2018 goals: 1/3.. ain’t bad I guess

In the beginning of 2018, I had 3 goals:

  1. Get better from my injury
  2. Do an Olympic triathlon
  3. 3. Go for a big PR at Chicago.

2 and 3 were big fat NOPES.

I was so focused on rehabbing my injury and becoming a strong runner again that I didn’t make space in my schedule to properly be ready for an Olympic tri. Olympic tris take WORK. They aren’t a thing you can do haphazardly. So I dropped down to the sprint and ran my slowest sprint tri yet in the pouring rain. But I had fun.

I was on track for a PR at Chicago towards the end of my training cycle. But  I threw out my back three weeks before the race and the race became about surviving and staying positive. It wasn’t my slowest marathon ever and I had a good day, but that original goal of being faaaaaast (or, well, faster) wasn’t going to happen.

But that first goal? It’s December 2018 – 15 months after I injured my hip – and I finally feel strong, injury-free and ready to move forward. I wanted too much, too soon in 2018. It’s OK to dream big. But looking back on the year, I’m disappointed with myself. Not only with my performance, but with my attitude. I was too hard on myself. Assumed failure was inevitable too often. Talked myself out of too many work outs. That needs to change.

I’m not sure yet what my 2019 goals are going to be. A marathon PR, sure. But what else? I think I need to focus less on numbers and more on attitude. But what does that look like?

Why 145?

Why 145? It feels like an arbitrary number, and in many ways kinda is.

My last three half marathons were 1:50:XX.

The first two were part of my most successful marathon training cycle yet.

The last one was a half I didn’t really train for.

So to set a goal of break 1:50 seemed silly. I’m 12 seconds away from that goal. 1:45 is far enough away it’s scary, but is also doable. It’s 4:58 pace over 21.1k, and running sub 5:00 kms for that long scares me. But it feels doable, if I do the work.

I currently weigh 165 pounds. Which means I need to lose 20 pounds. This is a lot , I know, and I’m the first to admit that 145 might be extreme. But I want to get fitter (and faster) and looking at my eating habits seems to be the easiest way to get healthier and be more conscious about my health. Plus my sister, at her fittest, was around 145. Sibling rivalry gets us every time.

Really, this isn’t about the numbers. It’s about pushing myself, about thinking about my health, about seeing what I can do.

But numbers make great goals. And I’m ready to chase them down.

 

Now we got bad blood: Chicago Marathon Training, Week 2, Day 5

I finally had a bad run.

It’s been coming.

I had a tempo run on my schedule. Warmup, 2k @ tempo pace, 5:00 recovery, 2k @ 10k pace.

I handled the paces, but the effort was A LOT. I struggled. I needed to take a break. I walked the 5:00 recovery.

Bad runs happen. And the reason this one was bad was really obvious. I had run hard the night before with my run crew. I had run hard on the track two days before. Both those runs went well.

You’re supposed to take it easy between hard efforts. I didn’t. And I paid for it.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a big deal. Bad runs happen. The reasons why are easy to understand. The lessons learned should be easy to implement.

I just actually need to take the lessons forward. Learn, grow, get better. Repeat.

Relax, don’t do it: Chicago Marathon Training, Week 1, Day 5

Fridays are rest days.

When my rest days are crammed — morning announcements, evening events — it’s easy to not do anything. But on those kinds of days, I’m usually on my feet and completely stressed, so it’s not really rest.

This Friday, it was really rest. And it was so hard.

Work was relatively quiet, being a Friday in July. I slept in a bit. Left work at a normal hour. Had no plans in the evening. And I really, really struggled to not go to the gym. To do something. “I’m behind on my weekly strength,” I told myself. “You can just foam roll and do PT there,” I said.

But I know if I’d gone, I would have done more. So home I stayed. I became angsty, frustrated. Rest is really hard. To sit still, with your thoughts, with your body. To trust the process. To relax.

It’s just another thing to work on.

It’s a typical Tuesday…: Chicago Marathon Training Week 1, Day 2

Tuesdays mean track days.

There’s a track about a kilometre from my house.

I get up early. Get dressed. Wish I got up earlier so I could have had coffee. Next week, I tell myself. (It won’t happen next week either.) Walk to the track. Turn my watch on. Start my warmup.

My friend will come by soon. We’ll wave, chat briefly. He’ll do his workout, it’ll be different than mine.

Round and round and round the track I’ll go. Fast, then slow. Fast, then slow. The kms will pile up.

My friend will finish his workout and leave. He’ll wave as he heads home.

Two fast guys will show up. They’ll hug, stretch and start running.

I’ll still go round and round and round. Fast, then slow. Fast, then slow.

I’m getting faster. Slowly.

I’m running in circles, but I’m running towards something.

 

I watched it begin again: Chicago Marathon training Week 1, Day 1

We are 12 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon.

I have decided this is when my training really begins.

I’ve been building to this point all year: coming back from an injury, getting in a routine, getting stronger. Working on my head game. I’m going to the track regularly now. And the gym. I’ve got more work to do, but I’m getting there. I have no travel plans until Chicago. Work should be relatively chill. The only thing standing between me and success is, well, me.

In 12 weeks, I want to cross that finish line knowing I gave it my all.

So here we go.

Run as fast as you can: Ekiden recap

On the longest day of the year, Toronto runners meet up on Leslie Spit for a relay race.

A very, very, very fast relay race.

Last year, when I agreed to do it, I had no idea what I was getting into. “Those running the 10k need to be fast,” I was told. But fast is relative. In my run crew, I am not fast, but not slow. So I said I’d do it.

Then a teammate looked up last year’s times.

Oh shit.

When we showed up, it was a who’s who of the fastest runners in the city. There was an Olympian. But we did our best, didn’t come last and team #notlast was born.

I said yes this year, hoping for an easier assignment. Then they changed the format.

Teams of 6 running mile repeats, 4 times over. So I’d  have to run like hell. Repeat. Run like hell. Repeat.

I was nervous. I had just raced the Waterfront 10k. I did my second-ever post-injury speedwork on Tuesday. I didn’t tell my coach about this. I didn’t know how my body would react.

But I got out there and ran like hell.  I felt OK. I was tired and got lapped by almost everyone. But I didn’t come last. My body held up. It was hard, I was tired. I got slower with every repeat. But I did it.

I need to work on getting out of my head. Laying it on the line, and seeing what happens.

What’s the worst that could happen? I slow down? I come last? I DNF? It’s happened before. It’s not the end of the world.

This is supposed to be fun. I’m the one making it work.

And, despite how intimidating and hard Ekiden was, I had fun. So let’s keep having fun.

A very good place to start: Toronto Waterfront 10K recap

Photo credit: Tribe Fitness

I had no idea what to expect heading into this race. My coach told me to run it hard so we had a base for training paces. But after doing no speedwork in like 8 months and only running regularly the past few, what is hard? What was I capable of? I mentioned sub 55:00 on the phone to my coach and she was coy, in a way that made me think I could definitely go faster. But was sub 50 possible? It didn’t seem so.

I decided to go for the impossible. The guy who ran my last marathon training clinic once said— after I said there was no way I could run a 1:45 half-marathon — “What’s the worst that could happen? You DON’T run 1:45? Who cares?” I try to remember that every time I set a scary goal. Running, as important as it is to me, is meaningless. I am the only person who is going to care what those numbers are.

A couple other runners also wanted to go sub 50, so my plan was to stick with them until I blew up. I was nervous, but also in the back of my mind started to believe sub 50 was doable.

We all went out too fast.

Race excitement, a downhill start, a crowd surge — it pushed us all forward.

I immediately fell behind my friends, but had them within sight.

4:51.

No need to catch up.

4:51.

Whoa, consistent splits?

I CAN do this.

4:56.

Still on pace for sub 50.

458.

Slowing down is bad.

Then it got hot. And I got hungry.

5:07.

Fine.

I need water. I walk through the water station.

5:25.

Damn it, pick it up.

5:02.

Ugh, not enough.

I’m still hungry.

Oh more water, thank god.

5:33.

Two km left, get up this hill.

5:17.

If you run like hell… maybe? Probably not, but 50:XX would be great.

So I ran like hell.

4:51.

51:06.

I could have pushed harder. I could have been smarter. I could have stayed more positive. But 51:06 after almost 8 months of being on the injury/comeback train is a good place to start.

Round and round and round I go

Tuesday was a rest day. I only did my foot PT exercises. Yet by the end of the day, my hip flexor HURT.

Was it how I sat? The shoes I wore? How I bike? I have no idea.

It’s now Wednesday morning and it still hurts.

This is the downside of injury. Pre-injury, I would have just shook it off. Now, I’m worried it’s something more, a step back, a sign I’ll need to take weeks and weeks of running again. And it leaves me unsure about what to do today. Do I do my scheduled run? Scheduled gym session? It’s impossible to know what makes things better, what won’t matter and what makes things worse.

I’m about to run. 5k easy + strides. I guess we’ll see.