5 April 2011

4 and 5 April Training

Here's the view from yesterday:

I didn't get as far as I had thought I would. I'm not sure if it was just that I was dragging, or started running earlier than I have in previous days, but it was only a little further along that Saturday. Kew Palace was next to me instead of well behind me as I had anticipated:

Basic details from yesterday: 8 km in 1:08, pace 7.1 kph. It did feel pretty sluggish and sloggy.

Today was rainy and cold, but I got out for a speed interval training. No pictures because there were no planned walking intervals (when I allow myself to take a picture). The details aren't pretty, but I did get out and do it. I think the Cardiotrainer app is still acting a bit buggy (though that may be GPS satellite connections rather than a buggy app per se), so I take the numbers for this morning with a grain of salt: 4.4 km in 38 minutes, pace 6.9 kph. The path shows two different angles that go across the river, and since I go over and back on the same bridge, I know something's wrong, but nevermind. As I keep saying, it's foot in front of foot to get me there.

Two comments on how the training is going. It's hard. I have to fight myself out the door in the mornings, and sometimes it takes me an hour of arguing with myself to get pushed out the door. A couple of friends who are or were runners have spoken of the joy they get from running, and I figure at this point, I'll never be that person. I feel accomplishment when I'm done, and I try in the midst of it to be fully present to the moment (feeling breath, seeing the world nearby in the flowers and the trash along the way, centring myself and relaxing my shoulders), but it is work each time I lace up my shoes and go out. Not bad work, but work.

Secondly, I seem to finally be getting the benefit of the expense of calories. My body is feeling leaner, more fit and while I'm not managing calories as I should be, I find myself mostly eating a bit healthier (though the Cadbury Mini-Eggs may be my downfall this Easter), and not as frantic about eating as I have been. That's a great side effect of all of this work, and I'm glad for it.

Tomorrow's plan is for my long intervals again, and I'll see where I might get to this time.

2 April 2011

2 April Training

Here's the place on the path, just over 4 km into the run:

Basic stats: 8.1 km, 1 hour 6 minutes, pace 7.4 kph. My longest training session so far, furthest travelled in a session. 7 minutes fast pace, 1 minute recovery, plus walking to warm up and cool down.

Lots of people are out on a Saturday along the river. Plenty of runners of every variety. I have to admit my favourites are the ones who make eye contact and smile in greeting. I get focussed and appreciate their dedication, but like the smiling recognition of fellow travellers. Even a grunted 'morning' works. Lots of bike riders, too, some who don't quite understand sharing the road, but nevermind. No one knocked me down, and that's a plus.

Herons have been busy the last few times I was out. I've seen several peering into the low tide on the river, two or three in flight, and one carrying a twig, doubtless for a new or repaired nest. I don't know if I like them or the little seed-eater birds that dart across the path sometimes. Here's the river at low tide where I turned around:

Monday I move to the next interval set of 8 minutes fast intervals and 1 minute recovery. This may well take me to the point where I can make a circuit rather than turning around, and I'll be approaching going a full 10 km during my training. Then it'll be a matter of increasing my speed and consistent running. Less than 2 months to go. I'm feeling optimistic, if not confident.

1 April 2011

31 March & 1 April Training, Competition and No Jokes

Ran on a different path yesterday, around Old Deer Park and a little on the Thames Path. Here's the view from half way along.

Basic details of my consistent run (even though something was buggy with my Cardiotrainer yesterday): 4.11 km run, 37 minutes, 6.7 pace. I do think I went further than that, but am quibbling with the trainer. As I said in my last post, the point is to get out there and do it, and I did.

Today's a day of rest and getting started on a little at home weight training to strengthen muscles needed for the run and overall. Starting small I did 3 sets of 10 squats with my 2 five pound weights. I need to add some abdominal work and a few other things, but if I try to do it all, I'll fail. 3 sets of 10 is a good start.

Peter was out for a run today, and clocked 7 something miles in the hour he was out. Last week, when he was reporting on his progress, I commented, 'oh, we're doing about the same then,' with a sense of great satisfaction. He kindly noted that he was reporting in miles what I was reporting in kilometres, so it wasn't so much the case. Difference noted.

I'm aware that as I do this training that my competitive self is in full function. I compare myself to others who are more consistent runners or longer term runners, I compare myself to myself even. And my critical voice blooms and flourishes.

Early in my training while I was on the treadmill in the gym, I would watch others. A well muscled young man would perform a kind of lift that I'd been taught would injure your back and I'd scoff. Nevermind that he was in terrific condition, obviously unhurt, more practiced than I at what he was doing -- I was in full judgement mode, picking at his form.

The woman running on a treadmill a few metres away with a funny gait earned my unhappy assessment, too. No matter that she'd been running consistently for the 10 minutes I'd been there and I was only managing 90 seconds of running and longer periods of walking. I could judge her to be inadequate in her form and hold myself above.

Shoving to the front, my better self would observe the criticism, offer a reminder that I was no expert, and that I'd do better cheering others on their path than trying to rise above them with no good cause to do so.

Here's the thing: When I was at my most fit, and spending lots of hours week on week at the gym, each time I saw someone pursuing their fitness, I did just that -- cheered for them. I said a prayer quietly that they would find the way to feel better in their bodies, feel better about themselves, find whatever strength they needed to carry on that path. The woman coming to her first weights class, or trying a step aerobics workout, the man running along the bay when I was driving somewhere -- I'd want to go over and shake their hands, congratulate them on their hard work and tell them to keep it up.

I find myself reflecting upon this as I bobble along the Thames path each time I go out. Lots of runners are there with me, and I have to tell that critical voice to hush.

'She's rockin' her run! You go!' I think as the grey haired slim muscular woman flies past me.

'Wow, she runs like me!' as I smile at the woman passing me going in the other direction, 'How great that we're out here together.'

When I feel good about myself, centred and assured, I am more likely to cheer for another, more likely to cheer for myself, too.

So, I'll keep going, foot in front of foot, and I'll watch that critical voice and take each time it appears as a moment to pause and remember that the point is to keep on, the point is to let that best part of myself come through and to cheer loudly for us all, because we're all on that path.

30 March 2011

29 and 30 March Training

Here's the view on the path from yesterday:

And here's the view from this morning:

In the first one, you can see the trees in the second one just a little further ahead. This is my evidence that I did in fact run further today than yesterday in spite of what the Cardiotrainer app on my phone says. According to it I went 7.75 km yesterday, but only 7.5 today. Today's training time was 1:04, yesterday's 1:05. Today's pace 7.0, yesterday's was 7.1.

I was distinctly annoyed that it misrepresented what I knew to be different, and by God, I had evidence of it on that self-same phone. I should know better, but there are some lessons that we just have to learn over and over again. Maybe one day I'll catch on quicker or let it go more easily.

You see, I know not to trust the app. It gets my pace wrong all the time while I'm running. At first, the calm voice would say, 'Pace...9...point....4....kilometres per hour,' and I'd be deeply pleased. There was no way that I was travelling at that pace. I was bobbing along at my usual relatively slow shuffle, but I was still cheered by the prospect that I was going faster. Of course, when it would discern that my pace had dropped to a paltry 3.4 kilometres per hour, the argument would start in my head, dismissing the low reading as of course wrong even as I felt my heart fall just a little bit.

I love this technology and love that it has helped me to track my progress and see how far I've come. But I need to remember to trust my senses, trust my vision, and trust my heart rather than believe what I know cannot be true, even if it comes from a usually reliable source. I've learned not to pay attention to the voice as it tells me my pace except when I know it's in sync with what I know. 'Pace....7....point....5....kilometres per hour' my friendly fellow intones, and I think, 'yes, that's about right! Good for you!'

The truth of it is that what matters isn't what the app tells me I've done. What matters is that I lace up my shoes, put on my hat and head out the door. What matters is that I put foot in front of foot. What matters is that I keep my eye on the prize that is out there for me to claim: a successful run, successful fundraising for a cause that matters, and getting healthier in the meantime.

Healthier, but not overly so. I rewarded myself with a scone and yummy latte at Tidetables:

And in a little while, I'm off to have pizza with my pal (and the new Committee chair at church), Alex somewhere in these buildings (which happen to be across from where I turned around today):

28 March 2011

The Weekend's Path

On Saturday, I got out for my training run early in the day. We had big plans, so I got in my needed training. Here's where I wound up along the path:

I think I was around the same distance along. That's what the stats say at least. Here they are: 7.8 km in 58 minutes, pace 7.3 kph. Six running intervals of 6 minutes each, 1 minute recovery, plus warm up and cool down, some running, some walking.

But even better here's further along in the day what the path looked like:

We were at the March for the Alternative and had a splendid time. Lots of people, great energy, great cause. The news coverage has been overwhelmingly centred on the .04% of the participants who caused trouble, but the scale and diversity of the march cannot help but have an effect upon the politicians in charge. Here's hoping!

25 March 2011

Training 25 March

That's the path today. At present, I'm running half the distance of my training programme, and then turning around and coming back. Within a week or two, I'm probably going to start continuing on to make a circuit around as my halfway point nears 5 kilometres. According to my CardioTrainer programme, I ran 7.2 km in an hour for a pace of, well, 7.2 km per hour. That includes about 14 minutes of walking for warming up and cooling down.

Here's the view across the river:

That's Brentford, just south of the entrance to the Grand Canal. It's a large complex of flats.

Further back toward the beginning is this view:

Some of the notes from the run:

The bluebells are out, and I must have missed it on Monday when I was out. A whole bunch of bluebells. Very pretty, but I missed them again on the way back. I need to look up and around more.

The fellow who sleeps along the river was packing his tent up today as I went past. I've seen the tent on many mornings, but had not seen him before. It's a lot of work not having a permanent home. I was grateful again that my path has gone the way it has.

Seeing a keg in the small canal that runs alongside the Thames here brought to mind this song:

A fellow runner nearly ran me down. I was looking down (see above), and glanced up just in time to see this inches from me. I stepped aside and could feel the breeze as he shot past, looking focused. A little annoyed at his apparent unwillingness to vary his path even noticing that I wasn't looking, I was also impressed by how fast he went.

Musing along the way (that will make their way here soon): competition is often an expression of my worst self, and I can tell I'm in a happier place when I'm cheering rather than criticising. There's more to that story. Check back soon for the rest of it.

22 March 2011

Training 21 March 2010

Out early in the day (7:45) for a short, relaxed, consistent run. Went 4.7 km in 38 minutes on a new route on this side of the river. It was a short way along when I passed Syon House

It is one of the homes of the Duke of Northumberland and pretty grand. I did a wedding blessing there a few years ago and was blown away by the inside. I can see this from the other side of the river about mid-point in my running, so it's funny to see it so early in the run.

Here's where I usually run:

It's a typical morning, a bit hazy and chilly. I hope to have a few more pictures of the way along as I go.

Breakfast after the run is oatmeal with a couple of egg whites. My coach tells me I need extra protein because I'm a vegetarian, so I'm trying to pump it up a bit.

Tomorrow is intervals, so I'll be back on the other side of the river. I'm using this to help me along in my training and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Back again

After a much longer hiatus than I had expected, I'm back at the blog.  It's got a new look and a new focus, and I hope those of you who have checked in on it periodically might start again and maybe there are a few others who will want to come along, too.

I started this when we moved from the US to London, and never managed to keep up on the changes and challenges that we faced making that transition.  Four years into living here, it's become our life, not a change, so it makes sense to reflect that.

In the years since we've moved, life has carried on and my interests and avocations have changed.  I'm a knitter now and a beginning spinner, and I'll no doubt show you some of that as well as reflect upon it.

Another new pursuit is running.  I've taken it up to fulfill a promise I made last year.  My focus right now is to run to raise money for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in a 10 K race at the end of May.  (You can find out more about that here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=LindaRuns&faId=66295&isTeam=false).  I hope, though, at the end of my effort, I'll continue to build my running practice for both health and sanity.

So, here I am again.  My intention is to document my training runs (planned to be 5 times a week) and to offer a more substantial post at least once in the week.  We'll see how that works.