Wednesday, March 28, 2012

About Pushing Beyond Perceived Limits

I had just about resigned myself to the fact that my run pace would be around the 10:00 to 10:15 mark.  No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, it always came back to that.  Sometimes I would venture into the 9:50ish pace but would quickly go back to that very familiar point.

And then my heel (plantar fasciitis) showed its ugly face.  I was sidelined for some three months.  No running whatsoever.  I was advised to let it heal by letting it rest, amongst other things.  So that I did.  I ran The Nashville Half Marathon on November 12th and the pain was so intense, I could hardly finish the race.  Did not lace up a running shoe until February 1st, this year.

Started running slow pace  and short distances.  A few minutes at a time, a couple of times a week.  Did not worry about pace; just wanted to run and run without pain.  Everything was going just as I had hoped.  Well, just as I had hoped and as my coach had hoped and as my doctor had hoped.  Things were looking up.

As times passed, so did the miles and the time.  I would venture into longer runs but still held it to just a couple of times per week.  I was told to be patient.

And then came March 14th., the day I decided to let it all hang out.  Did not hold back, did not look back!  When it was all said and done the total mileage for that day was 4.3 miles at a 9.13 pace!  Never had I gone that far, that fast.  Ever!

Then on March 17th., the distance was 7.55 miles at a 9:47 pace.  To say that I was happy is an understatement.  That was followed this past Wednesday with a 4.45 mile run at 9:03 pace.  I was in awe!

But can I hold that pace on a longer run?  That was answered Saturday morning as I ran 10.01 miles in 1:32 at a pace of 9:12!

There are a couple of reasons why I believe this is taking place.  First, during the winter months, while I was not able to run, I hit the gym.  I worked on my core and I worked on my legs.  I also read and learned a lot about nutrition.  Which brings me to the second reason...

All the research I did on the subject made me realize that I needed to tweak my nutrition somewhat.  I've been eating healthy for a long time, but still some changes needed to be made.  In came the help of my nutrition coach, Jessica from FTP Coaching.

With her help I've been able to make some very important changes to what, and specially when, I eat in relation to my training blocks.  Don't really want to get into specific details about this on this post mostly because I'm still trying to wrap my arms around this whole thing.  All I can say is that it's made a difference!

I stay in pretty close contact with my tri coach Barry of Endurance Geeks, and so I asked him "where is this new found speed coming from?" he simply replied "strength, less frequent, more quality runs and nutrition."  He went on to tell me to "Enjoy it."

Thanks Barry, I think I will!

So what have I learned from all this?  Most, if not all limitations I had where put on myself, by myself.  I had a perception of what I could do, and it was totally different from what I could "really" do.  With a little hard work and determination, we can all break those self imposed barriers called "limitations". So what about yours?  What barriers are you working on shattering through?

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Friday, March 2, 2012

About A Happy Coincidence

I have been dispensing free advise for as long as I can remember to anyone who is willing to listen.  I have also been fascinated with the ability of the human mind to take us places we never thought possible, at times overcoming insurmountable obstacles.  So much so that I have dedicated a good portion of whatever free time I may find, to educate myself in the subject and to test theories in the matter.

As human beings we often take the path of least resistance, keeping us in a comfortable and familiar zone.  Venturing out of this zone takes work, effort and dedication and working on this sometimes takes more than we're willing to put forth.

Enter the world of sports and fitness.

By now anyone not living under a rock understands the importance of physical activity.  The problem is however, that the distance between understanding and taking action, actually doing something about it, is quiet large.  Few people find themselves comfortable enough with themselves to tackle something new, something different, something that may actually take some hard work to accomplish.

But it's not all lost.  I have written and talked about the one element that ensures, or at least gives you a better shot at success... Mental Training.

On January 13, 2012, I wrote a post entitled: "About The Fifth Element".  In it I discussed the importance of being mentally ready to tackle your triathlon, specifically your Ironman.  This post has been the second most viewed, shared and re-tweeted of all posts in this blog.

So, imagine my Happy Coincidence when I found the link for an article that CNN Health wrote on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 (six weeks after I penned mine) entitled:  "Train your brain, then your body"   In this article, the author spells out one the Triathletes I most admire, Chrissie Wellington's advise on mental readiness and toughness.

It was eerie to me to read the article because it sounded oh so familiar, but as I read on I became excited and happy with the fact that indeed, I'm not to far off base.  To have the four time World Ironman Champion agree with me, was... is unimaginable.

Okay, she didn't actually agree with me by name.  She obviously has no idea who this age grouper is, but nonetheless, her thoughts are totally in line, or rather my thoughts are totally in line with the way she thinks.

In a very indirect and oh so unwittingly, this article validates the work that I'm trying to do, and more importantly the person I'm trying to be.

I invite you to head on over to my facebook page, Mauricio's Journey Beyond Ironman and click "like", here you will stay atop of my musings, training and other cool stuff.