Oct 08

Richmond Week 15: Now My Heart Is Full

Running down gravel driveway arms out wide

Bird camp week. That meant that my training plan needed to be a bit more flexible because the GPS is less accurate in the North Carolina mountains, and we were a lot higher in elevation than I’m used to in Spartanburg.

The week started off with eight easy recovery miles on the heels of the 18 miler from last Sunday, and this was awesome because I got to run a bit of it with a friend who I work with and rarely see these days. Tuesday saw me jumping into a 12 mile progression run, which I was supposed to run on Thursday, but since Thursday was Birdcamp, things got moved around. I knew that if this workout was going to happen, it needed to happen early in the week The progression run went really well, and I was able to hit all of my paces. Not only that but I felt pretty good too!

And then it was camp time.

When I went to camp last year, I was in a complete free fall, emotionally. I don’t think that I realized it at the time, but in retrospect, that weekend was the cusp of cataclysmic change. I was trying not to be injured (I was injured). I was trying not to be unhappy (I was unhappy). I was trying not to be terrified (I was terrified). I was trying to be present and engaged with my team (I wasn’t able to be fully present and engaged with my team).

What a difference a year makes.

When I learned that there would be another October camp this fall, I was determined to come back and have a better experience. Last year, I wasn’t really able to run, and the running that I did do was uncomfortable at best. That kind of sucks when you’re at a running camp. But even more, I regretted not being able to get to know everyone as well as I might have otherwise because I was distracted and stressed out and unable to devote the energy and attention to getting to know new people. In short, I wanted a do-over.

And what a do-over it was! I had such a fantastic weekend with my Oiselle Volée teammates, some of whom I have known for years and others whom I just met this weekend: women from all over the United States, women of different ages and paces, women from different walks of life. What I love about the Volée is that it doesn’t matter what differences there are between us, we all love running and are committed to supporting fellow women who also love running. We ran–a lot. We ate–a lot. We laughed–a lot. We did Pilates and core work, and now my abs hurt–a lot. We shared our stories and learned from each other. We also learned from the awesome coaches and athletes at ZAP Fitness. We obsessed about our favorite flystyle and got to see some of the fall and winter gear. All in all, it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.

One of the highlights was the gait analysis. Mine was TERRIBLE last year. I basically looked like I was folded over in half while I was running; my hips were uneven and unstable, and my entire lower body’s kinetic chain was a complete disaster. I came home last year committed to two things:

  1. Not running for 4 weeks to let my shins heal.
  2. In that time, to strengthen my core to hopefully prevent the shin issues (and other potential issues that come from a weak core) from recurring.

I was very curious what the analysis would reveal this time around.

Guys! Guess what! There is noticeable improvement. For real! I’m not saying that my running form is now perfect–it’s not–but it’s SO MUCH BETTER than it was a year ago! I’m so pleased and encouraged by this progress, and I’m fired up to continue to strengthen my core (and myself). I can’t tell you how happy I was to see that there is progress. So much of the work that I had been doing has resulted in incremental changes that are very hard to see on a day to day basis, but when given the opportunity to look at the difference over the course of a year–WOW. It was pretty amazing, And I realized that it wasn’t just my core and my running form that are stronger. I am stronger. I am happier. There’s still room to grow, opportunities for improvement, but this weekend was a gift that allowed me to see that I’ve come a long way in the last twelve months. For that, I’m grateful.

The Run-down:

Monday: Easy 8

Tuesday: 12 mile Progression–2 warm up, 8 miles each a bit faster ending up at half-marathon pace; 2 cool down

Wed: OFF

Thurs: 5 miles at 3500 feet, climbing to 3760. Easy pace.

Friday: 9 miles at 3500 feet, climbing to 3950. Easy pace; also 3 mile hike, and Pilates.

Saturday: Speed workout: warm-up; 2(800, 400, 400, 400, 400). I loved this. I never get to do speedwork with other people. Thank you #TeamDialedIn

Sun: 3.2 mile prediction run. I predicted 29:13 for myself. My goal was to run that time or slower. I ran more than 90 seconds slower. YES. The the #GRVR 2017. Two more hours. I had aimed for 15 miles before I started. Also before I realized it would be almost 100% humidity with temperatures in the upper 80s. I still might have gotten to 15, but I forgot to restart my Garmin after a pit stop and lost over a mile on my watch. For the Virtual Run to count, I needed to clock 2 hours on my GPS. so I clocked it even though it meant that I actually ran more than 2 hours.Total mileage of the day was 17.6, which I’m happy with given everything that I’ve done this week.



[Photo of author taken by Allie Bigelow]


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