As I was doing a core strength workout on Wednesday evening at our University’s Fitness Center, I took notice of someone running with exceptional efficiency on one of the treadmills. His running appeared effortless, fast, and extremely graceful. Other adjectives flooded into my brain. – Fluid. Smooth. Quick. Light. Relaxed. Purposeful. Perfect. – I was struck with awe. I was inspired. It had been a long time since I’d seen someone move with anything approaching this runner’s fluidity. Clearly he is gifted. It was also obvious that he runs with joy, purpose, and poise. The major take-home message for me though was clear – he and I do NOT participate in the same sport. He is a runner. Me? For the past two years I’ve attempted to be an athlete, an adventurer, a nutrition expert, a stress-addict, a Nordic skier, a coach, a ‘mountaineer’, and a hobby-jogger. I’ve sought to find my athletic-life’s purpose under a cloud of fatigue. I’ve been up, down, high, and low. I’ve strived time-and-time-again to define myself vaguely and merely as ‘a productive human-being’. Mostly though, as a runner, I’ve been slow. Throughout these past two years, I have not been a ‘runner’ in the purest sense of the word – and that upsets me. I’ve greatly missed running with speed, quickness, and my own form of efficiency. Watching this runner on the treadmill triggered something in my brain. Now? It is time for me to embark upon a quest to become a better runner – more efficient, lighter, smoother, quicker, and better. The foundation of this quest will once again be running volume – in the form of legitimate running miles. I also intend to reduce my ‘junk miles’ and increase the days when running intensity is my focus. In short – I am endeavoring to once again remake my body. This week proved to be a solid step in the right direction. Here’s the recap from the week that was:
Monday – 12/10/12
PM: From my office – I ran Signal Peak. This was my 85th Signal Peak Summit YTD. Ran out the Contour Trail, up to Black Tarp, and then up-and-down the ridge-line. 10 miles. 1500′ vertical gain. Ran through the new snow on the ground – which slowed me down considerably, but my body was not working that efficiently today anyway. Feeling sluggish, thick, and tired. However, it was great to be outside, mid-day, running in the snow. I came back refreshed and renewed, and had a super productive end to my work day – I love it when that happens. 1.5 hours running. 10 miles running. SU.
Tuesday – 12/11/12
AM: Ran on the Frontage Road for a total of 8 miles in 1 hour. During this run, I did 5 x 1 minute surges at 85% – 90% effort. These felt pretty good. Beautiful morning. 1 hour running. 8 miles running. SU. Surges.
Wednesday – 12/12/12
AM: Ran Gold Basin Road on a very cold morning. (-11 degrees at the start!) Ran the full out-and-back of 16 miles in just over 2 hours. Great to be outside on a supremely crisp/cold morning – but this was also the first run of the winter season in which my hands hurt afterwards. Good run. 2 hours running. 16 miles running. SU.
PM: Full core-strength workout at the Escalante Fitness Center. This consisted of a 10-minute warmup on the spin bike, pull-ups, 8-minute abs, thera-band lateral walks, calves, walking lunges, thera-band clamshells, obliques, backups, bridges, and tele-jumps. Skipped the stretching. 30 minutes training time.
Thursday – 12/13/12
AM: Headed out at 5:30am for a set of repeat miles. Cold morning. Slick roads. Ran a 20 minute warmup with 6 x 10 – 15 seconds – sprinkled in as speeds. I did the repeat miles on the Dos Rios Circle – 1 mile loop. Jumped right into 4 x 1 mile with 3 minutes jogging in between each. My ‘much-improved’ splits: 5:56, 5:56, 5:47, 5:54. Felt good to run faster, with less effort, than last week. 20 minute cool down with 4 x 10 – 15 seconds speeds thrown in as well. 1.5 hours running. 11 miles running. SU. Great morning.
PM: Spin Bike Class at the Escalante Fitness Center – taught by Justin Barr. Lunch-hour class that causes me to sweat a lot. Making progress – pushing more wattage than last week. I really like the natural interval format. Also, I was pleasantly surprised with my mental outlook during this class. 50 minutes training time.
Friday – 12/14/12
AM: Gold Basin Road. Ran the same out-and-back 16 miler and felt very good. My legs were filled with pep, pop, snap, and energy. Felt good to have a little bounce in my stride. This turned out to be my fastest Gold Basin Road run of the season so far – 1:03 on the way out, and :56 on the way home. Clearly I am not displaying blazing speed yet, but I felt more efficient this morning than I have in many months. 2 hours running. 16 miles running. SU.
PM: Lunch time – Ran the Cemetery Trail out-and-back for 4 miles in 35 minutes. Again, nice to get out in the mid-day. Headed straight into the Fitness Center for a core strength workout and stretching session. I did pull-ups, 8-minute abs, thera-band lateral walks, calves, walking lunges, thera-band clamshells, obliques, backups, bridges, and tele-jumps. Als0 – about 12 minutes of AIS and static stretching. 1 hour training. .5 hours running. 4 miles running. Strength.
Saturday – 12/15/12
AM: A purposely-slow 14 mile run – out-and-back on County Road #10 and Lost Canyon Road. Felt tired, slow, and sluggish for the first hour, but started feeling smoother by the end. Beautiful morning with some new snow. 2 hours running. 14 miles running. SU.
Sunday – 12/16/12
AM: Long Run. Woke up feeling hungry, alert, and full of energy. Started at 5:00am and ran 1 hour on County Road #10 before meeting up with Parr to run the final 2 hours with him out on Gold Basin Road. It was great to run with Parr again – solid conversation. It’s worth noting that Parr is now only 1 semester away from having his Masters Degree in Education. Very cool. My energy stayed constant during this run and my pace actually quickened slightly throughout. Positive outing indeed. 3.25 hours running. 24 miles running. SU. Mild stretching today too.
Week totals –
16 hours training. 14 hours running. 103 miles running. Higher volume week again – feel solid.
I found out today (Sunday, December 16th) that I was not selected to run the 2013 edition of the Hardrock 100. Bummed? Yeah – I’m a bit bummed. At the same time though, I find myself buoyed by the excitement of pursuing other goals, races, and running-related plans. I’m still not prepared to state which races I plan on competing in, but I’m greatly enjoying the process of building my race calendar for 2013. (Looking at some races I’ve never done before AND also looking at a few events I’ve competed in numerous times). Exciting indeed. I reckon that I’ll have my race schedule ironed out by the middle of January. Regardless – now is the time to build the foundation, remake the body, and enjoy the planning.
At the start of my Sunday morning long run, I listened to a fantastic podcast interview of Alberto Salazar. (Coach of Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, and Dathan Ritzenhein). ‘The Competitor’s Radio Show’ Podcast did a fantastic job with this particular interview and I suggest giving it a good listen. In the spirit of being inspired by watching really fast running, I thought I’d leave everyone with the Youtube Replay of the 2012 London Olympics 10,000m Final. Here’s to remaking the body. Live well. Train well. DC