Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Mental Game

As I am in somewhat recovery mode from the race this past weekend it was my plan to do an easy 6 mile run today. Needless to say, I just was not feeling up to it. Physically I was fine, mentally it was another story. For whatever reason, I just did not want to run. In my mind skipping a run was really not my best option so, I mentally scolded myself for my lack of enthusiam and started the run (shut up and run!).

It appeared rather quickly that getting started was just half the battle, the entire 6 miles I had to fight the urge to stop and walk, or slow down or just quit (good thing it was an out and back run). It is a problem I don't face often on short distance daily runs, but am famliar with around mile 18 and on during a marathon or long run. For me, it is almost harder to deal with the mental challenges of wanting to stop vs. the physical pain. I have tried many techniques, music, working out problems in my head, calculating over and over again my pace and finish time, it sometimes seems that it just does not work.

Help, I need some ideas and I guess some more discipline so as I can avoid these types of struggles in future races. I would like to start some, "mental training" to go along with my physical training ASAP!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Space Coast 40th Marathon and Half Marathon

As I indicated yesterday, in addition to the small 5K I ran, I also ran for the 5th time the "Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon". I am lucky enough to have this event be in my home town, Rockledge, Florida and just a 10 minute drive from my house to the start. I am also lucky enough to have been involved with this event for the past 6 years (I took a year off somewhere in there) and experience first hand how it has grown and matured. This event is no baby, this year was the 40th Anniversary, but up until about 4 years ago, it was still treated very much like the hometown race. My first year I ran it, I vowed to never run it again (thus the year off). It was Florida hot, and water and aid stations were severely lacking. I remember on volunteer blocking traffic giving a lady her water bottle because the next water station was not for another 2 miles... At the time the race was only attracting around 1000 runners, understandably small.

Then things changed, the people who organize the race, The Running Zone of Melbourne, apparently listened to our comments and suggestions and started promoting the race on a national level. They gave the race a space theme (I now have a really nice space shuttle medal) and enhanced the overall quality of the race. I can now say that it is one of my favorite small scale races.

The changes have worked so well that this year there was over 3000 participants, plenty of water stops (one every mile) and energy gels (one every mile after 15) and one of the best post race celebrations I have seen (pancake breakfast, pizza, fresh Florida orange juice etc...) Additionally, they have stepped up the game with a really great medal, and a beach towel for each racer in lieu of the ever popular metallic blanket.

The course is very nice as well, I do have to warn that it is an out and back race down a single road, but it is very scenic, with the river on you side and in view the entire way. If you are lucky, you will see some dolphins in the water pacing with you. The road is easy for spectators as well and because of the out and back layout, they can see you two times without even moving.

Overall, it was a good experience and I am all ready looking forward to doing it again next year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Races, One Weekend

This year I had a very fit Thanksgiving Day weekend. It started out on Thursday with a home grown 5K organized by a neighbor, and ended on Sunday with a local Half Marathon, Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon, in my home town. I ran them both, one was much more pleasant that the other, but both were fun.

This was my first 5K ever, and because it was a local neighborhood event I was able to run it with my daughter on her scooter by my side and my husband and my son (on his roller blades) up ahead of me. It was a great experience for all involved, it was a great feeling to get up early Thanksgiving morning and get your blood flowing with your friends, family and neighbors. I was surprised to see how many turned out (about 50) and how many children got up early and came out to run.

The run also made me realize how many people put up their Christmas Decorations before Thanksgiving (UGH!!!) I had not even started thinking about that until this race.

It also gave me a chance to think about what I am thankful for, and the usual thoughts came up, family, friends, health etc., but I also took note that I am thankful to live in a such a community that we can do things like this, and I am thankful that my family shares my love of running with me, it was great fun to experience this race with them.