Thursday, March 22, 2012

Training for a Figure Competition

I can't remember the last time I went out for a leisurely long run. Actually, come to think of it, I can't even remember the last time I went for any kind of run. I can't believe how long it's been. You can't blame the hiatus on nasty winter weather - we've had a very mild winter, even more mild than last year. The lack of running isn't due to sickness - I'm healthier and more vibrant than I've ever been.  You can't blame it on lack of energy - I feel more fantastic and have more energy than ever before.

So what happened? About 2 months ago, I started training for my first figure competition, and immediately my entire world shifted focus. I am now a fitness competitor. I still don't honestly believe that about myself, but it doesn't hurt to say it. Maybe it'll drive home the point. I certainly don't feel like a runner anymore. My whole world changed and I didn't even realize it as it was happening. Whereas before I was concerned about things like weekly mileage, pace, PR's, and appropriately layering for the changing seasons, now I find myself far more concerned about fitting in training sessions, prepping all my food every week, pushing through extremely intense workouts, properly fueling and recovering, and practicing poses in 5" heels.

I mean, lets be real; I was never a serious runner anyway. I was never really obsessed with things like splits and weekly mileage, but my point is, I thought about them. Now, I don't think about these things at all. I don't have any races on my calendar yet for 2011. Normally when the NYRR race calendar is released, I jump right on the website to register for popular races before they fill up and/or the registration fee increases. I'll never forget last year sitting at my computer at work, reading through my Twitter feed, when I realized that the Brooklyn Half registration not only opened that day, but it was rapidly filling up and in danger of selling out the very same day. I absolutely didn't want to miss out on this race! I panicked, registered immediatley and sure enough, less than 24 hours later, the race had reached capacity. Then I ran the Brooklyn Half and it was such an amazing uplifting experiene for me, that I was super-charged for the rest of the year. In so many ways, it was the perfect kick-off to an awesome summer of running countless PR's. This time last year, I had a jam-packed year of races planned out well in advace and proceeded to dominate them all.

Fast forward to this year. I guarantee you the Brooklyn half has already filled up. I honestly don't know when registration opened.. I don't even know when the race is!!  I didn't even realize the NYC Half was this past Sunday until one friend asked me if I was going to run. I feel completely out of touch with the NYC running community. I have absolutely no idea what races are coming up in the next couple months, and I actually don't have a single race penciled in my calendar yet this year.  It's been over three whole months since I've been actively running - that's a quarter of a year! This is the longest break I've EVER taken from running since I started high school cross country back in 2002!  Through the years, I've gone through multiple lazy phases, but they never last more than a few weeks. I've been sick and deathly ill, I've been injured, had surgeries, been forced to stop running, yet I always return to running wholeheartedly. I just can't believe it's been that long.

Sadly, figure training and distance running don't mix very well. The last thing you want to do is burn precious muscle that you worked so hard to build by doing excessive long-form cardio.  I do miss running, and races, but right now it's just not an option. So until further notice, you can find me at the gym, I'll be there 5-6 days a week, hitting the weights and hitting them HARD.  After all, I'm only 3 weeks out from my first show!!!

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