Friday, May 13, 2011

Train Like a Mother Survey: Part 3

Here's Part 3 of the survey I filled out for the upcoming book "Train Like A Mother". Trot on over to Another Mother Runner if you want to offer them your insights.

Where do you log your miles? What do you like/don’t like about it? Most of my miles are logged right outside my door and in the 10 miles around me. I like this because it's convenient but it's also EXCEPTIONALLY hilly and somewhat dicey – the roads 'round here were not designed with foot traffic in mind. (In fact, “designed” might be a strong word for it!) I have gotten into the habit of getting up at 4:30 (instead of 5) for my speed work so that I can drive to a track that's 10 – 12 minutes away. Right near that is a beautiful running/biking/walking trail that I can do a few flat miles on before my track work. It's been a very cool development in my running life.

Do you strength train or lift weights while training for a race? Wait, is this like the dentist where I tell you I floss? No? Then, no. I totally don't strength train. I am awful.

Do you train to improve your speed? Yes! Just really began working on that a couple of months ago. I will find out how well it's working in a few weeks when I go for my PR in the half-marathon.

Do you do track workouts? If so, what’s your favorite workout? Yes! Again, a newish development. I particularly like when I do a “pace” four miler off the track followed by a “fastish” 1-miler and “fast as I have left” sets of 200s or 100s. Those last few sprints are so great because I know it's almost over and I swear I feel like the fastest kid in my gym class!

What’s your favorite cross-training activity? Why? Yoga. The stretching is soooo glorious. I used to be great about doing it every day. Now, I'm a schlump about it.


What was your first race distance? Why did you enter it? After high school in college, I ran a ½ marathon in my-20s and a marathon when I was 29. I entered those races in an effort to get a marathon off my bucket list. Assumed I would be done w/ the running thing after that!

Do you keep track of your race times? Why or why not? I post my race bibs w/ the times on them on the bed sheet hanging on my bedroom wall. I know to the second my PRs but the others I just have a vague sense of.

What’s your favorite race distance? Why? I have drunk the Dimity Kool Aid on this: ½ marathon for sure. You can't blow off the training but you can do it without needing to go to Couples Therapy/Bad Mommy Jail for those endless marathon training runs.... which not only take hours but then sap you of any energy to do anything else all weekend!

What was your favorite race? Why? My first post-kids (second-ever) marathon.... Because I was shocked at how great I felt and how quickly (0:05 from BQ!) I ran it. It was the Mohawk-Hudson Marathon in Albany, NY. I highly recommend it!

What do you like best about participating in races? The social aspect. Since I'm a solo runner for training runs so it's novel and fun for me to run with others! Finding out what my body can handle is a close second.

What’s your worst race experience? What happened? It wasn't horrible, really, but I ran a marathon in June in Niagara, Canada. I knew that it COULD get hot but I thought I would be safe. It was very humid and very hot and, on top of that, I had been totally sick a few weeks before the race and didn't have a chance to run for the entire week in which I should have been at top mileage. I had gone into the process thinking a BQ was in sight but it was not my day. (Thankfully when I finished I learned that everyone that day was about 20-30 minutes off of their PR. I was in that range, too, so I felt a LOT better!)

When you run in a race, do you run for time? Or hang with a buddy? Or some combination of the two? I've run a couple of races with the sole intent of helping a friend get over the finish line. This was SO cool because she was not confident about how she would do and I was able to mix the encouraging friend part of me with the “get 'er done, dammit” coach. She was very grateful for my assistance and is now running races on her own left, right and center. Mostly I just go and run my race and see what happens.

How would you describe your racing style? I'm a bit of a rabbit, unfortunately, because I just feel SO good after a nice taper. This has never proved truly disastrous for me, but I'm sure my times would be faster if I could learn to control it!

What’s your pacing strategy, if you have one? For marathons and ½ marathons I try to go with the “I could do this forever” as the pace to stick with for the first 20 (or 10) miles. After that, you just have to hold on and hope that the dreadful feeling fades quickly when you're done.

Do you consider yourself mentally tough? Why or why not? I'm sort of bi-polar on that score. Some days I can talk my body into pushing and pushing and pushing some more. Other days I can easily talk myself into ending a workout early or taking the pace down a notch. I think, maybe, I've never really, REALLY been challenged in a way to truly test my mettle. I'm sure the day is coming, though I don't look forward to its arrival!

If you have one, do you wear your Garmin on race day? Why or why not? I wear it... unless I forget it!... because I'm usually concerned about pace.

What essential piece of gear have you forgotten on race day—and how did you make up for it? I forgot my Garmin at my most recent half marathon. I didn't have a specific time goal in mind but I did find it unnerving. I discovered a pace group that was going for a 1:52 finish. My PR is 1:45:something so I decided to start out with them and see how it went. After a few miles I lost them on a down hill and I finished in 1:49. It was a tough course and a great race for me.

Does your family watch you race? Do you give them advice on where to see you? I've done races with and without my support system. It is SO much better when they are there! My husband was key in my BQ last fall. Because the course was open to traffic he and my 2 boys were there every few miles. I especially remember the banana he handed me at mile 22 or so. It was THEE best and I didn't even know I wanted it until I saw it. I don't tell him (or anyone) where to put themselves unless they ask because I hate to be the boss of anyone who's willing to show up at all!

What’s the best sign you’ve seen on race day? (On Mother's Day Eve ½ marathon) “Go Mom! (What's for Dinner?)”

What’s the best or worst thing you’ve ever heard somebody yell during a race?Silence really sucks. But the WORST thing a guy on the course ever did is this: a race volunteer at the top of a KILLER hill at mile 23 of a marathon stood there in silence, barely pointing to the turn we were supposed to take, and SMOKING a CIGARETTE! "Thanks, dude, that's EXACTLY what I needed right now!" Weird.

Race day: are you introvert vs. extrovert? Do you talk to other runners? Do you listen to music? I listen to music but I'm also an extrovert. Possibly to the extent that others find me obnoxious. What can I say, all that alone running catches up with me and when I'm in a race I have to chat it up with the other racers, the race officials, the fans...

Sex the night before a race? Alcohol? (Both?!) No official policy but I don't think I general get busy the night before. A glass of wine or a beer is not mandatory but it's not prohibited either.

What was your worst night (your sleep, your kids sleep, sickness, etc.) before a run/race? The night before my “return to racing” after having kids I was in a hotel room with my Mom and 2 boys (ages 3 & 5). Both boys insisted on sleeping with me. They are horrible bed hogs. They talk/yell/kick/laugh in their sleep. They sit up randomly and have bizarre conversations with no one. I don't know how many hours of sleep I got but there certainly weren't any consecutive hours.

Do you typically buy the pictures of yourself in a race? Why or why not?I never have... I am too cheap.

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