I had a traumatic hotel reservation escapade late Sunday night, so I went to bed having decided not to run Lookout Mountain Road in the morning with the girls. Little did I know I’d picked it right, as Julia returned from the run early after being turned around by pelting snow and harsh wind squalls.
The snow passed quickly through town, and I managed a uneventful run to work.
I successfully sold an old-new pair of Hoka road shoes on EBay – new such that they had less than 100-miles on them , old in that I hadn’t worn them for nine months – since recovering from a toe stress fracture. After “dabbling” with different types of road sneaks over the last few years, I’m confident that the Nike Pegassus is the best option for my feet and body type. I didn’t want to risk another injury by mixing the Hoka’s into my footware rotation.
With the sale, I had just enough time to run home from work, grab the packaged shoes, and run to the post office for shipment. There’s something really validating about literally running errands.
In the morning, I was excited to test out the workout feature of my Garmin 235 watch. The night before, I created three workouts in Garmin Connect — though they never bluetoothed their way into my watch.
The workouts are basic:
- 12 x 90 seconds w/60-seconds recovery.
- 8 x 180 seconds w/120-seconds recovery.
- 4 x 1-mile w/0.25-mile recovery.
After realizing that the workouts never made it to my watch, I discovered a pre-programmed 4×1-mile workout in the menu. I was planning on doing shorter reps, but this would suffice. The pre-programmed rest period, however, was only a minute long – way too short for an effective workout.
I enjoyed the structure of the workout, and was fine with the haphazard intervals, as I don’t take my Tuesday workouts super seriously, as I’m just trying to get the legs working again early in the week.
Usually I’m flying high at November Project workouts, today I was not. I take full blame whenever I don’t enjoy myself at NP. It’s like anything in life – you get out of it what you put into it.
This morning I was just in a fog. As easy as it is to go with the flow and get served a workout of fun and cheer, it takes effort and buy-in. I need to activate a carefree persona to embrace this opportunity. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.
On the contrary, I’ve been listening to NP co-founder, Brogan Graham, on the Rich Roll Podcast on my run commutes. I immediately regained my appreciation for the NP movement through BG’s musings over the tenants of NP: not taking yourself too seriously, being the change, breaking the mold, fighting the norm.
Thursday is my weekly revitalization. The morning workout with PlayGldn gives me a pep in my step for the rest of my day:
We raced six 3-minute intervals up the spine of the beast. Our goal was to run the furthest on our final rep. There was some somber sentiment in the air, as Daylight Time looms ominously, and this would be our last workout (for the next few weeks) being dazzled by the Denver sunrise.
Did I mention that I’m on a new schedule at work? Working eight 9-hour days, I’m awarded with every other Friday off! I was excited for this new change, as was Julia… who opted to take Friday off as well so we could celebrate together!
Julia and I made plans for a busy Friday. We attended Creative Mornings in Denver, then hit the highway for an overnight getaway in Taos, NM.
Knowing that I’d lack the spirit to run after a 4-1/2 hour drive south to NM, I ran up Lookout Mountain Road before we left for Denver. I paced an easy uphill 6-miles and a focused, driven 6-miles downhill. I was pleased with my effort and execution, but more so invigorated by the solitude, natural beauty of my surroundings, and inspiring words from Ironman legend, Mark Allen, on yet another Rich Roll podcast.
Mark’s acceptance of Shamanism – awareness of nature & appreciation of life as a journey – elevated his athletic performance and transcended self-imposed limitations of his potential.
I’m a true believer in serendipity. I’m not saying that I am in need of a new outlook on endurance competition, nor a spiritual revitalization, but for me, a fresh idea and new focus can change a perspective and breath new life into daily habits.
Another takeaway from Mark’s discussion is that he could run the same loop day after day after day. What most would find monotonous and tedious, he would find little nuances of each run that made them special and unique. With each repetition, he was seeking perfection and discovering elements of improvement.
The selling point of our Taos hotel was the free, hot breakfast. Unable to pass up a free meal, I was torn between gorging on breakfast and suffering through a long run. My stomach has dealt well with my recent eating habits, particular on Saturdays. The recent addition of pre-run whole milk Cafe Au Laits fill me up and energize me throughout the run.
So I ate… gravy, biscuit, eggs, salsa, mini-burrito, coffee… then I ran. I didn’t gorge and I only felt slight discomfort in the early warm up miles. The plan was for two 6-mile intervals (hopefully @ 5:45/mile pace) with 4 easy paced miles before each repetition. Julia found a deserted intersection where dirt road met quiet county road, and we both set off.
After four miles out and back on the dirt, I was back at the car and primed to race 3 miles down the paved county road. I felt great and actually had to scale back after glancing a 5:30/mi reading on my watch. Although I grew a bit sluggish later on, I was happy with my effort in the first 3 miles and my commitment to the workout.
Then I turned around.
Unbeknownst to me, there had been a tailwind carrying me along that country road. The 3 miles back to the car were stymied by a stiff headwind and seemingly relentless uphill. Woe is me.
I managed to tug myself back to the car – finished the first 6-mile interval, filled my water bottle with a Red Bull, and grabbed a bar to snack on for the next 4 miles of dirt recovery.
Approaching the pavement again, I convinced myself to go as hard as I could for the first 3-miles, hoping to bank time before the turnaround and the unrelenting headwind. I pushed hard through miles 14, 15, & 16, only to push harder, yet slower, through 17, 18, & 19.After fighting the wind for 20-minutes, I needed a mile and a half to calm down and recollect. I had completed this long run workout with the metronome dinging in my head at 180 beats-per-minute. The tick-tock helped me through the struggle miles, as did focusing on the effort and not the outcome.
Running against the wind is never welcome, but it’s also an unavoidable truth. We will all have races impacted by the wind and weather. Practicing to deal with these adverse weather conditions is just as important as practicing your nutrition or pre-race strategy.Endurance Changes Time,