Bryan Clay Invite

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Our sea level block has come to an end. It was a great seven weeks of training, and we finished with a race at the Bryan Clay Invitational.

The race itself was more a test of fitness for our group: no big stadiums or awards. I ran the 1500👆🏼(with Shelby, Colleen and Courtney) and placed 3rd. ⠀ ⠀
The whole experience – race prep, mental fortitude, body perception and calm – was a million times better than my indoor races. I have to be happy with that. But I‘d be lying if I said I was thrilled with a time of 4:08.

Everyone says to be patient with a training group change, it takes time. I say that. And yet, the truth is, I’ve never fully believed it. In every past experience working with a new coach, I’ve set a personal best within the first six-ish months. I’ve always thought the advice to be patient can easily turn into an excuse to be complacent, and one has to be vigilant to keep them apart.

I am also someone who tends to rely on intuition in my decision-making. Complacency only kicks in if I know something is off and I don’t address it. In this situation everything indicates good progress. Training is going well, and my mood is high. The only outlier is a race result. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀
So I’m adjusting my cynicism and staying patient and resolved. I trust I am not being complacent, and things will continue to progress. Is that just a rationalization to make my principles consistent with my actions? Maybe. But I believe it. And really, that’s all that matters. 👊🏼💥

Photo by Brett Guemmer

Rookie mistake

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This week I made the classic mistake. I hoped for an easy workout.
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I’d been dealing with a sinus infection and woke up feeling weak. I didn’t want to skip the workout, but also didn’t want to make myself sick. If I really was unwell, I shouldn’t have gone to practice. But since I was there, there’s nothing worse than starting a workout wanting it to be easy.

First off, going in with that mindset might actually make it harder, because you set yourself up for a higher relative perceived exertion (learned more about this from the book Peak Performance. Next on the list is Alex Hutchinson’s Endure). ⠀ ⠀
But also, the whole point is for it to be hard! That’s where the improvement happens. You come to appreciate that feeling. I learned that from Kim Conley. She is the best at leaning in when it’s getting uncomfortable.
Finally, beginning with a caveat makes it easier to fall off. You’re not committed, so you have to make the decision to commit over and over again throughout the session.

End result: I did the workout. Big surprise: it was hard. In a nice case of life imitating art, I thought of my IG post in the final minutes of the tempo to help me stay connected… I will keep the workout streak alive!

I hope it was the right call doing the session. I’m trying to take good care of myself and stay healthy. And moving forward, I will be content with making my cake. I’ll wait to eat it for a while longer. 😋

Where is the catch?

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If you couldn’t tell from last post… I was feeling myself. 🤣 Workouts have been going well, and that is especially satisfying because the opposite situation is still fresh in my mind. But whenever there are a few good weeks in a row, an uneasy question creeps in; when is something going to break?

Maybe that’s just my slightly anxious disposition, though I like to think of it as an awareness brought by years of training. ⠀ ⠀
The purpose of training is to push your edge. That’s how improvement happens. But always riding the edge is risky… it’s not hard to take a few wrong steps and fall over. (That could mean injury, illness, or just extreme fatigue). And there’s never more uncertainty than when you’re doing things you’ve never done before. How much is enough? How much is too much?

The signs that you’re getting out of range are not always straightforward. One I’ve learned to watch in myself is when I start neglecting close friends and family. Not that I have to be the social butterfly, but if I go AWOL, to the point where my mom is calling my sister to see if I’m alive, that might mean something (Thanks mom 😉). And that’s happened with a few people recently. ⠀ ⠀
So. If I’ve made a jump in fitness, the initial reaction might be, “this is great, let’s keep pushing.” But instead, I try to make sure other inputs remain the same as I’m used to (example: mileage, physio work, sleep, food). I’ll go to bed extra early and take recovery runs at an easier pace if I see signs of excessive fatigue.

The more I view this as a long game, the more confidence I have in those decisions. Improvements maybe happen in spurts, but the real progress comes when you’re able to maintain those spurts over years of healthy training. Nothing is perfect, but whatever method gets close to that goal is one I can live with.

Photo by Jordan Beckett

Something has switched

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone from nervous about workouts, to excited about them. Over the past few months, I’ve gone from not finishing or falling off, to hanging on, to being okay with helping lead and push some reps.

I so wish I had started these updates in the fall, so you could see just how different this is from then. Instead, you’ll have to take my word. It is such a freaking relief.

I’m excited to go to practice again. I’m holding myself back from asking for more.

I was talking with Amy about that shift. I love the way she put it… as inertia starts to kick in, there’s an extra motivation each day to keep the streak alive. I want to nail the workouts bc of my goals. But now I also want to finish because I have a rhythm going, and I don’t want it to stop. Completing each session moves more into the column of “nonnegotiable.” Momentum is a beautiful thing.

And there are still all the familiar worries… that I’ll take it for granted and somehow jinx it… or what if one day it all just stops and I’m back on the struggle bus. But the fear of that struggle is lessening the more I see it as a feasible challenge, and a sign that good things are to come. And for now, I’m just trying to enjoy the flow for a sec. To borrow the phrase from my current jam… GTFOMD 😜

Photo by Jordan Beckett

We’re back

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It’s almost a full group warming up these days… 8-10 women. It’s amazing (sometimes intimidating) how much talent and drive there is in the group.

I was part of a panel discussion last week. The topic was women supporting women, and how to lift each other up in sports and business. At talks like that, many times there is a question about how to reduce cattiness and competitiveness among women. In my experience, that isn’t the key question. For me, it’s how do I remain confident in myself, while also surrounding myself with successful, confident people.

I only get the urge to be gossipy, or want to find something “wrong” with someone else, when I’m a low on my self-esteem. And that tends to happen when I lose track of my personal path and goals.

Example from last week: For our Tuesday workouts, I am usually given a shorter set. This is because I run less mileage, and I’m relatively new to the program. Still, I don’t want to feel like the runt of the litter, and it’s easy to compare myself with training partners who seem so similar on the surface. We are runners! We are women! We are comparable!

But that is a trap. Just because we can wear the same sports bra, doesn’t make us the same. We are different people, different stories. Right now for me, feeling within myself on a 4.5 mile fartlek is progress. I want to keep pushing that up in distance, but I also have to acknowledge that that’s a big step.

And the more I clarify my unique path, the more I am able to celebrate the unique strengths in my training partners. The mantra I use to get in this mindset is, “I am me, and I love me some me.” Silly, but effective😬! Of course it’s easier said than done. I go through ups and downs in my confidence. But like anything else, it’s the progress that matters. 💋

Photo by Jordan Beckett