August 29, 2014

First race as a Goodman

Earlier this month I ripped off the "I haven't raced in a while" band-aid and laced up my flats for my first hard effort in a while. Having not competed since early May, Coach Dena and I felt that it was a good time to remind myself of the rhythms and rituals of racing -- pre-meet shakeouts, the pre-race eating routine, pinning on the race bib, and feeling the familiar, if briefly forgotten, butterflies that accompany the moments before the gun goes off...

So, I headed out to Falmouth, Massachusetts to get in a hard half-marathon pace effort in the 42nd annual Falmouth Road Race. This 7 mile race traverses the hilly wooded roads of Woods Hole before spilling out onto flat, beachside streets overlooking Nantucket Sound, with Martha's Vineyard in the distance. I couldn't ask for a more scenic course to run in my return back to racing!
I knew the race would be a rust-buster for me, so I came in with the goal of feeling comfortable at 5:45 pace over 7 miles. The hills in the first 5k took their toll a bit and I ran a little slower than I wanted to, but felt good on the flat part of the course and executed my race plan well. I know I have a lot of work still to do, but for just getting back into shape, I was happy with a top 20 finish in an international field, where I was the 12th American.
The best part of the race was getting to compete as a Goodman for the first time! It was pretty cool to don a race bib with my new last name and hear cheers of "Go Goodman!" along the course. This bib is now pinned up at my desk to commemorate the first of many races as Kaitlin Goodman :)
Other highlights of the weekend included getting to spend time with new family members (how awesome is it that when you get married, you not only gain a spouse but an entire new family!). Post-race, I got to explore Falmouth with my new aunt and uncle. Ice cream and lobster rolls were the perfect way to celebrate the weekend!
With the racing band-aid ripped off and rust busted, I've been enjoying a few good weeks of training. Next up for me is the USA 5k Road Championships here in Providence. Although I'm not focusing on the short stuff this fall, it will be fun to race a 5k here in my new hometown!

August 7, 2014

Turning a corner

Leading up to my wedding and following my move to Providence, running took a back seat for a little while. I ran when I could, didn't worry about workouts, and just tried to stay in good enough shape to fit into my wedding dress!
June and July were a far cry from my high mileage, high intensity spring training. So when I arrived in Providence last month, I wasn't in great shape. Runs were a struggle (not to mention workouts!) and 6:00 pace was about as fast as I could go; add in heat, humidity, and hills to make a pretty rough combination. Each day, I procrastinated going running til the last possible hour, getting out the door at dusk and slogging through 8:00 pace in the dark. 
Struggle city post- hot and humid run
But slowly, I found my fitness again, among the hills of Providence's Blackstone Boulevard, during those solo nighttime runs, amid some sobering miles where I cursed myself for ever getting out of shape. Because getting back into shape again straight-up SUCKS! Twice a year, after my bi-annual break from running, I struggle for 2+ weeks to remind my body that going running isn't a punishment, and that it's not the worst thing I've ever asked of it.

Following these breaks, I'm reminded why many people hate running - it's not all that joyful when you're out of shape! I've consistently found that it takes me a solid 2 weeks (or a little longer, if I've taken more time off) to find my fitness and enjoy again.

For you new runners out there struggling to take up running and find the joy in it, you're not alone! Even the pros hate running sometimes! If while training for your first 5k you finding yourself cursing every mile and considering throwing in the towel, hang in there! Give your body at least 2 weeks of consistent training (and by consistent I mean at least 5 days a week) to get into running shape. Even if you're aerobically fit from other exercise (swimming, soccer, etc), it still takes 2 weeks to find your inner runner. After those 2 weeks have passed, reassess. My guess is that with a little regularity to your running, you'll now have a different opinion :)

Enjoying a Providence sunset from the East Bay Bike Path
I know I do, 2 weeks later (ok really 4 after this extended break). I've finally turned the corner in August and workouts are, thankfully, starting to click! With fast ladies to run with and an awesome husband who bikes with me during my long runs, my excitement for fall racing is building!

Next up for me is a hard tempo effort at the Falmouth Road Race as I race my way back into shape. I'm looking forward to what the next few months hold!

July 13, 2014

A new place to run joyfully

I began writing this blog almost 4 years ago (seriously, it's been that long?!) when I moved to San Francisco to pursue a dream of being one of the top distance runners in the US. In a little apartment steps from Golden Gate Park, I re-discovered how to run joyfully, and I ran pretty darn fast in the process.
After 2 years in San Francisco, many PRs, but unfortunately no Olympic Trials, I moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where my then-fiance was in medical school. Running in Cleveland wasn't always joyful, and the winters sure were challenging, but Cleveland is a wonderful place that will forever be near to my heart.
This summer I'm running joyfully in a new city -- Providence, Rhode Island, my new home! Though I haven't gotten to see much of Providence yet -- my excursions have been limited to Ikea, Home Depot, and Costco -- I'm eager to explore all that the city has to offer, for running and in general!
Our new place in Providence is close to Blackstone Boulevard and Brown Stadium, which will be great for training, and I've been lucky to already connect with some PVD runners. I've found an awesome yoga studio nearby, and more importantly an awesome bakery (good thing I'm running a lot to keep my inner fat kid at bay!). So far, so good, Providence!

Here's to many joyful runs in my new home!