I’ve been on the shelf for the past two weeks with an achilles injury. I’ll post more on that when I write my North Face Challenge race recap. This revelation probably explains my extended silence. I actually almost start blogging about things you would never care about (like how it’s almost my favorite time of the year!), but decided against it. I stopped posting as a protest against my first real injury in a long long time (like since high school). Though I couldn’t really ask for better timing on it, it still sucks.
I have nothing to do. I sit on my couch on eat ice cream. From the outside, I probably look like I have severe depression. But think about it this way: There are 168 hours in a week. Take out sleeping and you’re left with somewhere between 112 and 126 hours. I spend 10-15 hours a week working out. Add in the stretching I do (hint: a lot. probably 5-7 hours a week). And the time it takes to prepare (and clean up!) the food you have to eat to fuel all this. And the fact that I really like what I do and bring it home with me more often than not. Free time isn’t something I have much of (or the energy for).
So it probably goes without saying that the past two weeks were awful. The good news is that I was distracted for one week with heading to a massive science meeting (read about it under #3 here) and one week furiously preparing for this year’s trip to Antarctica. But between all that, there are still moments when I remember I can’t work out even if I had time. It’s horrible, terrible, awful, sad, and disappointing. Injuries suck.
But while I’ve been shelved, I’ve had two athletes race. Race #1 was 2 minute PR in an 8K (you know, only 25sec per mile. Not a big deal or anything). Race #2, today, was from an athlete I started coaching/advising recently.
Some background on this athlete: 7 weeks ago, I received an email from a former officemate, teammate, and friend that said, “do you think it’s possible for me to run a [sub 50 minute] 10km by december 31st?” Sounded like a challenge, which, if successful, would be a boon to the team. Killer swimmer. Solid biker. Never really gave a shit about running. I knew the time itself wouldn’t be an issue. She’s an athlete. She used to regularly swim like 10,000 yards a day. But I had to make want to run.
I found her a race. Made her sign up. And set her off on a plan that pretty much threw her into the deep end on day 1. It was definitely more of a 15k-half marathon distance plan than a 10K plan, but I had to stoke that NCAA-athlete competitive fire. If I could do that, sub-50 would be no problem. And after her 3rd track session, I got a email that read, “by the way, this is best thing ever.” From then on, I was ~97% confident the 50 minute barrier was no longer an issue. Just had to make sure she kept running.
Today was race day. 7 weeks of work (including two weeks of travel!). How’d we do:
Obvious first reaction: what the heck is a 6.8 mile race? Turns out the lead biker took a wrong turn in there and misled the first two waves of the race. Oopsy. So I did some quick math. That pace for a 10K is…. 48:29. Skipped right over the whole “49 minute” thing, straight to 48. I asked if that’s a theoretical PR. Response:
The first 10km was a real pr, nothing theoretical about it.
Consider me corrected. What really stood out to was how she gave zero shits about the course issue. 99% of all runners would be throwing a fit (which I’m sure is currently in progress on Twitter). I’m proud to say I know one of the few that rolled with the punches and ran a killer race in spite of logistics.
So how do you make two shitty weeks of athletics disappear? You live vicariously through your athletes.
To recap my first fall coaching more than one athlete: 5 PRs and 1 age group win. Even though I’m responsible for about 2.7% of all that, I couldn’t be happier.