Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

5K Training - The Real Challenge

Got hit with Whooping Cough or some other quaint disease this week which effectively put me out of commission. I stayed home from work most of the week, only going in on Wednesday, Veteran's Day, when no one else in the office would be around for me to infect (or to bug me. I was very productive that day). It also barred me from what was supposed to be my 20 minute run on Wednesday. Having a hard time dealing with inactivity on such a tight schedule, I volunteered to play goalie for the boys at Hood Park. It was fun, got a few new bruises and used shoulder and calf muscles I didn't know I had, but standing in the 40*(+/-) weather for an hour, damp through with sweat, after my shift probably did me in. My cough turned into a hack, my body ached from my toes to my scalp, and not moving made me soooo happy.

After recouping all day Thursday and most of the day Friday, I went for my scheduled run on Friday night with My Runner. I had planned on doing Wednesday's "timed" run of 20 minutes, rather than pushing through to Friday's "distance" run of 2.5 miles, since it would be an increase of 0.5 miles and it had been 4 days without running AND being sick. My Runner had different ideas.

We ran a loop in his neighborhood, which is maybe a bit South of EBF, NH. Mostly dirt roads, definitely no sidewalks or street lamps. I was having a tough time. It took a while for my body to loosen up after 3 days of bed rest. Once that happened, I realized how bad my lungs really were still. I hadn't been breathing deeply, except for coughing, since Monday. My esophagus was a little ravaged. The air was chill and dry, not helping me stay comfortable. Still, the 5:30pm traffic zipping down the country lane kept me thinking about things other than my legs and my lungs, namely staying alive.

(ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.)

((you know you were thinking it.))

(((incedentally, i love that this is the song you're supposed to sing to accurately time out chest compressions when giving cpr. well, this song or "another one bites the dust," depending on how morbid your inner radio is.)))

This was the first run I've done with significant hills. I'm glad for it - it's something I know I'll need to work on, and it was good to get My Runner's advice on how to handle pacing adjustments for the uphills. I was completely winded when we got back to the house, but happy that I ran the whole thing, later confirmed to be 2.4 miles - longer than I've run in one go yet.

It's funny how different things can encourage you to move forward on different days. Sometimes I just need my running partner to talk to me - when Pocket and I went running last weekend, I barely noticed the time as we chatted and caught up about boys and jobs and such. When I ran with her today (another 2.4 mile loop, this time in her neighborhood on pavement), it was all I could do to take a small part in the conversation. I love listening to My Runner tell stories about other runs he's been on, or about something stupid that happened at work. Flirting with him keeps me moving forward too, though that's usually a whole different kind of motivation... When I'm running on my own, only certain songs will do, keeping my body fluid and ready to move, beat driving me on.

The hardest part is how easily I can get broken down. My Runner likes to ask, "how are you feeling?" That question forces me to examine my body in the middle of the run. When I do my mental self-exam and feel my calves aching and my hip flexor getting touchy and my lungs raking air in and my face hot and dry.... Knowing I feel like crap is hard. SAYING I feel like crap makes it real and all of a sudden I want to stop. Running in Pocket's neighborhood I was familiar enough with the terrain to know exactly HOW FAR until we got back to her house, and HOW BAD I wanted to stop running. I didn't, but convincing my mind to keep running was just as hard as convincing my body.

It's mental. I mean, I am recovering AND pushing, so it's physically hard, but I know my body is completely capable of running 2.5 miles. But feeling like I want to, being aware of that carrot dangling in front of my face, finding a way to adjust my pace, cadence, etc., to deal with the little aches and pains, THAT'S the challenge that I'm facing now. These last two runs were hard, physically, yes. But they were HARD. Mentally. I'm not just training my body for this run, I'm training my mind.

Next Training Run: Tuesday, on my own, 25 minutes. Goal: Time & Hills

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