Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Breaking the 60 Minute Barrier Mattered So Much

I didn’t say very much about it on the blog, I really wanted to break 60 minutes at the St. Patrick’s Day 10K on Sunday.  Having that goal made me really nervous for the race.  I think everyone has running milestones they would like to achieve and a sub-60 10K has always been a big one for me.  The last time I did that was back in April 2010 when I set my 10K PR of 55:10…four years ago!!!
If you are new around the blog here is the short story…I raced Ironman Canada in August 2010.  Training for that race completely burned me out and I fell off the fitness wagon for several months after the race.  Let’s just say that eating like I’m still training for an Ironman but not actually training for one is a bad idea.
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I lost a lot of mojo, I gained weight and I slowed down.  Eventually the desire to train and race came back, but since then it has been a long and slow crawl back to where my fitness was in 2010.  It felt like progress came easily back when I first got in to running.  Now I feel like I’m fighting tooth and nail sometimes.

Last year I stepped away from a lot of long distance racing and focused on running a few half marathons.  I figured sticking with the shorter stuff would help to get me back to where I wanted to be.  My old athletic, PR setting self.  In May I raced the BMO Vancouver Half and finished in 2:20:09…bang on with what I thought I was capable of at the time.
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In July I did the run portion of the Calgary 70.3 on a relay team.  I wasn’t specifically training for a half marathon at the time, but I had enough fitness coming off of my Great White North Half Ironman training.  For an ill-prepared half marathon I finished in 2:18:25.  A nice little improvement over BMO!
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I spent July and August preparing for the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon.  I figured that with the extra time to train a 2:15 half should be within my grasp.  For whatever reason on race day it just wasn’t possible.  My legs were not interested in holding that pace and I finished 2:20:47.
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Looking for a little redemption in November I figured I would try my hand at the Last Chance Half Marathon.  I knew a half marathon in Calgary in November was taking a chance as you could have any kind of weather that day.  It turns out that the weather sucked that day…it was cold and icy.  Even then my legs were not capable of going fast enough to hit that goal.  Half way through the race I slipped, fell, hit my head and then it was a walk/shuffle/cry to the finish line in 2:38:10.
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When I looked at my half marathon finish times in 2013 I really didn’t see the progress I had hoped to have over the course of the year.

Since that race in November I’ve poured my heart into the off season…building strength on the bike and with winter trail running.  I’ve been lifting weights.  I even managed to drop a few pesky pounds thanks to my Whole30 in January.  I’ve been confronting those scary interval runs head on.  I’ve been enjoying the training and I haven’t been stressing over pacing…I’m just pushing myself to do the best I can.

Coach Angie said we could talk goals for the BMO Vancouver Half after my spring 10K races.  Doing a little handy dandy math with a race predictor calculator I knew I needed to break an hour on Sunday if we wanted to talk about a 2:15 goal for Vancouver.  Interestingly enough my last 10K time from the fall had my previous half marathon times pegged.
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And what does the calculator say now?
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I’m still a ways off of my old PR times…but I’m seeing progress.  My hard work in the off season is paying off and improvement doesn’t feel as unattainable as it once did.  I still have one more 10K to go in April so we will see where that one shakes out.  I’m feeling some good confidence from Sunday and I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.

Have you had setbacks during training?  What helped you to get back?


  1. It's sure a struggle some days, but you certainly seem to be on a roll now! Setbacks always happen. It's always something, getting sick, injuries, work travel, kids, whatever. I try not to obsess about seeing a goal slip away, or not going as fast or far as you have in the past. But it's trying. I take it workout by workout, thinking of the workout I'm aiming at, but prepared to dial back if necessary.

  2. I have had so many set backs that I can't even keep track of them. Mostly I over train and get burnt out which is entirely my fault. Even though set backs can be frustrating, I have always learned from them. It sounds like you are on the right track now. Great race!

  3. Wow, it's so cool to read other runner's success stories! I just met a great goal so I'm setting my sights for the rest of the year - run a full marathon (in October) and set a new 10K PR. I'd like to break that 60 min line as well but have some work to do, I need to trim a couple minutes. But, with a current possible injury I'm trying not to get too excited, I need to rest and recover before I can dig deep into training again.

  4. This winter I've been sick twice and missed out on 7-8 weeks of training and it's been so frustrating. That combined with our awful weather has been really tough for me. I'm trying to take my training one day at a time, but I've already had a stress dream about my 50k and that's not until June!

  5. I have a 10K Saturday. I have always been under 10K but my times have really slowed down and I am worried/ kind of expecting to be over an hour. My 5Ks have slowed down drastically. We'll see but I hear you. You'll get it all back though as you work so hard.

  6. I feel you exactly. In 2010-11 I had tons of PRs and am fighting to get back to that.

  7. Great job Leana! I tend to fall into a bad cycle and I usually fall off the wagon after a big race and now I'm dealing with an injury, as you know. I'm hoping that I can ease back into training and not have to fight too hard to get back to where I was, but I'm not sure.

    Hey maybe I'll be heading for the same goal at BMO since I might be dropping to the half distance! Slurpees post-race again LOL?

  8. I think we've all had setbacks. Key is to buck up and move on! Sounds like you are on the right track!

  9. You have made so much progress! I hope you are celebrating that, because you've earned it!

    I am in a set back now. That whole thing you mentioned about eating like your training when you're not? Yeah, thats me. I'm so frustrated with myself for being slow, for feeling slow and sluggish and for every run feeling like an effort. But thats just how it is sometimes. I think accepting it, rather that fighting it this time around, has helped. And no, I'm not going to get into my best shape again in a week, I recognize its going to take a lot of time and a LOT more frustration, but I know its worth it. And I know I'll get there if I keep trying.

    I know you will too! I'd love to run with you someday! Maybe we will at a Oiselle team meetup someday :) Keep going!!