Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day in and day out, plus in and out

I think at this point, all of the confetti and fanfare have settled since last week's 5k.  There's still a part of me that is looking back with some disbelief.  After all, it was a race where I was not planning on winning nor PRing, and somehow both happened.  And, to my greater surprise, it did not feel like an all-out sprint, either.  My two best 5ks that I've run, this and the Scope it out 5k in March (first time I broke 20:00), I felt light and able like I was able to just fly down the road.  Other times, I've felt more like I've gutted it out, but not in this case.  All of that has been added into the joyful feeling.  It was fun to go back to work, and when people asked about the race or saw the flowers, to say that I won.  I don't think some of my colleagues knew that I took running/racing seriously - but they do now.  My office also got a bit more fragrant and beautiful with another bouquet sent in from my grandparents.  The card read, "Congratulations - see you at the 2016 Olympics!"  That's a bit far off in dreamland, but speaking of...a few thoughts on this year's Olympics so far:
  • While it was a bummer that the American women didn't place higher in the 10k, it was great that they all set PRs in the race!  It was all of their Olympic debuts too, so you wonder what they'll be like in 2016.
  • I was so excited by watching Mo Farrah and Galen Rupp go 1-2 in the men's 10k and seeing an American medal for the first time since 1964 (as if I've been watching the Games since then).  The final lap was tremendous, and the look on their faces really demonstrated the pure shock and awe that they felt.  And how cool that two best friends were able to share that Olympic joy together.
  • I was very sad to see that the American women did not do as well in the marathon as everyone had hoped.  With Desi Davila's injury, it was not surprising that she DNF. Even still, it was heroic that she started the race.  And based on everything I read about Kara Goucher's and Shalane Flanagan's training, I think everyone expected (including themselves) a medal to come home with them.  Fearing that being in the group could cause a fall, they lead for a good portion of the race, which that, combined with the heavy rain and challenging course, ultimately got the best of them.  Even though they finished 10th and 11th place, there is still so much pride for what they've done for American running on the international stage.  And in reading about all of their training that they've done together, you can't help but root for them.

And of course, I have been doing some of my own running, too.  Sunday wrapped up Cycle 1 of my Fall 2012 racing plan.  Other than one run and one cross training session that I missed, the 4 week cycle went very well.  I've been really consistent with my strength training, and doing that 2-3 times a week without missing them I think has made a significant difference.
Sunday was an in and out tempo run.  2.5 mile warm-up, then 6 alternating harder-hard miles (7:00, 7:15, 6:57: 7:23, 7:00, 7:15), 2.5 mile cool-down for a total of 11 miles.  This is a good workout to work on changing gears during a run, and the slower miles aren't really that slow.  And then today, I ran 12 miles with 6 miles of tempo thrown in.    The mileage is adding up.  My big fall race, the Army Ten Miler in DC, is not until October 21st, so I am just looking to get in some good training right now.  No other races lined up for the coming month.  I am hoping to get in at least a 5k and 10k in September/October so I can do some more damage to my PRs.
But ultimately, day in and day out, I am just trying to get in these runs.  The sand in my Santa Cruz hourglass is slipping by - I leave on Monday to head back to the East Coast.  I remember someone once telling me that it takes 2 years of consistent running to really see improvement.  I feel like I am continuing to hone in on consistency and improve on it each year.  After all, that's what the Olympians are doing, and why shouldn't we take a few cues from them?  

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