Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't Worry, I'll Protect You From The Drunk Guy

Right after Westchester, our weekly Terrier bricks ended (in anticipation of the bad weather that's to come, I'm sure). They then announced that they were adding a couple of other workouts, including a group coached run on Thursday evenings. I was thinking that I would try and make it today, even though when I was walking home from work I felt so exhausted that I thought I could have gone to bed then for the night.

Instead, I got all changed and decided that I would wear my new Zoot running tights (I think this is an accurate image here). Walking to the park, I realized that there might be a slight problem with these tights. There isn't a drawstring! I mean, there isn't even supposed to be one, it's not like it just fell out. But, I definitely needed one as they were sliding down a little bit, which wasn't seeming like it would be the best thing in the world for a run. But, I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happened and hopefully my pants wouldn't fall down.

Once I got to the park, I decided to run to the meeting spot. I figured that would be a better test about the tights. It actually wasn't as noticeable once I started running. Probably because I was more focused on the fact that I was running than I was on my pants falling down. I'm not entirely sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Because I ran most of the way there, I got there about 10 minutes before the meeting time. Our running coach, Spencer, was already there, so we chatted for a bit and waited for other people to join us.

Except, no one else came. We waited about 5 minutes past the meeting point and then Spencer said that he supposed that I got some one-on-one coaching tonight. I told him that it was really okay, that I could just go ahead and run on my own, but he said I wasn't getting off that easy. Now, I'd like to say that a few weeks ago when I was hitting my peak, I might have been super excited at the prospect of a one-on-one running session. Today, I just felt tired and like I was going to be in for a rough workout!

We started out with our normal strides workout. I realized about half-way through that this would have been the perfect opportunity to time them and see how long they take, but of course I didn't think of that right away! Doing the strides by myself was a lot harder than doing it with a group. Spencer said that I should take whatever recovery time I needed between them, but it feels weird to just stand there and not run back, so I didn't really take much recovery.

While I was doing the strides, a guy who was either drunk/high/crazy or all of the above started hanging out right near where I was running back and forth. Spencer sort-of moved between the guy and me and told me, "Don't worry, I'll protect you from the drunk guy." The guy wasn't really a nuisance, but I just feel like sometimes people are unpredictable and the last thing I wanted to do was run into him by accident.

In addition to our normal strides (8), high knees (2), butt kicks (2), karaoke (2) and lunges (2), Spencer had me do some skips (2). While we normally do skips, we generally either just skip or we clap our hands under our leg while skipping. This time he had me swirl my arms forward on the way there and backwards on the way back. I have to say, I felt completely ridiculous doing that. At least if we had been doing it in a group, it wouldn't have looked so weird. But, luckily, it was getting dark, so I don't think people thought too much of it. Or I guess they could have thought I was drunk and/or crazy!

Once we were done with the strides, I had to do a set of lunges forward, to the side, and then diagonally backwards. I was not good at these. Most of my problem was that I was taking too big of a step, which made me a little bit wobbly. We finished up with 10 squats and then it was time for the main workout.

As soon as he started explaining the workout, I knew I was in for trouble. We were going to run the lower loop of the park twice, the second time slightly faster than the first, and then we'd finish up with 6 x 200. As soon as he told me the workout, I knew that there was no way that was happening. My first thought was that I'm one of the slowest people on the team and that it would take too long for me to finish the workout.

I'll try to sum this up a little bit and say that I did not have a good run. About 1.2 miles into the first loop, I wanted to die. Or at least walk for 20 seconds and catch my breath. At the exact moment where I really thought I was going to have to say that I was going to stop for a minute, Spencer said that all I needed to do was to break down the run into little segments and that all I needed to concentrate on was running from one light post to the next and not about the whole thing. That helped immensely. I still, you know, wanted to die, but a little less than I had before. After another minute or so of running, I told him that I didn't think I'd be able to make it around the second time. I felt like such a loser. Why could I run 6 miles in the triathlon after running and biking but not 3.4 in the park on a random Thursday night?

Spencer told me not to quit and that it was my mind that was telling me that I couldn't keep going, my body would be fine. I wasn't 100% sure I believed him, but he said that we could keep running back to where we'd start the intervals and then do the intervals and be done, which meant we didn't have to run the whole lower loop twice. When we got to the point where we stopped in order to start the intervals, Spencer told me that I had done a really good job and put out a great effort. The entire time he was totally encouraging and kept telling me to relax and just calm down, but somehow I just couldn't. I was stuck on thinking that I was running too slowly for him and that I was holding him back and I just couldn't relax and settle into a rhythm.

We got back to the "S" or the starting point for the intervals and we took a minute break before starting on the 200s. I thought that the 200s were actually really great for me. I was running on the road and Spencer would run along side me on the walkway and give me tips about my form (mostly I need to use my arms more, try to run more on the top of my foot instead of my heel and, of course, pick up my heels more). After each 200, I had 2 minutes recovery where I had to jog in place. Its a lot nicer when the group is there so that you can just stand around and chat for a minute or two. Jogging in place feels a little silly.

I had just been saying the other day that in terms of triathlon, I really started to like running for its simplicity. Of course, Spencer had to go and ruin that with a whole bunch of things for me to think about. But, on the plus side, if I can really work on some of the comments that he gave me, I think I'll become a better runner. In total tonight, I ended up running just about 5 miles. It should have been more, but I really think that I did the best that I could. Sure, it would have been easier if there had been a group and I could have just taken my time, but I wouldn't have gotten the same value out of the run.

Run To Meeting Point
Distance: 0.73 Miles
Time: 6:33
Pace: 8:58/mile
Calories: 86
Maximum HR: 186
Average HR: 174

Distance: 1.20 Miles
Time: ~10:00
Pace: 8:20/mile

Run Around Lower Loop
Distance: 2.3 Miles
Time: 21:38
Pace: 9:24/Mile
Calories: 335
Maximum HR: 195
Average HR: 190

Distance: 0.75 Miles
Time: 5:23
Pace: 7:10/Mile
Calories: 210
Maximum HR: 190
Average HR: 178

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