Friday, March 9, 2012

My Forrest Gump Summer Approaches

Anyone who has ever raced me or seen me race or knows anything about me as a triathlete knows that I am a strong swimmer, a strong cyclist, but a horrible runner. Someone else coined the phrase "control the bleeding" to describe how they try to manage how many slots they drop in the final leg of a triathlon: the run. I don't bleed, I hemorrhage.

My perfect example:

Last year, SO decided he wanted to do the Great Buckeye Challenge as a final tune-up before Wisconsin. Side note: GREAT RACE! I highly recommend it! He wanted to do the half ironman, and I was happy with doing the Olympic or "Mini" triathlon (technically not an Olympic because of a shorter than regulation swim). I had begged my coach to let me do one long ride before IM so I was suppose to do a 100 miler on Saturday than a hour run on Sunday. Well, I did about an 85 mile ride on Saturday and replaced the run with a triathlon. As an aside, he was not upset with the decision, once again proud of my swim and bike, but perplexed by how could I be such a bad runner.

I am not bragging about this race, it's just comical to me:

My swim: fastest female split (not including the one elite)
My bike: fastest female split (not including the one elite)

Note: While I think I had good times on these legs, I think the bulk of the competitive athletes were either in the sprint or the half, it was just a small field of people actually doing this distance.

Despite my garmin not working, my helmet lining coming unbuckled, causing the thing to bounce off my sunglasses the entire time on the bike, and picking a hat that just didn't seem to want to stay on my head, I had an absolute blast! There was little wind (for me on the first loop, SO told me it picked up for his second lap), the course was pretty flat, and I was just sailing, joking around with the guys I was passing and who were passing me... until the run.

I believe I had a 2 to 3 minute lead on the field going into the run, not bad considering the effort I had put on the bike the day before. I held that lead for the first couple of miles of the run and then I started getting passed. I ended up getting 4th overall and losing the race to the overall winner by OVER 6 MINUTES. In nearly 4 miles, she bested me by a minute and a half PER MILE. I had a great experience at this race, understood that some of the horrible run was probably a result to not being fresh, but it was a clear sign that my running was what most people could only describe as awful.

I have been talking a great deal this past off season about working on my run. This year is going to be all about the run, but that was all it seemed to be: talk. I mean, when I started running after my surgery, I was running some pretty not impressive 11 minute miles and only 2 at a time. How am I going to get faster when I just made my pace so much worse? People gave me recommendations, and then I had this epiphany, why not ask my high school track coach? He's the most accomplished runner I know, he took himself from a 3:30 to a 2:35 marathon, he seems to know a thing or two about getting faster, what harm comes from asking?

So, I went to talk to him, and he was excited and eager to help me out. I should say, when I ran my first marathon 5 years ago, I remember talking to him about it, and he was so stoked. I remember him saying, "who would have thought you would run a marathon." I love that comment because it captures a sense of pride along with the acknowledgement of how far I had come. Oh, and if you were wondering, I did track in high school, but the field side of things. I was a pretty good discus thrower and an inconsistent shot-putter. My old throwing coach once told someone I was good because I was big and had the benefit of the power of momentum my weight generated. And sometimes I wonder why I hated high school...

But back to the the point, the season starts with a goal of a sub 54 minute at the 10k for the Cleveland marathon. The real goal is the half marathon at Akron in September, but my performance at Cleveland will determine if that goal will be adjusted, or if he still thinks it's reasonable. So starting this weekend, I will be running 3-5 days a week so watch out Forrest, there will be another running fool in town.

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