Saturday, April 3, 2010

At Last...

I once had a friend (who was a runner) ask me why I liked to run. I don't remember what I told her then as it was years ago, but I realized recently that over the past couple of years I had forgotten what it was I liked about running and that I had begun to discover this love again. Everyone is different, but for me the turning point was just enjoying being active and pushing myself again. I did this with a different sport all together, rock climbing. I have spent the past few months really working hard to improve my upper body strength, my balance, and technique all for climbing. I was still running but I was really living for climbing.

To me climbing and running seemed so different and I tried to separate them in my mind and my life. So, the one day climbing reminded me of what I loved about running sort of blew me away. One day at the gym we decided to work on our endurance, so my climbing buddies and I picked a relatively easy route to top rope and did it as many times as we could without stopping. I climbed up and came down a lot and while I was doing it, instead of thinking about the wall in front of me all I could think about was how much I loved pushing my body and doing this type of work on the track not on the rock climbing wall. It was strange but this one endurance workout I got made me miss those countless hard workouts I have done over the years on the track--doing 800m, 1000m or even mile repeats with short recovery and feeling my body getting more and more tired with each interval yet feeling strangely energetic,strong and invinceable. This was a turning point for me. From that point on I slowly started taking running into consideration when I was planning climbing days. I began doing the little things again that need to be done, but I don't always find the time for (like taking ice baths). And my focus went from improving my climbing ability to getting ready for this marathon that I have committed to.

And now this past week I finally really felt like I had my first really successful week in my marathon build up. My mileage was higher, the hills and tempos were faster and I felt stronger. After my scheduled runs for tomorrow I will have put in 78.5 miles this week (I know not a ton, but if you looked at my training log over the past year you too would be excited) and run 2 pretty decent workouts with a long run Sunday. Thursday though was what got me motivated and ready for Jon (my coach) to bring it on. The workout wasn't much 2x3 miles with 5 mins recovery between. But I went into the workout feeling tired and not sure if I was going to be able to run the pace that was on my schedule, on the warm up I was nervous knowing this would be a turning point either way--a good day or a bad day was going to tell me a lot. Thankfully it was a great day. My pacing still needs some work as I seem to run very inconsistent splits which is unlike me (I have been called the metronome), but I was able to run controlled, relatively comfortable and still quick. I did my 2nd 3 mile 10 seconds faster than the first and it left me feeling like I could do more. I love that! So, now I just have to get through the next 11 weeks and I will be on the starting line in Duluth ready to run!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aqua Jogging 101

Running is the most fickle sport.

Well I fell off the BRC Blogging Wagon for a while but to tell you the truth there hasn't been much to tell lately. Training has pretty much been up and down and back and forth and all over the show for the last three weeks. After Jacksonville, I decided to just put in miles over the course of the following week before getting back to throwing in a couple workouts a week and going back to the more structured stuff working up to the Cherry Creek Sneak 5 mile on April 25th and then the Bolder Boulder 10k on May 1st, maybe something in between those two as well. Surprisingly I felt pretty good the week after the race. My first workout back I opted to do a 35 minute tempo run and was just going to go out and back from Colorado College. I ended up doing the run at 5 a.m. that day, so needless to say it was dark. I was heading south, looking all cool in my headlamp, got about 10 minutes in and hit a rough patch of ground going under a bridge by the Tent City, stuck my foot in a divot that I totally didn't see and found myself flat on my face in the middle of the trail. So I got up real fast to make sure no one saw that (if they did I was just going to pretend like it was totally on purpose....plyometrics or something), cussed out the divot, and kept going. It was actually a really good run minus the fact that falling in a hole isn't what I like doing first thing in the morning. Over the next couple days my hip/low back/quad/groin felt pretty crappy but I figured as long as stuff felt good by the long run on Sunday then no matter. There's no such thing as pain-free running anyway, it's a total myth--contrary to what Runner's World may tell you. The long "run" that Sunday with Kevin Bacon and Coach Klubousky was probably the most counterproductive thing I did the whole week (which is saying something) and I threw in the towel after 60 minutes of hobble-dom and feeling ridiculously off-kilter and like my hip/low back might break in half, and was in the pool for a couple days before starting running again, which went well for another couple days before inexplicably going downhill again so for now it is back to my three BFF's: Elliptical, Bike, and Pool. Primarily Pool. And let me tell you there is nothing better than having a lifeguard stare at you non-stop while you're doing intervals with the aqua-jogger on at 6 in the morning. Seriously like you're going to drown with a flotation belt on. It's almost enough to make you want to drown yourself.

In situations like these, I usually allow myself a 48 hour "Grieving" Period, where I mope around and feel sorry for myself and make bad decisions and drown my sorrows in Guinness and watch soppy movies and act like someone shot my dog and am just a generally miserable person to be around and I wouldn't blame anyone for shaking me. This is followed by a 24 hour Brow-Beating Period where I get mad at myself for feeling bad for myself (neurotic much?). Then I get a life and I pull my head out and get back to buisiness. And so it goes, it is the price for aspring to studly-ness! You gotta take your knocks.

So for the time being I'm doing interval stuff in the pool and doing the elliptical or bike on alternating days. Usually it's like 70-90 minutes worth of stuff in the pool, but I have a vivid imagination so time passes pretty quick. Usually I just pretend to be chasing some enormous doped-up Russian chick in some cross country race or something. Special. And I'm trying out running easy every couple days or so to see when things get to a point where I can train through the rest of it and still have it work its way out. Things are making progress so I'm not terribly worried. Been there and done that about a million times. In my spare time I'm working on this 1,000 piece puzzle that I've been piecing together intermittantly since 2006. It's supposed to be this kitten and puppy cuddling in this basket of yarnballs but I'm only about 30 pieces in so you can't tell yet. It really is quite adorable. But in any event, I'm still going to "nut up," as it was so quaintly put to me the other day, and do the Sneak in 3 weeks. It'll be my first time doing that race--I've only ever watched it and it looks like a fun one and is a great distance.

Anyways, I think it was Green Day who sang the words "Do you have the time/ to listen to me whine?"
And on that note, I'm out.

Hope everyone's training is going well, and for everyone's who isn't I hope you'll be on the up-and-up soon!

Happy Easter to everyone.