Today I went racin' and it felt good. Like real good. It was a small race out in hammertown. 8 clicks. out and back. No fancy shirts and no fancy finishers medals. 5 of us from the Runway went out together, warmed up, hit the startline together. orange power strolled in and everyone took notice.
The weather was perf. cloudy, light wind, and warm enough to wear shorts and singlets sans arm warmers. We gathered on the startline and boom we were off. Today I did a few things differently.
1. I raced for the first time sans my garmin. I pulled out the new timex. As per usual The coach was right. It changed everything. I spent NO time distracted by my pace, fretting over going too fast or going too slow. I ran by feel. unfortunately I went out too fast. I clocked my first click around 4:10. oops. I tried to pull it back but not so sure it happened. ha.
2. I raced in both compression socks for the first time. Perhaps it was mental but my legs felt fresher then fresh, I had more pep and bounce in my step. Afterwards I stated well I be running with those from now on. Better find me some orange ones.
3. I ran with a clear head. I somehow channeled my nervous energy. I know I know it was a small race with not a whole lotta pressure but it was good practice. i did not make nervous chit chat at the start. I took my position, did my usual hug, kiss, ear rub and jump routine and focussed straight ahead.
4. For the first time in a long time I felt like a real live athlete. I felt fit and strong. And well I know thats not really changing anything it helped bring the old confidence back. My level of fitness right now is kinda crazy to me. I mean I just ran a marathon 20 days ago and to go out and run hard was amazing. there has gots to me something to be said for that.
I am learning that in these short distances, it really is about strategy and planning. You need to think through each km because you do not have the time to lose, literally. Today i had to remind myself a few times that it was me against the clock and nothing more. When I saw the timex hit 33 mins on the ole watch, I knew I had to dig and pour it on to make my 35 mins goal. Strategically, I should have been smarter and started a little slower but now I know this for next time. one of my running buddies told me awhile back in training when we do mile repeats and such that think of the repeats like gears of a car. Each mile you gear up and go faster and faster so your last is your fastest and strongest. I need to bring this train of thought to my short distance racing. All in time, my friends.
All in all today was wicked. I won my agegroup, was 5th overall (which I am still a bit confused about, as I only counted 2 women ahead of me!? but alas, registration does not lie, right?) and I ran a PB of 35:28. I am thrilled. First time I have EVER won my agegroup. pretty cool right?? Team Runway killed it! The coach won men overall and Gilly won the womens top spot. Carolyn Hicks placed in her agegroup and ran a killer PB while Jeff Smith was 2nd in his agegroup. A great day for all. Pretty proud to be part of the Killer run club The Runway and feel lucky to have a coach who never seems to be bothered by never ending questions or queries and whom never seems to stop believin' in me. Awesome, right?
Time for a bubble bath and some white wine...
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt
So the New York Marathon is done and done. It was a killer experience all and all but I would be lying to y'all if I did not tell you I am and was a bit disappointed with my results. I know I know, the whole woah is me routine is lamer then lame and my blog is a space of optimism, sunshine and all that. BUT I am human and I pinky this will not be negative, just honest.
I work hard. Like real hard. I follow my running regime to the T. I follow a strict training regime and listen dutifully to my coach. My weeks are filled with 7-8 work outs and I run 50-70 miles. The past 6 months has seen me battle with obnixious injuries--some quad issues, some shin and calf issues and a big fat cluster eff in the ole right hip. I pushed through all of them. I ignored them as best I could and tried to keep my anxiety at bay.
Fast forward to last weekend...Nov. 5th. We were in NYC. I was feeling effing amazing. My legs had not felt that fresh in I cannot remember the last time. I was nervous but not overly. Nov. 6th, The morning of the race, everything went as planned. Although my tummy was a mess of knots and I did have some gastro issues--alas nothing I need to share here! We gots a little panicked from the ferry to the bus but it was all nerves. The weather was perfect. On the start line, my tummy felt empty. But there was nothing I could do about that now. I set those thoughts aside, hugged myself as always, kissed my biceps, rubbed my ear lobes and jumped three times (been doing this since I was a child as a competitive swimmer). And we were off. My first 16 miles felt good. I was a little slower then pace but I was really hoping to run a negative split so I was confident. The Queenboro bridge was effing tough. Quite an incline and with little decline for recovery. The side/head wind gots you good. But I tried to keep smiling and enjoy every second. From here on out, I had to push hard. At mile 20, I lost the feeling in my feet. from my toes up to my ankles. It was odd and disconcerting. Frightful thoughts raced through my head: do I stop? do I not finish? fortunately or maybe unfortunately, this is never an option for me. you finish what you start. so I kept trucking. My pace band had fallen out of my pocket some time ago but I knew I needed 8 mins miles. I could not keep'em consistent so I turned the face of my garmin away from me, put my head down and decided to just get'er done. I knew my goal time was already out of reach but I could not focus on this. I promised myself that what ever happened I would not be disappointed with my results because I did everything I possibly could to be ready for NY AND the fact that 6 mos ago all my sports health care providers told me the marathon was a far fetched dream that may not happen. well, I showed them didn't I? But the truth of the matter is, I am a tad disappointed by my time because I did do everything I possibly could to prepare. I made new choices like giving up certain things and missing out on certain things and although I would not change this for anything I still wonder why my body couldn't do it!! Am I proud of myself for rocking it best I could? hells yes but I want that PB more then you know. The fire is burning hotter then ever before. After the race, I was buzzed with emotional energy--positive. First person I called was my coach. I could hear the pride in his voice which made my heart smile. After it all set in a bit, I began reasoning with myself. Maybe my 3:29 at Mississauga was a total fluke. Gilly reassured me that running does not work that way. There are no flukes. She reminded me what I said a million times, sometimes its your day and sometimes its not. I made NYC my day but just did not get the time I was hoping for. Disappointment only brings a harder work ethic over here. 5 mins after the race I was like I am done with marathons. 6 hours later I was like well, maybe one more!? haha. I am going to take the next season to work on my short distances. Get the speed up. some goals I through out there to the coach were a fast half-hopefully a sub 1:35 with some pacing help and I would really like to try a tri in the summer.
As in every life situation, we learn. Every marathon I run, I learn more about who I am and what I am about. I am one determined chick. I do not give up easily.
The one thing that has been shocking to me, and in away disappointing, 2 days post race my legs felt fine. Like go for a run, no stiffness or sorenes fine. It goes to show you that a. I am in fricking great shape. and b. (grrrrr) maybe I did not push hard enough Sunday. I have enjoyed two short runs this week where I have felt light and fresh. I have one more week of chilltown then its back at it.
In conclusion, as promised, no negativity here. no siree bob. but honesty..yes ma'am. I love running. I love everything about it and I am going to keep working hard and get me some pb's. New York Marathon-I heart you. The experience was one of a lifetime. I will be recounting the moments within the experience for many days to come.
now, its back at it. off to get my ass kicked by the coach and I cannot wait.
I just wanted to write you a short note to let you know where I am at and where I am coming from...
I started training for you awhiles back. It was a tumultuous time for me as I had just been diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip along with some cartilidge tearing. My doctors and coach told me that there may be a chance I could not partake in you. Hearing such words were heartbreaking. I know lame when you think about it but hopes are hopes. I was disillusioned and irritated but then a switch went off in my head and my internal sunshine took over. I was going to do this. I was going to run you--hells or high waters I was gunning for you. I was making'er happen. July 20th was D-day. That was the day I was seeing my physiotherapist and I was going back to my sports doc to see where I was at, but more like where the ole hip was at. My physio gave me the a-ok as long as my doc was on board. I was confident I would hear the words I wanted to hear. I stepped inside his office and he greeted me with the hug he always greets me with. We chatted a little. I explained how minimal the pain had been that I had been experiencing some calf pain but was training through it with the help of my compression socks and some physio treatment. After some more chatting, he smiled and gave me the go ahead followed by--go kick some ass, Sarah. I was beaming. yet again I left his office with tears in my eyes...but this time the best possible kind.
I pushed hard this summer. I had to do some long runs on the eliptical and do some training in the pool but as of August I was making all my long runs and if I hadn't slipped on a banana feel late Sept my left quad would have been just fine (don't even ask, a story for another time).
NYCM, I have been going that extra mile in anyway I can. I have been doing one more push up just for you, holding plank for 30 more seconds because of you, eating and hydrating always with you on my mind, running that extra mile, that extra loop, that extra minute all for you. I go to sleep thinking about you and I wake up conjuring you. I ran a half marathon race all in your name and did not try to push too hard but did just as I was told--ALL FOR YOU.
On Thursday eve I am getting on a flight and I am coming for you. I am ready to own you. I have three substantial goals for you and I am confident you and I are going to get along great on Sunday AM. I have a lot of love you, dear NYCM. You have made me realize even more about who I am and the determination I posses. In away I feel as though we have been dating, you and I. We have made it to all three bases and on Sunday, get ready for it, we are going all the way.
For six months, at perfect eye level on my bulletin board in front of my desk has read :
"3:23 NYC. NOV 2011. DO IT."
Before running Boston I was scared. scared fucking shitless. The thoughts racing through my head were can I actually do this? am I actually ready for this? NYCM, right now the thoughts running through my head are so very different they are more like hells ya I can do this. I am not scared at all or frightened in the least. I feel well prepared and fitter then I have ever felt. I know anything can happen on race day but in my heart of hearts I know I have done everything in my power to be ready for you. NYCM, pls have the wind at my back and carry me along with the best intentions. work with me not against me and I promise you, it will all be worth your while in the end. I look forward to our encounter on early Sunday morning...I promise to be my best self. Thank you for all of you have given me thus far....Now, Lets do some racin'! Catch you at the start line, new friend.