Old Habits Die Hard

Before we begin my self-running therapy that this blog provides for me, a few links to articles I have liked this week.

  • On men and women having equal prize purses on the ATP and WTA tours, respectively: http://espn.go.com/espnw/more-sports/8300379/2012-us-open-debate-sets-played-good-tennis
  • American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Statement on Rape and Pregnancy: http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2012/Statement_on_Rape_and_Pregnancy
  • Brief Chat with the RC…particularly liked the part about what it means to be an Olympian: http://news.runnersworld.com/2012/08/28/stephanie-rothstein-is-ready-for-the-usa-20k/
  • Jesse Thomas“I Eat A Lot and That’s OK,” which helped me legitimize tonight’s trip to 16 Handles (thanks, Jesse): http://triathlon.competitor.com/2012/08/features/triathlife-with-jesse-thomas-i-eat-a-lot-and-thats-ok_60088
  • An article by Dena Evans on Runcoach blog on what we can learn from Olympic performances: http://runcoach.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=281:olympians-they’re-just-like-us-some-things-the-average-runner-can-learn-from-london&Itemid=444

“candy…because it tastes like happiness..” – Jesse Thomas

I would suggest reading any or all of the above coherent, sensible articles before reading this post. It will be better for your brain.

I often try to compare my running to tennis. Fortunately, any nerves I might feel before a race (and less nerves these days, for some reason) pale in comparison to the all-out-fright-fest-near-nausea I would have before a match. Unfortunately, the disappointment with a loss somewhat compares to having a bad race, but, again, the severity much less.

However, there is this feeling that I’m recently experiencing with running that I’ve had a few times in my tennis tenure (fairly certain I can’t call what I did with tennis a “career,” seems weird to call it that) that is hard to pinpoint in words. The best I can describe it is the “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or how to fix it” feeling.

A distinct example from tennis: my doubles partner as a sophomore, Erika, and I [yep, the same Erika who got me into running] were playing a match and seemingly could not string together 4 points (ie 1 game) to save our lives. I remember telling our coach, “It seems like we are doing everything right, but we’re losing and I don’t get it, help me!” There was really no frustration that typically accompanies playing poorly or losing, just somewhat of a speechlessness that accompanies not knowing what to change or “fix.”

I’m pretty sure my next words to Erika were, “Well, we’re either going to turn this around or we’ll be at Ling Ling Garden soon.”

In about 20 min, we were ordering greasy Chinese food at Ling Ling Garden (in Ithaca, NY, for those curious).

I’m experiencing a similar situation with running.

I ran a 5K this past weekend (#5krevolution). I ran 23:11. My training had been going really well and I thought I was ready to run closer to 22 min (was 22:22 last month). Maybe it was the humidity (85%, gross), the crowds, just not my day….I did have a very similar feeling to losing a tennis match, where I felt this overall visceral sensation of wanting to throw something out of anger. Unfortunately, there is nothing to throw in running like a racquet or a ball…

Ran into Dr. Jess! My med school buddy who is now an OB/GYN intern who is delivering beautiful babies in NJ! Top pose was her idea, bottom pose (5K rev gang sign) was mine.

And, maybe I’m just being too dramatic about it, which, in all likelihood, is true.

Regardless, I have that “I don’t know what went wrong or how to fix it” feeling because running slower than my previous two 5Ks wasn’t for a lack of trying or training.

Sometimes, I wish I could just run a race and think, “yeah, that was cool” and move on, rather than do this:

I need this framed and on my wall…

I’m not sure what I can change beyond the usual suspects of core strength, drills, being more diligent with my PT stuff…

I guess really all I can do is keep training and try again.

On a somewhat related note, it seems my right IT band was more Braxton-Hicks than full flare. It and my right hip were twingy after the race. I did my long run yesterday and they are both sore and stiff again, along with calves bilaterally and the right “behind the knee clicking thing” (medical term). If I were at my doctor and had to say what my most bothersome thing was, today it would be the hip and the “behind the knee.” I’m hoping these can be mitigated with aggressive foam rolling to the max and acupuncture/chiropractor.

Alright, that is enough writing tonight.

TELL ME: WHAT CAN YOU IMPROVE ON AS A RUNNER? SUGGESTIONS FOR ME? DID ANY OF THIS MAKES SENSE BECAUSE I AM SORT OF TIRED AND FEAR IT DID NOT.

Until next time…

PS: A friend did tell me to look at races and racing as a graph and you’re looking a trend line – the points won’t line up in an exact linear progression, but as long as the trend is continuing, then you’re improving…here is my beautiful graph that I drew to reiterate the point to myself:

Mixing the run and the nerd…

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9 thoughts on “Old Habits Die Hard

  1. Unless your races are on totally flat courses and have the same weather conditions, it’s tough to compare them. The Harlem 5K course was easier than Coogan’s but still had a hill in the first mile, and the weather wasn’t that great. There are so many other factors too — sleep, attitude, where you are in your training, etc. I think your friend is right about seeing if your races are following a trend.

    As far as my own running improvement goes, I could eat better and sleep more. I could also strengthen the muscles in my legs that often give out in the marathon.

  2. Just read Steph’s Q&A (great!) and thought somewhere should draw your attention to where she’s asked about her DNF at Trials and says “I still haven’t figured it out.” See, you aren’t the only one 😉

  3. The weather was way hotter and more humid than in SF. If you are anything like me that is enough to explain the difference between those two races. I’m not really sure I have had that many decent runs this entire summer…

  4. I’m in the same boat. I keep tweaking, pushing, increasing, decreasing, trying to make it work so I can get to that next level and when it doesn’t happen I simply don’t get it. But, my coach says, “believe in yourself and believe in your training.” So many factors can play into a bad race – the weather, the time of day, whether you got enough sleep the night before and so on. But, if you believe in yourself and what you’ve done it will all come together at some point. You just have to be patient which is not an easy thing to be. In a nutshell, believe! (this reply is for both of us! 🙂 )

  5. Pingback: Bits and Pieces « The Thinks I Can Think

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