Sunday, May 22, 2011

That Finish Line Look (And a Request for Advice)

I knew this weekend was going to be full. It started Friday night with Relay for Life (I am our team's captain). This is my the luminary in honor of my mom, a cancer survivor:



On the Saturday morning when Relay was still technically underway, I needed to get my son to the Friends of Wakulla Springs 1 Mile Run, which  was a "Grand Prix" run for him. After he spent the night with me on the oh-so-comfortable Leon County Fairgrounds soil, we headed out at 6:30 a.m. for Wakulla. Having figured out that I would be at Wakulla also, I signed up for the 5K. That 5K is what got me thinking about tonight's post ........

Prior to giving in to the siren call of the prospect of running a race I really like for a cause I really care about, I was seriously contemplating not running 5K's at all until I felt like I was closer to my goal of running a 5K in less than thirty minutes. I have been running 12 400's at a local track once a week, and have had a bit of success with getting closer to 30:00 (this week was under 33:00), so I had started thinking that I would work on getting closer to my goal in that controlled environment before doing a race again.

But, as I wrote on my DailyMile post after the race, who was I kidding? I may not be happy with my time but I love races. I love seeing the people who share the joy of running; I love seeing all the different levels of athletes do their best; I love watching race volunteers pitching in; I love helping a good cause.

Fred Deckert, one of our club photographers "extraordinaire," stationed himself at the finish line so he got some real doozies of people's expressions. (When I was at my son's kids' triathlon today, I overheard a parent tell their kid, "don't smile, just breathe and run." Really??) But finish line pictures capture so much (more grimaces than smiles!)

I know racing is just supposed to be "against ourselves" and for me it's a specific time goal but I really do hate to be passed and I use the runners around me to challenge myself to pick up the pace. There were several of us women finishing around the same time, and several of them were friends (or sisters or something). A friend of theirs was coaching them on how to make a better finish and running in with them and I said, "help me finish strong too." This awesome guy didn't say, "you're kidding, right? I want to help my friend finish faster." By his response, he personified the spirit of running - he was supportive and pushed me to sprint to the end.

That's how I "2240" and I ended up neck and neck at the finish.


After last year's St. George Island Sizzler, when my whinefest about how people ought to be polite at the finish line resulted in an almost unanimous chorus of "no, you just have to go for it" sentiments from commenters, I have determined to make the strongest finish I can, whether I am by myself or shoulder-to-shoulder with five other people.

After the finish (we both finished at 41:08), it took me a moment to figure out if I was going to barf or pass out. That "barf of pass out" moment is hard to achieve without the adrenaline of a race. As someone proposed in an article I read recently, "If you're trying to get faster, you need to race."

Racing or not, I still want to break 30:00. That's where the advice part comes in. I know some of the elements are: 1) losing weight so there's less to move around, 2) getting stronger so the body that is there functions more efficiently, and 3) challenging and varied workouts, including intervals. With our household employment situation right now, I can't pay someone for personal training, so if you have advice that has worked for you in getting faster, share away!!

I'll "run" into you next week, readers. I'll be the one with that "outta my way it's a finish line" look!

3 comments:

Judy said...

Oh my goodness, Paula! You look FABULOUS in this picture!!! So proud of you & all the hard work you are doing to get faster. You're already skinnier!
Keep it up!
judy
PS: Thanks for your hard work on the GWTC Relay Team...you are appreciated more than you will ever know.

Sara Hart said...

Nice post Paula! I totally agree about races, I just love the atmosphere! It would be a hard to watch everyone else go without participating. And that picture really is awesome of you! Look at that effort :).

Graceful Lady said...

Are you friends with Luau aka Matt Wilson, Adam Monty and Doug Welch (aka reallynotarunnr) on FB. They are awesome guys and will have lots of running tips for you along with a lot of support and laughter. You look fabulous in that photo. Two ways my trainer helped me get faster - hills, hills and more hills and intervals. The weight comes off when you are out there training and now in the summer heat it will melt off of you although frankly I don't see where you have much to lose. Go get 'em girl! The one thing I found in increasing speed has been really feeling at home in my body and yoga has helped me with that. It's a balance between pushing and challenging and knowing when to dial it back for balance. Hope this helps. Love ya and remember to start strong and finish stronger!