June 24, 2013

Run to Train or Run to Race?

You know what I've recently learned about myself? (Or maybe I've known it all along, but not wanted to admit it until now.) I like training more than racing. I came to this conclusion within about 3 days of returning from San Diego. During the heinous  recovery period, I realized I was chomping at the bit to get back out there. I couldn't WAIT to see my new workouts on Training Peaks. I was dying to get back to work. For what, though? I didn't even know. All I knew is that the marathon is out. Yep, not training for a marathon. No marathon is planned at all, and I am 100% at peace with this decision. (This was a decision that my coach and I made together.) What does it mean when you like training more than racing? Why is the WORK more rewarding than the actual reward?

I think the writing on the wall has shown me that in order to get my marathon confidence back, I need to see success in my shorter distance races. And that is not a physical necessity. For me, it's 100% mental. In my history of PRs, I have always had a PR during the training cycle, ranging anywhere from a 2 mile PR to a Half PR. Another contributor has been high mileage. I plan to accomplish both of those things before I toe the marathon line again.

So what's been going on in my running world? Well, I am back to real training again. And that feels wonderful. I hopped in a 5K last weekend, totally running for fun. Sam & I dressed as twins. My plan? Run hard-ish, but with no Garmin, and no time goals. I didn't even wear a watch. You know what craziness happened? I hit nearly even splits and finished in 20:00 on the nose! LOL. We rounded out the day by hitting the beach with the running group.

Last week, I hit the track for some 400s. Like I mentioned a few posts ago, I love 400s. The workout felt smooth and good-hard. I had fun! The rest of the week, I was in Jacksonville for a FOUR DAY track meet, and I had some great adventures there. LOL. I stayed in a very nice hotel, but it wasn't in the greatest of areas. Fortunately, there was a bike/running path about 1.3 from the hotel. According to the lady at the desk, it was very safe, but I should drive there and not run. Um, sketchy! I set off about 4 a.m. for my tempo workout Thursday morning. I was to do a long-ish warm up, 3 miles tempo, and then long-ish cooldown. I wasn't too worried, being that I just ran a 5K at 6:26 pace. So, I set off and it was pitch black. And I was scared. However, this was my only chance to run that day (due to the meet, etc). I ran my warm up a little too quickly, but nothing overboard (mid 7s). I couldn't help it, though. I just wanted to get finished! Every little sound and movement had me on edge, thinking someone was about to snatch me! I hit the tempo portion and nearly died. It was so frustrating! I could barely hold 6:35-6:40! Friday morning I was able to go a little later; so the sun began to come up during the halfway point of my run. Saturday, though, I was running along at easy pace (not wearing Garmin), still watching like a hawk in the pitch black, and a MAN came sprinting across the path! I had that screamer/pepper/strobe going so fast, it was like a reflex. I still don't know what the crap he doing. He wasn't running towards me, exactly, but passing in front of me way too closely, and then back into the bushes. So sketchy and scary. I got so scared that I turned on a side road and started sprinting towards the main road. (This road was NOT safe for running because of traffic, but I did not want to stay near that man any longer.) I sprinted so hard that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My legs burned, and I think I was crying. In my twisted 4 a.m brain, it was like he was after me. But he wasn't. I literally freaked.the.crap.out. I finally reached the main highway and had to grab onto a road sign to keep from passing out. Funny thing was that the strobe and screamer were still going. LOL. I put that back together and tried to collect myself. Then I was so exhausted that I had to Galloway back to the hotel. I'm pretty sure I dropped a 5 minute mile somewhere out there in Jacksonville. The things I do...

Moving on to this week- I get to legally run double digits again (woot woot)! I also have a very cool workout tomorrow. I've never done any of this type before, and that makes me excited. The workout is a warm up, then a couple of miles at the slow end of tempo pace, followed by some short repeats on the track. Sounds like a fun new challenge for me, hopefully one that will make me strong.

My WINGS team? Well, after the track-o-palooza, 4 day meet, we had 18 athletes qualify for the Jr. Olympics in Michigan. I'm so proud of them! It was brutal hot, and we had some really long days. Needless to say, I am exhausted. Between being outside nearly all day each day and the 6 hour drive, I plan to lay low for a few days.

I've got some cool things going on with my high schoolers that I plan to blog about soon, too. As for now, Run Happy, friends!


  1. Scary escape story!! Glad you are safe. I am with you on the training...I am a workhorse too, I HATE the post race recovery period haha. New goals are fun, and your 20:00 is a great start! :)

  2. You have been busy!! Nice 5k..I like the plan to train for training and to do the shorter races. Also happy for you to be doing double digit runs again. :)

    I would have been scared to death that morning too. It's been a while since I have ran in the dark, but never really have any encounters with other runners- or people- in the dark. Glad you are OK.

    Congrats on all those athletes qualifying for Jr. Olympics! That's a great accomplishment, coach.

  3. Great post and great realization. There is SO MUCH value in the training and we have to value the work we do every day much more than how our body performs on just race day! Nice job on that 5K. I am happy to see you out there training again and loving your runs!

  4. Busy days for you and congratulations on those qualifying for Jr. Olympics!

    And what a scary experience out there when you were running. I am too scared to run in the dark.

    Hmm, not sure what I like more, the training or the races? I need to think about that one.

    Hugs to you!!

  5. I would have totally been the girl in the dark sketchy places before dawn too, why? Because I love to train-and only every once in a while do we get to tell stories like this. But I digress.

    If I were to make an analogy for the training-racing conundrum it would be something like training is like a school project-fun and you get to be creative and play with different things, but a race is like an exam. Sometimes you ace it if the right questions are asked. Sometimes you are left asking the questions at the end. That's my deepest thought for the evening:)

    Keep on leading great kids with a great example!!

  6. Now, I wish I could just race and the training could sort of happen in my sleep :)

  7. Hahaha you need to write a book about your running adventures!

    I think preferring training to racing is a good thing! I mean, we spend MONTHS training and like 3 hours racing. We need to like the training part.

    I started my training plan this week and my mom said "does that mean you'll slow down and not have to run 18miles on the weekends now?" How do you explain that you never HAD to run 18mi? I just did it when I was building mileage bc I like to run long. <3 Training love.