Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

This is going to be very wordy and not very picturey. But if you read this blog regularly, it is worth the effort...

Early last month I attended a marathon running camp in Minnesota. Whoa. Back up! Marathon running camp?! Minnesota!? I spent 5 days hanging out with other runners, learning about running, chatting about running, and, err... running. It was totally amazing.

I meant to post an announcement but seeing as how I flew out to Minnesota the day after returning from Anaheim and the Disneyland half, I sort of ran out of time. And I actually both learned about the camp and signed up one and a half weeks before camp took place. Impulsive, much?

I expected to come back from camp and post a full report about the runs, people, and all the cool new things I learned. But somehow once I got home that didn't feel right. I don't quite know what it is, but I think I feel like the whole thing was somehow just too personal both for me and the people who were there. It is not that I am somehow guarding the details. Some of you know me "in real life" and the next time we meet for a run I'm more than happy to chat all day about everything.

There is one thing I will talk about loosely because it is going to change and flavor my running in a major way in the future:

During a meal, one of the coaches happened to be sitting across the table from me. They all had our running resumes. Totally unprompted, she said something which has changed the way I look at my running: "If you would just stop running so many races, you could be a 3:30 marathoner."

I think the sound of my jaw hitting the table was audible.

Most of the people at camp were past their running primes but were still kick-ass runners. We are talking about people who smash their age groups. A concept I have never really given extensive thought came up: There comes a point in life when you can't get faster. What do you do then?

Let's turn this question around a little: I am still relatively young. I have a finite number of years left that my body will allow me to get faster. What am I doing during these years? Am I making the most of them?

The point was brought up by numerous people that getting faster has to be my goal. Something I want. There is nothing wrong with running 20 marathons in a year if that is what I want to do. In terms of PR's, I have far surpassed any marathon time goal I have ever set for myself up to this point. And since deep down I consider myself a 5+ hour marathoner, I sort of felt like I had reached my zenith. So no, running a 3:50 or a 3:59 was never really on my radar. But it wasn't on my radar because I didn't think it was realistic.

It has been brought to my attention that I don't believe in myself. I started off as a 5+ hour marathoner. In my mind I am still a 5+ hour marathoner. This has been severely limiting the height of my goals. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the implications of believing that I am now a 4:11 marathoner. I think this is truly the biggest hurdle for me.

I have agreed to try something different next year. If you look at my sidebar, I already have quite a few marathons planned for 2011. But my marathon calendar is still clear after June 2011. I am going to keep in touch with that particular coach from camp and I am going to start revamping the way I train. I want to see how fast my body can get.

It will hopefully take more than a few years to get there, but I am excited to see where this chapter of my running journey can end.


the dawn said...

it is so easy to put a label on ourselves. we start to believe more in our limitations than we believe in our abilities. i was just talking to a newbie runner about how exciting it has been to set goals that i used to believe were unreachable and watch my body respond to the training. i'm still super scared that i won't be able to meet my goal, but if i hadn't set an impossible goal, i wouldn't be seeing some of the improvements that i've had.

i'm so excited to hear about how your goals are going to evolve and what that is going to do to your training!

aron said...

i cannot wait to watch you train like this... you definitely need to believe in yourself girl. i have watched you get faster and faster, imagine what you could really do if you spent 6 months training hard. eeeeee :)

i do like the other ourlook too about how much longer we have to get faster, etc. definitely a good way to look at things.

Page said...

You definitely can do this! You are a fantastic athlete (obviously) and with a bit of change in training, I definitely can see this happening.

Good luck...even though we know luck won't be needed!

Also, if we meet up again, I'd like to chat more about this camp you went to. Super intrigued!

bunnygirl said...

It's important to reevaluate our goals from time to time and mix things up a bit. You've already proven you can run lots of marathons. Keep running so many, and at some point you'll probably get bored with it.

Seeing how fast you can get sounds like a worthy new objective.

Anonymous said...

I 'waved' at you as we walked through GG Park on Sunday. I think taking on new challenges is wonderful. I enjoy reading about your running adventures.

Anonymous said...

This definitely makes me think and I am so glad that you were able to experience running camp! It is definitely something I am interested in and sounds like a great way to get an outside perspective about yourself. Can't wait to see where this takes you :)

Alisa said...

I really liked this post! Yes, believing in yourself is half the battle for sure the other half is determination and drive---you've certainly already got that half!

I remember way back when I first started reading your blog thinking, wow, another runner about my pace---well that is no longer, you have passed me up and then some.

I'd love to see you hit that 3:30 goal!

cliff said...

just as long as you're having fun and enjoying yourself, go for it! be greedy w/ your race times! =D

btw, i think you must be really rich and not have to work for a living.

Rabbits' Guy said...

That was a great story! Camp seemed well worth it for you and your running plans! Good luck.

Unless you have some physical issues (or a horrible running style/training scheme)a 3hr 30 minute marathon is certainly doable, although needing no doubt some hard training and pushing to run fast. But then, you have been doing that and gradually amping it up for a couple years now!

I have studied lots and lots of race results, and for women, generally the 40 - 45 age group is very competitive and fast - and I suspect it is because many mothers that age finally have their children able to care for themselves and so have some time and want to really try to do something big before it is too late.

After that, and probably for men too, if you are "competitive", then your goal tends to just be competitive within your age group, and your race times slowly become longer and longer over the years! But still plenty of opportunity to be happy and proud of your efforts!

Hey - if you hang on long enough you will be your age group all by yourself!!

Nicole said...

I went to running camp in high school and it was one of the coolest things i have ever done. I wouldnt mind doing it again sometime just to touch base with my training and get my head in the right spot. I'm excited to watch you train and see what you are capable of! :)

Rachel said...

i can totally relate to this post. i've raced a lot since i first started running, and sometimes i can't help but wonder what i would be capable of if i really focused on just one race and trained hard. i bet we cold all surprise ourselves!

The Bunns said...

Allan Sherman - 1963 - Camp Granada! Is that song still around?? It is a great one - did you get a lot of the Minnesota rains?

Mica said...

Okay, I think I knew (from Facebook?) that you had gone to a marathoning camp.
And I think I know what camp it was!

...And I might know who gave you that 3:30 advice!

Anyway, that's really a great piece of information right there. Setting goals, wanting them for yourself, and training hard for them. It's so strange how we sometimes get in a weird mental rut that keeps us from achieving things.

Man, now I want to go to running camp!

rUntoNamAste said...

You run a marathon [or two. I lost track] a month. Very few people in this world can do that. Therefore, I definitely believe you can run a sub 4hr marathon. Your body fares well with this distance and that's half the battle. Now all you need to do is work on your speed and boo-ya! Go for it girl. You already got it!

Marathon Maritza said...

I completely agree (with my non-coach experience) that you can get faster and BQ and be in the 3:30 range. You are light and quick on your feet and you are dedicated. I watched myself how quickly and efficiently you went from 5+ to 4:20s and kept it consistent.

I also agree that it has to be your goal. What you are doing right now is amazing to me, and I can't wait to see what else you set up for yourself. You can do it.

EndorphinBuzz said...

I agree that getting faster is something you should do because you want to, not just because you can. I sometimes admire people who race more than they train (or train at races, call it whatever you want) because they have more celebration in their running than I do. I still celebrate my training milestones but with 3 or 4 races per year, it's just not as exciting as racing every weekend :)

Leana said...

Wow, what an interesting statement! I can't wait to see where you go with this!

audgepodge said...

Wow.. this blows my mind! You still think of yourself as a 5+ hour marathoner??? That's such craziness.

You are fast, girl! Remember, you call 4:40 slow!

OK, enough of this nonsense. Have fun w/ all your silly marathons :) for now.

Next year, let's focus on a BQ!