This morning I ran 7 miles at 8:49 pace. I have been having a hard time getting into an actual "tempo" run, which was technically what was planned for today. The plan was to run 3 miles, tempo 2 miles and cool down 2 miles. What actually transpired was run 4 miles, drop pace for 2 miles, cool down 1 mile. Definitely not tempo pace for those two miles.. more like (marathon) race pace. Track has been fine, and I ran a 5 k at a good pace. I just can't seem to get into tempo mindset. I really need to get this figured out in the next 3 weeks!
I met with the personal trainer (JA) yesterday. She was really great and I'm so glad I called her. I had doubts going in because Dan kept telling me 'you already know what you're doing, why do you need to pay someone to tell you what you already know?' He says this about all my appointments--- nutritionist, physical therapist, etc. So I was a little unsure if my expectations were too high. But JA blew me away. She did my body composition test as a baseline for my training/ nutrition program. Then she looked at my current lifting program. I'm sure she was struggling to not laugh at me, but instead she calmly inquired as to why I was doing the things I was doing. And the fact is that I just don't know any different! The only time I have been instructed on lifting was 8 years ago when I first joined a gym to lose weight and get in shape. With my membership, I got 5 free sessions with a trainer so I used them. And the plan worked. I lost 30 lbs. I got in shape. I started running. 4 years ago, my sister gave me a lifting plan that she had put together with a trainer that she worked with. It was more advanced than the one I had been doing so I started using it. But now, as JA pointed out, I need a program that is going to get me to where I want to go... Boston specifically. I need to strengthen my weak areas (glutes, abs, etc) and balance everything out to maximize my running strength. She watched me do a few exercises to determine my areas of need. She picked up on my weaknesses before I even remembered to tell her about them! (BTW... I have a functional leg length discrepancy due to weak glutes and tight hip flexors--- but unless you analyze my running gait or my squats/ leg press you'll probably never notice.) So I'll meet with her again in a week to go over my new core and upper body program, and then another time for the lower body program. I can't wait to get started on the core program. JA is going to kick my butt! ... or gut as the case may be!
Also, last night we were reflecting on some of the Olympics... specifically the women's triathlon. Dan was able to watch the race on Monday at work. Apparently American LB was in second or third position until the last 1/2 loop on the run (last mile or so) and then fell to 4th place- by several minutes. I read an article in RW recently where the author talks about how your mind can 'misinterpret' pain or fatigue and cause one to slow down. This is a vague summary but basically if you mind receives a signal from the body that it is stressed or in pain, it's job is to interpret the truthfulness of the signal. If it believes the signal, it begins the process of shutting off the body and essentially slows one down or worse case scenario- stop altogether. If one is able to sense the "mind games" beginning, and sends a different signal to the brain... one can keep going. So if I tell my mind that the pain and fatigue are normal for the effort and have a positive interpretation of the input from my muscles, then I can continue my race. So when highly trained athletes lose it in the last miles of a race have they truly given all they can and cannot go any further? Or does the mind convince them it is so? I am struggling to understand the depth of the mind games as I know I will be dealing with my fair share of them come January. I remember back to the NYC marathon in 2006. I was on pace for 3:40 even up to mile 20 or 22. We came off one of the bridges and headed back into the city and I remember looking ahead of me and all I could see for miles was incline. At that point my mind convinced my body to shut down. I even walked some! I said that I didn't care I just wanted to finish. I did finish in 3:53... which means that I lost 13 minutes in less than 6 miles! Unacceptable! Could I have pushed myself further? Did I not want it enough? At the time I thought I didn't care. And maybe because my focus was not on marathon training (at the time I was training for my first half Ironman which was a week before NYC) I wasn't mentally prepared. I will never know what I could have done. But I do know that come January... I NEED to WANT it. I need to have that urgency and desire. I want to feel like I have prepared and worked for it. That I'm ready to take it on. I want to feel like I did heading into my first Ironman.... excited, scared, brave, nervous, proud, hopeful.