Saturday, December 22, 2007

First Track Race

Got it over with...the first track race in 2 years! Once again, the people in Boston prove to be some amazing track competitors and spectators.

I had such mixed feelings about this race. The race, wasn't a big one. We didn't change our training for it, we didn't focus on it. It was just short of being a workout. I can not minimize, however, the importance of this one little race to me.

My last time on the track came in the winter of 06. I had been training in Flagstaff at the High Altitude Training Center for 6 months. I completely changed my training to focus on my weak points, strength. I ran so many long intervals (A typical week would be Tues mile repeats with 1 minute rest, Wed 10x 1 min treadmill hills at 15% incline with equal rest, Thursday 3 sets of circuits with 400s and 600s, Sat track workout like 10x400 @mile race pace with 2min rest, Sun 10 mile marathon pace run). I am a good soldier and did absolutely everything that was prescribed, but when the time came to race I was racing the slowest I had in over 6 years.

What a weird feeling to give up so much, to put so much time and energy and soul into something; to find out that it was a BIG WASTE OF TIME. And time is not something that I feel like I have a lot of in this sport. I just turned 36! You listen to some of the broadcasts or read some of the message boards and you would think that I would be scooting around the track with a walker and oxygen tank. I don't believe this...heck, I keep hearing rumors that Geb is really 40...didn't he just break the wr in the marathon?

This race today was about coming over self doubt. It was the last stage in my full recovery from Flagstaff...I am healthy. I can workout harder and faster than ever, and I can race and enjoy it. I didn't run super fast(4:34 & 2:05); but it was so exhilarating to be out on the oval, knocking elbows. I felt like myself again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just take a day off...

Self sabotage. Most runners are victims of it, at least most runners I know.

I was doing a long run with a good friend a couple of weeks ago. I knew something was off because normally she would hammer me through 90 minutes at a hellish pace and then go on to run another 30-45 minutes, but this particular day she could barely keep up. She was off...some kind of flu or when we came around our 90 minute loop I said she should stop. No NO NO. Must go on another 30 minutes. She preceded to get sicker until finally she was forced to take a couple of days of nothing and then, poof, she was better.

It's so easy to see this madness in someone else. You see the desire to be better, to go harder, to push the body beyond it's capacity for recovery...and the body rebels....and the person takes 2 weeks to recover rather than 1 day.

I'm not innocent of this crime. Just last Friday my coach stopped me mid workout because I was clearly sick. I couldn't even cool down, yet I kept asking, "can I do the workout tomorrow?" "No". And of course what did I end up doing, I ran a 20 minutes tempo run set on max speed on my treadmill.

Maybe we runners like pushing the body to the edge. Maybe we want to punish ourselves for our failures. Maybe we're just plain nuts. In the end, we must remember that we will always be better off day to day when we listen to what the body is screaming at us.