Monday, January 28, 2008

New Job, New Rec, New ‘Do…

On the bright side, my new job rocks a mean bag of pretzels. Cool people, awesome projects, killer opportunities. And there’s nothing quite like feeling respected for the person you are and the things you can do. Rock on!

The only not-so-sunny side is the new commute: I’ve gone from a 40-minute roundtrip to a three-hour roundtrip. Yick. There won't be able bike-riding from these spots. While the first week had me pretty mopey, I’ve gotten over it and learned to better manage my time (which includes hours dedicated to rabid, desperate house-hunting!). It helps that my department allows me to have flexible hours—I get in early and leave early to make the best of low-traffic times—around which I’ve managed to fit 5:30 a.m. aerobics and 5:30 p.m. runs. I might just make it after all…

Once I get down my rhythm, I’d like to take advantage of this university’s rec. center, which is located right next to my parking garage. I ran for 35 minutes last week on the 1/8-mile track, but have been trying hard to keep my runs outside. Plus, it's a little less orderly on this new track. The track team seemed to be running against the traffic whenever and wherever possible. What gives?

While the single-digit temperatures haven’t exactly been helping the outdoor effort, I have managed to run 2-3 times each week for around 30-40 minutes. Because I’m just ramping up the new season o’IronG, I’ve been taking it pretty wimpy. Believe it or not.

But today will be different. This side of winter is kind of nice: it’s face-chapping cold, but at least the days are getting longer. It’s supposed to be in the 30’s and 40’s for the next couple of days, so I’m going to run my butt off while I can do it without making my fingers freeze off.

I’ve really missed this energy brought on by the excitement of imminent running. Not only am I pumped for this week’s weather, but also the upcoming season. I already have on my calendar Tackle the Tower on Feb. 9 (that’s right: Landon convinced me to do it; I don’t know how…) and St. Malachi 5-miler on March 15. Let the training begin!

It tickles me to think that this time last year I had just reached my 30-mile dessert goal and wasn’t even counting down to my first race. I remember fretting late each night that I wouldn’t be able to finish the five-mile race. Hee hee.

And I’m headed into this race season a little lighter. No, I’m not talking about weight; I donated my hair! For anyone who knew me in person, you’ll know I had long I’ve mistreated for the past 5-6 years. I had been trying to care for and condition it lately in preparation for donating it “some day.”

But when I went to my hair stylist last week, I had planned to get a chunk chopped and that chunk turned into 12 inches (I was only 4-5 inches away from donation length with my original plan, so I just went for it; what’s 4-5 inches anyway?). It was the least remorseful haircut I’ve ever had. And it’s nice to be short again. Now I just have to figure out how to run with this thing…

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Resolutionist Reduction Rundown 2008

After a pretty hip 2007, I decided to ditch the resolution track and stick to setting goals instead. I don’t know what those goals are just yet, but they will include at least one time goal for my race season, an Olympic triathlon and some method of helping the people around me have a kick-butt 2008. I start a new job on Monday, so I’m all about turning a new leaf this year!

From the looks of it, however, I’m not the only one to pass on resolutions: the pool, the track, the streets used to be filled with resolutionist fitness seeks in early January, but not this year. What have I seen? Nothing.

Not only have I been able to get a spot at the pool every time I’ve tried, but I’ve run into absolutely no one running on my street, which used to be bustling with runners/walkers all year. Especially on unseasonably warm days like today (it’s cloudy, but has to be near a sweltering 50 degrees!).

Sure, I make it an annual tradition to make fun of resolutionists, but that doesn’t mean they should quit before they ever start. Quitting is what mid-January is for! Sigh.

Taking advantage of the extra space, I played racquetball NYE with Neil and Jeff (again) for a little bit before I found myself huddled in a corner, shielding myself from a cutthroat game that was a little more intense than the cage-fighting championships.

Lucky for me, they hardly noticed when I slipped out the door and took to the track, where I ran my first straight 5 miler in a long time! I warmed up with a 10:30 mile, then ran 9:30, 9:00, 8:30 miles before cooling down with 10:00 pace. Neil and Jeff joined me halfway through the run, and Neil even cooked one fast mile that ended in an all-but-the-last-straightaway lap of sprint. He’s become king of the one-miler. Maybe this year he’ll hit two.

By Thursday I had recovered from yet another overindulgence of desserts on NYE (Main Street Cupcakes is closed through next week to ease my dessert swear-off), I spent one of my last days off at the rec. center. Most of the time was in the pool, where I set a distance record for my two-year-old adult training life. I swam the following 6,300 yard (~3.5 miles) workout:

  • 1,000 yards free warmup
  • 1,000 yards IM drill with one-arm fly (25 fly, 50 back, 75 breast, 100 free;25 free, 50 fly, 75 back, 100 breast;25 breast, 50 free, 75 fly, 100 back;25 back, 50 breast, 75 free, 100 fly)
  • 2,500 yards alt. kick/free sets:4 x 250 yards kick3 x 500 yards free
  • 1,250 yards IM drill with one-arm fly (25 fly, 50 back, 75 breast, 100 free;25 free, 50 fly, 75 back, 100 breast;25 breast, 50 free, 75 fly, 100 back;25 back, 50 breast, 75 free, 100 fly;25 fly, 50 back, 75 breast, 100 free)
  • 400 yards butterfly kick
  • 150 yards s-l-o-w cool down

While I’ve droned on about how intense my 20x50 free sprints on 1:00 were the other day, and vowed to make them a regular part of my workout, I didn’t think I could reach my distance goal and then cycle and run if I did the sprints. They really take it out of me. So, they will be slowly added. Some day. Soon.

I was surprised that my only discomforts with the 6,300 yards were hunger and boredom. My distance target, as usual, started out really low—about 2,000 yards—but I kept hitting new mile markers and even numbers and I continued swimming to the next one. In fact, I was just thinking about 8,000 yards in honor of the new year when my stomach growled so loudly my swimming neighbors must have thought we were having an earthquake. I think the water actually shook.

After showering and refueling with a Greens Plus bar, I stationary cycled for 20 minutes before taking 2.5 miles around the track with Jeff around 9:30/mile. I didn’t feel remotely as whipped as I did when I splashed and dashed the week before—it’s all in the refueling!

Finally, I took my first outdoor run in way too long this morning. Yesterday I checked out a house in my mom’s neighborhood in Euclid, which makes for perfect running routes in my book. Every time I visit her, I feel obligated to take advantage of the great running surroundings I totally neglected my whole childhood. All that time wasted swimming and soccering in other places. I could have just been running by the lake.

Instead of running, I ate an entire pizza by myself—I think my body is still trying to catch up on the missing fuel from Thursday, as if I didn’t pick up so many reserves during the holidays—and wallowed in guilt. My diet has actually taken on an anti-resolution. So, I pretty much woke up running this morning, trotting around my more-ghost-town-than-neighborhood street for 3 miles at 10:00/pace. I still have nerves about running, especially on the unbending concrete. My legs felt sturdy; my mind was just shaky. I popped my ibuprofen to cover all bases.

Now I’m up for the challenge of making a new schedule of my life to fit in the new job, an aggressive house and exercise facility search, and a build up to the next season.

What are your goals and resolutions?