Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Horizon, Mile Repeats, Other Stuff


Off. I think I tried to get back on the road too soon after the half marathon. Running felt awful. I was tired all the time. I took today off. I talked to Dr. Stick about it -- he'd run a different half the day before I had -- he indicated that I also might be feeling some post-race depression. I shrugged and said, "Meh."


Off. Ditto.


3.4-mile loop at a steady, easy pace (28:12). Today was the first day I felt like a runner since the race. I've always heard to take time off after a race to fully recover, but I thought that was silly, because I signed up for the Cleveland Marathon (20 May), and, though it's still five+ weeks off, it feels right around the bend: I was, therefore, worried about falling off my training wagon.

Meanwhile, Dr. Stick agreed to meet me Saturday morning (20 May) and run the marathon with me. As a seasoned veteran of marathons, it's likely that we'll run together for awhile, then I'll get to admire the soles of his shoes as he becomes a dot on the horizon, and, with a little bit of luck, he will not have finished his post-race massage, meal, and nap before I cross the finish line.

Here's something I read today:
Any effort to envisage a goal . . . generates a spatio-temporal structure. Habit, by dulling the sense of purpose and of anxious striving, weakens it.
The passage comes from Yi-Fu Tuan's 1976 book Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. And it holds within it at least one of the central paradoxes of running (as I see it): namely -- I believe entirely in a sustained consistent effort for any runner; but that can be, let's face it, BORING! So . . .

When Tuan speaks of a spatio-temporal structure, I think, clearly, he means goals give a reality to the future, something that we can seemingly touch (or, at least, sense in a very real, physical manner), despite the fact that they do not exist on the same plane of existence temporally.

(Give me just a second here to counter my two sons who are currently rereading Stephen Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell -- I know what you're thinking: "Because we can only exist in one point 'p' in space, even viewing time as an equivalent and tangible fourth dimension (along with length, height, and depth), would not allow for us to exist in multiple points 'p', 'p1', 'p2' . . . in time, unless one means truly to suggest that one can be in multiple places at a single moment." To my boys, I respond, simply, "You're grounded. Go to your rooms."

Phew! I'm glad that's settled. So in a sense, what I am suggesting is that this structure of Tuan's allows for, if not a physical connection with the future, then at least, an emotional or intellectual connection.

The beauty of this goal-setting lifestyle is that it flies in the face of the mundane, day-to-day habit, the sustained, consistent practice of running every day. We visualize our goals, in part to make them a reality, but also to make an emotional connection with the future to drag us through those maintenance runs, as though we are the crapradoodle, and the world is me . . . or would that be the world is I. So there you have it: Dr. Stick and I are setting out to run a 3:30.00 Cleveland Marathon (20 May).

In addition to this shared goal time, we will be able to bring our own personal talents and observations to the race in order to function as a tiny collective unconscious. For instance, he'll bring his experience of having run a half-dozen marathons to help us set a reasonable yet serious clip, and I know how to read a map and can thus locate the starting line (truthfully, I might just ask one of the other 19,000 runners standing around the streets of Cleveland).

See you all in Cle-town.

Meanwhile, my spouse keeps asking me, "Why are you reading that book?" and my answer, "Why aren't you reading this book?" each time receives a sigh, a headshake, and an eye roll. Which I take every time as an indication that I am a deep thinker and impassioned philosopher. Thank you, baby. So are you.

Before all that, though, I ran my 3.4-mile loop (28:12). It felt nice.


Ran two miles on the treadmill at the rec center after lifting weights (shoulders, chest, back, biceps, triceps) for twenty minutes -- first time touching a weight since 2005. Very embarrassing, kind of stupid looking -- I liked it.


Sore from weightlifting. Ridiculous.

Ran my own kind of float workout (Runner's World May 2012 has an issue on such exercises) today. It was too windy to run hills, and too cold to run repeats -- no science behind this, just the way I felt -- so I decided to run mile repeats uphill: if I hadn't mentioned it, I'm sure it would be easy to figure out there's very rarely science when I'm around. I ran a ten-minute warm up.

I wanted to pushed the mile uphill pretty hard in order to work on leg strength and turnover and lungs as I ran -- and it came to pass that those three things were worked on and the working on them was good and those three things were good. (Don't know how the language from Monty Python's Holy Hand Grenade scene crept into my language right there, but I'll try no to let it happen again.) As for the downhill, I tried to maintain my speed which would allow me to maintain some intensity, while recovering from the uphill.

My times: up (7:32), down (7:57), up (7:47), down (7:55), up (7:50), and I didn't have it in me to run back down. I ran this run once before, but I didn't check my splits before hand, because, well, it's been months, and I'm transitioning from the race back into training, so I didn't see any need to measure my now self against my previous self -- maybe next time.

It was my first hard workout since the race a week and a half ago. And it was good. Tomorrow: maintenance, I reckon.

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