Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Thought on Race Goals and Chattajack!

Thanks for the supportive comments on my last post. It's hard enough to completely miss your goals when no one knows them. It's way harder when you have to break the news to people you respect and who were cheering for you!

Hanna's comment in particular got me thinking. She brought up that maybe the pressure of this race impacted how it went. My last two 5k PRs were both unexpected and I hadn't advertised much confidence in myself beforehand. In fact, I kept my pie-in-the-sky goal private for Sup & Run and I didn't have major goals for Howl.

But I built up Sanibel.

Hanna's comment made me reflect on A1A this year. I ran that full without telling anyone but a few select people. I wanted to remove the pressure of race day by just treating the race like a solid long run and it really worked - I redeemed myself and nabbed my hard-earned PR!
Still the best feeling ever!
(Last night I was rereading my BDR and A1A recaps to help me remember how BDR fueled me for A1A. Disaster races can be really good in the long run. You know, there are times I'm really glad I have a blog.)

Of course, a marathon is different. There's a little less pressure in the sense that finishing at all is a huge accomplishment, and I wasn't ever planning to gut out super-fast miles, either. But I should probably apply what I learned about that race - which is that if I just let myself have some quiet determination and don't make race day a big deal on the blog (the lead-up, the goals, etc.) then I'm able to have a more successful race - to all my races. I'm able to just race it without any outside noise creeping in.
That's not to say that support isn't appreciated! But I wonder if my mind buckles under the pressure.

I also think that I have such a history with Sanibel now, having run it five times, that I need to pick a different 10k when I'm ready to try for a PR again. Even though I love the course and the atmosphere, there's just too much baggage to run it with confidence and freedom.

I hope I can remember all this as my next few races come up this winter. (More on those later.)
I feel way better after taking Sunday and Monday off and enjoying a nice run Tuesday. I gave Elizabeth my full attention as I listened to her race experience. It's clear she enjoyed it and she's excited to run a half; her competitive nature came out and she had fun picking people off as she ran. But she still doesn't "get" why people spend money on races (totally understandable) and she didn't feel totally "life changed!" by finishing because, in her words, it was "only 6 miles". She's become a jaded racer and she's only run one race!
I love this pre-race picture of us! We always take post-run photos so this is the first time you get to see us looking cute and excited beforehand!
In other news, Chattajack is this weekend! Remember last year when Matt paddled ~32 miles in Chattanooga? Well, it's time for him to repeat his performance!

He's switched up his board class this year and has trained using a totally different method and plan than last time; he's really gunning to make it to the podium.
That's Matt leading the pack, obviously.
So, needless to say really, I won't be around the blog much this week because we'll be traveling. But when I get back I'll make sure to post a recap of his race, like last year! (Hopefully this year's recap doesn't include a busted board or any other obstacles on our way up to Tennessee!) In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram to see how things are going and follow Matt on race day.

Do you think vocalizing your goals helps, hinders, or doesn't impact your performance?
Do you have any baggage surrounding certain races?
Wish Matt good luck this weekend!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sanibel Race for FISH 10k 2016

If you read my weekly recap on Sunday, you already know how this story ends. I missed my time goals - all of them - and just didn't have a good race. I'm definitely disappointed, but it's been especially hard to swallow because I don't know what went wrong.

From the moment I woke up, I just didn't feel...right. I wasn't excited. I felt a little nauseated - the kind where you know you have to eat something to settle your stomach - and just not great. Low energy. No adrenaline. Just...blah.
This was my fifth year running this race and for some reason I just wasn't as excited as usual!
I was excited for Elizabeth, of course! She met us at the house at 6:20 and we drove together to the race in Sanibel. We used the bathrooms and got in line and then...ran.
This drone photo of the race, courtesy of SanCap Aerial Photography, shows that it was a little smaller than in past years.
By the first mile marker, I already knew it wasn't going to be my day. I couldn't find a groove; my legs didn't hurt and my breathing was alright but something felt off.

At mile three I paused for water and let Elizabeth go ahead of me. By that point I knew I was well off track of my goals, and I wanted to salvage the race and just finish it, but I really couldn't even dig for a negative split. I just kept fading.

This recap is kind of awful because I can't think of what to say! There was no reason for my lethargy. I had a good dinner. I slept well. I had a good breakfast (UCAN, some coffee, and a Gu). The weather was a lovely 74 degrees and not too humid. It should have been a perfect day to PR, but my body and mind were just not there.
In retrospect, these splits are ugly but they're not as bad as they could've been.
At the finish line, I saw Elizabeth at the end cheering and I waved; Matt was recording me. The finish was ugly; the woman behind me started to overtake me and cut in pretty close, and I stepped on her heel by accident. It seems like a little thing, but usually I can at least sprint my finish and finish strong. It was like the epitome of the whole race: awkward and uncomfortable and out of character.
But I caught her eventually.
The highlights came after the race finished. Elizabeth told me a woman had approached her at the finish and asked, "Are you Elizabeth? I recognize you from Ali's blog!" (She found us again later and I got to meet my first real-life fan, which was so cool! She told me I'd inspired her and that she had gone back and read old entries, etc. Even though my race was bad, this really put things into perspective and made me feel much better, so thank you, Esther! Also - congrats on placing first in your AG!)
Us with Esther and her friend Jenn!
She did it!!!!
Another woman came up to me and told me, "I don't usually like tattoos, but yours is so positive and motivating!" Last year at Sanibel an older gentleman complimented my tattoo, too, now that I think of it.

Elizabeth had a wonderful finish time and ran a strong, steady race. I am absolutely thrilled about that; I really wish I could've been with her at the end but I know our training together helped her get there and I feel lucky to have played a small part in her success.
Matt was able to get a picture of Elizabeth's finish! Super strong!
Matt earned himself a PR - he ran "easy" because Chattajack is coming up and still managed to place 4th. Sean finally nabbed a spot on the podium this year after a few years of trying, coming in 2nd in his age group.
Our division - there were only 29 this year. My adjusted time was 1:03:57. The race was definitely smaller than last year!
Sean and Matt's finishing times.
So really, there were some major highlights for the day. Still, I went home feeling let down. After a nap, everything sank in and I cried a little because I just felt so disappointed that my body didn't perform the way I wanted it to. This was a harder pill to swallow than BDR because I really can't pinpoint what went wrong, and anytime you finish a marathon it's worth celebrating. It's hard to say the same for a 10k.
But I'm glad I ran it, and I feel really lucky that I have running friends to turn to who understand my disappointment and know just to what to say to make me feel better!
Today, I'm reflecting on the fact that this race was a huge improvement from my last couple 10ks. I've taken about 5 minutes off my recent times, which shows that my improvement is measurable even if it's not as drastic as I was hoping for. I'm pleased with my progress. I know that I have it in me to have run this race better, but it is what it is. It wasn't my day.

I know I'll continue to get faster if I keep working, and this single race doesn't define my journey. I'm not ready to find a redemption race, but I am motivated to keep chipping away at my times and improving my paces.

And I know, of course, that I'll run it again next year. For some reason I just love this stupid race!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Weekly Workouts 10/10-10/16

Monday: Because I took Sunday off to give my legs extra rest, I didn't feel bad about squeezing a run in on an "off" day. The weather finally broke - it was 72 in the morning - so I went out for four miles in the evening.
Funny story: while paused at a stoplight, I heard my name. Elizabeth was driving by! So funny!
I started out much too fast and really paid the price for it. I need to remember to moderate my pace better on training runs!

Tuesday: It's been awhile since Elizabeth and I worked out at school! I put together a little circuit using some moves I've seen on Instagram and it turned out to be a really solid full-body workout.
Wednesday: Our last run before the Sanibel 10k! My goal was to take it very easy, even if that meant walking...which it did. We did 4 miles at about 10:16 pace, not including two times we walked a bit and I paused to stretch my right calf. (One of my walk breaks was because I had a weird stomach-cramp and thought I might need an emergency bathroom stop! Yuck!)
lol...there's a bug right in the middle of my forehead!
I actually felt really good and solid after this run, and the next day my legs felt excellent!

Thursday: Rest! I did some downward dog and planks, but nothing that would count as a workout.

Friday: Rest - race day tomorrow!

Saturday: The Sanibel Race for FISH 10k! I'd been looking forward to this race, but it just didn't go my way. I missed all my time goals. More on that later this week.
The highlight of the day, of course, was that Elizabeth enjoyed the race and did really well! I don't know if she's hooked on racing yet, but she's agreed to run a half with me in January!

Sunday: Rest and recovery.