Sunday, March 25, 2012

Running: Week Four -- Reflections.

I am one month into a new life: a life as a runner. Granted, I'm a very beginning runner, but a runner none-the-less.

So much of what you can accomplish depends on what you think you can accomplish: self-image determines a lot. Self-image is a lot like self-talk, only with pictures, imagery, and imagination.

I logged a little over 11 miles. The week before I did 10. (My goal for the coming week is still 10.)

Talking with a seasoned runner, my daughter, this is a fun time in a runner's journey. She calls it "A time of low-hanging fruit." A time of 10% increases in miles run... in a week. A time when you can shave a whole minute off of your mile split. That's where I am: A time of low-hanging fruit!

There are other sports that aren't so beginner friendly, like tennis and surfing, or water and snow skiing. An example of another beginner friendly sport would be racquetball. You can have some fun right from the get go.

So here's my week of low-hanging fruit:

Sunday, I did a mile of power-walking  followed by some very, very simple yoga. (Yoga is also beginner-friendly.)
On my Monday holiday, I did my 5k practice, mostly walking, as noted on my previous journal entry. (45 minutes).
On Tuesday, I took a "spa day." No workout. Just recovery. Muscles and joints were grateful for a day off.
On Wednesday, I did the one mile/simple yoga routine again. Just being nice to recovering muscles.
On Thursday I tried a morning run/walk (1 minute running, 2 or 3 minutes walking) on a new route, in the early morning light (6:15 am-ish). I logged a 14 minute mile. (That's down from the 14 1/2 minute pace of my 5k on Sunday. Low hanging fruit improvement.)
On Friday I did a 1 mile walk with strength training intervals. It's equivalent to a two mile walk.
By Saturday, I was ready for my "big" run/walk of the week. Some years ago, my wife and I used to walk some of the horse trails in Fullerton, my home town. So I charted a two-mile course, and tried a two-mile mid-day walk/run. I experimented with a one minute run, two minute walk... just to see if I could keep it up for two miles. I did. Woo-hoo. Each mile was at a 13 minute pace. I was just trying for the run/walk ratio. The pace took care of itself. As my daughter noted: More low-hanging fruit. A good cut off my mile split.

Two co-workers did a 5K on Saturday, and logged a 38 minute 5K. Nicely done. They were hoping to break 40 minutes. (IF I could tag on one more 13 minute mile on top of the two I ran/walked, I'd be at about 40 minutes for the 5K (3.1 mile) course.)

April 21st is my debut in an actual 5K. My daughter is sponsoring me and running with me. It's her way of mentoring her old man into a life of fitness and fun. I guess that's my new target: to be prepared.

I looked at the times for the 55-59 year-old-men in the event my co-workers ran, and found very few entries. I'd be toward the middle or back of those that ran even in that age category. But then again, in that age category, most didn't even make it to the starting line. That's what I'm aiming for: the starting line. The finish line will take care of itself, based on preparation.

I finished a book yesterday by basketball coaching great John Wooden of UCLA fame. Several times he refers to this quote:

“The journey is better than the inn".” 
― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraLa Numancia

I'm enjoying the journey. And the people I'm meeting along the way.