Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hitting Reset

What, no Wisconsin Marathon race report? A little over a week after the race I've come to terms with it, considered my next move, and put a new plan into action. So I guess I'm already over what happened there and don't feel the need to rehash every step.

Did I qualify for Boston? Nope. Did I run my fastest marathon yet? Hell yeah! I'm happy about the PR but it was a bitter pill to swallow to run ahead of pace until mile 21 and feel the wheels totally come off. I kind of feel like I was due for something like that to happen to me though so when I look at the big picture, I'm not bitter about it. I'm taking the stance that any goal that comes too easy isn't an aggressive enough goal. It's the whole point of a challenge right?

So what happened? I'm still not exactly sure. Like I said, I ran ahead of pace (average 8:10) for 20 miles. Somewhere between 20 and 21 I started to feel a tightness in my left hip- which showed up right away with an 8:30+ mile 21. I remember wondering if I should stop and try and stretch but also knew that doing so can also mean the "kiss of death" in a marathon. It kept getting tighter though, until I felt so locked up that my stride was becoming obviously lopsided- and painful! So I did the unthinkable and stopped to stretch and then walked for about 30 seconds. Nearly a 10 minute mile 22. Ugh. At this point though I knew I could still squeak in under a 3:40 finish time if I could get back to running 8:30s for the last 4 miles.

Nope. I knew for the second I started running again that my body could no longer get back to that pace. It was infuriating, but at the same time I refocused on at least running a PR. All my body could do at this point was shuffle/walk out 10-11:00 miles to the finish. It hurt (in more ways than one) but I did it.

What should I have done different? It's hard to say. I felt like everything was completely on point for 3/4 of the race. I honestly thought I had it in the bag! This week I've spent some time researching why something like this happens late in a marathon and it seems to be due to running the same pace for extended periods of time on a flat surface. Um... check? So one thing I'm going to do next time is throw in some 20-30 second strides every mile or two to break up the repetitiveness of a single pace for long.

Next time.  When will that be? Honestly, the thought of going through another training cycle for 12 to 16 more weeks is not something that interests me. I feel like my fitness level is where it needs to be right now and all I need is for the pieces to come together on the right day. So... I'm trying again! In three weeks. I'm registered for the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend on the 31st! After taking a recovery week this week I feel like I can buckle down and be ready to race again then. Let's look at Wisconsin Marathon as a 21-mile training run at race pace... which a 5 mile cooldown. Ok? Ok. Let's go.

Marathon #13. Every finish is good. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Stepping UP

It's been a while since I've done a YMCA update (busy vacation-ing and running marathons I suppose.) This week though I finally made it back to try a new class! I ventured out to the Southwest YMCA in Greenfield to try BODYSTEP. 

Yes, I'm as surprised as you are that step classes still exist! I went through a Kathy Smith dvd phase after I had Juliana (almost 14 years ago- oof) and I was a step class regular at my local community center back then. So while technically I'm not a newbie, I knew I was definitely going to have to reach waaay back into the depths of my muscle memory for this class. 

First off, the Southwest Y is really nice! The indoor track particularly caught my eye on the way to class from the locker rooms. I'm told there's an outdoor track at this location as well. The studio my class was in had a lot of natural light and windows, which I always appreciate.  I set up my spot in the room, eyeballing what the other people had chosen. I decided to go with fewer risers on my step, but kept a couple on the side in case I wanted to bump up the height later on. No need to show off today, I thought. :)

Getting to work

Back to that muscle memory. It's a wonderful thing! Once the music started pumping and we got moving, everything started to come back to me. There are a few specific terms for different movements in a step class and when I heard them again I felt myself thinking, "Aha!" There's definitely a level of coordination involved that might frustrate some people, although there's also a TON of repetition which helps if it takes a while to catch on. One thing I really like about step is that you start with a basic movement and then build on top of it. As the class goes on you learn more choreography but you always come back to the beginning to put everything together. Also, it's a cardio bonanza. You sweat like crazy! If you like dancing, this class is probably a great choice. For a beginner there were lots of modifications given for the more complicated moves, and on the flip side there were many ways to make it harder as well (adding bigger arms or jumps to the movements or adding a riser to the step.) When I left, I daresay I was "glowing." It put me in a great mood. 

Next up??

Full Disclosure: I have been offered a free family membership to the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee in 2014 in exchange for blogging, tweeting and general social-media-ing about my experiences there. Hey, why not? Sounds good to me.