30 days to go!

Um – see that over there?  My countdown is truly on now – my goal race is only 30 days away!  Yikes.  To be honest, I am not feeling as ready as I expected when I signed up (though, does anyone ever feel REALLY ready for a race?).  There are a couple reasons for this:

  • My injury is not fully healed.  There are limits to how much I can train in certain ways.
  • I was rock solid about my training from November to February.  Unfortunately, I was also terrified that I would make my injury worse again or get reinjured.  This really affected my progress – although my endurance got better, and I REALLY enjoyed every workout, my pace did not increase.  I simply wasn’t pushing hard enough.  Lesson learned.
  • I’ve been feeling crazy swamped and overwhelmed for the last 4-6 weeks.  Sometimes, my workouts just haven’t happened.

Ah well.  No matter what, I know I have put in the time.  I just hope that my progress will be good enough.

 

In other news, Wendy and I are BOTH really enjoying the warmer weather. 🙂

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Still Alive

I can’t believe it has been almost 3 weeks since my last post!  Life has been crazy lately.  Between all our homework for our kitchen remodel, my sister’s bridal shower, and an obscene amount of homework, I just haven’t had time to get on here.  So, some updates:

  • I (finally) found out that I was accepted into my top choice for graduate school!!  I have spent the last academic year completing prerequisites, and I will start my new program in the fall.  I’m excited, and a little nervous.  It will be hectic, but SO worth it when I’m done.
  • My running has been going fairly well.  My speed is improving a little bit.  I’m still not as quick as I would like (need) to be for my goal race in a month (!), but I’m getting there.  I have to keep reminding myself that it is ok to have slow progress – I’m not even fully recovered from my injury yet, and it would be dumb to push too hard and set myself back.
  • My sister’s shower was beautiful.  We had a good turnout, and, although life got pretty crazy during the last couple weeks leading up to it (as is usually the case with these things), it was perfect.  My sister is one of those people with a positively effervescent personality, and it is so nice to watch her have fun.
  • The kitchen project is coming along.  We are still getting quotes and trying to figure out the best way to maximize our budget (any tips are welcome!).  Unfortunately, our kitchen is small, and we’ve found that some vendors tend to take us less seriously once they realize that we won’t have to spend $40k on cabinets.  Progress is slow, but it is moving in the right direction.

Moving forward, I hope to post more consistently, though there still might be sporadic periods over the next 6 weeks or so.  I hope everyone’s training is going well!

Fear and Stride Rate

With the NWMDC Half coming up in just under two months, my focus has started shifting from building a base to building some speed. In order to finish that race, I need to meet a specific time goal – and it isn’t crazy fast or anything. In fact, before I got hurt last year, I could have easily met the time goal.

But I DID get hurt. I was in such a great training cycle, and something (or several somethings) just went wrong. I spent the entire summer nearly bedridden (I could get up for a couple minutes, but that was it – I couldn’t drive or sit long enough to even eat at the table). It was pretty horrible. Naturally, and unfortunately, memories of that time have been affecting my training. I have been VERY slowly building up my mileage – getting up to half-marathon endurance over 5ish months rather than the typical 2-3. I stretch all the time, and foam roll daily (sometimes more than once each day). I’m trying to train smarter, not harder. I pushed myself all winter, but not like I used to – I was so scared of getting hurt.

Now, I’m getting stronger. Also, I have a deadline. I have to let go of the fear, look at the numbers, and move toward my goal. So, since pace is my biggest issue, I am focusing on that. I will still do some long slow distance each week, but my other runs will focus on speed. This week, I started using a metronome to help with my stride rate. Lots of articles say that we can get the best running economy with a stride rate of roughly 180/minute, so I decided to work toward that. Knowing that I haven’t been working on speed at all (in about a year!), I set the metronome for 150 bpm and headed out for my 3.5 mile run. I kept everything pretty much the same as usual – followed my same route, kept my run-walk intervals the same, and just focused on staying on the beat. I found that the pace wasn’t too tough most of the time, but there were several times that I simply dropped off the pace. Maybe I was getting fatigued, or maybe I was just losing focus. Either way, I finished my run at roughly 20 seconds/mile faster than usual. Whoops – I guess I found my problem. So, on my shorter runs, I will work on keeping on pace and will also gradually increase it.

But, running with a metronome in my ear is simply no fun. I usually listen to audiobooks, but I’m thinking that I will revisit this once I get more confident in maintaining my pace. Maybe I will find some music that has a quick beat and use it as the same way as a metronome.

Either way, progress is being made. I was feeling pretty discouraged, because my pace wasn’t naturally improving, but I’m feeling more confident about it now. Onward!