Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Dead of (er) Winter

I remember what snow looks like- no honest. I do. We had snow for about an hour two Fridays ago, since which the temperature has reached up into the 50, more days than it hasn't.

On Saturday I went out and road for 90 minute- wearing cycling glove. I mean, my fingerless CSC cycling gloves. Now, I have done my share of spinning in the basement and a few brick workouts at the gym at lunch (it was raining at least one of those days), but it's dark when I get up and dark when I get home.

To be honest, this much warm weather this late in the year is more than a little scary. It should be cold, it should be snowing. I remember at least one long run in the snow by this time last year.

Don't get me wrong. I don't exactly miss the cold. The option of taking the bike out on the weekend- hell, today I ran at lunch In nothing but a singlet and bike shorts- tha's just plain crazy. But l've always had the old-school opinion that training in the cold is one of those things that toughens you up, and so far this winter, there's been little opportunity to get tough.

Strange thoughts for the Winter Solstice.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back- as if from the dead...

After two weeks off ran the Christopher Martin 5k. This is a race that often draws in the area of a thousand people. I've been top ten in this race, but not yesterday.

After two weeks off, including spending the night before the race christening an Irish Pub, I can without making excuses say I had no business running a 5K the first day back. Period.

After coming in at a less than respectable 18:38, which earned me a whopping 11th in my age group, all I want to say is that I am ready to start training again...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Downtime is Almost Over

I was asked by my coach to take two weeks off. I last took two weeks off before I started doing tris seriously- I spent an entire season running with plantar faciitis and finally at the end of December decided to stop running until it stopped hurting to get out of bed in the morning. That was maybe five years ago.

During my down time I did go to the pool and swim 500 yards three times a week (I was told I could do some light swimming). But what do you do when you're relatively committed to daily workouts and suddenly there aren't any ?

Fortunately, with the holidays coming, it's not like there isn't plenty to do, especially when you've left the leaves to molder on the lawn...there's also plenty of work, graduate courses, time with the family, shopping and decorating the house. I did play dodgeball one night, but I was on the faculty-staff team and we got beat in straight games, so that was about ten minutes of exercise.

The point isn't to bore anyone who's reading with the mudanities of my everyday life, of which their are legion in any existence, no matter how exciting and fulfilled it might be. No, what I found was that you can take two weeks off and still be motivated, still have the same passion or hunger or whatever it is that pushes you. I knew if I took two weeks I would gain some weight. I knew there'd be some days where not having the satisfaction of having gotten in a really intense workout would be a little bit of a drag, say on Saturday and Sunday when you do your longer runs and bikes.

What really worried me was that two weeks of not working out would dull my motivation. The theory I've always had, which I've kind of kept to myself, is that the workouts and the days that really matter are the days when you really don't feel like being out there or in your basement or the gym or the pool but you go anyway and you turn out a quality workout that adds something to whatever you are preparing for. The days you feel great and go out and have a good workout are almost anti-climactic in a way. Maybe it's that I see myself as someone who gets by on effort, and those off days where you get the job done make race-day effort easier.

However, I feel good after two weeks off. There are still some sore spots, but there are things that will always be sore. I feel neither unmotivated nor do I feel like I am chomping at the bit. I just feel ready, ready to start up again, to start focusing on Arizona in 2007.