I GOT STAMINA

time

I GOT STAMINA

Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
Well, oh, I got stamina
And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

stamina

THE WHY: When I committed to running CIM in late summer, my heart and mind were in a great place. I had just taken a break from the track trials and decided to let myself physically and mentally heal until I was ready to train again. One hot summer morning run along dusty Woody Mt. Rd, I got an itch. I said to myself “I’m ready to train for the marathon again.” I sheepishly texted coach Ben “I know I’m not supposed to be thinking about running but I thought about it today. IS CIM too crazy, too soon?” He said let’s see if you keep progressing positivity that could handle a full load by September. Our running camp was in a few weeks, Hudson would be turning 1 next month, Riley just over 2, both sleeping well for the most part, I almost had this parenting thing figured out, and I was working my tail off on retraining my core and correcting all the weaknesses that sidelined me before the Olympic Track trials.
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Sure it was a little risky and unpredictable as to how I would respond to marathon training being 1 year post partum but I was ready. There’s a mental component in a marathon build up alongside the physical demands. You’ll doubt, you question, you nick pick detail after detail. You’ll feel superhuman fit one week and then not even able to run a decent pace on your easy days the next. It’s like a ping pong match inside your brain, telling you you’ve nailed that workout, only to follow it up with you failed this workout. I was ready to go to battle in my mind again, to feel the burning of my quads 20 miles into my 24 miler, to keep pushing in a workout when your muscles are screaming please stop. To redeem myself as a marathoner, to dust over the rust, and to prove the best years are still ahead. I had 12 weeks until CIM.

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THE WHAT: If you’re interested in my entire log and build up, you can geek out at my log on Final Surge. To simplify I’ll give you a few of the juicy and what I felt crucial components to my build up. In early September I was just putting in mileage, building back a strong core, working on hip strength, and increasing my long runs. I carved out several hours a week to do strength work at HYPO2 with Wes, and at home each night I did 30-40 mins of core training designed by Celeste Goodson from ReCore. I’ll be writing another blog devoted to this and my DR.

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workout

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Since my workouts weren’t very intense yet I usually would hit my long runs pretty steady with a moderately hard effort. I ran 3 solid 18-19 milers with Sally Kipyego, who went on to crush it with a 2nd place at NYC Marathon. We’d average 6:30s for our long runs on dirt at 7000ft. About 6 weeks into my training, I raced the TC 10 miler. It was slightly embarrassing and a little blow to my ego as I placed 10th in 55:30. I hadn’t had enough workouts behind me but in the big picture, CIM was the focus not the 10 miler. I turned the corner fitness wise fairly quickly after the race, running 12 miles @5:46 pace around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis the next weekend. I felt smooth and in control. The month of October came and went with a string of solid workouts:

10m

10 x 1500 @5:19 avg. with 1 min rest (7000ft)
3 x 3 mile @5:40 pace with 1 mile jog rest (3300ft)
4 miles @6:00, 8 miles @6:40 pace, 4 mile @ 6:00, 5:57, 5:54, 5:43 (7000 ft)
24 miles no carbs in 2:51:34 (7000ft)
12 miles alternating 6 min pace, 7 min pace (7000ft

QUICK RACE RECAP: On NYC Marathon weekend we flew out to Manhattan as I had a speaking event at NYC Custom PT alongside my running friends and heroes Kara Goucher, and Ryan and Sara Hall. The reception of the NY running community is unlike any other. I was honored to be speaking to this group of people. Thanks to the guys at NYC Custom PT. Saturday morning I lined up for the Dash to the Finish 5k. Yes I had chosen to run a 5k in the midst of marathon training, where Coach Ben did not back me off, running 102 miles that week. Silly me. But I love racing and I love NYC. I knew I was fit, just didn’t know how that translated to the 5k. The field was loaded with talent from various Olympians, 5k and 10k studs, and just plain tough women. As I warmed up, my legs feeling like sludge, just started my period (sorry TMI) but it’s a real pain in you know … I don’t think I broke 9 mins for my first mile on my warm up. Now if we let how we feel on our warm ups determine our race success, we would all fall miserably. It was a cold and calm morning in Manhattan and I told myself to get uncomfortable, you’re strong right now, so keep pushing. Gun went off, butterflies flew away and I found myself sprinting down 1st Ave. I came through 2 miles in 10:17, put my head down crested up the hill into Central Park and kept hammering. I flew by the most unruly crowd going bananas a.k.a ‘Oiselle Cowbell Corner” and past the 26 mile mark thinking of all the marathoners who would pass this tomorrow. I crossed the line, 3rd place in 16:07. It was a successful race and weekend, now back to the grind.

kara

race5k

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flight

THE WHO: You’ve heard the saying “it takes an army.” Well that couldn’t be more accurate in my life. So this next part is a thank you, an ode to the players in my and the boys life who have gotten me to the starting line healthy and excited. My NAZ Elite teammates who have inspired me by their work ethic and gutsy races. Oiselle for the power and possibility created by the flock, the flystyle, and the unwavering belief. To HOKA for the support and for fastest and most durable marathon shoes, the Tracers. It really is TIME TO FLY.  Eric and the PRO Compression community, for always keepingittight. Wes Gregg at HYPO2, John Ball the guru, my massage therapists Shea, Bradley, Angie, and Monica. (yes I have 4, I love them all). Thanks for dealing with my crazy, end of the world 48 hour injury scares. To my pacer and pal Rivers for the enthralling conversations and miles on Lake Mary. Picky Bars for fueling my workouts and races and for the chance to live life like we want. Ali Gregg for preparing and inspiring my meals during this buildup. My coach Ben and his wife Jen who manage it all with patience, poise, professionalism, and fun. To my husband Ben who tags in when I’m ready to tag out, who steps up when I’m stepping down. Who talks me off the ledge, when I’m looking straight down. I would not be the woman I am without you. My boys giving me perspective it’s just running. The fans, you crazy, hard core, sincere, hilarious followers of my career and journey. You give me hope on days it looks dark. You make me laugh reading your comments. You inspire me to get the most out of myself, and you fill the streets and stands, and corrals with your love and dedication to the sport. My family and friends, thanks for always understanding when I can’t make it because I have to run:) Lastly to my mom, my biggest fan, I will be racing for you Sunday.
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coach

family

 

THE HOW: The last few weeks I’ve hit some peaks and valleys in ways I could not control. The best advice I’ve ever taken from marathon cycles is “don’t be too married to a plan that you will sacrifice health and risk injury to follow that plan. I’ve had to make some concessions on days, push back workouts, miss a few days due to illness, my kids waking up in the middle of the night, and a little injury scare. But what marathon cycle is flawless? Really? A marathon cycle has to be yours, not someone else’s and not one written in stone. Coach Ben has done a great job adapting to my life and my schedule and I think I have grown as a runner and a human in my approach to this 26.2 journey coming up. That’s the thing it isn’t just a race, it’s a journey. It’s a journey of self discovery, of who you are made of, of how much you can go through, of how much you’re willing to go through, of what you want from yourself. I want a successful first marathon post baby. I wanted to show up to the line healthy, which I’m proud to say I am. And deep down in that dark scary place you don’t wanna tell people, I want to win the race and destroy my PR of 2:29:35. What’s your deep scary place? Let’s find out Sunday.

 

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” -Rocky

Dream Big
Steph

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