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.

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