Friday, January 2, 2009

First Run and First Thoughts...

Somewhere deep inside of me I want to start one of those really cool running streaks where I can brag at cocktail parties - does anyone have cocktail parties anymore? - that I haven't missed a day of running all year. Then I think about my body's propensity to get broken down, and the necessity of adding rest into my training plan. I guess running streaks have their time and their place, and with two little kids and a wife I am probably in absolutely no place to be thinking about running streaks - it is sort of like other elements of life, you get training in when it can happen. It is funny how marriage and children essentially make this a daily mantra whether it be about running, meals, showers, etc.

So yesterday I had all of those great intentions for 2009, but the wind was howling, the roads were in terrible shape, and the mercury seemed to be losing a futile attempt to get out of the teens. I would have been content sitting on the couch and watching the Twilight Zone marathon on TV, cracking another Miller Lite (yes, staying health conscious in '09 moving from the pub ales to the light beer, I am such a dork!), and just enjoying a day off with no where to go, and nothing to do.

Two hours later I am throwing on layers, swearing under my breath, and waiting for the Garmin to latch on to a satellite signal.

Nothing real fancy - 20 minutes of easy running. I really feel like I am in horrible shape right now, and to make matters worse, my IT band seemed to not enjoy the running idea one bit. Face sufficiently wind burned and frost bitten, knee sore and achy, and what comes barreling down the once quiet road:

Yeah, three plows to be exact. Being the courteous and vigilant pedestrian I hopped up on a snow bank and got dirty looks from each plow driver. I thought about giving all three the finger just on principal, but that's not how I roll.

Speaking of Plow drivers...

I am glad I got out to run, but one has to wonder why we do this to ourselves? I obviously need the exercise, and was sort of suffering from a mean case of cabin fever - trapped in a small apartment with two small children that want to do only two things: make noise and run. Perhaps it was a token offering to the running Gods. A sacrifice of sorts - here is my offering of dedication to the new year of running. Sure, it is only 2.5 miles of poor running, but it was when all other influences were offering the cuddly salvation of warm blankets, cold beverages, and (not that it happens often, or I'll admit it) great TV. Speaking of which, as a creative writer and film fanatic, the Twilight Zone is a little slice of heavenly genius. It provides a window to the early career of an actor like William Schatner, and shows others in my generation that Burgess Meredith did things other than 'Mickey' from the first three Rocky movies! Not to mention each episode exhibits the power of great writing and story telling, and that it is possible to scare the pants off your audience without the benefit of big-budget special effects.

Ah, but I digress...

So I am 1 for 1 in 2009... I guess the goal now simply becomes being ready for the shorter spring races, and, hopefully, an attempt at 50k at the end of May... May, that sounds like a great idea right about now!



704 Studio said...


I liked your comment on Sherpa John's blog, and found your blog through it. I am always looking for new running blogs to read :)

I am currently on my first running streak, today is day #418. Before I started the streak I enjoyed taking my rest days, because it seemed to make me fresh.

One day someone told me that an active rest, as in running a few easy miles, is better than a passive rest. I decided to give it a try, and see if he was right or not. On the days I normally would take off, I ran an easy 3-5 miles.

The other reason I saw for giving a streak a try was the momentum it would build in the running log. I remember feeling proud of having run 14 consecutive days, and I could feel the momentum pushing me not to miss a day. There was not any pressure to go out and do the run, but rather a feeling that it was fun to keep it going, to see how long I could last.

So my experiment is still going, and the things I have learned from it are :

I always considered myself a brittle runner, easily injured. I have not been injured during this streak, and I feel running everyday is the reason, as it conditions the body to handle the everyday exertion. My recovery after races and hard workouts is better than it was before I started the streak, and I don't get as sore as I did before I started the streak.

And the momentum idea is working well, I know each day there is nothing that is going to stop me from getting outside and running. It is a great feeling not only being strong enough physically, but knowing one has a strong enough will to pull it off.

I hope you can start your streak soon, I think you will find it will make you stronger, and less prone to injury. And, you will be in amazing shape and your race results will improve.

Good luck!

RunninRob said...

Thanks for reading and the comment! It is funny that you posted the comment, as last night I was thinking of bagging it when I got home from work, as I only had 1/2 hour to do anything before I had to watch my kids, plus I was starting to feel the effects of some of the 'speed' work I have been doing. Nonetheless, I got out and ran for about 20 minutes. It isn't exactly a streak from the first of the year, but it is 4 days now, and I agree, there is something inspiring that gets one out the door when there is an added encouragement to just go and run without any reservations.

Keep the comments coming, if you wish. I like writing, but I like discussion as well. Posting training results is okay, and good for accountability, but it gets sort of mundane after a while!