Less enthusiasm than last week

Last week when I got back from my “long” run for the week I was pumped. I felt great the entire run, unfortunately, I can’t say the same for this week’s run. In the third mile I started getting a cramp, which I was able to nip in the bud, but it took a good quarter mile of slowing my pace and really concentrating on my breathing, which is fine, except I wasn’t exactly burning it up as it was. I did 5.25 in 40 minutes. Not too stellar.

I can think of a lot of reasons why the run wasn’t as quick as I’d have liked for it to have been. I didn’t sleep well last night. I lifted weights at 7pm. I went for a semi-long walk with my wife and my son before lifting weights. There was some car out there that I saw in multiple neighborhoods that I thought was the paper guy, but towards the end I got the impression maybe not so much. There didn’t seem to be a logical pattern to the different places I’d run across him. Now I’m not paranoid, and I wasn’t jumping in bushes or anything, but at 5:30 am in the middle of a long run, I made sure he only saw me once :)

All-in-all, I mostly felt ok through the run. This is the second run in a row where I started getting a cramp, which really sucks. I’ve managed to avoid that pain in the side up until this week. I’m not sure what’s going on there, I don’t think I’ve changed anything. Maybe I’m not drinking enough water. Maybe I’m running too fast, which is throwing my breathing off. Slowing down and really concentrating on my breathing is what made it go away today, though it kept trying to come back.

Last week I proclaimed that maybe I was indeed still a runner, this week, I’m saying let’s see if I get through this half marathon in November and then take it from there.

Changing things up

I’ve been running in the afternoons this week just to see how I liked it. I have to be honest, while it’s nice to be out in the daylight, I don’t really think I’m ready to convert just yet. In another month it won’t matter, it’ll be dark after work, so that’s one of the benefits eclipsed, and there will be more traffic, which is a strike against running while the rest of the world is awake as far as I’m concerned. Add to that the fact that I’ve felt pretty sluggish in the mornings all week and that I fully expect to be working pretty much around the clock 7 days a week until the elections come and go, I don’t see any positive in messing with my routine just yet.

If I make it a priority first thing in the morning it will get done, simple as that. If I put it off until after work, there’s the danger that I’ll be too tired or moody to force myself out the door.

Today was 3.61 miles at a 7:26 per mile pace. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, it kinda sucked. I caught a cramp in the second mile that just wouldn’t go away so the last mile and a half was rough. I know adversity is good, it teaches you to work through the difficult times, but man, that stitch came out of nowhere. I know that’s just part of it, but it’s days like today that make me question if I really have what it takes to be a runner again. I finished the run, but it slowed me down pretty severely.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve started tracking my splits, which while not completely scientific given the fluctuation in terrain I deal with over the miles, the trend hasn’t really been what I’d call desirable. For instance today it broke down like this:

Mile 1 – 7:08
Mile 2 – 7:25 (14:34)
Mile 3 – 7:40 (22:14)
Final .61 – 4:32 (26:47)

I’d like to see those numbers either going down, or at least staying closer together. This tells me I haven’t really found my pace yet. Some of the discrepancy today can be attributed to the cramp, and other days I’ve attributed it to the change in elevation of certain miles along a route, but all-in-all I’d really like to see them closer together.

I’d love to run the half marathon in November with a few negative splits thrown in. I guess we’ll see.

The weekly wrap

The last 2 weeks will be remembered as the time when I rediscovered the joy (and the agony) of running hills. My little neck of the woods is littered with hills. Short steep ones, long, gradual ones and everything in between. As my mileage is starting to pick up, I’m able to incorporate more of these monsters in my runs, which hurt like hell at the time, but I know it’ll pay dividends in the future. I just wish I could run up them without ever having to run back down the steep ones. Coming down is pretty rough on the knees.

I did my first 5 mile run of the training cycle this morning. It was a terrific run. No fear and doubt this week. The weather was cool, humidity was low and after a mile or two my body really fell into a rhythm and I was cruising. The only down side to the run came around the third mile, when I came around the corner into a wall of smoke. The first time I passed by I thought it was someone trying to skirt the burn ban, burning leaves at a time of the day that not too many would notice, but as I passed back by about 5 minutes later it was pretty clear that if that was the case, it wasn’t being controlled properly. The fire wasn’t raging or anything, but I was glad some guy in a truck had stopped to call for help, otherwise I was going to have to cut the run short and make the call myself because it had definitely spread some.

This is one of those days that I’m feeling encouraged again. Maybe I am still a distance runner. Sweet!

On the weight front, after 4 months of steady, week-after-week loss, this is the first week that I don’t seem to have lost any weight. I’ve held steady at 182-ish since last weekend. I think that’s OK. I knew I was slipping and being a little too liberal with my eating. I haven’t been eating much bad stuff, but I’ve been allowing myself to have a snack in the evenings (the rationale being that I have to run at 4:30am, I might as well have some fuel in the tank), so I think I’ll need to cut that out.

That’s really it. Next week is the same training regimen. strength/3.5mi/2mi/3.5mi+strength/5mi/cross.

I’m really kind of looking forward to that 2 mile run going away. That’s not enough time to get warmed up, so it never stops hurting. I’ve been trying to do it in 14 minutes, but so far I haven’t made it. The closest I got was 14:30. I blame the hills. Damn hills!

Too liberal?

No, I’m not talking politics. Trust me, I’ll never bring up politics here. I’m wondering if I’m being too liberal with giving myself the ability to shuffle around my rest day. I wonder if I’m setting myself up for the day where I just skip a workout entirely. I know that once my long runs actually become long runs I’m going to need to insulate it with a rest day, I just haven’t gotten to that point yet. 4 miles, while not quite walk in the park for me yet, just isn’t really that taxing on the mind or the body.

Anyway, I just couldn’t bear to get out of bed at 4:30am this morning, and comfortable with the knowledge that I can always just do it tomorrow, which is supposed to be my rest day, I slept in. I wonder if you can call sleeping until 5:30am sleeping in?

On one hand, I do like that I’m allowing myself some flexibility which is good, because in the past I’ve always been rigid to a fault. Of course, that sort of goes along with my personality in general. Either I’m working out and eating well, or I’m sitting on the couch eating like crap, there’s never middle ground when it comes to this stuff.

I guess time will tell. I only have to get through 2 more months of crazy crazy, no telling when I’ll leave the office work before I can settle down and get back to normal, which, I imagine will probably entail running in the evenings. I’m a morning person, but this 4:30am stuff isn’t something I can see myself doing for the long haul. Not only is it crazy early, but it’s pretty damn creepy out there too. I can’t help but feel I’m putting myself out there in a way that’s probably not so smart. I felt okay about it at first because I’d see a couple of other people out here too, but in the last couple of weeks I haven’t seen anyone besides the paper guy, some car the other morning that pulled over up ahead of me but ended up driving off and a couple of cops that I hope were just passing through.

I’ve actually felt fine with it when running round my neighborhood and the two directly adjacent to it, but on Tuesday’s 3 miler I just could not bear the thought of the same old same old, so I took off down the road that serves as a thoroughfare between a couple of more heavily trafficked roads. That’s where I had the car pull off ahead of me. They kept going before I even got close, and there are several reasonable explanations, but it felt weird, probably just because I’m the cautious type. Oh well, I ramble. I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll be back out there tomorrow am getting my 3 miles in, followed by 4 on either Saturday or Sunday, depending on how the old legs feel.

Running 101

3 miles this morning, felt terrific! Better update to come later this week during the weekly wrap up.

I’m sure anyone following things here are way past this stage of their running, but I think it has some merit, so I thought I’d post it just for the fun of it.