Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Roll: Desiree Davila

This winter I decided to try something a little different. I opted to steer away from marathon training for the majority of 2010 and focus on some short, quick, track races. The training segment was about getting my legs turning over and trying to build some speed. At the start of the segment, this seemed like a fun, fresh idea, and a good way to get in some aggressive racing and take some risks. Or, maybe I just subconsciously wanted to avoid running outside all winter long and masked it as a chance to work on speed. Whatever the reasons, my marathon mind and legs decided to make a drastic change and try out some 3000m indoor track races.

One of the biggest perks of a speed segment is I get to race a lot. One of the biggest drawbacks of a speed segment is I race… a lot. Physically, no problem, this is what I train for. I show up on race day ready to go and race hard. The recovery days are built into the schedule and training is planned and adjusted as needed. Mentally, it can add up. I build myself up for every race and bring an energy level and excitement that makes the race coming up, the most important race on the schedule. Come race day I fight off the demons that we all face, the ones that tell us we can’t, that tell us it hurts too much, and remind us it would be easier to be a professional drummer and we could party more too. Of course, it doesn’t end there. If I expect to be successful and make improvements then I have to go back and analyze the entire process through to the outcome and deal with the successes or disappointments of it all.

This is the process that takes place every time out and when I’m racing often it can start to wear on me. Focus too much and I’ll burn myself out before the big races roll around, not enough and it will certainly show in my performance. Dwell too much on any one result and I’ll find myself with inflated expectations that will inevitably leave me crashing back to reality at some point. Or perhaps, I’ll end up at the bottom of a hole I’ve dug myself into, that is so deep I can no longer see the confidence I’ve built up over the previous months and years. It’s a delicate balance that, even with years of practice, can be difficult to maintain.

As I near the end of this speed segment it’s, suddenly, starting to feel a little long. Winter is long gone and I’ve shifted from 3000m workouts inside, sheltered from the cold, to 10,000m workouts at 7PM in the heat and humidity. I’ve been to races and places across the country, gearing up and coming down from race after race for quite a few months now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there hasn’t been built in rest or that I’m feeling fatigued, but the thoughts of the marathon are, not so slowly, creeping out from the back of my mind. I’m starting to itch for heavy mileage, some nice aggressive long runs, and consecutive weeks of hard training with no backing off for races.

The biggest races of this summer's speed segment are upon me now, and I can count the number of track workouts remaining on one hand. Yet, the past few weeks the important sessions highlighted and asterisked in my mind seem to be the long runs, the ones that I’ve become so comfortable with during marathon training. I’ve been aggressive enough on recent long runs that I’ve found myself feeling flat and slow for the speed sessions that I’m really trying to focus and improve on, but I’ve been brushing it off as, ‘I’m not great at the speed stuff anyway.’

These blogs can be interesting as they serve as insight for others as to what’s going on in an athlete’s mind, training, or life. Sometimes, as in this case, it’s insight for the athletes themselves. Until I sat down to write about the track season, I hadn’t really realized where my head was at these past few weeks. With time winding down on my segment, my goal for the remaining couple of weeks is to refocus, stay present, and really enjoy the current process. I’ll be consciously focusing on the speed work left and bringing that same energy and excitement to the track that I started the year off with. Besides, I’m sure it won’t be long into the marathon segment before I’m itching to dig the old Wires out of the back of the closet and get out and race fast.

Desiree blogs on FLOTRACK