Thursday, April 28, 2016

As for the rest of 2016...



My sunburn is peeling revealing new skin underneath which serves as a somewhat gross (and reptilian) reminder that my big target race of the year may be over, but 2016 is far from over.  We still have 8 months of 2016, people! I got my new running plan from my coach (High Miles Running) this morning!

The next 16 days are a combo of marathon recovery and 5K prep as my first 5K of 2016 is on May 14.  I'm trying not to have expectations for this race AND at the same time, I want to win it.  (I won it last year.)  So there's that.  

Here are some goals I'm mulling over for the rest of 2016:

1. Consistency! My primary goal is to continue the consistency that I have established this year.  No falling off the wagon!!

2.  Strength training.  My lower back is still a little weird since Boston.  This is a spot that I have had past trouble with (SI Joint) and I have done PT so I really should get back to those exercises and core strength.  

But I wouldn't represent my Type A personality very well if I didn't have a FEW time goals:

3. Break 19:00 in the 5K.  
Starting to sound like a broken record with this one.  (It first made its appearance on this blog on October 10, 2014.)  UNLIKE all the time before, I am actually going to train for the 5K in the coming months.  Let's see how low we can go, shall we?  Current PR: 19:20 set last September, my last 5K, at TosaFest.

4. PR in the 8K.  Every year, I organize a team for, and run, Al's Run for Children's Hospital in Milwaukee.  In 2014, I ran this in 32:12.  Last year, I ran it in 32:17.  This year, I'm hoping to beat 32:12.

5.  Do at least one half marathon, and attempt a PR.
Last year, I did a half marathon with my haphazard training and PRed - 1:33:23.  This is more due to the fact that I don't have a long repertoire of half marathons that I have done. 

Lest you think I am completely mentally over Boston, I'm not.  Much like the Olympic Trials, I'm still reading every recap I come across (links to a few of my faves below).  




What Actually Happens to Your body During a Marathon - not Boston specific, but still interesting



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Be Brave

In February, I applied to become a Momentum Jewelry ambassador.  I had admired their motivational wrap bracelets on the wrists of all of my IG "friends" and bought one for a friend for her birthday.  I felt a connection to the company as it was founded by a woman named Amy who also had her MPH. (Lame, but true.)

I found out later in March that I was selected!  I was given the option to pick a wrap bracelet and a foot note for my shoe.  I picked "like a boss" for my shoe and "be brave" for my bracelet.  Be Brave is a familiar mantra in my house.  It is one my five year old was given through some play therapy sessions we went through at the close of 2015.  I had borrowed it on a few bad runs and I also knew she would be excited when she saw it.

I was checking my mailbox like a madwoman (even more than I usually do) in the days before we left for Boston.  I so wanted those items for my race!  On Thursday morning, hours before we left, my husband even went to the post office for me to see if it was there.  (He's a keeper, that one.)

Alas.  No bling for my race.

We got back from Boston on a Tuesday evening and the accumulated mail from when we were gone was in the box.  There on top was my package from Momentum Jewelry.

Still pissed about the race that wasn't, I let out a few choice words, convinced that the universe was against me.

Nine days after the race, I am beginning to change my tune.  I think the universe knew I was going to need that motivation more AFTER the race, no matter what the outcome, than I would before.

Allow me to explain:

Last year, after my spring marathon, I was riding high.  I had run a marathon PR after some strong, but inconsistent, training.

Woohoo!

Look at me.  #likeaboss

Save for 2 5K races that I did in the month after that, I did not run.  "I earned a little break", was my thinking.

I ran a sprinkling of 5Ks over the summer but my running was all over the place.  Some weeks I ran 4 days, some weeks were 0.  Come September, when I registered for Boston, I knew I was going to have to step it up to get back into marathon shape.  It was really hard to get back into it and all fall I just tried to bring some consistency to my training, and really dedicated myself to it starting Thanksgiving Day with the Runner's World Run Streak Challenge.

I don't want a repeat of last year.  I want to have a great racing season this summer, capped off by an awesome half in the fall.  And while I am still trying to get over the race that wasn't, I know that in order to "be brave", I have to keep going.

Coincidentally, a colleague just gave me Big Magic to read.  I follow Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer) on Instagram (of course) and have wanted to read this book but never pursued it.  I donned my Momentum Jewelry bracelet for the first time and started reading it.  I am not even kidding but come page 2, she is talking about bravery.


So Yes.  I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. 

It's trying to tell me to keep going.  
Be Brave.  
Even my 5 year old could tell you that :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Full Race Report: The 120th Boston Marathon

In the days leading up to our departure for Boston, I was so so excited.  People at work threw me a party.  People sent me cards, emails, texts.  My daughter's teacher sent me a post-it noted of well wishes when my daughter told her she was excited about going to Boston because "my mom is running and I will get snacks."

Pre-Race Day
We arrived in Boston late Thursday afternoon.  My husband and two children (ages 5 and 2) were accompanying me.  I knew that this meant that I would not be able to lounge around in the days leading up to the race, however, I haven't really lounged around before any training runs and I really wanted to share the experience with them.

We walked a short way to Trader Joe's upon arriving at our hotel to get breakfast food and snacks.  On the way back, my son fell out of the stroller and instantly had two fat lips and a bloody nose.  He was gushing blood from his face and all over me.  I share this because this was the only moment when I thought perhaps it was a mistake to bring everyone.  Luckily, we all recovered, ordered room service for dinner and went to bed.

In the days leading up to the marathon, we did a lot of exploring.  I took frequent sitting breaks and even got to take a long nap on Saturday and Sunday.  I slept really well Friday and Saturday nights and I carried around a water bottle to keep hydrated.

AND.  

I wore running shoes the entire trip.  Fashionista Amy did not travel to Boston :)

During the days leading up to the race, I felt excited with a splash of nerves.  Nothing crazy.  One of the Boston Globe articles recapping the race mentioned how, since the bombing, the whole city has rallied around the marathon and we definitely felt that.  Boston is truly a magical place to be in the days surrounding the marathon, and I relished being a part of it.  

We had a great time going to the marathon expo and the pre-race dinner.  Luckily we did not have to wait very long for the dinner and it was bottomless food.  We went back to the hotel after the dinner and I started sorting out all of my stuff for the race.  We had gotten some warm weather advisory emails from the race director so I made the decision to wear a 3/4 bra top for race day since I had not done ANY warm weather training save for the week that I ran in Florida.  The only thing I wasn't sure about wearing was my calf compression sleeves.  I did ALL of my long runs wearing them with the exception of my last 15 miler, and my legs could tell the difference.  I didn't know if they would make me hot, though.  I packed them in my bag.

I set out all my stuff for the race the night before and climbed into bed around 9 PM.  I slept well until about 1 AM.  And then it was off and on until 5 AM when my alarm went off on Race Day.

Race Day
When I woke up that morning, I was so calm and excited.  I got dressed and pinned on my bib.  I wanted to french braid my hair to keep it all out of my face but I couldn't get it to work so just did two regular braids.  My stuff was already packed so I left my hotel room at 5:20 AM.

We stayed in Cambridge and our hotel had a coach bus to take all the runners to Boston Common to board the busses to Hopkington.  I bought a small coffee to take on the bus with me and filled up my hand held water bottle with Nuun.  The hotel offered bananas and granola bars as well.

When I got to Boston Common, I had to walk to the gear check area.  I had my gallon ziplock with nuun tablets, my calf sleeves, two picky bars, my aquaphor, my sunglasses, my chapstick, and my hand held waterbottle.  The air was cool but I was comfortable in a pair of windpants, and wind jacket that I had rescued from our Goodwill pile.  I went to the bathroom and then I waited for my training partner, B, another Oiselle woman from Wisconsin, L, and two other Oiselle women we were going to ride buses with.  I ate my banana.

The bus ride to Hopkington was fun.  The previous time that I ran Boston, I went with a training group and we had our own coach bus to the start so I hadn't done the BAA school buses before.  We got to the Athlete's village and immediately found a spot in the shade to stretch out.  I hit the bathroom again and then grabbed a plain bagel and another banana.  I had finished my 16 oz bottle of Nuun on the bus ride and then started drinking the water bottles they had available for us in the Village.  I was SO THIRSTY.  

It started to get HOT in the village.  People were all talking about how warm it was and I felt like this was no big deal.  Yes, it was hot but we couldn't change it - we would be fine.  I was really loving all of the camaraderie of the runners in the village, especially when we would see other Oiselle women (easily identifiable by our jerseys!).  There was an instant bond being part of the Volee that was truly amazing.  I received and gave hugs to complete strangers.  Posed for pics with them - later to be seen on Instagram.  LOVED it.  

I used the bathroom one more time and then had to get to the start corral.  I had discarded all of my clothes already and was sitting in my race shorts and bra for a while.  I slathered on some more sunscreen on my shoulders and lubed all around my bra top.  I pulled on my calf sleeves and started walking.  I didn't know anyone who was in my start corral so I didn't talk to anyone.  Even though I had gone to the bathroom 3 times, I felt like I had to go again.  I didn't have time to go again and chalked it up to nerves so I stayed in my corral.  I was already pretty warm and still really thirsty.  Despite this, I was set to go.  Excited!

The gun went off and I started my watch a few steps ahead of the actual start line.  It was SO crowded, which I anticipated, but I was having trouble getting into stride.  I approached mile 1 in 8:00 which was right where I wanted to be.  It didn't feel smooth but I wasn't worried because it often takes me a good 5 miles to find my stride and settle in.  I was HOT though and already through about half of my nuun that I brought along.  This was unusual for me.  I typically don't start drinking anything until about an hour into a long run.  

I grabbed a cup of water from the aid station and tossed it over my head.  FELT SO GOOD.  Mile 2 was 8:01.  Still on plan, but still felt off.   Grabbed more water for my head.

Mile 3 was more of the same - 7:54 pace and more water for my head.  At this point, my water bottle was empty, so I grabbed a cup of water and poured it into my water bottle as I was running.  It was time to start speeding up, per my plan.  

Miles 4 and 5 were 7:34 and 7:49.  I was through that in about 39:40 something which was slower than the 39 minute time my coach gave me.  Time to do first full body scan.  I didn't feel right.  I was so hot, thirsty and just could not get my legs to feel natural running.  I had a headache. Still, I felt like I would settle in.  I still was grabbing water at every mile marker to throw on my head and trying to dump some in my water bottle.  I think the slowing and speeding for the water tables took a toll.

Miles 6 through 10 were a bit of a blur.  I just tried to keep my pace constant around a 7:30.  There was absolutely no shade on the course for the first half and I was feeling it.  I took a Gu around Mile 6, which was what I had trained for.  My mile splits were 7:42, 7:40, 7:39, 7:43, 7:35.  This was slower than I should have been, but I wasn't worried because these seemed like training run splits.  However, during my training runs, these splits felt easy.  They definitely felt more "medium effort" at this point.  My leg turnover was just not happening in a nice fluid way.  I still was not panicked - I felt like I could make this all up and it would be fine.  

I still had to pee.

Miles 11 was a beast.  7:53.  Yikes.  I recall getting excited because I love the Wellesley scream tunnel and the Oiselle Cowbell Corner was going to be shortly after that.  I was fired up through the scream tunnel - loving the signs and the screams.  I stayed to the left of the girls so I didn't do any high fives or kisses.  The Oiselle Corner was fun.  Mile 12 was a 7:32 followed by a 7:39 mile 13. OK.  HERE WE GO.  My half split was 1:41 something.  I had printed out a 3:15 pace band at the Asics tent at the expo which had displayed what my half split should have been - 1:36:41 - for my goal pace.  So I was five minutes slower than on pace.  I still was not concerned - thinking that I was going to be fine and could make that up.  I am the queen of the strong finish, right?!

Ok.  Prepare for some TMI.  Between miles 13 and 14, the pantiliner that I was wearing was bunching up, likely from all the water I was dumping over my head.  I had forgotten to rip it out at my last bathroom stop before the race.  It was so freaking annoying.  I kept trying to stick my hand down my pants to fix it and it wasn't working.  I also still had to pee so I made the decision to duck into a porta potty at mile 14.  My mile 14 split was 7:42 and I peed all over myself but felt better.  I got back on the course.  My mile 15 split was 8:13.  

At this point, a little doubt kicked in.  I could not believe that I still had 11 miles to run feeling like I did.  I took a deep breath and just told myself - get to Dave and Marybeth (friends of mine on the course who were going to be in Newton).  This worked for a bit - mile 16 was 7:27.  And then it didn't.  Mile 17 was 7:53 and mile 18 was 8:15.  My legs hurt, I was so hot.  I stopped and walked.  At that very moment I heard my name and saw Dave and Marybeth.  I ran over to them and gave them a hug and told them to text my husband that I would see him a little later than planned.  (He was at mile 25).  I started running again when I literally ran into my training partner, B. She was also struggling.  We talked each other through it....maybe said that the race was bullshit...but that we wanted our medals.  

Mile 19 was 7:49, Mile 20 was 8:34.  We felt awful.  We took a bunch of walk breaks.   Mile 21 was 9:29; Mile 22 was 9:12; Mile 23 was 8:55.  Somewhere around here, I lost B.  I was literally shuffling my feet. My back was killing me.  At mile 23, I just wanted to be done but I felt like I could finish it and keep going.  I was telling myself this is where the crowds are awesome and my family is ahead.  I'm not going to make 3:15 but maybe I can break 3:30.   Mile 24 was 8:05.  My legs and back were on fire.  I just had to get to Mile 25 to see my kids - keep running, keep running.  Mile 25 was 7:52.  I heard my husband and I just stopped.  He said - "We are at the green flag ahead!!"  I looked up and there was a green flag maybe 20 feet ahead of me.  I hobbled over to the flag where my family was!  I gave Maggie a kiss through the gate and then Will leaned over and yelled "MAMA" and gave me a hug and a kiss.  My dad said, "you are almost done" and I just said, "Easy for you to say!".  I crossed the line saying "one mile to go" and just kept repeating "right on Hereford, left on Boylston, you can do it".  

I turned left on Boylston and the finish line was SO. FAR. AWAY.  I just stopped.  I then said to myself, "What the hell are you doing?! You can't walk on Boylston."  So I kept running through to the finish.  Mile 26 was 8:18.

I crossed the finish and thought I was going to pass out.  I did NOT want to end up in the medical tent but I could not stand up straight because my lower back was so hurting.  My legs were not feeling good - I just wanted to get my calf sleeves off.  I had my medal, I had my warming blanket and I sat down to get the sleeves off.  "You can't sit here Miss.  You have to keep moving through to gear check."

I lost it.  I just started sobbing.  I'm not talking tears - I'm talking sobbing, choking.  I was in a ton of pain and I was STARVING.  This is another weird thing because I am never hungry immediately after running.  I got back up, and kept slowly moving, continuing to sob.  I shoved a banana in my mouth and started chugging some Gatorade Protein drink they gave me.  I got through to gear check, got my back, dug out my phone and called my husband, still sobbing.  He told me they were at Newbury and Exeter and that my daughter was standing in a line to go to the bathroom.  

I sat down on a sidewalk, calmed down my crying a bit, took my shoes off, the calf sleeves and put on my Birkenstocks from my gear check bag.  AHHHHHHHH.  By the time I met up with my family, I had gotten myself together and was so excited to see them.

Then it was back to find a taxi.  My two year old of course wanted me to carry him.  Nevermind my aching back, I put him on my hip and started walking to the taxi.  #MotherRunner

Post-Race
When we got back to the hotel, the hotel staff were lined up at the door with pom poms cheering for runners.  There was music playing and snacks.  My friends Dave and Marybeth and their kiddos came to the hotel to see us which was awesome.  I didn't sit down because I was afraid to.

I finally got back up to the room and took some Advil.  I took a shower which felt amazing.  My running hat was white with salt but I had no blisters or chafing.  I have some wicked sunburn on the right side of my body though.  

I donned the aqua and pink finishers jacket and my medal and we made our way to the post race party at Fenway.  I met up with B & L and we had a beer and some dinner, after meeting Desi Linden.  :)

I was excited to get to bed but I slept like crap that night.

We arrived back home in WI early Tuesday evening.  Then it was time to do laundry, unpack suitcases, get ready to return to work and school the next day.

Return Home
My quads are still destroyed, my lower back still sore.  I have been enjoying looking through pictures and reading race recaps.  I know I am not alone in having a bad race.  

SBS said, "...and most folks finish times were about 20 minutes slower than they were shooting for" in her recap.  I don't know if that is official or anything, but I like to think that is true. 

I'm still trying to get to the place where I am celebrating the great training that I had, like @NYCRunningMama who I religiously followed on Instagram, pumped up by her training.  She said, 
"Of course I am disappointed.  I didn't bust my butt for months to run 13+ minutes slower than I did in the fall."  #truth

Or the feeling of accomplishment of just getting to run the infamous Boston Marathon like @PeaceLoveMotherRunner via Instagram, "Not the race I had trained for, but crossing that [finish] line never gets old!"

All Runners should feel like Champions via The Boston Globe.

Yesterday I was so so sad that it was all over.  

Today I went to a meeting at work that closed with this quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."

I teared up just reading it - obviously my mind still on the race and the experience.  I am feeling better, mentally and physically, and really can't wait to start running again.  Here again, this is unique.  Last spring, I was so excited to be done with training, i took a bit of a break, that ended up lasting most of the summer.  I still did runs, but nothing consistent.  I am hoping to continue my great training and hit up some great races this summer.  In the words of the Terminator,


"I'll Be Back."




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Time That Wasn't

WOMP WOMP.

For those of you who do not personally know me or follow me on Instagram, let me just get right to it.  I did NOT meet my time goals for the 120th Boston Marathon - any of them.

My finish time was 3:31:49.  

Out of 7 marathons that I have now done, the third fastest time.  Not even close to a PR.

(On the flip side, it was about 1:45 faster than my 26 year old self ran it. I had to throw some sunshine in here!)

I was very disappointed in the time.  Even though many people that I knew and follow on Instagram also had similar experiences to mine, it still hurt.  I was very well trained for this - probably the best trained I have ever been for a marathon.  So, the time was a let down.   I pushed myself as much as I could - I had a lot of mental successes on the course but my legs and back quit despite my many efforts to will them forward.

I bought a Boston Globe at the airport yesterday and made it through 2 articles and started the 3rd, which made me cry. So many points resonated with me. I did not have a finishing kick at Boston.

I am working on a recap of the race so watch for it in the coming days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Days Until Race Day! FIVE!

541 days ago, I started this blog as a way to hold myself accountable for a goal I had:

Qualify for, and run, the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Almost a year ago, I qualified by running the Wisconsin Marathon in 3:25:50.  Step 1, Done.

In 5 days, barring any freakish occurrence (knocking on wood right now!), I will run the Boston Marathon.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Ok.

In preparing for this race, I have read a lot, and have worked on mental training as much as physical training.  Last week, I finished reading The Runner's Brain.  Regardless of source, a given of race prep is setting a number of goals.  Call them what you will (e.g., "good/better/best", "A/B/C"), they all boil down to the same concept.

I have had a central goal since beginning training:  Run this sucker in 3:15.  However, I have a more nuanced race plan after talking to my coach and doing some thinking.

Worse case scenario:  In the words of my coach, this is the "oh, I feel like shit today" plan.  If I show up to the start feeling like I am on my deathbed, I just enjoy the experience and take it in.

It is good to have a back up plan, but I'm hoping not to invoke the worst case scenario.  So let's talk about how this is going down.

Start line:  START SLOW.  I want to run the first three miles at 8:00 pace, the first five in around 39 minutes.    Ease into the 7:30 pace land.  If at 5 miles, I'm feeling good, continue with 7:30.

At 10 miles, check in with my body and evaluate.  If all systems go, continue with 7:30.

At 15 miles, check in with my body and evaluate.  If all systems go, continue with 7:30.  Here is where the hills come in.  If I'm feeling good, continue to try to do 7:30 on the hills.

At 20 miles, if I'm feeling good, all systems go.  Finish strong.

What does this look like time wise?  My physical training would have me believe that a straight 7:30 pace should be doable.  Finish time: 3:16:48, within the 3:15-3:17 zone.  I would be happy with this.

Of course, I don't dream of that.  In my visualizations and deep down, I want to finish strong (7:15 pace land) and finish in 3:15 or under.

If I don't make any of those time goals, I at least want to PR, which would be to run it faster than 3:25:50 AND negative split the race.

As my coach reminded me, regardless of the outcome, I should be happy and proud of the process and my training.  I was consistent, as consistent as I have ever been, and I kicked out some hard HARD workouts.  I am proud and happy with my training.

But, if I'm honest, a little part of me will be disappointed if this is a total flop.  Luckily, I have had a great block of training and the chunking of thinking of the race in 5 mile increments is a mental strategy that I have invoked, and have had success with, in the past.  Finally, THE CROWDS!  Really looking forward to the boost that will give me as well!  

Emotionally, I am riding high right now.   If I think too much about it, I get tears in my eyes.  (Indeed, I was welling up while listening to the "race prep/race strategy" convo with my coach last night!).   Every time I imagine crossing the finish line, the tears come.  The key will be to channel that, especially at the start!

This is my last post before the race.  I am back on Tuesday night and will do my best to get a recap up next week sometime.  You can follow me via the athlete tracker system (or download the app!) and enter my bib number 14233.  And if you don't already follow me on Instagram (@amyschlott) I have been known to overgram more than one occassion :)

Thanks so much for reading this 1 year, 5 month and 29 day journey I have been on!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Well, I got that out of my system.

Last week was the worst week of training I have had in a long time.

I was supposed to do 3 x 1.5 miles last Tuesday and my coach gave me an out and said do 2 x 1.5 miles on Tuesday if you're feeling tired.  I took the out, although I could have done it.  I was on the treadmill and no matter that I have done some TOUGH workouts (hello, 18 MILES) on a treadmill in the past few months, I couldn't do it.

Then, I had an easy 10 mile run on Saturday.  It snowed a bunch of times last week and even though I have run in snow/icy conditions all winter, I was nervous to run outside with a little over a week until race day so I waited to do the run on a treadmill.  SUCKED.  I only did 5.23 miles.  And it was a struggle, mentally, to get that far.

I ended the week with a measly 18.45 miles, 5.8 miles less than my plan called for.

All last week, I was freaking out.  And today I feel calm.

I was texting with my best friend last night, freaking out about the shitty training week and the race day weather forecast (which called for 68 and sunny last night, lowered to 61 and sunny at press time).  She was awesome and reminded me that the weather is still a ways out AND "you can control your preparation and hydration, but not the weather".   True true and TRUE.  The best part of our text conversation was her reply to my sucktastic runs:

"Get those crap workouts out of the way now!"

SO TRUE!  I have had crap weeks before and you know what always followed them? A great week.

I have four easy workouts this week:
2 mile warm up, 2 miles @ 7:25, 2 mile cool down with 6 strides
30 minutes easy with 1 mile @ 7:20 in the middle
30 minutes easy
20 minutes easy with 6 strides

That's it!  Keep it loose, drink lots of water, and eat good food.

Oh.

And plan my outfit :)

Friday, April 8, 2016

I'm so excited....I'm so...SCARED


{Please tell me this is what comes to mind when you read the title of this post.}

A few weeks ago I was riding high on excitement for the Boston Marathon.  I am still telling myself that I am excited but in reality, I am SHITTING MY PANTS.

I haven't slept well ALL WEEK.  Something I found out about myself with my first pregnancy is that for me, anxiety manifests itself as sleeplessness.  So, whenever I am really anxious about something, insomnia is not too far behind.

I have tried techniques learned in a mindfulness class I took last fall at work.  I have been visualizing the heck out of the race.  I have called to mind all of the positive tricks and tips from this book, which I conveniently finished reading at 3 AM the other night.

All of my runs this week have totally sucked, which isn't much of a confidence booster either. This morning, I was huffing and totally stopped at the top of a hill, at mile 0.82 thinking, I must be running this too fast.  Nope.  8:02 pace.  ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any tips to "shake it off"?






Monday, April 4, 2016

Taper Week 1: Isn't this supposed to be easy?

I'll admit, I was hoping to be writing more exclamation points indicating excitement about how last week's workouts went.  Things like, "I crushed it!"  "It felt so easy!!".  

I'll ruin the surprise: That is not going to happen.

It was the first week of a three week taper period.  My coach said, "We are getting closer and you should start to be feeling better on every run."  

I wanted that to be true.  My first workout for the week was 1.6 miles warm up, strides, 2 x 3.5 miles @ 7:00-7:10 pace followed by 1.6 mile cool down.

This workout felt fine.  The challenge was mostly mental for me as it was dark and instead of staying in my neighborhood doing loops, I ventured out, not really thinking that it was going to get dark soon and I would have to make the journey home in the dark.   I was trying to balance reality with thoughts of "I'm going to get gang raped on the path".  Eventually I got home.  My 3.5 mile chunks were 7:03 and 7:01 mile avg pace respectively.  On paper, the run looks good but I was tired at the end of this one, likely attributed to the increased adrenaline pumped into my blood from my overactive imagination.

My long run was 15 miles, to be run as follows: 5 miles @ 7:45, 5 miles @ 7:30 and 5 miles @ 7:10-20.  I woke up on Saturday morning to snow.  WTF.  Every year, Wisconsinites do this dance of "it should be warmer than it is" and surprise when it is still snowing in April.  We shouldn't be surprised but we are.  I had pictured running this in my race day outfit - crop top and shorts, maybe with a throw away long sleeve to start.  Sigh.  I went back to the drawer with my winter layers, hat and gloves. 

I had already made my mind up that I was going to do my run in the afternoon, while my son was napping.  I had a great morning laying in bed with my family and drinking coffee and reading my book.  The afternoon came and the snow kind of stopped.  I laced up my shoes, and hit the road.

I wanted to do out and back but 4 miles into my "out" portion, I did some necessary diversions to the plan because I was SO tired from running into the wind and sleet.    Around the 7 mile mark, the weather improved some and I was feeling warmed up and ready to go, reflected in my pace.  I ended up with a negative split 15 miler, and a 7:33 avg pace run, but it didn't feel easy at all. 

From a gear perspective, I was all over the place.  I didn't have any more Gus left - I had known that for two weeks, but neglected to get to the store to stock up.  In place, I grabbed a pack of my kids' fruit snacks.  Guess what - those aren't really the same.  Then, I got home and realized that I didn't wear my compression calf sleeves for the run.  I don't know why I didn't wear them as I have worn them for every other long run.  Third, I know what underwear I WON'T be wearing come race day! Seriously.  15 miles in a pair of terrible underwear is NOT fun. 

And with that, I'm done over-analyzing last week.

Two weeks from today, I will be mid-race.  I already have had two nights of difficult sleep because nerves are trying to creep in.  EEK!

Total miles last week:  33.71
Total miles per plan: 33.75

Heard on The Run:

1. Running on Om Ask Lauren Fleshman #187:  Another Q&A with Lauren Fleshman.  As usual, I really enjoyed it.  I am interested in following up with Dr. Clyde Wilson's work on nutrition and the female athlete.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Hi. My name is Amy and I am an Obliger.

I listened to a Gretchen Rubin podcast on February 1 that sparked an "Aha!" moment for me.

I was an obliger.

This was not necessarily news to me as I had read Rubin's Better than Before book a few years ago.  I enjoyed the book, as I have her other books.  The underlying premise that frames Better than Before is that everyone can be classified into one of four tendencies when it comes to habits.  From Rubin's blog, in her words, the four tendencies "in a nutshell" are:

Upholders respond readily to both inner and outer expectations
Questioners question all expectations, but will follow expectations if they think the expectations are sensible (effectively making all expectations into inner expectations)
Rebels resist all expectations
Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Her hypothesis is that if you find out where you most closely align, there are different strategies that you would use to make a change in your habits.

I took the quiz to find out which of Rubin's four tendencies I was.

Except that I employed years of taking Cosmopolitan and other like-magazine quizzes and answered to get the category that I WANTED instead of the category I ACTUALLY was.

I had a hunch that I was an obliger but I didn't like the sound of it.  It sounded kind of wimpy.  "Just do whatever people tell you to do."  I wanted to be an Upholder.  

What does this have to do with running?

Well, for a while, I had a lot of inner expectations about running that I just was not following up on.  I started telling people about my goals, posting on social media and that helped me some.

Then I had a plan to follow, which also helped,  but no one was really making sure I was doing the plan so I started this blog.

Still, I wasn't exactly killing it on follow through.

Which brings me to the end of 2015 when I talked to EH and had him create a plan AND I had to email the log back to him once a week.

What happened as a result of a real, live personal accountability?

I have checked the box on all workouts (with the exception of 1).  

Little by little, I have realized that I am an Obliger.  I need those outer expectations. 

Ok, so I realize that, but I still don't like it.

Enter Rubin's podcast #37, which I listened to while on the treadmill on February 1.  The podcast is dedicated to a discussion about obligers, including Rubin's sister, who is one.  A listener wrote in with my exact conundrum: “I’m an Obliger, and I find that disturbing. I should be my own priority. Is it possible to move from Obliger to Upholder?”

The podcast talks about all of the strengths of the obligers and the fact that a big frustration can be the fact that we don't meet inner expectations.  A key to meeting inner expectations for obligers is to build in outer accountability.  As the podcast continued, I was continually relating to what was being said.  Maybe I should just embrace being an obliger and see if that makes it a difference!

I wanted to be consistent about running and meet some running related goals after the birth of my second child.  I was motivated to some extent and had a goal, qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I partially met my goals in the fact that I did qualify, but wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be.  Build in outer accountability - I got a coach.  Not only am I more consistent, I actually am back to a place of really loving running again.  Last year at this point, I was DONE with running, and still had a month to go before my marathon.  I have really enjoyed most of the process of the training over the past 4 months. Yay!

17 more days!