Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Umstead Labor Day -- Three Naps and Four Miles of Spider Webs: 8/4 & 8/6

On both Saturday and Monday, I ran the same trail that I've been running: the Loop of the Company Mill Trail.  Saturday's run was good, but not as great as last week.  By the time I got the the beginning of the loop I was chomping at the bit to run.  I could tell right away that my pace was too fast, and that I would be forced to back down at some point, but I just couldn't hold myself back.  It felt as if I were really monstering it until I hit the utility road.  I got there much quicker than I had anticipated.  I reeled it in a bit after I crossed the road and was still doing well on at about the two miles, but then I hit the up hill portion of the trail leading back to the utility road, and I felt every mile that I had run that week smack dab in the middle of my quads.  My pace slowed a great deal during the up hill, and by the time I crossed the utility road again, I was grunting it out.  Luckily, I was able to recover some energy during a couple of tricky down hill spots and was able to finish off the last bit respectably. 

After the run I was wiped out.  My wife and I were going to the NC State game that night and had some errands before hand.  I took a nap after I got home from the run, another nap after we got home from our errands, and another one after the game and before dinner.  I was just beat.  Sunday, I just stayed home watched movies and read running blogs. 

Monday's run was much better but had it's own issues.  And by issues I mean 4 miles of spider webs.  I got to the park just after 7am, even though the hours are from 8am to 8pm the gate has been open when I've gotten their at that 7 on Saturday's.  I guess that since it was a holiday they were waiting until 8am or were too short staffed to open the all of the gates early.  There were already at least eight cars parked outside of the gate, and almost all of them had some sort of triathalon or Marathon related bumper stickers!  Love it!  So I pulled in right behind the last car, and I made my way to my trail.  I figured that surely someone had already gone down the trail before me.  But, alas, I was mistaken!  The only thing that had been down that trail were raccoons and snakes, and their tracks were fresh!  Also, all of the spider webs were in tact.  I know because I cleared the entire first mile of the lead trail, and then nearly the entire loop.  I didn't see another person until just after I crossed over the utility road for the second time, which adds up to about 4 miles of spider webs.  By the end of it my hair was in absolutely no need of any gel!  Overall this run was much better.  My legs felt fresh, and I paced myself better at the beginning of the run (because I was looking out for snakes on the trail).  I was still running strong as I completed the loop, which only took me 45mins.  It was really a great run!
However, I am coming down from a major running high -- I can feel it. Can you say Junkie boys and girls? Although my goals are still weight loss centered, I can tell that there has been a major shift in my focus. I still like when the scale is kind to my, but it feels so much better when the clock is kind. The scale is a fickle mistress, who loves to screw with your mind, but the clock is the super sexy, above playing games, and speaks with direct mathematical honesty. It's refreshing! I have had the feeling for a while that I needed some sort of competitive direction for my training. Weight loss just for the sake of weight loss is a wonderful thing, but I think that it is difficult to sustain. It is easy to get frustrated because your goals are not being achieved, and just as easy to lose focus once your goal has been reached, so I've thought for sometime that I needed a sport or hobby to focus my activities. Also, I've always felt like I missed out on something because I didn't take part in any real competitive sports in school. I wasn't on any of the teams in High School (unless you count chess . . . yes . . . I was on the chess team!), nor did I do anything competitively in college -- not even on the intramural level -- which I have always regretted.  I played sports until around Jr. High, but I quit mainly because I was playing football and baseball, which I loved but wasn't really any good at. I lacked the concentration and aggression needed for football, and I just sucked at baseball. And even though the idea of Cross Country always appealed to me, I thought that I was too big to run and honestly was too scared to try. Also, because of my size, there was always pressure to play football anytime the topic of sports came up, so I avoided the topic in general.

Now, I find myself on the back end of my 30's, and I am filled with this overwhelming desire to both run and compete. I have no delusions of ever being anything more than average runner, and I know that I still need to lose around 50 pounds. But, I can't get running out of my head, I am talking about it all the time, I have a Garmin 205 in my cart on Amazon and have told my wife not to even think about getting me anything else for Christmas, I am truly obsessed. My Achilles has been injured for around two months.  And it made me crazy to stop running. It is getting better (I think), but I know that it would heal quicker if I took some more time off, but that is just not an option. I already have my next two races planned out, but I can't help looking for more. The achilles are really improving, and I think that if start to strengthen the muscles around them that they will get better. The morning stiffness and pain is nearly gone, and I hardly have any problems throughout the day, but it still is not to the point where it feels 100%. I am frustrated a by it and really tired thinking how my achilles are doing. I know that the people around me are tired of hearing me talk about it!

Last week people kept asking me if I had any plans for Labor Day weekend , and I would get all excited and tell them how I was going to go running in Umstead Park on both Saturday and Monday!!! They would just stare back at me like I was a Fucking idiot an idiot because of course for them "plans" meant trips to the beach or the mountains -- Not running in a park 10 mins from my apartment. But, truly that is all that I can think about these days. I've been reading running blogs like other guys read porn ( I'll give you links later). Currently, my wife is humoring me -- meaning she listens to me talk about running until it is too much and then just goes into English off mode, which is easy for her since English isn't here native tongue. She just flips a switch in here mind and filters out anything that isn't Japanese -- and then the smile and nod fest begins, but the worst part is that I am so desperate to talk to someone about running that . . . it works for me!!  But, I am not sure how much longer it will work for her!?!  So, I need to find another outlet for all of this quickly!

Blog Links:

Fitness Junky
The Boring Runner (He's not)
Frayed Laces

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