Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I (Try To) Run, Therefore I Spin . . .

Training for the next half marathon is becoming an experiment. 

(Backgrounder: In general, I chalk it up to "an experiment" whenever I do something incorrectly, so I don't feel like I have totally wasted my time with an activity, or so I don't feel overly guilty about something trivial that I forgot to do. E.G.: Forgot to clean the guinea pig cages this week? Make it an experiment to see if your kid actually notices the stench in his room. Forgot to buy most of the ingredients for a recipe? Experiment! Substitute until you have yourself a brand new recipe and then see how much the family likes it. Slept in late? Experiment! See how fast you can get your kids ready for school and out the door before the bus shows up. You get the idea.) 

So the "experiment" in which I find myself swimming at the moment is this: See if you can run a successful half marathon, with primarily cross-training as your main workout regime, as opposed to running. Makes not one stitch of sense, does it? I did not plan this half-baked, ridiculous experiment, but looking at the calendar and looking at the race day of June 1, I am starting to think this might just be the least amount of kilometres my feet have run leading up to a long distance race since I started all of this running stuff five years ago.

This finishing time is my "personal best" for a half marathon.
I do believe my run/cross-train ratio was 70/3
0 for that one. 
My current "experiment" has it at, oh, about 10/90.
My run journal for the past month looks impressive though, just not with running entries. It is filled with spin classes and core strength and circuit training and TRX resistance training, with a few measly kilometres thrown in here and there. The heart is in fine shape. The arm and leg and butt muscles are too. But (pardon the pun) is that enough to get me through 21 kilometres? (I have trained for, and completed, about eight or nine halfs in my life by now, plus a marathon, a 30K and a bunch of trail events. That should count for something too...shouldn't it? Hmmm.) And then there are the trail run events looming. "Enduro" events. Meaning long trail runs. Hmmmm.

We had our first trail running session last night. A bunch of us are on the same team for the 5 Peaks trail running series and we are starting to meet on Monday nights at a local trail, just to get some mileage in before the first event on May 25. This should help me get somewhat "on track" so to speak, for both the trail events and the half marathon. But WOW, did I absolutely crash and burn at the trail run last night (not actually crash and burn, just, well, sucked.)

We began in a group, but it took, oh, maybe 10 seconds before I started telling everyone "Don't feel the need to stay with me. I am tired. Just go ahead." Within five minutes they were around a bend and gone, and I was "alone" in the woods. (But not really. Lots of people walk this trail with their dogs, which freak me out when they're not on a leash, but that's another story.) The trail is only a 2K loop but despite that, it honestly felt like gravity was pulling extra hard on my feet with every step I tried to "run." And so much for "powering up the hills" like our coach Ann suggested. Frig. I walked up most of them.

Our goal was to ease into the training and just do two loops. So I "ran" (whatever) the first loop right back to my truck, where my daughter waited (yes, she could have run, but she just got her hair cut and blow-dried and curled, so she decided to wait for me and read Glamour magazine instead). I told her, "If you see my running friends come back, just tell them they don't have to wait. I am going to attempt one more loop." (Because I am stubborn and rule-driven.)

She didn't notice them come back to the parking lot and look for me after they completed their two loops. So as I rounded the last bend in the hilly field, I see two of my friends walking up the trail. "Ha ha - did you send out the search party?" I called. "Yes! We're it!" they responded cheerily. So you get the idea of how slow I was. Slow enough for friends to send out a search party. L. O. L.

Spin class in action, complete with great music.
(Thrive Fitness, Alliston)
Not to sweat the small stuff or anything, but, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? My friend Janate, who can't run Monday nights due to a schedule conflict with her kids' activities, ran the hills today instead (and did four repeats because she is Superwoman, but W H A T E V E R. I secretly hate her. I hope she is reading this and laughing because it is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.) She suggested I was probably too exhausted from the morning class that day, which consisted of a 45-minute spin class followed by an hour of core strength training. I think she's probably right. (Note to Self: It probably also didn't help that you ate a toasted ham
TRX strength class at Thrive.
and processed cheese flatbread washed down with a decaf coffee from Tim Horton's less than an hour before you began your run. You are SO not a role model, Ms Simcoe Fitness Seeker!

But I love those classes. So I will continue to spin, and challenge my core, and lift weights, because that is good for "older" people (boosts metabolism, improves moods, makes it easier to lift a load of wet towels from the washing machine, etc.). I will try to get some runs in before these run events. If my finishing time ends up being less than stellar, by my own standards, then I will chalk it up to the results of my "cross-training-in-lieu-of-road-mileage experiment."

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