Thursday, March 5, 2009

My new favorite thing... running! I am having a hard time believing it too, but even in crappy weather, or when I'm tired, I can still find the joy in it. I surprise myself because until this year, the run was the worst of three disciplines for me, a necessary evil. Some of my angst with running is probably due to the fact that I was plagued by injuries last year (ITB syndrome, Baker's cyst) and poor running form! But since Ironman Florida, something has clicked. Even during the hardest parts of that Ironman run, it didn't suck nearly as much as I thought it would! (And man, did I think it was going to suck!)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not all of a sudden running 6 minute miles (FAR from it) or banging out 30+ miles a week. I leave that to rr. My speed is what it is right now, which is a very consistent 10 minute/mile pace. My tempo on long runs is perfect for me--I can pick it up to get across streets quickly, and I have just enough gas in the tank to sprint out the last 1/2 mile. My form has improved dramatically from 2004, when I first started running tris. I used to run rather haunched over and remember very specifically at mile 22 of my first marathon how much my abs hurt. (I know that my core strength has improved significantly since then.) I now can run my half mile repeats in about 3:46, and my timed mile (which usually for coach Marco Diablo came after repeats or a long run) were just over 8 minutes. I'm fine with that. I know when we start our tempo workouts later this month I'll be pushing my pace and heartrate.

My normal running route takes me down towards the James River, through a very quiet neighborhood where I can let Sophie off the lead to traipse through the woods. While I run that same road at least once a week, the scenery never gets boring. Earlier this week when there was still snow on the ground, you noticed what lay farther back in the woods--woods that are hidden most of the summer by lush greenery. During peak foliage time, it is quite magical too, raining leaves and glittering gold and red. My 6 and 8 mile routes take me along that part twice, with the way home a one mile climb back up the hill. I have started leaving the ipod at home more, and nothing beats running in the rain, listening to the water hit the leaves, pavement, and brim of my visor. There are days when I'm tired and need the music to motivate me (like today), and sometimes it's nice to find a catchy tune that pushes me up the hills or through the last painful mile. Today's song was

what i like about you
you keep me warm at night
never wanna let you go
you know you make me feel alright
keep on whispering in my ear
tell me all the things that i wanna hear
cuz its true thats what i like about you
thats what i like about you

I am looking forward to the second half of this year, when I start training earnestly for a fall marathon. Nothing like a morning run in the crisp fall air, with leaves cascading around you and crunching underfoot. Bliss.

On an unrelated note, I want to bitch about something....people who chat chat chat away during spin sessions or who obviously don't have enough tension on their trainers. Hello?! It's a workout. If you're still chatting through the intervals, your trainer needs to be tightened up. I can barely put 3 words together and am gasping for air. Social hour comes during the warm up or afterwards, not during the "hardest gear! stand!" part of the session. Hardest gear to me means it better be damn hard to maintain even 60rpm standing. I'm talking sweat dripping down, being focused on form to pull and push HARD. Still doing 80rpms in your hardest gear does not do you any favors once you get outside. And seriously, isn't that the point of coming to the workout? Thanks for listening, I'll step off my soap box now.


Sherry said...

LOL --> gotta comment fist on the spin class... I KNOW what you mean! I see people bouncing all over the place on their bikes, spinning at what looks like a cadence of 150! It's insane! Glad their workout isn't "my" workout if ya know what I mean?!? :o)

Kate, I felt the same way about running. It was, is and will probably always be the tri element that I am 'not as balanced' in compared to the other two. With that in mind, I started working at it 'hard' last year... trying to turn myself into a runner. Somewhere during all of that I fell in LOVE with it. It's still my worst tri element, but it's also the one that I love training for the most. Enjoy the ride... er, run! :o)

rr said...

Yeah for running-love! I am with you, I'm running daily right now and just loving every minute of it. It's so efficient.. no gear, just out the door and off you go. So glad you found the run-mojo.

Molly said...

wOOHOO! I am so glad you have happy running mojo going right now! Memorize these moments in your brain so that you can recapture them when a hard run comes along later. Looking forward to seeing you next week!

kerrie said...

i am glad you have found your thing! i love the simplicity of running - you can just get out the door and get it done and besides shoes, you don't need any special equipment!
and oops, that was probably me in your spin class! lol...sometimes i just can't stop talking ;)

GoBigGreen said...

great post:) I share that "love to run but I am scared bc of past injury" thing but keep trusting your body and your coach and it will be fine!
chatty spin people well... I haven't been once this winter and I used to go 2x week. Now masters interferes so I have an excuse!
c u soon! I can help with your bike when you get in.

TriGirl 40 (okay - 41) said...

Can you spread that running love? I kind of loved not being able to run (while also panicking about getting so far behind with it)!

Denise W said...

I'm with you on the fall running time of the year to get outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature (very descriptive prose there too, my dear, says the school teacher). Enjoyed this post alot.

Jennifer Cunnane said...

Yeahhhh!!! I am so happy that you are seeing improvement - that is so great, you deserve it. Pretty soon you will be knocking off those sub 8, then 7? miles!

Heather Gollnick said...

Hey Girl,

Keep up the great work !! I love it - you are a RUNNER. And a belated Happy Birthday to you as well :)
All the best Heather