Well, this wasn’t the trip I had planned when I booked it in February. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when I qualified for the Boston Marathon in November 2016. But life is funny, and it’s the trip I ended up having. Here’s the rundown on my trip to Boston to NOT run a marathon – runner’s version.
We landed in Boston Thursday morning and went over to the expo. Let me back it up a bit. About 15 minutes before we were going to board our flight, I realized I had left the one thing I had to bring: my Boston Marathon Passport.
“When you make a choice and say ‘come hell or high-water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that feels intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that…when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.” — Kobe Bryant
This is the last installment in my series of how an average runner finally — after four plus years and seven marathons — qualified for the Boston Marathon. As I previously wrote, I did three things in one year of working with a trainer that helped me to BQ: changed from heel strike to a midfoot strike; ran less (and did more of everything else); and did speed-hill-agility training. The final piece was mindset.
Track had been noticeably absent from my marathon training plans for a few years. It seemed to be a main cause for my injuries, so speed training had been relegated to a minor portion of my schedule and was done in the form of tempo runs during the sharpening phase — about 6-8 weeks. Other than that, I stayed off the track and followed the common strategy that increasing mileage would build up my speed. Well, as mentioned in the previous post, I significantly decreased my mileage…so where was the speed going to come from? Yup, it was back to the track. And hills. And speed and agility work. More stuff I had either never done or neglected to do for several years.
This week I read about the Pareto Principle, an axiom that aligns well with the second significant change I made to my training that allowed me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I had spent three years plateauing at 30-plus minutes away from my qualifying time, so when I turned myself in to a trainer/coach in the fall of 2015, I was finally desperate enough to throw away all my preconceived notions about how one runs a faster marathon. I had spent the last few training cycles relentlessly increasing my mileage; I mean, that’s what you do to improve in an endurance sport, right? Well, my now 48-year old body had other ideas and was becoming chronically injured. Change no. 2 was basically this: Run Less; All the Other Stuff More. In other words, instead of running-running-running with a few stretches and leg strengthening exercises when I had time, I was now going to implement a system comprised of mandatory practices that were not running…and my mileage would be whatever it was going to be. What?!? So here’s the “Other Stuff”.
As promised in last week’s post, I want to share the four major changes I made to my training that allowed me to take over 30 minutes off my marathon time and catch that unicorn — the BQ. It’s my hope that one of these can help you catch your BQ dream or just improve your running. Let’s go!
So here’s change no. 1: I went from being a heel striker to a midfoot/toe striker.
As a masters athlete, it is all about recovery. I eat a vegan diet, take ice baths, bathe in Epsom salts, use compression boots, wear compression socks, stretch, and foam roll so I can keep training at a high level. Anything that can help keep this body going is something I take great interest in, so when two people raved about Just Float, I immediately looked into it. Just Float offers float therapy, meaning for one hour you float on water in complete darkness and silence. Definitely piqued my interest, but the deciding factor was that these referrals came from people who implemented the float therapy for different reasons: one is an aging cross-fitting beast who uses it for physical recovery purposes, and the other is someone with a stressful job and personal life and utilizes it for relaxation and stress management. Since my husband and I have divergent interests, imagine my excitement at finding something that both an astral projector/deep meditator and an athlete would enjoy. The idea sounded intriguing and a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Continue reading “Finding Something in Nothing”→
Listening to podcasts has been an effective way to get through a pool running session. If you’ve never pool run, imagine the lack of scenery and fresh air of treadmill running combined with the absence of a runner’s high, and you get the idea of the unique mental challenge that agua jogging presents. One podcast I’ve enjoyed listening to is “High Performance Mindset” hosted by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, especially one recent episode in which she interviewed Dr. Mustafa Sarkar about his concept of resilience. Dr. Sarkar has done extensive research in this field and worked with many elite athletes, and it’s his position that resilience is not the ability to bounce back from a setback; rather, it is a proactive — rather than reactive — skill. More specifically, Dr. Sarkar’s work posits that resilience is the ability to use personal qualities to withstand stress and to maintain functioning under pressure, thus, there is no setback to come back from. This definition of resilience resonated strongly with me as tomorrow I finally return to running after being sidelined almost five weeks due to a freak injury. Continue reading “Don’t Call It A Comeback”→
OK, so what’s the time limit on posting race recaps? ‘Cuz I’m just at three months and one day after I ran this race, and while I realize it’s slightly obnoxious, hopefully it’s a forgivable offense. The plan is to post two race recaps this week AND get back to a regular blogging schedule now that I’m in my offseason. So if you’re still hanging in there with this MIA blog, here goes. Continue reading “Race Recap: Ventura Half Marathon – Shoulda Woulda Coulda”→