Saturday, August 11, 2007

Doing the hard yards

Me as a Simpson, apparently.

There's a gale-force northerly blowing through Wellington at the moment. We seem to have had so few big blows lately that I think I'm out of practice in dealing with them. I'm sitting on the sofa in our lounge looking out over Berhampore and Newtown, watching the neighbour's Norfolk Pine bending at hazardous angles. Earlier this morning I wasn't watching the wind, I was battling it.

The Jog Squad met at the Lower Hutt gym at 9.00 this morning. the wind was blowing then as well, but it was at least dry and reasonably warm. My legs were still feeling the week's exertions - the rolling hill run on Monday, Balance and a hard fast half hour run up Bowen, down Tinakori and around Thorndon Quay on Tuesday, speed work around the waterfront on Wednesday, a leg session with Duck on Thursday morning, an RPM class that lunchtime, and a Balance class on Friday. I had given myself permission to have a slow run, but in my mind that meant sticking to a steady pace somewhere near the mid of the pack.

In short, today's run was hell. Yet I don't feel bad about it for some strange reason. In part this is because, even though I gave up in the sense that I had walk breaks, I didn't give up in the sense that I stuck at it for the whole 13.5km rather than taking a short-cut back to the gym.

From Pretoria Street we ran up onto the Hutt River trail and down in the direction of Petone. I stuck with the front pack for a while, but was running at a pace that was faster than I wanted, so dropped back. Construction work meant we had to detour onto suburban streets, leading eventually down to the Petone foreshore. I got the stitch after 20 minutes and slowed down to a genuine plod.

the Petone foreshore finally appeared and I ran its distance into a horrific headwind. When I got to Cuba Street I considered heading straight back to the gym, but my watch read 38 minutes, and I was half-way, so it seemed more sensible to mad dog to keep going. Besides, I didn't want to risk getting lost, and I could still spy a Hutt Jog Squadder in the distance.

Onto the Hutt Rd and I plodded, mixed with a little walking, back up towards the Hutt. I got lost trying to find Melling, found myself back on the Hutt River trail, and started to sniff home. Then, with another five minutes or so to run, the clouds burst. Within seconds I was drenched, but there was nothing left in me to speed up.

I'm going to take heart from this run, knowing that even the bad runs will improve my fitness and endurance. Next week I will try to concentrate my hard leg workouts earlier in the week, with the aim of getting to Saturday with enough in the tank to get me through 90 minutes of steady running. there must be something I'm not doing quite right at the moment, so I will have to try to work out exactly what.

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