Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Another Year with Honey Stinger and A Little on Goals

Monday afternoon I got a lovely email stating that I was accepted again into the Honey Stinger Hive program. Last year I posted something on how sponsorship works (at least for mortals like myself) and my biggest takeaway was don't just gain sponsors for the sake of having them, but actually represent companies and products you like and trust; basically stuff you'd buy anyway if you didn't have sponsorship.

Thanks @honeystinger! 
At this stage of my athletic career, I greatly appreciate any opportunity to have gear and nutrition provided to me. It's also a big plus when it's organic and actually tastes good! At any rate, a big word of "Thanks" goes out to the crew at HS, as nutrition is a key piece in working towards my goals. 

Speaking of goals.....I have had a lot of time lately to think about that subject. 

So here's the current state of things: let's just say the nonlinear law of progress is on full display this Spring. Spoiler alert: I may have 99 problems but injury ain't one!

I had this really, really weird period starting a couple weeks ago where the running started to feel like work. Like I'm pulling a cart full of rocks behind me with a flat tire kind of work. Like I'm "32 going on 75" kind of effort. Mind you, I don't have an least not on the musculoskeletal level (crazy, huh?!). 

Here's the weirdest part of it all: I didn't want to run. It's one thing when I don't feel like going out and cancelling plans to go back to sleep, but not wanting to run? Not like me at all. I was exhausted, my easy pace felt like tempo and had some wicked trouble getting to sleep. Somehow I powered through work when all I could think about was resting. On top of it all I had some weird upper respiratory thing that lasted a good 10 days. I think we may know where this was going....

Cue Dr. appt and blood work. And I didn't have the motivation to run-so I didn't for almost a week. My body and mind were apparently begging for it and I needed to conserve energy to kick whatever was invading my systems out. To top it off, I had the iron tested and immediately went back on supplementation with Hema-Plex. After getting past some FE difficulty last summer, I had tapered off taking any iron supplementation because of the possible risks and recommendations against it made me leery. By default, one goal for the remainder of 2015 is to listen to how I am really feeling and be proactive about it. If it means I have to deviate from the piece of paper I have for a schedule. The big picture supersedes any one day or week of training. 

Process Goals

So curve ball thrown, the running desire came back over the weekend. Thank goodness! I was supposed to race the Muddy Trails 5k but the thought of running hard through the woods and possible immune consequences was a bit much. So I volunteered at the finish line and had a pretty enjoyable experience doing so. One goal I have this year is to not make it as much about me and manipulating everything to fit my training, as obviously something got out of balance this winter and spring. Probably a lot of it was I had the tendency to try too hard-follow everything to the letter. Good in theory, but not always realistic. Hold a white-knuckle grip on anything and you're sure to get tired eventually. 

Letting go. I have done a lot of training in order to "be ready" to run a time that I respect and put a good showing. This is important, but perhaps I need to actually just get in and race on more occasions and accept whatever the result. Like enjoy it, have fun with it. Racing itself can be valuable training. Case in point: I'm planning on going to Rice University to run the LP Run later this month. Will I be 'in shape' for it? Not really. But does it mean I suck? NOPE. It's just one race and can be good training. 

One thing I will confess is that I have a hard time shaking the fear of "looking bad" in front of my running peers, where my more rational side says "who cares?". Perhaps this has been one of my biggest roadblocks in my training. 

Another thing I really have been wanting to improve on is strategy, especially negative splitting. This summer I really want to dial in on gaining the patience and trust in order to execute it in a race. To do this I have to make a conscious effort in training to work the pace down. Yesterday I had a large pace window to work with, so I simply worked on going from "top to bottom". The hardest part is the first mile or two when you're bored and your legs want to start turning faster. Simple run as it was and not necessarily fast, but I walked away happy with a run for the first time in a while, just by putting some purpose to it. If I'm not caring so much about how one race experience turns out, I can translate this to the competitive situation.

Lastly, I want twelve months with no major injuries. So far so good. Maybe because I'm resting more??;)

Hopefully I can string together some type of "Summer of Strength" this year-lots of good base work to build on. More outcome-focused goals can come later, but these are things I find motivating and attainable and make me want to get out there and improve. Process comes before outcome. When things don't go your way, learn from them and use them. If I attain just one of these things, that is a success. 

So alien illness cleared, new shoes on, red meat in, nutrition sponsor back in the fold. I'm not hurt. Let's move forward. 

Stay the course. 

1 comment:

MJ said...

I like the "nonlinear law of progress" and am glad you're not injured.

I'd be interested to know - if you care to share (understand if not) what your iron and serum ferritin levels are when you feel good versus when you feel bad in the ways you described. (and what risks of iron and recommendations against supplementation you have heard)

I have had ok iron (hemoglobin) but my serum ferritin (stores) have been lower than my understanding of optimal. I believe a couple of years ago I was at 44, then it dropped to 22. I asked my doc if I could supplement (she wasn't going to because my iron was "fine") and she said sure. I went on ProFerrin - 1 tablet - for a fair amount of time and when retested last year had gotten ferritin to 44. (still not where it should be) At that point I upped my ProFerrin to 2 tablets most days (which is something like a whopping 20mg of heme iron) and haven't gotten retested yet. Since January, I have had many of the feelings/symptoms you describe and put it down to stress - too many races too close to each other in the fall with not enough recovery and the loss of my dad. Could also be I have been holding on with that white-knuckle grip through last fall and my systems just said "enough". It's really affected my training for my first Boston.

I hope you feel better soon and appreciate any info you care to share. Thanks for writing your blog!