Thursday, April 24, 2014

Treadmill Miles and Lessons About Pacing in Life

This morning I ran 7.5 miles on the treadmill.  The last few weeks, I had gone seven miles on the treadmill on Thursday.  This week was slightly different.  First, of all, it was 1:15 faster overall.  Why?  Because each mile other than the warm-up and cool down miles was run at 15 seconds faster than in the past several weeks.  So, I opened up with a mile at an easy (for me—after reading about the Boston marathon elites running a comfortable 5:00/mile pace, I just keep reminding myself that I can’t run what some others consider easy and that what is easy for me would be a wish for some others).  Then I ran miles at 8 MPH, 8.6, 8.9, 9.3, and 9.6.  I closed with 1.5 miles at the original 8:00/mile pace.  Most weeks I’ve just run one mile to cool down.  This week, it was 1.5 miles to bring me back to the total number I was supposed to run this week.  Between the half mile extra (at least by my Garmin) on Tuesday, the one mile under yesterday, and the half mile over today, I’ve netted out.  The workout was definitely more challenging than the past week weeks.  I didn’t really feel it for the first two “fast” miles (although they were each 15 seconds faster than in past weeks).  I did feel it by the third mile.  I knew I had reached that pace faster than in the past few weeks.  I felt the effort, but I did not feel completely out of control and I did not get sloppy.  So, it was another good workout.

On my pilgrimage, I am south of Jasonville, Indiana, on County Route 700 North.  The Catholic church in Jasonville is St Joan of Arc Parish.  I’ve never thought about whether I could relate to Joan of Arc.  She is the patroness of soldiers and of France.  Other than respecting those who are willing to lay down their lives for their country and having taking French, I don’t have a particular connection to either of these.

The workout today didn’t really lead me to any inspiration.  It was mostly about going and doing it.  And recognizing the challenges that it brought.  And realizing that between the intervals at just under race pace that I run on the track and the intervals that speed up to a point close to race pace for the progression run, it will, hopefully, all come together for a 5K faster than I’ve gone since not long after the last time an American man won the Boston marathon before this week. 

The workouts have been challenging and I feel the work but I don’t end up feeling totally beat.  I have learned that this may be a far better approach to working out than working myself to the bone on each and every workout and expecting to be ready to max out at race time.  We will see whether it call comes together or not.  At least I am running smarter.  Whether smarter turns into better or not it another issue entirely.  We will see when I race in May.

I guess the other thing that I think about is that I am clearly happy with the workouts I am doing.  I am positive.  I am optimistic.  But I realize that I also have to do things like using the stick to work out the tension and tightness in the muscles.  And as I think about work, I realize that the first year in my new job has been one of many new experiences but over time it has been spread out.  It has been things that I enjoy.  It has been things that I have paced.  And I have learned.  And I have gotten better.

So, maybe I will be able to see more parallels between work and running as I go ahead.  Working hard.  But not too hard.  We could call it the Goldilocks approach to workouts.  Just right.  And improving through that just right hard work--that makes me better and doesn't place me at risk of taking on too much or making mistakes or getting injured.  

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