Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Official Results

After experiencing technical difficulties, the race results are in.

I placed 22nd in the 40-44 age group, out of 211 women. I'm very happy with that. That's the highest (I think) I've ever placed in the 5k!

21st and 20th were only 1 and 2 seconds ahead of me. Next year, I'm shooting to be in the top 15 because the times were all so close.

So, there ya go!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

5k, 5 miles, and a highly deserved PR

These pictures are in no particular order cuz I'm being lazy.


The morning started off great. I got up at 5am to get my own breakfast, feed dogs, visualize, and relax.

I was planning on making blueberry pancakes for everyone (Mike, Justin, and Thista) cuz I'm nice like that.

Who's running?

5k: Everyone (except Jordan who had a basketball game after the race).

5k + 5 miler: Only the Nuckin' Futs around here: that would be me.

Breakfast was alot of fun. Everyone talking over everyone. Justin is official photograher, just so you know. It seemed like everyone was really excited to run this race.

Until.....I got lost.

Yep....a race that I have run so many times that I've lost count, and I got completely lost....took a wrong turn, then another. Called Mike who was laughing
because he saw me heading the wrong direction.

Oy Vey....

My sense of direction lately.

We get to the race about 35-40 minutes early. We get primo parking.

In the parking lot, we (Justin and I) decide to get everyone warmed up with super cool dance moves, strange chicken-like-dance-high knee moves.

A good time was had by all.

With 7 minutes until start, we decide that it
would be appropriate to head to the start.

(That was Justin's idea. He's a smart one. I probably would have stayed in the parking lot dancing all day.)

(Oh....that's me in black. Justin in the white t-shirt, Mike in Blue and my Thista---who I made feel VERY tall indeed----see below).

I say my sad goodbyes and head up to my pace sign.
I stare at the start sign and keep repeating
"run hard and maintain. run hard and maintain."

I start visualizing the race course. I know where all the mile markers are. I know this race like I know my own backyard.

Just go, I think to myself. Whatever happens happens, but your goal is to feel wiped out at the finish. Whatever time that gives you is ok.

The key is:






We're off and running.

Later on, Justin told me that they saw me take off
like a bat out of hell.

All I knew was that if it was going to hurt, I wanted it over with as soon as possible.

I ran.

I started too fast by about :10 per mile, but I didn't slow down.

No guts no glory.

It's only 3.1 miles.

But, 3.1 miles feels really far when you're going really hard.

When I got to the second mile, I felt myself start to fade.


I yelled out loud. The woman next to me yells back, "I AM."

The last half a mile was a blur as I sprinted as hard as I could to the finish.

I nailed the time. I hit the EXACT time that I wanted to hit.

It was a :42 second PR.....FOR THE 5K! That's freaking huge!

When I finished, I almost tumbled over, forgot to stop my garmin, so I didn't get my "real" time. But I knew that it would be huge.

I head out to get water, banana, and bagel. As soon as I got to the water station, I felt my legs tighten up. I was thinking "The 5mile is going to be tough."

I knew I had about 25 minutes before Mike would be finishing, so I walked around stretching out my legs and hydrating.

Then, I head over to the finish. Mike finished in roughly 47 minutes. Thista and Justin finished in 58:49.

Even though I PR'd, I think the best part was cheering everyone else in to the finish.

I met them at the end of the corral, told them where to get some snacks and then said, "I gotta get ready for my next race".

Mike and Justin needed to head home to get Jordan to his game.

Thista hung around for the post race party to watch me finish.

My inital strategy for the 5 mile race was "Grin and Bear it" cuz man I was getting sore. I considered doing a walk run. I kept bouncing around, stretching, doing what I could to stay warm.

I focused on the start sign. Immediately, I knew I was going to go for it again.

Mike yells at me "You can do 8 miles in your sleep! Go for it!"

Easy for someone else to say. Harder to pull off.

Somehow, I managed to get pushed toward the front. I tried to make my way backward, but the road was packed.


We're running.

Holy Shi-take mushrooms! We are RUNNING. I am SO not ready for this.

I find a woman who I think looks how I think I probably look from behind (aka: big a$$). I decide to follow her. She holds the most perfect pace the entire time. One that is hard on my legs; not hard from a heartrate position, but one that means I might very well PR again.

My butt is burning. No lie. I push the pain to the back of my thoughts. I just focus on her white shirt and bounding butt.

For a short while, we start to yo-yo. I get the feeling she didn't like that very much. C'est la vie. You no like? Then pass me.

Which is what she did.

With .75 miles left, I know that I can start to sprint. At this point, I am no longer thinking about the discomfort in my legs. I am only thinking about catching that woman. The one that did not stop for water at the last water station and put me behind about 20-30 meters.

AT .5 miles left, I knew I could take her. I was right behind her when I made my move. I relaxed for a second when I realized that she pulled right up next to me.

I said to her, "So, it's gonna be like that huh?"

"Yep" she said.

I went faster. At .25 miles left, I ran faster than I thought possible given my 5k PR a hour earlier.

I asked her ""how old are you?"


"Learn from your elders" I said, and I took off. I was flying.

I crossed the finish line and I couldn't believe it. I came within a minute of another PR.


I saw Thista at the last second on the right hand side.

Her eyes were wide....I'm sure I looked like....well, someone running a 100m dash not a 5 mile fun run.

I grabbed my 2nd reusable shopping bag, water, two bananas, and I said, "We gotta get to the basketball game"

I think it took a little while for me to realize that the last time I pr'd in the 5k was over 6 years ago.

A race that I have never been able to run successfully until today. And, I'm telling ya, I feel it now.

In car on the way home, I drank my Odwalla chocolate protein shake....my favorite post race drink, and I felt good.

Damn good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Run hard and maintain

This weekend, I'm racing. Two races. On Sunday at 8am, I'm running a 5k. At 9:15am, I'm running a 5 miler.

This race has alot of meaning to me.

It's the first race I ever ran. It's in Denver. Everytime I pull up, it brings back such wonderful memories of each year I've run the race; working and playing in Denver when I was younger and singler. I've made friends there and met others---who I didn't even know were runners. The after race party is a blast.

Did I mention the 5 mile race is the largest in the nation? The race is so big that any time I go out shopping, I'm sure to see someone in previous years' race shirts.


For me, the 5k is a different animal altogether.

I'm not bashful about admitting that the 5k is not my best race. In fact, let's just say that it's not even in my top 10.

Run hard and maintain

I have struggled with going all out. I guess I was afraid of the pain. The burning legs, the heart pounding, the hard breathing....I have never gone all out at a 5k.

This year, I am. I came up with my mantra while I was doing speedwork.

Run hard and maintain

I have not trained to run a 5k. I am training for a half marathon. But I figured that my speedwork and tempo runs will help me post a good time. Plus, I've been really pushing myself in the speedwork to stay focused. As we all know, short distances require alot of intense focus.

Speaking of time, I don't have a time goal for this race. My goal is that, when I cross the finish line, I want to feel as though I could not have held that pace for another minute. I want to feel like I gave everything I had. Hopefully, that will also show up in the form of a PR, but it's not a big deal if it doesn't. It just means that I have more work to do in the 5k.

After crossing the finish line, I'll get ready for my 5 mile cooldown. Keep your fingers crossed, the weather is looking questionable for Sunday. But, I'm going all out no matter what.

Run hard and maintain

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stroke of Brillance

I could run 9 miles on the treadmill today.


I could....

put on layers.....

load up the pack......

and hit the snow!
I say that as though I really have an option. The reality is that as soon as I pulled out the snowshoes, Brinks started running around, squealing like a piggie and doing his howl/growl thing that German Shepherds do when they are crazy excited and think they can talk.
That's probably obvious from the fact that I couldn't even get him out of the picture.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You get what you give

It's no secret that I have put alot more me into my training this year. I could tell you that I completely changed my training. The fact is that I completely changed my mental game.

I know "mental toughness" has almost become a cliche. I hear people throw it around when dealing with paper cuts.

The fact is that MT is the single most important part of training for ANY distance.

Over the past couple of months, I looked back over my entire racing history. I wasn't happy with what I saw. So, I sat down and took a mental skills assessment.

The assessment results didn't surprise me. What surprised me is how I wanted so badly to become a better athlete; yet, I never put anytime into training my mind. Would you like me to share the results?

1.) I would lose Focus during training sessions during races.
2.) I never clearly define realistic goals.

For four months, I have been working on improving those two aspects.

#2 sounds easy, right? Setting goals is easy; sticking with a plan that gets you to your goal is harder. My goal was to improve my speed for the half marathon and half iron. I've been tempted to sway from those goals, but I've stayed the path. I'm very happy with that. For the first time in my life, and I've been running for 26 years, I feel like I am making progress toward my goals. And, I'm not just jumping randomly from race to race. Each race, each day of training has its purpose toward my goal.

You'd be surprised at how that changed my outlook, every.single.day that I train.

I am improving all around. I'm months away from my first PR attempt, but I know I will do it. That I owe to my first goal:

Improving focus seemed overwhelming at first. Focus on each little piece of training; focus during a race; focus on nutrition; focus on time management. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.

I opted to choose to teach myself to focus during training....to be 100% training when it's time to train. Do not allow outside distractions; focus on training.

Something amazing happened: It worked.

I have found that I can push myself harder than I have in the past. I do recovery workouts as recovery workouts because I'm no longer worried about having to make up for a poor speed day. I used to be afraid of going hard because the workouts always seem to be impossible. I would always fall short. But, when I'm not distracted and focus only on the workout, those harder workouts are no longer impossible. Challenging but not impossible. I found the same to be true for my recovery days. Recovery days are for recovering. Because I go easy and stay focused on going easy, I see improvements in my harder days. I used to get roped into paces, or times, or all kinds of things that were taking my mind off the task at hand.

Afterall, this is about ME and my improvements.


In the past, I've given y'all a whole lotta lip service when it comes to how I approach training, but it wasn't intentional.

I guess I didn't realize how lost I was. I know it might not seem like it. I mean, really, how did I manage to run for 26 years without focus? There's a difference between just running and truly wanting to get better and being honest about your own weaknesses. That's where I was. I wanted to get better; I wanted you all to think I was training hard, but really I was just training....just going through the motions.

There's another piece that I had to learn: being happy with what I've accomplished and how I've gotten better.

I guess this is a long winded way to say...not a whole lot.

But I feel successful. I know I have gained alot in perspective. I get downright giddy when I know I'm doing things that I haven't done before.

Probably the best part of learning how to focus is that it's made me a better person at home too. Because when I'm training, I'm training. When I'm home hanging out and talking to Mike and the boys, I'm home doing just that. I'm not thinking about my training that day. I'm not stressing about the workout the next day.

Eliminating distractions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I can't believe it

My research is done.


No more writing. No more digging through online journals. No more trying to find that damn page number.

I can clean off my desk. I can put away sticky notes and highlighters and the mangled spiral notebooks.

I woke up this morning. It's cloudy and cold and windy.

And it was the most beautiful morning I've ever seen.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I went swimming this morning. There was only one lane available.

And it looked like we had a bunch of champs in the pool.


Of course, I'm not easily distracted by other swimmers anymore. I used to be, when I first started swimming "competitively". Nowadays, I just go about my business.

When I ventured into the world of triathlon, I thought swimming would be the easiest part. I hardly did any training for my first race.

Guess what? Not only did I come in last in my wave, but I also saw the next wave begin to pass me. I'm pretty sure I came in last in the second wave when I posted a 25:25 750m swim.

Go ahead and laugh. That's what this is all about.

I decided to train. I went to the pool, and I watched swimmers. The amazing thing about swimming is that unlike running or cycling, it's very difficult to guess how fast someone is swimming by watching them. At the time, I couldn't tell "good form" from "bad form" and "purists" from "triathletes".

I jumped in the pool. I started "swimming". Splashing, gasping, and moving ridiculously slow. I didn't feel slow--afterall, I could barely breath I was pushing so hard---I didn't feel slow, until I noticed the other swimmers passing me.

I got mad.

I wanted to be fast. So, I tried to race them.

I could never keep up.

But I kept at it.

I didn't like those other swimmers. I could never catch them. I wanted them to think I was fast. I got all the gear.

But, I didn't get any faster.

Still, I kept swimming.

Then an amazing thing happened. As I started focusing more on me and my training instead of what others were doing and possibly thinking, my swimming started to get better.

In the past, when someone would ask me about my swimming, I was always embarrassed. I would make excuses like "I Haven't been in the pool in awhile." or "I'm just base training" or "I coming back from an injury"....anything to justify my slow speed.

Today, I swam long. My first 1000m went very well. During the 2nd one, I noticed my concentration waning, and I slowed down. When I checked my watch, I was disappointed with my time but I also knew that I would do better on Saturday.

When I got out of the pool, the guy next to me asked me a couple of questions and then said, "You're really fast. I couldn't even keep up doing my 25's."

And y'know what I said?

Thank you.