Sunday, March 01, 2009

Running is Hard

No, seriously. This isn't supposed to be easy, right? That's not why we do it. I had a flashback halfway through today's two hour run. I remembered all those Saturday mornings with the Jog Squad - all those long runs preparing for our first half marathon (and then our second). Back then I used to take Friday as a rest day, so would be running on fresh legs. It still felt hard. So many hours, so many kilometres later - it still feels hard.

Of course, I haven't been running much over the last year. It has been primarily about the cycling. I know I'm fitter than I was when I was training for the half marathons, but I still have to earn the wear and tear on my running shoes. I've been building up my distances fairly quickly and I've been feeling a bit slow as a result. I better make the most of the upcoming 'easy' week, because it's only going to get harder from here!

I don't do my long runs on fresh legs. In fact I don't do ANY of my runs on fresh legs. After taking Friday off as scheduled I still wasn't feeling completely rested on Saturday. For the last couple of days the weather forecasters had been predicting that a big storm would blow in over the weekend. I'd booked a couple of RPM classes as a precautionary measure in case it was too nasty to ride with the Gearshifters. I figured 90 minutes of spin was roughly equivalent to a two to three hour ride.

I was feeling a bit conflicted when i got up at 7am. It was very calm outside and only slightly overcast. I didn't want to wimp out of a ride if the weather was going to be rideable. I considered cancelling the classes and hauling Cleo out to Freyberg. However as the clouds gathered I made my mind up. Julia sent a txt from Tawa to say it was already raining there and, as I drove down Farnham Street towards the gym it started raining in Wellington as well - big fat heavy drops. It continued to pour down solidly all day.

Julia and I proceeded to grind our way through two sweaty RPM classes. It's new release week so we got to hear the same tracks twice in a row. I wasn't that impressed the first time around but by the second outing they were growing on me. I don't think any of them would make it into my requests list, but I can live with them.

At the end of the first class we were joined by another Gearshifter. She'd met the others at Freyberg but been put off by the rain and backtracked to the gym instead. Those who did ride canned the planned Makara excursion and did a simple around the bays with Mt Crawford thrown in. I felt happy with my decision and that I hadn't missed anything by deciding not to put myself through a cold, wet ride.

Straight out of RPM and straight onto a treadmill in the Cardio Theatre. I can't remember the last time I ran in there but I was going to need music to get me through 25 minutes. I wasn't really tired, but I was just over it and kind of ready to be getting on with the rest of my day. Nevertheless I had a good run. My legs didn't feel at all heavy coming off the spin bike and my heartrate sat comfortably in a good range.

Although I felt fine after my indoor brick I crashed mid-afternoon. I drank a bottle of cider while sitting at my computer and then it was just all over Rover. I somehow found my way to our lovely new bed and had a total nana nap for about an hour. I still felt groggy when I woke but slowly started to feel human again. It's been a while since I've done that! And Dusty, you're probably wondering about Hydrocortisone. I honestly can't remember whether I took any extra that morning but I doubt that I did. I wouldn't normally for a morning of spinning with a bit of running thrown in, and I would normally feel fine afterwards!

The rain continued to come down steadily all evening, lulling me into a calm stupor. I indulged in a quiet night on the sofa under a blanket before crawling back into that wonderful new bed.

This morning Hamish and I went linen shopping (two new pillows, a sheet set, two duvet covers and a new duvet later) and then it was long run time. The rain had disappeared but the Northerly had risen to typically interesting levels. With all the moisture around it was rapidly getting to be very humid. Time to fill the hydration pack.

I left at around 2.30, running up Farnham Street from home and then down Mornington Rd towards Brooklyn. It seemed unfair that, even running downhill, the Northerly was threatening to stop me in my tracks. What was the fun of running downhill into a wind so strong you had to fight with it?

Down Ohiro Rd to Aro Street and then up Aro Valley towards Karori. A quick stop halfway up as the pancakes Hamish had made earlier in the day threatened to make their presence felt, and then over the hill and left through the Karori tunnel. There were walkers ahead of me going through and I had to drop to a walk, thinking it too rude to push past them. Out the other side though I picked up the pace again down Glenmore and then down Bowen (more downhill into the headwind) and onto the waterfront.

Past Shed 5, Fergs and Te Papa and around the Bays. I alternated between feeling really slow and then looking at my Garmin to realise that actually my pace was ok. At Oriental Bay the chop was the largest I've ever seen - reasonable-sized rollers swarming the beach. Out in the harbour jet skis were racing through the white caps. Spray was crashing over the sea wall and I was doing everything I could to run through it. Anything cool and wet was all good at that point in time.

Towards the end of Oriental Bay the Northerly slowed me again and then it was round Pt Jerningham and the wind was at my back and pushing me scarily fast down the straight. There's nothing like being picked up and thrown a few metres by a force of nature to make a girl feel insignificant.

By Balaena Bay the Garmin was telling me that my pace was right on target and that I was well situated to finish in Berhampore right on the two hour mark. At about the 80 minute mark I suddenly realised that I had left behind the gel I'd been meaning to try. This wouldn't normally be a problem because I don't normally use them anyway, but today it would have really helped. I would have loved to have had that extra little bit of kick to get me around.

Even so my pace remained on target all the way to the climb up over the saddle to Newtown. I didn't care how slowly I took it - I just wanted to get over without walking and I accomplished that ok. After that it was downhill and right at the traffic lights then up and over the last hill with the scent of victory in the air.

I made it to the dairy two minutes shy of two hours and decided that was enough. Into the dairy for the customary cold drink and Fruju and the dairy owner even remembered to ask me how far I'd run. Not quite a half marathon, but on post-RPM/treadmill legs and with all the hillage I was happy. I even managed to knock 15 seconds off last week's pace. The big thing I noticed today was that, despite using the hydration pack, I was very dehydrated afterwards. I've been knocking back the water all evening. I only had water in the pack so will use Peak Fuel next week and see if that makes a difference.

I'm running a fast 5km after work tomorrow and I swear that this week I'm going to hit my target 5km pace. I want that sub-25 to show on the Garmin. I need the proof!

1 comment:

Dusty said...

Amazing day for you! You made me laugh because you knew what I was thinking :)

Good luck tomorrow with the sub 25 5K!