Ellie is the reason why I love, respect, appreciate and honor my body. Ellie is 89 years old and I had the privilege of "racing" with her on Saturday the 12th, 2011 at the Run for Rotary in Holiday, Fl.
Ellie participated in the 5K and finished in 1 hour and 6 minutes. Although she placed second to a 75 year old who finished in 47:37, Ellie is my "why".
Understanding that it is necessary to exercise for longevity, heart health, weight control and stress relief, I find it fantastic that "triathlons" are my lifestyle.
I have a clear intention when it comes to training for a race. I do not "train" for weight loss or burning calories. I do not associate training with being able to "reward" myself for something sweet nor do I feel as if I need to be strict in my diet because I am an athlete. I find beauty in the food that I eat and I am so passionate about moving, using and nourishing my body because I do it all for longevity. When I train, I have a purpose and a reason. Although my "race day" plan is dependent on my fitness on race day, I train with a goal in mind and I am not afraid to challenge myself to reach that goal.
With every challenge that I face in reaching my goals, I focus my energy on a balanced way of overcoming those challenges. For example, in the case of my 3-year history of chronic hip problems, I discovered that riding my bike before I ran was a monumental change in how I felt during running. With that change in place, I focused on strength training, proper stretching and recovery after workouts alongside compression. Every day brings opportunities to make me a stronger triathlete, but I find it helpful to look for them when I am not swimming, biking or running.
One thing I have learned in life is that challenges should bring out the best in you. I am not afraid to fail but I a thrive off goal setting and individual success. In an effort to maintain a healthy balanced between exercise/training and the rest of life, I would say that I absolutely love simplifying every racing goal into small pieces, thus allowing me to really understand what it takes to reach my goal and what steps I need to take to get where I want to be and to feel a certain way, by x-day.
After I finished the 10K race, I was warming down for 2.5 miles and stopped around 1 mile in order to walk with Ellie. She was finishing her race (about 1 mile away) and I told her she was an inspiration. After asking how "young" she was, I asked her what keeps her going. She replied something like..."When I was 60, I watched a race and saw a 75 year old walking in the race. I figured I could do that since I was 15 years younger than him."
For many of you all (me included), exercising for health gradually turns into the desire to traini for an event. For it is only a matter of time before you are ready to set goals, have a plan and embrace the opportunity to answer "can I do this??"
There's something magical about training for an event, but it can also be bitter sweet. For the sport that you are training for, that makes you feel amazingly healthy and full of life, can also tear you down, making you feel tired, fatigued and often injured.
As competitive athletes (regardless of fitness level), we are always teetering on the edge of burnout, overtraining and a possible injury. Inspired by the fact that I have the opportunity to make sure that I am physically active, healthy, free of disease (or at least, reduce the risk for disease) and still enjoying life at the age of 90, I take pride in balancing training with the rest of my life. I am not afraid of rest or changing my routine based on what my life brings to me on a certain day. I recognize that I have many ways to move my body and swimming, biking and running are not the only ways that I can do good to my body. Knowing that "putting in the miles" is simply one part of a long equation of personal success, I recognize that there is no rush as to when I will get "there". By setting goals, focusing on the individual components that allow me to be consistent with training and recovery quickly from workouts, and creating a colorful foundation to fuel my active lifestyle, I not only reap the many benefits of exercise but I also find myself becoming a smarter, fitter and faster athlete in the process.
With every race, I realize that there is an opportunity to set a personal best time. In the case of the Run for Rotary, I feel that I achieved more than I could ever imagine.
Run for Rotary 10K race report
It was a last minute decision around 7pm on Friday evening, that I would do the Run for Rotary in Holiday, FL on Saturday morning at 7:30am. I was visiting my parents and my brother and his girlfriend were in town. Karel had to stay in Jax because of work but he mentioned to me that he was going to the Native Sun 10K.
Inspired by my hubby, who decided to "race" the 10K after only running 3 times since his cycling season ended in late October, I was excited to see if my interval training had paid off.
Although my body does not require a lengthy taper for a short-distance race, I was going into this race with 2 tough weeks of interval training in preparation for the upcoming Subaru Half Marathon on November 24th (here in Jacksonville). it has only been 5 weeks since the Ironman World Championships but I truely feel as if I recovered incredibly fast from Kona..and in the best shape of my life. Therefore, I really focused on a good recovery from Kona and not loosing what I had worked so hard to create over the past 14 weeks in prep for Kona.
Focused on intense intervals in order to increase my lactate threshold and build my anaerobic engine, I took advantage of my endurance base and decided that if I paced myself properly during this 10K, I could have a great race.
Excited to race my first 10K in the past 3 years, I registered around 6:30am on race day morning and had a great 1.75 mile warm-up. It was a chilly 47 degrees when I arrived to the race venue but after warming up in my compression socks, CEP compression tri shorts and my yellow Oakley Women tank, I was ready to go.
The event was a small race, but I absolutely love supporting small, local events...especially when the event is USATF sanctioned.
When the race started, I started out fast right from the gun. Knowing that the 5K runners were with the 10K runners, I was excited to push myself for the entire 6.2 miles.
The course was beautiful as we ran through quite neighborhoods. There were several water stops with lots of volunteers. I grabbed a cup of water at most of the aid stations but I was lucky to get 2-3 ounces into my mouth.
By the first mile I was 4th overall runner but I was completely focused on my race. With my garmin as my "racing partner", I focused on what I had trained myself to do. With all of my intervals between 6:05 and 6:30 min/miles, I figured I would be able to set a PR from my best time of 42 minutes in 2006 (and 44 minutes in 2008) if I could be consistent.
Therefore..bring on the intervals!!
Within every mile brought an interval. Run hard..focus on form and breathing and recover at the mile marker. I would "slow" down to 7:15-7:20 min/miles for 10-20 sec or until I felt "fresh" again. Of course, as the race neared 3 miles, I was really fighting the desire to slow down longer and longer. Therefore, when I got to 3.5 miles, I stopped. Just for 5 seconds to stretch my hips with a slight lean backward, I took a few deep breaths and picked up the pace again.
I felt a bit fresher but I knew the last 3 miles would be tough. With a little change in the bank, I had a little wiggle room to slow down but it was going to be close for me to achieve my ultimate goal...to break 40 minutes!!!
All alone, I was really battling with self talk. Unaware of how my body would deal with this speed at this distance, I just broke down the race into 2 more miles to go, 1 more mile to go.
Still alone, I was hearing some cheers from the other runners and it gave me a good little burst of energy. With good form and heavy breathing, I tried to crank it into the next gear with less than 1/2 mile to go.
Unfortunately, my Ironman-trained body doesn't have many gears but with only 4 weeks of training, I was relishing in the fact that I was nearing the finishing line..in sight of a HUGE PR!!
As I crossed the finish line, I heard someone say "congratulations to the first overall female".
Completely unfocused on my place, I was joyful for the fact that I set a huge PR. After 3 years of long-distance focused training and 5 years since I set a personal best of 42 minutes in a 10K, I crossed the finish line in 1st place and barely missed my goal of a sub 40 minute 10K.
6:29 min/mile pace
1st Overall Female
2nd Overall 10K athlete
I was super excited to call Karel but I had to wait until he finished HIS 2nd EVER 10k!
After the award ceremony, I received a call from Karel, letting me know that that was the hardest race of his life. Spoken like a true cyclist, Karel told me that he couldn't hang with the fast guys and they dropped him after the first mile.
However, I am always impressed with Karel and somehow, he managed to set a 10K PR of 38:59!!!! Naturally talented, Karel managed to run 6:16 min/miles with almost no training. Absolutely amazing.
Karel is excited to see if he can continue progressing with his run times...although his running is just a piece of his off-season training. The road bike isn't being used a lot, however, Karel is spending a lot of time in the weight room, on his new mountain bike and on his fixie bike.
Campy, my family and me enjoyed the afternoon at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. Once again, I am thankful for my body for letting me reach my goals and for helping me live a quality, balanced life.