Layers…

accountability8-p1I am a big believer in the power of accountability.

Actually, Accountability is one of the 4 foundational pillars of the platform of our company, Cheslow Achievement Group.

I have signed accountability agreements to accomplish all kinds of cool stuff:  Writing a book from blank page to publisher submission in 2 months, cutting alcohol out of my life for a year (still don’t drink wine at all over 18 months later), training for and competing in my first triathlon, building success habits in my personal and professional life that are really only a matter of making a commitment to do something each and every day until it’s a no-brainer.

Accountability was at the front of my mind when I hired Coach Pam over a year ago.  I respected her as a person and as an athlete and I knew it would kill me to let her down – boom – accountability!

So, over the past week while I’ve been cooling my heels waiting for clearance to get back in the training game after my Christmas Shingles, I’ve been looking over my half-iron training plan and wondering how in the world I will manage it all.

See, I am not so great at keeping commitments to myself.  I’m one of those people who tend to put themselves last.  I’m much better than I used to be, but still, when push comes to shove, I tend to put my own needs on the back burner and take care of those around me – making sure everyone is getting what they need.

I’m a care-taker, what can I say?  It’s what I do.

I may not keep the commitments I make to myself all the time, but I’ll be damned if I’ll break a commitment that I make to someone else – especially people close to me – people I care a lot about.

So, I know the power of accountability and I keep commitments I make to others… How could I pair these together to make my training cycle work better?  How could I add layers of accountability into my training plan to ensure I did what I needed to do – even when I didn’t feel like doing the work or when the work was inconvenient?

I kept seeing a challenge on Facebook in my running groups – the Run the Edge 2,015 Miles in 2015 Challenge.  It’s a challenge to run 2,015 miles this year.

WHAT?

Broken down, that’s essentially running a 10K, 6 days per week EVERY week in 2015.  Coach Pam would KILL me!!!  It’s not in the plan – not even close!

5-2015in2015

But then I looked closer and saw that you could do the challenge with a partner, or with a team… Hmmmm….  A TEAM!!!!

Split 3 ways, that’s 672 miles over 12 months… I ran 573 miles last year – that’s doable.  Again, doing the math, it’s 2.15 miles, 6 days per week, each week in 2015.  THAT, I can manage.

So, I went to my team – the awesome ladies of the Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Team and asked if anyone was interested in doing the challenge with me.  Within 5 minutes I had my team – Rebecca Dobbins (TriMomReeb.com) and Rebecca Reynolds (Tri-ingTheBestICan.blogspot.com).

So, there’s my accountability for reaching my running goals in 2015.  There is no way – barring losing a leg or something – that I would let these two ladies down.

Let’s the mile counting commence!!

What do YOU think?  2,015 miles in 2015?  Is it for you?  Check it out here – there’s even a medal and a t-shirt, if you want!!

mtn-range-long1

Hurry Up and … WAIT!

chickenpatienceToday is my day “off” (snicker… snort)!

No exercise (a good thing because it is raining cats and dogs), no “work” to speak of scheduled, but it is my errand day.

  • Food shopping
  • Bike Fitting Part II
  • Delivery service to daughter #2 at college
  • Oil change at BMW Service
  • Pick up Josh and take him to swim team
  • Grab some sundries at Target
  • Home to make dinner
  • Collapse!

Presently, I am hunkered down in the customer lounge at Fields BMW in Daytona Beach – and from the sounds of things, I will be here for quite a while.

Now this is not a complaint, it’s just a statement of fact, I really hate waiting on things – I am a completely impatient person (have I mentioned that before?).

I am most impatient with myself – always feeling like I should be progressing faster than I am.

I am REALLY impatient while I’m training… Well, if I just go faster, I’ll be finished sooner… often to my detriment.

My level of patience (or lack thereof) is one of Coach Pam’s biggest challenges with me.

I am forever receiving texts/emails like the one I got last night:

“Let me know how the 14 miler goes – good night champion! I know you will rock it and love it – coaching tip of the day… if you decide to skip intervals in the 14 miler – make it the final 6 not the first 6  🙂  Patience my little distance rocket!  and Pacing…”

She is so good to me!

14-mile-mapSo, tomorrow is my longest run to date – 14 miles! I have a hard time wrapping my head around that one – I’m running farther than I BIKED in the sprint triathlon last summer!!!

CRAZY!!!!

I’m psyched for it though, and I will do my very best to be patient – although I really do want to attempt to run the entire distance – at Pam’s pacing plan.  Hmmmmm, what to do?

The “Intuitive” Run

intuitionYesterday I was supposed to run 14 miles; however, upon careful examination of my schedule, there was no way in the world to shoehorn a run that would likely take me 2-1/2 -ish hours to complete into an already jam-packed work and family schedule.

I tried to finagle it, but it just wouldn’t work unless I ran in the dark, which I would do if the street were lit, but it’s not and I just feel creeped out by the idea of running when I can’t see what’s around me.

So, rationalizations aside, I DID run.  I just reconfigured my training around a crazy work week.

Instead of yesterday’s 14 mile run, I swapped in Friday’s “intuitive” 3 mile run.

Here were my instructions…  Program a workout with 3 1-mile intervals without a pace target.  Use your Garmin only for the beeps to tell you when the miles pass, DO NOT LOOK at the watch at all!  Listen to your body.  Run negative splits and keep the entire run at recovery pace – never uncomfortable or all out.

So, that’s what I did.  Having no clue how fast I was going, I just went a little bit faster each time the Garmin beeped.  I was always within my comfort zone – always feeling like I had lots more to give.

intuitive-splitsIt was fun, but really weird at the same time!!  I was shooting for 10 seconds faster on each mile.  I missed!  It was more like 30 seconds faster, but that was okay.

I find that I am VERY dependent on my Garmin.  I WANTED to look at it so bad!

I felt like I NEEDED its digital confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Kinda silly when you think about it, huh?

The idea behind this workout, again, is for me to learn to run by feel, not by watch.

What would happen if I were so dependent on my electronics during a marathon and the battery died during the run?  What would I do then without my “plan?”

So, all-in-all a fine effort.  I give myself a B+!

P.S.  On day 2 of no complaining – YAY ME!  And no more chocolate binges – I have been very, very clean! 🙂

Knocked Out of My Comfort Zone

where-the-magic-happensWhen I decided to take on the challenge of training for a triathlon, I did so basically for 3 reasons:

1.  I wanted a training program that would challenge me because I wanted to release some extra weight;

2.  I love to bike; and

3.  I figured it would, one way or another, get me over my fear of the ocean.

The running part was not something I was looking forward to.  I’ve never been a runner, I didn’t want to be a runner, but if you want to race triathlon, it kinda comes with the package.

Fast-forward 8 months and running is my favorite of the three disciplines – I NEVER, EVER thought I would say that!!

Last week, Coach Pam gave me a fun training program for the month leading up to the Disney Princess Half Marathon and this week is kind of the climax of that program as far as volume goes:

  • Monday – 6 mile negative split run
  • Wednesday – 14 mile negative split run
  • Friday – 3 mile negative split (but I can’t look at my Garmin)
  • Saturday:  Brick – Bike 90 min/Run 15 min

So this week I am running just shy of a marathon!!  OMG!!

This morning’s run knocked me out of my comfort zone in a number of ways.

6-mileFirst, I run at about a 9:30 pace (Galloway run/walk intervals of 2 min/30 sec), today’s run was 6 miles at an average pace of 8:50 (Mile 1,2:  9:00/mi; Mile 3,4:  8:50/mi; Mile 5,6:  8:40/mi) so I knew it was going to be a little quicker than I’m used to, hence a bit uncomfortable.

Second, I programmed the workout into my Garmin, but when I started to clock, the only parameters showing on my screen were Distance and Pace – there was no timer, so I had no idea when my run/walk intervals were coming.  I was already heading out the door late, and I didn’t want to take the time to reconfigure the screen, so I just decided to run and see how far I could go without any walk breaks. That decision was VERY uncomfortable.

BUT, I ran the entire 6 miles (except for about 10 steps of walking to make my pacing work out on Mile 3 and stopping for traffic to cross the street at about 5-3/4 miles) and I exceeded my pacing targets every single interval!!

6-mile-splitsI am soooo excited!!  I really like Galloway running and I know so many people who have run marathons using the walk/run method, but I can’t help feel like I’m gaming the system.  I want to be one of those runners who can head out the door and pop off a marathon without walking.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point, but I will take a non-stop 6 mile run at a 8:45 pace as a damned fine start!!

If is quite phenomenal to look back and see how far I have come in just a few short months.

Thank GOD for Coach Pam (who I think I heard shriek with delight across the river as she read my text) who pushes me out of my comfort zone – where the magic can happen!!

My Best Run Yet

8-mi-neg-splitThis morning’s run was probably my best run yet!

It wasn’t my fastest or my farthest, but it was definitely my strongest.

I stuck to Coach Pam’s training plan closely, although I was a tad aggressive.

The plan was to run 8 miles with negative splits according to the following pacing:

1 mile @ 10:00 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:50 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:45 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:40 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:30 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:15 min/mi
1 mile @ 9:00 min/mi
1 mile @ 8:50 min/mi

The deal was that I could do any of the intervals faster than she prescribed, but I couldn’t do any interval slower than what she prescribed.

Here is how the run went:

8-mi-split

So, I was able to beat the time Pam laid out for me on each interval.

But what I am so freaking excited about is that this was the FIRST run ever when I finished and felt like I could have kept going for A LOT longer!  My legs felt great, my head was clear, I just FELT like a RUNNER!!!

I know like I know like I know that I will be ready for the half marathon next month!  Heck, I feel ready for it right now!

I am super excited about my running right now – don’t know if you could tell or not! 😉

And This Just In From the #shitjustgotreal Camp

shit-just-got-realSo, I met with Coach Pam today (yeah that’s right, Dopey Challenge, running 49.6 miles in 4 days, Ironman – that’s the one) so we could review my progress since the holidays.

She is almost as tickled as I am about my Garmin because now she can refine my training – OH BOY!!!

split-timesWe looked at my longest run to date, which was last Wednesday – 11 miles.  She pulled up my split times and said, Man, if you could just invert those splits, that would be a PERFECT run.

I think I may have mentioned that I am not a particularly patient athlete.  I tend to go out fast and hard and then just kind of settle into a slower pace somewhere in the middle.  Negative splits are NOT my norm by any stretch of the imagination.

But it looks like that’s where we’re heading.

Tomorrow is once again my longest run ever at 12 miles.  She wants me to run:

  • 2 miles at a 10 minute pace
  • 2 miles at a 9:45 min pace
  • 2 miles at a 9:30 min pace
  • 2 miles at a 9:15 min pace
  • 2 miles at a 9:00 min pace
  • 2 miles skipping an interval walk (so 4 min run/30 sec walk)

She says that my overall pace should be somewhat faster than my normal pace. She says that holding back in the beginning will make my overall run more pleasant and comfortable.  She says this type of training will help me learn to run by feel rather than running by “Garmin.”

I just have to trust her on that – it sounds like tomorrow will be hard as crap!!!

I have to believe that #shitjustgotreal!!!

Pray for me and I’ll report back when I’m finished!!

garminP.S. Can I just say how much I love, Love, LOVE my Garmin?  I just laid out the intervals for this particular workout and – boom – it uploaded to my watch and I’m all set – how freakin’ cool is that!  I am so easily amused!! 🙂

A Lesson on Perspective

perspectivePerspective is a funny and wonderful thing.

It can make a situation that seems like the end of the world to one person seem pretty darned good to someone else.

I live in Florida just a block off the beach in a lovely little village south of Daytona Beach called Ponce Inlet.  I love it here.  I love everything about it – I don’t even mind the high property taxes and the seemingly disproportionate number of turkey vultures that inhabit the area.

Katharine the great white shark... But I digress...

Katharine the great white shark… But I digress…

It is beautiful and quaint and the sand is like powdered sugar and the ocean is that awesome Caribbean blue on a sunny day.  I love that I can go out on any given day and swim with rays and dolphins (and apparently a Great White shark named Katharine… there ARE some things that are perhaps best left UNKNOWN… just sayin…)

But what I love most – and the main reason I moved here – is the weather.  I do not miss the Virginia winters and snow and ice and freezing temperatures – AT ALL!

Yes, it’s Florida and it gets hot in the summer, you know it, you expect it, you deal with it – big deal.  What you do not expect are the cold snaps which are quite rare (based on our “considerable” experience of living here for 3 whole years 🙂 )

Frozen_Jack_NicholsonSo, last week when the temperature plunged into the upper 30’s and low 40’s, it was a bit of a shock to my system.

It seems my blood has thinned a bit since moving south, because 39 degrees felt like the frozen tundra as far as I was concerned!

I ran my longest run to date on Friday morning when it was 39 degrees here in Ponce Inlet and my fingers were numb, my nose was running!

So here’s the lesson in perspective.

My friend, Cortney Martin, is an elite age-grouper triathlete who lives in my old hometown of Blacksburg, VA.  She ran on New Year’s Day and blogged about it – it was about the same temperature in VA on Wednesday as it was here on Friday.

Here is Cortney dressed for her run

cvm

Note the conspicuous absence of leg and arm coverage…

And here is pretty much what I looked like, dressed for mine

This is NOT me, but you get the idea!

This is NOT me, but you get the idea!

Because you see, 40 degrees in January in Blacksburg is balmy – people don’t even throw on a jacket – heck, some folks ride around in their cars with their windows down!

40 degrees in Florida ANYTIME is Nanook of the North time!!

Perspective…

What I deem to be freezing and worthy of at least considering rescheduling over is comfortable to Cortney – ideal running conditions.

I wonder in what other areas might perspective be limiting me? Hmmmm….

Perhaps the next time I feel hindered by a circumstance (like the weather) I should approach the situation from an alternate perspective and see if I can’t turn my attitude around.

It’s definitely worth a shot!

A Decision Point…

when-youre-doneThis is how I usually approach my training.  I don’t necessarily jump out of bed thrilled about what lies ahead, but I ALWAYS know that I will feel awesome when I’m finished.

Such was the case on Saturday when I headed out the door at the crack of dawn for my 105 minute brick – 90 minute bike, 15 minute run.  I was shooting for 25 miles on the bike leg – aggressive for me, but I wanted to go for it since the run on the back side was so short.

I fueled up before I left the house… I was properly hydrated… Properly supplemented…  The weather was great… There was no wind to speak of – nothing to indicate an other-than-optimal training session.

However, halfway through my ride, I fell apart.  My legs felt like lead.  My head was exploding.  Everything hurt.  I could barely keep an 18 mph pace.  My cadence was erratic.  My heart rate was far higher than it should have been.  I . WAS . MISERABLE!!!

And that’s when I faced a decision point.

COULD I push through and finish the workout? Absolutely.

SHOULD I?  That was the question…

OvertrainingI have been training hard for the past 18 weeks – 6 days per week – busting my ass, running, biking, weightlifting, karate – rain, wind, shine, heat, cold (okay, cold for FLORIDA!).  I’ve been eating clean and supplementing properly.  I’ve been sleeping well.

And then about a week ago, the wheels came off the bus.  I wasn’t sleeping well at all, I was moody, I had cravings that I haven’t had in a long time, workouts were hard, I was unmotivated, I wasn’t recovering well in between.

Overtraining has set in.  I looked up the signs of overtraining and I have almost every single one – Awesome! 😦

I decided to stop my ride on Saturday at the 12 mile point, after 45 minutes.  I was done!

overtraining signsFortunately, I have a week off scheduled into my training, starting Christmas Day, but I’ve decided that I am taking off from today, 12/23 – 12/31.

My next workout will be a 10 mile run on New Year’s Day.

OvertrainingMEME1I’m a bit nervous about it, but I know that pushing through is not going to do anything for me other than send me backwards.  So, I am really trying to make peace with my decision.

I am, by nature, an incredible stubborn person.  This has served me well in my training, because I will not quit until I am done.  Period.

But, I also know the importance of listening to my body – especially since I am still recovering from some injuries earlier in the Fall.

So, here’s to a training break!  I know I’ll come back on January 1st better than ever!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

merry fitmas

The Sounds of “Silence”

This just happened...

This just happened…

This morning I had a bridge run scheduled.  I live right across the street from the ocean in Florida and the closest thing we have to hills around here are the bridges that go up and over the intercoastal waterway (I know, I know… I can hear my runner friends from Virginia laughing at my “hills” – hey, we do what we can with what we have).  I live about 3-1/2 miles from one of these bridges that connects our beachside peninsula to the mainland.

dunlawton-bridge I drive to a bank parking lot that is about 1/2 mile from the bridge and warm up by jogging to the bridge, then do whatever workout Coach Pam has dreamed up for me and then cool down by jogging back to my car.  It works for me.

Until this morning when I found that to my horror, I had left my iPod at home.

How could I POSSIBLY do bridge repeats without my running playlist?

I debated going home and getting it, but that seemed (and would have been) a silly waste of time.

So, I sucked it up and did the workout anyhow.

I expected it to be a lot harder without music.

When I run – especially longer runs – I tend to just kind of get lost in the music.  It FEELS easier to me in the moment.

But it was interesting running without music too.  It wasn’t more difficult as I feared it would be.

runIn fact, I felt more in tune with my body because I could actually hear my foot fall and my cadence and my breathing.

It was feedback on my performance that I wasn’t used to getting.  It distracted me from the actual workout to the point that I was finished with the repeats before I knew it.

I was curious in this phenomena that I actually came home and googled around on the subject and found there is quite the debate in the running community on which is better.

Here is one article I found in Runner’s World that was very interesting.

As for me, I think I will continue to grab my iPod for longer runs, but I may just leave it at home for the shorter hill work, interval, and track work.

Who knew?

What’s your preference?  Music or Silence?

Looking Back and Moving Forward

introspectionEvery year, about this time, I start getting a little introspective.

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklersThe year is closing out and the New Year is just close enough to touch – full of possibility and potential – unspoiled perfection.

In year’s past I would sit and look over the year gone by and there were always successes to celebrate, but, I never seemed to see them – instead I would dwell on my failures – on the things left undone or the goals not yet achieved.

In year’s past, sitting in the thick of the holiday season, I would likely have gained several (or more pounds), thinking, “Well, as soon as the New Year comes I’ll get back on track.”

An endless 365 day loop, played out annually – over and over and over again – for decades…

This year is very different.  I am a different person exiting 2013 from the person who entered it.

I have changed.

Endless_Summer_Triathlon 2013-07-13 028I have transformed.

There have been so many wins at work that are very exciting.  Our team has really gelled and become a functional unit moving in one direction and the results bear out how effectively we work together.

But even more than my work – where I generally feel pretty confident, I have experienced successes that I never dreamed possible.

I am a triathlete!

PI-5K3I am a runner!

I have leaned out so much this year and my performance has improved in all areas.

I am much more confident in my appearance.

I feel amazingly healthy.

It feels so good to be approaching 50 years old just hitting my stride – getting better every day, rather than starting to fall apart.

InevitableGoalMy physical goals for 2014:

  • Finish Disney Princess Half Marathon in under 2 hours
  • Run a Color Vibe 5K in under 25 minutes
  • Test for my Blackbelt in Karate in July at a level I am proud of
  • Join Master Swim
  • Compete in 3 Sprint and 2 Oly Distance Tris in the late summer/Fall
  • Compete in IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta on 9/28/14
  • Release another 10 pounds
  • Register for Ironman FL 2015
  • Assorted 5Ks
  • Register for a Marathon (I have no idea which one) to be run in early 2015
  • Train hard, train smart, and listen to my coach

Aggressive? Absolutely… Achievable?  Most definitely!

No regrets 2013 – it’s been an awesome year!