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Monday, January 30, 2017

Austin 3M recap

Austin 3M Half Marathon has been a race I wanted to do for a number of years, after kicking off my marathon career there I always wanted to return and race the downhill half I had heard so much about.  So when the opportunity showed up, I got on the plane, and couldn't wait for the race.

My VolĂ©e teammates picked me up from the airport, bought my dinner, gave me a place to stay, made me coffee, drove me to a run in the morning, laughed with me, watched me tear up at the inauguration, drove me all over for all my needs, cow belled their knuckles off, shared lunch with me, and got me back to the Airport.   Talk about southern hospitality...the Lone Star Bird have it coming out their ears!  I felt so welcomed, and supported every minute I was there!  Thank you ladies for putting up with my needy race week self, and loving me none the less! You are exactly what Oiselle envisioned when they put together a team of women uplifting one another! 

Race morning showed up, and we had 30 MPH winds with some stronger gusts, but otherwise perfect weather.   3 miles into the race when we turned into the wind, I pushed back, but eased off the gas a bit to follow the race plan. Two miles later, after a couple more bouts with the wind, and being alone, I gave up on the race, and let the wind break me.  I recalled my time goal for this race. Broken.  I had already given up knowing I wanted to be there to run a fast time, and I boohooed my way through 8 miles at a moderate pace. I finished in 1:20:10 in 4th place. I shook my head in irritation with myself. How could I be so near sighted?! Why did I come all this way, and allow all of these people to do so much to help me just to throw in the towel because of the wind?
I started to beat myself up. I jogged a bit to clear my head. While I was jogging I remembered what I wanted to let go of this year.  Negativity- to choose to view life from a more positive perspective, celebrate the great, and GROW FROM THE CHALLENGES.   Being realistic when I wrote that I was really thinking about the celebrating the great part...who knew I would be faced with the second half so quickly! But I choose right then to drop the negative attitude, and take the time to note how I felt, and the number of things I could have done differently to position myself for a more favorable outcome the next time I am faced with unfavorable conditions. To remember this feeling and remind myself of my goal to race with no regrets in the future. 

So instead of writing about my PR's and blazing fast splits, I will tell you what I learned and want to be able to take with me from this next race. 

For me, rigidity leads to discontentment.  I couldnt see the forrest for the trees, until the race was over.  Then I realized I missed an opportunity because of my rigid goals. 

Missing the goal isn't the only thing that happened on the day.  I got to be a part of something much bigger than myself.  Being a part of the Oiselle family is such a supportive and loving experience, and racing to my ability level is a way to show my love back.  I will be thinking of the passion this team has, and use it as fuel in the future.

Thank you Lone Star Birds for reminding me to smile! The love you showed was incredible! 

We all make mistakes, in life, in races, in our job, in many things, but using those mistakes to grow allows us to become stronger, and more brave.  I made mistakes in this race, and will use them to grow as I chase my goals through 2017!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Recap, 2017 Goals

Closing out at year always has a fun new start feeling for me. I love getting to start fresh, and feel like I have a blank canvas looking into a new year.  I also enjoy looking back on a year past, see where we have come, and then think about where we hope to go.

2016 was a bit of a weird year for me as an athlete.  It started off great with a good step forward in the Jax bank 1/2 and a sign that I was going in the right direction heading into the Olympic Trials. I felt that I was in PR shape, and ready to roll.  I did a 16 mile simulation run, and had a very weird feeling. I told Ryan, I don't know why, but I just feel like that was my race.  It was too easy, it went by too effortlessly and that workout in the past had been a real grinder.  Three days later I would have very bad back pain that would allow me to hobble through the Trials in 3:11, and keep from training again until May. Throughout all of the time I was injured the Oiselle team was so supportive, and encouraging.  What a great place to lay your running head! In the arms of people who are proud of you even when things don't go to plan.
It felt like an eternity to cover the miles to get this medal. But I knew I was stronger for it.
Our family had a fun filled beach vacation, and the kids loved it this time! It was a great trip!

Once we got home it was time to get ready for the Akron Marathon. July and August were filled with a lot of running, and some very slow races as each race was run in over 80 degrees and high dew point.
Somehow I managed to win these races, and keep plugging away with goals for September's Akron Marathon.  I trained my butt off. It was a strength cycle for sure, seeing over 100 miles a week a number of times, and doing my longest day of 28 miles under 6:30 pace.  I rarely saw any work under 5:55 pace. Just loads of miles and a lot of time on my feet. Oh and thousands of core reps. THOUSANDS!!! Have I mentioned how much core I did!  All to get back to pre baby healthy, and stay strong enough to manage the demand of running and staying healthy!  And it worked!
It was a hot, and muggy training cycle, but worth every drop of sweat.
Three weeks prior to Akron I flew to Minnesota for Bird Camp. WHAT A WEEKEND!  Showing up to a camp with 30 strangers, and feeling like you have 29 new best friends 3 days later?!?!  The women who make up the Oiselle Volee are unlike any other.  They are kind, selfless, and supportive.  I flew home with love in my heart, and a huge group of ladies to support and feel supported by! 
I love you gals, and hope our paths cross soon! 

Finally race day in Akron came and went, and while the very challenging course, and 70+ degrees again yielded a much slower time than I would have liked, it was thrilling to win my hometown race for the second time.  
A feeling I won't soon forget. 
After Akron, I was back to training, and chasing down some leg speed.  After 4 marathons in 1.5 years I wanted to pretend like I was a 5,000m runner for awhile. So I did.  From mid October straight through Dec 31. I trained like I was planning to race 5k or 10k.  My legs feel fresh again.  I feel full of passion and love for the sport, and can not wait to chase some big goals in 2017! 

I am running under Steph Bruce Rothstein now, and really excited to see what we can do together! I think we can make a good match for training!  My goals for 2017 are big, and scary, but I am excited to chase after them.  For now they look like this: 
Austin 3M Jan 22nd- Run a new 1/2 marathon PR (under 1:16).  Race tough, and give myself a chance to run a PR. Don't be afraid of "failure" because it isn't real, and this false sense of reality has never made me stronger, nor faster. 

USA 15k March 11th-Put myself out there and in position for a top 10-15 spot, and roll with the punches. Bring home a new PR (under 53:00) and a strong race, full of begin fearless (not stupid, I will use my intelligence as well, but know I gave myself every chance to race well here). 

USA 1/2 Marathon April 29th- Pretty much the same as USA 15k.  Stick my nose out there and come away stronger!

USA 25k May 13th- Run under 90 mins and be in the top 10. 

Bjorklund 1/2 June 17th- Run under 1:15. 

Fall Marathon-  Qualify to the 2020 Olympic Trials. Put myself in a position to race fast, and come home with a new PR 2:36-2:38 sounds nice! 

So there you have it!  I have a lot of work to do to make them reality, but I have never been one to shy away from working hard to reach a goal. I have hope in my heart, and a passion for this sport and the people who make it so great. I can not wait to chase down some goals, and watch others accomplish theirs along the way!   Good bye 2016!  Cheers to a brighter, stronger, and faster 2017!