Monday, April 2, 2018

Trying to Start Over - Run to Cure Blood Cancer 5k, Winding River Park, Toms River 3/31/18

Photo stolen from Alanna's page ;)
It has been quite some time since I blogged about racing. I have been busy. I have a lot of projects on my plate and recently I have been working a lot (3 different jobs) and going to grad school as well. I am spread really thin so something had to give and it was training to race. The reality is racing doesn't pay the bills but work does and when you have student loans out the whazoo, you have to work work work to get those manageable.

I have really been enjoying the work I do at the hospital, changing my scheduled so that I create a more meaningful series of treatment group each week. I have been feeling productive and purposeful there. I work at the hospital as a therapist over 20+ hours per week, not including the commuting which is about 45 minutes each way.  I also have my coaching roster of clients. I build plans for, review logs weekly, ask about whole person wellness weekly, reply to questions, revise plans. Plus I need to maintain and update my websites, do my billing and accouting, create and update forms, and I creating an online academy where I can offer supplemental material, like my nutrition course.  I also field questions from potential clients or friends who just want to ask me "quick training questions" but don't actually want to hire me to train them  etc... (By the way when someone ask a "quick question", that just means they are hoping for a quick answer, not that the question won't take any time). As a result, coaching for me is my full time job, which takes up more time (and pays much less) than any other work I have even done. But my coaching business is my baby. I give all I can to do a good job for my runners. And then I have my Kinesiology grad school classes. This work takes up my nights and weekends and equal about 15-20+ hours of my time. I used to train 10-20 hours per week but something had to give once I was offered the chance to also teach at the graduate level at NYU on top of everything else. There are only 168 hours per week. I have been very tired.

I can't say that I have been sad to race less. Part of me has missed it. But I was offered the opportunity to teach at NYU and this was something I have wanted to do for a long time. This is a dream job for me. I feel so grateful for what is ON my plate, not sad for what is not. I didn't actually apply for this job. NYU contacted me and that makes this feel so very sweet. Years ago, I reached out to the director of the program I graduated from and asked her to please keep me in mind for teaching. It had to be maybe a decade later and I got that call :) Today, I have a glorious ID in my wallet that says NYU Adjunct/Staff and this makes my heart so very happy. To find the time to create the syllabus, prepare the lecture material, review the research and reading material I would assign, travel into the city, teach the class, communicate with students and co-faculty, etc... while stilling working at the hospital, while coaching, while going to school, I just had to let training hard go. I trained less, ate more as I slept less, and just lost my fitness as a runner. But my heart has been full. <3

I finished teaching my last class of the semester last week, so I get to start over.  Although I am starting a new 10-Week Fitness Nutrition group (which I created and I will teach that starting on Monday 4/2),  this group work should be a little less demanding than NYU since I have taught this course several times already.

Now that I am getting some time back in my life, I need a check in race! 

Alanna agreed to meet me at a 5k in Toms River. But Alanna and I don't meet for 3M runs. We are not going to travel an hour each just for a 5k. So we ran 8M as a warm up, raced the 5k which was really a 3 Miler and then ran 3 miles after to cool down.

I am happy to say I finished 3rd Female, but this was year #1 and the race was small and not part of any race series. There was no real competitiveness here.  It was fundraiser for blood cancer.

I was beat by a 9 year old girl. That made me smile.

I was also beat by a Taco. I am not sure how I feel about that. ;)

I got to revisit how much nervous energy I get at races. I got to remember why I tend to race alone.  I like to run around the starting area and listen for annoucements, while the little voice in my head goes "Ahhhhh! omg, omg, omg you have to pee again for the third time in 10 mins!!!" This need to stay right around the start is probably ingrained in me from my track running days, when the start of your race was not at a certain exact time but rather you had to listen for annoucements for first call and second call with details about how much time until your event would starts. So now I just like to hover around the start. Straying too far from the staging area will make me more anxious than I need to be as gun time approaches.

I wish I could say that I just ran this race "as a workout" and report that my pace was not reflective of my best work. But that would be lie. I ran my butt off.  That was all I had in me.  I tried my best.  

I started up front and decided to not mind my watch. I have no idea what I would do, but I told Alanna that if I was under 7:30 pace for this thing I would be thrilled.  That was a random guess.  I know I was not fit. I know I have gained weight.  I knew I would not be in the 6:xx's.

As I ran along, I picked a pace that I felt I could hold but also one I felt I could speed up from as the race progressed.  I felt like I was running forever and was wondering where the heck M1 was???  Finally I glance at my watch and I see it is .75M only and the pace is 7:20

... and then the Taco passes me.  Excellent.  

First woman passes me as well, but I am not racing anyone but me.  I let her go. This really was not actually my choice. :)  I do plan to push the pace a little to see if I can get at least 5 second faster in M2. The race is flat except for some little bridge. The weather is 48 degrees and no wind. It is a beautiful day for a race. The course is very very windy, as in "lots of turns" windy... not lots of wind. (Winding River Park). The path is a little torn up. Those issues did  not slow me down at all.

In Mile 2, I am passed by the 9 year old... she is making ground on the Taco.... M2 7:16.

Ok, at least I got a little faster, but man this is hard. We are heading back to the start now. Miles ago I was confident that I would have a kick at the end of this thing. But that dream was long gone. I wasn't running so hard that I felt I was suffering completely, but I didn't have another gear.  I am 10 lbs heavier than my ideal racing weight, which I was close to the last 5k I raced in December which as a 6:29 pace race and one I was very happy with. I had realistic expectations today.

Photo posted on OCR's FB page
I was holding my 7:17 pace for most of the first half of the last mile but could feel my body running out of oomph. Every part of me felt out of shape. The runners around me were pettering out and I couldn't shift gear. But I had not practiced shifting gears in many months.

The Taco was fading and I was making some ground. But my lungs felt terrible and my asthma was problematic. My lungs are just not used to working that hard. I had a hacking cough the rest of the day from this race.

Nothing about me has worked that hard in a long time. I faded in last mile in 7:24 pace. I am ok with this.

I finish the 3M run in 22:01, which was just about what I expected. I head back to run in with Alanna for her last .2M. I joke with her about whether she is ok with having an illegal pacer on a short course, non-USATF sanctioned, fundraiser and she says she will be ok with a DQ if that happens. ;)

She asks how I did. I tell her "I just wanted to race something and I did! My heart is happy! But my lungs... not so much." 

Photo posted on OCR's FB page
At the awards ceremony I was announced as 3rd Female OA and gifted a gift card of unknown value to a resturant that is actually near my parents' house. The race raised money for LLS, which is where I met Alanna as we both were coaching Team in Training back then. This was a good day!

I now have my baseline check in race.  It is very far from where I used to be, but I am ok with that too. I need to use my time, the time I got back from teaching, to now get back to training.  

I have a performance test to chip away from now. I need to feel better. I need to get fitter. I need to run faster again. 

I don't think I am done with racing hard just yet. 

When I am in shape, people will try to distinguish me from the average person by telling me they think I am "not normal." They have no idea how normal I am.  The claim that I am just gifted with some natural ability to just run 6 minute miles whenever I feel like it. There is nothing I can say to explain that this is not true. But I know those comments are not about me, but rather about the speaker making the comments.  What I do know is when I am not in shape, I am just like everyone else who is also not in race shape. Without training to race, I am not trained to race. I don't have some innate natural ability to do great things. I have a leaky heart valve. I have asthma. I have a carb-craving that keeps me heavier than I need to be unless I run off what I eat. I am normal and to race well it takes work. Hard work. Everything I have ever earned as a runner I had to work for. I had to train hard and smart.  I had to be consistent, make good (often boring) choices, and take care of myself as a runner. I had to become a student of the sport and read/study/learn.  I know how to do all that work. I also know how much time it takes to do it right. I need to have the room in my life to do it again. I want to do it again.

When I have the time, I know I can do good work.  Here is to hoping I can find the time to nurture my runner-self, while also nuturing all the other sides of myself that I need to nuture to feel balanced, content, and purposed.

Distance 3M
Time 22:01
Place 3rd Female

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