The Start of a New-New Training Cycle–Race for the Rescues OC 10K recap

new Evolution of a Fan Girl post up on the Oiselle Blog! check it out –>


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Yesterday kicked off what I’m considering my “official” training for the Carlsbad Half on January 19th, which if you’re not looking at a calendar, is 10 weeks away. Typically I’d like to go into a shorter cycle like this with a more solid base (weekly mileage 25+, strong core, sound diet, etc), but this time I’ve got something a little different going for me:

A fire under my ass.

That’s not a real tangible asset to catapult head-first into a plan of track workouts, hill repeats, and hard running focused on PR’ing the 13.1, but I’m letting go of some of my Type A and counting on that spark to lead my efforts. I’m getting to the point in my running where huge PRs are going to be hard to come by, and each round of hard work will (likely) be rewarded with shaving seconds, maybe minutes, from previous times.

Not only does this mean I’m going to have to work harder to reap rewards, but I’ll also have to work smarter. Keeping my head screwed on straight, learning from the past, and staying hungry.

(metaphorically, of course, as I am a supporter of keeping the #runger fed and at bay)

This got me reflecting on the great/awful races of my past – strong finishes, lost mental battles, huge PRs, admitting defeat to injury, not taking running too seriously… Looking at what went wrong, what worked, and what I could do this go-round to improve.


Sub140 at M2B, struggling at CLE 10K, 20min PR at Eugene Marathon, after K’s finish and my DNF at CIM, goofing off with Margot at Surf City Half

I’ve come up with Rule #1, of an in-the-works Training Credo, in an attempt to set this cycle off on the right foot.

Look Forward, Not Backward.

Surface meaning: keep your eyes up, you’re passed due for a fall.

Deeper/Emo meaning: I’m sick of fearing the disappointment that comes with sizing my current self up to my old self. It’s so easy to look at the stats from last year’s 8×800 and freeze up under the pressure of trying to match them. To compare how easy 8:00 pace used to feel compared to the huff-puffing I’m doing now. To wonder how the hell I’ll ever run a 6:50 pace for 3.1 straight miles again.

So the next 10 weeks I’ll focus on my process of getting back in shape. Instead of looking at this cycle’s Week One vs another cycle’s Week One, I’m going to focus on Week Two vs Week One. Three vs Two. Measuring progress and seeing gains towards my Carlsbad goal, rather than how far I am from my Personal Best self.

I know, I know, it’s totally genius. Nobody has ever thought this way before. Total new age.

Luckily this all came to me Saturday night, right before Sunday’s Race for the Rescues 10k which I was kind of dreading. I was recalling the pain from Cleveland, imagining how tough it was going to be, picturing myself slogging through those last few miles gasping for air and praying for death. And even though logically I knew I wasn’t in shape to go for a PR, the thought of posting a “slow” time made me not want to run at all.

oiselle team singlet

don’t RACE rundies get everyone excited to run? ps got to see the new Randies this weekend – suuuuper cute. (hint hint, santa…)

But I told myself it would be a good measuring tool for this training cycle. I’d use the time as base-level data (oh come on, I can’t totally un-Type-A), and after a few weeks of hard workouts it’d be exciting to race it again to see how far I’ve come.

And guess what? Duh duh duhnnnn… it worked.



Katrina Parker from s2 of The Voice throwing down a kick ass anthem

Race for the Rescues was a great event – mostly because of all the cute dogs everywhere – but also because I let myself enjoy the race instead of stressing it. I went in without a time expectation, the only plan to run the first 5k controlled and leave enough in the tank for a hard final mile. Whatever that time amounted to would be fine with me.


more Garmin data if you’re into that sorta thing…

I ran most of mile two with a tiny little 5k’er who was dead-set on not letting me pass her. Instead of getting aggravated at her leapfrogging (shhh don’t call me a horrible person) I ran next to her and tried to help push her along. I fell into an easier coasting pace when the crowd thinned for the second lap but didn’t fret the lost time when I saw the slower split at the 4 mile marker. I smiled at the leashed dogs in the walkers crowd, rather than getting angry at them clogging up the course (the race WAS for them, afterall.) I didn’t whine about the “long” course even though my average pace at 6.2 miles would’ve been within seconds of a PR, because that wasn’t the purpose of the race. I wanted to run hard, smart, and enjoy myself, which I did.

(My pal Annette – who placed 3rd overall, btw nbd – talked to RD and he acknowledged a last-minute alteration could’ve screwed up the actual distance. The bones we throw (ha pun) for inaugural events)


lead dog must’ve run a 23-ish 5k, and a thirsty pup mid-race (from Rescue Train’s FB)

Race for the Rescues OC 10K, 11.10.13   –   :48.50

I had a great great time and am (most importantly) really looking forward to getting underway with training. Now to find a mid-season re-test race…

And if you’re wondering, yes I was able to restrain myself at the adoption parade, despite instagram leading you to think otherwise.

Sarah OUaL


12 thoughts on “The Start of a New-New Training Cycle–Race for the Rescues OC 10K recap

  1. Good luck with your training! I am in the midst of training and have definitely gotten distracted a few weeks but now I only have 5 weeks to go and I am ready to get my butt in gear!


  2. Loved this post! I feel like every training cycle I’m always starting from scratch but then I get down when I see what I USED to be able to run. Progress gives me such a high that it’s hard for the ego to take to acknowledge that you’re a ways off from your best. On the plus side, every training cycle has that glimmer of hope that THIS time you’ll crush all your goals.


  3. Loved this post. My training has been ALL OVER THE PLACE in the past and I’m trying to sort out my schedule for the next year and figure out what I really want to focus on (PRing the half marathon, maybe? which is a different beast from 26.2; one can train specifically to PR a full or a half but not both). Love the idea of always looking forward. The 10k baseline time trial is a good idea, too!


  4. The finish time is just a number…a number that doesn’t define you. So awesome you were able to let go of potential aggravants and smile at things by viewing them through a different lens. It really is supposed to be fun. Good luck with your training :)


  5. I would have adopted a dog and I’m a cat person! I’m just a sucker for homeless pets! One of my favourite games is to surf the ‘Cats for Adoption’ page on my local shelter website and pick which one I’d have. It’s so much fun.

    Anyway – I love the new approach to training and congrats on an amazing 10k – I’m working towards what is hopefully a new 10k PR next Sunday and I’m green with envy at your splits!



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