Saturday, January 26, 2013

Run Less Run Faster...

So, what happened after we moved buildings to help me qualify? As I had promised myself, I diverged.  Here's the back story:

Our Team CrossFit Academy Grand Opening was on October 6, 2012. About a week later I called up my friend Amy and invited her on a "fun run".  I needed to decompress after the stress of the move and just wanted to run trails, she was right there with me since she has an incredibly stressful job every day.  We went up Clamshell and it hooked us both immediately.  We decided to start running 2-3 a week, primarily for mental health.

By the time we had met for the third time, we were talking about training for the January Arrogant Bastard qualifier.  It seems we are both quite ambitious and are most comfortable in a training environment as opposed to exercising for mere fun.  It was then that Amy told me about a book she was reading called Run Less Run Faster.  I bought it and we both bought in to it, deciding to use their 12-week 5k program to prepare for the upcoming qualifier.  I loaded their program in to Excel, added our target times, set the training locations.. Ready, Go!

On October 18th, we ran a 5k race at the Rosebowl.  My time was 31:10.  Super slow.  The program called for using our opening 5k times to set the paces for targets during the week.  Tuesday was speed work at Foothills Middle School, Thursdays were short/mid tempo out on the streets, and Saturdays were long tempo generally on trail.  We also ran the AB course every 3-4 weeks to monitor our progress. 

I only managed about 80% of the training sessions, mostly sacrificing the long tempo runs on Saturdays.  While I have the results of each run stored, the only ones that mattered were those on the AB course.  Here they are:

35:04 July 2012 Qualifier: 
38:53 November 1st, run alone, not recommended
35:24 December 22nd, with Kendall & Perla first attempt
36:55 December 27th, run alone, really not recommended
33:05 January 12th, with Kendall & Perla pacing me

What happened?  Three weeks out from race day, I brought it to Eric.  He was aware and watching what I was doing and while disagreeing with my methods, had been keeping his opinion to himself... until I asked for his help.  He then told me I had 12 running sessions left and had better make the most of them.  The book I was using for created for marathon training and the time hacks I was targeting were too slow to create the change needed to win the AB.  He said to blend the book with the race and make every session at Eaton Canyon.  I followed his advise precisely, but as you can see was still struggling horribly with time trials.  

The problem was two-fold.  One, I wasn't fueling properly.  Two, I was mentally sabotaging myself.  I had gotten it in to my head that I wasn't going to succeed no matter what I did, and I kept having mental breakdowns on the course on the days when I would run alone.

On January 3rd, I let go.  I just let go.  I no longer cared if I made the team or not.  I made peace with not making the team.  What I did NOT do was stop training.  I kept doing exactly what I was supposed to go, I just stopped judging the results and beating myself up.

A couple of days later, Hope commented while running me with that my symptoms were synonymous with lack of fuel.  (Super strong first mile, more than sufficient lung capacity, but complete leg weakness that would not improve much even with walking)  She recommended an energy gel or drink before training to see if it would help.  (Those are products I abandoned when I went paleo and started o-lifting, but used to use regularly when I ran in the past).  I tried a Hammer Gel the next session, and holy smoke, it was like I was on crack.  I ran all the way to the bridge without walking once and wasn't even completely depleted.  Adding fuel gave me a new optimism and in my quiet heart I set myself the goal of PR'ing with a target of 34:10.  I told myself that if I could even qualify for the 2012 race time I would be very satisfied and motivated to continue knowing I would eventually make the grade.

That was it and the next thing I new it was race day.  That morning I ate a gel on the drive to the course, ate a second one while warming up, and when the race started, did my best to block out everything except the sound of Kendall's voice in front of me and Perla's next to me.  At no time did I panic, mentally quit or even allow myself to think about the finish line.  I just ran as fast as I could and did my best to stay on his heels.  I did notice that I wasn't far behind the rest of the girls which was unusual but not necessarily relevant.  Then we cleared the trail and I could hear Eric screaming at the top of his lungs with an urgency that cut through my exhaustion making me push even harder. When we crossed the line and Summer called out 33:05 I was astounded.  I was sure I'd hit the 34:00 range somewhere, but wouldn't have guessed my actual time to save me life.

Miracles do happen and they are the direct result of my hard work, willingness to ask for help, and the love and kindness of my friends and coaches.  I would not be on the Arrogant Bastards without Eric, Kendall, Perla and Hope's assistance.  It truly takes a village to raise this child.

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