Thursday, May 31, 2012

5k pain

As part of my only-run-short-races summer running plan, I finally found what I believe may be the ‘pain-place’…the 5k version. I have definitely experienced a marathon version; imagine 10 miles with your quads feeling like fireballs with each and every step. I’m sure I will have a far more punishing marathon someday. But the 5k pain-place was foreign to me until a couple weeks ago at the West Seattle 5k.

With the goal of breaking 19 minutes this summer, each race is an opportunity to work on some aspect of my 5k strategy. My typical downfalls include: going out too conservatively, getting complacent during mile #2, rarely doing speed work, and never racing hard enough to blow up (which is arguably a good thing to do every once and a while). My strategy for this race was to go out aggressively and then see how the cookie crumbled. 

Mile 1: 6:05

Okay! All is going according to plan!

Mile 2: 6:17

I’m feelin’ it and sucking wind in a serious way. I still have another mile?!?! I am entering the ‘pain-place’.

Mile 3: 6:11

I haven’t keeled over yet, but want to.  I can see the finish off in the distance and it looks at least 3 miles away. Trying to run hard and ignore the pain/discomfort simultaneously, but this is nearly impossible. Ignoring the pain usually leads to minimizing the pain which then results in slowing down. Running hard requires pushing to the edge of your fitness and performing your best on the given day; you’re really looking for more pain.  I was trying to muster some mental toughness by reminding myself how few minutes a 5k lasts…but it felt like foreeevvveeerrr.

In the final stretch of the race! Tried to relax my face when I saw the cameras...haha!
Final time: 19:11 and a new PR!

As I finished, someone associated with the race tried to talk to me. I tried to respond between wiping the spittle off my face and trying to catch my breath while doubled over. Ha. I felt totally humbled by the discomfort associated with a hard, short race effort.

The 5k is definitely uncharted territory, and I like it. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In need of something lighter

Boy, the post-marathon funk can be a doozy. Especially the post-Boston Marathon funk.  It’s been several weeks now, and yet I haven’t bounced back into a training state that feels fun, or directed, or productive.  I have ‘burnt-out’ written on my forehead. More like ‘ burnt-out without a new PR to show for myself’.

At least I look happy at the finish AND I'm wearing a cape.

I don’t need another big, looming, built-up, emotional goal like Boston (or a marathon in general), but I need a goal to keep me leaping out of bed in the morning.  I need a fun, small, manageable goal that I can tackle without the emotional commitment. Essentially, I need a psychological break from hard training…while still doing hard training. That's possible, right?
The 5k and 10k are going to be my friends for the next few months. They are generally low commitment, in that if you have a bad race you can hop into another a couple weeks later without stressing your body.
Perfect. This is what I need. None of the build-up-for-4-months-and-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-‘race day’-basket.
Of course, coming off of marathon training, I am not in ideal shape for laying down a 5k PR.  I’m hoping I can crack the 19 min mark by continuing a similar type of training (tempos and long hard runs), while throwing in a couple track sessions (cue "track" rundies).  The best part about this shorter training? Reclaiming my Sundays during the summer months! 20 milers really put a damper on the rest of my day (imagine zombie fatigue + eating a lot), and I'd like to hike, bike or rekindle my friendship with the sun instead.
The true, underlying motive to my 5k/10k racing scheme is to run some PRs and redeem myself (in my eyes) after a disappointing finish (time-wise) in Boston.
I'm in need of something lighter. Light-hearted and lightning fast.