Every morning in Africa, an antelope wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest antelope, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or an antelope -- when the sun comes up, you'd better be running. -African proverb

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taper Time!

Only one week to go!  Tapering is in full effect -- run less, rest more!  It seems so counterintuitive.  I've built up this fitness level, and now I can't use it.  But, apparently (according to the experts) tapering is important. 
Extra rest = repaired and replenished muscles = optimal condition next weekend.

In addition to ensuring adequate rest (and maybe even a little extra rest), this is also the week to modify nutrition and prepare mentally.  Time to gather up all my running books and get cozy on the couch!  Let the tapering begin!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reno 5000 Race Series

The invention of the series is genius!  I am always attracted to series races, as are many other runners.  I love the idea of trying to get faster each time.  I also love seeing familiar faces at these races.  The championship race of the Reno 5000 series took place today.  It wasn't my best race (last month's race was my best), but it wasn't bad either.  I ran a 22:20 (unofficially) -- got 3rd in my age group and 2nd in the overall series.  As I reflect back, I can think of a few reasons why I didn't PR today.  This month the race was at 10 am (instead of the usual 8 am).  My achilles has been extra sore lately.  I also think I "settled" into position early on and just stayed there.  (This is common when you race with the same people all the time.)  But, I think the biggest problem was nerves, and my stomach could feel those nerves!  I wasn't nearly as relaxed as I was last month.  So, now I have something to work on for the next race!

Anyway -- I am happy with how the series turned out overall.  I have a new 5K PR, and I met some great new running buddies!  I'm looking forward to this series again next spring, and I would love to participate in other series races.  Let me know if you have any ideas/suggestions!  Thanks!  :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Long Live the Long Run!

It seems like the Scottsdale WHM is still a ways away.  But, not in training time!   I logged my last long run today.  20 miles is a little longer than I would normally go just for a half, but I was running with friends who are training for a full.  My new motto is train for a full, race a half.  Not really sure how that will change when I start training for a full!

Anyway -- gotta love the long run!  When I first started training for marathons, I followed the schedule to a tee.  I didn't stray from the plan, especially when it came to the long run.  Now, I just "run long" at least one day a week (usually on the weekend).  "Run long" used to mean anything over 10 miles.  That number is gradually increasing, though.  Now it's more like anything over 13.  I'm not really sure why I enjoy running farther and farther these days ... We should start a pool on when it's going to go up again!  Any takers?

Monday, October 10, 2011

RBFs = Running Buddies Forever

I had such a fun weekend!  A couple of running buddies picked me up at dark o'clock on Saturday morning, and we drove about an hour and a half to an awesome trail race.  It was the perfect venue for racing -- great weather and beautiful scenery.  It always feels good to run well and beat your goal with minutes to spare!

The rest of the weekend was just as much fun.  I stayed to support my running buddies who were running the next day.  I usually race on Sunday and have to leave soon after I finish to get back home.  It was so fun to race on Saturday and then be on vacation the rest of the weekend. Plus, I really enjoyed supporting my other running buddies.  After we dropped them off at the start, we stopped at various spots along the route to cheer them on, hand them water or Gu, grab their jackets and extra clothing, etc.

Hanging out at the finish was like being at a running party.  I ran into some old running buddies that I didn't know would be there, and I met some great new running buddies.  Running really is more of a team sport, I think!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Fun!

Happy October!  Fall seems to be the preferred season of a lot of runners.  I like fall -- it's pretty, and there are lots of fun races this time of year.  But, I miss summer already ... 

With some important races coming up, it's time to cut-back on the mileage a little.  Need to embrace a little R&R and stay healthy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Giving Back

vol-un-teer  v.   to give on one's own initiative.

Think about all the races that you have run.  Now think about all the ones you have volunteered at.  How close is that number?  Not to worry -- mine's not close either.  But ... the ratio is improving at least!  I would much rather run a race, but I have found some significance to volunteering at them too.  Besides the obvious of feeling good about doing good, there are other benefits to volunteering. 

As a volunteer, I get a chance to see the winners (which doesn't happen often in a race unless it's an out and back).  I watch what they do hoping to pick up a few more tricks of the trade.  For instance, one of my weak spots is fueling during a race.  First of all, I probably don't fuel enough -- but that is a topic for a whole other post!  But, I also have a hard time fueling while running.  I have to slow down quite a bit at the aid stations, especially if I am going to try to drink something.  So, I thought I would volunteer at an aid station during a race.  That way I could watch what the winners and other super fast runners do.  They don't seem to slow down at all.  Just grab the cup, pinch and pour.  I also noticed that not all of it gets into their mouths.  :) 

Anyway -- the point is volunteering is a great learning experience.  You get a behind the scenes look at how things are done.  I started recommending this to friends who want to try something new, like a triathlon.  I suggested they go volunteer at one before competing so that they can see how everything works.  Another advantage is that sometimes race directors will give race credit in exchange for volunteer hours.  This is helpful on the wallet!

We all know that volunteers are a key component to a well-run (excuse the pun) race.  Like anything else, you'll have a deeper appreciation and better understanding of what goes into putting on a race once you have put yourself in their running shoes.  So, when you start scheduling your races for the year, don't forget to add a few to volunteer at as well!