Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Workout in Three Acts

Today it was very cold this morning.  Some of my running friends went out for a run despite the cold.  Others stuck with a treadmill workout.  I took the treadmill today although I hope to get in 4-6 outside early tomorrow--sticking to the major and cleared streets to be safe and not risk ice and falling.

When I got done my workout I was stretching a bit in the long hallway at the Towson Family Y and a friend I know from a formal training group organized by Charm City Run that I was part of several years ago came over and asked what I was training for.  She is training for the Houston Half Marathon.  When I told her I am not training for anything in particular, she asked, "So you just like torturing yourself?"  I answered that I just like to maintain a working base.  

How much of a base?  I had thought about running 16 today.  I ended up with 14.  For my virtual running pilgrimage where would this put me?  Finished 22 miles.  It would be on Old Westminster Pike in Finksburg MD.  And it would be not long after a turn on MD 140 passing by Little Vinnie's Tattoos.  That is not where I got my tattoo but is a place I've seen on numerous trips out MD 140 to places like a bed and breakfast at which Sherry and I have stayed multiple times or on the way to drop Joshua off for his summer camp with the Maryland State Boychoir.  So, I am still looking at places that are familiar to me and that provide easy links to understand how this relates to my life.

The other interesting thing was that today's workout was really a workout in three acts. The three pictures show it all.  For the first hour, I ran the 8 minute miles that were very familiar to me while I was on vacation with my family.  No complaints there.  Just nice and steady work.  I enjoyed those miles but knew that given what I was going to do for the rest of the day, I would have to pick up the pace a little bit if I wanted to meet the 16 mile goal that I had set for myself.  If I were running this on the road, this would have put me along Butler Rd.  

Since the treadmill only goes for a maximum of one hour, I had to restart the treadmill and with the restart, I tried to pick up the pace a bit.  To do that, I set the treadmill for 8.5 miles per hour instead of 7.5 miles per hour and managed to maintain it for 30 minutes.  That was another 4.25 miles.  At that point I would have  been somewhere along MD 140 heading to the final point I mentioned earlier.  Key thing at this point was that I could feel something in the back of my right thigh beginning to tighten up.  Since I am not training for any races in the immediate future, I decided that no matter how much longer I was going, running a tempo or near tempo pace for 4.25 miles was sufficient for today.

I took the pace back down to 7.5 miles per hour (the 8 minute mile again) and ran another 2.25 miles in 18 minutes to bring myself up to a total of 14 miles.  Finishing there rather than pushing ahead seemed like the best thing to do.  It was learning to say that while the tightening was not enough to force me to stop, it was enough to tell me to stop.  That is something that I think comes with maturity in running.  Don't push when I don't need to.  Accept limitations.  Look ahead to what will come later after (more miles, more races, and hopefully remaining free of serious injury) rather than only looking at today--wanting the 16 miles.  

To think back to the idea of three acts, I would say that the first act was patience, the second act was attitude, and the third act was introspection. 

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