Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now we are talking!

Long run Wednesday is becoming my favorite day of the week. As long as it keeps going the way it did yesterday. At least on the running side of it worked great. It was my normal long run schedule. 105 minutes broken into even 35 minutes of easy, steady, moderate. Also still rolling with 9 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Yesterday was one of those days I really didn't want to run. I sat around the house mulling it over knowing I would do it but not really wanting to. I was dreaming of 50 degrees and sunny but I knew it was 35 and raining/sleeting. I just struggled with the thought. Out I went though right on time.

As I started the run, the sleet started to come down hard. The wind was blowing hard in my face and I had that what am I doing out here attitude. I continued on. I'm really paying attention to my hear rate monitor during this run. 135 was my cap for the first 35 minutes. If I got above that I needed to slow down. I'm becoming much more comfortable with this pace. It's slow but now I just work on perfect form to keep my mind off the ultra slow pace. I noticed by the end of the 35 minutes that I was behind where I was the last time I did this. Could it be possible I'm actually running slower?

The next 35 minutes are all on pavement. The first half is on a bike path linking village to village. My HR cap is 145 on this section and over the first half it was difficult to stay around that mark. I was either too high or too low. This in the section that also has the most adidas people driving by. I can't help but think that they see the guy from the running unit, running so slow and wonder if the running BU is in the right hands. I know that's really stupid but it does cross my mind and it makes me laugh. The second part of this run is on the road to the beer garden. For about the next two miles it's up hill. It starts gradual and gets steeper until it finishes 1/3 of a mile past the beer garden. I found hitting my 145 HR was easier on the steady climb. Another thing I noticed was on my walking breaks. During each of my walking breaks my HR dropped quickly. During one section it dropped below 100. Roughly just at the beer garden village I switch to the final 1/3 of the run. By this point I was right on pace with the last time.

The final 1/3 of the run starts at the steepest part of the 2 mile hill. Once at the top in the middle of the forest, the trail starts a super long section of long gradual down and then long gradual up. It's a good place to let the legs go a bit. By this point I've been running so slow that my legs can't wait. Now I'm actually running. Important to note that I'm running controlled, watching my form all the time. No Heart Rate cap on this final section, just running by feel. I like the forest, it's quiet with only the sound of birds, my feet and my breathing. Running fast feels good in the forest. Coming out of the forest I realized that I was now ahead of my pace from the last time. Maybe I'm running too fast! The only way to know is continue on and measure at the finish. So that's what I did. By the time I got the the bike path that wraps around the World of Sports I knew I was way ahead. My stopping point is the intersection on the bike path that takes me to the front door of adidas. I stop, take a deep breath and look at my watch. 99:44. Scheduled run was 105 and I'm 5 minutes and 15 seconds faster.

So to recap I started out super slow, slower than I had gone before. I stayed course even though I knew I was running slow. I made up some of the time on the next section but not all of it. My HR was dropping super low on the walking breaks. Then I opened it up a bit. With an improvement like that I must have really driven the HR up over the last section. On the last run, I ran 106:35 with a HR of 142. Yesterday I ran 99:44 with a HR of 143. That's a really telling sign. My slow can be slow and the slower it is the faster I can run at the finish. I think it mean's I'm learning how to pace myself. Finally after how many years, I'm still learning stuff in running.

It's a good life....

An addendum: The whole experience doesn not end with the stopping of the watch. Recovery starts right away and at my age recovery is harder. I got to my desk where I have my recovery powder wating. Mix the drink and start the process. I have a few conversations on the way to the shower. Stop at Stripes to pick up breakfast and then head back to my desk. My boss stopps me and says do you have a minute. I look wide eye, yes. I see on the table one of the women in the office has baked pastries. I grab one and go into the office. The minute turned out to be 20 or more. No big deal just a impromptu planning meeting. Then there is another sidebar meeting and finally another one as I head back to my desk. I sit down famished now and start eating. I look at my watch and it's 10:15am. 1.5 hours have already passed since I stopped my watch. This is not good. At 4:00pm the birthday boy brings in his birthday treats. Here in Germany it's your job to bring your cake. So I have another sugar laden white bread treat. It was really good. Oh don't worry I had a normal lunch in there somewhere. By the time Mary and Marco pick me up at 6:40 I am crashing hard. My diet went in one day from a strong protein base with good stuff around it to a mixture that included bad timing and then wasted pasteries. My ability to focus at 7:00pm is gone. As I type this 12 hours later I can still feel the affects of the run + bad diet. Bad Dave, Bad Dave, Bad Dave.
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