Year in Review: 2017

Like most people I write out my goals around January 1st every year and check in on them periodically.  When we moved in June, I misplaced my journal that had my goals written down, and I didn’t review them for the balance of the year.

It was fun to look over them today and see where I came in.  Many of them were ingrained in me before 2017 even started and it felt so gratifying to mentally check them off the list as the months went on.

Below were my goals for 2017 and the results –

  1. Marathon PR:  SMASHED IT!
    A Goal: 3:30, B Goal: BQ (anything under 3:35:00), C Goal: Just PR
    Result:  Marathon PR in May 3:48:00, & major PR w/ BQ in December @ 3:24:52
  2. 1/2 Marathon PR: SMASHED IT!
    A Goal: Sub 1:40, B Goal: Sub 1:50
    Result: March 4th 1:43:25, July 4th 1:38:58, October 15th 1:37:45
  3. OR Coast 30K: Failed 
    Goal: Top 3 Female
    Result: Big DNS – I prioritized CIM over this race and transferred my bib
  4. 5K PR: Semi hit this goal
    Goal: Sub 22:00 5k
    Result: I didn’t run a 5K but I did hit an unofficial PR in the last 5K of my October half marathon, coming in at 21:54.  I know I have a fast 5K in me, I just need to sign up for one and blow the initial goal out of the water!
  5. Make crossing training a priority:  Semi Smashed it
    Goal: Strength work, core, and Yoga
    Result: I made core a priority and did a lot of yoga in the first half of the year.  The second half of the year I seemed to have slacked in yoga….
  6. No Days Off:  Failed it
    Goal: Dedicate at least 5 minutes a day to stretching, cross training, running, or PT
    Result: This was not realistic.  I did run, yoga, or core 6 days a week but I relished in my rest day.

Bonus highlights of 2017:  Working with Territory Run Co. to form the Monthly Sunrise Group & moving so close to Discovery Park.  In 2018, I would like to take advantage of the Disco trails at least once a week during easy days or for cross training.

Overall, a successful year and I am looking forward to cleaning up 2018 by adding more strength training and yoga as well as sprinkling in some shorter, fast races as fitness tests throughout the year.

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CIM Race Recap

There is so much to say about the race but ultimately the best indicator of how my day would go began with the start line as I lined up feeling calm, confident, grateful, focused, and ready to fight if needed.

The plan was to focus on a 3:25 finish time for the first 20 miles, with hope I would have enough energy in the last 5-10K to pickup a couple extra minutes at the end & close with a negative split.  This is the same closing strategy as my recent half marathon and current training.  If that were to happen, we were aiming for a time of 3:20-3:23 as the A goal.

Day before the race: (I get this part is always boring to read but for my own documentation it’s here… feel free to skip ahead)

I woke up at 7:45AM, was dressed and out the door by 8:00AM to do a short 15 minute shakeout run, followed by 4 light strides.  I looped the capitol, ran through the neighborhoods, back down L street, and strided through the park.  The weather was a balmy 40, cloudy, with golden wisps of leaves fluttering around me.

Right after I came back from the run, Tim and I took off to grab breakfast at Cafeteria 15.  It was mediocre at best but the place is huge so grabbing a table was easy and they served a stack of pancakes – just what I was craving!

From breakfast we headed straight to the expo, picked up my race bib, swung by the Oiselle booth to say hi to Brenda and Dr. Lesko, and then jumped straight into my checklist of errands… 1) Pick up race day breakfast from co-op 2) Stop by Temple Coffee Roasters & 3) figure out lunch…

Lunch was amazing!!!  We ended up at this cute and semi-hippie-dippy deli –  Thrive (I think?).  I ordered a grilled almond butter, strawberry, banana, coconut sandwich (all the carbs!!!), and by 2:00 we were back at the hotel to rest and nail down the race outfit + focus on last minute meditations.

That evening we picked the easiest option possible for dinner —> Staying at the hotel and partaking in their race buffet.  It was surprisingly perfect and filled with unlimited sweet potatoes, pasta with vegan marinara, steamed veggies, and lots of garlic bread!

Knowing I would have to get up at 3:45AM and be on a bus at 5:00AM, I went to bed super early and turned the lights out around 8:15PM.  I don’t know how, but I miraculously fell asleep around 9:30PM.

Race Day:

My alarm went off and I felt wide awake, excited, & ready!!  I ate my overnight oats, drank a coffee, a glass of nuun and read a letter that Jess had written me for race morning.  I felt balanced and prepared!!

CIM is a point-to-point race that starts in Folsom and ends at the Capitol. I, along with many others, headed down at 4:50AM to take a shuttle from the hotel to the start line.  I didn’t have my phone with me and the bus was dark, so I just played through different scenarios in my head of how the day could go, focused on the positives, and tried to relax for the 45 minute drive.

I hopped off the bus at 6:00, stood in the bathroom line a million times (because I honestly just wanted something to do & didn’t want to think about the miles that were ahead), and then was in my coral by 6:45AM.

I kept waiting for nerves to set in but I just felt excited. I reminded myself to take it all in, savor it, enjoy it, work hard, and have fun!!

The trumpet player from Cake played the national anthem and then we were off and running!

I had a pace plan that was broken up into 5 segments, however, we knew that the course rolled and I would generally have to go off of effort.

Miles 1-10: Goal 7:45 – 7:50
Mile splits:  7:38, 7:44, 7:41, 7:48, 7:46, 7:42, 7:48, 7:48, 7:53, 7:39.

The first mile is downhill and it took everything in me to hold back and focus on patience.  I tried to stay present in these 10 miles, appreciate the energy around me, what we were accomplishing together, and let my pace be determined by effort.  I knew the hills would keep rolling for the first 16-20 miles and I didn’t want to burn through my energy too quickly.

I started taking fluids in early at mile 3, took a gel at mile 5.5 along with more water, nuun at mile 8, and then water again at mile 10.

Miles 11-15: Goal 7:45’s
Mile Splits:  7:42, 7:41, 7:40, 7:33, 7:49

I took another gel at mile 11 and alternated between water and nuun every two miles after this.  I felt relaxed and happy.  On the uphill I would take my time, appreciate the change in muscles being used & allow myself to use the downhill as a recovery… a recovery with faster paces but not exerting myself too much.  My initial instinct was to go faster but knew that could sacrifice the back half of the race.

I saw Tim at 13.5 and Sally Oiselle and Sarah Lesko at 13.6 (Hello, fastest mile of the race)!  I was having so much fun and hitting my goal splits with relative ease – ease only because those paces have been drilled into me these last two months & there was still a lot of race left.

Miles 16-20: Goal 7:40-7:45’s
Mile Splits: 7:44, 7:42, 7:42, 7:46, 7:45

It was sunny from the start of the race, and the temperatures started to pickup around mile 16 (42 at the start of the race, 50’s in the middle, and 58 at the end).  I threw my gloves away around mile 16.  At mile 17 I pulled off my arm warmers and planned on tossing them to Tim at mile 20.  Mile 18 I took another gel and a tums (side cramp).

As with the earlier miles, I continued to feel great, energetic, positive, and focused.  I saw Tim 20.5 and just like before, Lesko and Sally were a few feet after that!!

 

 

I ran through the fake brick wall at mile 21, smiled, and thought “Pain isn’t a wall its a door” (Thanks Meg Murray!!)…  I knew I had the BQ in the bag but wanted to have a solid strong finish and grind it out.

That’s also when my legs started to feel the 20 miles of rolling hills… I had loved the feeling of UP and the DOWN – switch between effort and ease!!  Obviously, it should come as no surprise to anyone but myself that my legs did not love the flat that followed…

Miles 21-23: Goal 7:40
Mile Splits: 7:44, 7:45, 8:01

I had expected the last 10K to be my fastest.  I would be close to the finish, and using different muscle groups, however, my quads were lacking their drive and I felt pretty toasty.  Although I was in a really good place mentally and nutritionally, I had a hard time turning my legs any faster.  I decided to just push as hard as I could, run as fast as possible, and not give up.

…pain is a door, not a wall.  You have felt this tired on training runs, don’t stop… Grind it out.

Miles 24-26.2: Goal – MOVE, no regrets, leave it all out there
Mile Splits:  8:03, 8;12, 8:03, 2:31 (7:50 pace)

On the flight to Sacramento I listened to a podcast with Deena Kastor.  Deena said something along the lines of…”We do not train for the perfect day or the perfect race, we train so that we know what to do when it gets hard…  When it is no longer easy, is when a race defines you.  You either give up or dig and give it your all… ”

Throughout the race I kept thinking, “What will define me?”  knowing it would get hard and things may not go exactly to the plan.  Over the last seven years, my race mantra use to be “This is what you came for…” On Sunday, that changed to, “This is what you TRAINED for.”

The last three point two miles, I didn’t look at my watch, I just pushed as hard as I possibly could, literally gritting my teeth as I moved.  I took in every single moment, every step, and savored it… The leaves, the sunshine, the crowd with their overwhelming voices, the love and energy from Oiselle’s cowbell corner, running down a brand new street, and just appreciating the months that led to this moment.  I felt unstoppable and while these were my slowest miles, my effort continued to increase.

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I ran across the finish line with my arms lifted, a HUGE smile on my face, and a finish of 3:24:52… I PRed by 23 minutes and 8 seconds and BQed with a buffer of 10 minutes and 8 seconds!

The day went as perfect as it possibly could have, and I while I can think of things I could have done better, I have zero regrets and know I laid it all out there.

Finish Time:  3:24:52 / 7:50 per mile

Race Details

Mantras:  Be Brave, Dig Deep, Get Ugly.  This is what you trained for.  I can, I am, I will.

Unspoken mantras (is that a thing): Meditating on the love and support I felt and thought about as I ran those 26.2 miles – I am so grateful to have such an incredible husband, coach, team, friends, & especially for Jess and her genuine support, advice, shared miles, & kindness.  I could not have done this on my own.

A year ago I was injured, in May I missed my goal by quite a hefty margin, and on Sunday I not only had a redemptive race but one filled with so much gratitude.

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Race week: Reflection & Delayed Recap

I am now 5 days away from my goal race and I feel calm.  Surprisingly calm. When the doubt starts to creep in I tell myself, “You’re ready, you’ve trained for this!  This is your party, your celebration dance! Your performance is almost here.  Enjoy it!”

Growing up I played piano. Correction, I looked at the sheet music, felt an incredible amount of musical dyslexia, and would clumsily tap through the song hoping I had started on the right notes. I hated practicing. Despised it. It was my daily reminder of not being good enough.  Of course I know now that I needed to invest time to get better, but as a child I would put in the minimal amount of time, and skip whenever possible.

Needless to say, recitals made me feel sick, crippling so. I hated showcasing my ability, or lack thereof, to an audience of people. The little skill I did have was usually crammed into the week leading up to my recital. Performance day would show up, like a guest that is expected but not welcome. I would sit on my parents bed, holding my stomach in pain and beg them to let me stay home. Without fail my parents would bargain with me and promise a slice of pie as my reward if I could sit on the bench and fight my way through my piece. Apparently that’s enough incentive for a sugar deprived kid to willingly battle with their performance anxiety, because it worked everytime.

The recitals were moments where I had to show my world what I had worked on (or more so didn’t) and a time where I felt stunted, observing how everyone else had grown and excelled since the prior show.  It wasn’t just performance anxiety I dealt with, it was comparison syndrome too.

All of this to say, I had expected to feel severe anxiety, maybe even nausea over my upcoming race, but I am just excited & confident. I have practiced and I have put in the work. The miles & workouts leading up to my day are all part of my success story.

I believe it will be a good day, and if my race results falls short of my expectations, that’s OK too. I have invested everything into this training cycle without considering shortcuts, and I will do the same on race day.

I wrote the below to my coach after my October “workout/fitness test” half marathon. I reread it this morning as a confidence booster, reminding myself that I am capable of doing hard things, and more importantly to trust the process, plan, and my abilities! In the spirit of race week, I thought I would share my half recap here too.

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October 15, 2017

Lake Snohomish River Run.

1/2 Marathon

The week leading up to race day, Tim had been fighting a cold and it started to hit me on Thursday evening. Friday and Saturday I took SO much vitamin C via cold pressed juice, supplements, and way too much OJ. I was a little worried I would have tummy issues when Sunday came around from all the acidity, but it was worth the risk and I managed to clear out the congestion the morning of the race. In retrospect, I think this helped calm down my nerves – I knew I would put in my best effort on that day, no matter what happened but if the day didn’t go as planned, that it wouldn’t reflect my actual fitness (maybe just my health?). Regardless, I can’t choose if I am feeling 100% on marathon day, so it is good to know what I can push through if needed.

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Warm up: I arrived early and ran a 1.75 mile warm up, ending slowly on a hill in the last quarter mile that gained 125ft (oopsy). I opted to skip the strides since my legs felt a little worked from the hill – Which was good because gear check took forever so I ended up sprinting to the start line with 3 minutes to spare.

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Miles 1-5 – GOAL 7:30-7:35: I went out a little fast, cruising 7:14 the first 1/2 mile, and then reigned it back, forcing myself to slow down. Splits came in at 7:25, 7:34, 7:34, 7:30, 7:29. These all felt comfortably hard – But more so mentally. I kept wanting to go faster but told myself I would pass other people in the second half… Oiselle Sally and another friend were running right ahead of me but close to 7:20’s and part of me wanted to just run with them, while the other part of me knew I needed to execute my own plan.

I wised up and quickly let the notion go, focused on my music, and decided to keep trusting the plan, running my own race, and I held back knowing it was early.

I took in fluids at mile 4 and ate a spring energy gel from miles 4-5. From here I would grab a cup every 3ish miles and take a sip of water or swish nuun.

Miles 6-10, goal 7:25-7:30: At mile 6 you hit the bottom of the hill and run through a graveled parking lot for 1/2 a mile. The footing is tricky and really uncomfortable in racing flats (lol) – I thought this would slow me down, but it shook out just fine and I hit a 7:28 followed by 7:27, 7:21, 7:27 (took in my second gel here), 7:23.

I FELT AMAZING in these miles – Much of this time was spent alone but that was fine. There was a little headwind, but nothing notable. I had expected to feel the slight uphill and be discouraged or at the very least feel like I was working harder during this time; instead I felt warmed up, strong, and in control of the paces. The Oiselle cowbell corner was at mile 10.5 and I knew I wanted to look strong running past that, which helped keep my pace and form in check for the balance of these miles.

Miles 11-13.1, goal Sub 7:20: “Just wring out the rag” kept going through my head – you wrote this on a race plan for Eugene, and I wasn’t able to execute it then, but wanted to yesterday!!

With only 3ish miles left I knew I could grind out some speedy miles… After I received the race plan on Monday, I have been thinking that it would be amazing to drop a sub 7 mile as my last mile. I wasnt sure if that could happen BUT THEN IT DID!

7:05, 7:15, 6:58 and 6:33 – These miles felt hard and like I was pushing but I knew I could grind it out to the finish. I had a tiny side stitch during mile 12 but focused on changing my breathing and ran through it.

I was passing people left and right and still feeling strong and happy… bonus, no one passed me during this time!! I never hit a wall or thought WHERE IS THE FINISH – I focused on the task at hand.

Results: GARMIN 13.28 – 1:37:46 / 7:22 mile… ACTUAL RACE Results 1:37:46 / 7:28 mile & 3rd AG placement Women 30-34

Looking through Strava, EVERYONE’s results came in long, which makes me feel better about how I ran the tagents but a little bummed that maybe the course was too long and that I could have picked up 45 seconds to a minute had it been shorter. Oh well, next time.

Key Takeaways: WOW, I am still baffled that I pulled out a fast (for me) 5k finish at the end of a half marathon and on the uphill portions… WTF? Does this mean I should have pushed harder before that point or is that the confidence and mental state I want to be in at the end of a race? I gotta say, it felt good to trust the plan and gradually work more and more into the race… It felt awesome to run so strong in the last 3 miles too.

I know I cant be upset about the course length – that happens all the time, and in hindsight, I would rather it be long than short. I didn’t dwell on it during the race even though it was a noticeable difference from mile 3 on, I just kept moving and focusing on getting to the finish.

Fueling: Other races I have only taken “bites” of my gels and consumed 1/3-1/2 of a packet vs. this race I took in the whole gel over the course of a mile.

Mental state: The cowbell corner and mantras kept me moving and feeling really good. Fortune favors the brave, I can/I am/I will, and wring out the rag.

Training life hack: On my long runs I have been trying to feel good at the end and not just stop abruptly after my last mile. In some runs (mostly because I have ran too far with a friend) I have ran a tiny bit further than the plan or had to walk a little ways back to my car. I think this has helped with mental endurance for the tiny bit of distance that will come after 26 miles or 13 miles… I have also tried to run my last mile of speed workouts as my fastest mile – getting use to the feeling of running fast on tired legs and knowing I can do it even if it is hard.

Core: This was the first race in a long time I didn’t feel like my form was falling apart or I was bending over in the last few miles! CORE WORKS and it is worth allocating time to do it!

Progress is worth the Process

Progress is worth the process is a notion I have been focusing on lately.  A few factors in my day-to-day life feel mismatched & uncertain right now, but the constant mental refresher has been training & running.

Without divulging to much, my role at work is being elimanted companywide, with the last day announced as 1/15/18. Yet there are still other factors at play, (partially out of my control) in me staying or finding something new.   Needless to say, this pushes me into a daily spiral of maybes and seeps into my sleep at night… I am basically living in a nonconclusive yet swaying timetable.

My thoughts seem to break and the dull buzz of uncertainty subsides when I run and dive into things within my control.  Workouts have been key to feeling level and my upcoming race, now within arms reach, haunts me with wanting the outcome I know I am capable of.

As I watch parts of my life change and transition, the progress I have made in my training has helped me to feel empowered, strong, and still full of purpose.

Focusing on the next 18 days, I am choosing to dial into confidence & trust.  Confident that my career will be decided by what I want out of it and trusting my body to pull me to a very courageous and epic finish.

Stats of 249.2 miles last month, 65 miles two weeks ago, 49 miles for “taper” LW, strong race results in workouts, and lots of ah-ha moments of growth all will lead me to a moment that is so close!

18 days away… Trust. Trust. Trust .

 

Oh, I have a blog?

I am so very bad at blogging, so long story short, I’m running a lot.  Well, running/sleeping/eatting and declining almost every invite to go out on a Friday night but I LOVE IT!

I am 5ish weeks out from CIM and grinding out high mileage weeks like a champ – no complaining and just getting in the work!  I am thriving on checking off the (almost daily) run, nailing or learning from my workouts, and seeing progress and PRs like crazy.

I’ll update with actual detail this weekend but for now, here are two photos from a recent half marathon where I not only gutted out a sub 22 minute 5k & dropped sub 7 miles at the end of the race but I PRed by over a minute!

Now to stay injury free and keep putting in the work!

It’s like a birthday without a party

I had an incredible training cycle; going from injured and barely able to walk pain-free to running a marathon and picking up multiple PR’s along the way.  I know results show that I should be happy with my day, and maybe I just need to dwell in the positives, but right now the wounds still feel a little raw.  I am still processing everything as I write this, so please bare with me.

I was so close, until I wasn’t, and then I started seeing my goal slowly slip away.  I’m filled with both heartache and pride as I tally up the elements that created my race day.  I feel so much gratitude by the support I received from my coach, Tim, friends, family, and even the volunteers, but my obvious regret is that I just couldn’t execute the second half of the plan.

I set an ambitious goal, I reached for the stars, and I missed. That sentence makes it seem pretty simple, but processing it feels complicated.  What I do know is that I am not done with the marathon. I will run another one this year. This time stronger, wiser, with a better base, and again the same goal.  SO, here is my story.

Short version:

Goal was 3:30-3:32… Result was 3:48:00.  A 52minute Marathon PR with a really solid training cycle and both a 10 mile and ½ marathon PR from races within this cycle.

Long version:

I slept well, nutrition leading up to race week was on point, and I arrived at the start line race morning feeling calm and focused. I had my gel intake written on my hand, and my mile split goal written on my forearm. I was confident in my plan and felt strong knowing I had put in so much work.

I had run the race in my head all week – if my stomach acted up, I planned to take a ginger chew and pull back for 10-30 seconds. Should I have a side stitch, I would change my breathing pattern and focus on the word “Calm.” If my tendonitis acted up, I was going to think about how good my other leg felt and just keep pushing… I knew that countless things could go wrong in a marathon, but I felt prepared to combat them all and keep moving. I accepted that I would be uncomfortable or in pain for three and half hours and that was OK.

Race weather seemed perfect at the start – Low 40’s, partially cloudy, with a light breeze. I typically run really well in cool weather, and if given a choice I would have personally selected this temperature.

We left the house at 6:15am, parked, met with the Oiselle ladies for a team photo, checked my bag,  quick bathroom stop, and suddenly I was in my corral at 6:57am.  Alexis Pappas started the race off (OMG!!!!) and we were off.

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Miles 1-5: 7:55, 8:03, 8:05, 8:06, & 7:58

Sure it’s the beginning of the race, but I felt contained and in control. Running was easy, breathing wasn’t labored, I was holding back my pace and trying to stay within the 8:00-8:10 goal that Becki gave me — I felt like I kept my emotions in check as I stayed focused and calm.

Mile 6-7: 8:02, 7:56

At mile 6 I was hit with a pretty bad foot cramp, super unexpected… I splayed and wiggled my toes around for the next mile trying to work the cramp out and not lose my focus. (I am pretty sure this bunched my socks up weird… Remember that for mile 16). I ran by the first Oiselle Cowbell corner and gave Krysta a thumbs up… Overjoyed, this is what I worked for.  Just had to keep moving for less than 3 hours.

Miles 8-10: 7:59, 8:04, 8:07 – TOTAL TIME 1-10 was 1:20:10 – right on goal

Miles 8 and 9 I kept telling myself to keep it controlled.  I knew I would need to pick it up even more in the following miles… it didn’t take long though for my day to transition from normal to WTF…

Shortly after mile 10 my whole body was covered in goosebumps. I was freezing, which is weird. This has only happened to me a couple times at the end of a race, and usually it is if I am working too hard or dehydrated.  I started to panic, and then thought, “nope, just work the problem, work the problem, don’t freak out just keep moving.”  My electrolyte intake seemed fine; I was taking a sip of water at just about every water stop, taking ½ a gel every 4 miles, and swishing and spitting Gatorade. I couldn’t pin point the issue.

Miles 11-13: 8:02, 8:09, 8:06

I was supposed to run these miles at an 8:00ish pace, but I pulled back, as each hard effort made me break into chills, and I couldn’t combat that mentally.  I had prepared myself to push through physical pain but I didn’t prepare for what felt like my body shutting down.  A little doubt started creeping in but I knew if I could maintain an 8ish pace and recover, I could still hit my goal. Hell, there was a lot of race left and I wasn’t going to let go. I ran past Tim at mile 13 and gave him a “so-so” hand signal and kept going.

Miles 14-16: 8:27, 8:58, 8:53

Confusion set in. My goal was within sight but I didn’t have much wiggle room. Checking in with my body nothing felt injured, it just felt heavy and I didn’t feel “good”… I started noticing pain on my toe, which later turned into a giant blister (feels like I’m walking on bubblewrap), and I could not increase my pace.

Miles 17-20: 9:21, 9:04, 8:51, 9:10

This is where it gets ugly. I realized shortly after mile 16 that a BQ was not happening… The 3:35 pace group passed, and I immediately felt disheartened but I wasn’t giving up – My short-term goal was now to get to mile 18 and see Krysta + Tim.

I ran past Krysta and Tim, gave a thumbs down and kept going… Krysta jumped in and started running with me giving me the best pep talk that absolutely broke my heart. “What’s wrong? It is all in your head! You look great, just keep moving!! Are you eating? What do you need? You are running a marathon and not even breaking a sweat! Run! Keep FUCKING MOVING!! There is still time!” I tried to respond, without crying and said something along the lines of, missing the goal, feeling ok but my body was so cold, and I just couldn’t turn my legs over… and then Krysta gave my back a firm push and said, “GO!”

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Mile 21-23: 9:38, 9:31, 9:24

Somewhere along mile 21 the 3:45 pace group passed me — humbling — but I kept pushing forward. That’s when the interval running started, once again humbling. Run a few minutes, then walk 10 seconds through the water station, give myself a pep talk, and repeat. At mile 22 I saw Krysta and Tim again and immediately Krysta fell into stride with me.

She said what I kept thinking but couldn’t execute, “You can do anything for 20 minutes, its just 20 more minutes.” I made some sarcastic remark, and she rebutted with, “You are about to finish on Hayward Fucking Field, where Olympians run. The BQ doesn’t matter, you are doing great, you look great, just keep going.”

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Miles 24-26.2: 9:39, 10:05, 9:22, 8:34

Nothing new or profound to say here, I just focused on the end being in sight. New goal was just to finish and try to keep everything in perspective. To appreciate what my body could do, and be grateful for everything I learned along the way.

I ran onto Hayward Field, I picked up my pace as much as I could, I crossed the finish line in exactly 3:48:00, found Tim, and then immediately started crying.

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I know it is a huge PR (52 minutes!), I recognize that I battled demons on the course, and ultimately came out stronger, but it still wasn’t the result I trained for and it doesn’t feel like the right reflection of the who I am. I thought I would cross in 3:3X:XX and anything short of that feels underwhelming.

It felt like a milestone birthday, but without the party. Expectations were set, work was put in, the invites went out, but the piñata was never bashed.

Eugene didn’t give me the outcome I wanted, and that is okay. I have a come a long way, and there is so much potential left to tap into – That should be exciting instead of damning. If I can PR 52 minutes while starting the training cycle injured, what will I accomplish next time?

I read a quote by George Eliot last night, and this is how I want to reflect on my goal going forward.

It is never too late to be what you might have been – George Eliot

And so it goes… Race goals!

A lot has happened since my last update.  I was broken physically and feeling raw and depressed emotionally.  As months passed, my body began to heal, and miles started building back up.  Though our country is still in an uncertain state, I try to allocate my energy into something positive and goal orientated, which eventually pulls me back to a familiar sense of comfort and stability.

Fast forward, it is now race week… Not just race week but goal marathon race week.  I feel jittery and excited, nervous but confident!  I feel exactly how I should.

Cutting directly to the goal, it’s a progressive race plan broken up in 5 parts and aiming for a finish around 3:30 but upto 3:32 –

  • Miles 1-10: 8:00-8:10
  • Miles 11-15: 8:00ish
  • Miles 16-20: 7:55-8:05
  • Miles 21-23: Sub 8:00
  • Miles 24-26.2: Ring it out and empty the tank!

This will be hard, but more importantly it is achievable! I feel confident in nailing that plan, and I accept it is only attainable if I put myself in a place of discomfort for a few hours.

Reflecting on the last five months, my training brought me strength, both physically and mentally; running through rain, strong winds, through a new job transition, as I travelled, crushing old PR’s, knocking out a 22 mile long run, and even a grueling 3 mile route that consisted of nothing but parking lot loops.

As I visualize that finish line and focus on the goal I never imagined would be attainable, I continue to focus on why this is so important.  It is more than just a PR or a BQ.  It represents shedding off my former self; comfort, conceit and entitlement.  It is my testimony that dedication is worth the sacrifice, that discomfort brings reward, and let’s be honest, that the body is pretty fucking incredible.

So here is to the transformation that running and training bring.  Here is to the shadow of being broken and the light of being rebuilt.  Here is to 526 miles filled with both ease and speed, to trusting my training, going all in, and starting the race as one person but finishing as another.

Race day mantra(s): Worth the pain, no regrets, you deserve to be here.

Finish it.