Saturday, March 19, 2011

An unsatisfying dessert

Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.3 miles

Have you ever been served your favorite dessert only to be disappointed after eating it? What should have been an enjoyably indulgent experience ends up lacking and all you're left with is the calories. I thought about that analogy during my run at Stillwell Woods this afternoon as I pushed myself along the trail. After being snowed out of Stillwell since November I was hoping that today's run would be a welcome dessert after the gruel of a tough winter.

I'm a morning runner and generally perform with less energy as the day goes on. A busy morning prevented me from doing an early run so I decided to try a trail run after lunch. Despite today's struggles, there was nothing I could blame on fatigue or hunger. I'd gotten a full eight hours sleep, had a light, nutritious lunch and waited an hour before I headed out. I felt relatively energetic at the start but soon after I'd reached the interior trails at Stillwell I started feeling lethargic and had trouble getting comfortable with my stride. My plan to take on some of the more difficult trails gave way to an easier, flatter route. After a while my aerobic breathing came in balance and the running got easier but my legs still felt heavy.

About halfway through my run I forced myself to stop thinking negatively about my running and, instead, paid attention to the beautiful sights along the trail. That helped me get through the remainder of my route and despite feeling overworked I finished with an overall pace in the high-nine range. Studies have shown that people perform better in the afternoon than in the morning, regardless of what time they usually train. Perhaps that's why my performance was decent despite my difficulties.

A final note: This morning my wife attended the Gabriel Gifford Honorary Save-a-Life training session that was put on by our local Red Cross. She found this hands-on program extremely useful. Later in the day she reviewed what she'd learned with the kids, using a training kit she purchased while she was there. On top of that she was interviewed by WCBS radio and she talked about the fact that many people fear CPR because they think it requires mouth-to-mouth contact when in truth this process can be effectively administered using only your hands.

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