It was a pretty exciting end to the week for me regarding this blog, particularly my post “On Being Excepted by the Running Community.” Runner’s World has been posting about Back of the Pack Runners lately, at first making fun of them (tell us your funniest story about finishing last or almost last) then trying to reach out to Back of the Pack Runners by posting about someone’s dispiriting experience running a recent race. Of course the runner who was quoted was a front half of the pack runner who ended up in the back due to illness and running a 5k and 10k the day before running a half marathon (I predicted this article in my On Being Excepted… article. A blog called My No Guilt Life saw my post, quoted and linked to it http://noguiltlife.com/2014/06/open-letter-to-race-directors-from-the-back-of-the-pack.html. It’s always nice to know that there are people out there reading and there are others having the same experience that I am. Not nice that they are having the same experience, just that I’m not alone. Anyhow, Back of the Pack Runners: Stay strong!! You have just as much of a right to be there as anybody. Don’t let other people’s negativity take away from your positivity. Don’t fight. Win!
This weekend the racing season starts in earnest. There are 4 races in the next 16 days for a total of 28.1 miles. Sunday kicks off with Portugal Day, a 5 mile race in Central Park that I circle on my calendar every year. As I detailed in a previous post, Year 1 it kicked my ass, Year 2 I kicked its. When I first saw this race coming up, I had set a 12 minute per mile goal but I haven’t trained in a way that would get me there. I have my goal for Sunday to be between 14 and 15 minutes per mile (I ran 4 miles on Saturday averaging 14:40). That would be a large improvement over what I’ve run but I have faith in myself. I’ll let you know what happens.
So in the past few weeks I’ve been suffering from Runner’s Knee or something like it that I think was caused by trying to jump my running hills from 0 times per week to 3 times per week. That might have been too much but I did learn a few valuable lessons about training.
When I run hills I keep time. I was finding that my first hill would start around 2 minutes and then my time would slow until I got to about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. While it is natural to get tired as your workout progressed I didn’t think that my time should become that slow in so few reps. When I was at the bottom of the hill, I decided to change my plan of action.
Attack the hill.
My time for that hill was 2:07.
I had been saving energy so that I could complete the exercises. So what if I didn’t finish? I was wasting my time doing half-assed reps with the intention of being able to finish. I found out that even while attacking, I could do all the reps. And I was getting a better workout. My time is valuable. I don’t say that in an arrogant way, all of our time is valuable. I’d rather be playing with my kids, cooking and eating, reading a book or sleeping. That’s just the top of the list. If you are going to be out there, get the max workout in. Attack that damn hill!!
With my knee bothering me, the first thing I tried to do was keep up the training. I remember saying that I’d keep training and manage the pain. It wasn’t working. The pain was crazy intense while working out and didn’t go away after working out. It was also almost impossible for me to walk up or down stairs. My second thought to deal with the injury was to give it rest. The rest worked somewhat. The pain became less intense but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to sit around and wait for my knees to feel better. I got back in the gym and started doing more elliptical and more weights. I needed to improve flexibility and strength which the weights and elliptical did. Sometimes you need to switch it up. Sitting around and doing nothing doesn’t always help.
This is a tip for the Back of the Pack folks who are Run-Walkers like me. I went to the track to run a bit and started with walking two laps around the track to warm up and also gather some info. I started my stopwatch at my first lap and walked around the track the way I would in everyday life or when I stop running. At the end of the lap, I looked at my watch and noted the time. For the second lap, I made one simple change: I constantly reminded myself to Walk Fast. I focused on what I was doing and kept reminding myself to keep moving. At the end of the second lap, I’d shaved 30 seconds off my lap time. So at your next race you may be able to knock a bit off your time but staying focused and reminding yourself to walk fast. More important though is just staying in the moment and focusing on what you are doing. Be in the moment.
My last tip for the evening has to do with dieting. If you are Facebook friends with me, you may have caught my post about how my Weight Tracking App told me that I was a fatass and would stay that way (actual quote: At this rate, you will never reach your Target Weight). The scale was agreeing with it. I was getting frustrated because I know that I was denying myself of foods that I liked and the quantity. I started keeping track of what I was eating which I recommend everyone do. So here’s what I found, my meals were perfect. What I was doing was I was finding a bunch of good snacks—and eating too many of them. My company puts out snacks for us to eat and there is some good stuff in there like 100 calorie bags of Popcorners, Fiber One Bars and Skinny Cow Bars. So a 100 calorie bag of chips is good as a snack but when you string together 5 separate 100 calorie snacks, you end up with 500 calories. Most of the time when I’m dieting and not losing weight, I find out that I’ve been eating a lot more than I thought. I call it Gray Area Dieting. You’re eating the right foods, just too much. After I recognized the Gray Area Dieting issue, I lost 7 pounds in 4 days. Suck it Weight Tracking App!!!
I’m heading to bed now because 5 Miles is coming bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m particularly excited because my children will be attending their first race for Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Attack that Hill!