May 30, 2014

Revising Goals

One thing I'm learning as I get older is that it's not only okay to change personal goals, but it's appropriate to do so.  The goals that I had in my twenties, when I was single and childless, are way different now that I'm in my forties and married with children. 

I've been re-evaluating my athletic goals recently, and while I don't have any real answers right now, I felt an urge to write about it and flesh out my thoughts.

My athletic goals have changed drastically over the years.  In my late teens and early twenties it was to hit the gym, lift weights, and get on the stair master.  In my late twenties it was to run 5ks, and do a half marathon. In my early thirties it was to do a full marathon.  Once I hit forty, my goals went on overdrive and I dove headfirst into doing half marathon after half marathon, as well as getting into triathlon. 

To date, I have done 1 full marathon, 20 stand-alone half marathons, one15k, a few 10ks, countless 5ks, 7 sprint triathlons, 1 Olympic triathlon, 2 half-Ironman triathons, 1 metric century bike ride (67 miles), and one 2.4 mile ocean swim.  Tomorrow I will do my first century ride (105 miles), and I look forward to crossing off that bucket list item.

What I'm struggling with right now is, what next?  To me, there are no more "big goals" left to conquer. I have NO interest in doing a full Ironman triathlon, so that will not be added to the bucket list.  And I have no interest in doing another full marathon, let alone an ultramarathon. Therefore, any athletic goals need to fit within the parameters of distances I've already accomplished.   I'm ok with having no "big goals" left in terms of distance, and know that I can make goals to do distances faster and/or stronger.

I have a few half marathons on the books, and hope to be able to run them.  I have not run a stand-alone half marathon since last August. I was too injured, with excruciating sciatic pain resulting from a herniated disc.  While the pain has lessened considerably, I wasn't "allowed" to do a half marathon by my coach while training for the half-Ironman, for fear of re-injuring myself.  Once the half-Ironman was over, I was plagued by heel pain, and ended up taking off time from running.  In fact, tomorrow will mark five weeks since my last run.  (I just got clearance from my podiatrist to start running again, though, with a diagnosis of Achilles tendinopathy and a treatment plan.)  So I'm hopeful I'll be able to start training again.

I still have a bucket list goal of running a half marathon in every state. I have one on the books for November in Maryland, and that will make state number 4 (only 46 more to go!!!)  But accomplishing this goal depends as much on my budget as it does on athletic ability.

I guess, now that I'm sorting this out in my head, my issue is triathlon. I don't know where I stand with it. I got burned out training for my second half-Ironman.  While I loved racing in Oceanside, and had a great race and overall a good time, I said "never again" when I finished.  However, I said that after I finished my first half-Ironman, and obviously I signed up again.  I do think that if, and I truly mean IF, I do a 70.3 distance again, it won't be until 2016. I'm loosely considering Vineman, or Barb's Race, or even Oceanside again...but as I said, I'm not sure I want to do it a third time. 70.3 miles is a really, really long way to go....the training kept me away from my family most weekends, and my body gets injured so easily that I worry about it falling apart.

So if I don't do another 70.3 for a few years, am I ok training for sprints, or even Olympic distances?  Or, should I continue doing what I've been doing recently, which is to deconstruct the triathlon and do individual events (ie I am doing the century bike ride tomorrow, and have two swim-only events on tap over the next few months). I am kind of enjoying the one-sport event. It's nice to do a swim race and not have to worry about biking afterwards, just as it will be great to do the century ride tomorrow without having to then go for a run.

I should also have non-swim/bike/run goals, such as being able to touch my toes.  I would love to start yoga classes again. I was doing yoga for a while, but it's been over a year since I last attended a class.

I want to push myself as hard as I can, but within reason. I  want to be healthy. I HATE being injured. It SUCKS not being able to run. I want to be able to swim, bike and run in my old age. I want to be the old lady running in the local 5k, swimming laps early in the morning, and biking around the lake. I always want to be active, and if I'm injured, or mentally burned out, that won't happen.

Right now, I don't have an answer. I need to see how my body holds up once I start running next week----and see if I ever want to look at my bike again after riding it for 105 miles tomorrow.  Maybe I should see how my body does running again, and sign up for an end-of-season sprint or Oly.  If my body doesn't respond well to long distances, I may need to change my race distance to 10ks or 5ks (I hope not, as I really love the half marathon distance, but if I have to, I will---I'd rather run less miles than none at all.)  I guess time will tell on how my mind, body and spirit do.  Flexibility is the key.

May 9, 2014

Peace Love Run 2014 5k Race Recap

About 3 weeks ago I ran the Peace Love Run 5k, "with" my son, D.

I put "with" in quotation marks because while we started together, he actually beat me by a few minutes, and we didn't run together at all.

I was excited about this race.  I ran the 10k last year, and enjoyed the low-key vibe the race had. Lots of people were dressed up in 60's or 70's outfits, and I expected the same this year.  My son, D, had just turned 10 the day before, and was looking forward to yet another 5k.  He's become quite the little runner.

The race has changed a lot since it's inaugural running last year.  Last year (2013) they only had a 5k or 10k option (I had done the 10k).  This year, they added a half marathon option to the mix.  Last year the race was at Liberty Station in Point Loma, which offered a nice route to run on. Sadly, this year the race was at Fiesta Island, a location I'm sick of having done many 5ks and triathlons at.  Finally, last year they gave out medals but no shirts (you could purchase a shirt for $15, but since it was their first year they didn't want to over-order).  This year, everyone got a medal AND a shirt (tech for the half marathon, cotton for the 5k. Not sure about the 10k).

We wanted to dress in costume, and settled on our matching Beatles shirts (black with white writing). We arrived at Fiesta Island very early---parking is always hard, and we hadn't gone to the packet pickup the day before since it was D's birthday. We had to park, typically, almost a mile away.  D was very tired, as his birthday party was the night before and he didn't get to bed until wayyyyyy past his bedtime.  We walked to the race area and got our bibs and shirts---and had no place to put the shirts.  There was no gear check, which was frustrating.  The volunteers at the booth suggested we either wear them or carry them.  We didn't want to wear them---we had our Beatles shirts to display, plus I'm not a fan of wearing the shirt before earning it.  I COULD have held the shirts, and for a 5k it wouldn't have been great but doable---but imagine running a 10k or half marathon holding a shirt!  There should have been a gear check.  As there was no time for me to go the almost two miles back and forth to the car, I ended up asking the race announcer if I could hide the shirts in a box in his tent.  He agreed, and it ended up being ok.


I already wrote about this in a previous post, but around this time D started to feel sick. He suddenly had a bad stomach ache---likely from all the cake and ice cream he'd had at his party the night before.  We sat on the grass and watched as the half marathoners got their instructions and took off. I was worried about D, and offered him some choices:  we could leave right then, we could walk the 5k, or we could start the 5k and stop in the middle if we needed and I'd carry him back.  Although I wanted to do the race, as we had paid for it and were already there, his health and comfort came first.  He was still in pain as the 10k went off, and soon it was time for us 5k-ers to line up.  He said he would try it (using the "suck it up buttercup" mantra that was his all weekend).

I guess he felt ok, because he lined up in the front and once it was time to go, he took off running and never looked back!  The 5k was an out-and-back on Fiesta Island, and I watched him ahead of me the whole time, even cheering him on when he passed me on his way back.  He was flying!  I myself was doing ok---not my personal best for a 5k, but for two weeks after a half-Ironman I was holding my own, pace-wise.  Finally I reached the finish line, where an already medal-laden son was waiting for me. I got my medal--adorable with a Volkswagon bug on it---and we hiked back to the car (and onto his first open water swim).

I like this race. I wish it wasn't on Fiesta Island, but it is what it is.  I do like the medals. I don't usually do a race for the medal itself, but the hippie in me likes the 60's themed ones they've had the past two years.  I will likely do this race again next year if it fits in my schedule.