Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another combo post (translated: I was a slacker and didn't do my blog on Saturday)

My Current Couch To 5K workout schedule

3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Saturday Run Results (Couch To 5K - Week 3, Run 1):
My Run
My Walk after the run

Tuesday Run Results (Couch To 5K - Week 3, Run 2):
My Run

So this is another combo posting for two runs.

The good news:  I actually did my run on Saturday, and again on Tuesday.

The bad news:  It's now Wednesday and I'm just getting around to my blog for Saturday and Tuesday.

OK Yes, I am a slacker.  I should have already posted these.  But you know what?  I'd much rather be a slacker about doing my blog than be a slacker about doing my run.  So I'll take that.

Saturday Run

Here in Northwest Arkansas, we are fortunate to have a really good park system, with extensive trails connected to them.  They have been working for the past 10 years to connect all the parks trails together so that you can literally go from park to park, with very few road crossings.  It's pretty cool and the result is a great network of walking/jogging/bike riding trails.

I ran on my favorite trail today. It is a great trail that is close to my house.  It starts at the "Bark Park" (a park specifically for dogs and their owners), out into some nice forest area with some off-road bike trails, past the Crystal Bridges Museum, and into downtown Bentonville.  It also goes by the Bentonville sewage treatment facility.  That part isn't exactly a highlight of the run.  But it gives me extra motivation to run faster when I pass it!  The wooded area makes up for it in scenery, with a pretty stream that passes over the trail in several areas.  Also, around the Crystal Bridges Museum is the Compton Gardens, with a lot of pretty flowers and plants.  All in all, it's a very nice place to run.

I like running this trail for a few reasons, but perhaps the biggest is that it is part of the course for the Bentonville Running Festival Half Marathon. That race will be coming up at the beginning of April.  This trail features what is probably the most difficult portion of the race course - a fairly difficult uphill climb.  It is hard to walk up, much less run.

I'm not exactly ready for the half marathon this year, but it is definitely a goal to run it next year.  This year I am going to run the 5K portion of the event.  At this point, even that will be a stretch.  That's OK.

I didn't get to the museum on this run.  I didn't even get to the sewage treatment plant (yay!).  I did get far enough to see the bridge that leads to it off in the distance.  That works for me!

It was nice to be on the course.  It helps see how far I've come, and how far I have to go.

Today's run wasn't exactly easy.  I'm used to running on a track, where I have a pretty good idea how far I've gone.  I track my progress on Couch To 5K by time, rather than distance.  But I am pretty good at judging my pace and knowing when I'm coming close to the end of a phase.  Running on the trails is a little harder.  I don't know how long I've gone at any point in time.  Yes, I've got my endomondo program that let's me know I've crossed a mile.  That will help me when I'm running longer distances.  Right now it doesn't tell me much.  My entire workout is only 2 miles roughly.

The part that is a bit easier as I go along is that the number of sets decreases.  Week one was 8 running phases and 8 walking phases (not counting the 5 minute warm up and cool down walk).  This week is only 4 runs and 4 walks.  It seems like it's over very quickly.  But of course the runs are harder.

One thing that was interesting on the run.  After I finished the run, and the cooldown walk, I was still quite a ways out on the trail.  So, I decided to take a rest for a few minutes and sat down on a park bench.  I paused my endomondo tracking while i rested.  But, when I got back up, I went to start endomondo back up again and somehow i accidently ended my workout.

I had a momentary panic when this happened, because i wasn't sure if it actually recorded my run.

That made me a little sad.  I like having that record of my achievement, little as it is.  It's something I can point to and say, "Hey I did something right today!"

As you can see from the above postings, my workout was actually recorded still.  I simply started up a new, walking workout for my walk back to my car.  So I got two workouts! :)

But it's interesting how much I was dependent on that.  I have had times before when I thought my workout was being tracked and for some reason it didn't.  I hate it when that happens!  But you know what?  The run still happened.  I got just as much of a workout without the tracker as I did with it.  I don't need the tracker to prove I worked out.  But it sure feels nice to have it.

Tuesday Run

This is a picture of people flying using wingsuits.  It looks fun doesn't it.  The wind whooshing around you as you zoom across the sky!  Sounds like a blast to me (literally), but it isn't much fun when I'm trying to run.  That's what Tuesday was like.  Incidentally, if you would like to fly with a wingsuit, these guys are willing to help you.  Perhaps I'll do that one day.  In the meantime, I hope they don't mind me using their picture.

Did I mention that this is March?  You know, the month when kids fly kites?  You know why they do that right?  It's because there is a lot of wind in March.  That was certainly true of my run on Tuesday.  So, it kind of felt like I was one of those guys in a wingsuit.  But, I wasn't.  That was just me huffing and puffing around the track. 

The thing about a track is that it is a big loop.  So, at some point in your run, you will be running into the wind.  As you build up endurance, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, as I mentioned before, I'm training based on time for my Couch To 5K routine, not distance.  If I'm running into the wind and not making much progress on distance, it doesn't matter.  I still ran for 3 minutes.

But the thing is, in March, not only it very windy.  It's also very cold!  It wasn't a very cold day, but the wind made it feel cold.  It only felt cold when I was running against the wind.  Because I was on a track, that was approximately half the time.

I say approximately.  It felt like more than half the time.

You see, the week 3 workout for Couch To 5K is a 90 second run, followed by a 90 second walk, followed by a 3 minute run, followed by a 3 minute walk.  Then, rinse and repeat. 

So I started on the side of the track that was with the wind at about the halfway mark on the track, doing my 5 minute warm up walk.  This was a mistake.  For me, a 5 minute walk is a little over a quarter of a mile.  This means, I walked around the track once and was headed into the turn for my second lap when the first run phase kicked in.  In other words, that put me running into the wind.

So, I ran for 90 seconds, and the voice comes over my phone, saying "great job, start walking."

Where was this?  Of course, just headed in to the curve on the other side.  Sooo... my walking side (the already easy part) was going with the wind.  90 Seconds later, my second run kicks in... into the wind again.  Not that it really matters, as the second run is for 3 minutes.  That's a little over a full lap on the track.  So, I'm getting both a run with the wind and against it, no matter what.

Fun, fun!

It probably doesn't sound like I like running much does it?  I do actually.

I know from past experience, that there will be a point where I will actually like running into the wind.  As it gets into the summer months, I will even prefer running into the wind more than running with it.  The wind will become my friend, because it will become my air conditioner!  It gets pretty hot here in the summertime.  And while the wind at your back makes you run faster, it also causes you to feel the heat in a big way.  You are running faster, so that's harder work.  On top of that, you can't feel any wind because it's all at your back.  Running into the wind feels much nicer.  It's terrible on run times, but it feels refreshing.

That day will come.  But it is not today.  In my head I picture Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings", as he leads the forces outside the gates of Mordor. (Yeah OK I use a lot of LOTR references...)

"There will come a day when we like running into the wind!  It will refresh us, and allow us to run long and free!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!"

"One day, we will revel in its cool breezes.  We will laugh as we run triumphantly into the wind!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!"

No.  It is not this day.  This day it is miserable.  I don't like it.  It isn't refreshing.  It's cold.  When I get home, I will start coughing during my after-workout stretch and won't be able to stop for what seems like hours. It sucks.


You know what?  I still did it.  I didn't stop running just because it was cold and nasty.  I still did my run.  So now, Aragorn's voice pops in my head again...

"There may come a day, when we will be defeated by a little thing like cold wind on a March day.  When we will forsake our dreams, and give up on our goals, because we are buffeted by the winds!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!

No.  Not this day.  Today, I ran even though it wasn't fun.  Thursday, I will run whether it is fun or not.  And next week.  And the week after that.  I'm not going to stop because of the wind.  Nor will I stop because my age is creeping up there.  I won't even stop because I've taken off the same pounds and put them back on, time after time.

I have been down that road.  There is nothing to see there.  I've quit because of even lesser things.  Not this time.

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