COMEBACK KID


I am mostly writing this story so that when I do make the Olympic team,  we can all look back and be like, “Whoa! That is some awesome gradual progress. Crazy that it was so well documented with that Cinderella Story ending!”

I am really opening up for you guys. 

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2016: THE OLYMPIC BUILDUP

Typical week: 
Monday: 5-7mile run, strides, drills, core
Tuesday: 2 mile warm up, Workout, 2 mile cool down, weights.
Wednesday: Recovery Run Wednesday!
Thursday: 5-8 miles total (one run or two), circuit.
Friday: 2 mile warm up, Workout, 2 mile cool down, Weights.
Saturday: Whatever I feel like--run? swim? yoga? off?
Sunday: Long run--10-11 miles  with short hill sprints

(That isn't the secret to success. The consistency of it week in and week out is.)


Week 5: Feb 1-7
Workouts:
T: 2x600 (mile pace) 3min recovery  2x400 (65 second pace) 1x300Q
F: RACE DAY! 1500m (4:16.0) and 400m (55?)

Tuesday's workout went really well. 67 pace feels pretty manageable. The 300m I got moving a little bit. It felt nice to open up the stride.

Friday:
That is the first time I've felt like a miler in a 1500m race! I was just playing around for the first 900m. I even chuckled to myself when I cleared my throat as "Let Me Clear My Throat" played in the background. TIMEOUT. Let's take this second and give props to the House of Track DJ. He played Downtown by Mackelmore. This summer I was going to Hip Hop Zumba semi regularly, so I know a whole dance routine to the song. Nothing like distractions during long races!  DJ HoT (House of Track) must have known!
Anyways! As the pace was ratcheted down, I was very within myself. Because it's early in the season, I'm not sure where the cliff of death is. So I raced conservatively. I always convince myself to be conservative in races and then afterwards hate myself for being conservative in races. But whatever. I just negative splitted a 1500m! That's pretty stellar for me!

The 400m was...something. I looked a little* out of place on the start line. I was the only one not to use blocks--which a standing start is super weird on a banked track by the way. I kind of felt like a mountain goat with how steep the bank is. And I was the only one in a distance singlet. And the only one who had raced a 1500m earlier that night.  I guess the meet director decided to put all the professionals in one heat. Which is a little unfortunate and/or hilarious for me. When the announcer said one of the ladies had a 400m PR of 50, I was like: OH BOY IMMABOUT TO GET MY SOCKS BLOWN OFF. She made up the stagger instantly. The first 200m was the fastest 200m I have run in over 9 months. I'm glad my legs didn't just run straight off the track to protest for the abuse I was putting them through.

Positives! I had the best seat in the house: 40m behind the real race. It looked pretty exciting up there.

If you are going to lose, you may as well lose hard while running as fast as you can literally go? Plus 55 isn't too shabby for my first shock-the-body interval in a while.

*I looked really really out of place.

Week 4: Jan 25-31
Workouts:
W: 3x(3x300) at mile pace with 1 min recovery between intervals and 4 min recovery between sets. 1x300Q
S: RACE DAY! 2:04.74 for 3rd

The pre race workout went well. It took a second to hone in on the pace, which is abnormal for me.

As for the race, I realistically expected it to be around 2:04 on the flat track. Which means I was disappointed with a 2:04. I have this crazy side where if I hit the status quo, I am disappointed? I like to completely demolish my realistic goals, even though they are, well, realistic. And even when I do demolish the realistic goal, I still want a bit more. It's weird. But whatever! It was a decent start. The first 400m was the fastest I've run (barring a 500m time trial in December) since July. It felt smoother than I expected. HOT DAMN MELISSA BISHOP IS FIT. I remember thinking, "You go guuurrl!" half way though the race.

Let's talk for a second about how I am the worst professional athlete this year, and why it is making me the best professional athlete this year. I haven't been even looking at my workouts before I get to the track. I haven't thought about my race plan. In fact, besides when I am writing or running, I rarely think about track at all. As an over thinker, this is new for me. AND I FREAKING LOVE IT. I have delegated all the thinking to my coach, and all I have to do is show up and try. It's so simple. It keeps the main thing as the main thing. And! all the energy I am saving by not thinking, I can apply to being mindful and present during practice. Anyways, for all you runners who happen to meticulously go over each and every detail, I highly recommend letting go.

Let's also talk for a second about how wonderful the JDL meet is. I had fans! At least 7 people wanted my picture! There are almost dozen(s) of you! All the sponsors care. It just feels so welcoming. It is one of the few meets where the fans and athletes get to interact.


Week 3 Jan 18-24
Workouts:
T: 5x 60 second/ 15 second hills. Mile effort/800m effort. Jog down recovery.
F: 2x150 quick. 1xmile, 3x1200m tempo effort (1-2 minute recovery). 1x300.

Welp. I shit the bed on Friday. I haven't done that in a minute! "Shitting the bed helps with humility." At least that is what Coach kept saying Friday. I personally, am not sure it helps and would prefer to have perfect training every day, but what do I know!
There is an art to bombing a workout and taking it in stride. At one point the sun came out and in my head I was all "Nope. Get back behind those clouds! I don't want any reason to feel good about this." And then I surrendered the workout, started laughing, and just did what I could--which was nice. It was more mature than I usually am.

Arm chair theory! The 10-day ago theory.
Whenever a workout goes bad, look what was happening 10 days ago. For me, that was a terrible week. You can run though a terrible week, but you will pay for it in exactly 10 days. I don't know why there is lag time, but there is. Don't sweat it.

Week 2 Jan 11-17
Workouts:
T: 2x2 mile tempo (3 min rest) 3x250 at mile pace
F: 1200m tempo to warm up. Sprint workout! 100/110/120….200m getting faster.

I still had some residual congestion from the week before, but the workout felt manageable. Friday was the first fast day of the season. MY ASS HATED ME. It felt good and more natural than I thought it would to sprint.
We hammered the long run. Nothing builds my confidence then hammering a long run. OHMYGOD. Am I becoming a distance runner?!?!? nope nope nope nope nope. Forget that last sentence.

In more important news, I did not win the lottery. Weird. I could have sworn I chose the right numbers.


Week One Jan 3-10
Workouts:
T: 2x1000/600/400 1x800/600/400
2 min recovery. 4 minutes between sets.
3k-mile pace.

F: 4x 400 (65-68)/300 (48-46)/150 (sub 22)
45 seconds rest. 5 minutes between sets.

This week was rough. My car window got broken and purse stolen, I was sick, and I had financial stress. Friday's workout got cut short. I took Saturday off. I ran my long run slower than usual.
BUT! Positives!
All bad things happen at one time, and then you are home free until the next storm. I weathered it like a champ, and now I'm good to go for the next couple of months! IMMA BUY A LOTTERY TICKET.

Also, I had an internal struggle to cut Friday's workout short and take off Saturday. It's like I sit down and tell myself "Phe. You've been stupid before. Working out when sick is a recipe for month long congestions. Just take the day off." All while I am lacing up my shoes for a run. It's like a battle between guilt avoidance and logic. One part of my brain says no run=guilty. The other says no run=smart. It is hard to control the FOMO anxiety.






12 comments:

  1. Great blog phoebe! And yes you will run 157! We are cheering and believing from Austin! Love the positive attitude!

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    1. Don't limit her, Gray!
      She will make Olympic Team and have best season every, no doubt—it started so well thus far. Go Phe!

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  2. Phoebe, you will have that beast of a race -- and then many more beast races after that! It's not a matter of hope, as you point out, it's a matter of faith -- in yourself, your training and your AMAZING ability. As my mother would say, you ARE doing the work required to be amazing. Now, you just need to realize how amazing you are in your bones!

    I am a teacher and my students have to take a very big exam in a couple of weeks. Last week, I had a few of them write down all of their fears and anxieties onto sky lanterns -- we then lit them and launched them into the night sky. I reminded them that I am old and not cool, so they could blame me if they felt stupid. Still, several cried as we watched their fears float away. Perhaps they realized that without the weight of fear, they too, can fly :-).

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    1. :)

      It makes me so happy you are teaching those kiddos life lessons like that!

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  3. STOP PHE! I love the new banner. I think you were a junior or senior at UT when I started my freshman year of college. I remember hearing the story of this girl who ran "only" 2:15 as a high schooler and just wouldn't take no for an answer. I ran 2:18 in high school and had a complex that I was already too far behind everyone else in the NCAA to ever compete well. You have always been one of my favorite runners because you never let the numbers/PR game hold you back on race day - the mental game is the hardest part of track and field and I know it's the aspect that held me back. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves about what we have done before and what it took to get there. Talent doesn't go away (can you tell I read way too much letsrun?) 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57

    p.s. keep blogging :)

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    1. I just got a little teary eyed. Thanks!

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  4. Being an ex-pro baseball player, what you're going through sounds a lot like a hitting slump. I won't tell you the shameful thing some baseball players do to break a slump but it has to do with regaining confidence. As someone pointed out earlier, talent doesn't go away and you have to realize you have elite talent. See you at Pre.

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  5. Oh, and you should be on Last Comic Standing.

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  6. Great blog!

    Regarding the pre-race game plan page, IMO that is thinking way too much about it, but does show a remarkable degree of introspection (something sorely lacking in most humans.) Running is a pretty basic activity; just do it. Also good to have a balanced life, rather than doing nothing but training and thinking about training/competition; perhaps this is a problem with many current pro runners. And get out a couple nights a week and have fun!

    Oh, and absolutely, positively, without any doubt you are most certainly not a "mistake." :-)



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  8. Hey Pheobe!
    I just wanted to thank you for being so freaking awesome at JDL.. I was one of those pesky fans who wanted your picture ;) But for real, my friends and I couldn't stop talking about how cool it was that you were so engaging and talkative with your fans. I can't begin to express how much I enjoy reading your blog; you always manage to balance being super insightful with being insanely witty. I look forward to following your career throughout the year!

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