Thursday, March 23, 2017
With both kids in college and funds being a little short, my racing schedule has slowed down a bit, but my training really hasn’t. I’m the type of person who does better when I have a goal, whether that be an upcoming race or otherwise. Everyone says that as you grow older your running speed begins to slow, but when does that start? I don’t feel like I’m at the point where I’ll never get faster, but I have felt like I’m at a stagnant place.
One day when I was on Facebook, I saw a post for Lumo Run. I had not heard of them, but it sounded interesting, so I checked them out. The Lumo Run sensor attaches to the back of your shorts and tracks all kinds of stats while you run. Christmas was coming up, so I decided that was one of the items I wanted.
After I got my Lumo Run sensor, I couldn’t wait to get outside for a run and see what it said about my running. Luckily, we had a pretty mild winter so on December 28th I headed out for my run. For the first run, it tells you to do a short run at an easy pace and not to worry about anything. Well, the weather was so nice that I ended up doing a 6 mile run.
Not long after Christmas, I saw that Lumo Run was looking for ambassadors. I've always thought it would be great to be an ambassador for a company I believe in, so I applied. I had nothing to lose. A few weeks later, I got the news that I was selected to be one of their ambassadors for 2017 and I couldn't be happier.
Fast forward over time to my run Tuesday. While not completely an apples to apples comparison as it was a 3 mile run versus the original 6 mile run, I compared the data and liked what I saw. While still not great, my cadence has improved and consequently, so has my pace. My bounce had also improved from the caution zone to the green zone. Rotation is something I still need to work on.
If you are interested in learning more about what the Lumo Run sensor can do for you or if you want to purchase a Lumo run sensor for yourself, click here: Lumo Link
Use the code BR10 for $10 off!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
All athletes hear that at some point in their life they will peak, and then due to age, their times will start decreasing after that. Where that point is for each athlete is different I guess, but I always wondered when mine might come. And while there are still a lot of very fast athletes in their 40s, 50s and even beyond, I suspect those athletes were the ones who ran track when they were younger.
As for me, I never ran track. I never considered myself fast. I still don’t. But do I have what it takes to get fastER at my age, in my early 40s.
When I trained for my first Ironman triathlon, I hit several PRs that year. Just the sheer volume of training helped I believe. That year was the first time I broke the two-hour mark for the half-marathon distance. And that was huge for me. I had worked for years to bring my time down so I could go under two-hours and I had finally done it. So the next year when I ran the same race and came in just OVER two-hours, I was a bit disappointed. I wondered if, now that I was in my 40s, I had finally hit my peak and if I would ever get under two-hours again.
Well, let me just say that with hard work, anything is possible.
This past Sunday I ran the 3M Half Marathon again. That very race where for years I fought to get under two-hours and finally did in 2010. This year was a little different for me though. I started a run group at my church to train them for this very race. I got up on Saturday mornings to lead them through their long runs and then got up on Sunday mornings to do MY long runs. In training I did multiple runs of 12 miles leading up to the race. I did hill repeats and some speed work as well. I had done the work and I knew I would cover the distance in a decent time, but since I was there primarily for my runners, I had no time expectations whatsoever.
Leading up to the race I had told my runners (some of which had never even done a race of any distance before) to be careful and not get caught up in the excitement at the start and go out too fast. That could be detrimental to them in the end and is a classic mistake of new runners. So, imagine my surprise when I hit my split button on my garmin at mile 1 and saw a 9:02. Ok, so it’s not smoking fast, but it was faster than I expected for me. I told myself to slow down and settle in. So then I was really surprised when, at mile 2, I saw an 8:47 on the garmin. Hmmm. Had I really had a great training season and could I really keep up with that pace? I had nothing to lose. I knew even if I blew up I would still finish and could still finish in a respectable time. So I went with it.
The day was a perfect race day. Temps were in the 40s and there was very little wind. If I was going to run fast (for me), today was the day to do it. I just kept running and hitting my splits at every mile. I would kind of glance at them, but didn’t really pay much attention to them least the mind tell the body that it can’t do that. I felt good, and as long as I felt good I was just going to keep going.
I hit the halfway mark still averaging 8:51 miles and in all likelihood, unofficially set a new 10K PR as well (but I won’t count it since it wasn’t official). I got a small cramp at one point from the shot blocks and had to remind myself to drink a little more water with them, but other than that my body was not slowing down. It was a great feeling to know that I had in me what it would take and that I could keep going. There was one slight uphill during the 10th mile that slowed me down a few seconds, but I just kept pushing through.
As I got closer to the finish, I knew I would break the two-hour mark again. But then I also realized something else. Not only was I going to break two-hours, I was going to set a new PR. I was not “past my prime” and with hard work, I CAN still get faster and set some PRs. Which for me is good news, because I have a plan to set a new PR at the Half-Ironman distance in April. Game on.
Race Results and Splits Official Time: 1:55:52 for an 8:51 pace 1600 out of 4613 overall 615 out of 2656 women 110 out of 471 in my division 6 mile time of 53:08 for an 8:51 pace 7.1 mile time of 1:02:44 for an 8:50 pace
Mile 1: 9:02 Mile 2: 8:47 Mile 3: 8:39 Mile 4: 8:57 Mile 5: 8:50 Mile 6: 8:51 Mile 7: 8:47 Mile 8: 8:42 Mile 9: 8:49 Mile 10: 9:04 Mile 11: 8:53 Mile 12: 8:39 Mile 13: 8:51 Last .1: 0:59
Monday, January 13, 2014
Well, we are a little over a week into the New Year, and by all of the news accounts, many people have already gotten sidetracked from those pesky New Year’s Resolutions and some people have just downright abandoned them already. We are not even two weeks into the year people! So what gives? Why do people give up so easily?
This week I’ve been involved in several conversations or read in several places about people and their “commitments” to do things. What is a commitment? According to dictionary.com, a commitment is “a pledge or promise; an obligation”. There is a popular quote about commitment that says, “Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” But that’s not what happens. People make commitments all the time. Why does one person keep that commitment and another does not? Why are we so quick to commit to things we know we will not follow through on?
Again, in these conversations and reading, another word has surfaced time and time again. And in my mind, this word is what makes the difference: Accountability. According to dictionary.com, to be accountable means to be “responsible to someone or for some action”. Being accountable changes the dynamic of your commitment. It makes it real. If you are not accountable, you can’t let someone down.
Something I read this week said that most people make New Year’s Resolutions each year, but in reality could use the same list each year because nothing changes from year to year. I alluded to this in my last post. And most people don’t reach those resolutions because they aren’t holding themselves accountable. In my opinion, the people who don’t hold themselves accountable don’t REALLY want what they are committing to. If they did, they would find a way to get there. I know that may make some people mad or cause some controversy, but that’s my true opinion. It goes back to what I said about getting out of your comfort zone. If you truly want something and you tell someone (to hold yourself accountable), you are more likely to go out of your comfort zone to get there.
I think people really need to think about WHY they commit to something, why they want to achieve what they say they want to achieve, and then figure out what kind of accountability factor will help them reach that. For instance, let’s go back to people who make a goal for a race. Some people want to achieve a faster time. Some people want to race a new distance. If the goal is to reach a faster time, what’s behind that goal? Is it to impress others? Is it to know that you improved yourself over the previous year? Is it to finally qualify for Boston, which has been a goal all along? Do you want to do a longer distance to see the impressed looks on people’s face when they find out you’ve done a race of that distance? Do you want to challenge your body to see what it is capable of? Do you just really enjoy the long training that comes with longer races (because you secretly know you may also lose a little weight along the way)? There is nothing wrong with any of these reasons, but your goal isn’t just going to happen. You have to put in the work along the way.
To achieve a faster time, people are going to have to train more and/or train faster. To hold themselves accountable, a great thing for them to do would be to find someone to train with them. If you know someone is waiting on you to go for a run, you are more likely to show up. Find someone who is faster than you and train with them once a week. If you want to race a new distance, sign up for it and tell everyone what you are training for. Post your training on some kind of log or social media every day where people can see if you did the work or not.
This kind of accountability is good, but still does not always work for some people. Why? I believe it’s because there is something they are afraid of that they are not facing. As a personal trainer, I’ve learned that sometimes there are deeper issues as to why a person won’t push hard in a workout or why they continually struggle with what they eat. I see this. I can see two different people who say they have similar goals (say to lose 20 pounds) do the same workout. The difference is that one gives the workout everything they’ve got. You know it’s what they want and they are willing to put in the work to get there. The other shows up and does the workout, but doesn’t push. Why? What is it that is holding that person back? What are they afraid of? People need to address these fears. As one of my yoga teacher training books says, however, “If we are to address our fears, we need to know the difference between the fears that keep us alive and fears that keep us from living.” (Deborah Adele, Yamas and Niyamas)
I also believe that another form of accountability is money. No one likes to “lose” money. For instance, when I signed up for my first Ironman triathlon and paid over $500 for the entry fee, I was motivated to get the workouts done. I knew that I needed to train so that I was ready on race day or otherwise, I could have just walked to a toilet and flushed that money down. I wasn’t going to let my entry fee go to waste. I’m even like that for a $30 race. If I pay, I’m showing up and racing.
But to hold myself accountable for my workouts, I also made plans. I don’t mind running long by myself, but I do not like doing long bike rides by myself. For those really long rides, I made sure to have other people meet me, even if they could only do part of the ride. I’m not really a big fan of open water long distance swims either, so I’d meet a group of friends for open water swims. And when training for a 60 degree swim at Arizona, there were a few times those of us doing the race would meet to swim in cold water and make sure we were use to it. I would not have done it by myself. I know that, so I made myself be accountable to other people.
Having to spend money hurts the pocketbook. People always want something for nothing. But when you get something for free, does it have as much meaning? Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, but I know that when I offered a free run group at church, most people did not stay committed. I had about 30-40 people at an information meeting and I had over 20 people show up that first week for the group run. Slowly, over time, people have stopped coming. I still have a committed few – the ones who said they want to run a half-marathon and SIGNED UP (spent their hard earned money on the entry fee). Those are the ones who still come. Or the ones who have a longer term goal of a bigger race in the future. They still come. And sure, there are a couple more who come when they can, but for the most part, the commitment level has dropped. I wonder if things would have been different had I charged for the program. Sure, I may not have gotten as many to begin with, but would those who did come have been more committed? I don’t know the answer to that.
There are always exceptions to every rule, but I believe people need to really think about why they agree to “commit” to something and then they need to find a way to be “accountable” for that commitment. Otherwise, it’s just not going to happen.
What do you want to commit to? What is holding you back? What are you afraid of? What can you do to make yourself more accountable?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
With yesterday being January 1st, I saw a lot of posts on Facebook with people’s New Year’s Resolutions or goals for 2014. As expected, there were a lot of “I want to lose weight” and “I want to eat healthier” posts. There were also several “I want to run faster or longer” posts. These are all great things, but I can’t help but wonder how many people had these same goals on LAST year’s list.
I realize that not everyone reaches all the goals they set out to reach in one year. If you do, chances are you didn’t set big enough goals. However, I also suspect a lot of people put these on their list with good intentions and then like most people, lose motivation before January is even up. What makes us give up on a goal? Or what motivates us to actually, finally, reach that goal?
Remember the saying about insanity? You can’t keep doing the same things you’ve always done and expect to get different results. If you want results you haven’t gotten in the past, you’ve got to do something different. Something you haven’t done in the past. Something, perhaps, out of your comfort zone. Perhaps stepping out of your comfort zone means eating a new vegetable once a week. Or maybe it means adding speed work to your current training. Or actually MAKING time to run that 20 miler before your marathon instead of letting it always getting pushed off the schedule due to something else. Maybe it means trying something you’ve never tried before. If you are a runner, maybe try a Zumba class. If you’re a cyclist, maybe try a boxing class. Will it be strange? Probably. Will it work? Who knows. But I can tell you one thing. It will take you out of your comfort zone.
I remember in 2012 when I was training for my second Ironman. I kept seeing groupons for trapeze lessons. I thought it sounded fun, but wondered if I should try it or not. After all, “flying through the air with the greatest of ease” would in no way prepare me to cross the finish line of Ironman Arizona. Or would it?
I bought the groupon along with an extra one for my daughter (she had agreed to do it with me). A friend at work bought one, but on the day of our scheduled class could not attend, so my daughter took a friend in her place. That left me, a 42-year-old mom with two teenage kids showing up for the class. Imagine my surprise when we got there and the other participants were even YOUNGER than my daughter and her friend. Now I really felt out of place and out of my comfort zone. But I didn’t let it discourage me. I had paid for the class, I was there, and I was not backing out.
We got our instructions, we got strapped into our harness and it was time to go. People who know me well know that there’s not much I won’t do. I love roller coasters and challenging things, so I’m willing to try almost anything. But I have to admit, when I climbed that ladder and was standing on that platform waiting for my cue to jump, I was a little nervous. My legs were shaking and I had butterflies in my belly. I don’t consider myself to be afraid of heights, but I was up really high. I knew I wouldn’t fall to the ground as I was strapped in a harness and there was a safety net below, but I worried if I would be able to hang onto the bar when I jumped off the platform. After all, I was in Ironman training, not strength training. My arms were not the strongest part of my body at the time. How embarrassing would it be to jump and then slip off the bar?
We had been told to listen to the caller (I forget the technical name now, but the person on the ground that yells out the instructions for you as you fly through the air) and do what he said when he said it. Following his instructions was key to successfully completing the routine we were supposed to complete. He yelled my cue, I jumped, and surprisingly, I performed the routine exactly as I was meant to. It was actually a lot of fun and I was proud of myself for doing it.
Then we were told that since there were so few of us in the class, we would each get to do it two or three more times. And I will admit that the second time I did it, I managed to get it done, but I had to do an extra swing at one point to get my legs over the bar. In retrospect, I anticipated too much and didn’t just listen to the caller’s command. I tried to do it “my way” instead of following the plan.
And I think that’s what happens to a lot of people. They think they can get by with “cheating” on their diet or shortening their workout, when in reality, they need to follow the plan, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone.
I encourage you to look again at what your goals or resolutions are for this year. I encourage you to develop a plan to reach them. And I encourage you to put something on that plan that will take you out of your comfort zone and then not be afraid to go there.
Did the trapeze lesson help me in my second Ironman? Possibly. It taught me that if I want to do something bad enough, I can. It taught me that it’s ok to be out of my comfort zone. And believe me, even though I had done an Ironman before and knew that I could do the distance, swimming in 60 degree water for 2.4 miles definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I just had to keep reminding myself that it would soon be over and I would be that much closer to reaching my goal.
What are you going to do this year to take you out of your comfort zone and help you reach those goals?