Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Do You Still Run? - Part 3: The Time Change Abyss

On the cusp of getting out of my comfort zone and increase my mileage for quality longer, more efficient runs and we hit the "fall back" time change. This give and take with my mind is getting ridiculous.

My ideal time to run is after work, though "falling back" on Sunday the 6th now makes it so that it will be near black as night when quitting time comes. Not to mention this week, two days later, was the dark and stormy night that was the election - and running wasn't the top thing on my mind. Luckily, my last race SWAG bag came with a lighted LED bracelet that flashes green. So that helps to keep from being a human speed bump a little.

Finding daylight and keeping myself loose are now struggling to meet one another on a consistent basis. By being loose, I mean being myself and not thinking about it too much. Some just don't get it, which reminds me of my college cross country/track coach at Morehead State. He didn't think I took anything seriously, or at least, seriously enough... which was the furthest from the truth. I don't put on headphones/earbuds and zone out to prepare. I'm myself - getting all serious and quiet just adds nerves and additional butterflies I don't need. I don't work like that.

At Tennessee Tech my junior track season, coach called me out among my teammates for wearing this shirt I had received from my dad in high school during my warm-up prior to the half-mile event. Now, this shirt was funny and fit my personality - it had the image of a piece of a cardboard box and on it had the scribbled phrase, "Will Race For Food". I loved that shirt and had worn it to every track/cross country meet through high school and up to that point. It was my routine - not an attempt to show anyone up. True, that shirt was old, well worn, and had the sleeves cut off...but it was part of my system. The point is that we all prepare in our own way and I'm still just as unconventional today.

Another example, headphones and earbuds: for running - I am not a fan. I want to hear what's going on around me and be cognizant of what I'm doing. I don't want or need a distraction. In high school and college I spent this time thinking about school, sports, women, etc. Now I use this time to keep myself motivated as my body puts up its defenses against running, sending nonchalant subliminal messages that simply stopping will feel soooo much better.

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OH..and I have wanted to many times - but its easy to stop, Its easy to give in but it takes twice as much effort physically and mentally to restart. I want to fight the demons, I don't want to distract myself from them. LISTEN to your body, IGNORE today's crappy music. (Yes...you heard me...CRAPPY MUSIC).

Finding the time to put in the miles and be at least somewhat prepared for races is challenging. The races being a way to remind me that I agreed to The Buck Fifty 150 Mile Relay four months ago and have five more months to be ready. Think what you will, but that is not a lot of time.

Last Saturday's Royal Family Kids: Run For Kids 5K at Marion's Tallgrass Trail was stop #2 on the 2016-2017 Fall/Winter/Spring You Bat Sh*t Crazy Nut Bag Tour sponsored by You Idiot, You're 40 Liniments and Medicated Heat Wraps. My one misstep may have been signing up for this race too early. I discovered shortly thereafter that the Columbus Beer Mile was on the same day and roughly at the same time. Upon further review, running and chugging a beer every quarter mile would not have had the best of outcomes. Though I would have liked to  have taken a stab at it. It is better that I settled on the post 5K beer (or three).

A couple of weekends ago, while volunteering for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association's Dia de La Cervezas in Dayton - one of my fellow volunteers (George) and I were talking about running. George, about 10 to 15 years my junior, looked at me like I had a beer tap coming out of my face when I told him I had just missed breaking 20 minutes in my first attempt at reviving my past glory the week before. I guess that meant I was doing something right, though he was sort of new to running.

Saturday's race was cold, really cold. A nice 28 degree morning, but plenty of sun so it did warm up - but ever so slowly. The first half-mile was smooth, but I could feel my legs begin to scream as the tightness crept in from the frigid air. Coaxing my lower torso along, we made it out of a tree line and into open field and full sun. The slight increase in heat felt good, but it was behind me so my face was numb.

Then it dawned on me that I could no longer hear anyone behind me. Since the course was roughly a mile and a half out and a mile and a half back, I'd see someone sooner or later, but it was comfortable working on my race without distraction. Reaching the halfway point, I grab a quick drink at the water station and turned to see my closest competitor about 150 or so meters behind. Wanting to use this time to work on some things, I increase my stride and focus on maintaining it for the duration of the race.

Now I had the sun on my face, but with a good chilly breeze that made my eyes water profusely. Squinting to the finish was fun, I'm sure it made it look like I was in more pain than I actually was - though at least I could feel my face again. Obviously not the most competitive race in the world, but none of us were looking to set the world on fire. I was lucky enough to cross the finish line first at 20:47. Second went to David Rardon, who I later discovered was also a former runner attempting a sort of comeback. We chat for awhile, shared some past glory and may end up training a some together in the future.

My reward for winning? A 3 month membership to Anytime Fitness with two free personal training sessions...and a t-shirt. Nice, but I think I'll stick to my current training regime. I'm still looking to attain my goal of a sub 20 minute 5K, it is within reach. Though, something has to be said for consistency as I was just seconds off my time from three weeks before.

Oh, my Chillicothe cousin says her dad - my uncle and former OHSAA track official - may be willing to help with hill training at Zane Trace High School's Agony Hill. Agony and I have a storied, less than cordial history. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Getting closer to The Buck Fifty, five months and counting...

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." ~  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.

Step 1 - Do You Still Run? Part 1 Getting Started: COMPLETED

Step 2 - Do You Still Run? Part 2 Being Consistent, Make Progress: COMPLETED

Step 3 - Do You Still Run? Part 3 Increasing Mileage: COMPLETED

Step 4 - Do You Still Run? Part 4 Ignore Arctic Ohio: Mother Nature's Winter Vaction

The Buck Fifty on Facebook

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