Showing posts with label satisfaction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label satisfaction. Show all posts

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rain disrupts my plans, but not my running

Weather fit for neither beast nor trail runner
Today's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

I ended up skipping yesterday's workout altogether, choosing to wait until this afternoon to run the trails with my friend. The early morning's weather was perfect, but unfortunately, it was the only good weather we had today. I glanced outside throughout the day and watched the sky grow increasingly darker. It would either clear up, or I'd be looking at rainy and muddy conditions at 4:00 PM.

Around 3:00 PM, my friend Chris called to check in. He was on Long Island for business and preparing to finish a meeting, before heading to my house. The rain was coming down in buckets and any hopes that it would taper off were gone. We decided to postpone our trail run until next week.

With my afternoon freed up, I refocused on a business project. I knew I had the option of running on the treadmill so, by 4:15, I'd decided to do that. In keeping with my plan to train at faster paces, I started on the edge of comfort and increased my speed periodically throughout the run.

Some people find treadmill running easier than outdoor running, but I have the opposite experience. 6.6 MPH (9:00/mile) on my Sole F63 feels like 5K race pace. I was determined get through the run, despite increasing discomfort. I bumped up the pace with a quarter mile to go and held it until I'd "covered" my planned distance.

It was definitely one of the hardest runs I've done in the last four weeks and I was glad that I didn't back off on my speed, even as the run got tougher. I need to maintain that mindset as I go through my Dirty Sock training. Even without Chris to push me or the challenges at Stillwell, I think made some good conditioning progress today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I love running, but do I actually love the run?

Race walking: not the best of both worlds 
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Back in the early '90's I lived in the city and walked just about everywhere that I needed to go. It would be nothing for me to cover 20 miles or more on a weekend. My wife is exactly the same. We'd walk 90 minutes a day back and forth between our office and our apartment on 74th Street despite rain, snow, heat or humidity. It kept us in great shape and it was easy because we both enjoyed the experience.

I thought about that on my run this morning as I made my way around my regular route. I was pushing myself harder than I had prior to re-employing my heart rate monitor and my resulting pace reflected that extra effort. I was pleased with my performance, but it occurred to me that the enjoyment of a hard run comes when you're finished, while a brisk walk is usually enjoyed in the moment.

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy a good run. When I'm on the trails I can really appreciate the experience with all five senses (well maybe not taste) and I do appreciate the feeling I get when doing an easy run on a crisp fall morning. It would be interesting if I could enjoy every run the way I do when I walk.

On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment, endorphin rush and the athleticism that comes from a run is something that cannot be easily attained by walking. I suppose race walking could fill that void but, frankly, it just seems a bit silly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Successful start to Cow Harbor training

Once again, it's about speed
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Nothing forces a runner to pay attention to their performance as much as a race. Once the registration is completed, the clock begins its countdown to the starting gun. A good outcome is never assured, but preparation is always key. With a click of the submit button on, I've once again committed to training for the Great Cow Harbor race.

Every race I run fits within an easy/hard continuum. On the easy end are 5K's that are run fast but over within a short time. The hardest effort I've experienced over the last couple of years has been the half marathon, mostly due to covering so much distance with race pace urgency. In between are runs between 4 and 6.2 miles, some harder than others.

Of these races, Cow Harbor is the biggest event by far. With over 5,000 runners invading Northport, NY, on a Saturday morning, it's a race experience that stands out above all others. The energy of the morning, as runners gather at the Laurel Avenue school, grows by the minute as participants move into their designated wave sections. The chill in the air gives no clue to the scorching heat we'll experience along the course.

This morning's chilly air gave me the spark to start my run fast and keep the pedal down until I'd finished. Everything clicked and, despite my harder than usual effort, I felt completely comfortable pushing my speed. I ended up finishing my run three minutes faster than I did last Friday. It was the first time I broke 9:00 per mile in months and I can't remember the last time I did it at 4:00 AM.

One run doesn't make me ready for Cow Harbor, but I'm happy with my performance on Day One of training. I have three weeks until I taper and rest and I'm hoping to continue to perform like this. Lots to do before September 15th, but I'm off to a good start.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The post-race question I'm always asked

Enjoy it while you can
The exhilaration that comes after a race has about the same shelf-life as a loaf of freshly baked bread. Right after a race, once I've re-hydrated, re-fueled and rested, the world looks perfect. Endorphins are still plentiful and I feel proud and satisfied. The day after a race has its charms, especially for me, because it's usually a Monday and I get to re-live the experience with work friends.

By the third day, the pride is still there, but the bread isn't quite as fresh. I begin to ask myself questions like "Should I have taken two rest days as planned, or powered through and done an easy run today?" and "What's next to do after all that base training to prepare for my half marathon?" By Tuesday, not too many people are asking about my weekend.

I was asked (four times) yesterday, if I was now going to do a marathon (or in one case, a real marathon). My answer remained the same: No. If all things were equal, but I were 20 years younger, I would probably consider running a full marathon some day. But for me, the ability to run a 26.2 mile race isn't something that I feel I need to do. If I can break 2:00 for 13.1 miles, that would mean more to me. An accomplishment like that would keep me excited, long past Tuesday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Unexpectedly positive run

Today's run (street): 2.64 miles at 9:09 per mile

I was ambivalent about going for a run today. Tuesday and Wednesday's runs were tough and I questioned whether I was pushing myself too hard. The last two times I went out it seemed like I just couldn't get myself out of second gear and I wasn't looking to repeat that experience today. With the temperatures approaching 80 degrees by 6:00 AM and the dew point rising, I considered cranking the AC and jumping on the elliptical. I decided to run but to keep my pace moderately slow. I targeted a top end range on my HRM and I used that as a guide for my level of exertion. Wearing my Kinvaras I took off at a comfortable pace and I was surprised to find the effort was less than anticipated.

Although I had a little more time than usual this morning (I took the day off for my son's graduation) I wasn't planning to go out for more than 25 minutes. The tightness of my upper hamstring was hardly noticeable and, unlike yesterday's run, I had no pain in my right knee. After about five minutes I knew that it would be a good run regardless of my overall pace. Mile one seemed to come when I expected it and I hoped that last night's calibration had finally restored the Garmin's accuracy. I didn't feel like I was moving along very quickly but I refused to look at my watch because I didn't want to feel pressure to speed up. The second mile came faster that I expected it and I was farther from my house than I thought I'd be when I hit that mark. I finished the run with 2.64 miles recorded and thought that the Garmin was way off. My heart rate never climbed to a level of high exertion so I expected my true distance was far less than indicated. When I got inside I Gmapped my route and it came to 2.64 miles so not only is the Garmin accurate but I hit 9:09 on a brutally hot morning.

It was a great feeling knowing I was back running closer to 9 minutes per mile. My son's graduation followed and was also great. He was a host for the day so I got to see him up on the podium a number of times introducing speakers and talking about the school year. A great day with a great start. In terms of my runs, I'll see what tomorrow brings.

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