Well, it has been two weeks since my last long run at the NYC half marathon. Check out my last blog post for a recap if you are curious as to how it went! 6 Minutes Shy? Cool! That Means I Get to Try Again! I think the title pretty much says it all, that even though I did not make my qualifying time that I will try again. However, that will not happen within the next ten weeks. Today marks the day that begins my ten week preparation for the NPC Southern California Bodybuilding/Bikini Championships. Actually, it is said often that the training and nutrition is a way of life, but the ten week countdown starts today – so time to get focused!
For me, as an NPC bikini competitor, being focused means weight training five to six days per week along with cardio, measuring out all my meals, drinking LOTS of water, only one can of diet coke a day (anyone that knows me closely knows I am addicted and have forever been trying to cut back!), and NO cheating. This means no milk in my coffee, no BBQ sauce on my chicken, no bananas in my cereal, and NO extra scoops of peanut butter (actually I have no constraint when it comes to peanut butter or almonds, so I have eliminated both from my diet and will eat some other kind of healthy fat instead!) In the past, my cardio has varied from 350 – 1500+ calories because I was usually always training for a marathon. This time however, I am eliminating ALL running (except a mile or two here and there with some sprints when I just cannot take it anymore! ) and have replaced it with the stair mill. That is the plan anyway…for ten weeks…
Ten weeks seems like a long time to me. In the past, the “time to get focused!” might have only lasted six to eight weeks. Perhaps that is why the best I ever placed was 2nd…
I know that this time will be different though. If I, as an avid runner that has completed ten marathons in the course of less than four years, have been told by my trainer not to run for the next ten weeks, it will not be for anything short of my goals! my goal? To present my best physique ever, thus far, at this next show.
So this post is short, simple, and to the point….time to get focused!!
Me pictured below, at what I feel was my best physique ever approximately one year ago at the NPC San Diego Championships…that is the person to beat ten weeks from now!!
A couple months ago, I wrote a post about Abandoning a Goal. I wrote about how I decided not to continue with my triathlon training so that I could focus more on getting ready for the NYC half marathon and qualifying for the NYC full in 2012. 97 minutes was the time needed to run 13.1 miles in order to qualify. That is a 7.4 min/mile pace. The fastest race I have ever run in the past was at an 8.4 min/mile pace, but that was 26.2 miles. Surely, I thought, I could cut one minute off if I cut the distance in half.
That would be the fastest that I have ever set myself up to run.
I ran the race this past Sunday, on a cool, crisp, one of the last days of winter in New York days, at 7:30 in the morning.
I finished running in 103 minutes, 6 minutes shy of my goal. I did NOT qualify for the NYC full in 2012.
In a situation like this, after training so hard, I always need to figure out why I didn’t make my time. Did I not train enough hills or sprint intervals? Maybe I should’ve rested longer, or less? Was I late, was I frazzled, did I have too much on my mind? Was my gear not appropriate, was I too hot or too cold? Maybe my belly was too full from my dinner, or I was hungry! Should I have had more carbs earlier, did I eat too much, or should I have taken more energy drink? The questions are endless but after having run as many races as I have, I pretty much have the basics down and I must say, am quite an expert at marathon preparation.
But, I never would have imagined what I learned from this race as far as what not to do. In fact, I feel quite silly! As much as I would like to blame missing my qualification time on the person that stole my IPod and all the precious endless hours of training music on it (sabotage!!), I won’t go there. The race through NYC took us through Central Park, Times Square, and all through lower Manhattan – it was very picturesque! With a mission at hand, I should have been focused solely on making my time, and for the most part, I was. However, as I often refer to the famous motto – it is the journey that matters, not the destination – I might have been enjoying my journey that day a little too much! Stopping along the way, amazed at all the sights and lights and bells and whistles, the whole race was a photoshoot – in my head and on my camera phone! They closed down 7th Avenue for us 15,000 runners and it felt like they did it just for me! I pictured Tom Cruise from Vanilla Sky, running through the streets of NY. 103 minutes and 13.1 miles never went by so fast…and I got to enjoy 6 more minutes of it than I planned! So for next time, shoot for a time a few minutes earlier to account for picture taking and stopping to sightsee along the way!
I did not leave the City too disappointed about missing my time though, at a 7.86min/mi pace, it was my personal best half marathon.
And I cannot wait to do it again! See a few shots from the photo session pictured below.
Starting off from Central Park…bbrrrrr:
Breakaway onto 7th Ave, very much welcomed after 6 miles in the park:
Into Times Square, my second favorite place in the world after Las Vegas!
Wanting to stop at my favorite ice-cream place for a little Cold Stone!
Scary! Underground running through Battery tunnel:
The Elite! Their feet don’t even touch the ground it seems!