Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Make that a Double

                June 14th our Club hosted the USATF Pacific Northwest Track and Field Championships. I decided to race the 1500m and 800m. Levi, Lilyana, and I drove to the meet and arrived with plenty of time for me to warm up. I nursed Lilyana and she cooperated nicely which was a huge bonus. Lately at track meets or road races she gets too distracted to want to nurse before I have to head out to race.
                It was a cooler day, maybe around 60 degrees, with a light wind. I headed out for a warm up and got ready to race the 1500m. I notice I am very easily distracted these days. I did a good warm up jog of 2.5 miles but when it came time to do drills and strides I found myself chatting with others more and playing with Lily in her stroller. I still need to work on my warm up routine and staying a little more focused so I am ready to race.
                The gun went off and I tried to go a little “easier” than I did at my last 1500m at UW but when I crossed the start line 400m into the race I heard the same split as at UW, 72 seconds. However, this time things felt easier. I was more relaxed. About 800m into the race I made a move from 3rd to 2nd and kept my eyes focused on the lead girl. I crossed the line in 4:38, good for 2nd place. The race felt good, much “easier” than the one at UW. I thought I was running slower but crossed the line 6 seconds faster so things are moving in the right direction. After finishing I remember exclaiming to Levi that “I was able to focus the whole time!” I actually stayed in the moment during the race and didn’t let my mind wander. The 800 was schedule for an hour and a half later.
(CNW Elite Women and Mothers. 1, 2, 3 in the 1500m)
                I did an easy mile jog to cool down. I chatted with some friends then headed to the car to nurse Lilyana. She did great again. She must be getting used to this racing thing. After nursing her it was basically time to “warm up” again. I did another easy mile jog. My legs felt awful. I didn’t really do any drills which was a mistake as I should have gotten my muscles fired up and ready to “sprint.”
(Nursing Lilyana between races)

                I toed the line and as much as I hate to admit it, I did not expect much. I could tell this would be more of a workout, just me getting through some discomfort. The gun went off and I felt like it took me a couple seconds just to react. 100 meters in and I felt nd with a blistering time of 2:23 (lol, I have split that in a mile before!). I finished with an easy cool down. After the cool down I took out Lilyana’s food and fed her lunch in her stroller while I watched some of my teammates race the 5km.
like I was up to speed. 200 meters in and I was toast. I was hitting the wall for the next 600 meters. It was quite comical feeling. I crossed the line in 2
                This meet was much different than some of mine in the past. I finally let go of expectations and just raced for the sheer enjoyment of racing. I didn’t let little things stress me out. Things didn’t have to go perfectly, but the funny thing is, in my mind everything went great. That’s what happens when you choose to focus on the positive and not dwell on anything negative. You can take the same day and view it through two different lenses; one will result in a negative outlook and the other positive. Nothing changes, just your frame of mind. You have the power to choose.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Running Late

                I meant to do a race recap from Beat the Bridge 8km which was May 18th in Seattle, WA so it seems fitting that I would be late recapping that judging by how “late” I seem to be to everything these days!
                I had to get up early to make it to the race and Levi and I decided it would be better to leave Lilyana and him at home so we didn’t have to wake her so early. I figured it would also be less hectic for me traveling without the baby. Well I still managed to leave late and I didn’t even have a baby to get ready! I am usually a very punctual person so this new realm of lateness is aggravating for me and is taking some getting used to. The morning of the race I pumped before I left so Levi would have milk to feed Lilyana and it would have been very uncomfortable to race had I not. Well, I seem to have forgotten how long pumping can take, that or Lilyana has just become very efficient at nursing. So in a roundabout way I guess I was running late due to something baby related.
On my way to the race I debated taking the Montlake exit to get to the start. It is shorter than going on 45th as the race start is nearby. I worried there might be race traffic but at the last second chose to take the exit. I literally got on the exit and came to a stop as the traffic from Montlake Bridge was backed up all the way to the interstate. Once you exit you cannot drive to the next exit unless you want to cross Lake Washington and pay a toll so I was literally stuck. I was now wishing Levi were with me because I could simply run to the start a mile or so and be fine. The bridge was set to go up and remain closed at 7:30am. It was 7:27am before I got to the Montlake Exit. I chose to not even try the bridge which I noticed as I was going the opposite direction, traffic was being diverted from. Thankfully I called my brother John and he was able to direct me where to go to get across the water to the start.
(Raised Montlake Bridge)
                I ended up parking my car a couple miles away and jogged to the start. I was definitely feeling a bit stressed, but not as stressed as I thought I would be because at that point the situation was beyond my control so getting overly stressed wouldn’t help. By the time I parked I still had 40 minutes until race time. I took a deep breath and ran to the start. Being a distance runner has its perks!
                I was definitely not feeling great as I toed the line but I have been getting used to that feeling as my training has definitely taken a back seat to other important areas in my life. When the gun went off I took off and tried to keep some of the lead women in view. Looking at my splits I went out way to hard. Physically I was not ready to run the pace the winners ran yet my mind believed I was back in 2012 when I ran 27:08 on the course after having run a steeple 2 days before in CA so there was definitely a miscommunication there! I crossed the line and was spent. My time of 29:30 got me 7th place overall in a competitive field.
                I was happy and a little bummed when I decided to look up my time from 2 years ago after the race. I shouldn’t have done that. After this race I think it finally sunk in that I am not the same runner I was 2 years ago and that is ok. I am finally accepting where I am at and you know what? It is freeing and racing is fun again. There is no need to compare previous performances or live in the past. I am in the here and now and doing the best I can with the gifts I have been given and that feels pretty good.
                I was going to recap my races from yesterday but in the spirit of lateness I promise I will get to that soon!
(Smile and enjoy the moment.)