Saturday, October 26, 2013

The unexpected PR...

Nothing like a PR to make you want to dust off the blog and tell the world.  :)

PRs are a funny thing.  Sometimes when you really, REALLY want one they are nowhere to be found.  Other times, there you are minding your own business and BOOM, there it is - an effortless PR.  I mean, I am sure there are things that helped out the situation but today wasn't one of those days where I had thoughts of a PR in my head.  ...and isn't that the best way to PR?  No expectations or pressure, you just get it done.

Here is how it went down:

This weekend I have a couple of races on the schedule.  Technically, the events are "races" but I penciled them in more as a way to get in training runs with other people and at locations other than my usual spot, Stone Mountain.  The mileage for both basically lined up with my training plan so there you have it - a supported run with a little SWAG and running buddies.

In the last 24 hours, the weather in Atlanta has gotten a little chilly.  Like 33 degrees at race time chilly.  Luckily the race was small so I could hang out in the car and stay warm until a few minutes before the start.  Even with that, by the time the race started I was sufficiently chilled to the bone.  My hands were ice (it didn't even occur to me to bring gloves) and my legs didn't feel like they were moving at all.  Within the first mile I remember thinking that my legs felt like they were going nowhere and I was convinced I was going slower than my normal pace (which is typically anywhere from 9:15 to 10:00 most days).  I glanced at my pace and it read 8:15.  Weird.  I didn't feel like I was going fast, it just felt comfortable.   A little later, I glanced down again and the lap pace kept going down.  At that point it was surreal but I was going with it.  

In my head I was thinking that I really needed to slow down because this was supposed to be an easy run according to the training plan.  I mentioned the race was small, right?  The thing is as I was going along, I was passing people and no one was passing me (crazy, right?).  Fit people.  Runner types.  This never happens.  I finally passed the last guy in my little cluster and I could see one other guy off in the distance.  From the beginning, I never really saw anyone ahead of him so I was thinking I must be near the front of this thing.  (A place I have NEVER been before and probably never will be again, trust me on this one).  I really couldn't convince myself to slow down to the "easy" run pace on the schedule.  This was too good of a chance for a PR!  (...and that my friends is why using races for training runs can be a bad idea - it is too hard to reel it in if you happen to be having a stellar day...)

At that point, my lap pace was around 8:03 and we were at mile 4.  I really couldn't believe I was hanging onto the pace - it was a decently hilly course too.  Around mile 5, we merged in with the people doing the 5k and I just thought I would try to hang on for 2 more miles.  I kept thinking this train was bound to shut down any minute.

The pace kept going down and I eventually got somewhere around 7:52 min miles which is crazy for me!  We rounded the corner into the last 1/2 mile and I was closing in on the guy in front of me.  We had a couple of hills to go up leading to the finish and that was the first time I really felt like I was ready to stop running.  My Garmin had 50:04 for 6.35 miles - I kept looking at the pace but never glanced at the overall time.  Had I realized I was that close to sub-50 I would have tried to kick it in gear a little more at the end.  Oh well, I am pretty happy with the result today!  My last PR was from 2009 and 52:10 so today was a solid improvement.

After it was over, one of the men I had passed came over and thanked me for pacing him, he said he was just using my pace to help pull him along.  Love that.  I ended up 3rd Overall Female which NEVER happens.  Even in the small races, I do good to grab a 3rd place age group after they pull out the 3 women who won the masters.  Needless to say that was pretty exciting!  The winner received free Chick-fil-a for a year so I clearly need to work on my skills for next year - ha ha!  

Seriously though, today was one of those days where it just felt good from beginning to end and makes me think maybe I haven't been pushing myself enough to get out of that comfort zone and just go for it.  The cold weather definitely helped the pace but am sure a lot of it was me just giving a little more than usual.  Hmmm.   Things to ponder for next time!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ending my triathlon season with a fizzle...

I had grand plans.  I was going to parlay my fitness and preparation from IM Louisville into a 70.3 at Anderson this weekend.  Anderson is actually the USAT Long Course Championships for which I had qualified at Augusta and B2B last year.  One of my goals for B2B was to come in under the qualification time standard and I managed to pull that off so was pretty stoked!  At that time, my A goal for 2013 became the 70.3 at Anderson.  That A goal last right up until IM Louisville came in and relegated Anderson to a B race.

In my mind I thought I would take a week off and ease back into a light schedule and gradually ramp it up to make sure I was ready when race day rolled around in Anderson.  The funny thing is about ten days ago I lost all motivation.  I can't really put my finger on the how or the why.  OK, maybe I can figure out the why (I was tired ...) but that hasn't really stopped me before.  I am the Queen of Powering Through and Sticking to the Plan.  That is my official title.

I had been swimming, biking and running but 10 days ago I hit the wall of de-motivation.

Two weekends ago, I had a great 45 mile charity ride with friends followed by a 10 mile run the next day.  I have been really having a great time in my masters swim group.  I found a fantastic new spin studio that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and yet somehow shortly thereafter I smacked my head on the wall of de-motivation.

Last weekend, I had registered for a century ride on Saturday (I was going to do the 50 miler) and a half marathon on Sunday.  Would you believe I drove one hour across town, checked into the ride, readied my bike and then decided I just didn't want to ride so packed it all up and went home.  Really.  The next day for the 13.1,  I set the alarm extra early to get up and go and when the time came, I set the alarm for a more reasonable hour thinking I would go do the miles on my own and went back to sleep.  I got up later when the alarm went off at the reasonable hour, got dressed, drove to Stone Mountain, ran one mile turned around and walked back to the car.  Really.  Who does this?

I am no expert but am thinking all that added up to someone who needed to take a break.  Part of me wanted to do the Anderson race but a larger part of me could not get enthused about it.  In the end, I figured if I was having that much trouble deciding I must not really want to do the race all that much.  I cancelled my hotel reservation for Anderson and determined to take an easy week this week. My A race became my B race and then became my non-existent race.  ...and just like that I guess my triathlon season has come to an end.  I have plenty of running on tap for the Fall and Winter as I get ready for the Dopey but for now am kicking back, enjoying a little more tennis than usual and maybe baking these fabulous looking treats.  (mmmmm Mini Pumpkin Sticky Buns)  :)