Friday, August 16, 2013
My neighborhood has a subdivision road loop with a miniscule incline, and measured out such that when you run the loop 4 times, the distance is almost a perfect 3.2 miles. It's a tiny bit longer than a 5K but not much.
So that's my new training ground :)
Tuesday's experience there was yucky, as I blogged. So yesterday I did a few things differently. First, I warmed up a little at home and gently stretched all the muscles I could think of (although after the run, I thought up some more.) I know you don't typically stretch BEFORE a workout, but as a dancer I'm used to doing "warm-up" stretches, so I can do them safely, and that way I don't start a workout so stiff and tight. I ate half a prosciutto and swiss sandwich on wheat toast, (rather than bacon) and I set out determined just to run slowly and NOT try to increase speed or have any other goal but just FINISHING.
I think that's the key right now -- just getting through the distance. There's an exercise principle that says your body will gradually get used to the activity you're doing, and become more efficient at it. Basically that means you won't burn as many calories doing something you do all the time, but I'm also hoping that means the "everyday" workout will get moderately easier over time. (Wait -- what's the quote? It doesn't get easier; you just get better" ? I love that!)
So when I feel my heart rate not rising quite so much, or when I feel that my effort in running this distance isn't quite as intense as it was, I'll start to up the speed a little. But right now, I throttled back and just ran at what I would consider to be a "I'm doing my cardio exercise for the day" pace, which kept my heart rate around 155. (That's slightly higher than what it was during the actual race, but having all the people running around me was rather calming, in an odd way.)
I tried to sprint what I thought was the last .2 miles, but that didn't last long. Going to have to save the Fartleks for a 4th training day.
Anyway, I did the 3.2 miles in a little over 34 minutes, which I was happy with. It felt good and I felt like I'd completed a really good workout. With no goal other than "finish it" I feel like I can let my brain and body get into the zen zone, or whatever you want to call it, where you're one with the road and aren't fussing over miles or times. It was how I remembered it from last Saturday. A good peace.
It helped that I didn't wear headphones. My ipod or the headset -- I'm not sure which -- is currently malfunctioning, so you start off listening to music that gradually fades in volume until you can hear nothing. I thought, "might as well just hear nothing then," and left it at home. I'm glad I did. It's that time of year (back to school here) where the cicadas are singing in the trees, and the breeze is starting to blow in from autumn, so even when it's 104 degrees out, you can still smell September on the wind. (This week has been unseasonably cool, but not cool enough to bring a tornado just yet -- another nice thing about summer.) I heard my feet on the pavement, and made my own dance rhythm with my footfalls and my exhalations.
Running outside has really helped me acclimate to the outdoors, which is great because usually I am very uncomfortable outside the climate-controlled house. I love the heat and sweating in the sun (but not the humidity!) and I'm hoping I'll love the cold just as much. I have seen runners in my neighborhood out with their stocking caps and spandex body suits and sweatpants in December. I thought they were crazy, and now here I am hoping to join them. My how things change...
In other news, I'm down 15 pounds officially, and possibly a little bit more. I can see dramatic losses in my arms, legs and butt, but the last bit of stubborn body fat is still hanging off my belly. Drives me crazy. I guess I'm an apple after all. I figure the last 3 pounds I lose will be from the belly. I probably should measure my hips and waist again just to see if I've lost any substantial inches there. I know I'm smaller, since my former "proud to be small enough to wear these" sizes are pretty much hanging on me, and even my Mom was all: "You need to buy some clothes that fit. Are those your maternity pants?" LOL. No, Mom. These are the pants I rewarded myself with back in 2007, when I hit my "goal weight" then.
My body is definitely different than it was then, and although I'm not looking to reclaim the figure I had in high school, I'm curious to see what "thin" or "slender" looks like on my now 42-year-old-Mother frame. I want my curves, so I don't want to get "too thin" -- but I also want to be able to start the 2014 season properly, so when competition and tour season picks up, I'll have the "commercially appropriate" figure.
Also, having calf muscles is sexy ;)