Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting my ambition back... and my next race

I know.

I know.

I know.

I've been a real bad blogger lately. (Yet somehow I eeked out 2,200 hits in September.)

There are many reasons for this: Work has been insane. My home computer is on the fritz. I'm trying to get outside as much as I can before the long winter sets in. And, well, I've kind of been addicted to this tv show (which I finally finished)...

(Warning: Long, ramble-y, probably pointless post ahead.)

Anyways, I've got a race report on the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon coming after I write this (though I'll probably space them out to autopost). I also have a doozy of a cycling playlist to share. But a brief Facebook conversation with an MIT friend inspired this post which I wanted to get done first.

My running hit an understandable lull during and after the move. The fact of the matter was, running was not going well even before I took the new job. In Ohio I was in a rut but my running buddies kept me moving. I left them to come to New York, and without a group or a race to train for I didn't look forward to running. It felt like a chore. Plus I was getting slower, not faster. Not encouraging.

I knew I was burned out but I've never been very good at resting. So I did what any clinically insane person endurance athlete would do and set my sights on a half ironman. You know, because a sprint tri would be too easy logical.

So for about three months now (has it really been that long?) I've hardly been running at all. I've been on the spin bike. I've been biking. I've been swimming. I've been working on my strength. I've been stashing my pennies away so I can buy a road bike in the spring (what does it say about me that that's a bigger priority than a computer?).

In three months of very little running (occasionally I'd toss in a 3 or 4 miler) here's what I've been able to accomplish:

  • I can do 30+ pushups in one shot. When I first started focusing on my strength, I could barely do 8.
  • I can hold a plank for three minutes (I'm no Kimberly Bouldin). When I started getting back to core work I was up to maybe a minute.
  • I can do 200 squats in one shot on the BOSU with 5 lb weights. I remember struggling with 50 before.
  • I'm up to 20 smith rows, again in one shot. I think 8 was my limit before.
  • I completed a century bike ride with killer hills. Before moving here my distance PR on the bike was 40 miles all on a flat.
  • In general, I kill it on the hills on the bike, where I used to struggle with the slightest incline.
  • My trainer said my balance has improved substantially.
  • I can now do three lengths nonstop in the pool, and I'm totaling just over a half mile in the pool for each workout. I know on the surface that's not impressive, but when I moved here I didn't even know how to breathe correctly
  • I'm becoming a much better spin instructor. The bikes at Rochester Athletic Club have computers so I'm using RPMs in my teaching and learning so much. 
  • I'm learning how to teach a new class, total body sculpt. It's your basic, full body lifting class, and I'm learning lots as I slowly get my routine together.

I'm working with a trainer who's helping out tremendously, and I credit him with all the improvements to my strength. The strength has helped my speed. I've also been trying to eat cleanly and cut most processed foods out of my diet (some days are better than others).

Going into the du, I had the biking down pat. A few hills, no problem! I  was nervous for the running. I had practiced on and off the bike to get ready for the transitions. My garmin is on the fritz (some days it works, some days it doesn't) so I haven't had much sense of my pace.

A week ago Sunday, I surprised myself big time.

Before my little hiatus from running, I was running at about a 11-12 pace. At the du, I was consistently doing sub-10 minute miles! My 3 2-mile splits were: 19:17, 18:43, 17:58 (sub 9!!!!)

Two work friends just did the Chicago Marathon. At work, inspired by them and still reeling from my du, I decide, "I think I'll run tonight."

I found myself super-excited about it. The same way I used to get so excited for every run. All the time. I went for three miles, the 10:40 pace felt easy. It was a wonderful night.

Friends, I have my running mojo back :)

So time for the next challenge: Fleet Feet Dirt Cheap Stage Race, Nov. 11, Mendon Ponds State Park.

11 miles. Time to ramp up the weekend distances in a hurry.

I'm mega excited.

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