"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Monday, March 19, 2012

Funny how a year can change so much

This last weekend was both a blast and a let down. I headed out to NYC knowing it was my first race back post marathon and not really expecting anything from myself maybe just top 25. It was just a good rust buster to see where I was and what kind of work needed to be done. So thats what I told myself, BUT the little voice in the back of my head was wanting to PR wanting to have a great showing and maybe sneak in top 20. Scott had given me a plan to just hang with a couple girls and feel comfortable. SO no pressure from him at all.

Race morning I felt ok not really nervous just ready to go. The crowd support in NYC is incredible and the start was full of people! It was very exciting. Once we all got lined up it seemed like seconds before the gun went off. At this point I had no idea where the girls I wanted to run with were at. All I knew was holy crap these girls are going out fast. I knew central Park was the toughest part of the course so I was trying to just stay comfortable and not get carried away in the early pace which I thought I would surely pay for later. Mile one came by quick and I was on pace for what I wanted to hit, but I got a little worried. This is never how I race! Usually the first two miles are way too fast and than I settle in. If I was on pace now did that mean I wasn't ready to race? Would I drop far off of pace and run a horrible time? At this point I found myself alone with no girls to run with. There were a few guys I could catch up to but than they would fall off having gone out to fast. I did manage to run a couple miles in Central Park with a girl from BAA and NYAC we kind of just leap frogged each other back and forth until we left the park. During Central Park I tried really hard not to look at my watch. IT's so hilly that splits were all over the place. 5:30 followed by a 5:40's I kept telling myself just keep the effort the same in the park and when you get out of here the race will start and you can really get rolling. This would have been a great idea however once we made the trun out of the park we were dealt with a nasty head wind. I spent most of the next half of the race catching up to guys and trying to use them for a wind block. Sadly the last 7 miles I ran mostly solo into the wind. My paces were ok but I was not making up the time I needed to from the slow hilly miles in the beginning. I knew I wasn't going to PR so I tried to just keep my pace up and at least make it into the low 74's. I do have to admit that once I realized it wasn't my day I wanted to focus on something to avoid putting myself down. At this point I realized I was running through Time square it was so cool! The morning was foggy so it felt like we were in the twilight zone. The rest of the race went by just ok my splits stayed kind of where I wanted them but I did fiish with a 5:35 the last mile and am even happy to say when i saw the sign for 800 to go I was actually able to pick it up and "sprint"! In the last 800 I passed 5 guys. I don't really ever sprint so this was the best thing I can take away from the race, I was strong!

I ended up finishing the race in a 74:19 not bad for a off day on a tough course, but not a great race either. After the race I went for a run with one of the nicest runners I have ever gotten to know Diane Nukuri-Johnson who had a great race finishing 11th. I wasn't really down or upset but as we were talking about our races I think she could tell I was frustrated. All weekend long Diane and her friend from S. Africa Irvette had been so amazingly nice to me but it was what she told me after the race that made me feel better. She told me a story about her and Kim Smith. Just a year or two before she had run a 74 on the same day Kim had blazed to a 67 something. Kim had asked her about her race and told her great job. Diane responded with a are you cray you were 7 minutes ahead of me. Kim reassured her it would get easier and she would get faster. Now fast forward to this year Diane ran a 70:55 pretty damn fast! We talked about how it will get better and faster which put it all into perspective for me. Had I run a 74 last year it would have been good enough to qualify me for the trials and I would have ended the race in tears of joy. Sunday I finished the race in 74 and had small tears of frustration. This race is only my first race back after the marathon, a couple weeks off and a short turn around. There is no need to be upset. My first half last year was 76 than I ran a 73 so I am already ahead of the game my first half was 74. Now I just need to bust my butt and get the season rolling. I'm hoping to jump into a 5k before I head out to Standford for the 10k on the track. I feel like I need a race that is blazing as to not shock me on the pace in the 10k. The 5:20 sure feels a lot different than my 5:50 pace for the marathon!

Some other things were pretty amazing this weekend.
First I have to give it to the NYRR they treat athletes so amazing! Everything they did was really top notch. Even though as I ran through Central Park my mind was thinking I must be crazy to want to run a marathon here and FINISH in this park I actually would LOVE to have the opportunity to go back and tackle the park again!

I also have to let you all know that if you are looking for an American runner to support and cheer for it has to be Janet Cheberon-Bawcom! Number one she is amazingly talented and on a roll. She finished as the second American this weekend, 5th female in a cray fast 69:55!! Pretty amazing! But you should really be behind her because she is simply the sweetest person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her and her husband are just so nice and caring. After she finishes a race like that she still asks me how it went and is supportive. Keep an eye out for her because she is on a roll!

Also its no big deal but I did a run with Kim Smith. :)Friday morning Diane and Irvette were nice enough to take me to Central Park for a run. I had to run longer than they did and when our run was winding down Kim jumped in with us. I was so nervous as the two I had been running with were leaving and I was going to be running with Kim. What would I say? She is a complete and total badass! I was immediatly the little girl who just ran into one of her idols. Luckily Kim is a super personable lady and we just had a normal conversation. It was so cool! For a woman who has no idea why I am lucky enough to be put in these situations I was smiling ear to ear the rest of the day.

I also had a few firsts. I bought a purse from a guys trunk. Figured I should do it since I was in NY :) I walked around and saw a lot of amaing sights in NYC. Saturday being St Patrick's day the city was crazy hopping with the parade just a block from my hotelSo on my run Saturday Central Park was packed! I have to say I have never been chased down by a drunk college kid on my morning run as he yelled "hey baby I love the way you run wait up." I guess only in NYC.

Overall I had a great experience and am so grateful to David Monti, the NYRR, Caroline (my agent) for getting me in the race, Scott for telling me to go as it would be a great experience and Mary Wittenberg for being so supportive of distance runners and our goals! For a girl who just started this journey of running a few years ago I am feeling very blessed!!!

Now off to run......lots of work to do to reach my goals!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's great to be a part of a team!

It's been a while since I've blogged mostly because I haven't felt super excited about what I was accomplishing. Anyone who knows me knows that I am really hard on myself. So this is how the last couple of months have gone........

I came off of the trials on cloud 9, I was so excited for what I had just accomplished, what this meant for what I could do in the future and I was pumped to get back to training. The week following the marathon I was on vacation with the family which was a great way to keep me from jumping the gun and getting back out there too fast. I took the week pretty easy followed by a week of a gradual mileage build up. The legs felt fine I though it was all roses UNTIL.......week three when I jumped back into workouts. My first workout was mile repeats on the track. It was so depressing I threw a nice little temper tantrum that could rival any my kids have ever thrown. My legs felt fine but hitting 5:20 was pushing with ALL I had. All I could think was crap! Before I had started marathon training hitting 5:20 was effortless. I started to feel like I had taken one step forward with the marathon to take three steps back with speed. My mind started to freak out. If I can't hit 5:20 effortlessly anymore how in the he** did I think I was going to hit 33:?? on the track to qualify for the trials. Had I lost my mind? In whose world did running 25 laps around a track even sound good when I was struggling to hit 4 laps?? I'll be honest I love the 10k on the roads, the track well thats a different story. I am so afraid of the track that I was having a hard time just visualizing getting on it.

Needless to say the following five weeks of workouts were not exactly what I would call pretty 800's, 400's, miles, predator runs and long runs all seemed to get in my head. But just like Scott said each week got better, each week got "easier" but i still just couldn't get my head on straight. How could I be in the best shape of my life and still feel like the out of shape girl who was breathing so hard I thought I would die :) Part of my problem also was reading other girls blogs who said they were feeling great and running faster than ever and already racing.

Ok let me get to the point (I ramble a lot don't I) Here is where having a team has helped me. This past weekend I went down to Pueblo to do the Spring Runoff 10 mile which also happend to be the Usatf CO 10 mile champs. Since I am racing in NYC next weekend I wasn't going to use the race as a race but as a workout. Luckily Scott also sent Ali down to do the same. Saturday I did my ten miles with Ali and just got to talk to her about it all. Ali is someone I really look up to. She is an amazing runner and a very bright lady! We talked a lot about how I was feeling and how frustrated I was. When we left the run I felt a lot better. The next morning we had a great workout at the 10 mile. The first five miles were very rough as there was a nasty head wind and nothing to block it as we were running in the open along the river. We worked together very well and stayed together until around 8.5 miles. (Ali has a nasty little kick! I guess thats what you get when you are as speedy as she is.) WE crossed the line first and second in 59 and 59:14 I believe. No the times were not anything to get excited about, but I had just hung in a workout with Ali! I was pretty excited. I had a high mileage week and a pretty good effort given the circumstances.Plus our ADP teammate Adrian came in 3rd for her workout as well! IT was so nice at the awards to see the BRC orange/purple shirts dominating the mens and womens top ten!

The race and talking to Ali was exactly what I needed! Running can be a tricky thing, if you get it in your head that you are doing awful you will probably start doing awful. I'm trying to remember that I hated marathon training in the beginning but by the end I was thriving off of it. So now I hate speed training, but it's early in the season and come summer time I am going to love it! Not to mention the weather is getting nicer which just puts me in a better mood to get out the door and kick some butt!

Next up is the NYC half on March 18th. I am so excited! I've never been to NYC! The field is very loaded so there is no pressure. Just go out, race and see what I've got. I really don't know anything about the course other than that its a new one this year. But anytime you get to go to NYC not to mention toe the line with Kara and Desi it can't be too bad!!!!