Monday, May 16, 2011

Putting My $$ Where My Mouth Is!!

Sometimes, it's hard being both, coach.. and athlete. As a coach, I am very specific with my athletes and realistic about what's feasible, and what's not. I speak them to in regular goals and "icing" goals. I can usually predict their race time within 5 minutes. I may or may not actually tell them their race time prediction, it depends on the athlete.

Not every race can be an A race. I give them this speech constantly. They probably get sick of hearing it!

It isn't a fun one to give, or receive for that matter, as everyone likes to "do well" at every race. However, some races are meant for training through so that when you do actually get a taper, you see the full benefit of that taper. Plus, you don't miss out on valuable training time as you may have 5-6 races over a season. If you did a two week taper for every one, frankly, you wouldn't have much time to actually be training hard!

This past weekend I competed in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I was VERY excited about this race because A. It was in my town - no traveling! B. It has a long history here and they recently revived it last year after many years of it being gone. C. Many of my friends were doing the race, so it was going to be an exciting day to be out there!

Even despite a fairly heavy week of training, I still had high hopes of a PR out on the course. My former best of 1:25 was done at North Park's Just a Short Run two years ago. It had been that long since I had run an open half.

Many of you that know me, know I'm a runner from way back. So, only having to get the shoes and race number together (as opposed to the loads of triathlon gear usually required) was a nice treat! It felt like coming home!!

Saturday was spent running our Triathlon Beginner Clinic from 9:00am-11:30 and we had a great turnout! I spent a little more time on my feet than I would have liked, but hey, that's life. When I arrived on Sunday at 5:00am, I was prepped and hoping to have a awesome race! I feel my run fitness is better than it's ever been, so I was ex-cit-ed to see what I could pull off! Plus, I had a great support team in tow with Kyle, two good friends from Clarion - Staci and Monique, and Lisa M, Meghan and Marni out on the course. I felt so lucky and thankful to be racing!!

I had to struggle to get myself up toward the front of corral A by 6:40am. It was packed - bodies everywhere. The energy was at an all time high. My heart rate was roaring and we were still twenty minutes away from gun time! A light rain falling, I said a prayer and got my game face on.

Yep, there it is.. my game face :)

I couldn't help but realize how much my body has changed as these tiny little runners were all around me. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but triathlon really does reshape you! I look back at my pictures from my running-only days and I was a skinny little thing. Almost no muscle mass up top and not really that much on the quad / glute area either! It was different seeing just how different I looked than these girls.. none the less.. who cares! Let's race!

Needless to say, at this point this picture was taken (in the first 2-3 miles) I was feeling really good. I was clicking away between 6:10 and 6:30 and not really having too much of an issue. I hoped to hold this throughout the entire run. Ha.. I had another thing coming!

Somewhere between mile 3 and 4 my left quad started tightening and feeling almost bruised with every step. Then it was my calves, then up the hills it was my glutes. Fatigue started setting in all over my body...cardiovascularly I was fine, but my legs just continued their downward spiral until it honestly felt like I had just bike 56 miles prior. I kept telling myself it was mental, but alas, it was not. It was very far from mental and I just was going to have to pull whatever I could off and let go of my time goals ASAP. I knew when the miles started slipping into the 6:45-7:00 minute range..that this was going to hurt if I even wanted to stay there.

So, I let it go..the PR, the idea of feeling good, all of it. I did my best to keep my form in check and I tried to stay with a crowd of girls that came by me at mile 8 only to lose them. Yep, couldn't hang. See ya!! Have a nice run!

I smiled when I could and did my best to stay positive. I wasn't planning on a hard training run, but that's what it ended up being. My coach, and I, are still learning what I can handle. Without a day off for about three weeks, one day off before the just wasn't cutting it... at least not for a PR. I did, however, learn plenty of other things and I didn't get too upset about all of it, which was a win in my book. We all went out for breakfast afterward at Eat-n-park and it was glorious when they sat some strawberry banana french toast in front of me!! SOOOO good!

It's tough for us to sometimes see there has to be a bigger plan in place. You just can't have everything.. a PR run race, PR ironman, PR half ironman, PR 5k all within the same time frame or even year. You have to pick and choose wisely and carefully. I had to think about what I really wanted that day.. trust me, I had a long time out there to do it.. and what I really want is Lake Placid, and most of all Kona. Those are what I want to go well, to feel good (relatively speaking). So, I'll just have to wait, and learn to be patient and gather what I can from each experience and use it on those days.

The best advice I have for you is that we all have had those days, those days when things just don't come together, or we mess up our nutrition, or you just don't feel right.. those days are a given. Without those days, we wouldn't recognize the days that we are truly "ON" and everything seems to be in line for us to pull off something huge. So, do your best to recognize both, and when the day where you do feel great comes along - capitalize on it! Love it! Smile and run like you stole something! Slap fives along the way and make your finish huge - because those days are pretty rare!!

Don't worry, I'll be attempting that open half marathon again some day.. until then.. you can bet I'll be hungry to get back out there in an open and try to bust through that PR - thanks for all your support, love and for just refusing to give up on me friends and family. I don't deserve you.. but I sure do love you!

A HUGE THANK YOU to my supporters and sponsors:

Ballou Skies for allowing me to be part of this great team that does so much good for boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Power bar for fueling me with delicious products that never fail me on race day. Newtons for helping me run with good form and hopefully, get speedier with time. Rudy Project for making some of the coolest looking glasses and helmets that also are light and fast. Top Gear for outfitting me with a bike that works and helping me learn how to fix it along the way. CycleOps for making trainers that allow me to ride inside (which in Pittsburgh is quite often). Blueseventy for supporting our Ballou Skies team. Finally, last but not least Infinit for crafting the drink mixes that keep GI issues at bay all Ironman long! You keep me in the game, faster, longer and stronger – I can’t thank you enough!


sarah said...

Was this post written just for me?? That's exactly how I felt....I wanted to PR so badly but I guess not every single race can be a PR... by the end I thew my time goals away and just had high fives and encouraging other runners that I saw really struggling. Im glad that im not alone in feeling how I did!

Beth said...

Sorry you didn't get that PR but the race still served its purpose! I'm with you, its hard not to get greedy and want it ALL (PRs at all distances and in all disciplines). But when you really nail that big one, it will all pay off and be super SWEET! Great job Kim!

Kim said...

way to hang in there kim!!!! that PR will come - i know it!

Kiet said...

Oh I've learn this lesson all too well this year. I like your part that we can't PR our 5K, 10K, half-mary, triathlons, etc...all in one year. So obvious but most of us forget that. I just want it all to come together for IM CDA and if not then, at IM Canada.

Kristin said...

Great Post! Its hard not to want to push and do your best at every run. But, it happens and you made the best of it!! Congrats!

Steve said...

Wish I were a better fan, but what can you do???

Luv ya Kim Kim Kim. xoxoxoxo :)

I am so disappointed in my year, but glad you are humming along. :)

Teresa said...

Way to embrace the day and the challenges. You looked super cute too!

Happy Monday!


GoBigGreen said...

Hey Lovely Kim! Great post and so true. Its one thing to know that, that all your races cant be A races, and another thing to believe it and be ok with it. I think we have to just be ok with where we are, and that may mean we have to step back and not compare ourselves to others or to our previous bests when we were "younger" or maybe just doing one sport!
Geesh what is up with all of our weather? Rain rain go away!

Christi said...

I am sorry that you did not PR but you have a great attitude about it. Of course, one that I can learn from. Thanks so much for sharing your training both physical and mental. You enlighten me with each post!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Oh! I could write a book! LOL....I will never understand (the athlete side of me) when athletes expect to PR at every race? Really? No way to be in that kind of fitness 365 days/year ... and each race serves a different purpose - and always walk away learning something - like you did! Way to tough it out!

Marni said...

you looked good when I saw you! Sometimes the ups and downs in training and racing make the big picture even sweeter when it comes to putting all the previous training and racing to the test. Congrats again..wish I could run as fast as you when you aren't tapered!

Heidi Austin said...

this sounds all too familiar? lol :) i still think you did awesome with the day you had... i think i learned the same lesson....

Austin said...

i feel like i heard you quote this blog in my kitchen not too long ago...
rock star job helping others remember to enjoy the process...and for smiling in your race pics.