Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Race Day Lessons

It has been a while since I have run and not set another PR. Just over a week ago, I fell while trail running and banged up my knee. Considering that I had a half marathon four days later (review to follow), this felt like a bit of a set back to me as I realized the possibility of setting a PR was almost decidedly out the window.

The race came on Saturday and my knee was incredibly stiff in the morning. Over the race course, 2,000 feet of elevation are lost. I tried to relax on the downhill and not fight it, while attempting to maintain form on the uphill (which actually hurt more). I had one of my toughest races physically on Saturday! Because this was not my end goal with training, I knew that I needed to be somewhat conservative and not overdo it, but if you are a runner and even the slightest bit competitive, you know how hard that is.

When I crossed the line, I realized that although it was not a PR, it was definitely not my slowest half marathon. Initially, I was bummed with my performance. As I processed through this, I realized that not all races will come with PR’s and that is not what running is all about. I had a wise person remind me that running is about challenging yourself and pushing with all you currently have.

Racing at the non-professional leve is about so much more than a PR or a place in your age division. It is about seeing how far you can go despite all of the extenuating circumstances. It is about talking with a girl at the start line that you met at last year’s race about her running over the last year. It is about meeting a woman on the course who, after having two children, is feeling stronger than ever and it trying to PR. It is about realizing that your running partner, who has been on the injured list, is now running right beside you. It is about looking up as you descend that hill and seeing the glorious view of the mountains and the sun peeking over the top. It is about the sound of feet and heavy breathing running down a mountain road.  It is about the race shirt and the excitement of checking the goody bag. It is about crossing the finish line, knowing that another chance will come and still feeling that joy of being exhausted, knowing you pushed hard regardless of what the clock says.

See what I mean? Racing truly is about so much more than a PR. What is it to you?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another attempt...

Man, it has been way too long since I have blogged. I feel like I started out well, did ok for a little while, disappeared, came back, and disappeared again. Ahhh, life. If only someone wanted to pay me to blog…and run… and test gear… Anyone???

Anyways, a lot has happened with running in the last month, so here is my attempt at bringing you up to speed.
On May 6th, I ran the Colorado Marathon. If you remember, I was really nervous about it, as this would be my first full alone. Well, when I got to the start line, I met another girl who usually runs with her husband, but was also running alone as he was also suffering from an injury. We started talking about our pace, decided to run together, and stayed together for the first 23 miles. It was such a cool experience to with someone I had just met and was easy to talk to and who paced really well! We both ended up breaking 4 hours for the first time! (Nice job, Alicia!!) Ben also completed in the half marathon and did not PR but still had a great time.

I attempted to take the entire week following the marathon off of running (my goal was to make it until Saturday). Well, I caved and ended up running Tuesday and then Friday. Hard to keep me away for long! It just seems like it is in my blood!
Training for Gore-Tex Transrockies started officially for us the weekend the following weekend. Training for us for this race consists of increasing hill work, hitting the trails consistently, and having weekends of three long back to back runs. Already, we have been trying to hit the trails hard and we have done two beautiful runs in Rocky Mountain National Park and a few others in Evergreen and Douglas County. Last week, we were able to log 30 miles on trails, which is such a nice change from the road.  I addition to that, Ben had his highest mileage week last week since December… and still felt good at the end of the week!

Saturday, Ben and I raced in a local 5k sponsored by Boulder Running Company (have I ever told you I love those guys?) and both placed for our age divisions. It was a small, but really fun event to be able to participate in! We followed it up with a 9 mile run in 90 degree heat, which is a first for us this year! Time to get used to heat and full sun exposure.
This time of year is one of my favorites for running. The weather is great (except for tornado warnings and record high days) and it is common to see other runners out. Trail expeditions and races both increase during this time of year. What will you be doing this summer?