Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to the Basics

When I first started running seriously a year and a half ago, I did so with the intention of getting myself triathlon ready.  I enjoy running so much because it has enhanced my life and will forever be a five day a week activity for me not only because of the health benefits but also because it keeps me sane. I do have to  admit that I also think I love running simply because I have semi-irrational fears and I am lazy. OK, so I know how ridiculous this sounds considering I ran a marathon but stick with me here...

Running is simple; buy some running shoes that work, put them on and put one foot in front of the other.

Cycling and swimming? Not quite as simple, in my mind at least.

If I want to go out for a ride there are so many steps involved (this is where lazy comes into play). First of all I have to have a functioning bike and if you know me, I like to fix my bike myself which often involves duct tape and butter knives, rather than multi-tools and grip tape. Also, I have to have the proper shoes, helmet, bike shorts, a good bike jersey, spare tube, riding gloves, bike pump, camel back and coordination. I have a fear of riding on the road so I have to have a car that will carry my bike to a trail. AND because I have the best pup in the world, who very much loves field trips, it helps to have a bike trailer (which I have successfully procured).

Hopefully, you can see where I am going with this...

If I want to go for a good swim I need a pool or lake, swimming suit, goggles, swim cap, towel and a workout in mind. This also involves a drive to a gym or lake and because safety is important I prefer going with a buddy or when a life guard is on duty. Oh and did I mention a wet-suit is a must for open water swims? OK, so not a must but because I like the buoyancy and the warmth I think they are the way to go!

I love the idea of multi-sport events but I am not a fan  of all of the coordination. I sometimes wonder if my lack of success with multi-sport training was in part due to my inability to have all of the correct pieces in the right place at the right time. I have successfully completed a number of sprint triathlons but feel as though I have the capacity for more.

Well, because I made a commitment to myself I believe it is now time to take the leap and get back to a little multi-sporting (not sure that is a word but it works) this winter and see how it goes. I was able to train for a 50 mile ride AND a marathon this past year so I think it is time to give it a tri (go ahead, roll your eyes)!!!

So, this is just building on my goals from last week. I am going to become a faster runner, run the Chicago Marathon and find a triathlon for the summer! Think I can do it? I do...

I am now taking triathlon suggestions. If you know of any good (cheap) events in the midwest in June, let me know!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Setting New Goals!

I had many people send me comments regarding my post last week. Thank you for your thoughts and comments!!! I want to let you all know that although I talked about failure last week I was not saying that I am a failure; I was simply acknowledging that I am not going to achieve a goal I set for myself. Although I find the positive in everything I can tell you that failing to achieve my mileage goal for November and December is a huge bummer! On the other hand I actually am happy that I recognized my limitations due to a nagging injury that seems to be pretty close to healed; I am also happy because I feel like I have been brought back to the basics regarding why I fell in love with running in the first place.

Running provides me an outlet to relax and unwind. It reminds me to live my life in a carefree, youthful way. Some people have told me that I have become obsessed with running and I prefer to call it a passion (thank you Chris for that one). The reality is that if something allows you to enjoy your life more thoroughly you should embrace it!

I am extremely glad that I was introduced to the quote I used last week because it is so true. In life we fail at things. We fail at our jobs, our running goals, we simply fail; we have to fail to learn to appreciate what we have. There is nothing wrong with failure as long as we try again!

Rather than wallow in my failure I am going to set some new running goals for myself! I am not setting any mileage goals because I need to focus on my body, instead I am setting some time goals for myself. First I am going to try and run with the 12 minute pace group at MIT this year. Today I ran with the 12 minute pacers at the Holiday Run in Westerville and it felt great! Why not try it out and see what happens? Second, I am going to start doing some speed work with one of my MIT buddies on Wednesday nights. I ran one of my fastest sustained five mile runs this week and I figure I should capitalize on the momentum. Third, I am going to shoot for a sub 11:30 5k pace at all of my future 5k races, unless of course I am sharing the joy of running with a new running friend who simply wants to cross the finish line. Come run with me!

Because running makes me feel like a little kid I figured I'd post a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Forever Young'. Who knew Swell Season covered this goodie:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

I have been focusing on running for about a year and a half. Pre-running days I was a 'triathlete' who didn't ever really run except for the few weeks leading up to the triathlon and I always somehow managed to finish. I always knew, as a triathlete, that at some point I would get a flat tire on the course, hurt myself on the run or get in over my head during a difficult swim. I did triathlons for years with no incident until 2010. I was participating in the south shore sprint triathlon in Chicago with my sister and a couple of other friends. I was on track for having quite possibly the best event of my life and I blew a flat tire. I did not have the equipment on the course to change my tire so had to helplessly wait for the SAG vehicle to pick me up and then stand at the finish line watching my friends successfully complete the race.

Since I have been running (which you all know is my favorite sport) I have set many goals for myself and have achieved them all. My first goal was to finish a half marathon last year, then PR a 5k, a 10k on a trail, another half marathon and then the full marathon. I asked my friends to encourage me to continue running after the marathon, what I didn't know was that I was not going to need their encouragement. I fell in love with the sport and can not imagine my life without it, or can I?

Because I do best with some type of goal in mind and there were not any events that I was particularly excited about post marathon (with the exception of the Buckeye Classic and the Columbus Turkey Trot) I instead set my sights on a distance goal for November and December. I was simply tying myself over until I start training for my next marathon. I boldly started telling people I was going to run 250 miles during these two months. It seemed attainable at the time. I had just watched my friend finish his first marathon and the excitement around that event reminded me that an average of 4 miles a day (or more accurately 35 miles a week) is a piece of cake!

Well my piece of cake isn't tasting so good right now. I was struggling with getting the mileage needed to attain this goal. I am not sure if my body was simply not ready for the pre-marathon mileage again or if I was just psyching myself out. In November I ran 100 miles and peaked at 27 miles a week. This was NEVER going to allow me to achieve my goal. This week I have only run 13 miles (hopefully this will change today) due to the strangest ankle problem that pops up about once a year. I have no clue what this problem is, what causes it or how to treat it except by resting. I am learning again what life is like without running and I can tell you it is not fun!

So what an I am saying? For the first time since I started really running I am not going to achieve a goal that I set for myself. I am simply going to fail. I am grappling for reasons why, so much so that I have been blaming it on mercury retrograde, the change in the weather, etc. The reality is we all fail sometimes, I am simply proud of the fact that I tried! I need to remember the quote someone once shared with me: "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." -Samuel Beckett

Yes I had to go there, I just can't help myself. Rather than posting a picture or a song about failure I am going to leave you with a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing":