.

In the last couple of years my only complaint about my Zoot tights is they are tricky to get on but that is part of the whole recovery deal.  I keep telling Ken somebody needs to create spray on recovery tights! 

The new tights are CEP.  For a while now they have had a clone recovery tight that is custom to each athlete given their own measurements.  This is their first non custom recovery tight.  They look just like the clone tights.  What I like about them is they cover the heel and arch of the foot but stop short of the toes allowing you to wear flip flops and your toes don't get squished.  That is the end of the good news.  They look and feel like something your Grandma would wear.  The control top is thicker and itchy almost like wool, the rise is too high (I am 5'9"), they come up so high they kind of roll down and cut into me like panty hose (and we all hate panty hose).  The other complaint is the actual crotch of the tights.  I won't go into details, lets just say they rubbed me the wrong way.

My Zoot tights look like athletic tights, you can see the different weaves of the fabric, they are soft behind my knees and even more important the crotch is very comfortable.  I was originally reluctant to buy tights because of the panty hose feeling at the waist.  Not an issue in my Zoot's because the compression is graduated they are not tight on my tummy at all, hit me below my belly button, stay in place and they are so comfortable I often sleep in them.  I could never sleep in the CEP tights.

 I work in a triathlon store and sell plenty of recovery calf sleeves, socks and tights.  They are not a MUST have but I'd put them at the top of the 'nice to have' list for those racing longer distances. 

In closing I will say I love my CEP socks and have no idea why they didn't transfer the same technology to their tights, they missed the mark in my opinion.

Monday, February 11, 2013

5K PR!

Finally!  It has taken nearly 4 years but I finally beat my 5K PR (Personal Record).  In all honesty I haven't done a lot of 5K races but the last couple I did were disappointing to say the least.  The PR that stood this long was the Astros Race for the Pennant I did with Ken and Brendan May 2009.  Back then I didn't wear a watch, had no idea what pace I was doing or what I was supposed to do I just ran for the fun of it.

The first 5K I have a record of is May 2, 2009, Cinco de Mayo, a race I had no plans to do until a fellow BTer and local triathlete talked me into it the night before.  I was mortified at my 37:12 time.  Just a few weeks later I did the Astros race and was happy with 33:06.  After shaving 4 minutes off my 5K time in just a few weeks my expectations were high.  Silly girl.  A year later on a warm June day I attempted to PR my 5K and came up way short with a time of 35:26.  This was very discouraging but who in their right mind goes for a PR in June? 
My next attempt was another spur of the moment local 5K on a dark, rainy morning March 2012.  I had been doing speed work and thought, maybe this time.  When my good friend arrived to run with me I threw my watch at her asking her to pace me.  Due to a miscommunication on my part she was unsure of my goal pace and I missed my PR by 9 seconds. SECONDS.

Those of us who race know to get a PR the stars have to align, the training has to be solid, mind right, body strong and the weather Gods have to be on your side.  Perfect 5K temps for most of us living in the south is overcast and 50-60 degrees.  Yankees, in general, prefer 30-40 degrees but that would require most Houstonians to don parkas and it's difficult to get up to pace dressed as the Michelin man.  We don't get those PR conditions very often.

This race has been on my calendar for months.  I was really sick and tired of seeing my 5K PR date of May 2009 to the right of my screen every time I logged a workout on BT.   February seemed like the perfect time.  The weather looked good but on my way to the race I noticed the temperature at 7:00am was 76 degrees.  No bueno.  I also neglected to check out the course which, as it turns out, is not an easy/flat straightaway but a hilly out and back.  I'm glad I didn't know that part ahead of time as I know it would have given me doubts.

After telling my run coach I was going for my PR she signed up for the race to pace me.  This turned out perfect since Ken had a Duathlon the same day.  It was nice to have somebody there just for me.  Adrienne has been my coach for a few months now and I can't say enough about her.  I can be hard on people whose job it is to tell me what to do.  I chose Adrienne because of her sports psychology background.  I know there is no physical reason I am not going faster, it is what's between my ears that is holding me back.  We can only do what we believe we are capable of.

To be honest I think Adrienne was more nervous before the race than I was.  I knew she wanted this for me just as much as I wanted this.  I was my usual chatty self at the start line but once we started I was focused.  The mantra that immediately came to me was 'I can do this, this is my pace' repeated over and over in my head.   Knowing we were going to start at my targeted pace of 10:35 scared me but I trusted Adrienne.  I put my race in her hands.  I wore my Garmin 910XT so I would have my heart rate data but I didn't want to check my pace at any time.  At one point I did look at my watch and realized it was still set to bike mode which is probably best.  I had my HR information but no idea what my pace was.

The middle was the worst, we were going uphill and the doubts and those damn demons popped in my head 'you have a half marathon in a month' 'what makes you think you can do an Ironman?' I was surprised how dark it could get in such a short race.  When I got back to my mantra the anxiety and fear went away.

As we ran Adrienne fed me cues.  She told me where my line of vision should be, told me we were right on pace, I looked good and even at one point when we came upon a very overdressed guy wearing huge old school headphones told me "You're going to beat him."  The best cue she gave me was when we were approaching a hill, she got right in front of me and told me to focus on her back.  I felt my heartrate scream and wanted to walk so bad but I just kept focusing on her back and before I knew it we were cresting the hill.  This is a trick I will definitely use in the future.  I remember her saying ".3 to go" and then "2 more minutes" there was another cue after that I don't remember but I pushed with what I had left and was happy with my 32:19 time.  The goal I had given Adrienne was 10:35 and I ran 10:23.

We walked and talked after the race.  I told her when the fear creeps in it's like those dark 'bad' ghost demons from the movie Ghost who come to take the bad guys.  It is dark, they know your secrets and your fears and are just waiting for you to be vulnerable and eat you up.  At times I feel like I have to actually swat them away.  They are the voices of the people who told me I couldn't, who preyed on me when I was vulnerable who stole my innocence and a piece of my sole.
I've spent my adult life filling that hole, parenting myself and loving that little girl back to whole.
She will be with me when I cross that line.  She will be an Ironman.