Tag Archives: training

Running after 50: couple of new insights

A couple of things have happened over the last few weeks of running.

  1. Having put distance aside, I find I’m running over 20 miles per week.  That’s what I was aiming for when I was focused on distance.  So apparently relaxing and enjoying running, while leaving time for recovery between runs, is working out even a little better than expected.
  2. Now, since I’m not pushing the mileage envelope so much, I find myself focusing on speed a little more and have seen some improvement on the shorter 3+ mile runs.  They’re fun and fast and having the end point so close at hand makes pushing my speed a natural next step.  Hooray for natural next steps.

Running is just so interesting and applies so well to so many other things.  An issue that has plagued me most of my life is understanding there are good days and bad days–seems silly right?  Yet I know I’m not alone in that.  You have a good day and everything is grand; then you have a bad day and you want to ditch it all for something easier that maybe feels better and isn’t so ego-bruising.

Because I basically love running, I’ve stayed with it and learned at last that it’s just the nature of things that there are good days and there are bad days, and sometimes you can trace the reasons–not taking in enough fluids, didn’t stretch, don’t feel well, whatever–but more often you can’t.

The other day I was doing desk work for about four hours solid–sitting still, focused, quiet.  Time came for my run, I got up, not feeling like running after being so sedentary, no energy…well, I did it anyway, stretched, laced up and headed out.  At about 1.25 miles, still grumbling in my mind, “why am I doing this, I don’t even like it, blah blah blah…” I suddenly realized, “Hey! Wait a minute, I feel good!  Actually, I feel great.”  It was the weirdest mind game I’ve witnessed in a while.  Upshot: I went on to have a fantastic run and came back completely energized and positive.

Two days later, the same routine: sedentary desk work, no energy…but I secretly figured, no problem: I’ll get into gear at mile 1.25.  But it didn’t happen, and in fact, the 5.4 mile run was a bit of a slog.

That’s just the way it is, that’s all.  And what I’ve learned is flat out the best lesson in the world: you just keep showing up anyway, and notice the change.  Show up and be present.  It’s always different.

Running past 50: the tyranny of perfection

Halfway through my 10 mile run this past Saturday, the thought came to me: thank god. The tyranny of perfection is behind me.

I completed my 10 mile goal which I’d set back at the beginning of Feb, a little ahead of schedule but by necessity as this weekend was the window of opportunity. I was excited, especially after last Saturday’s 9.25 mile excellent, nay, perfect run. I talked myself down by reminding myself: it’s not likely to be that great every time, cool your jets, girlie.

But I had no idea it would be this bad.

Saturday offered up some pretty lousy weather, rain and wind, gray and cold. I can stand all of it, but wind is what I dread. I checked Intellicast for the wind report but no let-up was in the cards. I felt dreary about it all, suddenly. As the morning wore on, however, I gave myself a talking to…window of opportunity, the importance of setting and reaching a goal that’s all your own, how great I’d feel afterwards…

And I decided to just do it, come hell or high water. I felt excited again, could sense some adrenaline building as I filled my little water flasks, got dressed, stretched and did my core exercises. I checked my course one last time to make sure I knew where to turn around and then I headed out.

I drove to the starting point, hit the button on my running watch and headed out. At first, the weather felt a little balmy. I could imagine this turning out well, especially when I saw a broad rainbow across the ferry run between Bainbridge and downtown Seattle. But then, just as suddenly, the wind kicked up a bit. No problem, I can do this, I said. I rounded the corner at the lighthouse and headed for the long stretch along Alki Beach.

As I headed into my second mile, the wind was picking up a bit more but still not a problem. The sun had slipped away behind rolling billowing clouds. At the Duwamish Head, things got dicey. I was now leaning into the wind and I could feel my energy getting tapped way too soon.

As I headed into the fourth and fifth miles, I knew this was going to be very far from a perfect run. I had to take a brief walking breaks, long before the 60 minute mark, and though I tried to laugh it all off with the perspective of last week to this week’s very far from perfect run, I was feeling an extra pull on my energy.

No energy drain was going to keep me from attaining my goal, though, and that was that. I got to the five mile mark and turned around. At last the wind was at my back…for 1.25 miles. Again when I hit the Duwamish point, the wind had turned slightly and incredibly, I was running into it again.

I knew then that this was going to be a long slog because since it was a S-SW wind–I’d be heading into it from here on out. So I gave myself over to it, paced my walking breaks…and lowered my expectations. STill, though I wasn’t fast–11 minute miles–I did finish what I’d started, and that was what counted for me. I was sore and very tired by the end, depressingly so, since I was so excited to complete this project. But I finished, I hit 10.1 miles and had not one drop of energy left to do much of anything but drive home and do my yoga after-run stretches.

I now know what’s involved in ramping up distance, I know I can do it, and I know how to work with my body to avoid too much wear and tear. I’ll sign up for my first half-marathon soon–this after running my first 5K just last summer. I wish it had been a more uplifting 10 miles, but it was what it was. And after all, perfection really is a sort of tyranny, isn’t it?