by Carmen Graves
Yesterday morning I ran my first indoor track race of the season. I ran the 3k at the JDL Fast Track facilities in Winston-Salem. Special thanks and congratulations to Craig Longhurst for the hospitality and for putting on such a successful event this early in the indoor season!
This was my second time ever running in the 3k event. Ironically, during this time before Christmas break last year, I ran the 3k my first time at the Liberty Kickoff. Let's compare... Last year I ran 10:15.9, and this year I ran 9:40! Huge improvement and still some improvements to look forward to.
During the race I felt relatively comfortable until the last couple laps. Yes I confess, I got a little lazy and I now know that I should have pushed harder earlier on. But, whoever has ran on an indoor track before can't blame me for “zoning out,” because nobody can disagree that it's extremely easy to get a little lazy while running 15, 200 meter loops.
The thoughts that can cross your mind in under 10 minutes when your body is running on autopilot can be humorous. I always wonder what other runners think about for such a long time. Even though distance races always seem very repetitive indoors, I had a couple nice distractions during the race that I was able to experience approximately every 39 seconds, for 15 consecutive times.
For one, I was thankful to hear my parents cheer for me during the race. My parents, Gary and Sharon, always manage to make it to each of my competitions. They also somehow pull off sitting in the same spot no matter which stadium they go to (which I find a tad compulsive). They are as goofy as can be, especially when spotted together. You most definitely will find them sitting directly in front of the finish line at the top of the stands. If you spot a couple near this location (a woman who appears she may pass out from nerves at any second and a man who appears he has drank way too much coffee that morning) you have found them. After the race I told my parents that I could hear them cheering for me in the stands, which was a nice distraction. My dad quickly and seriously responded, “NO, I didn't cheer this time. I didn't want to mess up your mom.” Hahaha, ooookay?
Apart from the distraction of my mom's loud cheers, I also noticed I was being photographed almost every lap. I know for a fact that the first few shots had to be horrible! This is because I tend to squint my eyes when I run so they always look closed. I made sure by the third or fourth lap to open my eyes a bit more and pose for the camera. Hopefully I didn't overcompensate with bug eyes!
Oh well. The take home message is that sometimes living in the present and embracing the distractions are good during long distance races. For example, noticing my mom cheering gave me an extra boost. However, sometimes immediate distractions can take you too far away from the race; like in my case, trying to strike a pose for the camera!
by Carmen Graves
The “Salazar 300s” interval workout (aka my favorite workout ever) with the Roanoke College mid-distance crew was successful. I'm so grateful to have the chance to run with such an entertaining group of young men. The atmosphere was optimistic and relaxed, which always seems to make the harder workouts easier.
Typically, I like to do my workouts early afternoons when my energy level is high, but we didn't start the actual workout until around 5 pm so I felt like I was waiting all day to run! I ended up doing a short shakeout early that morning to loosen up my tight legs from my long run on Sunday. Mid-way through the workout it was almost pitch black outside, but we still finished the workout strong (Roanoke College really needs to invest in some stadium lights around the track).
I felt good through the first four 300s so I thought I would push out harder on the last three sets. I ended up running my fastest average yet for the 300 workout, which is a nice confidence booster for my upcoming 3k race on Saturday at JDL.
After the workout I headed to the weight room and played on the BOSU ball. All I could think about was the egg sandwich I was about to fix after my lift but I managed not to get too distracted.
I rolled out of bed this morning and had the urge to do a shake out before breakfast (didn't even look in the mirror) and my legs felt surprisingly good... which may mean I have a nice case of DOMS coming later today, Ekkkkk!
Posted by Steve Crowder
Competitive athletes can be hard headed to say the least, and me probably more so than most. It’s not necessarily a bad trait, because it’s part of what gets us out the door every day. However, it can be a detriment as well. We get ground into our routines as well as our ideas of what we need to do in training (which is almost always more since we want to be sure nobody is outworking us), and we refuse to listen to feedback, whether it be from our coaches, training partners, friends, family, or even our own bodies.
I had one such experience lately and am currently paying the price for it. Knowing I would have a week or two towards the end of November where my training might be less than usual, I attempted to string together too many quality weeks in a row without a down week. Coach Blickle sent me two or three schedules in a row where he recommended a cutback week with reduced volume and intensity, but I always told him that I thought I would keep my mileage up for another week or two then cut back.
I finally took the recommended, and much needed, cutback week the third week of November, but by that point I was starting to feel pretty fried. I didn’t run any doubles that week and only one workout, and the workout actually went very well. Even though I never felt particularly good throughout the entire week, I figured I’d gotten away with my hard-headedness and would be ready to resume full volume training the next week. Accordingly, I jumped right back into things, running twice a day on both Monday and Tuesday with plans for a workout on Wednesday. However, I felt pretty lousy the first two days of the week, and by Wednesday, I was feeling really run down. I headed out into the single digit wind chill that night anyway, but after a couple of miles at well over 7:30 pace (much slower than my normal pace even for easy days), I knew I was in trouble. I had the opportunity to cut the run short at three miles, so that’s exactly what I did.
Aside from being ticked off that I had to bail out of a run, I felt really run down once I got home and knew I would need a day or two off. I didn’t run at all Thursday or Friday then did a really easy day on Saturday and an abbreviated long run of 13 miles on Sunday. Last night, Monday, was the best I’d felt in several days, but honestly my legs still don’t seem to be fully under me, all because of my hard-headedness and refusal to back off. I think I’ll be able to dig my way out of this self-created hole over the course of this week and fortunately I didn’t wind up with any sort of overuse injury, but it’s been a setback nonetheless.
So, the lesson to be learned is to not take dedication and desire to the extreme, thereby causing those positive attributes to become negative ones. This is even more important for Masters athletes like myself, but it’s true across the board. Recovery is just as important a part of training as hammering out the workouts and mileage. Even if I’d wound up with a couple of cutback weeks in November, my mileage total for the month might not have looked as good, but I would have been farther along with my fitness, which is the real goal. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that in mind going forward. Happy running, everyone!
Stay tuned for blog posts from RVE athletes as well as Coach Blickle. Expect to see training and racing updates, articles on training, and other content. Thanks for reading!