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Archive for April, 2009

Scotland 10K, Central ParkPouring rain, 46º and over 7,000 runners. I do not know the total because the results are not posted. I raced today in New York City’s Central Park for the Scotland 10K. It was a giant mud bath in the baggage area and pretty darn cold, but overall a fun day.

A lot  happened in the past two months, which I will share with you for two reasons. One, people are asking me how I got faster, thinking it was all the speed training over the winter and two, knowing that we runners go through all kinds of crazy self doubt, self abuse, and obsessing, I will share my crazies and what I did about it.

To put things into pespective, I needed something to focus my training on. In January met my coach, Kelsey of Front Runners, who helped me lay out goal times for all my races, and dates when I need to hit them, 5k, 4 mile, 10k, 1/2marathon all looking toward my fall NYC marathon goal. Worrying that if I miss one goal on any of these races, my marathon 11 months away will be crap. I would get so worked up before a race that I could do little else, no social life, no working in my studio, just sitting at home with my dogs reading about how I can run better. When I was not running or reading, I was strength training. Hell, I could not even watch a movie without doing leg lifts during it. You get the picture; I was having a mental breakdown. I was  fighting myself and got in a rut like a stuck looping CD.

Late breaking news: 7603 runners, 3584 women, and 285 in my age group. I came in 11th place in my age group, missed 10th by 2 seconds, 70.7%AG. Out of the 3584 women I came in 144. I beat old PR by 4 minutes and 7 seconds! Average pace 7:23.

How do I feel? Pretty fuckin’ awesome.

Tim Schafter

This is what I did.  I asked for help from Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D. Professor at West Virginia University. She is a certified consultant, CC,  with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, AASP, and an advisory board member with the USA Cycling coaching education committee and is the cycling psychology editor for Peak Conditioning for Cycling. She is owner of Mountains, Marathons & More and holds an elite level USA Cycling license and has earned a Level II endurance specialization from USA Track and Field. She has coached for over 10 years at the high school, collegiate, recreational, and elite levels in cross country, track and, for the past 7 years, road and mountain cycling.

I spoke with Kristin once a week for the past 4 weeks and what she is helping me do is reframe my goals and motivation for running. Obviously we can’t control the weather, who shows up or how fast we run on race day. But I learned to make a strategic plan, to list what I can control that is not goal oriented such as I want to be in the top 10.  Plus I would learn to plug myself back into the process of running. For example my old way of pushing myself during as race was by saying, “keeping going, good job, your strong” all valid self talk but it was not working.  Now I map out the course, decide how I am going to run each mile and experiment. That’s right experiment. Not worry about the outcome but pick one or two things to try during a race. In my last 4-mile race it was to push my speed up hills. A scary prospect, but why not try and put a bunch of energy in the uphill to push the pace. The result, I took one full minute off my 4-mile time. Today my plan was no time goal; in fact my watch broke this morning so I did not wear one. I would stay in constant awareness of what my hips and shoulders are doing and relax my abdomen. I would not tighten anything and I would use the momentum of my hips, all 33 1/2” of them, to swing my leg through. The result, more than 4 minutes off my best 10K time and I never felt like I was pushing hard or working against myself as I “normally”  feel. I did not have the usual vomit feeling at the finish and I did not get cramps in my psoas. At the top of the Harlem Hills I was able to make a mental note to practice the east hills. I was not pushing as hard as I could, in fact I was not pushing at all, I was using my hips and shoulders to propel my legs and take note of how everything feels, that was my goal. That’s it. The last 200 meters my legs were getting pretty heavy and very cold, but no problem it was an experiment that yielded a positive result! I am far more body aware, I was tuned into everyone around me and for the first time I did not run myself into the ground but I ran much faster.

This is so cool, Thank you Kristen!

More about how I am learning about my hips in the next post and who else is helping me that.

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A 72.2% AG race

Last Sunday it was a beautiful 45º day with the winds a mild 7 mph. I was in Central Park running the 4-mile race, Run for the Parks. There were a total of 5751 people in this race, 2919 men and 2832 women, 267 of which were in my age group, 40-44. My previous best in the four mile were in 2008 one week before the Boston marathon and following intensive training and a taper, then two weeks ago I bettered that time by 9 seconds, going from a 29:29 to a 29:20. Today I secretly hoped to go below 29:00 but since I just raced the week prior it was a lot to ask.

But this race I began differently. I knew last time the rolling hills at mile 3 slowed me down, so on Tuesday I ran 5 ½ miles of fartleks back and forth over that mile strip, 1 minute at 7:15, 1 minute at 8:45, 20 times. When I began the race today I was relaxed and had a plan of how I wanted to run the race. I was going to experiment and not worry about the outcome. I was going to do what is normally discouraged, put a lot of extra effort going up the hills, push forward and do multiple surges of speed over the whole four-mile course. Well I was so busy going over my plan and not looking at my watch I had no idea what pace I was running, but it felt easy. It felt maybe slow, I was not sure. It was not too stressful. I did get a very bad side cramp during mile three and every time I tried to push the pace on the downhill it hurt a bit more. I decided that I did my plan I will maintain through the fourth mile and kick it in the best I can in the end. I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch, 28:27, 53 seconds faster! Was it that it I could finally race in shorts, was it the wine I drank the night before, (I almost never drink) was it some miracle that happened from one week to the next? What I am convinced of it was my brain. It was having a plan, relaxing and not worrying about the outcome, but about “how to run the race.” It was not about what place will I get, (6th by the way at a 72.2% AG!) but about the tactics of running such a race. It was fantastic.

HIlary Lorenz race finish

I tried to keep my first mile the easy, but at the same time get out of the crowed start. Of the 5751 people, I was lined up in the first 1200. I ran the first mile at 7:10, then as the street cleared and the road went downhill I hit the second at 6:45. It felt good to get out of the crowd and really nice to have that pace. My finishing overall pace was 7:06. I pushed up the hills and picked out targets on the back of people’s head and charged after them. It worked, it all worked and it was a joy running over that finish line. This Saturday I have a 10k race, I am excited to set out my tactics on this.

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