Monday, July 22, 2013

What's Under the Hood?

I think of runners like cars. Just by looking, one can't tell what is under the hood. Yet there is still a broad judgement made by appearance—mostly by people that are non-runners. One can have a rusted-out beaten truck packing a roaring, powerful engine. Or, a sleek exterior that rumbles quietly, with no get up and go (or worse, runs out of gas at an intersection!). And this is one of the reasons I train and enjoy people watching on race day. Some of the warm-ups, well... It's like a strange spoof of So You Think You Can Dance. I do feel for those who have been injured and need to warm-up and stretch well. I am not talking about that routine. Maybe I am just not serious enough. But I had to look away at a recent 15k when witnessing the dance routines of one woman—who I was afraid was going to biff it on asphalt, followed by boys talking smack about their speed and my husband thought one of them looked like a girl. Yep, he was pretty with a nice head band alright. To each their own.

Sure, some people look fit or like thin sprinters and they are, but one can not tell the speed and endurance of the majority of runners—the normal people—at these races just by the outside presentation. I will never—oops I said never—be that skin and muscle on bone sprinter. I work with the genetics I have. But, what I can change is the conditioning of my engine from the inside. And that is golden.

I am very proud of my husband who says that I inspired him to start running a few months ago. He ran his first race—a 15k—with me two weeks ago. It was the first time he had reached that distance. I knew he was ready and had been consistently running 2-6 miles 3xs a week for a couple months and had been working out for a few years. He knew he was beyong a 5k and was looking at a 10k. But I figured he should run both at the same time...HA! It was time for him to experience the thrill of the event from the inside of the track. It was a great experience to pace him and pull him back when I felt he was going too fast with a huge hill coming at mile 5. Something happens in a race where people just get excited and go too fast in the start and run out of gas at some point. We ran that hill passing many who started walking. The rest of the run clicked on by, although my husband was wishing he was on his last lap on mile 7. A race in July is going to be HOT and that adds the possibility of over-heating. Not to mention the mental barrier, if one has never ran this far before. For the most part, we had an enjoyable run and I have a photo to prove it. On the last stretch, which is about 4 blocks on a parade route, he asked where the finishline was. When I told him it was at the end of the street, his response was "Oh God!" It was hot, he was hurting and he just wanted it over. Yet, in the last block he still found the strength to sprint and leave me 8 seconds behind. To his credit, he did ask for me to come with him, but my engine doesn't go under 8-minute miles at the end of any run. I told him to just go. I have no problem with him or other people getting the race experience they want.

I didn't feel like I was "racing" the 15k and was running happy.Yet, I had another PR by 6 whole minutes. With a few people hurly on the course—that's right, barfing—and at least one running into a fence at the end, I feel pretty good about that PR and this smooth ride.

Just what is roaring under my hood? My Ultra training has made me faster, stronger and running smarter. Yet my exterior, just doesn't show it, which I think I could change that by weight lifting and less cardio....but I am a runner after all. I have set 4 personal records this year—out of the 4 races I have ran. So I have to think, and not to sound cocky, that I know what I am doing. A rest day to me, has become a day that I workout just once. That's right.

A look at my weekly training plan:

I have had some lurking injuries that have pulled me back in spacing my tough hill repeats to the beginning of the week, so the long runs don't end with injury—part of running smarter. 30 repeats is grueling. That's on today's schedule with Insanity. Off for today's double workout!

Time for me to focus and drive.


  1. You really can't ever tell, can you? My first tri (earlier this summer) I was tickled to death when I passed a lovely, young 20-something at the beginning of the run. As I was mentally congratulating myself, a 60-year-old woman rocketed past me like I was standing still!

    1. That's funny Meryl! I have been burned as well. When I look at race photos, there always seem to be "mature" runners in my photos like I am racing just retirees or something. One time this man had an injured wrist wrapped and in a cast. I was just trying to get away from him for the finish line photo, but he is still there in my photo.


Have some Focused Drive to share? Leave me a message.