Monday, December 23, 2013

Tis The Season For New Beginnings...

It's that time of year for extreme cookie baking, paper cuts from wrapping paper, and pictures of that damn elf being posted all over social media. Well behaved children, twinkling Christmas trees, and Mariah Carey's Christmas played incessantly on every radio station. And when your life is full of athletes, it's also that time of year that race schedules are being posted everywhere. It's definitely a time of anticipation and excitement. 

For me, 2014 is going to be a year of new beginnings. I have had this email sitting in my inbox since July: 

The journey to my first Ironman. I've been toying with the idea for a few years now, but never felt truly prepared to take the plunge until after I finished my 50 mile ultra. Once I completed that race, I felt like I was ready to tackle an Ironman, both physically and mentally. 

I then toyed with the idea of coaching; I knew I could buy a book, and figure out how to get to the starting line. I'm fortunate to have a degree in Exercise Science, and could put the pieces together. However, I can definitely be my own worst enemy. I've always fallen into the "more is more" category with training; I love volume. I'm also very injury prone, which I'm sure is directly correlated with this mentality. Combine this with being an Ironman rookie, a tricky schedule, AND not having a lot of bike experience? I started researching coaches. When I tell you I researched, stalked (what? no good?), googled, and researched some more, it's probably an understatement. I know I'm a pain in the ass to coach. I like to ask lots of questions. I always want to know the "why" and the science behind everything. I have a tricky schedule, which forces a "thinking outside the box" mentality as I ramp up to Ironman. I needed someone who can save me from myself, but also lets me play every once in a awhile. Along with all of that, I need someone who is a great personality fit; someone who really would "get me" at every level. I found Katie; and when I tell you she has been PHENOMENAL, it's another understatement. We've been working together since November, and I'm so very thankful for her guidance and friendship every day. 

Finally, to complete the trifecta, I was chosen to spend 2014 representing Coeur Sports. 

Not only does this company make sweet swim/bike/run gear, but more importantly, they're a company based on heart. Turns out, "Coeur" is the French word for "heart" and the root of the word courage (your French lesson for the day, you're welcome). From their website: 

As an athlete, you know that athletic performance is about so much more than genetic talent. Its also about heart. Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.  Heart is at the center of the community and the friendships you find in sport. Heart is what makes you give back to the community that has given you so much. the  Everything we do at Coeur - from our designs to how we play a role in our community - should reflect our values and how we aim to conduct ourselves. 

I'm so fortunate to have been chosen as a representative of Coeur; I am proud to be part of a family who dares women to dream big, encourage others, and be passionate. And of course, look badass while doing it all! 

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday full of friends, family, and swim/bike/run! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

On Re-Entry..

Whoa! What's this? A blog post? Shut the front door!

I know, it's been awhile.. I absolutely love blogging, but life has been insane, and every time I sit down to write something, I get pulled away into something else. That said, away we go.

After Stonecat, and then Philly a couple weeks later, my body cried mercy. I needed to take a vacation from running. This doesn't mean not running (I mean, that would just be silly), but it meant a break from a rigid training schedule. Stonecat was the first race since my first marathon that I was actually afraid of not being able to finish. My longest long run was 31 miles, and the race 19 miles longer. I trusted the training, but I was a S-L-A-V-E to that training schedule. I wanted to ensure that I did everything I could to be as race ready as possible when I toed that line.

The start of Stonecat.. 

Colleen and I pre-race

After Philly, for most of December, and January, and February, and.... I was logging slow miles. I retired my Garmin boyfriend, and ran with either the Timex, or no watch at all. I watched birds, I picked flowers, I walked when I wanted to walk. Some weekends I ran 20 miles at a time, others I logged 5 for the entire weekend. I had zero desire to race, run fast, or do anything than just be running. Or power-walking. Either way.. 

In February, I ran the Hyannis Marathon with Sara. It was her first marathon post baby, and we wanted to have fun. I thought that might be the fire under my ass that I needed to run faster than pedestrian pace. It rained/sleeted/hailed that day, and the winds howled at 35mph. Yeah, there was no desire to put in a mile any faster than a light jog. However we did help a friend PR at the half marathon distance, and had so much damn fun along the way. Isn't that what this sport is all about?

In April, we ran Boston before Boston. It's a ritual we have, every year we don't qualify. Our "punishment" is  running the entire course, but with none of the glory and fanfare. It's still damn awesome. That was the first day I put on my Garmin. But I never started it, because I was too scared. We had a good day, and I actually "pushed" the last 10K of the course. It felt surprisingly good to move again. 

Re-Entry.... After Boston I reunited with G-Man. I didn't look at my pace for the first few days. I was Captain Huff 'n'Puff, knowing damn well I was still frickin slow. It was a start though, and I needed to start somewhere. 

Over the past few weeks, I've slowly been chipping away at those paces. I've made it a point to finish every run feeling strong, and I'm watching my "easy" pace come down to some semblance of yesteryear. 

This week, when I was struggling to keep a solid pace, I remembered the re-entry from this, about a year ago: 

If I went from being in a cast, where 9+ inches of stitches laid underneath, to a 50 mile ultramarathon 6 months later, I can certainly handle a re-entry into the world of tempo runs, track workouts, and Garmins. It'll take time to get back where I want to be, but it'll be so worth it when I finally get there. 

Happy Running!