I will be brutally honest...the word Compete scares me. I love running races, I love setting goals, I love training for my goals. However, when it comes down to race day, I have a hard time pushing myself to the ugly zone.
I didn’t run competitively or participate in school sports when I was younger, so I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “competitive” person in the most practical sense of the word. However, I have felt successful in my racing; by running a new distance, new race, or even helping others across the finish line.
When I first began distance running, I was chasing goals. Some goals were distance based, some were to conquer a new course, but mostly I wanted to beat my PR. Somewhere along the way reaching those goals on race day, began to hurt, so I pulled back, too scared to push through it. I convinced myself it was ok to shift to my Plan B goal, then somewhere it shifted to Plan C goal until I lost the drive to push to my full potential. It wasn’t about not wanting to do the training, I think this was about the fear of not meeting the goals and the disappointment that follows. It felt easier to become complaisant with my running than to compare myself to previous PR’s or others success (or what I perceived as success).
What I didn’t realize, this complacency wasn’t just effecting my running, it was reaching my everyday life too. I was caught up in so many activities and obligations that I wasn’t putting my whole self into any one thing. I was fine just doing what I needed and not pushing to make those responsibilities priorities or even something special.
Here I am, a year later and so much has changed. The move to LA has definitely helped shift my perspective. In the past year I have let go of the responsibilities that weren’t serving me, I have stepped back from being a leader (both professionally and personally) to being a student. In that time, I have learned so much. I have realized I can enjoy yoga, how to run alone in the woods/mountains with nature and really like it just as much (if not more) as I love running in the chaos of a downtown street, it’s ok to let go of my identity of a “marathon runner”, and taking the time to smell, taste and hear the life I am surrounded by.
As I leave another year of running and begin to focus on 2017 I feel the excitement I was missing for so long. The excitement not just to run an event, but to race it. When I ran my 25K a few weeks back, I got a little taste of running with a race strategy. Then I received my copy of latest version of the Believe training journal…Compete. After reading through so many great tips and tools to guide runners through the process, it all began to click. (I’ve used the Believe training journal for a few years and swear by it, the new version is even better)
As a sidebar I have to say being a part of the Oiselle Volée the past year has opened my eyes to my running potential. I had spent a lot of time in the past few years surrounded by runners I could mentor, or runners that were so much faster than I. While I know that was where I was meant to be at that time and I wouldn’t trade those experiences, I do believe it is the reason I lost sight of my running needs. Being part of the Volée, sharing stories with other runners I can relate too, hearing tips from pros in ways I understand, has truly rejuvenated that love for my running that I had buried.
My goal in 2017 is to focus on competing. Learning to compete with myself to push the goals I know I still have in me. Running in my 40’s is a bit different, but with specific training, journaling my progress and utilizing additional coaching I believe I can hit some key targets. These targets may be specific time goals, age placement in a race, or even a PR.
I will be taking a couple more weeks in my recovery mode (mainly because it’s the holidays, and I am moving to a new apartment), but will start up a progressive training cycle by January. For now, I will focus on a few half marathons, then build up to longer distances (or a tougher challenge) in the spring. I will review this again in early summer, and then set my racing schedule for fall.
I’m setting my intention, and I commit to owning it. It’s time to push past the comfort zone and train to compete. I know I have it in me, and now it is time to explore the path that leads me there, and run right through it.
Last week, I basically took the week off. My 25k was last Sunday, and I needed a few days to let my tired legs heal. This was perfectly timed considering the Cubs were down to the wire in the World Series, and I was glued to my TV for every game. This was followed up with constant checks into social media to get the latest on the celebrations throughout Chicago. (Yes, basically my social media balance went out the window last week) Even though I was feeling major #FOMO for not being in Chicago, the break to my training schedule made it possible to stay up for late nights, without the worry of early morning workouts.
All kidding aside, my training went well, my race went well and it is important to me that my recovery goes well. After speaking with my Ekiden Coach, we determined I would take a couple days of complete rest, then spend the weekend doing a few easy runs and yoga to stay loose. This next weekend I have one more trail race, a 10K, so I want to maintain, but keep the legs fresh for that event.
This week (once I get past the election drama) I will sit down and map out my race plans for spring. This will allow me to determine how long of a recovery session I will take and when to kick back up the training.
Recovery is such an important part of running, that I want to make the most of it. Typically when I am done with a race, I take one of the two paths. I get caught up in the post race blues that I keep pushing so I don't miss some "great" event, or I spend too much time resting and loose a bit of fitness while gaining a few pounds. I don't necessarily want to rest more or eat what I want during this recovery cycle, so to help with that, I will create a recovery cycle plan.
My goal for this recovery cycle is work toward restoring my base for another training. This includes incorporating more strength sessions, (I want to do weight training at least 2 times a week), keep integrating at least 1 yoga session into my weekly plan, and maintain my running without pushing too hard. My focus is to restore my muscles and build back up my strength. I also will be focusing on good nutrition, which can be a challenge during the holiday, however living in the land of year round fresh produce I hope makes it easier this season.
The last month I have been utilizing the services of Ekiden Coaching and I am really hooked. My review of my coaching experience with them is listed in this blog post, and I intend on using their services again after the holidays when I start training for a spring race.
Here are a few random thoughts from the week.
If you haven’t read this Runners World article about what it’s like to be a female runner, then you need to stop and read it right now. I am so grateful they have started this conversation. Everyone I know has experienced some form of harassment while running and it can be exhausting and intimating. I hate that it makes people not feel safe running, I hate these experiences take away from someone’s hard work, and I hate that people get away with saying the things they say to runners. Harassment effects so many runners out there, and it time we take back the power from those bullies. A great follow up to this story is the Runners World podcast episode.
Last night the Los Angeles chapter of November Project had a showing of an amazing documentary of this world wide fitness movement. This documentary called Showing Up, featured the backstory on a few members from various tribes. This movie reminded me November Project has a place for everyone and if you have a tribe near you, please try it. Here in LA we have people from all walks of life, all athleticism levels and all ages. Yet on workout day none of those variables matter, we are just there to create a community of free fitness…and free hugs.
Have an awesome week! Check back next week when I review where running will take me next.