Sunday, November 27, 2011

Goals a Plenty

My week was broken pretty short due to Thanksgiving on Thursday taking away a day of practice. Nothing too exciting or noteworthy other than moving days around and somewhat leaving myself exhausted. My annual Turkey trot has become null since I can't seem to find a local 5K race to save my life, everything I seem to find are 5 milers. I'll pass on that distance.
With a rather meh week I decided to ink my goals for the upcoming indoor season. I've never actually physically penned goals, I've had target goal times I've wanted to hit, or more so a sub number I've wanted to hit, but they've stayed in my head. I've also never really shared them with anyone. So when my coach asked me to start thinking about my goals and PRs and when I'd like to hit them, I knew those sub whatever numbers I was itching to hit and pinned them to my head. Then curiously I came across a former teammates blog and pedaled back a few posts and came across a mine field. It was about her goals and how she broke them down. BAM! It was PERFECT! 3 goals per race, it made sense for me. I wasn't just looking at 1 single number I was looking at a progressive aim. For my mental realm it fit. I took the 4 races that I'd likely run in this season and thought about what I really wanted to achieve, pulled out some index cards and went to town. Of course it took about a zillion tries and cards before my prototype was to my perfection standards, but alas I was able to produce exactly what I needed and wanted. I made card after card, sticking them in places I'd always see them, then I typed up an outline of each goal and emailed it to my coach. It was one of those aha moments.
The final product
 As I make these changes in my training regimen and old habits, I'm learning more about myself and gaining perspective on how much I can push my limits. I'm feeling less stuck and things seem to be moving forward. I'm ready to bring myself to a new level, which leaves me grinning on the inside & outside.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am thankful for my past that has taught me lessons, the present to be able use those lessons, and the future to look forward to learning more.

Happy Triple T-Day (turkey, thanks & together)!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Indoor voices please

The cold is upon us which means the move from the nice wide-turned cushiony 400 meter outdoor track to the tight banked fast 200 meter indoor track is here. I sold my first born away so I could train at pretty much the only accessible indoor track in Manhattan. Ok so maybe I sell anything but ugh it sure does seem like it. I always cringe when I have to pony up the cash to the Armory, I get that it's a good track and it's non-profit but $300 is a lot of money for ridiculously super limited hours and just the track (yes I've made this complaint about this a few time in past posts, I will leave this one at that).

Monday left me with the case of the Mondays, or better yet a lovely cold of some sort. I woke up with an elevated heart rate, a sore throat, nagging cough, oh and yes no voice. I decided to call into work, cancel client appointments, not run and rest up. I thought that was a smart move. Tuesday I was feeling a little better (less fatigued) so I bellied up went to work, whispered workouts to clients, and trekked my way to 168th St for practice. Though the fatigue was gone I should have known better that indoor track and somewhat bum lungs don't mix well. Breathing in extremely dry air at an extremely rapid pace with a cough already on top left me hacking up at least one of my lungs and almost my lunch. By Thursday I had my voice back but the nagging cough wouldn't budge. Still I managed to crank out my workouts for the rest of the week taking another extra day off over the weekend. Hopefully I'll be back to my normal self next week, 1st meet of the season is in 4 weeks, need to be set to go (because there ain't not rest for the weary).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trouble Brewing

I came across this article Track and Field gone nuts (ok that's not the name of the article but it's my biased opinion on what it should be called) and I must share with fellow club memebers and any runners for that matter. As a club runner this disgusts me and unfortunately the battle is far from over. Please read and feel free to add your opinions in the comment section. Leave us poor club runners be, we work hard and don't get paid to do this, actually we pay to do what we love. USATF as a governing body you don't provide us with the resources necessary to thrive, so us going to people that are willing to provide funds for us only to ask for a logo to represent that funding and you denying that logo is RIDICULOUS!!! There really needs to be a overhaul here, hopefully as a whole the Track and Field nation will be able to fight and do what's fair and just.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Into the dark side

Daylight savings has left my week pretty dark. I'm all for gaining an extra hour but man does it have to get so dark so early. It puts a real damper on my running schedule since I'm typically a night runner.  Tuesday's practice left us running a lofty amount of 600's in almost pitch black. About 300 meters into the 2nd 6 the stadium lights when out.  Never a fun thing especially when you're trying to keep to a certain pace and you use your watch to gauge being on the right track. It's also not easy to see the lines on track, thankfully we didn't have to use lanes and stayed on the inside, but it's also difficult to see where you stop. Alas we were able to pummel through them all to my surprise (a little because of the dark and a little for the questioning of the ability to get through the intensity of the workout...yes there's been a lot of surprising myself with workouts).
Wednesday night while I was at the gym getting ready to do weights, dreading what machine I'd torture myself on for the warmup, one of my coworkers somehow talked me into venturing uptown to Central Park to do a run on the Bridle Path. It was only 5pm and it was already pretty dark out. My coworker had an answer though...a headlamp. On Monday he showed me this score from Home Depot, jokingly I said I should probably get one, Tues proved my joke right, and Wed I got to see just how this puppy really worked. I of course had to wear the contraption and pretty sure I was getting some strange looks from passerbys. Hey at least I know that I can see that hole or root popping up from the ground before it's too late. It may have seriously convinced me to buy one even though I rarely do night runs by myself on a dark path, but you never know when it could come in handy and hey for 6 bucks, why not.
Temp photo til I actually take 1 for myself
Thursday the stadium fixed the timers on the lights so no blackout, though I'm pretty sure that's up for debate because I might have blacked out during my workout. I never thought I'd dread 200 repeats ever, this may have seized that dread. I got through it seemingly unscathed except rep # 8 when I thought I might have to drop out or take extra rest. The rest of the week I managed to stay out of the dark with my workouts being done during the day. Next week we head to the indoors to the Armory...a whole 'nother beast.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Things that make you go...

Yes it's Friday night and I'm sitting home on my computer blogging. Do I have better things to do...if you consider laundry better things, than yeah I guess I might (this is what happens when you have to wake up early Sat to get your workout in). Is this my weekly blog post..indeed it is not, I will have my normal Sunday chronicling of my training week on Sun (or Mon or Tue).  :-)
Ok so where was I...why the random Friday blog post. It was just one of those days that made me smile on the inside and I thought I'd share on a separate recourse. Today I brought my laptop into work to do a few things for clients and to squander the internet access (yes I admit it I don't have internet at home *gasp*).  During that time I had changed my background on the desktop to a photo one of my FB friends had posted because I thought it was awesome and inspirational, but couldn't find for the life of me who the athlete was in the photo so I turned my computer to my boss/coach and asked him if he knew. While I was in showing him another coworker was in the room too and she spotted one of my sticky notes (I'm addicted to the real things & the virtual Windows ones). The sticky note she had picked up on was one with the number 57.8. Though it's not surprising that that was the one she called out, since it's fairly large in bold font, curiously she asked if that was one of my times.
 Admittingly I felt a little awkward explaining to her or anyone for that matter especially in front of my coach what the number symbolized. It's not that I'm ashamed, it's just something that I know is slightly lofty and it kinda my secret dream. I threw it to the wind and said yes it's a goal time. She knows my background so she asked if it was a 400 goal time, which I said yes and no that I need to hit that time first and foremost in the open 4 but essentially it's a 400 hurdle time. Precisely it's the B Standard for the Olympic Trials. It's funny if a nonrunner asked me I have a little less ambiguity to let them in on it but with runners I sometimes find it hard. Mostly for the fact that I know it's a stretch for me to hit that time right now, and runners know that too, so I feel a bit judged. It may just be all in my head but it's the way I feel. Anyways   I threw caution to wind this time around and something positive came out. The coach in the room (I have 2) turned and said if you keep running like you have been in practice you won't be too far off. My heart smiled at that instant. I know that I've been busting my butt in practice, and I know that I'm ridiculously stronger than I think I've ever been. Most of my teammates have seen it and told me and both of the coaches have told me on a few instances too, but it was at that moment that I knew someone else believed in me. Yes I know that all my family and friends believe in me and always have (I thank you all for that), and of course I believe in myself. It's just when someone who you look to for guidance in your dream tells you they believe in you it resonates in a very different way. I wish I could explain it but it's a feeling that I can't explain. 
After all was said and done, and the euphoric feeling carried away, I banged out a lifting workout, trained a client, then stuck around the gym to peruse the internet and cyberstalk  catch up on other's blogs and whatnot. One blog in particular I fell in love with was Lauren Fleshman's, a pro 5000m runner. In one of her posts I stumbled upon an inspirational drawing from one of her endeavors Believe I Am that capped my day off to exactly what I'm feeling. The hidden cryptic message in the rose says "I am grateful". I wish it was in the arsenal of goodies on the site to buy but instead I will attach it here and look to it and remind myself, because more than ever I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

26.2 decibels of loudness

Let's just preface this post with, no I did not run the marathon, and no I will not be running a marathon in any near future.  Though I will not lie every time I watch a marathon (live not on the tv) I always get this slight urge to race one. That's definitely off after it's all said and done.
I remembering watching my first marathon, Boston back in 2003. I was situated close to the finish line on Boylston. I remember the excitement and energy all around me. I also remember getting super emotional as I walked home passing by foil wrapped person after person. This was a few years before I started training again. I couldn't help tearing up and getting goosebumps and really wanting to go out and run a marathon. Since I was mostly only do road mileage (I use that very loosely) and any races I signed up for were road 5Ks, I thought to myself I can do this, I might really do this, you know what I'm going to plan for when I turn 25. In the back of my mind I knew I wasn't serious, I very much loathe long distances, I have since I began running. Of course as most all know that when I turned 25 I did not run a marathon, actually I found my way back to the track instead. A much better decision if you ask me.
Fast forward 8 1/2 years later and Sunday was my first NYC Marathon viewing. Last year I had to work brunch while it was going on almost directly outside of my front door and the year before was just right before I made my big move here. This year I had the morning off so I was excited to be able to watch it. Just when I thought I'd be enjoying the view at about mile 18 outside my door on 1st Ave, I somehow managed to score finish line tickets from a teammate who was not planning on using them. I didn't think that it would be hard to find a partner in crime to join me, I mean I'm on a track club. Everyone I had asked to join had managed to have other plans, finally after exhausting my list of people one of my training partners came through and said she'd happily join the viewing party from thrilling seats. Clad in running gear (because you can't go to a running event not, right?) we made sure to get there early enough to get the best seats and to see all the best runners come through the line. We procured a couple of cowbells to make even more noise and loudly cheered on first the male wheelchair winner, then a handful more men wheelchair, next the winner of female wheelchairs,  a bevy of more wheelchairs, then the crazy finish of the women elite race (which we were unable to watch unfold because the jumbotron facing us was blocked by a tree), then to the record breaking men's elite finish, and finally to the droves of sub 3 hour finishers and beyond with a huge spattering of teammates flocking every couple of runners (Pretty sure last count on the billionth email, which I really didn't count, was somewhere in the ballpark of 40 teammates entered to run). In between our raunchious displays of excitement we discussed how much engery was flowing and that we needed to race, when we'd start training for a marathon (I think we settled on her 35th birthday, my 38th), befriended a coach & family of a girl running, and explained to people who thought we looked like we should be running that we only run the .2 part of the 26.2. I really couldn't have picked a better person to accompany me. We fed off each other's kid-like enthusiasm and basked in the excitement that our sport can bring.
Is there marathon potential in my future, only when that time actually comes if it ever comes will know, until then I'll be a spectator that gets catch up in the whirlwind energy that's called the marathon and chase my 1 lap dreams on the track.

*photos to be added soon*

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Step away from the challenge

Just when I thought that this week was going to be that fly by not so out of the ordinary, nothing exciting weeks where practices were good, weather was normal, everything fit into place, I somehow found myself in a hole on Friday.
Let's start at the beginning, back to 1981. I was born with competitive genes that also intertwine more or less with the perfectionist genes. Back as far as I can remember I have always tried to excel to be the best, whether it was academic or physical. And if I wasn't the best, then I wanted to be my best. I'm always up for a challenge. Though that does tend to makes it harder to back away from a challenge too. Countless times I have been provoked to an array of duels. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself racing down the middle of a street, picking my brain for the bone crushing word in a scrabble match, elbow digging in to a table while trying to pin down another's hand, or even getting lost on a run because I was "chasing" someone down, the stories are endless. The funniest part of most of my challenges is I'm often rarely challenged by my own gender, it's almost always by the opposite sex. I don't categorize myself as a feminist or girl power activist at all but I do often find myself humming the tune "Anything you can do I can do better" which does tend to fuel the fire a little bit.
Tried and true my newest confrontation again comes from the male counterpart. It started from another trainer's client at the gym. This guy comes in a couple days a week and he's always there when I'm there. Where it begins is his complaining. He walks into the trainer's area and starts the hour off moaning and groaning and continues on for the entirety of the hour. I having a sarcastic mouth and have no qualms giving him flack every time for it. Though partly joking, I am partly serious. I mean you pay someone to kick your butt, stop rambling on and just do it. Finally after one of his sessions he smartly replies to me if you think it's so easy and you won't complain than you do one of my workouts with me at the same weight. Not a problem dude, though my only requests to the challenge was it had to be a lower body workout because I do know there was no way I could lift my scrawny upper body at his weight, and that it had to be after my weekly track workout because my practice comes first. Even though I put parameters up I still knew I may be kicking myself after and probably should have just left well enough alone. But being the proud competitive feisty gal I am, I couldn't back down. I was able to lift the weight given to me, just the reps and sets got me. I also might awesomely add I held my plank the longest, a stellar 3 mins. I will say I was feeling the workout within a few hours and that's when I realized that my competitive nature may have slightly bit me in my behind. Did I learn from my mindless act...maybe..walking around rubbing your backside and legs does look a bit weird to the passerby.