Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rejuvenation Plan

I’ve had a couple days now to reflect on my performance at the New Bedford half marathon, and while I don’t see a need to dwell on it (since it really wasn’t such a bad time), I do think there are things I can take away from it to improve going forward.  While it’s true that physically I wasn’t in ship shape, I think a greater issue was the psychological component of my training.  How often this winter did I talk about Hyannis; the training, the miles, the excitement building up to it.  I really never psyched myself up for New Bedford and I think that really impacted my approach towards the race as well as my performance on race day.  Now I am a realist, and I know I’m never going to be a fast runner, but I should at least enjoy it and feel good while I’m doing it.  The bottom line is that I just didn’t enjoy New Bedford, and I truly believe that’s a reflection of my lack of psychological preparation.  After giving it some thought, I have been very eager to get back onto the pavement, put that race behind me, and move onto more fulfilling times.  So, naturally I put a plan in place to re-energize myself.
The Rejuvenation Plan
Task 1: Get talking!
Part of what made Hyannis so exciting was the momentum leading up to it, having a couple friends to run with, and swapping war stories and training plans.  I had no comrades for New Bedford, and I didn’t really generate a lot of discussion with friends leading up to the race.  I won’t make that mistake again.  So, let’s talk about my next race!
                The next race on the docket is the Boston Tune Up 15k.  This is one of my favorite races of the year.  The race is an unusual distance and is meant as a final long-ish run for those running the upcoming Boston Marathon.  The course is mostly hills but they are fun hills (no, really!).  The scenery is rural, it’s practically in my backyard, and it happens to be sponsored by the running club that I belong to.  But honestly, my favorite aspects of the race are the personalized bibs (OMG you did this just for ME?!) and the very generous spread of food donated by members of the club.  What’s most exciting about this year’s race is that my very own mother will be volunteering at one of the water stops.  Yay Mom!
                But as far as actually “talking” about it, there probably won’t actually be a lot of dialogue with friends leading up to the race.  And here’s why.  In the average world of non-runners, here’s how the conversation would go:
Me: “Hey, I have a 15k coming up, I’m pretty psyched about it”
Non-runner: “Nice! Was it a loan? How are you going to spend it?”
Me: “Um, no… It’s not money.  It’s a race that I’m running.  I’m really looking forward to it”
Non-runner: “Oh (demonstrates clear disappointment)… So how long is it?”
Me: “15k equals 9.3 miles, so it’s a pretty good distance.  Lots of hills too.  Can’t wait!”
Non-runner: “Wow that’s a lot.  Is that a marathon?”
Me: “Um, no… a marathon is 26.2 miles.  I haven’t done one yet but I just did a half marathon last week.”
Non-runner: “Nice! How long is a half marathon?”
Me: “13.1 miles.” (Idiot)
Non-runner:  “Wow, that’s a lot.  How long is the Boston Marathon?”
You get the picture.  So, I’ll be careful about who I chat with about this race, and I’ll spend more time building momentum through blogging.  Which leads me to task number 2.
Task 2: Get Blogging!
I’m going to make it a point to blog regularly and with new material.  My new idea is to add more visual content to the blog.  Sometimes I forget people actually read the blog and I’m caught off guard when out of the blue someone says, “So have you had the ice cream yet at the ice cream stand?”  Or, “Has Pinky been back to run with you yet?”  Or, “Sorry you puked at New Bedford”.  So going forward I will try to add some pictures of some of the more regularly featured aspects of the blog.  For starters, I’m sharing the infamous ice cream stand, with the Open flag on the sign.  Since it was only 38 degrees during today’s run, we did not stop in for a cone.
The infamous ice cream stand - now open!

Task 3: Get Running!
This morning I told Todd that I felt that my recent poor performance in New Bedford was directly related to his knee injury.  He normally runs pretty fast, sprinting off in all directions, which caused me to run faster.  Every run with him turned into a bit of a speed session for me.  Since he’s been nursing his knee, he has slowed down to a more comfortable pace, which in turn has made me more complacent.  He didn’t have the same logic, and reasoned that the big bag of excuses I carry while running is what’s weighing me down.  Okay, point taken.  He sped up considerably today though, and it was a blast trying to keep up with him.
                In addition to putting in more consistent speed work, I have to get my hills back.  I have lots of hills around my house but I haven’t been running enough at home.  I have a goal to incorporate 3 hill workouts between now and the 15k.
                I think all of us have gotten in a bit of a rut with the same running routines, and it’s time to switch it up a bit.  Right on cue, Jaimee announced today she created a new route for us to try.  All we had to do was take a shortcut out the back of the parking lot and through the woods.  When we got to the “woods”, I couldn’t believe it when she started climbing this hill that went almost straight up.  We literally had to use our arms to climb up this hill, and then bushwhack our way through trees to get out to the road.  It was pretty hysterical. 

Todd & Jaimee climbing down the cliff

The route she created was lots of fun, and sure to be one of the regulars going forward.  It will be known as “Jaimee’s route”. 
Hopefully these three goals will help me get on track and back into some confidence boosting runs.  I think I’m off to a good start so far.  I’m currently accepting requests for pictures to share on the blog!  Rumor has it there’s a bagpiper that comes out in good weather. That might be worth getting on video!

1 comment:

  1. My eyes are delighted with the new visual content :). BTW... I'm using "the big bag of excuses I carry while running is what’s weighing me down." against my running peeps. Thanks for that one... or thank Todd for that one!