They say that half of everything is timing. They also say that hindsight is 20/20. With that in mind looking back at the first part of the year this wasn’t a good time to start an aggressive training program for a couple of reasons.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I did a lot of soccer reffing at the beginning of the year. and it extended longer into the year than expected. I tried to start 5K speed training at the same time. I know know that this was less than ideal. I had to skip a lot of training runs to work soccer games and they aren’t quite as equivalent as I hoped. That was mistake #1. I think it actually lead to more mental aspect of running fast than fitness problems.
Once the seemingly never ending soccer season finally ended I was able to get down to the business of training and following the plan that Coach Corrie had laid out for me. It went very well for about a month. I was fairly certain that I was going to die during a few of the sprint workouts. Had what was probably the worst asthma attacks I’ve suffered in the past decade.
The workout was repeat 400s and I only had to do 5. I was actually really excited for this workout even though my search for a track to do it on had failed. 400 was MY race in high school. I know how to run a quarter mile, or so I thought. I found a quarter mile loop in my neighborhood. Laced up the flats and set out on a short warm up to the loop. Coach V even came with to help time them. Temp was good but windy, I mean seriously windy. But I ran track in all kinds of weather. As my middle school coach, Coach Smith, would say, “We are an ALL weather track team.” besides when you are running a loop you have the wind at your back the same amount as its in your face.
We had previously worked out that i would need to run just under 1:30 400s to equal my goal race pace. and my thought was “no problem” I used to be able to go sub 50 seconds. Turns out that was 20+ years ago and a few things have changed. Namely about 70 pounds.
The first one wasn’t bad came through at 1:23. The main concern I had is that it took all I had to pull that off. I was only suppose to rest for a minute before round 2. I stalled and waited 2 before I felt like my heart wasn’t going to explode.
This one was somewhat predictably slower. 1:48 I was finishing into a headwind and it was taking a toll. Again waited 2 minutes and went again
About half way though I was struggling mentally to keep going and walked a couple of steps before turning back into that merciless headwind. The I waited 3 minutes and noticed that coach V was concerned. It had taken me 2:30 to make that lap. And I was apparently starting to look pretty rough. I was losing control of my breathing. Which isn’t good for anyone but is of particular concern for an asthmatic. But did I stop. No, I’m just not built that way.
I was completely mentally out of this workout at this point. I was beating myself up for taking so long on lap 3. I lost complete control of my breathing and then turned into the wind. A headwind feels like its sucking the air out of your lungs and doesn’t let you replace it faster enough. This greatly amplified the sever asthma attack that was continuing to get worse with each step. 1:52 Ok that was faster but I knew that I was paying for it. I waited about 5 minutes for try to regain my composure and not throw up as soon as I took another step. Coach V suggested calling it a day and reluctantly I agreed. I knew that once I stopped the asthma attack would get worse but I had to get out of this wind if there was hope of controling it.
So we walked home. She tried reassuring me that I did a great job on a very difficult workout made more difficult by the conditions. But frankly, I was pissed off at myself. For being so slow, for walking in a 400 m run, for letting Coach V and coach corrie down. And for letting an asthma attack get so out of control before I started taking it seriously. It took almost 3 hours of constant use of my rescue inhaler and meditation, I may talk about that in a subsequent post, to get to get a handle on it. In hindsight I should have gone to a hospital for it. It took another 3 days before I felt like I was breathing normally again
While I’m still not happy about that day but I know that one bad session does not have to invalidate a program or progress. I was still improving and more importantly having fun.
I felt like I was getting faster, too. During the group runs I was hanging with some of the faster packs, and occasionally leading.
This is where you might expect me to say something along the lines of , “And then disaster struck”. And as cool as that would be to say, it wouldn’t be true. Other parts of my life simply started to take over.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that coach V and I where expecting our 4th addition to the family. This coincided with the last month of the training. The last month of the pregnancy was exhausting for me, so I can’t imagine what is was like for coach V who stayed at her day job up until the day before baby Molly’s arrival. She wasn’t sleeping well do to being so uncomfortable, which meant I wasn’t sleeping well since i’m a pretty light sleeper. I also tried to pick up as many of the household tasks as I could to take some burden off her. So running just moved down the priority list.
The latest addition to the running support crew arrived on April 2 at 8:24 am. 6lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long, easily the biggest coach V has had to date. Coach V made the whole thing look easy. Completely natural birth, no complications at all and we where out of the hospital the next morning in time to get lunch.
Molly is now nearly a month old and we are still trying to re-establish routines and find the new norm for the house. The biggest challenge is Molly wants to eat constantly. I mean this kid is definitely mine she has my ability to eat anytime regardless of how long its been since she last ate. This isn’t the first go around with a baby for me or coach V and this impressive.
So, I think its safe to say that I’ve been a little distracted recently.
There is still time this year to work on my sub 18 5k goal and I haven’t lost hope. I have speed in this body somewhere. I just need to find it again.
I am struggling with staying focused during races. I’ve been running 5ks like I used to run the 400m dash. Go out fast and try to hang on. Its how I ran in high school cross country too. The issue seems to be that after about the 1.5 mile mark my brain starts screaming at me to stop and walk a couple of steps. The main problem is that once you stop and start to walk, even if its just a little bit, its hard to start back up. It also starts a cycle of wanting to stop more frequently. I know this is all part of the mental game and that my body can easily handle running 3 miles, but I don’t know how to get past this mental hurdle.
I recently ran in the Scottsdale Run the Runway. Coach V and Molly came to support me 4 days after she was born.
Talk about a flat course. Basically you start in the middle of the airport on a taxiway. Run to the end turn left to get on the runway. Go the length of the runway. Turn left back to the Taxiway and run back to where you started.
Before the race I bumped into one of the guys from the Embrace your Pace Group and decided to try to stay with him. I did alright for the first half. it was a rolling start so there was alot of dodging slower runners and strollers at the beginning. Aaron is a big believer in negative splits, which is kinda the opposite approach I’ve always used. However, with someone there who I know that I can stay with during the group runs I thought I would give it a try.
I made 2 errors.
Error number 1, we had just had a kid 4 days ago. I was exhausted. Turns out that birth is taxing even for the dad, although I’m sure its to a lesser degree than the mom.
Error number 2
This is kind of 2 errors in one. I had only been on 1 run in the previous 2 weeks. and that lead to the second part of the error. I kinda have 2 modes, going hard and seriously laid back. I have no concept of internal pacing. During the group runs I push myself to stay with people. Aaron has more pace disciple than I do and uses the group runs as “easy” run. So, my pushing after a month of intense training can stay with Aaron’s easy to moderate run. His race pace is..um..faster. Had I stayed with the training through to the race I may have had a shot of staying with him. After 2 weeks of nearly nothing I feel lucky to have stayed with him as long as I did.
It was really cool to see him at the end of the race cheering me to the finish. He did mention that the strength of my finishing kick was an inspiring thing to watch. Admittedly I can drop the hammer down when I need to, just not for very long.
But my kick is part of what frustrates me so much. I can get down under 5:30 pace during the kick to the finish. So to me that says that I’ve got the foot turnover and power to go fast. I’m just not sure if I don’t have the endurance or my brain doesn’t think I have the endurance to go that fast for 3 miles.
My high school coach always thought that I was subconsciously holding on to too much reserve. I think it it has more to do with going too fast at the start, and slowing down to a recharge pace in the middle. So, next race I’m going to try for a negative split. Its time to stop thinking like a sprinter and think like an endurance runner.
Until next time…C-YA!