Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's What's Inside Me






It's 6:30p.m. on Wednesday night; I’m already in my pink polka-dot jammies, drinking a protein shake, blogging. It’s fine moments like these when you think that maybe, just maybe, all can be okay. Just maybe I will run well again. Just maybe my life will be “normal” again. It feels good to believe!

I’m a very superstitious person when it comes to running. Well, when it comes to a lot of things, but when I invest a lot of time and energy to perform a race, I like to be in control of all things I can control to make sure things turn out well. I can control my running attire. I have a slew of running clothes I cannot wear to a major race again because they failed me in another race or key run. My orange shorts, for instance, had me stop half way during a timed mile last summer, unable to breathe. A Halloween 5K with my son in same failed mile orange shorts left me about a minute slower than a 5K earlier in the year. A minute’s a lot in a 5K. I could defend them and say that the timed mile was a few hours after I found out an article I wrote for a major magazine was not selected and therefore my head wasn’t into the run. And I could say that Halloween 5K was on a somewhat hillier course than the prior one and well, 5K’s just suck a lung out of me anyway and I can pretend I don’t really care about my time; I had a blast running that race with all the crazy costumes and the added bonus of having B run it with me. But I’ll still never wear them in a race again; they earned their “F”rating. I have a pair of socks, full of brightly colorful circles on them which I’ll also never wear in a race; I wore them on a tempo run once and started puking bad. I could defend them and say I ate too much before that hot, miserable day and I don’t perform tempo runs well, in general, and this wasn’t the first leaving-my-guts-on-the-trail spell. But whenever I go to grab a pair of socks for a race, I will not choose them. Both of these guys, amongst a few others, have lowered their status level to “training attire.”

It’s not just wearable items, either. I’ll probably never run the St. George Marathon again; I ran that race perfectly in 2008 and qualified for my very first Boston Marathon with 14 minutes to spare; it holds a very special place in my heart. If I ran that marathon again and it was a disaster, I’d never clench it with the same high affection. Last year at Boston when we were checking in the uber-expensive-because-it’s-the-Boston-Marathon hotel and the dear, sweet check-in girl gave me a room on the 13th floor, I freaked. Um, no. Not even no, but absolutely NO WAY! I had to wait for an hour before a room on the 10th floor, with a “less than stellar” view became available. I didn’t care, I wasn’t there for the view (in retrospect, I got a room with a great view of the marathon finish line chute. What was she talking about less-than-stellar? This was a marathoner’s dream view! Meg, NOO getting a room on the 13th floor or I'll have to sleep in the lobby!). I still have my first BQ marathon shoes hanging in my garage. I still have my first ever marathon shoes (Dallas White Rock, 1997) hanging in my garage. Can you tell which pair matches which race?

I’m not ridiculous about everything (shhhh, quiet with the laughter!), I just don’t want to cross the finish line one day realizing, “Damn, I wore the orange shorts!”

I can’t be the only one out there, can I? Share with me some of your obsessive, compulsive race rituals or irrationalities so I’m not the only freak out there!!! Please!!??!!

The reason why I’m in my jammies already and ready to crawl into bed at the first possible second is because I just got home from the gym where …..ta da….I had a GREAT workout. Running, included. I have to admit that I’d done all my weight training since I started my Boston mission half-assed. I know what to do, it just wasn’t inside me yet. Having given up the trainerman and doing this solo for the first time in a very long time, I was simply afraid. And overwhelmed. No direction, no focus, just aimlessly doing whatever came to mind. I had some great weight workouts but I never pieced together what was needed where in corelation to my running. When I was sick for 3+ weeks, I took the time to finally sift through countless logs with past weight/running training and think I’m finally on the right track now. A friend told me the other day, “Look inside you, Jill, it’s in there. You know what to do!” The emotionally-needy person my daughter correctly identified me as needed to hear that. I went to gym tonight and did a great circuit core strength training followed by a vicious mile. Repeat times 3. Why the BA mile after a rigorous core circuit? To train ya to run though the fatigue of the marathon, to keep running hard when you want to slow down. The treadmill won’t let you, it’s setting the pace and you just run your mile and never give up. I love it!! Here was my workout:

15 leg press @170 lbs
15 each arm press out fly @ 40 lbs
15 each arm arm hammers @ 20 lb dumbbells
15 t-pushups with 8 lb dumbbell
25 reverse ab curls on a weight bench
1 mile @ 7:13
TIMES 3

I ran and my chest didn’t feel like it was going to explode, like it has the past 3+ weeks when I ran. I can’t say I’m 100% as I’m still really congested and a little chest tightness but I couldn't do this workout today last week. I definitely feel the consequences of losing a vital part of my Boston training but I’m starting to feel at least although I may not PR in Boston, I think I can at least run it. Well, some of it anyway. A huge sigh of relief. I’m going to work hard to get to marathon training weight, I’m going to run the Atlanta ING even though I know it will fail in comparison to the 1:44 I ran last year, and then I think I’ll get to Boston with my head on straight and feeling good - no matter how I perform.

But one thing is certain, I won’t be wearing the orange shorts and colorful circle socks! It's finally inside me!

43 comments:

Irene said...

Oooooo.... I'm first.

I think it's safe to say you're over the hump!

OK, since there are clothing items that you associate with less that stellar races, are there clothing items that are lucky or give you great races?

saundra said...

I laughed out loud reading this post. I am so happy I am not the only neurotic person out there! However, I am too shy to actually name my neurosis but rest assured you are not the only one.
I am loving that weight circuit with the sprint at the end. I just may have to borrow that.
Thanks for making my day!

ajh said...

I need need need to Strength train today at the gym. Loved this post. I also wondered if you had Lucky clothes you wear?

onebadrunner said...

I'll buy those shorts from you - love them!

And...I read "When I was sick..." - you're getting better! Yay!

C2Iowa said...

Great post Jill. See -- we all knew that it was only a matter of time before the BA Jill returned. Nice workout.

btw -- the crud has entered my apartment and my lungs. You are one tough cookie!

I see that your calendar is still empty. Are you still feeling your way out of the funk?

Running and living said...

This made me laugh, but in a good way! I know lots of runners who have prerace rituals, including some of the elites (OK, I read about them). It's getting a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation, like you said. The orange shorts are so cute, though. Maybe they deserve another change?
I am a true believer in the mindset when in comes to races. In fact, I am training my mind to get used to the HMP I want to run in a couple of weeks, but I still get nervous every time I think about it. What I am saying is, don't settle yourself for more than 1.44 at your 1/2. I say try to get a PR. Believe you can get it. It might happen!

Ewa said...

Oh, this is so funny. What a good post to start my day especially that it seems we might have a gray day today. Orange shorts would sure brighten it.
I actually like your clothes superstitions and wonder if I could not borrow the idea. In my case that would be a wonderful reason for buying more running stuff (like I really need more). Say, I tripped on a trail and blamed my long sleeve shirt. I could get another one, different color.
I am sure my family would understand.
Thank you for a good laugh.

Jamoosh said...

Can we just burn the orange shorts and be done with them and their bad mojo?

Jenn said...

I love your posts. You are the best writer. This should be in Runners World!! Totally laughing at the shorts and socks! Glad you feel like your getting back on track. I hate when things seem to go downhill and I can't seem to climb back up. I'm also fighting the nasty lung sh*t and it is really messing with my mind. HATE it. Still plenty of time to get back on track! Good luck and have a great weekend!!

Megan said...

I'm a total control freak.
I eat the same things before a run/race, PB on wheat with a banana with a cup of coffee.
I check my shoe tightness 100x while lined up waiting for the start. I don't know why I do this. I don't care how tight my shoes are. It doesn't bother me once I'm running.
The only reason I can figure I do all this madness maybe its to keep my mind off the ridiculous thing I'm about to do. I've trained myself to run thru everything annoying and w/o everything that's not essential.

Marlene said...

You know, I don't really have any superstitions like that. I'm BORING!

So glad you had a great workout and run... love the jammies!

ShutUpandRun said...

Yay, so glad you had a good workout last night. Fun to hear about your superstitions. I don't have many of them (at least not related to running; guess I haven't been running long enough) but I do weird things like slap the outside of the airplane when I get on. Boring I guess. Have a good day...glad you're feeling better.

AZ said...

It's not the shorts, Jill; it's not the socks. Good runs and bad runs, it's all you. Shorts and shoes aren't strong enough to hold you down.

“Look inside you, Jill, it’s in there. You know what to do!”

Katie A. said...

Awesome workout last night lady! Congrats! You are going to do awesome in Boston!
If I do awesome in a race, I might wear the same shirt/shorts again. But like you, if I run crappy, they will never see the light of day or race start again. LOL!
Huggss!

Kenley said...

Well, I can not say that my habits meet yours as far as your post goes, but I do have certain things that, if I have a bad run, I blame it on rather than the performance itself. Great Workout at the gym. This post was definitely a mind opener. Thanks

misszippy said...

You are in good company, I assure you! I can totally relate to your comment about St. George. I doubt I'll ever go back to my PR course (Richmond) b/c I don't want to spoil the memory if I had a bad race there. As to that lifting routine--you're a beast!

Glenn Jones said...

Isn't this all so true? I think it was Yogi Berra who said "Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical." So true. Without that little edge that confidence gives us, races can be a real drag....

onelittletrigirl said...

Love your jammies!

If I start with my OCD'isms, I would totally hi-jack your post! Maybe this a post I will do soon!

Whitney said...

This is hilarious... and no, I don't have any superstitions yet. I guess I haven't been running long enough. My only goal is to finish each time I go out!

Velma said...

Sorry I had to laugh! I am reluctant to run the St. Louis marathon again since I had so much fun last year. I know how you feel! I love that you kept your first marathon shoes! Have a great day and I am cheering on your great workout.

Ange said...

Love this post! I have shorts from a race that when bad and I seriously cringe every time I put them on!

Tara said...

OMG, You had me cracking up! I love you Jill! You waited because you didn't want a room on the 13th floor? Howling w/ laughter.

I don't have any quirks. Yet. I've only done 1 race in the last 15 years though, so I'm sure I'll have them.

I love those orange shorts! But I can see why you don't wear them.....hahahaha!

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Good job Jill! I am glad to see you back on the horse...um, you know what I mean. Full speed ahead again!
I have also been feeling much better. My recovery from the marathons and ultra was a HUGE learning experience for me...injury free. :)

Marathon Maritza said...

Hahahaha so funny, but hey, whatever helps the mojo, right?

I'm like that but a bit opposite - I talk myself into HAVING to wear certain things at races. For example, a wine country half, I knew I couldn't race in anything but my purple shorts (grapes = purple) so I avoided wearing them through most of training and saved them for race day. :)

Slomohusky said...

sorry about the orange shorts. I like running in orange. I have an orange t that is a favorite. I notice many run wearing black. can't do it for some bad luck somber reason. I like something bright - yellow, red or orange. I want to be seen I guess.

Jameson said...

Keep the bright shorts, wear clothes that make you feel fast. Maybe even some gold and silver clothing would be better.

RunnuRMark said...

Well, my super-obsessive ritual is....uhhh...hmmm...I guess you are just kinda crazy! ha!

Glad to hear your lungs didn't want to splatter all over the gym during such a hard workout. That's definitely progress right there.

Julie said...

Hi Jill,
I don't think there has ever been a post of yours that I have not laughed at!! You are such a crazy girl...good crazy!! Actually it is one of the things that I love about you:) I love those orange shorts!! Nice workout and a speedy time on your mile:) I am sometimes superstitious about things too...don't feel bad:) Have a good one Jill!!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

3 miles at 7:13 pace? Yeah, you're feeling better! Like that cute pic of you and your son!

Steel Springs said...

This is great. Even if they're no longer race gear, the orange shorts and circle socks are cute! I don't have much running experience yet, but there were plenty of things that I had to have "just so" at swim meets.

daily mom said...

what a great experience you had at the gym. yay! i say that you get rid of those "bad" shorts. don't subject yourself to them anymore.

elaine said...

You are BAAAAAAACK!!! Yay! I'm trying to think. I think I have to have something fairly new (worn once or twice)...especially I don't want to wear worn shoes. I still feel new at this so maybe my fetishes haven't set in yet.

Mikey B said...

I'm sentimental too. My wife and I went to a sushi bar back in 1993 for our first date and I still have a piece of tuna sushi in a box somewhere to remember it by. :)

I may have to retire my shoes if I ever finish a marathon. Definitely something a runner doesn't want to forget. Thanks for the idea.

Mikey B

Laura said...

Love this!
I am very ritual oriented - always the same meal before a long run, always wear my Lift Your Sole necklace, always put my contacts in last etc.
Don't know why but I am still running so I will keep doing this...

Adam said...

That is really interesting that they even had a 13th floor in the hotel. Most big buildings like that don't label one. But, you made the right call.

Now, I'm not sure about the shorts though. Maybe you just need to throw some bleach in there with them to see if that kills all the bad luck. Bleach kills everything (including the orange color) right?

Anne Marie said...

Hi there,
It's funny to learn (and see!) how superstitious you are! I was chuckling at the short/sock story. And I'm currently not superstitious w/my races...yet. But I've only been taking them 'seriously' now for a few years, but I'd SO be in the same frame of mind about the 13th floor!! Good call!
oh, and GREAT to read you're back baby!

Tricia said...

This made me laugh, my hubby always teases me about my rituals and routines regarding races.

Shari said...

Never mind running attire! What about that sleeping attire? I personally get my very best sleep in my pink polka dot pajama bottoms.

Dimity and Sarah said...

Jill: it's totally inside you. And that's a killer workout--nice job. I also like the orange shorts, but I think they'd be a little small on me. :)

Meg said...

I say you run in your polka-dot PJ's...that would really shake up Boston and any race! Actually, I love orange and I'm so cheap that I couldn't throw out or not use any running clothing even if I had a cruddy race or "an accident" in them because I'd feel guilty!! In fact, the running skirt girls gave me a skirt in such a "case" last year and it was the most HORRIBLE experience I"ve ever had at a race...humiliating really...and I just can't get rid of that skirt! It's banana yellow, by the way!
I think we all have a few things that we'd call superstitious that we do or think about the night before or the day of a race...but that's the thing...we need to keep it in our heads and push on. You are ready for this race, Jill. Remember my experience in Jan? Right up to the last minute and it happened. We ADD girls need to remember that we can pull anything off...actually many things at the same time! Have faith :) !

Leslie said...

Jill you're so good to keep up on the strength training, I've been a major slacker there :P

Katie said...

Glad you're feeling better. I'm not superstitious at all, but I had good friend in college who had to run every race in the same pair of underwear! She was hilarious! I wonder if she still races in them...

Running Through Life said...

Time for new shorts and socks!