Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Pain of No Regrets

What a huge week of training. This was another milestone week for me, training-wise. This was the week that I put in the miles and the psychology of running began to fall into place. When Duck told me that the half-marathon training programme would involve a higher number of runs, but shorter, I didn't think it would work. I'm being proven wrong. Who would have thought that to become a runner all you have to do is run? It makes sense when you think about it!

Bouyed by Saturday's 70 minute run I signed up for the Shoe Clinic half marathon at the end of June. I realised as I plodded around the Bays that time didn't matter. If I kept to a comfortable pace I could run for as long as I wanted, and therefore I could run a half if I so chose.

On Tuesday I chose to sleep in, and then did a Body Balance class at 11.10. After work I headed over to Xtreme, where I ran 35 minutes around the Bays at a steady pace. Thankfully the strong Northerlies had backed off a bit, so the return back to the gym wasn't too intense.

I grabbed my cycle shoes out of my locker and headed up to the crank room for Duck's RPM class. I didn't use as much dial as I could have, but I didn't exactly take it easy either. I had a lot of fun, but I wasn't sure whether it was smart for me to be doing an RPM with a whole week of running still ahead of me. Would I regret throwing in the extra class?

On Wednesday I headed off to the gym at 11.00am to do my upper body weights programme. Duck's given me an evil workout that involves lots of cable work, targeting both my upper body and my core. Even after a couple of months I still find it extremely hard, and my obliques were complaining by the end. However I like that the programme is so intense. I like that it makes me feel strong. I like that I can see definition in my abs. I hate it while I'm doing it, but I like the results.

After work the Jog Squad met up for a fast run out to Newtown. Whereas last time we had 25 minutes to reach the roundabout, this time we had 20. Even though Karen has increased her pace significantly over the last few weeks, and even though Sarah's still faster than me, I can keep up provided I get the occasional light change to enable me to catch my breath. I made it to the roundabout with the speedies, and with a few minutes still to go we headed up the hill. I totally lost it at that point and got left behind, although I still made it to the top of the rise before turning round.

After that it was downhill all the way back to Wallace Street, and I made the most of it to keep pace with Sarah. It was only once we got onto the rolling hills of Wallace that I dropped back again a bit. However I pounded down Taranaki with the grim aim of catching the front pack, and it was a triumphant sprint back to the gym in the lead. All up I felt pretty happy with my performance.

On Thursday Duck had me doing sprints on the treadmill at 13.5kmph. I could have gone faster I think, but even 13.5kmph is a huge improvement for me over where I started out. We followed that up with swiss ball squats and jumping squats, and leg extensions. My legs were really burning, and I still had a 35 minute run to get through at lunch time. Needless to say my lunchtime run was very slow! However I did it, and it was a lovely day to be out.

No RPM for me on Friday morning, and no Body Balance either. It felt strange to be having a complete day of rest, and it put my whole Friday routine out. The saving grace was stepping on the scales that morning to discover that I was back down to 55.5kg. It seems that when I'm training hard this is the weight that my body sits at most comfortably. I thought I'd dropped again this week. I felt leaner and I could feel more definition, but it took jumping on the scales to confirm it. Now I just have to be careful to maintain, and not to drop much lower with the longer runs.

Suddenly it was Saturday morning. I wasn't too sure this morning how my scheduled 75 minute run would go. My legs were still feeling it a little from Thursday, and my hip felt a little stiff. I had toyed with the idea of running up Wadestown Rd, but faced with one of the most perfect Wellington mornings ever (as if the weather hadn't already been beautiful enough all week), and wanting to have a good steady run with as few stops as possible, I elected to run around the Bays. I jumped on an exercycle for 5 minutes, then jogged slowly down to Queen's Wharf as a warm-up. After that I ran around the Bays at a steady pace. The harbour was absolutely flat, and the sea almost silver in colour. The temperatures were mild and there wasn't even the tiniest hint of a breeze.

Pt Jerningham came and went, then Greta Point. I started to pick my pace up with the aim of reaching the Zephometer, and made it in just over 38 minutes. From there I got the bit between my teeth, and picked the pace up again for most of the way back. I passed Catherine race walking, and Ingrid out running with her husband. One of the nicest things about being a Jog Squad member has been the large number of other women I now see out running. It makes a difference!

I have discovered that the trick to running long distance is to enjoy the sensation of one foot in front of the other, one breath in, one breath out. To begin thinking about how much further there is yet to run is to start to crumble. Start rushing and the diaphragm tightens, the breath shortens. Relax into your pace, simply feel the movement, and everything flows.

Everything flowed very well until around Frank Kitts, when the toast and peanut butter I'd had for breakfast started to repeat on me. When I stopped back at Queen's Wharf I had to hold back a bit of nausea, but it quickly passed, and was gone by the time I'd walked back to the gym.

I followed up the run with a great Body Balance, although it wasn't fair of Clare to pick on me during the strength poses. I know the releases well enough today to be able to simply do the moves, and not have to think too hard about them. It's fair to say I had a huge grin on my face for most of the class.

I'm heartened by how good I'm feeling. My sacroiliac seems to get better the more I run, and the running is also getting better the more I run. I've never felt stronger or fitter or more ready than I do now. All that remains is for me to retain this momentum over the next month, and to use what I've learned about myself to not flip out on the day of the actual event.

Let's hope!

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