Thursday, May 8, 2014

Simulation Success: it's all about perspective

This past Sunday's workout was what most people would consider an "epic fail."

However, I like to look at this past Sunday's workout as something I learned a lesson from. While it may not have been an easy lesson to learn, it has made me mentally stronger and even more determined to make my dream a reality.

I participated in the Palos 1/2 marathon this past Sunday, a race I've run for probably the past 5 years. Ryan works it, we get to stay at a Double Tree (because honestly, who doesn't want to indulge in one of their cookies post-race??), there's an awesome bison burger place nearby, our Saucony rep is there... just to name a few of the reasons I have enjoyed this race over the past few years.

The race preparation was pretty similar to last year:

-get a good shakeout run of 3 miles in, check
-swim (last year was a 4,000m swim...this year was half of that), check
-work the Long Jump at the junior high Conference track meet at Stevenson, check
-go to Tribes Alehouse and order bison burger with a side salad, check
-grab a beer at the Double Tree, check
-work on school work while enjoying burger and beer, check

So really....I was kind of hoping for similar results to last year.

Last year's race was run eight days after I set a 2+ minute personal best at the U of I 1/2 marathon. I was not expecting much out of my legs, but shocked the heck out of everyone (myself included) by winning Palos in a time less than 2 minutes slower than what I had just run at U of I....essentially breaking my previous previous PR if that makes any sense.

This year's race was run 4 weeks after an Ironman.

I'll let you come to your own conclusion on where this is going...

...but in case you can't figure it out: this year was a totally different story.

The plan was the run the first six miles at Marathon Race Pace (MRP), 6:10-6:13, and then "Red Line," meaning to go all out for the last six miles.

Coach Dave and I were both completely dialed into the goal and after a 10minute warmup with Ryan and a quick sip of my Kona Punch PowerGel, I was ready to roll.

Long story short for multiple reasons, the first six miles went as planned, but my body just wouldn't GO at mile six. I saw Ryan leading by a LONG shot at mile five and he told me to go catch the girls on my way back (I was in 4th place), and that was the plan until we turned around...and my legs wouldn't move any faster.

Still feeling good at this point.

I made the decision at mile 9.5 to drop the workout. I was running MRP if I was lucky, so there was no point in delaying my recovery process by pushing my body hard for the last 3.5 miles.

I was pretty bummed when I crossed the finish line. I know that there are a lot of people who would KILL to run what I just had, but the work I have been putting in shows me capable of a much faster time, so I was naturally pretty frustrated and upset.

It was hard to show that though since Ryan just crushed the race and won by over 5 minutes. On 2 hours of sleep. After driving from Ohio to Illinois the night before. After standing on his feet at an expo for the two days prior. The man is amazing....and I'm a very lucky girl:)
 Looking smooth and fast!
 With one of our favorite race directors, Mel.
Giuliano win again!

Coach Dave and I talked and came up with a few thoughts on why the race didn't go as planned. After having one of the most miserable 6 mile runs of my life on Monday, Dave made a few phone calls and we figured out my issue: my body simply hadn't recovered from the Ironman 4 weeks prior.

Even though I was nailing workouts recently, the higher "stress" that the simulation race was putting onto my body just kind of made me collapse. My body was getting used to no longer biking or swimming while increasing my run mileage from 50 miles per week to 70-75 miles per week... the transition was not going to be easy, and a moment like this was bound to happen.

*Shout out and THANK YOU to Jen Harrison (a former athlete and current friend of Dave's) who helped us figure out this mystery!

Coach Dave altered my training a bit, but kept in today's hard workout:

2x1mile at 5:40-5:45, 2x800 at 2:40.

I am happy to report that my legs are BACK.

5:28, 5:32 (while trying to slow myself down in fear of dying on the 800s!)
2:34, 2:34

Have to give props to my awesome Saucony A6's as they made me feel like I was FLYING during this workout. Also experimented with the PowerBar Cola Gel Blasts prior to the workout, which have 2x caffeine in them. Two big influences in making this a successful workout.

Thanks to everyone for believing in me and knowing that Sunday was a fluke. I am very lucky to have such positive, supportive people in my life to help me get through the seemingly rough patches. I am focused and ready to keep chasing this dream!


Kait said...

love your attitude :) and i'm convinced you are married to a robot.... unreal!

Fa C Shus said...

You know or will learn, no single race nor workout will define you. Competitive running is full of peaks, plateaus and dips. Some are predictable some are not and all you have to do is answer the bell tomorrow.