Friday, July 6, 2012

Lessons From Not Training

Before I get into the unfortunate lessons I've learned from not being on a structured training schedule, let me tell you about my week.

Last Saturday after the race I was on my OMG I LOVE RUNNING/BEING ACTIVE high and that usually means one thing:

register for a half marathon - check.

register for a bike race - check.

I really should just start having my paychecks direct deposited to

Since I registered for a 41 mile bike ride with 2,200 feet of climbing, I thought it would be a good idea to maybe actually do some training for this.  On Sunday I made the 45 minute drive to Bristol, where the Ride takes place, and met up with Coach Rob for my first training ride.

Holy cow this ride doesn't mess around.  We rode 27 miles of the course and I learned really fast that I have lots of training to do...and that training needs to be done on mountainous hills.

sunday's ride - that's a lot of hills.

There was actually 3 times that I had to stop mid-way up a hill and walk my bike up.  I felt like my legs were going in slow motion and just wouldn't move my bike.  I for sure would have keeled over and died or cried without Rob there encouraging me.  2.5 hours later I had (barely) survived my first Highlander Training Ride.

One cool thing about all the climbing we did was the views we were rewarded with:

All in all it was a good ride, but I definitely have a LOT of training to do before I'm ready to tackle this ride in September!

After taking two (kind of unnecessary) days off, it was time for a Fourth of July race!  Holiday races are my favorite because who doesn't like getting dressed up and decked out in festive attire to run a race?!  You're pretty much guaranteed a good time when your race get-up looks like this:

happy birthday america

Not the best outfit choice for 80 degree weather, but so worth it.  The spectators and other racers loved it.  And you know me and attention.  Throw me in a race and make me the center of attention and I'm in my glory.

It was hot and I was slow, but it was a fun race!  My original goal was to finish under an hour, but once I got sweaty and a little cranky at mile 3, my goal was just to finish without Lady Liberty DNF'ing a race on her birthday.  

I found Mrs. Luce after the race and she came in 3rd place in her age group!  She is twice my age and basically runs twice as fast as me.  Maybe someday I'll be able to run with you Mrs. L.

And that brings me to today's run and the subsequent lessons I've learned from not being in training mode for the past two months.

I set out today with the idea of doing 4 to 5 miles and ended up only doing 3.  And it was a tough, not fun at all three miles.  

As I was melting from the heat and struggling to keep running, I realized how lax I had become about running since the half marathon in April.  I was convinced that after training was over, I was going to stay structured about my runs and keep running like I was in training mode.  Wrong.

very wrong.

Things I've learned from not being in training mode over the past two months:

If I don't have a training calendar telling me how many miles to run, I'm not going to run at lot of miles. At all.  Case in point this morning - Yeah let's go for five miles, awesome... oh wait, I'm only going to do three.  Oops.

I definitely took Tempo Thursdays for granted.  By the end of training, I was comfortably running 11:45/12:00 min/mile long runs..... now I'm riiiight about back where I started at 12:30ish - and it's not that easy!  You're telling me you lose speed if you don't work on it consistently?  Guess I'm learning this the hard way.

Sporadic long runs don't make for very fun miles.  Saturday morning long runs used to be my favorite.... until I took about 4 Saturday's off from them.  Going from zero long runs to jumping right into a 10 miler, and expecting your body to pick right up... yeah, not going to happen so much.

Just because I ran a half marathon doesn't mean that I don't have to work for my miles anymore.  I think I became a little running snob after I ran my half.  I mean I ran 13.1 miles, I'm a runner now, all my hard work is done right?  Wrong.  I think I'm JUST finally realizing that I still need to put a good effort into my running in order to get good things out of it.  As much as I can dream, I am not Kara Goucher. 

Bottom Line Lesson Learned: Being a "runner" is an on-going commitment that requires consistency and dedication.  I can't expect my body to run 10 miles when I haven't been building it up to do that.  Yes I ran a half marathon, but I worked damn hard to get there.  Why should any of my runs be any different?  I can't say I've really given 110% to any of my runs since the half.  During training, I left my heart out on the road.  My runs during training were tougher and more challenging because of that, but it was so much more rewarding.  As much as I liked to think that I didn't need a structured training schedule in order to be consistent and dedicated to my running, turns out I do need that structure.  I suppose these past two months were a way to learn some of these lessons, but I'm ready to get back into training mode and get back to that runner that crossed the half marathon finish line!

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