Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reflections on BOSTON and TWO WEEKS until Eugene (a lot on my mind) .

A year ago I was in Massachusetts, getting ready to run my very best for 26.2 miles in the grand-daddy of all marathons, Boston (race report).

It was a bittersweet race for me. A PR, yes, but not a race I had prepared for, or executed, well. 

This weekend some dear friends, (runners I've had the pleasure to race with), Amanda and Nicole, are off and having their own experiences. My heart is with them..happy for their opportunity. Happy they had solid training. Happy they have family there to support them. And happy they have each other to make the race atmosphere even richer! I can't wait to hear their stories!
I love you girls! Get ready to FLY!!!!

Someday I might go back, well trained, ready to tear down (and up) that one-of-a-kind course. But not this year!

As of the middle of this week I can now say that I am... TAPERING... for a different marathon.

Tapering is relative to the amount of time put in, but I do plan to reduce mileage and keep sharp with limited amounts of marathon-paced running, T-paced running, and strides.

The name of the game has been, (since the beginning of this cycle in late December), )) ABSORB (( and PROPEL . My goal being to alternate hard workouts with easy recovery. Since the most recent gap in my schedule, I have leaned more heavily on the absorb end of training. It has paid off, with some quality MP and threshold running.
I decided I needed more colors so I added in a new category: recovery. It's the same as easy, but slower. ha.

One morning, I felt led to pull out a blank calendar and just count the total number of days left. By using the time I had left "post-gap" to get back into it and then space out three 20 milers 10 days apart, I have been able to get good amounts of recovery between each major workout, something I might have been missing before. So far, so good...

My mileage has been lower than I would have liked. I play my own sports therapist by reminding myself that many runners operate on lower mileage than this and still run 3:15 or better. I have the long run part...Why not take a chance with the shorter recovery runs if it gets me to the starting line ready to race?

I have been praying before I head out on my runs for the Lord to show me what to do- and for His protection from foolishness. This last 20 miler was no different. I didn't know if the best approach was to run it all easy and try to do some harder workout later in the week, or to run it with a large portion (12 miles) of MP. There were several reasons I could find for, and against, a marathon-paced 20 miler 18 days out from the marathon.

I finally went with MP when I realized how God has already decided the outcome of my training and my race. I could worry about a multitude of different scenarios until it totally consumes me. It is time to trust. It is my responsibility to pay attention to my body and his leading, but whether I wind up injured again, or powerful and ready to PR on race day, He is still GOOD. His ways are beyond my own understanding; but, no matter the outcome, He is GOOD.

When the kids are jumping off all the furniture and will not obey, He is GOOD.
When the phone rings from debt collectors, He is GOOD.
When everyone in the house has a runny nose and is coughing green chunks, He is GOOD.
When the two year-old dumps all of his clothes out on the floor for the third time today, He is GOOD.
When it rains for days on end and you live in rubber boots, He is GOOD.
When your husband brings home the groceries and there is Powerade powder, coffee, and fresh strawberries, He really is GOOD.
 
This will only be my third marathon. Read: I am still a rookie.

My plan is made out in skeleton form. It reminds me of an outline to a research paper with the subjects in place and sub-topics yet to be determined. The running is still day-to-day, but I am planning hydration and pacing strategies, cheer and shirt exchange spots (in the event of serious rain), printing maps to memorize, pace bands to wear, and dress rehearsals.

I am trying not to hold my breath for the next two weeks. I could still step into a pothole, and I am trying not to "count my chickens", as I see if I can make it to the start line prepared and uninjured this time.

Patience isn't my strong suit, but the Lord has done a work in me (and continues to!). I am learning to be patient. I am learning that He really is the one in control.
There is a certain power in being able to just trust.

28 comments:

  1. Wow. There can't be a better confidence builder on the planet than 20 miles at MP 18 days out. I think Marathon No. 3 is going to be one to remember.

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    1. Thanks Gary! I will remember it - no doubt about that! (also, thanks- I needed an editor tonight. I corrected things to read 12 of 20 miles at MP)

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    2. It sounds like you followed the advice of Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [bloggers?], let us throw off everything that hinders [training setbacks?] and the sin that so easily entangles [negativity?], and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us [Eugene?]."

      With that, all that is left to be said is "May my buddy Matthew be blessed by a cool east coast day on Apr 16 and come April 29 ya'll bedda kick ass!

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  2. Beautiful post here Raina. Yes, God IS Good! And you seem to be in such a good place. Ahh, the craziness that comes with taper. A certain amount of peace comes with it too. You've had a great training cycle,...including the way you dealt with your minor setback. I think you've done an excellent job with the absorb and propel balance. And I'm thrilled to see you shine in two weeks!! Thanks for the shout out Raina. Wish you were here. Maybe next year. xoxo

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    1. I actually LOVE tapering when I feel like I have earned it. We will be there together one year. :) I am wishing you the BEST Monday.

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  3. You have a great attitude and God is good! You really handled your injury well. Looking forward to the Eugene race report.

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  4. You are going to have one heck of a race in Eugene, I know it. You are one of the most level-headed people in the running world and I love how much this all means to you. Enjoy the taper and keep that beautiful smile big!

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  5. Ok, I'm going to come back tomorrow and read this, but yes, my adventure racing team (all boys) thought it would be funny to buy me a "Go Girl" to embarrass me...I mean, so I could pee standing up like them and not be left out. I refused to use it in the race (a very good decision, as it turned out!) but promised to do a thorough gear review for the blog. :)

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  6. Great post. You're going to ROCK it! I love the honesty in which you explain your training and how you feel about it. It's kind of interesting how people view the whole God/running issue. I never actually pray for times or places in races or workouts. I always just pray that whatever the workout gives me- good or bad, I will have a humble attitude (if it went well) or a persistant and resiliant attitude (if it went poorly).

    Run Happy, girl!

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  7. Raina, I really believe that all the absorbing during the next few weeks is going to propel you to a HUGE PR. You are so strong mentally and physically and I know you will squeeze all the fitness out of you come race day, and you've got a ton of fitness. The 3 long runs with MP in them have been amazing Raina. So strong! I have no doubt, no doubt at all that you will have the race of your life in Eugene! Thrilled for you! Such a great model for how to deal with setbacks in training and come back strong:)

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  8. Sounds to me like your mind, body and spirit are in the right place to rock Eugene, Raina! So excited for you.
    Isn't it fun reminiscing about Boston? I ran far from my best there but still I'll cherish the memories forever.

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  9. Seems like just yesterday I was getting ready to cheer for you in Boston!! So excited for Amanda and Nicole is going to be the cutest peppiest cheerleader out there!!! We will all have our time in Boston again one day!

    Ha ha-laughed out loud at the new colors:) Mine is SO green and I'm thinking of coming up with MANY MANY new categories to spice it up...like easy plus 5 seconds. This could be yellow and easy minus 5 seconds could be blue. Easy into the wind could be purple.....Just thinking-ha ha!

    Raina-like a broken record, you know how impressed I am with the way you train. You've adapted remarkably to this little setback with the knee and you are running amazingly strong and I wonder if you may be toeing that line in even a better place than without the knee issue! Your Q runs have been SUPER impressive-the awesome cruise intervals, holding that MP in long runs, allowing your body to absorb them and not knocking yourself out the next day-SMART. I'm so confident in what will be for you in 2 weeks!! So confident and SO EXCITED. I would give anything to be there!!

    Loved reading this whole post girl.

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  10. I love how you tie in life lessons with running, and what God is teaching you... it really is a great place to let go and learn to trust, just as we need to in all aspects of our lives. And I love soaking up your training experience, especially as I think about training for another marathon. You've done the work-- can't wait to see what Eugene will hold for you!

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  11. So much here... Many of your thoughts were the exact thoughts I had two months ago during my training/ getting ready to taper. I know I mentioned it in a blog I wrote the night before my last marathon but anytime I started to worry about my training, mileage, weather- WHATEVER I started singing the lyrics to "He knows just what I need." No matter what your training situation you are in He knows what you need and supplies every need. I put this song on my shuffle not knowing what part of the marathon it would play (I have over 3 1/2 hours of music on my IPod) and it came on right before I started mile 20. My last 10K. It is totally not a racing fast beat song but when I heard the words it reminded me that God was with me and ultimately in control of my race. You are right about God already knowing the outcome. I admire your strength and confidence in Him.

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  12. No, don't hold your breathe for the next three weeks!! Just trust your training and it already sounds like you have the peace and confidence to do just that! Pray! Relax! Trust! Have fun and enjoy these next two weeks, that's what they are for!

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  13. Beautiful post. Tapering takes a degree of faith and trust and that should take you far in the race. I love the "absorb" and "propel" themes. Great cues.

    Here's to an easy taper and a great experience in a couple weeks!

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  14. Ah, Raina, it does me well to read this.

    When you head out for a 22 miler and have to abandon it at 15.5 because of unexpected sudden back pain, then have to call your husband from a Chevron station to come pick you up... HE is still GOOD.

    I think that you are SO ready for Eugene. Enjoy the cutbacks over the next couple of weeks as you recharge your body for the race. And continue to trust!

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  15. We are both going to have a great time at Eugene! You are ready.

    If and when someday I can BQ I would never train to PR in Boston..it's a terrible race for weather (as we see this year). Instead I would treat it as a big victory lap. Chicago can also have the hot hot problem.

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  16. I always love seeing posts from you. You are such a level-headed, insightful person!

    The little bump in the road with the knee has not even seemed to phase you! Already back running strong and have altered your training plan to still work out perfectly for Eugene.

    Excited to hear all about a strong race you are going to have in 2 weeks!!!

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  17. I know that things are well with you. Trust. I do believe that you are ready; now its a waiting game. Peace and good thoughts being sent your way.

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  18. Breathe...in and out, slowly, and deeply. Faith, and skill, will win the day, and you have both. Rookie or not, you BQ'd your FIRST marathon and your second WAS Boston...feh, there are runners, of which you are counted as a runner, that only dream of getting that qualification, let alone getting registered. Breathe, you have just a short wait until your big race, and you will crush it.

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  19. Enjoy your taper and race preparations. You have given yourself to the Lord so now you don't even have to worry. You are in His hands! You are so blessed!

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  20. I never cease to walk away from your posts without being a bit wiser and thinking a bit more about my own self and where I stand, and this post didn't fail. I'll be thinking about this all day, remembering that I need to step back sometimes and trust the plan that God has for me, even if it's not what I want at the moment.

    You're going to have a great race in Eugene. Now, blow up that big ole bubble and start living in it for the next couple weeks and all will be okay!! ;)

    xo

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    1. Haha! I need to live in a bubble for sure. My kids want to play with other kids...what to do, what to do?

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  21. trust it so hard...especially when it's faith your counting on...but, in my experience in life it all works out in the end, somehow that is...

    You are strong in so many ways and I believe you will surprise yourself. I'm kinda thinking you think that too though ;)

    Enjoy your taper, enjoy the fact that you're running, and enjoy the ride along the way...you'll be great!

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    1. Thanks hon. I am missing your posts. Hope you are doing OK!

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  22. You are ready for Eugene. Enjoy this tapering time, eat well and don't worry, you are fast and strong.
    Great post.

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  23. I really like your blog. You are such a smart runner. You will do great in your marathon. People do run lower mileage and do just fine. Enjoy your taper. Do something fun, not running related.

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