Monday, February 7, 2011

Forget the Cover, Let Me Read the Book.

I should spend less time writing this blog than I do, especially since it pertains to only a fraction of my life. I would hope that those reading this understand that I'm not obsessed with running, but just consider it a part of my life. There have been murmurings in some of the online communities I'm part of about a bit of a disdain for "running only" blogs. Though my ramblings usually are about my runs, I chose to write about them because they are enjoyable. Ideally, I'd like to write less about running and more about my observations on my runs. As members of a civilized world, we don't get to interact with nature unless we set aside time to do so. This is where running comes in for me. There are other apects of my life that I'm not at liberty to discuss. As a member of the healthcare feild, its not only unethical, but a direct violation to discuss patient interactions. Even if I replaced names and didn't divulge any identities, I would still consider it disrespectful, for patients and clients would be able to recognize when they were being discussed. Im more than willing to discuss my own struggles and triumphs, and am making an effort to do so in hopes of it aiding in my development as a writer.

This week certainly got off to a slow start. I did tell myself to just run when I felt it to be appropriate. I found out that when given permission to rest, running in single digit temps and high winds on jagged, icy sidewalks feels less than appropriate. I ran 0 miles on monday. The silver lining is that I simply didn't care. Taking a 1 day hiatus from a schedule that typically has me exercising 2-4 times daily felt good. I don't really want to make it a habit, for I truly like the lifestyle of constant motion. I chose to take monday off for a few reasons. The biggest was that I hadn't slept more than 3 hours in a night for 4 nights. Whether my choice, like the 3am 6 hour run with Jeremiah and Jason, or circumstance, like my strange insomnia induced by knowing that an early rise was upon me, it was time to face the fact that several hours of daily exercise could not be maintained on minimal amounts of sleep. I actually felt fine, like I could maintain higher mileage and keep up with life, but I also knew that keeping on that track would eventially lead to overtraining. Why wait until disaster when I know its coming? Taking a proactive approach seemed the most ligical.

Since the combination of gym classes and speed workouts would still have me moving all week, the most logical things for me to cut out for rest purposes just happens to be the least enjoyable parts of training. Cold, dark, windy runs on paved streets are boring and at times unenjoyable, yet often a source of mileage for me. Removing them for a bit would give me the opportunity to rest up mentally and physically, giving me lower mileage for the week. If I can hit the 40-50 range, I'll be happy and so will my legs. After that, its time to aim closer to the 75-80 range for the next training cycle. SLOWLY increasing what I already consider respectable mileage for this time of year will allow me to feel more comfortable when the snow melts and Im trying to consistently run higher mileage weeks. Before starting this blog, my weekly distance seemed to have gone from 40ish miles per week to nearly 80, but was then followed by sporadic highs and lows of injury, burnout, and ingnorance. Im no less ignorant, but I'm trying to improve.

Tuesday
10 miles - unexpectedly high mileage today considering I only ran once. 2 down the the field house in a pretty nasty headwind/snow, then a mile outdoors with the run club guys. 2miles worth of warmup indoors. 1 miles at comfortably fast pace(ended up being 6:02). Some rest jogging, then 6x300 with 1-2 laps worth of rest. 1 mile cooldown, then my 2 mile jog home. There was a lot of miniscule adding, so I ballparked it to 10. It was nearly 2.5 hours between leaving and returning home, so I don't think its unreasonable. The workout itself wasnt as bad as I predicted. I felt really sluggish at first from the long run/sleep deprivation weekend, but my body remembered what (it's verson of) speed felt like.

Wednesday
Zippo- We ended up getting a snow day here at WMU, as did the rest of the state. I slept with no alarm clock, which allowed me to get up at the crack of noon to greet the day...or what was left of it. I joined my friend and training patner Evan for a workout in the pool. That was the extent of my exercise for the day, along with some shoveling. I read, wrote, and studied chemistry for the rest of the evening(Damn you to hell, Online Web Learning). I've learned something in my week of laziness already- I wouldn't be any more studious if I were to focus solely on school. The amount of time I can focus on academic pursuits as limited by my short attention span, not my schedule. This does beg yet another question: how can I struggle to spend 40 straight minutes reading chemistry, which I'm starting to enjoy, yet still hunger for more running after 6 hours alone in the trails?

Thursday
AM - 5 miles - Amazing trek at Al Sabo. 1.5 hours in the trails, and I only covered 5 miles. The cross country skiers and snowshoers helped out tremendously, but it was still quite tough to get any footing. The real fun came when I wandered into the totally untouched singletrack. The snow on the northern side of the preserve was knee deep and fluffy from the blizzard. The YakTrax XTRs sunk down into the powder and gripped the hardpack base really well and made for some fun climbs and descents on the small hills. One hill in particular by the Lookout tower was especially fun. I descended really quickly, powder flying over my head as I bounced down the hill. I ran around with a smile on my face, playing like a little kid. The entire run actually reminded me of how children play. I ran as fast as I could in the powder, even lauging to myself at times(I know, corny and overdramatic). When I got tired. I plopped down in the snow and stared up at the sky. There wasn't a single cloud and the sun warmed me as I lied face up in the snow. I stopped at some of my usual vantage points and rested. I hadn't realized how much I missed the sun until it was there, smiling down on me. The feeling was reminiscent of my snowmobiling trips with my family and my ski adventures with my girlfriend Samantha. I strangely felt the same way I do when they're around - happy and complete.
A great combination of caffeine, candy, endorphins and vitamin D.

...not sure why I decided to write "AM" there. Oh, right, I missed the indoor workout due to work stuff. Hobby. Jogger.

Friday
6 miles- Ran to Military Fitness to do pushup/situp day(notice a lot of variety?) Ran a 18 minute "cadence run" around the gym. If I ever need proof that the cadence of a traditional shod runner is different from a minimalist/barefoot runner, this was it. I constantly screwed up the cadence of the run. Just making sure I don't get taken seriously or anything like that...

Saturday
7 miles - Headed to Muskegon State Park to run my favorite singletracks while I was home for the weekend. Approximately 30 seconds into the run, I stepped a couple inches off the packed trail and sunk into thigh-deep snow. Ugh. This is essentially how the rest of the run went. I tried to traverse the ridges of the sand dunes near the channel, but was met with quite a bit of powder. I once stepped onto a cornice and sunk chest-deep in the snow. This is one of the first times that I actually desired the use of cross country skis or snowshoes. The run took nearly 1.5 hours, and I was sweating every step of the way. My YakTrax XTRS repeatedly slipped off the heel of my MT100s. The weather was great, the views of the lake were spectacular, but the run itself was a tad arduous.

Sunday
0 miles- Took care of my parents house/dogs/horse all day and headed back to school

Total
28 miles. Weak. I can't even do rest in moderation. I either seem to run to the point of breaking, or rest to the point of rusting. I suppose its what I wanted and I shouldn't bitch. Here's to a good week back into normal mileage.

Missing summer all of a sudden

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