Three-in-One Post

For a number of mainly personal reasons, it’s been hard to get to a computer to keep up the blogging. However, I have still been making the effort to run. So, these thoughts have been kicking around my head, but note that some are nearly a week old. 

Best Effort

By the time I reach the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on foot, as I typically do, my legs are already aching. It could be a number of factors: the attempted trail running, the three hours of stacking logs, or feeling drained by a long, emotional day.

The day before this was spent entirely in the hospital, where my sister underwent an operation to have a tumor removed. My family and I were largely confident it would go well, but it was still a nerve-wracking experience. She’s fine, and at the time of writing is recuperating at the house.

So, the legs were already aching as I set foot on the track. RunDouble informs me I need to run for a solid 22 minutes. Following the five-minute warm-up, I set about running. It is late in the afternoon, and occasionally the thought that, only a week ago, I surprised myself by making the full 20-minute circuit around the track. A couple of days before that, I turned 29. It had been a very full week.

I kept up the count for about a third of the way around the track before losing it. Certain parts of my legs were screaming, others were just complaining loudly. I start telling myself that I need only make it half way, and we’ll get a break. The complaints deaden for a few minutes, as the screams rise.

Runners run through pain all the time, I try to tell myself.  It doesn’t quite make it.

A few seconds before my phone tells me I’m halfway around the track, I can’t anymore. I cut down to a walk, and chide myself for not making it.

“I’ll try again next week,” I say quietly to myself, realizing someone is sitting on the bench I have just passed.

The rest of the run is made up of short bursts of running, followed by stretches of walking. The next eleven minutes are made up of three intervals, and the sweet instruction to slow to a cool down pace finally hits me.

Again, disappointed, but at least proud of the effort I made. The week has been long, and the effort of at least going to the track felt admirable. Still, a part of me wishes I had made it.

There is always next week…

Shin Status: Disappointed
T-Shirt of the Friday: Runaway Bros.

Mulligan

C25k Week 6, Day 1, at least, I know I can complete. I finished it about a week prior.

Determined, this time, I will at least make it through a second run. There are a few of the same complaints from certain muscles in my legs, but I try to ignore them as I pound around the track. It is a new week, I started a new job. I have a time constraint, a concert in the evening, but I should still have roughly a half-hour for the running, plus about that to walk to and from my apartment.

The sky is overcast, and the air carries a chill of 44 degrees Fahrenheit. I have asked a friend whether running in gloves is wise, and grabbed them before she could get back to me. I am heading to the track with warm hands and cool shoulders. A thin red shirt and undershirt pushing the breeze away, and my track pants not doing as much to get there.

I complete a few quick stretches–they always feel silly, as I’m never sure if I’m doing enough or the right kind–and I head up the small hill to the track entrance. And I am greeted by another beautiful Boston sunset.

I fumble for my camera phone, trapped in the TuneBelt. I snap a photo and start the run.

2013-11-04 16.33.33

Well, at least I got Week 6, Take 2 off to a good start.

Shin Status: Following Through
T-Shirt of the Monday: Red long-sleeved shirt.

There and Back Again

It is 6:15 a.m. My phone buzzes, and plays a musical tone at me. I am wrapped in sheets, comfortably reclining, and already dreading the way I have planned my day. Because of post-work drink plans I made a couple of weeks ago, plus the 9-5 shift for which I am scheduled, I will likely not get home until late. Which means, I need to get my Wednesday run in before the day even starts.

This is the earliest I have dragged my carcass out for a run.

The air in my room is still warm as I pull a long-sleeved shirt and gloves over the shirt I wore to bed the night before. I stretch a couple of times, mostly procrastinating stepping out into what I anticipate being a cold, unpleasant day.

As the front door shuts behind me, it’s not as bad as I expected. The dregs of sleep are still rattling around the base of my skull, and I have music playing. I am about 10 minutes later than I had hoped to be leaving for the track–and I have to be at work a few minutes before the shift starts to help open the store. This could be tight timing.

RunDouble tells me I have to make two 10-minute runs, separated by 3 minutes walking. As I complete my stretching, and start the 5-minute warm up walk, it occurs to me that, with a 13-minute walk to the track, plus a few minutes of stretching, I may already be warmed up.

“Are you sure you want to skip this interval?” My phone asks.

Tapping yes, I start running. I start counting. I get about two minutes in, and lose track of the counting. I try to keep running until the phone tells me to stop. Instead of focusing on everything within, I try to look out at the sky over the reservoir, and look out at the trees on over my right shoulder. I try to engage my brain in thoughts.

Eventually, RunDouble recommends I slow to a walk.

Somewhere along the way, it occurs to me that on past runs, I have not been certain where I would end up, but that there was a way to be certain: turn around when the phone informs me I am halfway. I’ve never really needed to be on-time, and could spare a few minutes to walk the back to the start, which is why this brilliantly simple notion hasn’t occurred to me before.

“You are halfway,” the phone tells me.

I turn heel. It’s the first time I have actually seen the track from this perspective. I start to run when cued to do so. I keep running, and again lose track of the counting. Eventually giving up, and trying to keep an eye on the track ahead of me.

I lose my place, and think I am further around the track than I really am. I keep pushing through, checking the timer on my phone, which tells me I have 3:30 to go. I frown, and keep at it.

At one point, I feel myself slowing to a walk. I am close, I am so close to where I started. I speed back up to the run–for one more step. Then, I start the run again. I have a few seconds left. I can make it. Two 10-minute stretches. I did 20 at a time before. I can do it.

“Slow to an easy pace to cool down.”

I start back the way I came, and keep on my path home. The alarm I set to wake me up for my shift–if I hadn’t run–goes off, playing over my headphones, about halfway through the cool down. I have only about 10 minutes before I get home. The run didn’t really screw up my schedule as much as it could have. The morning run was not awful.

I feel good, and know I will have to actively try not to be insufferably chirpy about my exercise routine.

Fortunately, I have a few minutes on the T before I will get to work…

Shin Status: Sleepy
T-Shirt of the Day: “It Came out of Nowhere,” under a grey long-sleeved shirt.

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7 thoughts on “Three-in-One Post

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