Wednesday, May 28, 2008

0 A Walk & Then A Run


Today, I went for a walk with a friend around 5:45 pm or so, (i.e., we did 3 laps around the lake), hung out & chatted with her at a cafe for a while, then saw her off, & returned to lake at 8:02 pm to go for a run. I ran 4 laps around the lake (2.96 miles) in 33:18, or a pace of 11:25 minutes-per-mile.

And now for a brief report of that run: It was a rather windy 70 degrees today, & as I walked back to the lake to begin my run, I noticed that it felt a tad bit chilly in the shade (especially in comparison to the much warmer weather we'd been having as of late!). Of course, after warming up, the temperature felt just perfect, but the slight chill in the air was definitely a bit of incentive to begin running as soon as possible!

Today's run was definitely a challenge. It was one of those runs where I just had to muscle the last lap to finish it out. I ran the first two laps at a good clip, the third one a bit slower, & the last lap at a pace which probably matched the first or second lap.

Usually, I tend to run at a very even pace, but today I ran at varying paces throughout the run. This was due to the fact that I let a bit of the competitive fire in me take hold in the first two laps & the final lap. Also running around the lake were three ladies & a trim, grey-haired gentleman. They all kept a much faster pace than me, & I managed to keep pace with some of them for a time, but then didn't feel so badly about dropping back upon noticing that they hadn't done nearly as many laps as me! ;-)

My stamina was decent, but somehow I just felt like it was much harder to keep up my usual level of energy & speed. Part of it is that I haven't been running as regularly, so my decreased performance really shouldn't be all that surprising!

It's been 3 weeks into the new job, & so far over those past 3 weeks, I've only run at the rate of one run per week, which simply just isn't cutting it. Of course, even though one run a week is better than none, it's still not enough to gain sufficient fitness & health benefits. And frankly, it's not even enough to maintain fitness! ;-)

So why have I only run once a week over the past 3 weeks? The simple answer is that I'm in an adjustment period with my new job & frankly, my feet ache a lot from having to stand on them for several consecutive hours without any reprieve -- I'm constantly moving throughout the day & rarely, if ever, sit down while I'm at work.

There have been some days in which my feet hurt so much after work that I've just had zero desire to get off the couch after coming home. It's not simply that the couch is a vortex that sucks the motivation out of me, but rather that it's the perfect sweet relief for my tired body & aching feet! Once I'm off my sore feet, the desire to get back on them wanes significantly! ;-)

During the first two weeks after work, I asked for & thankfully received a few foot rubs from Erik just to make it bearable enough to put my feet back on the floor again & walk around barefoot at home!

Now I'm really not a wuss, but if you've ever started a job in which you weren't used to moving around all day & being on your feet for long periods of time without a break, it does take your feet & the rest of your body a while to get used to it!

Contrast that to the past year or two, in which I was fairly sedentary throughout the day, & really only moved around during my regular evening workouts! Truth be told, I actually prefer being active on the job, as I get antsy if I have to just sit around all day at a desk! (When I used to work as an IT systems administrator, I also moved around a lot & of course lifted/moved computer equipment around a lot too. If you can't tell, I'm not one for sitting still very long. ;-) ) However, the pace of my new job & work environment still does take some getting used to, as it's much faster than any of my previous work environments.

The other challenge is my new schedule: The hours of my work schedule are different every day, which has thrown a wrench into my usual running routine, & the adjustment has been "interesting," to say the least. ;-) Sometimes I'll get home from work at 11:45 pm & then have to be up at 6:30 or 7 am for work the next day. Again, I know I'll get used to it after a while, but for now, the net effect is that I've been extremely exhausted. Sometimes I end up falling asleep on the couch as early as 10 pm, which never used to happen before! (If left to my own devices, I'd typically be a night owl; so 10 pm seems rather early to me! ;-) )

Combine all of the above factors, & you've got a recipe for fatigue. ;-) Of course, I know that I'll get used to all of these changes after a while, & that the physical effects are (most likely/hopefully!) short-term.

Of course, the good thing is that the constant motion & standing will only help to build stamina for my distance training & eventual marathon training sessions. And likewise, I'm hoping that the running will help to significantly boost my energy & stamina for an active work & personal life. I'm going to come out of this experience stronger either way.

Moving ahead: In order to make it all work, I'm going to have to be more flexible in scheduling my runs (no more regular Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday/Sunday PM-only workouts) & find a way to squeeze them in around my new schedule. My runs will also need to be at differing hours of the day -- in the morning as well as in the evening.

Also, I'm also going to have to run when I'm tired & don't really feel like it, even after a hard day's work & lots of moving around. That means finding the physical & mental strength to get past the initial fatigue of this "adjustment period" & likewise make more of an effort. I need to still find a way to work out three times a week no matter what (barring any physical/health impediments). It's probably going to be a gradual process of figuring out what works & what doesn't. ;-) Of course, the hardest part is going to be the mental aspect of getting past the fatigue, but that's also useful experience for marathon training -- The mind has to push the body past the usual limits in order to finish, especially the last few miles. Or that's what I've been told anyhow, & will also be finding out first hand, as soon as a build-up enough of a mileage base to begin marathon-training . ;-)


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