Sunday, September 15, 2013

When life (or your kids) hands you intervals!

I was so excited to meet my (Sole) Sisters for our usual Wednesday run, even if it was 90-some degrees in the shade.  I busted my butt to get home on time, got dinner made and was out the door to pick up the kids in record time.  We were going to make it!

Then, everything went sideways...Murphy's law, I know.

Discussions about behavior, cranky, crabby, and otherwise unhappy, my kids were not cooperating with my plan.  To top it all off, I realized when I did get home that in my rush to get out the door I'd turned OFF the oven I'd preheated, so the dinner I'd busted my butt to get done early was not even halfway cooked. Sigh...

What to do?  Skip the planned run or find another way?  I opted to take the kids with me to the gym and run on the treadmill.  The alternative, no run at all, was even less appealing than the "dread mill."

Dutifully I stepped up, wondering how I was going to combat the boredom that seems to creep its way into just about every one of my runs on the treadmill.  Then it hit me, I can play with my pace and know what I'm doing - I've got buttons to control it all!

Next thing I knew I was looking forward to my improvised 4-3-2-1 pyramid interval workout. I started out with an easy warmup for five minutes and then kicked it up to my first interval, 4 minutes at 10:00/mile.  

I didn't really have concrete pace ideas in my head but I knew I wanted to do something with 9-11 in remembrance.  Not really familiar with these treadmills, this was as close as I could get for 3 minutes.  

Pardon the blurry pictures, 
but I took them WHILE I was running! :)

That felt really good so I figured, why not go for it? Let's see how fast I can go.  So, after a two minute recovery period I kicked it up. 

8:40 is not a pace I'm used to seeing.  Or maintaing.  So, I was quite surprised I was pretty easily able to hold it for 2 minutes.  In fact, I'd begun to accept that I wasn't ever going to get my pace in the 8 minute range.  Boy did it shock me when I ran this and felt really good!!!  Now I was curious, how fast could I really go?  I kicked it up again.

This was starting to get more difficult.  I really had to concentrate on my turnover and my breathing!  But, again, I could do it and still felt like I had more in me!  One more time I kicked it up.  8:00 pace was now the goal.

I never knew I could do this!

For one minute I held this pace and still felt like I had more to give!  This is a huge victory for me. I've always been critical of my lack of speed speed, and had really talked myself into believing I wasn't ever going to be faster than I am now.  After tonight's workout I can tell you, that's crap!

I can be faster, and I WILL be faster!

I would have pushed the pace even farther, but I had to pick up the Gotta Run kids - the childcare was closing for the night and it was quickly approaching their bedtime.  

Those progressive intervals really 
worked up a SWEAT!

What have I learned?  I can, if I believe I can.  Whatever it is.  Speed, a full marathon, you name it.  If I believe I can, I can do it. And so can YOU!

What are your tricks for the treadmill?  I'd love to hear them!

Gotta Run :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reality Check

This training cycle has been full of ups and downs.  Lately, it seems more downs than ups.  As I tried to study for my upcoming neurology exam surfed Facebook pretending to take a "study break", it occurred to me...I've been WAY too hard on myself.

I'm admitting it:  I don't give myself nearly enough credit for what I have and do achieve.  I'm realizing how true this picture really is for me at this point in my life.

I have not let myself be the runner I am right now.  No wonder I'm having trouble being the runner I want to be.  

I downplay and diminish what I am able and trying to do nearly constantly.  Why?  I don't know.  It's something I've always done.  But, I realized that when it comes to my running, for some reason I expect the performance of and critique myself at the level of an elite runner (um, Kara Goucher anyone?).  However, the truth is my training, nutrition, etc. is not that of an elite runner - it's that of a crazy amateur real person with too much on her plate.  Here's my reality check:

1. I'm not an elite runner.  I'm a wife and mother of two running on caffeine and too little sleep trying to finish graduate school who has precious little time to train.  I need to accept that this is where I'm at in life, for now, and look forward to life after graduate school.

1.  My runs are going to be sporadic.  With the Gotta Run Husband in the military and working all hours of the day and night and the Gotta Run Kids still in diapers, my time to run is cut even shorter than it was by graduate school.  I need to remember, it is what it is and be grateful for whatever kind of run I CAN get in, when I do.

2. Until I can devote more time to it, i.e. after graduate school, I can't expect the quick progression I was hoping for.  I eat on the run, sleep too little, and consume more caffeine than I would like while in my final semester. There isn't anything I can do about it except get through it and look forward to the time when running can be more of a focus.

3.  I CAN still run while finishing this graduate program.  I will have to learn to accept that my times will be slower than I wanted and I may have to walk at times.  So?  I'm still going to finish.  And really, isn't that the ultimate goal?

So, today I'm making a conscious decision to truly live this:

No matter how slow I go, how long it takes me to finish, if I run I will still consider myself a runner.    The time will come when I can devote much more to training for a PR half and a full marathon.  For now, I am choosing to give each run my best effort and enjoy it.  After all, THAT'S why I started running. :)

Gotta Run :)