Monday, September 25, 2006

When It Rains...It REALLY Pours

This past Saturday morning I decided to sleep in rather than meet my group for a "puny" little cut back 10 mile training run. It was nice and warm in bed and I decided to do one of my favorite out and back 10 mile runs "sometime" Saturday afternoon.

Well, I finally got out the door at 4:00 p.m and figured an hour and 45 minutes from Oak Street Beach here on the Lakefront to a little past McCormick Place to the south would be a nice casual solo run for me. I've done it many times before so it seemed like a good plan.

The stroll to McCormick Place or around 5 miles was a good warmup and I turned back north to make my way back up the lakefront to Oak Street Beach. Jolly good time I was having. About a mile into my return trip, around Soldier Field it started to rain a bit and it felt good on my bare chest and back. When I run on my own I prefer no clothing but I do keep my shorts on here in the city to avoid jail time.

I looked to the skyline up north and it was pitch black, clouds were rolling and I said to myself "self, you're in for a long haul here." By the time I got to Shedd Aquarium, maybe 3 miles left of my return home, the wind and rain started whipping in "sideways" directly into my face. And I said to myself "self, this is survival just keep moving and try to stay on your feet so they don't have to dredge the lake for you." The next mile had to be worth a 5 mile tempo run. So much for a nice casual mid-range run.

In a quirkish way, it was enjoyable and cleansing and my breathing rate certainly told me I was building endurance. And what was really funny is there were a few other idiots on the lakefront also trying to do something like running, so I wasn't totally alone...and that's kinda nice... sometimes.

I took Sunday and today, Monday, off. Tuesday a 5 miler, Wednesday speed work with my groupies, Thursday 5 miler and Saturday morning is our granddaddy 20 miler. This training season I'm also doing the Chicago half marathon on Sunday so I'm facing a new challenge. I've done 20 mile training runs before and followed them with an easy 5 the next day to loosen up but never a half, so we'll see what happens.

My nephew told me it would really help build endurance and be a confidence builder and I agree. I'll see how I feel Saturday afternoon and I always reserve the right to bag a run if my body and mind is just too spent. I don't want to injure myself at this point because I've come too far this summer.

Keep on truckin!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"It's A Long Way To The Top If Ya Wanna Rock N' Roll" - AC DC

I had a surprisingly good long 18 mile run this morning with my running group. It felt good to run in some human-friendly weather for a change and I also had to accept that I was trying to do my long runs too fast so I dropped back a bit, slowed down and enjoyed the morning.
I have been struggling all summer with my long runs and have been thinking of bailing out of the groupie running scene and this week I discovered why those thoughts were coming to me and it is this: I would rather struggle and suffer alone. People mean well when they attempt to encourage me when I'm having problems, but in my mind my struggles mean that I'm weak and that I'm failing. And I don't like to feel failure in front of an audience. So, I think I'm going through another growth spurt here.
Other runners have told me things like running is 90 percent mental. When I first heard that statement I thought it was a bit of bunk, but the longer I run the more I can see and feel that at least a LOT of running is mental.
My mind is my worst enemy and also my best friend. There were several occasions during my run today that the evil and negative portion of my mind, told me to STOP DUMBASS! These patches in my runs have to be recognized quickly by me and quickly replaced with a positive thought from the good or positive part of my mind, or I will quit trying and also not be able to have fun and enjoy this hobby.
This morning was a confidence booster for me and I now think that I may be able to get through another marathon.
Our head running coach was not at the run this morning because his mom died unexpectedly this week and the other coaches said it really had an impact on him. My mom died over a year ago and it hurt me a lot more than I expected. I still miss her and always will. Death for some may be a topic to avoid but the longer I live the more I realize that I will never be able to outrun death. So, a good attitude for me at this point is, assuming I'm still alive, to roll out early tomorrow morning, down a glass or two of water, pull on the running togs and get out for an easy and pleasurable 5 miler to get the ol legs loosed up. Then around noon I will meet my new friends, they don't even know they're my friends, for a kickass Pilates class and get this old frame lined up so I can keep moving.
This lifestyle may not be good for everyone but it is good for me.