Friday, May 7, 2010

9 is the New 5

Our life is made of of routines, standards constants.  When I started running again 10 years ago my standard run was a 3.2 mile loop around a nearby neighborhood.  Some days I would do the loop twice or add onto the loop but when I review my log books from back then I repeatedly see 3.2, 3.2 , 3.2.  When you come around the corner and see the car there and you know that you don't have to run anymore it is really tough to keep going, so you stop and write down 3.2.

Then I moved to the other end of the city, only 2 miles from a National park.  My new standard became a 5.1 mile loop.  I love loops because once your 2 miles in, there isn't really any turning back.  I'd park my car and run my old standby, the Surrender Road 5.1 mile loop.  This became my new minimum, my new standard.  Oh there were lots of days that I'd run more, but the go to favorite, the workhouse run, became the 5.1 loop.  No more 3.2's, I had advanced past that meager distance, I wasn't a beginner anymore, I was a 5.1er.

Several weeks ago I started run from my home to the park, running my 5.1 loop and then home again.  It was cleaner, simpler, easier.  No cars no mess, just out the door and start running.  Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.  Some days I'd add on the French loop for 3 more miles but manly just the run to the Park and then my old friend the 5.1 loop.

I reviewed my schedule this morning and noticed that there weren't anymore 5.1's in my log but a bunch of 9's and 12's.  The 2 miles from my house to the park and then the 2 miles back streched my runs to 9 miles.  I still get to see my old friend everyday but after I get a good warm up.  My relationship with 5.1 was always casual and the first mile or 2 were always slow and easy.  Now I have a feeling that we are going to get serious a lot more often.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keepin My Sanity

Life as I know it is completely upside down.  My professional life that is.  I am in the commercial construction industry an well simply put there isn't any commercial construction going on.  My company has little to no work.  We have laid off hundreds of good people because we simply don't have anything to do.  The phone barely rings.  The inbox stays empty.  My days last forever and the boredom has become emotionally draining.

During my entire 18 year carrer I have never experienced anything like this before.  Nothing to do, how do you fix that?  We're behind schedule or the vendor screwed up the order, that I can fix.  We'll move men from this project to that, we'll work more hours, add a sceond shift.  You need me to work 14 hour days, no problem.  7 days a week, I understand, let me call my wife so she can handle the kids.  Shut down over Thanksgiving weekend, yes sir, I know this client is important, I'll make it happen.  That's my job, my responsibility, I do miracles for a living.

But nothing to do?  How do you fix that?  How do you make people build 100 million dollar projects?  You can't.  And the worse thing is that I really believe that my industry is about to get even worse.  Even with the economy improving, commercial construction is so overbuilt, and the banks have been burned so bad, that I really believe that it will be several years before the industry recovers.

So what am I doing to keep from going completely insane?  I started a 24 week marathon traing plan for the Baltimore Marathon in October.  I had already increased my mileage and have been averaging 50 plus miles a week.  I'll be using the Pfitzinger 70 miles plus, 24 week schedule.  The only thing that ever kept me from a high mileage cycle before was time, but know that seems to be the one thing that I have in excess.

So, go ahead and us why running is keeping you sane, blah blah blah.  Give us all that runners hokey pokey about how it makes you feel.  That's not it.  I need a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a goal, something to focus on, an end to the road.  The training plan has become my purpose.  No matter what I've gotta hit that mileage, perform that workout.  My training plan is my responsibilty.  It is what I have to make happen today.  As trivial as it may be, checking off that days workout is what I have to accomplish today, this week, this month.  It gives me purpose.  How?  We'll it effects everything that I am doing.  I need to eat this at that time or I won't have any energy to make 11 miles tonight.  What is the weather for this weekend?  Should I run my long run on Saturday because it's supposed to rain on Sunday.

Does it make me feel better during this depressing point in my life, yes it does.  Since I have increased my mileage this year I have really dropped some pounds, about 15, and I wasn't big to begin with.  I'm 5'11 and I currently weigh 163 lbs.  I have dropped at least 2 inches from my waist.  I still have some fat to drop around my mid section but I am really toning up.  The most important thing is that I feel a lot stronger.  My core is really starting to strengthen and that has helped my speed.

And speed, I have gotten a lot faster this year.  I sure dropping the pounds helped, so did the increase in mileage and the increase in strength.  I really am a super positive person and I always stay positive during a run.  Right now my favorite thing to do is a hard tempo run.  I tell myself during the run, you can hold this pace because you ARE STRONG.  You can make it through this run and you can make it through tommorrow, and you'll make it through this week.  You'll make it through this economic mess just like you're gonna finish this workout.  Quit!  Quit!  If you quit this workout then you'll be quitting on yourself.  Just a mile farther, 7 more minutes, 4 laps of the track, 3 laps around, 2 laps, 1 more lap, just a 220 left, push it, finishing kick!  I knew that you could do it!  You are strong, you're a finisher!

Last week I ran a hard tempo run, 8 miles.  I pushed it way too hard.  I was so sore I couldn't run for three days.  I am working on running those easy days easy and the hard days a litttle less hard.  The goal is to finish the workout everyday, all week, not just have one super good workout a week.

I haven't blogged in a while becasue, well I didn't have anything positive to say.  But I think I've come round the turn and the wind is at my back now.  It's not gonna be easy, but nothing is easy that's worth the effort.