Last year one of my goals was to run a sub-40min 10KM off the bike at an Olympic distance triathlon. Even though I didn’t accomplish that goal, I did reach many other running milestones that I didn’t fully appreciate. For example, I ran a 1:24:45 for my first open half marathon in March, had my fastest 10K at an Olympic distance in September and posted an open 10K PR in November.
As it relates to my general triathlon improvement, the run has been the discipline that has required the most patience. It took me almost a year and a half to fully appreciate Coach Greg’s “wax-on/wax-off” approach to triathlon-specific running. My thinking then was, well if I have the cardiovascular capacity to run fast, why can’t I just run fast?! After a few months of waking up to moderate foot pain, I finally understood the importance of getting my running legs’ muscles, tendons, and bones ready before we could add some minimal doses of speed and threshold stimulus. Just like Mr. Miyagi, Coach Greg helped me understand the principle of slowing down in order to go fast. Last year I definitely learned a lot about my running capacities. It also became my first full year of true running training where I was able to grasp what it meant to run consistently (30-35miles/wk) and lay a solid muscular foundation while staying healthy and injury free.
Going into this season I am feeling more confident about the progress of my run but at the same time I am constantly humbled and reminded that I should not get ahead of myself. For instance, just this past Sunday I raced a local 10 miler. The course for this 10 miler is very hilly, especially the last 4 miles. Even though many people warned me how tough the course was, I kept focusing on an ambitious goal to finish near the 60 minute mark. The first 2 miles for this course are at a net negative elevation and I made the mistake of taking those two miles way too fast. By mile 6 I was already spent, suffering from intense stomach cramps and barely keeping my pace and form together. I finished really exhausted but learned two important lessons learned here: pacing myself even when going downhill and paying more attention to the timing and amount of my pre race nutrition. It appears I might need more calories going into longer running races.
Next stop is the DC Rock n’ Roll half marathon in two weeks (March 12). Stayed tuned as I will certainly make sure to put together a race report.