Showing posts with label perspective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label perspective. Show all posts

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Confirming normality after yesterday's tough run

Today's run (street): 4.5 miles

I'll admit that I was nervous about today's run because I was concerned I'd struggle again like yesterday.  I had hoped the lethargy and weighty feeling in my legs was due to having a large lunch prior to running. The paranoid part of me was thinking that my problems at Caleb Smith were a sign that I'm fighting a virus or my level of conditioning has dropped. 

After stalling for 45 minutes, I finally got into (running) gear and stepped outside. The weather this weekend has been in the high 40's but the occasional rain made it seem colder. I dressed a little lighter than yesterday and hoped I wouldn't regret it. As I stood outside waiting for my Garmin to acquire a signal, I noticed that there was a moderate breeze coming in from the north.

The moment of truth came when I headed up the first road and compared my level of energy to yesterday's start. Despite the wind, I was pulling strongly up the slight incline and it was clear that I was back to strength. It felt like I was carrying fifteen extra pounds through most of yesterday's run, but today I had no such issues.

Once I understood that things were back to normal, I focused on covering my planned distance. I've definitely hit a lull in terms of weekly mileage and my base has dropped a little. Without any races on the calendar I'm seeing my performance curve dropping. It's reminding me why I compete.

I rounded the neighborhood at a pace near the high end of my average. I was comfortable and had no fatigue,although my legs felt a little rubbery. I'll take rubbery legs over legs that feel weighted down so no complaints there. By the time I reached home I'd raised my heart rate into zone 4. I finished the run feeling worked out but far better than I did at the end of yesterday's run.

The best part about today's run was that it confirmed that yesterday's struggles were an aberration with an attributable cause.  This will go down as another low mileage week (15!) but I expect to resume base building next weekend. I'd really like to get back onto the Bethpage trail and run for a while.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My favorite thing about the race

Photo courtesy of Newsday
My favorite thing about yesterday's race wasn't the PR, the medal or the feeling of crossing the line after two hours of running. It was the fun of the day, being around people that I knew, who were sharing the same experience as me. Last year's half marathon was a singular effort. I traveled alone, ran the race alone and had little contact with anyone else until I'd finished the race.

I wasn't alone before or after the Half Marathon and it made a big difference for me. My family often joins me at races and it always feels special when they do. But a half marathon is a long time to wait on the sidelines for someone that you see only for a moment. I had my special after-race time with my wife and kids when I got home yesterday, and it was great.

Over the course of two hours and eight minutes, there's a lot of time to think. The field was crowded and that allowed me many opportunities to study the runners ahead of me. I'm always amused by what some people wear during a race. At other times, my mind drifted to non-race related things, and I found myself surprised to be passing mile markers so quickly. I spend a lot of time "in the zone" over that 13.1 miles.

Most importantly, I had fun while I ran yesterday's race, and that was completely opposite to my previous experience running the half. You train a lot and pay money to enter a race. If you don't enjoy it, you shouldn't do it. The LI Half was certainly worth the price of admission. In fact, it's much more than that.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thoughts before my half marathon

I'll admit that I've assigned a lot more importance to this weekend's half marathon than is probably justified. After all, it's just a race, one of ten or eleven that I plan to run this year. It's not even my first half marathon. But the LI Half Marathon is important to me, because race performance is a reflection of all the work I've done to train for the event. Races validate conditioning and reveal shortcomings.

I think of Sunday's race two different ways. On one hand, I'll wake up early and think about the fact that I'll be racing a distance equal to traveling from mid-town Manhattan to Newark, NJ. Two-plus hours of constant motion -- running, not walking. On the other hand, I think about how almost every Saturday, for the past eight weeks, I've run a distance at Bethpage that was progressively longer than any run I've done this year. No stress on those runs. I just ran until I finished.

I hope I keep the latter point in mind as I line up for the 8:00 AM start on Sunday. I definitely want to do better than last year and, thankfully, I am not suffering the same knee pain that made the 2011 race especially difficult. I have a stretch goal time, a realistic goal time, an expected time, and last year's time. I'm curious to see what the timing clock says when I cross the finish line.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

1,000 posts later and I'm still Emerging

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Almost three years ago I published my first post on the Emerging Runner blog. The subject of the post was "Yeah, I'm a runner", a tongue and cheek joke I have with my wife about things I did one time (rock climbing, sailing a 12 meter yacht, fly fishing) and then bragged about it for weeks. But, in running, I was determined to be more than a dilettante. I was ready to commit.

I started running after changing my diet in August of 2008, controlling portion sizes of my meals and making better choices with food. At the same time, I started walking, first on the treadmill and then out in the neighborhood. A month into it I started looking up the road and challenging myself to run to the corner. Soon it was a full street and eventually my walks became runs.

It took about six weeks for me to transition from fitness walking to running, and my commitment was helped along with the strong support of my family and friends. I liked I how felt after I ran and I was fortunate to begin to lose weight quickly. By the time I started the blog in November 2008, I had lost over 30 lbs. No magic diet, pills, shakes or fasts. It was simply eating less and doing more.

I started the blog as a journal to record my progress and as a way to tap into the community of runners. Over the last three years I've received many valuable suggestions, tried most, and adopted some. Even today, I welcome advice from runners like Paul, Dave, Adam and Brian who generously share their expertise and experience.

What have I written about in a thousand posts? A look at the "tags" list on the left side of the blog will answer that question. I mostly write about my runs, but I also like to share what I've learned from other runners. I'm out almost every day, and after three years, I've seen a lot of things on the roads and trails. I often wish I'd stayed with my running back in the '90's because I'd have all that experience to draw on by now. Then I think that I might have developed bad knees from all that running and I feel better for my more recent return.

One thousand post, hundreds of runs and twenty races later, I still feel like I'm an emerging runner. Every run is different and I'm still learning new things. Running gives me a reason to write and writing demands content, so I'm motivated to run. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and for connecting through email and comments. It's great to have friends who share this passion. I'll keep writing if you'll keep reading.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Running difficulty? It's mostly in your head

I reached a point in both my runs this weekend where I thought "Gee, this is hard." But when I thought about it I couldn't really identify the thing that was making my run feel difficult. I wasn't having trouble with my breathing or my knee. My legs were beginning to lose energy but they weren't painful. I realized that the run felt hard because I had covered a certain distance and assumed that's how I should be feeling.

The mild discomfort I felt after four miles of steady pacing was nothing compared to the "I just want it to stop!!" feeling I'd experienced during last Sunday's half marathon. I tried to think about how I'd felt four miles into that 13.1 mile race. Four miles represented only 30% of the distance I'd prepared to cover, while on Sunday it represented my full distance. Had I previously decided to run five miles instead of four would my discomfort have started later? It's clear to me that the hardest part of running (until you reach your physical limits) is preventing a perception of difficulty from undermining a good run.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Perspective on running goals

I enjoy talking to long term runners because it helps me set expectations for my own progress. I'm still a beginner who views a (comfortable) four mile run as a goal but I hope that I will eventually get to a level where I consider that a routine distance. When I first started running the thought of entering a marathon seemed crazy but now I realize that goals are what get people to actually go outside and run every day (or so). I have no interest in running a marathon or even a half marathon but I do aspire to reach a level of fitness over the next couple of years where I can run credibly in a 10K race. Increasing distance or pace is a realistic objective for all runners and it can be done against your own timeline. If I'm going to be competitive for the 5K in May I'll need to be comfortable running at least 4 miles. I know I can get close to that now but not yet at a pace that I want published in race results!

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