Friday, June 11, 2010

Change of plans, psychoanalysis, and Mid-Year Resolutions

So lately I have been thinking about how to approach training and racing from perhaps a bit of a different angle. After all, they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different maybe I should stop doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

I keep training logs, and have since my sophomore year in high school. As incredibly nerdy as that sounds (I am pretty sure that as a sophomore in high school I was supposed to be writing in diaries about boys and aspiring to be a cheerleader. But I didn't.), it can be awfully handy at times. Not to mention when I'm feeling a little sentimental I can look over various entries and sigh and remember all those great (and sometimes not so great) runs and workouts and all the ups and downs and what lead to what and so on. But anyhow, I've been looking over the last four to five years in particular--since I would think of those as the years where I think I most developed as a runner and also experienced a vast array of differnt training approaches--to try and figure out where some of the glitches are and what I can do to turn things around and stop getting de-railed every three months or so by some silly hang-up. Since I always wrote down what I felt like and a lot times what I thought about, then it's easy to pick up on where the mindset was at the time too (that's the psychology degree talking right there).

In that regard, the biggest change has been that somewhere along the way there was a switch from basically having the willingness to charge headlong into anything without really wondering whether or not I could do it (which only occasionally proved to be not very advantageous), to having almost too much trepidation and hesitation and doubt in regards to being able to accomplish a certain goal or to tackle a certain training regimen out of fear of another poor outcome (which has never really proved to be very advantageous). Basically a mindset of feeling like that one greek guy Sassafrass or Sisyphus or Syphillis or whoever, who was in Hades doing all that work rolling that giant rock uphill for all eternity even though he knew it was going to roll down again as soon as he got it to the top, and he'd have to start all over at the bottom (I will accept compliments for that freaking awesome metaphor in the comment box below).

That's the first huge piece of garbage that has got to go.

As far as just looking subjectively at training, I'm no coach or exercise physiologist, but I think my main focus is just going to be mixing things up a lot more. More things at different speeds for the most part. I think I have kind of gotten it in my head that I can do less than I used to be capable of and don't do certain things well, so I don't do them. As the great Dr. Jack Daniels says, until you get old and start to decline the human body does not get worse, it only gets better. Well I'm not old so logically I'm getting better. Training though is always a process of trial and error, so I think those pieces will fall into place once things get back on track from where they are now.

As for getting back on track, things are going in that direction. I've gotten some okay runs in over the last week and a half, so hopefully I'll be able to keep weaning myself off of the bike/pool and get more solid workouts in on land. As for races, I've decided that if I can get at least four solid weeks of training in, then the Bix 7 Miler (U.S. 7 mile championships) will be next on the list. Anything in between will be icing on the cake.

Till then, best of luck to anyone competing in the Garden of the Gods 10 miler this Saturday! I'll have an eye on the results.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Super Kara

I have officially started the next phase of the progression of me turning from master shuffler and compensator to "Good Kara" as Jon kept calling it today. In my mind, though, I will call the new me "Super Kara", and I will be able to recover faster, run more miles, run faster than ever before, and maybe even fly! While all that may happen (well probably not the flying part but everything else) I am going to have to work hard to get there first. And the worst part is while working hard I am going to have to endure the giggles of the professionals around me as my body tries to forget old habits and learn new, proper ones. Today, I started doing a few drills and while some my body will never forget from the college days (like the good old grapevine) the others I looked foolish and had to listen to the laughter of Jon and his wife, Kim, while I attempted to do the drills. Jon and Kim both had to show me how they were done and I am sure neither has done any of these drills in years, yet they were both models of perfection. They would search for ways to describe what they were wanting to see in an effort to trigger some spontaneous reflex where I would immediately start doing them correctly. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I have a lot of work ahead of me to get it figured out (shocking, I know). I also made a trip to my physical therapist today to let him know what I had observed in the morning, what Jon observed and some revelations I had after looking at some photos of me running. So, I again endured laughter and sarcasm as I attempted the progression of exercises that we will use to help reinforce proper mechanics. I was sarcastically offered a helmet due to my propensity of losing my balance and was also laughed at by the PT and the person shadowing him. We did discover that the lack of balance and control with my left leg and my core is astounding but I feel like I can only get better from here.

On a side note some major life changes have happened for me: I officially finished up my master's degree--I got my diploma in the mail yesterday!!, I was offered a job (contingent on my passing my board exam), I turned 30 (back in April but I am just coming to grips with it), and I can do pull ups and chin ups again!!!!! Well, that last one might not be a major life change, but I felt I had to share. I am so proud of myself. I haven't been able to do them since college but thanks to rock climbing my upper body is actually semi-strong now. Although I am sure no one can tell that I have any strength at all since I don't really build muscle (see attached picture).

That is all for now, hopefully in the next blog post I will have some more news about my transformation into a super hero.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bolder Boulder

What to say about the Bolder's a race that has unpredictable outcomes and each year brings a different element. Some years its been wind, rain, or blazing heat, others years its been a stomach ache or being placed in the wrong heat. This year's element...surprise!! I knew I was in good shape, I was excited to compete, and I was prepared to fight for one of the top three positions in the citizen's race. I surprised myself, and a few others, by winning!!

Here is a summary of the race...
I started back a few rows to let the many young guys that want to win the first half mile go for their dream. For once I went out conservative and at the mile Russ (husband) and David (coach) were screaming that I was in 3rd and the other girls were within reach. I told myself to get them by mile 2, sure enough I did and hoped for some help with the pace. No such luck, so I moved on ahead and kept trekkin. There was plenty of guys to catch and a good group of guys running with me. At mile 3 I realized "I'm in the lead and I can win this." The crowd was amazing and boosted my adrenaline and confidence with each cheer. With a mile and a half to go a guy next to me, who had been with me for a few miles, turned and said "girl you are very inspirational." I was shoked to hear this and it gave me the final boost I needed to keep the pace. Russ and David cheered me on with a mile to go. The last got me again, but I held on tight and picked up the pace in the stadium to finish with a smile and excitement.

I think the best part was that my dad, stepmom, and Russ' parents and friends were all in the stands to be a part of a wonderful day. Some years I detest the BB, this year everything was just right.