Sunday, February 5, 2012

When All the Pieces Fall Into Place

I had a great run today.  I rocked it!  I was supposed to do 9 miles at half marathon pace plus 20 seconds.  I have been struggling a bit with some hip pain--IT band, I think.  My feet and ankles nag me a little too as I continue the transition to running in minimalist shoes.  I have also been a bit worried that I'm over training.  Then, I started my run this morning.  I felt good and settled right into my stride.  After about a mile, I checked my pace.  I was about 12 seconds too fast, so I tried to slow down.  I checked again at about 2 miles--13 seconds too fast.  Oops.  I tried several times to slow down, but couldn't.  After my pit stop at around 6.5 miles, I was still feeling good and decided to maintain my pace.  I was convinced I wouldn't bonk and sped on.  I finished about 15 seconds under my goal pace for the workout with fuel left in the tank and no pain.  (And, I still feel good a few hours later.)  I was elated!  My average heart rate was very near my predicted lactate threshold.  This is a good performance indicator for the one hour of stair climbing I'll be doing in 2 weeks and for the trail half marathon I'm running in March.  It was a good day.

My performance today was surely the result of several factors.  I've been getting more rest lately.  My nutrition has improved--more high-quality carbohydrate and less sugar.  Complementary cross training and losing about five pounds have probably helped too.  The weather was nice--sunny and cool, but not cold.  I layered appropriately.  Everything went right.

As I was mentally debriefing following my run, I recalled a conversation from this week with a client/friend/colleague.  She was telling me about qualifying for Boston with her first marathon which I hadn't realized.  I was, of course, very complimentary.  She was modest.  She said that she worked hard, but lots of others have worked harder.  She told me that everything went perfectly on race day.  It was a basically flat course.  The weather was perfect.  She had an experienced pacer.  Her training and nutrition were good.  It was the perfect storm.

Sometimes everything just falls into place.  Of course, sometimes things go wrong too, but I'm trying to be positive here.  We give ourselves the greatest possibility of success when we plan, when we're prepared.  Louis Pasteur said, "fortune favors the prepared mind."  I agree, I would also add that we make our own luck.  In this case, we can do that by training smart, not hard.

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