Making Dreams a Reality

“We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”

Jesse Owens  Olympic gold-medalist runner

Rock’n and Roll’n

After failing to achieve my run goal in the Harvest Moon long course (half Ironman distance triathlon), I decided to join Heather R at the Rock’n Roll marathon race in Denver.  At Harvest Moon, my 13.1 run was really a walk/run NOT even a run/walk.  To be honest, I was pretty disgusted with my run result.

I’ve heard from my other friends that the Rock’n Roll was a fun event.  So here was my goal for the race:

#1 – Have FUN

#2 – Do NOT walk

Up to this point my longest running race was the Cherry Creek Sneak 10 mile which I completed in April of this year.   In a nutshell, I was looking for a little 13.1 miles of running redemption!

The Rock’n Roll was a BIG and well run event.  The race included a half and full marathon course option and basically closed down many of the major streets in central Denver.

There were close to 11,000 participants spread between the two events and for most of the race the 13.1 folks ran alongside the full marathon runners.  As promised, there were bands and music pretty much every mile and aid stations were abundant and well stocked.  Pacers ran to help athletes achieve various completion time goals.

I didn’t really have a true time goal although I had, at registration, indicated an anticipated completion time of 2:10:00 which equates to a 10 minute mile pace.  As Heather and I ran along the course, my legs and feet became a bit achy but not really painful.  I didn’t become anaerobic as I successfully managed my heart rate via my Garmin and focused on pacing to keep in my HR Zone 3 until close to the end of the run.  I enjoyed the bands and the crowd.  I smiled for the photographers.  I cheered the bands. And…I ran, I did not WALK and as the finish line approached Heather and I really RAN to a strong finish.

The Rock’n Roll marathon ROCKED!  Also, I was pleased with my finish time of 2:02:50 @ a 9:22 pace, which put me in the top 10% of my age group.  I said to guy #1, that I didn’t think that was too bad for a non-runner and his response was…well, maybe you really ARE a runner now.  Thanks #1, you ROCK too!

Reflection Time

After the completion of Harvest Moon relay, it was time to reflect on my first Triathlon “season” and contemplate what I wanted to pursue going forward.

Also, I was ready for a break.  I’d trained hard since registering for the Ft Collins Club Sprint event which meant 9 months of focused triathlon training.  Now, the amount of time I committed to training on a weekly basis, generally 10-12 hours, didn’t come close to what Ironman level athletes deliver week after week.  But, in my own humble way I had put considerable time and effort into my swim, bike, run.  I didn’t want to burn out and…more importantly I didn’t want to lose the support of my personal fan club (guys #1 (Husband) and #2 (Son)).  Striving for a reasonable balance between training-family-work is tough!

In 2012, I would “age up” and coincententially become eligible for AARPaaargh!  That really conjures up a visual that is SO contrary to Triathlon.   Yes, I would be competing in the 50-54 age group… OUCH!  But on the bright side, I would be the youngest in that age-group and hopefully being youngest would provide at least some small advantage.

Reviewing my 2011 season results highlighted a glaring weak spot and an opportunity for improvement.  My area of focus during the off season…would be my run.  To highlight how weak my run was in comparison to swim and bike, my results included:

  • SheRox (out of ~300 participants) – Swim (8%), Bike (5%), Run (38%)
  • TRI for the Cure (out of ~2500 participants) – Swim (6%), Bike (2%), Run (31%)

Also Lance Armstrong has been heard to say “Ride for Show, Run for Dough”, my Run wasn’t gonna win me any dough.  Yes, there was a clear area of focus for my winter training.  It would be running.

But, before embarking on more training, @CoachCary recommended I take a break from structured training and focus on flexible “workouts”.  For about a month my www.TrainingPeaks.com training calendar was left blank.  Going back to just “working-out” was an adjustment.  I had become so use to living by my training calendar.  While I missed the structure in my life that the training calendar provided, I also felt that my body (and mind) and family were benefiting from my resting.  Cary assured me that I’d come back better and stronger…and hopefully faster if I took a break.  So I followed my coach’s guidance.  Rest was at the top of my training plan!