Friday, September 5, 2014

Goals, Goals, Goals!

Well, it is almost the 9th month of 2014 and I haven't blogged. The thought of reading back to 2008 just makes me cringe so I am just going to start here and not look back.

Once an ambassador for all things Madison, there's no need. We just got written up in two national media outlets this week for how great we are. Need I say more?

I was thinking to myself as I was cruising down John Nolen today that this summer has been so fantastic. The best summer ever. And then I reminded myself that since I moved to Madison, I have thought that to myself every single summer. There is magic in Madison.

And I really lucked out because when I met Tim, he introduced me to a whole new scene. I always had my running routine but he was able to show me that I am good at running and I had no clue. So now I am surrounded by college runners. In fact, I am the only one without the collegiate career.

Tim and I talked and he said he could ask a friend to coach me. Five weeks into my official training for a fall half and all I want to do is prove myself. And Tim has paced me the last two workouts.

Now, to a person who has no clue about training, a workout is a hard effort run, compared to all of our other runs. And then you have long runs on top of that and many other runs and cross training. And there is a ton of vocabulary I have learned since meeting Tim. So I am just going to assume you know what all of that means. Especially since I now spend half of my day on like Tim. And when I use his I-pad and start to type a web address in, no matter what I start to type, letsrun just starts auto populating....

And then you learn that if you place 2nd female of 2nd place in your age group, you don't even care any more. You want to PR, improve, grow, get faster, better, lighter... feel free.

Tim hooked me up with Pat, high school track and cross country coach. Tim said Pat could train me to make me faster. Could Tim make me faster? Yes. Could about a dozen of our friends? Absolutely. But how about a coach who I wouldn't have to argue with or have pace me. So Pat agreed and the next thing you know, I felt like I was journaling to him about my athletic abilities.

I never knew I had these. My family never let me on to this. My folks never encouraged athletics. And I feel lucky because Tim knew without ever pointing it out or pushing it.

So Pat gave me close to twenty questions about running and then it all sort of came out. Why/when/how much/ PRs, etc.

When I told him my running goals, Pat pointed out that I could do much better than I thought. I had already run 6:57s in a 5K (I have learned to hate 5Ks - too short!). One thing non-runners don't know about any race - even a 200 or 400 - which is .25 mile is that you still need to run a good 6-7 miles to warm up and cool down. Running 3.1 miles doesn't mean just jumping into a race. The same with a 1500. You warm up for 2-3 miles, race, and cool down. There's  a TON of stretching and warming up involved. Any pro marathoner will warm up for a mile or so before a race. Racing means racing.

So my 5K PR is around 20:30 and that just happened. And I want to get down to 18 at some point. And you know what? I will.

And then, Pat gave me workout for week one and I did it and now I'm into week five.

The first workout was 5 x 800s at interval pace (faster than race pace, so 6:40s) and 4 x 200 at race pace. I worked hard that morning and felt like garbage after. Turns out, all college runners feel that way after a workout. I left work early, starving, and with a stomach ache. Tim advised me to drink a coke and eat potato chips. I hadn't drank a coke in years....

Week two, I was down to 105 pounds. I am only 5'4 and very petite, so that's not so bad, but Pat had warned me about losing too much weight. My workout that week was to do a 5K race, which includes accelerations and of course a warm up and cool down. When all was said and done, I think I was 6th woman overall and the girl who won was about 12..... (no boobs...) Something happens when you have a bad race. Actually, a lot of things can happen. For me, I died. And that's what happens. Start too fast. Die!

When I am on a run, I am someone who will not let anyone pass me except for a few very fast guys in town. And I have to know them. In a race, it depends on my mentality. But I know who to watch and who to pace me for the most part. And boobless 12 year old girl wasn't one of them.

My 3rd week was a twenty minute tempo (7:20 pace) I had Tim pace me. I realized at some point in my training that it takes 3 miles to warm up and feel good. I always run before work, so we were close to 3 miles when I realized if this workout was going to happen, we needed to get going. We got going and about 5 minutes in, I thought about death as I always do. We had to do an out and back and as we turned and headed back, I settled in and started to feel absolutely amazing. "Slow Down" Tim told me. I thought to myself, "Holy shit! I just started to feel great and he's telling me I'm faster than tempo pace." Oh well. And on we went. We hit a small hill which suddenly felt like a large mountain in the Alps and I slowed down, but all in all, the tempo workout was fantastic. When I sent my stats to Coach, he told me it was "Perfect."

"Nobody ever told me anything I have done is perfect before," I told Tim. And Tim is so proud. And that's just awesome. That we have so much of the same interests is awesome. We're a small community.

And the fact that this community "gets it" is an understatement. I tell them what I have to do. And I come back from a workout and I have texts asking how it went. It's so crucial to the whole training. And it means soooo much to me. I have friends who get it. And know the lingo.

Week four included 4 x 5 minutes at interval pace. (6:48 mile pace) with 5 minute jogs. I had Tim pace me again. So we wake up and it's the most humid day of the summer - no joke. But who cares. I am not one for excuses. Ever. So out we go and if it's slower, oh well! Even when we ran past the construction workers who could have fallen on our heads, I didn't have the "I hope they fall on us and I die" thought that most runners have during a workout. Shalane made me stronger. And all of you runner friends made me stronger. "I'm getting this workout done because Pat wrote if for me," I think to myself.

So onto week five....

Eleven miles before work. Sure! Off I go. Group run with the Movin' Shoes Race team the next day? Why not? I'm already about over my mileage but now we're racing again this Saturday. Why?

So I am onto my next thing.

I have goals through 2016 which will hopefully all work out. Some races are great and others are not. But I am consistently doing the unplanned fartlek when seeing someone ahead who I can pass and it turns out I have a competitive streak I never knew about.

Masters, here I come..... (afterall, I have a ton of gray hair)....