but first I owe you guys some answers.
Elizabeth wanted to know the "big secret" to continued improvement in the marathon after 11 years. Hands down, I would have to say my consistent increase in mileage. I didn't just all of a sudden blast into 90mpw, but a very gradual increase. Back in 2000, I was doing only about 30 mpw. Year after year, my weekly averages increased. For anyone looking to increase mileage, the pros say increase only 10% per week, with an added occasional cutback week. Also, this is key- keep easy runs EASY! One of my biggest mistake when running high mileage is doing easy runs too fast. I sometimes even ignore McMillan or Pfitz on the easy runs and just run by feel. FORGET the Garmin! Your body will tell you everything you need to know on those easy miles.
Adrienne asked about the first thing I would do in my new "cosmopolitan" living place. Well... last night was my first night! After 48 hours of complete moving mayhem, I was in the new place, surrounded by boxes. TP and I went out to dinner, and the drive was only 15 minutes! Just minutes to everything a girl would want- shopping, eating, nail salons, etc! This morning, I met my new group for a run! 7 friends met at the Pier and we ran 14 miles, varied paces. When I visited you, Adrienne, I realized how much a part of me craves those friendships built with other runners. I missed running in places that were actually pretty to look at, and not always being completely alone on runs. Granted, TP runs with me some, but he only does about 30 mpw and has been working like a dog and not running much these days. So, now I have a running group! They run on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I probably won't be meeting on ALL those runs, but just having the option is so great!
Flo wanted to know my running goals for the upcoming year. Hhmmm, here's the nitty-gritty on the plan. I'm doing a relative cutback in mileage right now, about 65 mpw and adding in LOTS of speed stuff- 2 sessions a week, sometimes 3. Starting in a few weeks, I will transition this base work to higher mileage marathon training. This will carry me to the Pensacola Marathon. I won this race in 2006, but the course is different now. It's a double loop of the only hills in whole state of Florida. The course is nowhere near a PR course, and all my peeps will be there to endure the misery with me. It's really just a dust-buster race for my key race- Houston Marathon. Houston is going to be the first big Sub 3 attempt. I've got a razzle-dazzle training plan that I can't WAIT to start. I really wanted to travel someplace cool, like Philly for the marathon, but paying my own rent now is likely to do a number on my financial plan. I've decided to keep it local for a few months to make sure I am okay in the $ category. I've gotten Elite Status at the Woodlands Marathon, which I only have ONE reason for running- Adrienne. It will be neat to run a marathon on their inaugural year. Plus, The Woodlands is just awesome anyway.
Leah wants me to come to Michigan for a race. Unfortunately, Michigan is not on the plan. It's still on my to-do marathon list, though. :)
Amy had a few questions. My favorite distance to race is the marathon. Yep, I pretty much don't even train for any other distance. And coaching people that don't really want to be here... hmmmmm... first off, I would never waste time on an adult with that mindset. If someone doesn't want to run or train, then they shouldn't. That's the beauty of being grown- making your own decisions. Running and training is hard enough without throwing in a lazy bones attitude. I assume your question was about our lovely youth that often need motivation. I think it differs with each teen. For me, I had a few out there that just wanted to be a part of something, but didn't really like putting in the work. That's not totally a BAD thing for our youth. At least something positive was chosen, and not the pot smoking club. In those situations, I really don't fight that battle by nagging or yelling or even really "coaching" the runner. I simply pick ANYTHING great they have done out there and make it seem like s/he just cured cancer. Then I just cross my fingers and hope that positive reinforcement leads to more effort and a better attitude. I also did a few things for the team, like "Athlete of the Week" that wins a Gatorade and note from me thanking them for their effort. I made a board with all the school records, giving them something to shoot for, even if way far from State and Regional records. And... about the Big D (divorce)...I really have no advice. Mine was so bad that I had to hire a counselor just to help me keep it all together and function like a normal person. I will say that, no matter how bad, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever you are facing, keep the hope that there IS always something better out there for you, and (my beliefs) that God is taking care of you, even if you can't see it. Take things day by day, or even hour by hour. One baby step at a time. (((HUGS)))
Jodi wanted to know one race I would like to run. I really don't have ONE race that I have my eyes on, but I am dieing to go to California to run. There are so many great races out there, and I've never even beed to California!
My favorite race, Beth, was by far the New York Marathon. It is completely ELECTRIC! It's like the ultimate tour of NYC!
Zenaida wanted to know my favorite post-run drink and how often my running shoes get replaced. I LOVE a big tall Diet Coke after a LR or race. Not sure why, but I just crave that carbonation! Sometimes immediately after a really hard run or race, my stomach is not very settled. In those cases, I enjoy a smoothie to hold me until I'm ready for solid foods. I like to make mine with frozen fruit, almond milk, and protein powder. And, I have no idea when I replace my running shoes. Hahaha, when they start feeling like crap, or the tread starts getting worn away, bye-bye they go! I'm sure the "right" answer is 300 miles, though. ;)
And that's the nitty-gritty on me! Thanks for playing!