"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Complete turnaround...:)

My morning thoughts and events went a little something like this:

5 am- Alarm goes off and I lay there in the dark thinking "wait why do I do this? I'm getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sat to go run by myself at the track really hard. Can I even hit the times?"
5:05- out of bed, get dressed. Let the dogs out to see that it's raining, grey, and dark. "Oh gosh maybe I should do this workout tomorrow. No, tomorrow is my 10 mile moderate hard run so switching them with this gross weather won't really be any better. I may as well just do this today"
5:10- Eat my GU chomps, drink some water, put contacts in, put hair up.
5:15- Get water bottles, flats and everything I need ready to go. "where should I do the workout? MP track or MdN?...ugh this weather is gross"
5:20- Start driving and decide to go to MP because their track is brand new (softer) and Dunkin is close, so if I do well I can reward myself with a coffee after :)
5:35- The gates are closed at MP!! "WTF?! Now what the heck should I do? Maybe I should do this 5:41 pace 3 mile run just on the roads? No, too hard for me probably right now, especially on rolling terrain...maybe I should just go to LA Fitness and do this on the treadmill at 6 minute pace (since that's the fastest their treadmill goes)"
5:40- Decide to park across the street and start my 3 mile warm up and hope that someone opens the gates by the time I am back. During my warm up I notice the walk through gate is open though, so problem solved.
5:45-6:05- Warm up is awful. I get light headed and start seeing spots. "WTF is wrong with me?!?! I feel like I'm going to faint. I can't do this today. There must be something wrong. I hope I don't fall over here on this dirt trail and no one will ever find me!"
6:08- I decide to just go to the track. "I need to do some strides and see if I feel better. I'll take a GU gel and see if that helps my dizziness"
6:10- Get in my car and drive over to the MP parking lot, only to realize the gates are all locked around the track. I decide to just hop it (or climb, since it's about 10 feet high!)...yet 1 minute later the baseball coach comes around and I asked him to open it for me.
6:15- Flats are on and I start some strides. Still not feeling great but gradually dizziness is going away. Luckily it's not raining anymore yet it's still cooler than usual and the sun is far from coming out. The silence of standing there on the track completely alone made me realize that I need to give myself more credit than I do. I was there with no support, no coach, no teammates...just me, the track and my watch. "My legs feel like crap. This isn't going to go well"
6:25- Staring down the lane about to start running into my 12 laps of hard work. "Ok Sally you need to start this and stay positive. You might start feeling better once you get going". 10 meters into the first lap, "Sally go for it..you used to cry about not being able to work out hard because of your foot pain so stop this and appreciate the opportunity you have right now to run hard!"
6:26- I take off and try to get in a good rhythm. Mile one is 5:41. "Ok great job Sally, two more laps and you are half way there. Get through 6 laps and then focus on the next half"
6:34- Hit 6 laps right on target. "Ok keep this up, you are hitting every lap right on pace"
6:37- Hit 2 miles in 11:22. "Perfect Sally. You are feeling good. Run these next two laps controlled and then go for it the last 800"
6:42- Finish in 16:56 and feel so relieved to be done.

I changed my shoes and started my 3 mile cool down around the surrounding neighborhoods. I can't believe how the morning unfolded. I literally was at a point of thinking I should drive home due to how dizzy I felt and my very negative attitude from the moment I woke up. I'm really proud of myself for pushing through and doing what I could to get the workout done and accomplish my goal for the day. I wouldn't have been able to do the workout though if I didn't have the Vanilla Bean GU. I carry one with me on every run lately because of this dizziness thing I get almost every day. They truly are lifesavers and I appreciate their sponsorship so much!

Today is the last day of July and we are on to August! wow, where has the summer gone? It seems like just yesterday it was May and I was in Spokane racing. So far the summer has been a great one for me and my foot continues to be pretty good so I'm extremely grateful right now :) This weather makes me sooooo happy too!! It's just so nice and I love it...of course I love sunshine but it's great to have a break from the 100+ scorching sun. Grey skys, 75 degrees and breezy :) Heaven :)

Quote for today: "Anything worth having doesn't come easy"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sweat fest weather + harder runs = never enough sleep!

Ridiculous humidity here in the valley along with my mileage and workouts gradually getting harder and longer has left me feeling really tired every single day! Yesterday Sam and I did a 9 mile run at a moderately challenging pace (as quick as 6:48 with an average of 6:54 for the entire run). I felt good and pretty comfortable until the very end when the humidity and heat finally started to hit me. Eww my running clothes looked like I had just jumped in the pool when I was done!! I did 6 strides and my drills afterward and the air felt so thick I could hardly catch my breath! This morning was a nice respite with less humidity, a little windy and much cooler, 78 versus low 90’s ☺ It’s great to have monsoon season here in Phoenix because it gives us a break from the triple digits and brings some much needed rain.

I’ve been sleeping around 7-7.5 hours per night and taking a nap because I’ve felt exhausted, yet no matter what I’m still not feeling refreshed and awake. I’m attributing it to the weather and the fact that my training is more intense than it’s been since mid- April. My mileage hasn’t been where it is now since April and while I’m increasing my mileage and my intensity at the same time, the weather here makes it that much harder. I know my body will catch up with itself eventually but for now I need to sleep and eat as best I can to maximize my fitness ☺

Tomorrow I’m doing a workout on the track: 3 mile warm up, 3 miles continuous at 5:41 pace and a 3 mile cool down. I hope it goes well and that I can hit the times! I’m looking forward to racing another 5k on August 8th here in Phoenix and hopefully run under 17 minutes. I can’t believe I leave for NYC in a week and a half yet I’m excited to help move my sister out there and be in the city for a few weeks. I’m racing some New York Road Runner races and I can’t wait to see other boroughs of the city since I’m always just in Manhattan. One of the races is a XC race at Van Cortland so that will be super fun and the last time I raced there was USA XC nationals in 2006! I have my new purple and silver Brooks Mach 12 spikes to wear too ☺

Quote for today: “If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings” – Susan Polis Schultz

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coronas and Clubbing in Cabo!! :):)

All I have to say is that Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is by far probably the best spot I've been to in Mexico as far as all around FUN. Our resort was fabulous and right on the water. We were within walking distance to the downtown area and the marina. The club scene was amazing and they don't have cover charges so you can go from place to place as you please. There were multiple places with good music but my favorite was Mandala, where they played dance techno music and had different colored tiles lighting up all over the floor. Pink Kitty had the best music as far as up to date and not stuff from my high school years, LOL. Every night we thoroughly enjoyed Coronas, Pacificos, Margaritas etc. and hit the town to shake what our mammas gave us. :) I can't wait to go back and I'm already planning another trip for hopefully Christmas/New Years time. Oh Cabo I <3 you....

I kept up with my training every day in Cabo and that made me pretty happy. I ran on the treadmill in the nice fitness center and made it out to the beach by mid-day every day :) I would have liked to run outside because the weather was so beautiful but I didn't have anyone to run with and in general it was not the greatest place to go off running down the road, especially with all the men on the roads yelling to ask if we "want a free boyfriend?!" HAHAHA Anyway, my mileage hit 45 last week and this week I'll run 50. My foot has been pretty good thank goodness! I think it's definitely helping that I have been wearing good sandals everyday with great arch support. I don't have the bad stabbing pain ever since I started wearing them during the day when I don't have running shoes on.

My friend recently saw a full page ad/race report from the More Fitness Women's Half marathon in NYC that I won in April, in the July/August issue of Fitness magazine. I'm happy he told me about it because when I saw the pictures, it got me excited to race really fast again and I reminded myself I am not THAT far off from being in great shape and by the time NYC marathon, the BEST shape of my life.

Another aspect of my training I am going to work on is my mental strength for races and how to manage pre-race anxiety. I am incredibly tough when it comes to hard parts of a race when I'm in pain; I won't ever completely give up on myself. However before a race sometimes I get so nervous and afraid to "fail" that I waste so much energy on worrying about how I'm going to end up doing. I have met with a sports psychologist before, yet it was years ago in college. Our psychologist at Duke, Greg Dale, is very good, so I think I'll get his books and see if they help :)

I missed my boys soooooo much when I was in Cabo and now I only have two weeks before I leave to go to NYC for a while!! ahhhh so sad :( I'll definitely spend the next two weeks with them as much as possible, train really hard, get as much sleep as I can and continue to stay focused. Cabo was my vacation for the year so far and now it's time to get really serious, sacrifice and suffer more than I ever have...getting up so early every morning definitely tests my mental will but it also makes me incredibly strong :) Here we go baby...only a little less than 15 weeks until GO time...

Quote for today: "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do"- Epictetus

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mission Accomplished...

Racing yesterday was a fun experience and I accomplished my goal of 5:30 pace by running a 17:09. I'm pretty happy that I raced comfortably hard and hit my goal time without much running lately, especially speed work. It was extremely humid and almost 100 degrees by the time we were done so my face felt like I was melting from the inside out! hahaha:) Having mom and Sam there to cheer me on definitely helped me keep pushing myself and enjoy my post race cool down. I'm not sore at all today so I'm also happy about that..Although on my long-ish run this morning I felt fatigued, yet it may be due to the fact that we played water volleyball in our pool during the day and night yesterday at our pool party/BBQ and I didn't get much sleep last night. My nap today was fabulous!

This week is the week I've been waiting for, for many many months...Two quick days of running, errands, friends, etc. and then I leave for Cabo on Wednesday...so excited to see my girls from college! :) I have to stay dedicated to my running each day, so I hope I'll be able to run either with one of the girls or on the treadmill at our resort each morning and then shower and get out to the beach!

Quote for today: "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps"- Helmut Schmidt

Friday, July 16, 2010

Racing tomorrow and thank goodness for GU!

I finally get to push myself and run like a bat outta hell tomorrow morning ☺ I’ll be racing my first race since May 3rd, and it’s a local summer series 5k here in Tempe at Kiwanis Park. It has been 114-115 degrees here the past couple days and tomorrow morning I am sure it will be around 100 degrees by the time we finish the race. The humidity has not helped the situation, yet we live in Phoenix and this is what we have to expect ☺ As far as the race goes I don’t know what to expect. I haven’t done much speedwork at all but I have done some strides after runs and this past Tuesday I did 8x300 most of them in 58 with 100 recovery, in my regular training shoes, after my run. They felt comfortable, so my goal to run 5:30’s tomorrow I think is attainable…we’ll see I guess. I’m just happy to go race with my fellow Phoenicians!

My little aches and pains seem to be better. I think some of the exercises in my strength routine irritated my hip/hamstring in my left leg, so now that I haven’t done them for a while, it seems to be better. There is still some achey pain in there but it’s not awful. My PF still gives me problems yet I take it one day at a time, manage it as best I can and remain positive.

My mileage this week will hit around 45 with today being my day off. My “long run” on Sunday will be 9 miles. I went up to Flagstaff on Wednesday and came back yesterday afternoon. I enjoyed running on the gorgeous trails up there and the weather was beautiful!! Next summer I think I may rent a house/apartment to do my summer training in the cooler weather and see how my body responds to altitude training. I’d love to go do it for the month of Sep and Oct this year before the NYC marathon, yet I don’t know how I would respond so I am not going to risk it before such an important race.

Anyway, another issue on my runs every now and then is feelings of dizziness. Sometimes I get it only 3 miles into my run or sometimes it can be 5 or 6, yet it’s kind of scary to think you are going to fall over and the ground is spinning. Before I run every morning I have half a pack of GU Chomps with water and some coffee, so maybe my blood sugar is just really low. I started running with a Vanilla Bean GU and when I get dizzy I eat it and within 3-4 minutes I am fine and able to run feeling completely normal. Thank goodness for my Gus because otherwise my runs could be cut short almost every day lately!

Quote for today: “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going”- Brian Tracy

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seattle summer fun + upping the training

The past week has gone by fast and I had the pleasure of visiting Seattle for a few days with fellow Brooks athletes and coaches. Weather in Seattle was much warmer than I expected but about 15-18 degrees cooler than here so I tried to enjoy it. We had a great time going to meetings at the Brooks Headquarters, meeting Brooks employees, getting a preview of future Brooks products and giving feedback on shoes, apparel and also going running together. The highlight of the footwear meeting was seeing a new cross country flat that will likely be coming out in the fall of 2011 that has leopard print all over it!!(*&&^%$!!! AHHH I am so excited…for those of you who know me well, you completely understand why this couldn’t fit me any more perfectly ☺

I enjoyed walking around downtown Seattle, going to the farmers market at Pike Place Market, seeing the original Starbucks store (even though I’m not a huge fan of the company), and there was a line down the street to go in the place!, meeting with my friend who lives in Seattle, seeing my cousin and last but not least going for a great, peaceful run along the beautiful water early in the morning on the day I left. We also had a ton of fun at the Yankees/Mariners game on Friday night in our own huge suite with food and drinks. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to go to Seattle and meet some nice people and learn more about one of the companies I represent.

Running and training has been a little rocky lately but overall I’m still doing well. My body seems to get achy in weird areas and I have no clue why. It may just be my body working out the kinks and everything from the many weeks off and now that I’m running a decent amount again, little things are bothering me. I’m taking care of things that pop up and hopefully with help from Endurance Rehab and being diligent in what I do at home, I can stay healthy.

I modified my core routine I have been doing for the past few months because I was getting really burned out on it. I also felt I was doing a lot more than necessary, so I condensed it into one main routine that takes about an hour. I think it will be a good change even if it’s brief. It’s always good to keep evolving and learning about new things to benefit your training and fitness.

10 more days until the vacation I’ve been waiting for…for many many months ☺…CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO with my girls from college!!! ☺

Quote for today: ”To achieve happiness, we should make certain that we are never without an important goal”- Earl Nightingale

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Grateful, Writing Training and Motivational Mirror

Happy fourth of July everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the holiday weekend, extra days off from work, BBQ’s, pool time, etc. with friends and family ☺ I wore my American flag socks this morning on my run to honor the day, haha ☺ I enjoy these socks at races when there are tons of foreigners and I want to proudly show I’m racing for the USA. Thinking about our country and all the freedom I truly have in my life makes me incredibly grateful. Although I don’t think about it everyday like I should, I’m so happy I have the freedom in this country to choose my career, who I socialize with, who I date, where I can go in public, etc. There are still so many places where women can’t make their own choices, they’re told what to do by men or they have societal pressures to have a certain career. I love that I’ve been blessed with my athletic talent and I’m able to do what I absolutely love every single day. Of course there are ups and downs, but overall I have an amazing, great life ☺

I finally finished writing my training from now until the NYC Marathon and I’m so excited! I feel as though I finished an artistic masterpiece, haha. In the past I have literally just trained and done hard workouts based off what I considered to be common sense or past experiences of what I knew worked or didn’t work in college. Much of the past 3 years has been an experiment on my part. I worked with a coach for a few months last year, but other than that, I’ve done everything on my own. I finally read a couple books the past year and they have helped me learn some things about training. (Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzgerald and Scott Douglas and Better Training for Distance Runners by David Martin and Peter Coe)

Of course I knew about lactate threshold training, VO2 max workouts, tempos, long runs, etc. yet I never really knew how to plan it all so that I peaked at the right time or if I was doing it at the correct paces in order to hit my goal times in races. In fact, two of my huge breakthroughs occurred unexpectedly when I had NEVER done the paces in workouts that I hit in the races. For example my 1:12:52 half marathon and my 2:35:52 marathon both must have been a result of some good overall strength, mental toughness and perhaps the fact I was undertrained and not burned out. Anyway, my plans for the next 18 weeks are definitely harder than I’ve ever done and I know it’s going to be difficult, and perhaps will need some tweaking at some point, but I have to take it one day at a time and I know I’ll accomplish great things☺

I’ve started to put motivational quotes, countdowns and pictures on my mirror in my bathroom and it’s fun to look at it every single day. It really helps me to see this sort of stuff and it reminds me to work hard every single day. Any day that I may not feel like going out the door to do my really hard workout is a day someone else WILL, so I have to say focused ☺ I’m continuing to take naps, foam roll a lot, stretch, ice little aches and pains and constantly working on my willpower to keep eating healthy.

Quote for today: “Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want”- Marsha Sinetar

Saturday, July 3, 2010

73 Degree Fun, New Singlets, Seattle and Cabo Countdown!

Yesterday my sister, my boys and I all drove down to Tucson for some Mt. Lemmon fun and we tried a new Mexican food restaurant as well. Weather at the bottom of the mountain was around 105-108 degrees and at the top it was about 73: Gorgeous! ☺ It was incredibly relaxing and beautiful up there. We walked the boys for a little bit in the forest and it was great. I think they really enjoyed the cooler weather and I fed them some of the new Cookie Cabin flavored cookie, Lemon Sugar☺ Lunch at the Mexican food restaurant disappointed us a little bit because my friend told me how fantastic it is and there were tons of people waiting, yet to be honest I think I can cook better Mexican at home! Ha Always fun to try a new place though…

I received my new white Brooks/Marathon Guide.com racing singlets in the mail from my agent and they look great! My Brooks ID singlet couldn’t really have other company logos screened on it because of difficulty with the material. The color is extremely bright too, so other colors couldn’t really be screened on it very well. I still need to get the Triple Sports and Endurance Rehabilitation logos screened on the front, yet so far the Marathon Guide and GU logos look good and are nice and big! I’m even more excited to race now ☺

My super special summer vacation with my great college friends is coming up VERY soon…in 18 days we’ll all be on our way to meet up and have the time of our lives! We are excited to relax, eat yummy food, drink great drinks, dance our asses off and of course talk a TON and catch up on so many things going on in all of our lives that we don’t have time to always call each other about. I cannot wait to see all of them ☺☺ The beach really makes me so happy and I can’t explain in words how much I enjoy being by the ocean, especially when friends, food, drinking and dancing is involved!

I’m also looking forward to going to Seattle this coming week to meet with other Brooks athletes and go to the company headquarters. We are going to give them feedback on gear and learn some new stuff, so I’m excited. It’ll be fantastic to get out of these triple digits for a few days!

Training is going great and I’m so happy every single day I get up and I know I can run. I’m getting antsy to start working out hard and go race again yet I know I have to remain patient and not be greedy with my mileage, etc. I’m happy my first race back in a while will be here in Tempe at the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series 5k at Kiwanis Park on July 17th. Yay!

Quote for today: "If you are going to be a champion, you must be willing to pay a greater price"- Bud Wilkinson