I’m ba-a-a-ack

2005 was a year where I bare­ly logged a hun­dred miles, the last two months of which I ran dis­cour­ag­ing­ly over ten minute miles, one run even being over eleven min­utes per mile.

For the last few weeks I took myself off the road and went into the gym to regroup. For the time being I’m set­tling for one actu­al run out­doors per week and the rest of the week spend­ing time indoors on the ellip­ti­cal train­er and push­ing weights around. The the­o­ry is that I can get my heart and lungs accus­tomed to being active while not pound­ing the pave­ment. I think that the slow­er I go, the hard­er it is on my joints.

So today I went out with my run­ning club (The DSE Run­ners) on the first race of the year. I fig­ured if I only get one out-of-doors run per week, I should make it one with oth­er peo­ple and get my times logged on the web­site and so on.

It was a beau­ti­ful morn­ing. I was con­cerned about the tem­per­a­ture, but I got out to the start and the sun was shin­ing down on us. The air may have actu­al­ly been the report­ed 45 degrees but it felt like 65 out there in the sun.

The start was per­fect. There are very few sounds I love more than the sound of dozens of feet on pave­ment on an oth­er­wise qui­et morn­ing. Of course, it was­n’t too far along that I real­ized that I had start­ed out too fast and pulled back and let peo­ple pass me. I’ve been train­ing in the 130 – 160 bpm (heartrate) range on the ellip­ti­cal (in ’04 I rou­tine­ly ran up at 195 bpm.… def­i­nite­ly too hot!) and since today was race day, I let myself go up to 175. If I saw the mon­i­tor read­ing 176 I slowed down. I saw it read 180 once, but for the most part I kept my heartrate down clos­er to 170. (OK, accord­ing to the mon­i­tor I got up to a max of 192, but I promise that was in the final quar­ter-mile once I could see the fin­ish. I was real­ly care­ful through the rest of the run).

The result? I ran the 4.46-mile loop around Lake Merced in 41:10. That’s a 9:13 pace. Grant­ed I was run­ning at per­ceived “race pace” faster than I would in train­ing, but oh it feels good to have a run sig­nif­i­cant­ly faster than any I’ve logged in the last ten months. This proves again that it’s pos­si­ble and at least men­tal­ly it feels like my slump is bro­ken and I’m back on the way up.

Also, my joints weren’t com­plain­ing at all through the run. It real­ly does feel like a faster pace is eas­i­er on my body. My weight has­n’t changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the last three months (I’ve lost three and a half pounds in the last three weeks, and I had plateaued before that), so it real­ly must be a dif­fer­ence in my stride when I’m mov­ing faster.

For the time being, I’m still “on restric­tion” and will spend my time train­ing in the gym rather than on the road. Grant­ed, I won’t be log­ging miles, but if I’ve seen some results from this I want to keep it up until I can do a run and a pace like this at a low­er heartrate.

2 Replies to “I’m ba-a-a-ack”

  1. Hey, Steve!

    Hey, Steve!

    That’s won­der­ful! You’re mak­ing me jeal­ous. I have been think­ing about drag­ging my moun­tain bike out, but the snow and slush and lack of shoul­ders on the road have so far deterred me. But I want to be out there ped­alling. Wish we had your weather.…


  2. I did about 50 miles last
    I did about 50 miles last year. Did close to 250 in 2004. I’m plan­ning a run mid­week, as soon as my new iPod comes in the mail — - yay!

    Love love love Lake Merced. That was my first run­ning path, when I went to SFSU. If you like watch­ing col­lege girls run­ning, it’s a great course!

    There’s a nice run­ning path along the great high­way — at my height in col­lege I used to start from my place on 45th and Lin­coln, run the Great High­way to sloat, hook up to the lake, do a lap, then run home. I was 180 at the time. 🙂

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