There will be no television coverage or live streaming, so keep your eyeballs trained on this website to get all the latest updates and heart-warming human interest stories as pertain to The Ellimpics.
Apparently, there was only one event yesterday...unless people are withholding their tales of injured-athlete incredibleness and inspiration until they properly proof-read and fact-check everything. The only event for which we have information at press time is...
The women's Elliptical Half-Marathon.
I was the event's lone competitor.
The fabulous race director (me) provided athlete tracking for my Number One Fan, with email updates roughly every 5K. The system also provided for cyber-cheering via Twitter and text. As one would expect with a high-profile event, the electronic timing devices, mileage markers, and heart-rate monitoring were accurate and highly visible...with only one hitch that will be revealed later in the story. And the fuel stations and hydration (grape Nuun, please) were plentiful and easily accessible.
My "A" goal was to break 90 minutes. I had done 1:40 as a z2-3 workout once before so I was somewhat confident that shifting the intensity to z3-4 could get me there. This would require an average pace of 6:50/mile. I decided to try and execute a "perfect" race plan...going out conservatively, bumping up intensity every quarter of the overall distance...using the first 10 miles as a "warm-up" and really being aggressive on the final 5K. Oh, and not dying of utter boredom while spinning my legs hard and going nowhere!
As I started out, I worked my heart rate to 140 some point in the first mile, which was completed in 6:50 (*boom* on the money and feeling like a freakin' walk in the park...truly effortless and joyful). Mile 2 was done in 6:40 and 3 in 6:36. I hit...
5K at 20:44 ...avg pace 6:41
I was in an amazing groove. It seriously felt like I could just go and go and go and go like this forever. I had a huge smile on my face. My heart rate was still right around 140, and my breathing was very even. My legs and mind were energized. "Just keep it right here," I told myself. "Just keep feeling good." I listened to this on iPod repeat from the start through Miles 4 (6:32) and 5 (6:27) and then switched to this for awhile. Mile 6 was done in 6:24, and then I hit...
10K at 40:46 ...avg pace 6:34
I had been trying to decide how to handle the fact that the elliptical timing would end at one hour. I knew I would need to restart. How to do this as seamlessly as possible? How to do this so that my mileage and time calculations would be easy? That I was able to figure out I would finish 9 miles in less than an hour speaks to my mental clarity and fluid effort. I was just cruising. This is how exercise should feel is what I kept telling myself as I passed Miles 7 (6:20) and 8 (6:22). I hit Mile 9 at 58:34 (6:23)...
and quickly restarted and reset my machine in less than 5 seconds. I got mentally ready for the shift I would make for my final 5K. Six minutes and fifteen seconds later, I hit...
10 miles at 1:04:49 ...avg pace 6:29
Here I switched to my GO music. Not sure why this one works for me, but it does. I can listen to it on repeat 10 times before I get sick of it or numb to it. It is perfect for me for a 5K. I bumped the resistance on the machine up one click and maintained the same cadence. My heart rate shifted into z4...not entirely comfortable but still able to feel relaxed and very focused. I was still beaming with happiness and almost incredulous that I could feel so good. Miles 11 and 12 were in 6:01 and 6 flat, respectively. Clicking up the resistance one more notch, I kept telling myself that I was almost there (knowing full well that there was no "there" because I wasn't going anywhere!). Mile 13 was the fastest at 5:36. And then I was done...
13.1 miles at 1:23:05 (+ 5 seconds for the reset) ...avg pace just under 6:21
"A" goal crushed.
The aftermath of intense physical effort is often not super attractive.
Or maybe it's just me?
And the facial expression belies the utter elation I was feeling at the moment.
If you're an injured athlete, I highly encourage you to participate in The Ellimpics. Feeling good and fit even if you aren't doing the one sport you love is so empowering and uplifting. And if you're not an injured athlete and you're thinking "Big f*ckin' whoop...so you did an hour plus on the elliptical...that isn't a real workout..." I invite you to a) deal with being hurt and not being able to do what you love for weeks/months/years and b) come inside, climb on, start it up, and see for yourself. You don't need to engage in high-impact to feel strong and healthy and alive.
It's time to stop lamenting that we cannot run very much for now and embrace the gifts we have, enjoy the outlets we can utilize, and celebrate what we can do.
What events are you thinking of doing? Click this link to see the schedule and rules :)