Thursday, April 5, 2012

Work, hurt, and luck

First off, I had a great track workout this morning. I did 7 miles total, with a two mile warm up, some strides, 5x800m repeats in 2:52, 2:52, 2:51, 2:52, and 2:51 (5:45-5:47 average pace) with two minute jog intervals, and then a 1.5 mile cool-down. It was a tough workout (I definitely pushed myself hard), but I enjoy the track, and I was really happy to be so consistent, especially since I didn't look at the Garmin for the last two intervals and just went on feel.  I still get excited to maintain a pace that starts with the number 5, even if it is just for half-mile repeats.

Since the kids are on Spring Break I got to start a little later than usual and the sun was even up, and a couple of friends and neighbors were at the track too, which was fun. It was COLD though and for my first couple of warm-up laps my teeth were even chattering. (By the end of the workout I was shedding layers though). 

I love the feeling of finishing a tough track workout and going over my splits on my Garmin and seeing that I nailed it!

It was a good enough workout that when I shared my splits I got a stream of "wow's" out of Josh and a happy phone call from Coach Rick, so that made me feel even better about it. 

I leave for Boston a week from tomorrow!  

Moving on -  

I get a lot of emails from runners asking for all kinds of advice. I am certainly not an expert, but I am happy to offer as much help, support, and encouragement that I can to anyone who asks.

Many of the questions I get are from runners who are just starting out, or runners who have been at it for awhile but want to get faster or run further distances. 

Do you want to know the secret to becoming a better runner? To being able to run further distances and faster paces no matter where you are at now or what your goals are? The secret is that there is no secret. You have to work at it. You have to get out there and run regularly.  You have to slowly, smartly, and safely build your mileage. You have to be consistent. You have to do the work.

Speed doesn't come magically. It comes from running faster.

To make progress in running, when things get comfortable, you have to push yourself. When a pace is comfortable or a distance becomes easy to finish, then it's time to push yourself further and faster.  You have to be willing to make yourself uncomfortable and to not give up when it hurts. (I am not talking about the kind of hurt that comes with an injury, but the kind of hurt you feel when you are really pushing your body). It's human instinct to want to stop doing something that makes us feel uncomfortable and to pull back, and you have to push past that.

Every once and a while someone will tell me that I am "lucky" that I am fast. I am here to tell you that luck has very little to do with it. I have worked really, really, really hard to get to where I am at, and plan to work even harder to get to where I want to go.

Three years ago I physically could not run two consecutive miles at any pace. When I started running with a local group of moms, I was the slow one. I was the heavy one. I was the newest runner. I could not keep up.

In May 2009 I ran a 5k. I finished in 32:02 and felt like I was king of the world. In September 2010, I ran my first half marathon in 2:04:50 and was thrilled and excited with my progress. In December 2010 I ran my first full marathon in 4:15:50 and couldn't have been happier. Less than nine months later I ran my first BQ marathon in 3:32:15. I have continued to get faster from there, and have every intention to get myself to the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.

I have run almost every day and put the miles in, no excuses. I didn't quit when the mornings got dark and the snow started falling. I have steadily built my mileage. I have done lots of reading and research on running. training, and marathoning. I have worked hard and pushed myself continually to get faster. I have been dedicated to and consistent with my core/strength training to be strong overall and fight injuries. I take my recovery seriously. And I do all that day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out. And I love it. :)

So that's my secret to improving as a runner (and probably at most things in life). Work hard, be consistent, be determined, push yourself, be willing to hurt, and keep at it. Of course a little luck never hurts, and neither does help and advice from other runners, support and encouragement from those you love and who love you, and finding a great coach. :)


"All things are difficult before they are easy." - Thomas Fuller

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." - Colin Powell

"Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price." - Vince Lombardi

"I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it." - Ray Bradbury


Jen@runfortheboys said...

Just this week I had two people say to me that you (Erin) just must be predisposed to being fast. Then I told them you ran 85 mile weeks. And that shut them up. Then another said she was too busy to run that kind of mileage - that she had kids. I LOVED saying, "well, she has 12."

But I'm still gonna smoke you. :-p

L.A. Runner said...

I do think you are fortunate to be so fast. I mean, my first marathon was in 4:09 and it's taken me over a DECADE to get down to 3:00. :O You are right, though, no secrets, just hard work day after day. Best wishes to you in Boston!

Shannon @ Tales from an Average Runner said...

I love your post! I am one of those folks who has run for a few years and just thought I had reached where I was meant to stay. I am not that fast, I don't have the best endurance. I just decided to make peace with it. Then - because I made peace with it - I through together a crazy year of goals last year. I basically just allowed myself to sign up for everything I wanted to because it sounded good, and I decided I didn't care anymore that I wasn't fast. But a funny thing happened while working towards all those goals - I started getting a bit faster, able to run a bit further. I am nowhere near where you are. However, I did finally realize that if I work towards it - push myself - I can get better and try for new goals. I am LOVING that feeling!

Good luck and have fun in Boston! Enjoy the accomplishment!

Elly said...

I think if anyone has proven what hard work, dedication and tenacity can do - it's you, Erin! I love your "no excuses" attitude and I constantly remind myself of it when I find myself wanting to skip a workout. Love following your journey, and I'll be cheering for you from Australia as you work towards the Olympic Trials :)

Beth said...

Well said, Erin. It is so simple (work hard, run faster, get out of your comfort zone), and yet so hard. That's why so few people choose to put in the effort to achieve the amazing results like you have. Way to go!

JLERN1 said...

Thank you for the great words of encouragement and the email response you sent to me this week! I have been keeping you in my prayers for a fantastic Boston for deserve it with all of the hard work you have put in : )

Katrin said...

Wow,I just found your blog and can't imagine doing all this. I am just starting out in running and recently in blogging. I will definitely follow this blog.

Annet and Kirk said...

Between following your example and encouragement of my friend back "home" that I can't wait to run with, I pushed myself this morning to a longer distance and I did just fine. I def agree it's about pushing outside of comfort zone and getting okay with the scary sounding numbers!

kalie said...

Hi Erin! I love this. Your post reminds me of this favorite post by Dorothy Beal:

You are both so inspiring to me! I am 8 weeks out from my first marathon. I have been applying the science and pushing through the hurt...we will see what comes on race day.

Keep it up!

Jill said...

I know for me, at least, when I finally started heavily lifting weights and got my body fat way down is when I started running a lot faster and landed my first BQ - by a lot.

Great job on the 8's - keep being awesome!! :)

Mark Matthews said...

Yes, I hear you on "nailing" those splits. I do a triumphant dance in my head and let out a metaphysical ROAR every time. But if I don't hit it, I just have fuel for the next. High school tracks also make me feel like I'm back in school again, and by osmosis, make my legs a little younger.

Happy trails to Boston.

robinbb said...

What an amazing track workout, nice job. I totally agree with the hard work. You put your time on the road, you deserve the results. The only time I believe people have luck is when your body is able to handle the stress you put on it. I have a close friend who is incredibly fast but her body can't handle the miles that she wants to run. Every time she gets too high her body gives her a terrible injury, UGH!

10 days!!!!!

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

Erin this is the best post ever! I love your honesty and am so inspired by your dedication and your work ethic. I have been working so hard on my own running, and have seen all of my hard work pay off as well. I LOVE it and it is a giant part of who I am and what makes me, me. I don't have an ultimate goal of the OTs, but I do want to just keep working and keep dreaming and keep striving and discover the depth of what I am capable of. I love following your journey and am so thankful that we both write about it on our blogs - it is so nice to have the support and encouragement in this community!
Your track times -- AMAZING! I cannot wait for you to run Boston! Next year we can meet there in person :o) YAyyyy!!

Run with Jess said...

Great feature in Runner's World!! The whole story just made me SMILE! xoxo

Ugly said...

Sounds like Boston is there....yes, must put in the hard work to get the harder goals....

i Run said...

Erin-----K.U.D.O.S. to you!!! No words to thank you for this truly amazing gift of inspiration! Wished you lived near Boston but hope that our paths cross when you are here for the marathon. No greater joy will come to me on Marathon Monday than watching you nailing and rocking out a new PR and Olympic hopeful dream!!! Thank you Erin for inspiring me :)

April said...

Just found your blog because of Coach Rick ( I follow him) and RW article!! You are amazing!! I will be in Boston as well 3x!!! I am a big believer in HARD WORK AND DEDIcATION

Lisa said...

What a great story for all of us to learn from! Thanks for the reminder that reaching goals takes hard work, that's why reaching them is so rewarding! Good luck next week! I hope you have fun out there!

Suz and Allan said...

So much truth in what you said Erin! I honestly believe anyone can be a runner if they are willing to put the time in and be patient.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Great post Erin! I always think of you when I need a boost and a reminder that my speed can be improved with HARD WORK AND EFFORT! Sometimes its daunting but you've shown us it's possible!