A Little History
One thing I have missed since I started triathlon a year and a half ago is my running club. This is a club close to my heart. It was founded a few years ago by a group of us who ran together in the early morning almost daily. We had a big meeting/party, decided to become a club, got USATF certified, and started a website. We created an inaugural Grand Prix and had singlets made. Two years later our club remains strong at almost 40 members. This is not due to my involvement, however.
When I began triathlon, I pretty much stopped running with the group, even though I was president of the club and on my way to winning the Grand Prix. It was hard to coordinate my specific workouts with the workouts of the group, and I'm not the kind of person who can foist my agenda on others anyway. Still, I continued to train every once in awhile with the group, and I made sure I attended every Grand Prix event, insuring my win (for women) that year, and having a great time to boot.
In the winter of 2008 I got a coach for the first time. Now I was expected to answer to someone about my workouts; no more fudging things so I could catch a run with my pals. Plus, I had to stop road racing every weekend--which had tied me to my club more than anything else. I became completely MIA. New members joined the club and I didn't know who they were, whereas previously I had been the contact person for the club, and the entry into it. I resigned as president, another club member took over the website, and I tried not to feel too guilty that now my whole athletic life revolved around my triathlon pursuit instead of the club. Eventually my club stopped asking after me, and instead was just really surprised if I happened to show up for something. I've missed them. I also miss being a Runner. I miss racing every weekend. Most of all, I miss being central in that group.
I was pretty psyched to run this race with my club.
The BayState Half Marathon is one of the only club events I joined in on this calendar year, and I'm so glad I ran it, even if I did mess up my training for Worlds slightly. Nearly half the club participated in the event. Out of it came two Boston qualifiers (a few GNRCer's ran the marathon), four top ten AG finishes in a race of over 1000 runners, and two first time finishes of a half marathon. The most exciting part was that my friend Melissa, who had tried to qualify for Boston at two previous marathons, finally got her very deserved qualifier. She ran a smart, strong race. Michael, one of the founding members and the bedrock of our club, ran with her the whole way. The rest of us followed in a van after we had finished the 1/2 marathon, and several members jumped out to run with her in the final miles, despite that they had just run the 1/2 marathon. It was totally inspirational. It made me feel so connected to the club again, and it made me realize that after I finish IM this summer, I'm going back to the group. It's what I love and it's where I belong. That's not to say I won't also continue triathlon; it's just that triathlon will no longer be the most powerful force in my athletic life--deciding for me what I can and cannot do.
Onto my race. I had a great, great race.
Although I haven't really publicized this, I have begun working with a new coach, Jen Harrison. She's a pretty awesome person, and a really awesome coach. After Timberman I let Jen know how disappointed I was in my run there. She assured me that things would get better. And they have. On Sunday I had my first PR in over a year and a half in running. I attribute this to two things. First, Jen has had me do more running than I had been doing, and she has also had me do more intensity then I had been doing. Second, she has been watching me. This is pretty powerful, actually. She gets after me about being self-defeatist. She checks to see that I'm completing my workouts, and HOW I'm completing them, and with what attitude. At first this made me claustrophobic. I realize now that is because I've never been held truly accountable for my workouts. I have always worked hard. I have also always cut myself slack if I needed it. I have always tried to do my workouts as prescribed. I have not always FORCED myself to do my workouts EXACTLY as prescribed EVERYTIME. There's a difference. And the difference, I believe, resulted in a great race on Sunday.
Sunday was cold. This was rather shocking to me, since this fall it's been rather balmy. I was expecting to wear a t-shirt and shorts, but during warm up it became clear that a long sleeved shirt was in order. I cursed myself for not bringing gloves and tights. It was that cold.
I warmed up with Rose and Melissa, two of my GNRC friends. I wanted to run hard and fast during warm-up because I was SO cold. This would have been dumb, of course, so we ran a normal pace. After a mile or so I began to feel like I wouldn't freeze to death. At the starting line, however, I got chilled again. I couldn't wait to start running just to get warm. When we were finally let go, I wanted to take off like a shot. I remembered Jen's advice, however, to not go out too hard. It would feel easy, she had said. I knew that it would. It always feels easy at the start.
Except this time, it didn't.
I clicked my watch at the first mile. 7:23. What? I was trying! It should have been faster given the effort I was putting in. I tried to calm myself. The goal was to complete 7:30s I was doing great. It would be fine. Second mile 7:23. WTF! People were passing me left and right. Let them go, I thought. Get them later. But would I be able to get them later? Next mile: 7:24. Next mile 7:35. Next mile 7:33. Damn! I had hoped this race would prove to me the stellar shape I was in. Instead, I was putting out quite a bit of effort only to run 7:30s.
Then I took a Double caffeinated Expresso Love Gu. I felt it immediately. Had that been the problem? I had taken one 15 minutes before the start, so could I really have been depleted?
No time to think. I only had 7 more miles to make this race count. 7:18. I was on fire. I could do this. 7:12. Only five more miles. What's five miles? Nothing! Move! 7:04. Hold this and I could still PR. 7:07. I took in another Gu. No way was I risking exploding for lack of fuel! Rounding a bend and the wind was in my face again. Was I at the end of my fast miles? 7:11. I could still do this, but the wind was strong. Uk. Where did that come from? 7:24. Okay. Two miles to go. I could run these two miles really, really hard. Two miles is nothing. Imagine I'm on the track. And while we're at it, let's take some people out! Pass that guy! Pass that woman! 7:07. Could I do the last mile in under 7? Just one Chrissie Wellington mile? I am unstoppable. I am like lightning. No one can catch me. 6:59. Two tenths around the track and I'm done. 1:36 flat. A PR!
136:01, 7:20 average pace.
6/191 in 30-39.
Yeah baby. Bring on the World Championships!