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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Marathon: A Fickle Beast

Oiselle invited me to write a blog about the first race I ran as a sponsored athlete of their company. http://www.oiselle.com/. Sally, THANK YOU!!

Aboard my flight from Dayton Ohio to Sacramento California, I couldn’t stop my mind from wondering to thoughts of coming through the 20 mile point, feeling poised and ready to cruise to the finish line in 2:36 well under the time I needed to obtain the long sought after Olympic Trials ‘A’ standard. I knew that would take a very solid effort on my part since only 2 months prior my dreams had come crashing down around me long before reaching even the 12 mile mark in the Twin Cities Marathon. Since then I had a few more great workouts, and very solid training block under me. Unlike Twin Cities I this time, I felt confident.
Two days and numerous bouts of daydreaming later, I found myself standing on the starting line breathing one last calm breath before the gun fired. It was finally time to do what I had imagined hundreds of times over in my head, RACE! I settled in quickly just off the back of the lead pack, and plugged away running 5:50’s for the most part. With each passing mile I kept waiting for the course to flatten out and the lead pack to start breaking up. Around mile 6 the pack began to break, but not the way I had hoped. I was the one falling off! The 5:50 miles had quickly turned into 5:45 miles, and I couldn’t hold on any longer. I frantically tried to keep myself from imploding, by reevaluating things, and trying to plug away at 6:00 pace. By 10 miles I was struggling to be under 6:10 pace. This was not the daydream race I had imagined. Around mile 14 a friend passed and with a slap on the butt she tried to pull me a long. We laughed a bit but I couldn’t keep up long. Mile 16 came in what seemed like 20 miles from mile 14 and another friend had caught up. She was having a hard time, and I tried to pull her along, but it wasn’t much after that she needed to walk. I counted my blessings then and realized, “this could be worse”. Around mile 18 a few men were passing out free beer. I want to tell you I didn’t even notice them because I was plugging away running as hard as I could, I was in the zone…but that would be a bold faced lie! I desperately wanted to stop, have a beer, laugh, and enjoy, enjoy ANYTHING!! 7 miles later when I finally reached mile 25 a little girl yelled “good news is, you can still break 3 hours”. Let’s just say she is lucky she was 8 years old because my smile would have been a more grotesque gesture had she been 18. Finally the finish line! 2 hours 55 minutes, and 15 seconds of dream shattering running behind me, then oddly enough I felt a smile come across my face.


I looked back through my splits, and had to laugh. I ran like I had no idea what lie ahead. As if I was stronger than the 26.2 miles of pavement that was ahead of me. And like the fickle beast it is the marathon had reminded me that all the confidence in the world doesn’t change it’s ability to bring us to our knees. I was sad to have missed my goal, ashamed of my decisions to run reckless in the first 10 miles of the race, and amazed with how well I was handling the disappointment. I have never learned so much in a single race during 15 years of running as I did in this one. Our ability to endure for the sake of something we want is simply incredible. Mile after endless mile we seek our goals with an unabashed passion, and the really difficult miles make all of the great ones more worth it. When I think back to the days leading up to the race I realize I couldn’t have possibly understood how much a terrible race could become a terribly amazing experience. I know I am blessed to fall apart to a 2:55 marathon, and I know that the next time I line up for a marathon, I will bide my time, and have a reverence for the distance before me regardless of how confident I feel, and if all goes well, hopefully I won’t notice the free beer until I cross the finish line with the Olympic Trials ‘A’ standard under my feet.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Exciting Things!

Some things in my life have been seeming very exciting lately, so I will share!

I have been running right around 80 miles a week with increasing voulme and intesity of workouts over the past month. It has been a lot of fun to get to do some fast running with Ann, and to feel some quick turnover again.

I have been working with my sports psychologist, Shaun Goodsell, and in only one week I feel like I am making progress to becoming a more mentally tough athlete. Shaun pointed out the root of my seemingly never ending anxiety. Everyday I experience it whether it be having to do a workout with someone, cleaning my house, or simply getting a couple things done at one time, I freak out a little inside, and often it is visible to those around me. I have wondered for over a year now why I feel this internal angst when working out with Ann in particular. She is really the only person I do workouts with, so I am sure it would go beyond her. I know she is a great athlete, but honestly I've never felt like I just can't run with her. However we would get into workout after workout, and I would panic and fall apart, feeling helpless. After talking with Shaun I felt a sense of relief. He told me that according to what he knew about me, the anxiety I experienced was due to a need for control over everything I do. It was like a nagging injury, it eats away at you until you finally find out what it is. You can be told you have a broken leg, and somehow you feel better just knowing why you are in pain.
Saturday Ann and I did probably the toughest workout we ever have together, and I felt a sense of calmness for the first time that I can remember. It was AWESOME!! We BOTH had great workouts, and I loved feeling freedom from the anxiety!

Shaun and I talk via email, txt or phone everyday, and then once a week we skype for about an hour. He is located in Minnesota, so that is the best way. His website is www.mentaledgenow.com. I am very excited to see the ways he can help me to become not only a better athlete, but person!

We have changed things a bit looking to Jan 28th. I will be running the 3k not the mile, and I am pleased with that. I feel like my fitness is coming along, and I am more motivated to chase a good time in the 3k than the mile for whatever reason. I doubt I would make the invite section of the mile, so the 3k was the better option.
I am excited to wear my new sponsor's jersey, and represent a company that is as awesome, and helpful as Oiselle! You can check out their stuff at www.oiselle.com they will be launching the Spring 2011 line on February 1st and IT IS AMAZING!!

So those are the exciting things in my life that I have to share! Also, January is 1/2 over which means we are closer to longer days, and more mild weather (fist pump)!!

Keep plugging away, and believing this is going to be an awesome year!!

Becki

Monday, January 10, 2011

it's indoor season

This month feels like indoor season, with days well under 10 degrees, and miles on indoor surfaces already under my feet! Yep, that's right I love indoor season! I love monotony and if it is time for indoor running that means spring isn't too far off, and that means TRACK SEASON isn't that far off!

I am looking forward to my first race in nearly 2 months coming up here soon. It feels like I haven't raced in a very long time so I am eager to get to the start line. I will race the mile at the Indiana Relays on Jan 28th.

Ahh the mile, it reminds me of college, and lactic acid up to my eyes! haha! I haven't raced a mile in almost a year, despite it being my favorite distance. I am not a miler, and if you have ever seen my knee lift you would fully understand haha!
I hope to be running under 5 mins in Bloomington in 18 days. My PR of 4:54 seems unrealistic to break, but sub 5 doesn't feel impossible. Tough, but not impossible.

After the mile in Indiana, I will be racing 3k in Akron, and Kent 2 different weekends in February. I love the thought of a 3k PR, and have made that my main focus for the next 6 weeks. or so. My PR of 9:41 only makes me want to become a sub 9:30 girl more than ever. I ran that time in Indiana a year ago, and have wanted to break 9:30 ever since. I will have 2 chances, then it is time to head on up to the 5k/10k for the outdoor season.

Training is going well, and I am actually feeling pretty fit despite not really having done too much. I am healthy, and eager to race, so those are both good signs. I begin working with a sports psychologist this week, and I am really excited about the help he may bring about. I have been told by 4 coaches it may be something I need, and I can not keep ignoring it!

So the next chapter begins...Indoor 2011!
Happy New Year!