Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Time

I have been busy.

Between an abnormal amount of dates, attempting to get back in shape and a regular social life I have been burning the candle at both ends. Training has been hit and miss and the adjustment to life as an athlete has been difficult.

I have had a few adventures and I continue to use cross training as a way to improve/maintain my fitness without burning out. I had an amazing ski morning on Saturday with a good and very fast friend!

Today I reluctantly made my way to the track at UBC to run a solo workout because of many different social commitments I have at the same time as my VFAC workouts. As I reached into my bag to grab my watch this afternoon I thought twice and decided not to time my workout. I ran 4, 4, 8, 4, 4, 8, 4, 4. I take half the interval as recovery. This is one of my favorite workouts and one that always reminds me of my summer training with the St.F.X. cross country team in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

When I run this workout I think of the 400's as quick and fast pieces and the 800's at steady and survivable. I like the 400's to be hard and hurt and the 800's to be grinders. This is a workout about perceived effort and I did not want to be disappointed with my efforts so I did not take one time.

I ran hard today and it was very tough. I maintained an active and honest recovery and ran what felt like a good effort. My heart rate was elevated and I seemed to be running at around 80%. I am still not up to full speed or even able to push as hard as I am accustomed. Tonight I am fatigued and tired showing a good effort. I am pleased.

After many posts about terrible dating and loneliness I am pleased to report some wonderful dating experiences. I have been feeling really good lately. living without chronic pain has made me pretty happy. It is a pleasure to run and this joy of being must be projecting from my countenance. I hope this string continues!

Happy Training!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This is Hard

Running is really hard.

This week I have noticed how much energy running takes and how much planning running requires.

For the last 6 months I have been basically doing whatever I want. I have become a yes man to most of what is offered without thinking much of time or energy. Now that I am training again I have suddenly realized my schedule is incredibly full and I am really tired. This is the kind of tired that permeates every cell in my body and gives my bed the voice of the sirens. He calls for me to get near and once firmly inside it will not let me go easily.

There is a lot of planning involved in a running schedule. Each day's workout has a purpose and builds on other work. Fatigue is a product of the training and is evidence of a program working. Eventually the body adapts to the strain placed upon it and we begin to get fit and run faster with less perceived effort. My fatigue shows me I am training and living hard, which is the point. I have to be willing to withstand this initial onslaught of exhaustion and push through it.

I am happy to be training again but I need to figure out how to balance training with life. I really like my life right now. Things are great in all areas of my life from work to recreation to dating (I am still single but dating...). I want to maintain this excitement and happiness with life and if I am tired all the time I will soon burn out again and forget why I do this. I can feel my self getting quiet and withdrawing. A few weeks ago I was craving to dance and party. Now I am content to sit quietly with friends and watch a movie. I am becoming a recluse again.

This is a hump to get over. This is the result of incredible drive and determination. I want to run fast. I want to win. I am willing to do what I must to win but I also want to have love, friends and fun outside of running. I will figure this out somehow!

Today was my first real day on the track and I felt like I have not been there in a while. Today was another lesson on how hard it is to run. It was a real and genuine struggle. At one point I had a very powerful realization of how well trained I was last year and how exceptional it is to be able to run without thinking twice about a 65 second 400. Generally I am pleased with my workout and there are a few lessons I have learned as well. I ran 10 times 400 with the help of some great teammates. John wanted me to run 70 down to 65. I ran what he asked. I ran 3 400's at around 70-72 and the rest mostly at 67 with a 65 thrown in to really fuck me up.

Lessons I have learned. Doing weights has changed how much my body can exercise without taking in energy. After my warm-up I was dizzy and starving. Half way through the workout I was forgetting what I was doing and could not remember what I was doing or what repetition I was on. I need to take energy to workouts now. I have also learned what it feels like to tie up. Holy Hannah my legs turned to jelly. I am still learning how hard it is to run.

Happy Training!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Passion

As with any passionate relationship I am back hotly in love with running.

What is passion without the crazy up and downs? If I think about passionate relationships as depicted in popular culture I see within these relationships great undulations between love and hate. I see all consuming blinding love that can leave an individual in tears of joy and a destructive hate that can leave an individual broken and despondent. I feel this relationship with running.

I am currently in the love aspect of running after recovering from my hate of the summer. There is something about feeling good while running without pain that inspires love. If I think back to July when I was tired, could barely walk and was very lonely I did not hate running, but I wanted to have a break in our relationship. I felt I had given a lot to this sport I love and I could not give anymore. I needed to see what it would be like to be a real gay man and do some things that I had never tried before. I wanted to be irresponsible and not have to worry about mileage, workouts or getting a sponsor. I wanted to be free.

I have learned that much of my freedom comes from running. The ability to run and love it, more than almost anything, gives me a freedom not afforded many others. I know that my heart, lungs, peripheral vascular system, neurological function and mental capacity are enhanced and honed through physical activity. This gift I have to run and love it with all my heart enables me to live a life unknown to many. The pure joy of running fast through the trails of Stanley Park fills my heart with so much love, with so much love I cannot find the words. My freedom to fully participate in life is born from my love of running and my physical and mental health. I must remember this feeling once the training starts to sink in.

Today I ran my first full interval workout since June and I am very happy with the results. The workout was 5 times 1 km at my beloved Beaver Lake. I was anticipating running 3:10 and working my way down to 3:05 or so. I opened in 3:05, ran 3:02, 3:02, 3:00, and 3:01. I ran pretty close to a 9 flat 3000 metre at my first full workout. Pretty fucking exciting! During the second last interval I was smiling so wide that I may have gone a bit hypoxic trying to get some oxygen.

If I ran these times this time last year I would have been very disappointed and upset. Today I am ecstatic! I am very pleased and chaffing at the bit to get back out there training. I almost felt like going for a second run today. I must restrain myself and be patient!

This is both the fun part and scary part of getting into shape. The times are going to drop but I am also going to be tired and in pain. I am going to want to withdraw a bit from society. My focus is already starting to shift to the trails, track and races and I have my eye on my first challenge. I am going to run the Sun Run. I figure this is the race in which I first ran sub 31 so I may as well hit it hard. I have a feeling it will be the most fun race of the year. No pressure to run fast. I will be satisfied to get to the finish line in one piece!

Very Happy Training!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Close to Pace

I ran a tempo today. I am very close to being on pace. I am more than surprised.

I am progressing my tempo by one minute a week. This week I ran 16 minutes in Stanley Park. I ran a route I have run hundreds of times and have run intervals on many times as well. I usually run low 9 minutes on this loop when running a workout alone. Today I ran slightly over 10 minutes while trying to stay relaxed and tempo. I was very surprised when I saw this time on my watch.

Although I am happy to be running at a good clip this soon I am also very aware that I have a lot of work ahead of me to get into race shape. I am shocked that I was able to run relaxed and fast especially after my less that stellar track session a week ago. I feel like I am getting into a bit of a rhythm and am feeling good.

I must report my foot is not doing great. I am starting to run in pain again and thus I have made a physio appointment. I sure hope there are some solutions to this issue. I am also going to hit the massage table for some work. I think I need consistent massage appointments to work out some major kinks in my body.

Happy Training!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Front Runner

Yesterday I did a clinic with Front Runners of Vancouver. Front Runners is a group for gay runners to get together and do what they love, run!

It was amazing to talk to some of the runners in the group because there was an array of people who came from a running background including individuals who ran competitively in university and high school. The clinic itself was quite fun, it is always nice to share drills and strides!

Being around active gay people was very refreshing. There is a hope that one day I will meet a man who would be willing to spend a Sunday out running or in the trails without much complaint. After that day in the sun it would be nice to have that man come home with me for some after activity activity rather than what happens now.

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend this week. She spoke of a book she was reading about relationships. The main point of the book is to trust your instincts and to listen to your instincts. There are times in our lives when we know something just feels right and conversely when we feel something is going in the wrong direction. For whatever reason we tend to ignore what our gut tells us and do what may not be the most positive for our psyche.

I have a dream. To meet someone who shares the same interests as me and has some of the same values as me and who is attractive. I want this person to become my boyfriend. I have a dream that one day I will meet a man that I can go on an easy run with and love. I have a dream of crossing the finish line in a race and having someone there to hug and love regardless of the result. This is in my gut. This is what fills me with longing but also hope. I dream of meeting my dream.

Will this ever happen? I do not know. But I can always dream.

I had a satisfactory long run today if one ignores tripping over a dog leash. I am into the somewhat angry part of my training when my body is just starting to get a bit depleted from the training and I am starting to get a bit fried. I was continually annoyed by people on my long run. They were in the way and there were dogs everywhere. I like dogs, it is their owners that should be put on leashes.

I am also developing a love/hate relationship with Vancouver and I am attempting to think of an angle to blog about it without offending some friends. Since my eye contact experiment has ended I have embarked on a new hobby; chatting with people who have just moved here. There is a general consensus that Vancouver is one of the most superficially friendly cities that people have lived in. This city is a hard nut to crack!

Stay tuned. I am sure this is going to be stimulating reading.

Happy Training!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

76? 83?

I tried the track and the track won, for now.

With my new job fully in swing I am able to run new trails with close access to a new artificial track. The call of the track was a bit too much to ignore and on Tuesday I ran a 3 mile warm up and settled on the track for drills and strides and a little test of my speed.

I was surprised to feel very tired and sluggish on my warm up. My drills felt a bit on the flat side and my two 400s were slow. I ran a 76 and an 83. I felt discoordinated and fat. My feet were slow to leave the cushioned rubber surface and I felt my technique fall apart into the last sections of the fast piece. In short I am out of shape.

I am fit but not in running shape. I was hoping to start workouts with my club as soon as within the next few weeks. I have been craving a fast hard workout. What I must realize is that I am not capable of running a fast workout at the current time. I need to put in the miles of tempo and long intervals to improve my speed endurance in order to run a few fast track workouts. I am unsure how long it will take me to get up to speed but I must maintain my patience.

I am planning on running a tempo tomorrow. I hope it goes well.

Happy Training!