Sunday, November 28, 2010

Slow. Very.

I saw a shirt at the half marathon expo last week that said, 'Race Strategy, Start Slow, Then Back Off'. I thought, aha! I can relate. So despite all of the years of training, I'm just not fast. Even when I was training right on schedule and doing speedwork, the best I came up with was 8 minute miles and really my usual pace was 8:30-9 minute miles. I have a lot of fast friends but me, not so much. Those of you that know me from growing up, you probably remember me as a tennis player, not a runner, swimmer or cyclist. That's probably the best I've been in a sport but darnit, I'm just not into tennis anymore so I've rationalized my lack of talent by saying that as long as my paycheck doesn't depend on how fast I am or how high up in a race I place, I'm NOT worrying about it. Have fun, meet new people, see new things and take it all for what it is, a release of stress. The day I get overly concerned about it, it fails to be a stress release and becomes a source of stress which kind of defeats the purpose, no? Don't get me wrong, I can be competitive as a person, just not for running or triathlon. If I stay injury free, meet some cool people along the way and give it the best I've got that day, I'm a happy girl for my races! So sorry to disappoint you if you were thinking this was going to be the blog of a super athlete putting in a million miles at a 6:00 minute per mile pace. I'm SO not your girl if that's what you need to be motivated by and read.

Training. So I was building up my miles for the half marathon and completely got sidetracked with a trip to Malaysia for a few weeks, 12 hour time zone difference and hectic schedule so I must say I didn't get a good training base before the race. Over the training cycle I had just a few long runs - I jumped from 6 miles to 9 miles to 10 to 13 - I know right? My knee was tweaked no doubt because I didn't complete the cycle properly but I went for it anyway. So over the last few months, my weekly runs have averaged 4-6 miles per run with a weekend long run anywhere from 9-13 but again, not consistent at all. I missed a few weekends, missed a few weekday runs, just a mess really. My plan now is to follow a 3 month pre-IM training routine and then enter the 'formal' ironman training 9 months out. Rather than follow pacing for runs, I'm going to try to follow my heart rate zones no matter what the pace. I've tried this in the past but have always gotten frustrated by how slow I have to go to 'stay within my zone' but I'm really going to try to stick it out this time. I've got a forerunner 405cx so I've been using that to track everything, including my heart rate. I've really figured out over the last week that I'm pushing my HR every run, no matter what the distance is so I'm going to also use these 3 months to get my mind wrapped around HR training and give up my dependency on a certain pace that I have to maintain. I'd like to get a good base going following my HR and then right before the 9 month cycle maybe get my VO2max tested to really hone in on the right zones as I enter the new training.

Back to work everyone, tomorrow on my lunch time, I'm going to get my training swimming pool all settled so I can get my pasty butt back in some chlorine.

A quick catch up on training the last week:

Sunday - 9 miles
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 2 miles
Thursday - 13 miles
Friday - 3 miles
Saturday - 45 minutes on Computrainer (just as trainer, still can't get it to function with my computer...)
Sunday - 5 miles

Thanks to my friends for following and the comments here and on FB, I love having the support and added accountability of knowing that people are reading and checking on me. Please feel free to share the blog with anyone you think might be interested - the more the merrier!

A bit of history

Where to begin? I started running in my late 20s in St. Louis. I worked for the Y in Brentwood MO and had a guy that was in his 70s and a hardcore runner (herb) that would hassle me everyday - "How can you call yourself a Trainer and you don't run?".  Finally, I decided to put an end to Herb's daily, um, encouragement, and I started  walk/running, then running. It was painful, I definitely didn't like it all that much but I stuck with it and eventually looked forward to it. Over the next several years, I went from 5ks -> 10ks -> half marathons -> marathons. I have a group of awesome endurance athlete friends that I met online back in 2001 and we'd meet up at races and start to influence each other with crazy races and ideas (love you guys) and next thing I knew we were all starting to catch the triathlon bug. We all met up and did a century ride (100 miles) in IL and I started doing triathlon in 2003. I followed a similar path to running - sprint-> olympic -> half ironman. In 2005 I was training for a full ironman (Wisconsin) when I had a bad bike crash on a training ride - grade II concussion, tons of road rash and later found out I partially tore my quadricep. I still have a divot in my upper left quadricep to mark the scene of the crime. That ended ironman training in 2005. It was the first race that I've signed up for and didn't make the start line and thus has been a thorn in my side ever since.

Over the last few years, I met my husband, had a mini me daughter (now almost 4 yrs old) and lived in 3 different states finally landing here in Atlanta late 2009. Needless to say, my training has been, well yeah, sporadic to put it nicely. I started resuming my running routine in 2009 coaching for Team in Training TN and doing a few races before moving to Atlanta. I travel Internationally on business usually once a quarter for 2.5-4 weeks at a time so it's been interesting to try and get my training runs in per the schedule. Our company CEO, Jean-Yves talks about what our company Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is as we're still a very entrepreneurial, small operation. I guess this is my BHAG for my personal life, Ironman Arizona 2011.

When I started talking about this with my friend Paige who was signing up too (she kept getting kicked out of the registration and didn't make it before it sold out in 20 minutes...) and Brad (husband), I really thought about whether this would be feasible given my currently low endurance base, travel and work schedule, desire to maintain a healthy family life and everything else. I know plenty of people that have crazy schedules like mine (and worse) and make it work. It's a matter of time management and how bad do I want it? Like enough to get up and workout at 3 or 4 am or stay up late working out to get in? I think so, we'll find out right?

I hope you'll comment, chime in, interact with me on here frequently. I hope to keep it an interesting read covering some of my training and life tribulations. Believe me, there will be a lot since I haven't been training on 2 of the 3 race disciplines in a couple of years so it should be an adventure to get my swim and bike endurance back up in time. I've got a year to make it happen. I just want to finish Ironman under the 17 hour cut off, that's all I ask, pretty please? Thanks for reading and following along!