Friday, July 13, 2012

An Interview

Coach T after a hard workout
Here's a transcript from a recent interview with Jaymee conducted by Coach T.  Those of you who have been around for a while know who she is.  She came onto the scene last year to try to whip Jaymee into shape when Jaymee decided she wanted to turn to Dog as her coach.  Coach T ended up being a bit bossy and seemed more interested in training Jaymee to sprint after small animals than to run a marathon, so the coach-athlete relationship ended, albeit amicably.  We met up with Coach T and Jaymee on the Coast of California…

Coach T:  So, I noticed that you sort of went radio silent there after your last race.  Can you explain to us what happened?

J:  Sure.  I had a pretty tough training cycle leading up to that race.  The workouts I did in the last few weeks were pretty awful.  My legs had no giddy up in them at all.  I wasn't particularly confident going into the race, but I also learned from a very wise woman not to ever count myself out.  I felt as though I'd put in the hard work and something great may happen on race day.  I made some bonehead choices, like thinking it was a good idea to travel for work to Orlando, FL 5 days before the race, sleep less than 5 hours a night race week and then spend 12 hours traveling to Duluth two days before the race.  I was just flat on race day, and my little legs didn't want to go very fast.  I do not regret making the trip to run in the Half Marathon Championships as part of Grandma's Marathon.  The race was amazing and the support was really top notch.  I hope to travel back that way again for the full marathon at some point.  When I got home, I realized I was pretty burned out.  It is mentally tough to train really hard for a race and then have a subpar result.  I just wanted to give myself a break, which included a break from telling my running stories.

Coach T:  Fair enough.  So, did you come in last place?

J:  Harsh, Coach T.  No.  I did not come in last place this time.  I was at the back of the pack for sure, but not last.  (Proof here).

Coach T: So, what have you been doing since the race.  You said that you are taking a break?  Are you running at all?

J: I mentioned before the race in this post that I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself and running was starting to become unfun.  I realized after the race that I actually had a fair amount of anxiety associated with my running, and I needed to figure out a way to get past that.  I was having trouble even getting motivated to just go out for an easy run.  I did what all good type As do and tried to power through those thoughts and feelings at first, thinking that if I just set a new goal and developed a training plan, I would muster the motivation to start anew.  That approach flopped as you could probably easily predict it would.  My first workout of this new training cycle was just as angst-ridden as any I had done in the last training cycle despite my newfound desire to keep my running all Zen-like and flowy.  It took me about a week to realize that I needed a mental break.  I talked with Coach L about this, and he said it was a very smart idea.  So, for the past two weeks, I've let myself just do whatever I wanted.  I ran when I wanted to run and I didn't run when I didn't want to run.  It has worked wonders.  Just giving myself that mental break has breathed some life back into me.

Coach T: Does that mean you have new goals?

J: I actually set a race goal before I decided to take this break.  I thought it would be fun to run the Masters Marathon Championship race at the Twin Cities Marathon in October.  I ran this race in 2009 and really enjoyed it.  It's a good course for me, and I loved the race hospitality.  I actually developed a training plan with Coach L right before my training implosion.  Despite the beauty of the plan, I just couldn't get excited about gearing up again for a big training push.  Over the last two weeks, I've started to feel much better about running and more motivated to train.  I've had 3 weeks of low mileage and am building back up.  I have taken the time to do a lot of thinking about my running and a bit of troubleshooting about why I felt so flat in the last training cycle.  I've started experimenting with some of the elements of my training that helped me become a strong marathoner in the first place.  This is stuff I once complained about doing, but I find myself oddly looking forward to:  stuff like plyometric hill drills and a suite of variations on strides.  I hypothesize that these activities will help me get the pop back in my legs, and I actually think it's working.  I think I'll try different types of workouts and do everything effort-based at this point so I don't pressure myself into trying to hold a certain pace.  I don't have to pull the trigger on Twin Cities until the end of August, so I have time to see how far I get in these next few weeks.

Coach T: I like your approach.  I personally think you should be doing more squirrel sprints and digging exercises, but those are the things I love.  If you like hopping on one leg up a hill over and over, then knock yourself out.

J:  I think we're on the same page, Coach T.  Do what you love; love what you do.

Coach T: Okay, that might be a little too touchy-feely for my tastes.  So, you're getting pretty old aren't you?  I understand you turn 45 soon?

J: That's right, Coach T.  I'll be in a new age group.  I'm excited about what I'll do with the rest of my 40s.  I never would have guessed that I would have accomplished what I did in my early 40s.  I have many great female masters runners to look to for inspiration--some of them are still setting PRs well into their 40s.  This past year, I feel like I've been on an accelerated learning track with running.  I had some crazy ass shit happen, but I met some of the most amazing people too and learned an awful lot about myself.  It was a year of growth for sure.

Coach T: It has been fun chatting with you here in beautiful Cali, but I have to go do some beach running and eat some crab shells with my boy, P├╝ddle.  Hasta, chica.