Have I Mentioned How Much I Hate….?

The map of our run and our stats

…running?

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice in this blog. In my last entry, I said it had been a while since I had trained thanks to work and a few gatherings with friends. Today was the first day I’d gone for a run in more than a week. And my body punished me for it.

Joe and I have been meaning to get off the treadmill and go for a run outside for a while, and we finally got around to it today since I actually managed to leave work right at 5. We drove to Rock Creek Park, not far from  our apartment. Since I’m a little behind in my training, I’m only up to a cycle of 2:30 running and 2:30 walking. However, today’s cycle went for a total of 67 minutes so I knew it would kick my butt. We decided to run on the trails since the hills would be good practice for the Tough Mudder. That didn’t really last too long. The uphill parts were killer. Joe could see that I wasn’t going to make it through that for 67 minutes. So we got off the trails and ran on a small path next to the road. Better that than quit.

I know 2:30 of running isn’t a lot but it’s 2:30 of doing something I really dislike. I’m sort of bipolar when it comes to running. My mood sort of goes like this:

I start off confident and ready to go.

Then I get to the start of the run and think about how long I have to go and how heavy my legs are going to start to feel. Feel a little less confident at this point.

About  1/4 to 1/3 of the way through, I’m really uncomfortable and I decide that running really is torture. This is usually accompanied by a large cramp in my side.

Half way through I think “Okay, I made it, but I still have to go for as long as I’ve already gone. And that feels like forever.”

About 3/4 of the way through, I hit my stride. I start to feel about as good as I ever will running. I get a little cocky and think “Gee, I could do this for a lot longer!”

As I approach the end, I realize I was being an overconfident jerk and start to struggle a little. But I can’t quit when I’m so close to the end.

At the finish, pure elation. It’s OVER! Then that shower, ahhhh! You can feel every muscle in your body relax.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned from exercise: the body was meant to work. It wasn’t meant for hours of sitting in front of a computer. It’s a machine really and it’s capable of a lot more than we normally think. I look at physical things sometimes and think “There’s no way I could do that.” But as a friend recently reminded me, the body is capable of amazing things. It’s resilient. No matter how tired you feel, your body can probably handle more. When Joe and I finished our run today, Joe pointed out that I “still had a lot left” in me. That’s probably true. If I had to go twice as long as I did, it probably would have been uncomfortable but my mind would have quit before my body did.

That’s the key to this Tough Mudder. A lot of it is mental. Are you going to let the discomfort get to you? Or are you going to push through? Because your body can probably handle it.

The photo I’ve included came from an app Joe has on his Droid. It’s called Endomondo and it keeps track of your progress through various exercises. You can pull up your results on the website too. As you can see from our results, we weren’t exactly speedy (my fault) but hey, we were walking half the time. And we had our best time about 3/4 of the way through. Although I don’t buy that I burned more than 800 calories today (the app is set to Joe’s weight, and he’d burn more), I feel confident I probably burned at least a good 700. And we went almost six miles and the trail was a lot more scenic than what you get on the treadmill.

Our new goal is to get outside for a run in the park at least once a week. It better mimics what the Tough Mudder course will be like.

Days to the Tough Mudder: 51.

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