Monday, June 4, 2012

Still Running Like A Duck!

This week was certainly better.  As I had posted previously, I had one big hiccup on Wednesday due to gluten.  I ended up missing the day of training and turned temporarily into Rip Van Winkle (slept all day).  Since then, my body has rebounded nicely.  Thursday ended up being a nice, sharp run and the rest of the week followed (except for a horribly slow run Saturday, but more about that in a moment).  I did a group ride Sunday and was thoroughly challenged but still was able to put in a good session in the pool a few hours later.

Today was an easier day with a simple ride and continuous swim.  I almost got into trouble on the ride with nutrition.  I was in a really good head space, totally in the moment, riding well.  There was no chatter in the brain, just pure, simple, relaxed focus.  It's a state of mind that I find tough to reach outside of swimming.  I did a loop that I did a few weeks ago with the group and finally managed the whole thing without any wrong turns.  I still had my directions on a piece of tape on my handlebars but as it turned out, I rarely needed them.  I just rode and it was just right.

The aero bottle bracket serves all kinds of purposes.

On the way back into town, I passed another cyclist on a TT bike and it broke my focus a little.  It was probably a good thing since a few minutes later, I BONKED.  I was going 25 and then I was going 7... mph.  I realized that I was well into a long workout and a little late for a second gel and should have been halfway through my second bottle of water.  I hadn't touched either.  That is a big no-no for me... really for anyone in Texas on a mid-nineties day at noon.  I actually pulled over, ate a gel, and drank a half a bottle of water.  I was worried that my stomach would revolt, but it handled it fine.  I started back and a few minutes later, I was back in action.  I finished the ride feeling really strong.

I have been riding really well lately.  Even my pool work has been strong in spite of struggling a bit with some slipping form.  I can really tell I am getting stronger.  SO... that run can come together anytime.  ANYTIME.  please?

It is extremely frustrating how slow I am running.  I have lost a great deal of weight (still have plenty left but if you go by :02/mile per lb then I can attribute about 140% of my current pace improvements to weight loss... haven't even seen the full :02/lb yet), I have been training diligently, I feel like I have earned this.  I expect that the overall trend in my running is better.  I have more days than not where the pace is approaching reasonable (not fast, but not humiliating) and fewer days where the workout reports make me want to cry. I guess I just didn't expect it to be this stubborn.  To be this HARD to improve my running.  I look around and I see people who I know have less overall fitness than I do, often rank beginners and people with a lot of weight to lose, and they can run two, three, even four minutes faster per mile than I can.  I can't honestly figure out what I am doing wrong.  Or is it just this tough?

I feel like this waaaay too much!

I can accept it if it is just hard.  I worry that I am innately flawed and inadequate to the task.  Perhaps running is just not in the cards for me.  Perhaps.  I am not willing to give up until I have exhausted all the possibilities.  One person suggested that I put the bike in the garage and hang up the goggles... and just run for a year or two.  And he was the owner of a local bike shop!  I think I would stick a fork in my eye if I had to do that, but I have actually been considering it.  Maybe I would find peace with the process.  I LOVE to ride and really enjoy swimming as well.  I could easily be a pure cyclist and have been a pure swimmer in the past both as a kid and in a master's program.  But could the Duck JUST run?  I don't honestly know.  I might break.  I might break physically.  I might break mentally.  Testing those waters seems extremely dicey to me.

I think that I get outside my comfort zone but maybe I am really just comfortable with a certain level of suffering.

For now, the jury is out... and probably hung.  I don't have an answer or any wisdom to quote but I know that something is out of balance with my run and I don't know what is going to correct it.  Maybe it's just going to be a slow process.  Maybe I need to find a running group.  Maybe I need to consider doing my speed work at a track.  Maybe I need to strap rockets to my shoes!!

I have a scheduled call with DW tomorrow.  I have spent so much time whining about my run that doubt I will even bring it up... for now.  In the meantime, I will continue to put one proverbial foot in front of the other. 

I hope so.


  1. I was just considering a late night snack but your reminder of the speed-to-weight ratio reminds me to decline!! Ugh!

    Improvements in running speed are slow to come and fickle. And I hate to say it but I feel like we are born to run within a certain range. I will never be a 5 minute miler or a sub 20:00 5k person. There are people who do not look like they should be faster than me but are. There are people who look like they should be faster than me and aren't.

    Running is my strength. Swimming is not. Only the elites seem to have all three sports pretty balanced. If you are confident and strong in swimming and biking, you just have to keep reaching in the run but remember your strengths!

    And maybe think about having a run focused season...maybe in the fall/winter?

    Above all, don't give up! Revel in your strengths and work on the other area(s). Don't let a weakness overshadow all the good!!

    1. Thanks Cort!

      I am thinking about a run focused winter this year. I think it would do me some good. I think, too, that some of the reason I suffer so much in the run is that it is the most impacted by weight/fitness, etc. When I started running, I was very heavy and developed a plodding running style. I am trying to sharpen it up but my body was rather content rolling down the road like a load of potatoes. It resents this new, straight backed, fast turnover, hip swinging, head up style that I have been working with. I think I just need to do it, ad infinitum or ad nauseum... literally...

      I know that running will never be my primary strength but I would like to get good enough to at least have a chance of holding onto my lead out of T2!! Otherwise, I just make it too easy for all you natural runners out there.

      Thanks again for the support. You cannot imagine how much it means to me.

  2. Keep trotting on! Plateaus are tough but you'll get past it when you least expect it.
    Biking in the 90s in Texas - yikes!! Glad you rebounded so well!

    1. I keep telling myself that. Thanks Kathy!! Yup, summer has arrived in South Texas and it is HOT!!

  3. Ah, we are now communicating via BIGGEST beef with blogging is the near inability to reply to people!! It's so dumb!! A winter run focus could be fun, a friend of mine did that this winter and spring and went from hating running to loving it. Give it a go! And find some community too. After I did that post I realized how even though I like all the community stuff I still prefer to do 95% of my training ALONE! LOL!!! But I like people around in between!!