This week I received the wake-up call: Running is not all rainbows and unicorns. The beginning of the week was tough:
Following Sunday’s 5K cross-country race, Julia, Meaghan and I were back at it for an early morning up Lookout Mountain Road. We were a bit sore, a bit tired, nothing out of the ordinary. We galloped up the hill at a relaxed pace under the dark morning sky and 20-degree temperatures. While the run felt fine, I never quite recovered from the hour+ outside in these conditions.
My body felt weak throughout the morning. At lunchtime we had an office chili cookoff, which consisted of greasy concoctions of mystery meats that I haven’t been indulging in much lately. Rations of desserts propelled a cycle of sugar-rush/crash throughout the afternoon. My body was all out of sorts.
To add more stress to my day, Julia and I met with local realtors to discuss our interest in purchasing a home in the Golden area. Not much to say here other than the expected overwhelming burden of missed opportunities as home prices skyrocket each month. We decided that we’re happy in our little rental downtown, and are looking forward to staying here until there is a need for us to move.
The only answer to feeling lethargic is sleeping in. Still not feeling spritley, I took an easy jog to work. Likely, the double race efforts from last week caught up with me. Not to mention the cold mornings, I’m over cold mornings. Over it.
No November Project for me. Day 2 of sleeping in was necessary. After two days in a funk, I was quickly down on myself and giving up hope on all of the fitness that I had built. Despite my lament, I was glad to be feeling this way… it’s about time, I thought.
It all can’t go right, and it all shouldn’t go right. It’s good to test the mind and body through times of diversity. This dose of reality was bound to happen, so I’m rolling with it. More sleep, better acknowledgement of my mood and feelings, and being proactive in my health and well-being.
To add to my lackluster demeanor, we hadn’t see the sun for a few days (read: SAD – seasonal affectedness disorder). I’ve been eating my lunch indoors. No sunlight, means no energy!
Summary of Mon-Wed: Dark, Cold, & no photos.
Poof: Back to action. Ain’t it funny how simple distractions, like a workout with friends and a sunny workday can breath life back into you.
We welcomed a larger-than-average PlayGldn crew on Dino Ridge. This led to a more focused effort on our hill repeats. It’s seems as though everyone went a smidge harder and faster than normal. It’s fantastic to see us feeding off of each others energy.
Thank goodness, I was feeling like my normal self again. Seriously, three days felt like a downward spiral of Bleh. Oh yeah, I broke in my new sneaks today – Nike Pegasus 33 – feeling great!
Mike Bell, grand uncle of PlayGldn and Team Deep Conversations, put together this ultimate hype video highlighting our vibe squad:
I enjoyed a twilight commute home from Colorado Mills area after a fun happy hour with coworkers.
I was greeted by this lovely sunrise over South Table on my roundabout route to work. Photo captured from the Coors Brewery Parking Lot:
I love running on Fridays after work. I typically work 9-hour days, but on Fridays I begin earlier and work just 8 hours. This gives me plenty of time for a post work medium distance run. I cruised home at 3pm, dropped my backpack in my car, and continued on toward Pine Ridge Road – the most magical escape in Golden:
When I returned from my afternoon 10-miler, I immediately felt like postponing Saturday’s Time Trial. My legs were fatigued, I fell victim to running faster than I should have, and I didn’t think I’d have the spunk to execute the long run workout. Then I realized that fatigue is the point of training… getting up, getting out, and working hard on days that you don’t feel like you can do it. Game on.
As I brushed my teeth before bed, I gave merit to this faint measure of fear and nervousness that I’d be carrying to bed with me. I was approaching Saturday’s long run workout like a race – my weekly race, against myself. This was a good place to be.
I was all freakin’ business on Saturday, and it felt phenomenal. The run was not phenomenal.. I struggled through some tough early miles, a self-imposed head wind, and aforementioned heavy legs of what would become my biggest training week to date (80+ miles!). It was my execution and effort that was greatly satisfying.
Julia assembled her crew (Birdie & Meaghan) at a meeting point on the Cherry Creek Path in Denver. They were running for 2-hours, so I planned to warmup for 15-minutes, run hard-ish for 1:30, then cool down for 15-minutes. I hoped to be around 6-min/mi pace for most of the time trial.
This was a long mental focus that cast a spell over me. I was in a trance as I listened only to the tick of the 180-bpm metronome for an hour and a half. I was present with my mentality, my form, & my running economy. As I tired, I drove my knees forward seeking efficiency in my gait.
For the last three (slightly downhill) miles, I tried to empty the tank. I was gunning for sub-6 min/mile pace on these final three, and I got it!
I gave the girls a wave in my final sprint, then was joined by Kevin (Meaghan’s husband) fpr a cool down – he had biked 60-miles from Golden to meet us for a post run coffee:
I was proud of a solid effort on the trail. I’m noticing a lower heart rate at faster sustained pace than just a few weeks ago, which adds more confidence in my training plan. I love how transparent my training has become. By testing myself weekly, I’m simulating racing – preparation and pacing – and it’s apparent that I am improving.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to race anything prior to Wings For Life. I relish the pursuit, focus, and commitment of training, and I don’t want to muddle it by spreading myself to thin. Well that is today’s perspective… that’ll likely change again tomorrow!
Morning run followed by coffee with the crew, replenished by lunch burgers with my wife, capped off with front yard beers with friends in the glorious sunshine. Life is Good!
Endurance Changes Time,