Monday, January 23, 2012

Adjusting the Approach

A mere 14 weeks before the first race on my 2012 docket, the Illinois Half. I’m excited for a few reasons: good people from my running circle will be taking the journey down to Chambana (that would be the combination of Champaign and Urbana, for those unaware), a change of racing scenery is always a good thing and hell, 14 is my lucky number.

I’ve been using the past few (and a few more weeks) to lay down an itty-bitty base for myself and it went…meh. I had a handful of solid, committed to putting in the miles weeks followed by a lone run or two the week after. A nice few excuses come to mind, only one (a five day stretch of a cold) is considerably legit. Maybe a stretch using the overwhelming nerves from a handful of interviews preventing me from running. But here I am, 14 weeks out. And I don’t want the same problems from last year (and beyond, sigh) joining me to the starting line. I'm sick of no preparation and feeling disappointed when I finish any given race, after the wheels fall off with a few miles left.

I make really nice calendars on graph paper.  The problem is that I think I can fill them in on a weekly basis, using how I feel to dictate and guide my training…but the problem with no structure is that its really, REALLY easy to just keep it blank. No accountability laid out makes me feel little to no guilt when the day comes and goes and I have nothing to show for it.

Come on, Kind. You are better than that. I have goals this year and have started making the effort needed to keep me on task.

First, I joined the Oak Park Runners Club. I missed the first meeting but am totally looking forward to getting to meet up with other runners out here, have a more personal group to volunteer with and eventually run with once my schedule lines up a bit better. And I wont lie…the idea of getting a singlet and representing something has been deeply missed. Something that was really important when I presided over the club handball team in college was getting a wearable jersey so all playing (especially at nationals) were recognizable. Didn’t have that before and I don’t know if it was continued on to be honest, but at least that was something I made happen.

Secondly, in regards to time-based goals, I really feel like it comes down to committing to my fitness and not getting in my own way too much. A sub 1:40 half and 5ks near 7min pace are what I want to get to so as to feel like I’m moving forward. I’m not that far removed from faster efforts and I firmly believe in the notion that ability never fades.

Finally, and this goes along with the over arching need of regaining some confidence, but I'd like to tackle an honest to goodness track race sometime in the summer. I know they are out there

So I’m going to re-tool the way I train and get a much better handle on laying out my schedule, starting today. Cross Training is going to be key, utilizing my rower as well as Insanity, the slightly silly workout series. I did the majority of it in September-October and it really gave me confidence on my feet and a great sense of strength in my core, so I’d like to give it another go.

These 14 weeks are going to fly by, I know it. Now to get going.

Friday, January 6, 2012

An entry where I remember removing my pants.

I refuse to have to choose betwix two entities now that I've started another blog. I think that is for the best, freeing up this space for conversations on running and running only.

I'll keep today short though. I'm mainly just in total awe of this day. This wonderful 50 degree Chicago day....

...on January 6? Yup, future self reading back on this from a presumed dystopian universe.
 I'm currently sitting in my sun room with a window open, taking over a chair that has been fully claimed by a cat (the amount of hair is startling). Said cat is sitting by...said window. Everyone is happy.

In a way, it's magical. We've "already gotten snow" (though I feel nothing of consequence) and there have been a number of days below freezing. Yet, it still remains to feel winterless. Yesterday was in the mid 40s with a slight breeze and today is even better.
It very much DOES feel like 53 out. Went on a seven (fine, fine! I can't take the guilt of lying. It was 6.91...a train was approaching and I didn't want to get trapped on the other side of the tracks and have to improvise my route. Lame, but whatever. I need the consistency.) mile run with shorts and a long sleeve shirt (though I would have been fine in short sleeves all the same).

Ah, my gams still got it...and are, sigh...dreadfully white. I refrained from turning an overhead light on so as to avoid brightening the ghoulish color even further. 

As nice as today is, days like these make me think back to the first few days of January 2000. 

Context: We survived that Y2K nonsense (hooray!) and as a silly sophomore, I was on a weekend run on my own, prior to practice starting back up again during winter break in high school. It was like this out, maybe warmer in the 60s, perhaps. But the only reason it comes to mind is that I recall de-pantsing (with shorts on underneath! Of course I was wearing shorts! ) at the corner across from my high school, about a mile or so into my run. Pants were then tied around the waist and I continued on. 

Back in those days, shame wasn't part of the vernacular and if there was any chance to run in shorts, the opportunity was taken. But perhaps the locale in which I chose was poor, as I recall being honked and receiving my very first cat call as I took of a pair of hunter green GAP swishy pants from very tiny (even pastier legs) at the corner of Dunham and 63rd Street. A magical moment.

Easy to dwell on that day now from afar and ruminate on the presence of innocence, in not really being bright enough to understand one's surroundings at 15. But I remember the weather and getting that blush of warmth from the sun that we often forget about once it starts setting around 4pm. Sitting here right now, I faintly feel it now. 

...But I'm a pessimist and just KNOW snow is coming. At least I hope it does. And when we finally get the real first snowfall of the winter, I'll run in that, too. 


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Greetings, 2012

I’ve had this square, blue magnet forever, featuring the following quote: It’s never too late to be what you might have been. 

It looks like this. Did you know you could purchase magnets online? The things we learn…

It’s attributed to George Eliot, the pen name of a female Victorian-era author. I don’t think I’ve ever read Silas Marner, but it’s the lone work I can attribute to her, er—him.

Some days, I totally buy in. It’s a great mantra.  Other days, I think the message mocks me as I fetch milk from the fridge, and I tend to the rest of my day sluggishly. But with some needed calcium, at least.

I’m not one to maintain and hold firm on new years resolutions; can’t deny that. But I’m looking to build a sense of consistency in regards to running. What does that entail? What might I be?

A few things need to take place, I think. First, I’m spending the next few weeks merely “just running”. I’m not thinking about plotting out mileage or pace or time. I just go out and base my day's efforts on feel.   I need to embed it back into my being, make it the habit I want it to be. Secondly, brighten up this site, both visually and content wise, as it was previously mirroring the dark scheme. I'm pleased at this point.

I delved back into this blog with running gusto last spring at what would turn out to be the worst possible timing I could think of. It kind of lost its way over the past few months, poor attempts at forcing updates and entries or even worse—me not feeling like I could openly post the words I wanted to say, needed to say, really. I'll be better at that. Like for example, instead of dwelling on the crapfest that was '11, I'm very much looking forward to the next 365 days and what I can bring to the table. So there, pbbbt.

The oafishness and sheer idiocy of the holiday week betwixt Christmas and New Years undid things a bit, but the two weeks prior I was good, I swear! 22 and 19 miles, respectively, felt solid. There was a few freak nights featuring runs in shorts as well as some weird slight issue with the presence of pain that I couldn’t pinpoint on the back of my heel. But all the same, I managed. More importantly, I enjoyed it.

Despite feeling slightly effected by, uh, New Year’s festivities, I held myself accountable to what I want to accomplish in 2012 and went for a 4 ½ mile outing this evening. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but then again, I like tangling with the elements. I ran with the wind biting me in the face for the majority of my time in the great suburban outdoors, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I have goals and desires to reach this year when it comes to running, and I’ll get there. Now is not the time to dwell on such. First things first, is just run, baby. Just run…