Weekend Warrior

The weekend was eventful in more ways than one and in some ways, I would have preferred not eventful!

Friday evening, Alli was helping her dad make stew by chopping some of the vegetables.  Well….she ended up slicing her finger.  I’ll spare everyone by NOT posting the pics that we took (that Alli showed to ANYONE who would look).  I would like to give a shout out to my friend Jenn in New York for encouraging me to take Alli to get it checked out.  Long story short, we went to an urgent care facility and walked out with a glued finger.

I’m about to admit my short-comings as human being, and more importantly – a mother.  With AAU Nationals coming up within the week, one of the first things I thought was “Oh my gosh….Alli won’t be able to set!” Luckily, I scolded myself for thinking those thoughts (even though it may or may not have been after I realized that her finger would be fine by tournament time).

I have to brag on Alli for a bit, though.  She is the baby of the family, which means she has been coddled more than the other two.  At one point, I worried about whether she would EVER toughen up.  Back in basketball season, she rolled her ankle, walked it off the rest of the period and came back to finish the game (I still get teary-eyed over it), so I knew that she was getting tougher.  She had an extra practice on Saturday evening.  I told her that, as part of the team, she would go even though she wouldn’t be able to set.  She could still serve, hit and possibly pass and if there were drills she couldn’t do then she could help shag balls.  That little stinker ended up setting toward the end of practice.  I could tell that it hurt, because after taking a few balls her hand started shaking when she would put her hands up to set.  She told me afterwards that it did hurt some – not too much, but she felt she could endure the pain because her team needed her.  Now I’m not a proponent of playing injured, but if you are hurt and playing doesn’t further hurt you, I think it is good to work through the pain.  There IS a difference between being hurt and being injured.  The tricky part is to recognize the difference.  Needless to say, I’m proud of the athlete she is becoming.  🙂

Bahama Bucks before practice.  Possibly the best sno cones on the planet.

Bahama Bucks before practice. Possibly the best sno cones on the planet.

Sunday, I found myself at a tea party, hosted by the youth of my church.  They were fundraising to help pay for camps and conferences.  I took one for the team and wore a hat….Mad hatters

We had a very good time!!  Logan was one of the servers.  I’m sure you can sense his excitement, just looking at this photo!

Can't accuse him of not being enthusiastic! LOL

Can’t accuse him of not being enthusiastic! LOL

At the end of the festivities, a prize was awarded for the best hat and my mother won!  Memo tea party

Now on to the training updates!  Friday through Sunday, I racked up 22.6 miles!  Training is going incredibly well, thanks to the direction that my coach/partner has given me.  However, instead of him just telling me how we need to train, I have noticed that I am starting to internalize what he has taught me.  This is a huge transition for me which is really starting to boost my confidence in my abilities as a runner.

Saturday’s training was to be a timed 1:15 run with my goal pace between 11:00-11:15.  Typically, I attempt to run the fastest pace allowed and end up fighting and wrestling with myself the entire run.  I will admit that I was a little apprehensive about having to run it on my own, because I struggle so much with pacing.  This run turned out to be one of those pivotal runs – one that I will no doubt look back up on and realize that it truly was a turning point in my attempts to become a better runner.  I didn’t struggle with pace AT ALL, and almost every mile split was right at 11:15.  Even MORE exciting is the fact that I didn’t deviate from pace much within each mile.  I was truly running that pace.  And if that wasn’t enough, I could tell almost immediately when I deviated from the pace AND possessed the self-control to get myself back on track.  I can’t put into words how monumental this was, except it was AMAZING!!

My partner is suffering from a swollen/bruised ankle & heel, that he suspects is delayed onset from a fall down stairs earlier in the week.  This little development meant that I would have to run our 12 mile long run solo….in the afternoon heat.  Had I known in time, I would have planned to run early Sunday morning, but even he didn’t realize the problem until he was getting ready for work Sunday morning.

So I set out around 6 pm, sun blazing with temp of 94.  Make no mistake about it – this was by far my toughest run since my marathon.  The first 8 miles of my run were every bit as tough as the last 8 of my mara, but I battled mentally and garnered several victories along the route.

Running this tough of a run by myself allowed me to realize how much I have matured the past 3 months.  Here are some things stuck out for me yesterday:

  • I have finally accepted (and genuinely believe) that long runs are about time on your feet – NOT pace.  I was truly satisfied with slowing down when needed.  Old Crazy Jen would have beaten herself up for slowing down.  I think part of that stemmed from the fact that I didn’t feel adequate as a runner if I wasn’t running a certain pace.  I’ve made peace with that – and I am quite happy running a pace that will allow me to improve as a runner and remain injury-free!
  • Now that I have built a good base, I am able to use my heart rate data more effectively during my runs.  I know where my zones are and (this is the kicker!) am willing to slow down when needed to get my heart rate in the proper zone for that run.  (Except Sunday, when it was so hot that I just tried to keep my heart rate below 160, which I know is way too high for a long slow run.  But with more heat training my heart will hopefully adapt.)
  • I no longer run with music.  I can practically hear the gasps from all of you.  Learning to run sans music has been good for me.  REALLY good.  Without the distraction of the music, I am much more in tune with my body and what is going on.  I find it much easier to stay focused on the run, which I suspect has directly resulted in developing my pace-awareness.

I got several “looks” yesterday from people in passing cars.  I’m not sure if I looked that desperate, that horrifying, if they were offended that I had taken off my shirt, or if they simply thought I was insane.  In any case, I didn’t really care.  I felt blessed to be out there regardless of the heat.  I was, however, incredibly jealous of the guy who drove by looking at me while sipping what was surely an ice-cold drink.

Beautiful, but deceiving.  Hard to believe how hot it was when you look at this gorgeous sunset.

Beautiful, but deceiving. Hard to believe how hot it was when you look at this gorgeous sunset.

No, that is not snow....it is part of the "B" on the 50 yard line.  I needed .15 to finish my run and got it on the track :)

No, that is not snow….it is part of the “B” on the 50 yard line. I needed .15 to finish my run and got it on the track 🙂

I work through Wednesday, then my summer will officially begin!

Happy Monday, all!

Jen

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