Why do I run (part II)

Okay, so in reading and reading my previous post I realized it didn't even begin to capture the myriad reasons why I run. So I'm going to keep trying and maybe by the end of this blog, I'll have captured them all. In this Runner's World article, Dean Karnazes (The man who was a very large inspiration and helped me decide to run for Team Healthy Kids in the 2014 NYC Marathon) does an excellent job of describing a main reason I run the marathon... my favorite part, 

... There is no lying to yourself here, the Marathon sees right through excuses, shortcuts, and self-transgressions.

... You remain steadfast, knowing that you did not skimp, that you did not take shortcuts, that every footstep was earned through months of rigorous preparation and hard work.

When discussing my running with others, I will sometimes hear, "Isn't a marathon like 26 miles?!" and I  meet that semi-rhetorical question with, "Point-two. Twenty-six-point-two. You don't get credit if you only do 26." 

Why do I run?

I used to run back in High School, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I just ran as part of the school team. And I was barely passable as a runner. In fact, during some post-graduation conversation with my coach wherein I was commenting on how I thought I was finally getting it, he responded "Yeah. You could probably be an occasional recreational runner." 
... Hardly inspiring words for an admittedly un-inspiring runner. 

I stopped running somewhere in college. When asked, I answered, "I used to run"

Fast forward to my 30s and after a bit of Woe-is-me-I-never-get-out-anymore type whining,  I remembered that I used to run and that I loved it. Or maybe I was just frustrated and had no creative solutions. So I went for a few late night runs.

And it all came back to me.  

  • I remembered that I liked the feeling of earning my physical exhaustion rather than having it bestowed upon me.
  • I enjoyed those brief moments when my thoughts drifted and I wasn't thinking about anything in particular.
  • And that I liked that bit of tiredness in my legs that told me I went somewhere. 
  • I liked the solutions of long unsolved problems that simply popped into my head at the end of a run. 
  • I was crushing 2-3 audiobooks per month. And enjoying reading again (another hobby I "gave up" in college)

In short, I acquired some maturity and I developed an appreciation for what my body and mind experience when I run. And because of all that, eventually I began to cover greater distances and log more miles. 

I'm a runner. Sure, I may be recreational. However, I am anything but occasional. 

Old Man Winter

Today's workout was intended to be 4 miles slow. Well... I nailed that slow part. Pretty sure I went out at the peak of our snow storm. There might've been maybe 3 inches of snow on the ground, but unfortunately it was on top of super slick frozen-thawed-refrozen ice that made for some occasional slipping despite using Yak Trax. (maybe I'll write about those after a few more runs, but as of now, not too impressed.) 

Visibility was at a premium after turning back north. So I had to look down and follow my footsteps back. The only problem with that is that the snow was coming down so hard, my footsteps were covered up! Thus, lots of stumbling back. If not for my grabbing my visor at the last second and throwing it over my winter hat, the run would've been a bit crazy. 

The bridge facing north crossing over Genesee River heading towards UorR. Luckily (or unluckily), the wind was blowing at my back here.

The bridge facing north crossing over Genesee River heading towards UorR. Luckily (or unluckily), the wind was blowing at my back here.

After just about two miles with the wind at my back and two miles in my face... I had to stop and capture the moment... 


I don't need to run around in circles...

Actually... I find running in circles quite preferable to running on the hamster wheel that is the treadmill. Though it still isn't optimal, there *can be* enough variance in a 1/6 or 1/8 mile track to help a person make it through a medium distance run. Though I have found 6 miles is probably my limit. 

An interesting side-effect of the track running is "accidental speed work." I found that After running 6 laps, I could spice things up by sprinting a lap. So I ended up putting in some speed work (which is not my strong suit.) on a day when I just really intended to be out and running a simple 6 mile easy pace. Hooray for happy accidents. 

As I have about 10-12 speed workouts as part of my marathon training, it's nice to know that one won't kill me. 

Here's a chart...


The little plateau around 37:30 was a little experiment in trying to achieve the fastest cadence/turn-over that I could by shortening my stride and taking quicker steps. Interestingly, while the cadence got to just above 180 steps per minute, it was nowhere close to my spring cadence where I was sprinting and not taking purposefully shorter strides.


Anyways... can't wait 'til the weather breaks. 

Sub-zero temperatures...

... Suck. 

I had to run on a treadmill last night. I've decided I loathe the treadmill. From the artificial breeze of the fan to the artificial scenery of the television. Ugh. And I don't want to get into the details of all the bad metrics provided by the machine. 

All I need is >17F and I'll be right back outdoors. 


Race With Grace

Planning on running the Race with Grace tomorrow. Not going to set any PRs though. This could end up being 10K of slipping, slogging and sliding through the snow. Should be lots of fun.