How Is It April Already?

I’m not sure how this happened, but the year is a quarter of the way through and it’s April already. Now is a good opportunity to look at what I’ve been up to and where I stand relative to the goals I set for this year.

February was a busy month, including three races and the first week of a twelve-day vacation. The first race was Surf City Half Marathon. My goal was to run 1:55 or better, and I started a little fast, couldn’t hold that pace, and ended up running 1:58:18. While this fell short of the goal, it was a PR. Next up was the Timberwolf 5k. This course is hilly, with a fast, downhill finish. I ran smart and took advantage of the fast finish to squeak in just under 25:00.

The message that I heard from these two races was “start slow to go fast!” I visualized this concept as I drove the course the day before the Special Edition Divas Half Marathon in Temecula. The rest of that day and into the next morning, I reminded myself to start slow and let the pace build in the later miles after the hills. And then the gun went off and I found myself swept up in the energy running nearly the same paces from the prior week’s 5k. By the time I hit the hills, I was done, and came in at 2:03:03.

Two days later, we left for twelve days in Italy and England. I didn’t run a single step and was OK with that. We did walk anywhere from eight to sixteen miles each day. My favorite part of the trip was hiking the trails of the Cinque Terre. The beauty of this area, the endless stairs winding through hillside vineyards, gorgeous views of the Mediterranean, and the old world charm of each village were absolutely breathtaking.

The day after I got home, I was back at it, logging miles and building back to my pre-trip long-run distances. I was really worried about losing fitness and singularly focused on distance. This proved to be the wrong approach. I registered for a 10k with the thought that I was good to run the distance so it shouldn’t be a problem. Because I hadn’t done any speedwork, other than racing, for the previous month or so, it was a problem and I couldn’t hold a pace that should have been hard but comfortable. Recognizing my mistake, I added an interval workout the week before my next 5k. My interval pace was overly optimistic. I couldn’t maintain it and I was left discouraged. On the morning of the 5k, I had a great attitude, tons of nervous energy, and was optimistic that adrenaline would carry me farther than my fitness would allow. It didn’t.

I have learned from the past couple months and am finding my way back to the path of hard work, focus, and smart training. I’m adding at least one speed session (intervals, tempo, fartleks) to my list of weekly goals. While I love to hate speedwork, there is a certain sense of accomplishment and a really “good” tired feeling that comes from completing a tough speed workout.

Here is how the rest of my goals stack up:

  • With the exception of my vacation, I have consistently maintained my strength routine.
  • While on vacation, Ken and I walked everywhere. Since returning, I think we’ve managed only a couple of walks. “Spring Ahead” has given us one less hour of excuse. Now is the time to get back on track.
  • I enjoyed good food, great wine, and some seriously amazing cappuccinos in Italy. I didn’t gain or lose weight, but I did bring home a crazy sweet tooth from all the gelato. I’m focusing on getting my nutrition back in line.
  • I have consistently read my bible daily, but have lost interest in reading the stack of books. I have also slowed way down on listening to podcasts. I am content with tabling the goal of finishing the stack of books until I regain interest in them.
  • Yoga has been hit or miss. I feel great when I’m done, but struggle to make the time. I continue to incorporate balance exercises whenever I can and find that my balance is improving.
  • I have fallen short of my blogging goal. That is not to say that I have given up on the thoughtful introspection that I was hoping for. I’m an introvert and tend to get lost in my thoughts. I have been analyzing and gleaning tidbits of wisdom from all my training, lack of training, and missed goals. I’m also insecure and shy and have struggled with putting my toughts out there. Accountability is the key. Perfection and perception need not get in the way.

Until next month,