...is 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.