Running Thoughts

Spring Run Training Redux

I wrote this post yesterday. I was, in my opinion complaining about having to start over. I was grousing about how long and dank winter in Vermont was. Winter was like a dungeon and yesterday I was that creaky prisoner released with the squinty eyes of one who has not seen light for a decade.

I woke up this morning glad I made the effort and a voice called out from the depths, it was very quiet as it was so far away, “do it again”.

I had to chuckle. I dismissed it. “Oh, you little imp. I need to recover from yesterdays exertions. I am older now and don’t heal like I used to. Now run along.”

The irony is not missed. I told the voice that was telling me to run to take a hike.

I moved through my day and the voice kept repeating like a mantra, “do it again”.

I was starting to get agitated. I can’t possibly put my body through that again. I was pretty sore last night, but not really today.

“do it again”

Alright voice. I’ll show you. You know you are going to crap out after I put on the shorts, lace up the shoes, and apply the anti chafe regiment.

Out the door I went. It was 65° today. The sun warmed my skin and felt like the breath of an intimate. Trepidation evolved into this pleasant feeling. My legs felt like a newborn colt standing, a bit of unsteady and wobble. Whenever I have seen a video of the newborn foal rising for the first time, it is always a joyful celebration for the observer, not an anxiety ridden pox on the devil for making this necessary. I had a bit of that same joy.

I ran my intervals, exhilarated at those moments when I ticked off each next achieved goal.

At run’s end. I conceded and apologized to the voice of which I was so dismissive. I thought I might be crazy for going out and trying to run again (I don’t think I am crazy for arguing with inner voices). I had run the day before and was convinced it had harmed me. I alluded I didn’t love it anymore. Today I did.

Running Thoughts

I used to love this sport

Love is not the verb I would have used today as I heaved my mass down the road. Today’s training was difficult and on a grander scale, resuming spring training has been difficult. In the past I have wintered over by doing an obscene amount of pushups, pull ups, squats, or anything movie/liftie like. It is my understanding that to move is to live and to stop moving pushes us through the back 9 quicker. I continually ask myself why I do the things I do. If I catch myself responding that I want to try to look like Hunky McSteamer in Impossible Standards Magazine, I encourage myself to look again. I have a health standard to which I aspire and it’s not that. I want to tie my shoes without losing my breath, climb stairs without feeling like I’ve summited Everest, stand and sit without extreme protest from the knees, be able to lift my body from various positions.  All the handstands and other crazy things I tend to do are just fun things I like to do. They are not part of that standard. This winter was really hard for me. I didn’t move at all. I was depressed and couldn’t summon the gumption to do anything. I really understood my depression and did many good things in the face of it, but it was startling that I couldn’t get myself to move. The sun has gotten higher in the sky, it warms my skin and melts the snow and ice even on the colder days. I have started to feel the pull to move again. It’s a relief. I missed it. The tough part is it feels like I am starting from scratch; like the first time I ever tried to run. I have done it before and I am ready to do it again. The truth is, I am still in way better shape than when I did try to run for the first time. I can hit most of those points in my standard. I feel fortunate about that. I am really curious to see where this season takes me because I feel like a new person ready to relive old experiences with a new mindset. Today I went for a run. I felt like a bag of meat lurching down the road. It won’t be like this forever, just for now. If you have your own experience of not being able to live up to your personal standard, or if you have had to start something at which you excelled over, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Paleo, Running Thoughts

The Tabata


It’s kind of a thing in running, if you want to run farther, start running farther. Do some Long Slow Distance (LSD) running. If you want to run faster, start running faster— sprint.

Enter the Tabata protocol. Part of the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) family, the Tabata Protocol is a four minute intense all out sprint program created by Dr. Izumi Tabata (The guy has at least one sneaker and one workout style named after him so you know he’s a fitness badass – alright, I did some further research and the sneaker thing is not true and he self named the workout so this entire paren is false). The protocol consists of 20 seconds all out sprint and 10 seconds of rest, cycled 8 times. It is said to have aerobic, anaerobic, and metabolic benefits that are ongoing hours after the workout is over.

So that’s 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds off. Sounds like a piece of cake when reading a report sitting in an Ikea POÄNG chair. Actually executing it on the street is a totally different challenge.  Not only did it challenge me physically, it also completely challenged me mentally. I carefully noted the bargaining, begging, and pleading my mind experienced as I went through this four minute torture session. If there is bargaining, begging, and pleading, then I’m pretty sure this form of exercise can be labeled as torture. It’s only four minutes though, and it will stop, and I will reap those sweet, sweet benefits hours after the workout has completed. I’m committed to it. It’s how I  keep myself in the optimum physical shape I so enjoy. 

Here for your reading pleasure is my tortured mind going through it’s gymnastics in one of my recent training sessions.

First interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) I am so owning this! Look at me, I’m so frickin’ fast. This session will be a piece of cake. 

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I’m glad I get a chance to rest…

Second interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Wait! That wasn’t ten seconds. Oh well, I’m running anyway. Got gas in the tank. Twenty seconds will be up any time now…now…no,n,n…now

…And 3…2…1…stop(10 second walk/rest)

Me: (gasping) Wait…

Third interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running with less vigor) You have got to be kidding me! That was not fucking 10 seconds. I can’t make it.

SM (Subconscious Me or Sadomasochist Me, you decide): Keep running you can make it to the buzzer.

Me: Please God make the buzzer sound.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Gasp…Gulp…Swallow

Fourth interval:

321Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) Maybe this is where my heart stops. Dead runner in the road. It happened to Jim Fixx.

SM: Where’s your speed now Mr. Piece of Cake?

Me: Shut up!

SM: …or what? You’ll give me low self-esteem?

Me: Wise guy!

SM: I am.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: I can’t take anymore. Maybe I’ll just sit the next one out.

SM: You can’t. You wouldn’t sit it out if there were a berzerking zombie behind you…

Fifth Interval:

3,2,1,Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (running) If there were a berzerking zombie behind me, I would be willing to die a glorious death

SM: You’re slowing down. Keep running.

Me: Fuck you! Okay, I will.

SM: Attaboy

Me: I swear to God this 20 seconds is getting longer and longer

SM: Keep running

Me: I am! My legs are filled with lead.

SM: At least you have legs. Use your gifts.

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Beyond half way. I can do this

Sixth Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I can’t do this.

SM: Yes you can. Run!

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: That went quickly

SM: You didn’t go all that quickly, but yes the time went quickly

Seventh Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) This has got to be the last one.

SM: Then give it your all. Your body hasn’t threatened to throw up yet, so go harder

Me: OMG you’re right. (Runs harder)

…And 3…2…1…stop (10 second walk/rest)

Me: Hey, they didn’t give the completion signal. There’s another round?!? Damn it.

SM: You whine a lot. Would you like some cheese to go with that?

Eighth and final Interval:

3…2…1…Go! (20 second sprint)

Me: (Running) I’ve made it to the end. Just got to get to the buzzer…I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

Me: I’m not going to make it.

SM: You’re going to make it.

…And 3…2…1…stop

(10 second walk/rest)

SM: You made it.

Me: (Gasping for air) Yeah I did. (More gasping) I made it! (Walks to cool down) That was great. I should try this again tomorrow.

SM: You’re ridiculous.