Retiring from Racing

Standard

It’s been a hell of a year racing.  I’ve run 3 marathons, 4 halves and a host of other races.  It’s been awesome.   But this past weekend I had a little heart to heart with myself.  It was time to call it — I’m retiring from racing

No More Running{Source}

for the remainder of 2012.

Actually perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that I’m taking a self-enforced break from racing for the remainder of the year.

You might recall that this past weekend I was tentatively slated to run back-to-back half marathons in Santa Barbara on Saturday and Malibu on Sunday.  And guess what??? I bailed on both.  Didn’t even pick up my bibs.

 Running is my drug of choice.  It’s my oxygen, It’s my sanity.  It’s my freedom from my own head.  Running is my guilty pleasure.  But I need to also be honest about my recent relationship with training.

Mid way into my training cycle for Chicago, I knew I needed a break and I fought really hard with my inner self to sweep these feelings aside.  The struggle to complete each long run and many mid-distance runs was ever-present and while my body continued to perform, I felt like I was running in between gears, grinding out the miles.   Mentally my marathon focus was as good as a pair of worn out shoes – unsupportive, dusty and filled with holes.

{source}

Despite all this, I set a PR during Chicago, but I’m pretty confident that had more to do with race experience than actual training.   This being my 3rd 26.2 meant I knew better how to start, how to moderate, how to fuel and where I’d have to fight my head as it tried to sabotage my performance.

Untitled

With a new race looming around each and every corner these days – marathons, half mary’s, 10k’s, charity races, color runs, zombie races, 80’s runs, relays etc.  It’s so easy to get sucked into the race of the weekend and sign up to run all the races.

When this past weekend rolled around and after the crazy, intense high of our wedding, I could not wait to spend both Saturday and Sunday morning doing one of the things I love to do most, running.  But the idea of setting an alarm and  doing it for anyone other than myself, anytime other than my time and anywhere other than the path, trail or road that I chose, was the exact thing I didn’t want.  I immediately realized that I had zero interest in 4am wake up calls, bussing to the start line, porta potties and point to point courses on either Saturday or Sunday – or quite frankly anytime in the next 6 weeks.  My racing days are done for 2012.  I need the space to run the distance, the time and the path that I want to run — with no race goals looming over my head.

Since I wasn’t formally training for SB or Malibu after Chicago, I was hopeful that my training would carry over.  That allowed me a total lack of running focus and a freedom to run without a plan.   And what I found was there are times when this works for me – It enables me to relax and simply run. {and interestingly simply running or running simply has resulted in some pretty speedy legs that failed to show up with any regularity during Chicago training}. Alas.  Go. Figure.

I’ll be a back racing in 2013, but for now I’m going to enjoy this sweet time off from training, enjoy putting in the miles on my time, still work towards 2012 miles in 2012 (I’m 214 miles away from my goal) running simply, and re-center my focus for hopefully another big year of running in 2013.

Have you ever taken a self-enforced break from competition?

{MF Dre}

Two Half’s. One Weekend.

Standard

Whoops. This might have just happened. 

I swore that the wedding was going to be the #lastbigthing for the year.  But now that I’m just two weeks shy of being a Mrs., I guess I am just not quite ready to throw in the towel and turn off my crazy relax for the rest of the year.  According to this schedule, the weekend after our wedding I’m slated to run not one, but TWO half marathons.

In all honesty, I am not 100% I am running Santa Barbara.  After last year’s race, they offered such a steep discount to pre-register for 2012, that I hopped on that train.  I LOVED that race (except for Mile 11) and it was particularly special to me because it marked a huge physical and athletic comeback for me.  Then we started planning our wedding and when I realized the SB race was a week after we would be tying the knot I put a HUGE tbd on that race and decided to run if I felt like it.  {side note: if you’re curious we’ve opted to postpone our honeymoon for a few months post-wedding}

Whelp, when I received a free bib via active.com for the Malibu International Marathon this week, I couldn’t resist saying Yes.  Total Sucker for a Race. (and racing two in a weekend).  I opted for the half, figuring that it was probably the safer decision – both mentally and physically.

From what I’ve heard, this is supposed to be one of the top 5 most beautiful courses — here’s the description of the Half from their site.

Here’s where the beauty really begins! You will be running on the beautiful cliffs lining the undeveloped coastline. Take in the beauty of the land and sea until mile 6 where you come to civilization and the restaurant Neptunes Net, across from the famous surf of County Line. Here you will come to the first of the small rollers which will challenge you to the end.

The final six miles roll along the coast past the north Malibu mansions, with owners like Brad Pitt and many other Hollywood stars. The final mile brings you across the bluffs where you pass the Malibu sign and drop downhill past the Trancas market, and Starbucks. A few hundred more yards to the entrance at Zuma beach and, congratulations, you’ve just finished the race to Malibu! Get some food and refreshments and cool your legs in the surf at the beautiful beach in the sun. Look around, you’ve just run to Paradise!

From the looks of this video, this race seems to be the quintessential So-Cal race, running along the Malibu coast, watching Surfers, Sup-pers, Dolphins and more along the course.

I’m still not totally sure I’m going to run both.  SB seems more of a stretch at this point than Malibu given that it’s a 2 hour drive from our home Saturday morning…but I haven’t ruled any of my crazy out yet.

Anyone else running either of these races? Anyone want to join me for a double-header?

{MF Dre}

IRL Running Friends.

Standard

We jetted out of LAX yesterday, headed for the Windy City and ready for a weekend filled with adventure and hopefully a few surprises.

It’s Chicago Marathon Time!
IMAG1401

We got to our gate and ran into HauteRunningMama and Pam!  I met Pam back in March under the warming tent right before I ran my first marathon and HauteRunningMama and I have been blogger, twerper, fb friends for a long while now and finally met IRL. (in.real.life) and now we’re all Instant FFL (friends.for.life).  I think our collective Mr.’s may be RSFFL (runner.spouse.friends.for.life) now too.

IMAG1396

I often tease the Mr. that I time how long it takes for one of his conversations to turn to cars, racing, engines or something auto related.   I guess I owe myself a little big fat touche as we dove into incessant chatter about Gear, Shoes, Course, Races, Times, Training and Hot vs. Cold Weather Running.

We took the blue line into the city (wish L.A. had a real subway.train system). We’re staying at the Monaco (LOVE this spot) – it’s a pet-friendly, boutique hotel right on the river.  They’re funky, fresh and luxe and they’ll even bring you a goldfish to the room if you’re missing your homies at home.

Anyway, we’re all here, ready to toe the line.

Let’s do this.

Good luck IRL Friends (and all of my other friends running)

{MF Dre}

September Favorites.

Standard

Restaurants, Running and Romance, these top my list of September Favorites.

A Ridiculous Run along the beaches of Los Angeles.

Our Wedding Tasting which surprised and delighted us with creativity, flavor and presentation.

 A Love Fest to remember in the heart of Central Park.

 A Hidden Restaurant in the basement of New York City.

{MF Dre}

Milestone Monday: The Boss of 20.

Standard

20 Miles.  The last long run of this cycle. Likely the last 20 mile distance I will run this year.

after some highs, some lows and some meh’s in this training cycle, it was time to show this run who was boss.

With temps reaching fireball status, RP and I got up waaaaaaaaay too early for a Sunday and were pounding the pavement pre-6am.

Brentwood, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, El Segundo and picking it up for the last few miles into Manhattan Beach, we cruised through 20 miles with relative ease.

20 miles. 2:52.

Running Redemption.

The only battle wounds we felt from this run were the rose-bush that attacked me from the left it and the 2 inch spider and it’s web that RP cruised right through pre-dawn. nasty.  Otherwise, our minds were calm, our bodies relaxed.

If this is any indication of my training, I’m ready for Chicago.  I’ve doubted myself along the way and given myself the latitude to be flexible with myself as I’ve adjusted to a new job, major life changes and a whole lot else going on.  Clearly though, when I focus, I am capable and I am stronger than I think.

3 weeks until Chicago.  It’s taper time.  Time to rest, recover, run easy, stretch, fuel, hydrate, sleep and mentally focus and show Chicago who’s Boss.

Will you be there?

{MF Dre}

Willpower is a Muscle.

Standard

Willpower is a muscle.  The more you use it, the stronger it gets…

I’ve been battling with my long runs lately.  Big time.  I get all geared up mentally during the week — often fueled by some pretty frickin awesome speed and mid-length (8-10 mile) runs.  I finish them and am immediately overwhelmed by post-run bliss –  mentally thinking I am some sort of run goddess or queen or something…

7605796528_f71fccd9d7_o (1)

hardly, but I’ll take the post-run high.

 Then I get to Sunday and I just wonder how I’m going to make it.   Except for a mini injury scare last week where my right hip was acting all geriatric, I’ve finished them all, but not as mentally strong and confident as long runs past.

Chicago is 7 weeks out which means I have 4 weeks of strong hard, training to go before I taper.

So I’ve started talking to myself on the LR’s- the in my head talking to myself kind of talking to myself.

I Can. So I Will.

Believe in Yourself. Don’t Stop.

Dig Deep. Never Ever Give Up.

Mentally Tough, Physically Strong.

What I’ve learned is that willpower is a muscle and can be strengthened.  Strengthening it is a key predictor of success.  There is a great article in the Boston Globe here that details some of this – it’s a really good read if you have a moment or need a little kick in the rear.

Anyway, how about today’s LR?!?!?!

18 miles.  2:47.

hot hilly and humid, smiling with SUPER dead legs at the finish.

Untitled

Boom.

{MF Dre}

Re-Prioritizing.

Aside

With all of the changes going on in my world, my blogging has been a bit lackluster and more non-existent than existent over the last few weeks.   As the Mr. and I were being rebellious the other night, I mentioned to him that while I am thrilled to be super challenged again mentally, I missed having time to write and reconnect on my own life – whether I’m good at it or not, I really enjoy blogging and I miss the opportunity to reconnect with myself and anyone who actually reads … 🙂

I know I just need to be patient with myself and figure out how to manage all my interests in a way that works.  It will all sort itself out.

As I’m learning how to re-manage my interests, I had to make a hard decision the other day…I decided to bow out of the Nuun Hood to Coast relay that I was accepted into last April.

I cannot tell you how bummed I am about this, but I know I made the right decision.   I’m going to be taking a lot of long weekends this fall and with the start of a new job, it was the right thing to give up.  Sadly.

The most amazing group of women are going to be running with Nuun and I was really looking forward to spending 24 sweaty, silly, sparkly, spirited and totally exhausting hour with them running from Mt. Hood to the Coast.

  However I promise I’ll be stalking following all the adventures of Team AfterNuun Delight right here. And I cannot wait to re-apply for the squad next year!

{MF Dre}