Week 1 – Easy/Recovery – 14 weeks until Baltimore
Monday, July 16, 2018 – 5:30 am – 3.13 mi @7:40/mi
The first run of the week is almost always a good one. If I get up at 4:45 am I should be easily out the door by 5:10 am. By 5:30 I realized I was still fussing with my music and my phone and my window to run was quickly closing. Short runs give a lot of freedom with your time but too much freedom usually gets me in trouble.
The run felt good – comfortable temperature, dark and quiet. One mile before I got home, I stepped on some unknown, unseen, slime filled creature. As my foot landed in the dark, there was a soft give, a pop and then a thick layer of sickeningly sweet, putrid slime splashed onto my knee. The slime and the smell stayed with me for the next mile. The water in my shower when I got home couldn’t get hot enough, nor could I scrub hard enough. I am forever unclean.
Monday, July 16, 2018 – 6:00 pm – Heavy bag (2:00 punching, 50 seconds TRX)
I miss hitting stuff. I used to do Krav Maga almost daily. It’s a nice activity that gets you to turn off the front part of your brain through threat of violence. A few months ago I got an 80 lb. heavy bag and hung it in our backyard. I also hung some suspension, TRX bands. I tried to do 10 rounds (2:00 a round) with hip strengthening drills during the 50 second break. By round 5 my shoulders burned unbelievable and my hands felt crippled. My power got weaker and my strikes less accurate as the rounds went by. My hips felt great though. I quit two rounds early. You win this time, 80 lb. bag.
Tuesday, July 18, 2018 – 5:00 am – 3.13 mi @ 8:18/mi
Two days in a row running at 5:00 am. I over-prepared the night before to prevent my brain from having too much freedom. I ran listening to Pod Save America. I can only listen to political/news podcasts while running. Since my heart rate and breathing are already elevated there is no place to go and anger/frustration has a hard time being felt. My brain is more likely to point to the running, instead of the state of the world, as to why my muscles are tight, my heart race and my lungs breathing hard. This makes the news easier to swallow.
I slowed my pace for the last mile to make sure I didn’t step on anything evil.
Wednesday, July 19, 2018 – 5:00 am – 3.14 mi @ 8:16/mi
This morning was a struggle. This is the longest streak of 5:00 am runs I have done in a long time – possibly ever. At 4:45 am I turned off my alarm and started into the darkness. If I was a dogless person I would have gone back to sleep. Luckily, Zeus and Zoe both woke with the alarm and were very enthusiastic about eating, going outside and generally being alive. I fed them in the dark, dressed in the dark, and then stepped out into the dark. It was 80 degrees and 3,000% humidity. I took a picture of myself to add some social responsibility via documentation.
The run was good. I listened to the Mountain Goats album, We Shall All Be Healed. While I have always liked the Mountain Goats, I have recently developed a minor obsession with them over the past couple of weeks. It’s funny how sometimes you hear music and it doesn’t quite hit you. Maybe you are in the wrong place in your life or maybe you weren’t ready to hear it. Later, the music comes back and it suddenly hits you in a way that makes you say – Why in the world haven’t I always been listening to this? That is the Mountain Goats for me right now. I apologize to everyone I am forcing to listen to them. I realize most of you don’t care – yet. Later, the time will be right and you will thank me.
Post run – I felt refreshed. Later that day I dozed off at my desk at work.
Thursday, July 20, 2018 – 7:00 pm – 45” Tempo (roughly 5.17 mi)
I always run my best during our Thursday night group run. One mile in my running partner, Rod, and I peeled off from the pack and held a hard, 6:30 to 7:00 pace. Two miles in, Rod said he was slowing down and told me to go ahead. I told him I also needed to pull back a bit. Neither of us eased up.
At mile 3, we ran past the arena and the gathering of a comic book convention. I was abruptly stopped when a fat Luigi was blocking a narrow piece sidewalk – to the right was a fence and to the left was the Hillsborough river. I called out excuse me twice before I had to place my hands on their shoulder and slide my slimy body past them. Poor, fat Luigi – you’ll never get the respect you deserve until you respect yourself. I tried to run from what I just did but my legs were heavy and defiant.
Up ahead was a long set of stairs climbing to the second story of the arena. Rod was at the top. I pushed on as Rod disappeared around the backside of the arena. With 15 or so steps to go, phantom cigarettes burned holes into my vision and my head began to swim in the heavy, humid air. I had to slow to a walk and reason with myself – it’s in the 90s, there’s high humidity, this is week 1 of training. I also had to do the one thing I hate – I popped my top off . I generally avoid running shirtless. The reason is probably a combination of (1) having a long history of being overweight and having the associated body shame and (2) having quick, automatic judgments about other people that make me think other people are doing the same to me. But, this was life or death so I took it off. I finished the run with an average pace of 8:30/mi (not bad considering all the walking – which I feel compelled to remind you about).
Friday, July 21, 2018 – 5:30 pm – 5X5 lifting
Twice today I left one of my car windows open (once my sunroof, once my passenger window) – both times during torrential downpours. So much water came into my car through the sunroof that my travel mug floated out of my cup holder and onto the floor. These types of mental lapses usually mean I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I had hoped that an easy, untimed workout at the gym would help to clear my head. Instead, I found myself constantly playing on my phone and updating the new RunExp Instagram account. What am I doing? It seems ironic that I made this to help become more focused on my running and quickly it has distracted from the workouts. Are people even reading this? Do I want people to read this? I started thinking a lot about what I want to get out of this project as well as what I want it to actually be. Do I want it to be a way to review the scientific side of running? Should this be an exploration of identity and what it means to be a runner? Could this be a one-way form of therapy – I lay out my thoughts and uninterrupted rambling and wait for the universe to guide me?
Lifting went well. I focused on light weight, smooth motion and good form.
Squat (5×5 @ 190), Bench (5×5 @ 145), BB Row (5×5 @ 110), 1-leg deadlift (3X10 @ 30lb db), Walk lunges (1 lap), Band sidesteps (5×5), Band step-ups (5×5).
Saturday, July 22, 2018 – 9:00am – Bike rides
I traded out an easy run for riding bikes around our neighborhood. Diana and I rode to get coffee, then to a bike shop down the road. We got caught in the rain and hid under the awning of an antique store. During a quick break from the storm we pedaled down the road and sought respite and lunch at the Independent. I 100% support the change in training plan.
Sunday, July 23, 2018 – 9:00 am – 6 mi on treadmill
The humidity was brutal and I found this morning to be a practice in acceptance. I know avoiding the morning run would lead to easier avoidance of a much hotter afternoon run. Going to the gym wasn’t the ideal. I reminded myself that the goal was to run 6 miles, not run 6 miles outside on the road in perfect weather. I asked myself, what would make the treadmill worth it? What can I do here than I can’t do outside? I decided that I would run 6 miles straight (no breaks), starting slow and building in speed every .25 miles. I also decided that this would be a hill workout and I would add incline every .5 miles starting at mile 2. I also decided to watch Wonder Woman on my phone while I ran.