Monday, July 9, 2012


I have had two great workouts in the last few days. On Friday I did my 16 miler and decided to test out my knee/ITB with some faster miles. I started off easy and felt good, and then I just went with it. My splits were 7:28, 7:13, 7:11, 7:08, 7:18, 7:35, (uphill) 7:13, 7:09, 7:07, 8:19 (big big uphill), 7:11, 6:59, 7:31 (uphill), half of a mile at 7:12 average pace, then a 2.5 mile cool down.

Saturday was an 8-mile recovery run then yesterday morning was 10 miles and Coach said to try 4-6 miles in the middle of the run in the 6:45-7:00 pace range if all was feeling good. Yesterday's splits were 8:10, 7:43, 6:49, 6:40, 6:42, 6:57, 6:45, 6:38, 7:57, 8:22. Today was an easy paced 8 miler with some strides at the end. The knee is feeling better every day, even with the tougher workouts (I am still rolling extra and icing). I would say it is probably 98% better. :)

I have been thinking about time lately. If you are a competitive runner, you think about time a lot. There is
- the time you get up to get your runs in (setting your alarm clock!)
- the amount of time you spend running
- time splits (paces) for each mile
- goal pace times for workouts and races
- PR times
- time to fuel/eat well
- the amount of time you spend sleeping (getting enough rest!)
- the amount of time in days/weeks until a race
- recovery time
- MAKING time to get your running/exercising done
- the time on the clock when you are racing

All of these are a part of running. I often think when I am racing how I am "on the clock" and that every second counts, and how that clock relentlessly keeps ticking no matter what, until you cross that finish line.

But I have been thinking about a different aspect of time the past few weeks. I have been reminding myself that I HAVE TIME.  Back in January of this year I set the goal to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016. When I set that goal I was well aware that I had a long way to go. I was well aware that achieving that goal would not be easy. I was well aware that it would take years of consistent hard work and effort, a deep-seated commitment, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of heart (and sweat!)

Since then it has not been an easy year in regards to my racing. I have had really great training - I have had high mileage, seen consistent increases in my speed, and have been healthy and strong for the most part. But then Boston had a freak heat wave, and even though I ran a BQ time (3:37) in brutal conditions and finished in the top 8% of women in Boston, it was nowhere near the sub 3:20 time I was hoping for and was trained for.  And then despite being in awesome shape and feeling 100% ready, physically and mentally, for a big breakthrough race, I had a DNF in Utah Valley in June.

For a few weeks after Utah Valley I was not in the best place mentally. I was frustrated, as I know I am in shape to run a 3:05-3:14 marathon and my current PR is far off of that. I was frustrated because I had put in so much work and was not getting the results on race day that I wanted. I was mad at mother nature for a heat wave and then high winds. I was doubting myself, as it is easy to get bummed out and start to wonder if maybe you just can't be as good as you thought you could.

But after a little bit of time to recover and refocus, I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and was ready to get back to work. I have reminded myself that it isn't supposed to be easy, and that it is smart to expect setbacks (and I will learn from them). I know that if I continue to put in the work and the training, that the race results will follow. I have rekindled my belief in myself. I am trusting in Coach Rick and in my training. I am smiling and enjoying the journey. I am doing what I love.

And I am reminding myself that I HAVE TIME. I have more than three years until I have to run a qualifying marathon time to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Three years ago it had been less than three months since I went on my first run ever. I had never run more than four miles. I had not "raced" anything more than a 5k and I had not even considered that a half marathon or a marathon would ever be a possibility for me. My "fast pace" was anything under 12 minutes per mile.

Two years ago I had just started training for my first half marathon. My only goal was to finish. Any run in the double digits (TEN MILES or more) seemed crazy, and very very hard. My "fast pace" was anything under 10 minutes a mile.

One year ago I had recently finished my third marathon (four months after my first) and had successfully trained and ran it in under 4 hours. I remember saying afterwards that there was "no way" I could every qualify for Boston and shave another 20 minutes off of my marathon time. (Four months later I did.)

Sometimes it is really encouraging to look back and see how far you have come. Sometimes looking back helps you look forward with renewed confidence and strength.

With all of the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. it can be easy to read about other runners' workouts and other runners' race results and PR's and compare and be frustrated that I am not at the level I want to be at (YET). But I know that that is not a healthy way to think and I usually don't get caught up in it. On the rare occasion that I do catch myself thinking that way, I just remind myself that I have TIME. And I will get there. I have time to improve, I have time to make progress, and I have time to achieve the goals I have set.  I never could have imagined three years ago where I would be now and I am excited to see what the next three years (and beyond) brings.

I have the love, encouragement, help, and support of some awesome people. I have the desire. I have the commitment. I have the work ethic and dedication. I have the faith. I have the confidence. I have the fire and desire. I have the heart. And I have the time. :)

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln

"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." Scott Reed

"Goals.There's not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.'
Jim Rohn

"Goal: an aim or objective, the end toward which effort is directed.
Resolution: The quality of not allowing difficulties or opposition to affect one's purpose."


L.A. Runner said...

You have a great mindset about it all, but just some comfort in knowing how AWESOME you are doing. I started running marathons over a decade ago, and the progress has been slow going at times. You WILL have new PRs. In the grand scheme of things, you are still a new-ish runner.

It took me SIX YEARS to break 3:30, and now it's taken another 6 to break 3. But you know what, I wouldn't trade the journey for anything. It really does make it all worth it.

Hang tough, Erin. YOU GOT THIS!

Julia said...

i really don't have anything to say or add or even comment on...i just feel compelled to write "thank you" for posting this. And thank you for always being willing to share your true thoughts and feelings. I always learn something and can relate when I read a post from you. I am grateful every day that I reached out to you to be my coach. I am constantly inspired by you and am constantly reminded to take a step back, appreciate where I have come from and have confidence in where I am going. Thanks SO much for that! have a wonderful day!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I always love reading stuff like this. You are an amazing runner and I know you will continue to knock time off your marathon PR. I ran my first one yesterday and was doing so good until I wasn't with only 6.2 miles to go, but what an addicting distance. So much can happen and so much can affect performance.

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

Such good points that you have the time and also to not get caught up in comparing your running with others. I find myself doing that sometimes and have to regroup and focus on how far I have come, like you said.

I just qualified for Boston, and actually had a moment where I thought my time of 3:42 is so slow compared to all these other bloggers, you included :). Then, I just had to smack myself back to reality and embrace how hard I have worked and how far I have come and that I need to be very proud of this accomplishment, because it's a reflection of me and my work, not anyone else's. Thnanks for these wonderful reminders.

fancy nancy said...

Looking back to see how far we've come shows us the amazing things God has done with our bodies!!! You have become the most awesome runner Erin!!! You do have time...and you will get there!!!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Time is on your side!!! And speed. Girl, you are speedy. You are going to amaze yourself and all of us in the process. I can't wait!!!

Terzah said...

Of course you have time! Lots of it! And if it were always easy, it wouldn't be worth doing, and if you knew in advance how the chapters of the book unfolded, it wouldn't be worth reading (at least this is what I tell myself when I get frustrated--when I read for real, I always read the end of the book first :^) ). You have talent, training and time. It will be exciting for the rest of us to follow!

On the Right Track said...

Time is always on our can it not be? But only if used wisely and purposefully, which is obviously what you are doing...

Erin...this is no doubt that you will get to where you intend to. And, we will all have the sheer pleasure of watching you along the way ;)

Hope Crawford said...

You are an AMAZING runner! - And, you WILL make it to the 2016 Olympic trials for sure!

Jill said...

You have such an amazing attitude, love that about you the most! You have plenty of takes most people many years to reach their A goals. I knew when I ran my first marathon I wanted to BQ because that marathon came easy to me. But then I got sick and this and that and I had to put that goal on hold awhile. 10 years later, I got it. And I KNOW you will get your goal, too. Don't get discouraged, it's inside you just waiting for the right opportunity!! :)


coach dion said...

Time is our biggest friend and our biggest enermy!!! My time to run fast is long gone... but that said my wife ran her best times in her mid 40's!!!

Now with all this time on your hands you need to not worry about the marathon, that will come! get out there and race a couple of 5km, 10km, and 21.1km.

Yolanda said...

I will be watching you and cheering you on during the 2016 Olympic trials, I have faith!!!

Raina said...

One bite at a time...
You can do it!

Those are some great splits you are running. Fantastic! I would say that the knee must be doing very well indeed :)

Arica said...

I have just been cleared to run again after being off for 7 weeks with an injury that occurred just after or during the Ogden marathon. I loved your post today. Whenever I am seeking some encouragement or kind words I can find that on your blog. Thanks for being you and for being awesome, but most importantly for reminding me that I have time!

misszippy said...

You are absolutely right. You may not realize it now, but you are still a brand spanking new runner. You have plenty of time and rushing things won't get you where you want to be. Patience grasshopper! (and I know a mom of 12 has plenty of that!!)

lindsay said...

Yes! Just have to make sure to stay focused and not get side tracked by short-term things that may interfere with your ultimate goal. A few years ago I set a lofty goal for myself, but didn't stay focused. That goal "should"/would have happened years ago at this point, but because I got distracted I didn't meet my goal. Like you want to rock out this OT marathon - don't get distracted by PR'ing in a 5k or something. Like you said, can't get hung up on what others are doing with their training. Use it as motivation but focus on YOUR goal! :) I can't wait to say that MY FRIEND is in the OT's!!