Tuesday, January 22, 2008

0 Run 3, Week 5 (CT5K) + Run 3, Week 5 (BTHR): A Nexus of Sorts


Before our run, my friend & I chatted briefly. We decided to push back our run to 6:30 pm, because we were both busy finishing up various projects. I could tell she was feeling some initial resistance to the idea of running tonight, because she started in with her usual tactics. ;-) She told me that it was 36 degrees outside and looked very cold, to which I countered that, according to the weather reports I'd seen, that it was actually closer to 40 degrees (i.e., 39 degrees to be exact, but I decided to round up by one degree to make the number seem more attractive!).

Still, I knew I might need to do some more convincing. So, to further fortify the cause, I tried another tactic & and dispensed a bit of "tough love" couched in humor. I jokingly told her, "Oh come on now, no excuses this time! You're not going to bail on me, eh?!" I laughed afterward & added a "Only kidding!" at the end, but I'm pretty sure she knew that all kidding aside, I was not about to let her get out of it so easily! ;-)

Of course, I knew she'd be just fine once we got started. After all, 40 degrees feels more like 60 during a run. And plus, there was no wind at all, which made running a lot more pleasant!

So, the run went ahead as scheduled, with me running a bit late. I was finishing up some tasks that had a non-negotiable deadline & my computer was extremely slow & not cooperating. (Yes, needless to say, I've got the undeniably lousiest OS in the world -- Vista! -- but have been too busy to revert my desktop back to WinXP. I think my next computer will most likely be a Mac! ;-) )

Anyhow, I tried contacting her via her mobile around 6:20 pm to let her know I was running late, but wasn't able to get in touch with her. We met, with me waving as I was running towards her, offering my apologies for running late, etc., etc. We probably started our run closer to 6:40 pm (!).

To make things even more interesting, today was our 20 minute run. My friend's reaction was rather funny because she'd completely forgotten that today was the "moment of truth" (& possible impending soreness!). And when I reminded her of what workout day we were on, you should've seen the expression on her face -- It was simply priceless!

Of course, when I reminded her that her reward was going back to shorter intervals for our very next workout, that idea seemed to make her feel a tad bit better!

(I often think my friend would make a great stand-up comic or comedic actress! In addition to her arsenal of hilarious facial expressions, she's got a knack for poking fun at the absurdities of life, and her comedic timing is spot-on. Her sense of humor is sharp as a tack, and can be very deadpan & understated at times. She's a lot of fun, but there's also a lot of substance there as well. I think most people have barely scratched the surface..... Anyhow, back to the story!)

Next, we talked about our approach to the run, and decided that we'd take it slow. I told her that we could go as slow as she needed, but that it was important (especially psychologically speaking) for us to keep going & not stop. And then I told her that she most certainly could do this, as we'd only just run two 10-minute intervals during our last run together.

She tried to bargain with me, and asked if we could do a 15-minute run instead, since our previous run had been several days ago, i.e., last Monday. Of course, my response was then to bargain right back & say, "Well, how about if we run the 15-minutes, and then see how you feel?!" ;-)

I also promised to talk to her continually to distract her from focusing on the time & to keep us going! She laughed and expressed that this was a good thing because she wasn't sure if she'd be able to speak at all during the run!

We stretched a bit before our run, & did our usual 5-minute warm-up walk. And sure enough, before we knew it, time had passed rather quickly. The first time she asked me what time it was, we were 11 1/2 minutes into our run. I told her that there were only a few minutes left to go to get to 15 minutes. And I resumed the story I was telling her. The next time she asked about the time we were 18 minutes into the run, which really surprised her. I think when she realized that there were only 2 more minutes left to go, she knew she could definitely finish out the run. I think that then, at that point, she started to believe it was possible for her to run 20 consecutive minutes, which is a big deal. I hope it'll be a major turning point for her.

The final time she asked for the time, we'd arrived at the 20 minutes. I told her she did a great job & we "high-fived" each other!

We chatted for a long time after the run. Before parting ways, we made plans to run this Thursday.


Next, was my solo run. By the time I got started, it was fairly late, i.e., 8:44 pm. And true to the description of tonight's planned workout session, it was a very slow 60+ minutes of running indeed! I ran 8 laps (5.92 miles) in 1:12:38, or an 12:16 minute mile! Yowsa! That's really slow!

Oh well, my last run was 3 days ago, and before that, there was almost a 5-day spread between runs. So what can I expect?!

Part of the problem was that I found it hard to focus on my running, as my brain kept honing in on all of the activities surrounding my job hunt. I couldn't even get into my usual running mantras, although I did try some visualization tricks towards the end of my run.

I usually picture one of my running heroes (lately it's been Jackie Joyner-Kersee for some reason) striding powerfully towards the finish, and then superimposing the image of myself running in the same manner. Now of course I don't have any grand illusions about my running performance or actually think I'm Jackie Joyner Kersee, but it's an exercise in imagining possibilities.

And while I probably look rather shrimpy in comparison to her tall muscular physique, it's not really about the physical similarities, (although in truth, my hair, au natural, probably resembles hers more closely, so that part isn't hard to imagine!). Rather it's about imagining what's it's like to run like one of the great running giants. One can still dream, at any rate. ;-)

Well, that exercise obviously didn't produce the results I was seeking! No matter, I was happy to complete the run, as my legs were feeling fairly tired by the last lap, and I'd clearly approached the edge of their reserves.

I think it probably only dropped a few scant degrees (I'm guessing it was closer to 34-36 degrees) by the time of my second run. Overall, the weather wasn't very cold, and the run felt really pleasant. Perhaps a bit too pleasant, if you know what I mean. ;-)

I know I probably didn't push myself as hard as I could have, at least not in a cardiovascular sense. I do know that by lap 8, my legs felt awfully rubbery. I was waiting for my knees to start rebelling on me by the 8th lap, but surprisingly, they held together and behaved themselves. I didn't have any pain after my run.

Again, I'd popped a glucosamine chondroitin before the run, & that seemed to do the trick. Yea! Now onto Phase 2 of the BTHR plan -- Becoming a 1.5 Hour Runner! (or would that be, "BO.FHR" or perhaps, "B1.5HR." ;-) )


Speaking of workout plans, one thing I just noticed is that both runs tonight were "Run 3, Week 5." That's a weird coincidence, don't you think? A kind of nexus of sorts, for both my friend and me. Aside from the workout days being at the exact same point, tonight's two workouts signal a new phase, for both running programs.

For my friend, it means she'll be moving on to Week 6, her last week of interval runs before she approaches her solid, consecutive runs. (I wonder if she knows or realizes that! Maybe it's best not to talk about it too much, lest she "exit stage left" & make a run for it! LOL.)

For me, it means that I'm embarking on the next phase of the BTHR program, a 10-week program designed to take me from 140 to 240 minutes of running in a gradual progression. That's 100 extra minutes of running in 10 weeks, which is very do-able. I'm really looking forward to the challenge!

Just one final note about Phase 2: In order to distinguish my next series of runs from the first, I will delineate the new weeks to come by putting a P2 after BTHR in the poast title, as in "Run 1, Week 1 (BTHR-P2). That should help to clearly distinguish the two phases. And of course, the final phase of the program, Phase 3, will be "BTHR-P3." Simple enough.

OK, well I've got to get to bed now (I didn't get back to my place until after 10 pm!), so "sweet dreams" everyone!

So, are you now picturing yourself jumping over hurdles instead of sheep hopping over a fence?!

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