Sunday, September 9, 2012

It hadn't been ingrained yet/Different kinds of seasons

I was at the gym yesterday at my university, which is where I do my cycling on a stationary and all of my strength training.  While the gym is open to graduate students as well as the undergrads, it's mainly the undergrads there.  Which means:

  • The guys are all wearing white wifebeaters and grunting through their workouts
  • The girls have t-shirts from every college event possible, from orientation to pub crawls
  • Their conversations are...interesting to say the least
But all teasing aside, they are there: at the gym during their college years.  They've carved out time between classes and activities and parties to get there.  And I have to applaud that.  I went to the gym a little bit when I was in college - mainly to do the elliptical and some lifting of 5 pound weights, but not with any regularity.  I'd have those little spurts where I'd go 3 times a week...and then 3 weeks later, that stopped.  And picked up again 2 months later.  Or on Friday afternoons, my friends and I would play tennis or basketball (I was a real contribution to the team if you can imagine) for 2 hours and call it good.  Watching the undergrads made me flash back to my Holy Cross days when I spent 10 hours a week singing, not running.  A different time...and it was just over 4 years ago.
Anyways, I was thinking about all of this, and I was remembering that there used to be a time when I didn't have a regular exercise routine.  But it wasn't engrained yet to stick with an exercise routine.  If I missed a day, or two, or maybe a week, I didn't blink twice.  That was the old me.
The new a bit more neurotic.  Or organized - depending on your point of view.
And the new me has 2 races coming up!  I am doing the Navy 5 miler next Sunday - first race in a couple of months, and then on the following Saturday, the Clarendon Day 5k (one of my favorite 5ks). Very excited - racing is my favorite part of the running game.
Speaking of...running has been just okay.  I had a good 10 mile run on Tuesday with 10 x 90 second fartleks thrown in.  And it was in the 80s, and the effort felt great.  Thursday's 8 miler was also good.  Then Saturday was supposed to be 11 miles...and it was 5.5.  Too hot - was not going to push it.  It's been weird - there are no injuries, but the heat has just slowed me down.  Other than when I had ITBS, this is the hardest batch of running I've had in a while.  Not tough as in hard workouts, but I've just hit a bit of a lull, and that is hard to admit.  I don't know what it is, and it is my hope that when the weather cools, my mojo will come back.  It is just a weird feeling.  Santa Cruz running was fabulous, and this has been less than stellar.
Thankfully, today I had a good long run.  13 miles was the task, and I knew that especially since yesterday's run was a disaster, I needed some sort of redemption for the weekend.  The starting temperature was 69 - almost 20 degrees cooler than yesterday's run.  I wasn't drenched within the first half mile or anxiously looking at my watch.  Maybe I'll actually have success with this one.   Kept going, and then when I reached the National Mall I realized that this was the spot of the Nation's Triathlon, which was cool for 2 reasons.  1) A lot of the major roads were closed off to cars - yay! 2) It is just a lot of fun to watch people race.  When you have so many places to run at your feet, you can really see a lot.  I ran around the Mall, to Arlington, around the Tidal Basin (Jefferson Memorial), Potomac Park, pretty much anywhere downtown.  And I felt relatively good running!  Nothing spectacular - I was clicking off 8:15s at a medium effort, but I was not wilting either.  Now I just need to get my speed back yet.  The longest race I'll be doing this fall is the Army 10 Miler (10/21), so it's not right now a question of conquering the distance, but of speed.  41 days to go.  I need to remind myself that I've been able to do this before - pull out all of the stops when necessary.  Running and training is not a straightforward process.  There are easy parts, harder parts, peaks and valleys.  Sarah sent me an e-mail with the following advice,
You've put in so much good work since the beginning of the year, so don't let making adjustments or easing back on things here or there make you worry.  It's all part of the natural flow of things and serves as a reminder that each season is different, so we can't compare a workout that we did last year to this year--too many factors are different!  Trust me, it's a mantra I repeat to myself :)
I'll be holding onto that mantra for a while.

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