I have taken to running once a week outside again. At first I was pretty wimpy about it and did a run walk routine because I somehow thought running in the cold would be just way harder. I learned that I really enjoy the run walk workouts because they leave you energized without feeling wiped out. And that running in the cold is mostly no different than running in the not cold. Mostly. Since deciding to sign up for some races with a distance focus I have been following a self designed training plan which includes one long run a week. I up the amount of time I run each week by five minutes. I am up to sixty five minutes.
At first I dreaded these runs and circled the house as I tried to prepare. Layering clothes and then finding gloves and hat, feeling brave and only a lot silly. But I have come to look forward to them, even though I know the last ten minutes are hard. Also, trying to invent new ways to loop around the neighborhood sometimes makes my head spin. The biggest problem with running in the cold is the cool down after the run is over. When it is in the lower twenties my legs start to cramp really soon after the end of the run, and I find myself jogging it out more than walking it out. And some days, like yesterday, I become so deeply cold, the cold that feels like it has traveled through the layers of my skin and made it into my bones. And yesterday wasn’t even really cold. What it means is that I don’t want to be far from home when I finish, so I don’t have to make my way back freezing.
To amuse myself yesterday as I ran, I started to think of alternative races for people like me. I have recently been reading some running blogs of some seriously fast women. Five months postpartum, (listed this way) and they are whipping out 5K’s in under twenty minutes. And then saying how they know it isn’t really a big deal, as they have done this many times but are happy to know that their running bodies are coming back. I’ve whipped out a few 5K distances under thirty minutes. A few. Maybe one. It occurred to me that I would never be on a podium. Maybe if I keep running into my nineties and outlive these people, but otherwise probably not. They’ll probably be there posting to their blogs: 5K time 12minutes (two days after hip surgery.)
So, since I’ll never see a podium in a real race, I think I should invent races for the normal people in the world whose superhero powers are getting out of bed and making lunches. Those of us who use the Internet and each other as coaches. My race would have categories by age group that were further broken down into additional categories. At first I thought of real life situations such as Runner for six months or less, Runner for one year, etc. etc. And then I thought there should be categories like: Use to run, but blew out knees, Ran in twenties and then discovered the bar, Ran in thirties and then remembered the bar, Never ran, but wants to go to the bar, Run but also love to drink red wine, run three days a week and drink two. And some others that really aren’t fit to print. You would be amazed how far through the run these somewhat sarcastic thoughts take me. I am my own biggest fan when it comes to my sense of humor. I do crack myself up.
However, even though I like to joke about it, and know that I am never going to be as fast as Boppy Blonde Girl running over eight miles per hour on the treadmill, I do want to get faster and stronger than I am now. I believe that strength training is an important part of this. And it also checks my cockiness. See, if I were one of those constantly bright and chipper people, I would have written something like: “Offers new and and more challenging workouts that help me grow and become a better me!” But I’m not, so honesty it is. These workouts hurt. The first rule of thumb is if it looks really easy, it is probably going to be really hard. Such as this little dandy, The Iron Strength Workout. See, the name should have been my first clue. But I guess I was starting to feel a little cocky. I have been getting to the gym earlier and getting in longer and better workouts. For me, this means I work out for forty minutes or more and I come home in a full sweat. So, when I saw this work out for runners with the once a week recommendation I was immediately wooed. I want to add more consistent biking back into my routines and will eventually cut my strength training back over the summer. This seemed like the perfect fit. Till I tried it. Holy Shit this is hard. I was wiped out by the second set of jumping squats and had to pause by the time I got to eight or nine. The burpees at the end were what finally pushed me over the edge. Seriously? Fifty? And that’s for the beginners. Planking at the end might be a relief if my arms weren’t shaking so much. So, I’m not sure, for me at least, this is the answer. What I am going to take from this is the the jump squats, which I hated, but I think will make me stronger and the jumping lunges because I love to flail around like an uncontrolled idiot. And because I think they will also make me a better runner. I am also going to weave in some of the other “power sets” to my current workouts. I like to change things up. And then maybe in a little while, I’ll try the whole thing as a routine again. In the meantime, I’ll keep up thinking of races for normal people, or wanna be’s.