the warm up/cool down driveway

the warm up/cool down driveway

30.08.09  w2 d7

Rest day.  I sleep in until almost 7:00am and experience this as true decadence, better than a rich chocolate cheesecake (someday I will write my confessions of being a cheesecake master baker in my not too distant past).

Sunday is a regular workout day under my usual exercise regime and I am sorely missing my focused and aggressive weight training.  I trail behind my partner as he heads out the door to the gym.

Following a 10 minute walk on the treadmill, I step into the weight room.  It is my favourite room, particularly when it is mostly unoccupied.  Today I train back and chest. 3 sets x 8-10 reps each of:  cable crossovers, push ups, incline dumbbell flys, assisted pull ups, stiff legged deadlifts, seated cable rows.  I finish off with 3 sets  x 25 reps of stability ball crunches and stability ball back extensions.  I throw in 3 minutes of front planks to top off the morning.

I should note that when the weight room is a private experience, as it is today, I dance wildly, with abandon, between sets.  It is the best!

31.08.09 W3 D1

Interval Workout day.  Woot!  6 x 400m. sprints.

I was up during the night with gastrointestinal distress and seemed to be running a slight temperature.  I’m still experiencing gripping discomfort when I pull on my running gear and I wonder if I’ll be able to complete the workout.

The morning is wet from a night time rainfall and mild.  Crickets and cicadas sing me perky morning songs.

I run hard.  I walk to recover.  Each interval becomes more challenging than the last as my body exhausts its fuel and struggles to get oxygen to my legs.  The thighs get heavier and I play mind games to push myself through.  I think briefly of the ghost in the machine. The last two intervals are not very sprintlike, but they get done.

I am happy with my effort.  It was hard, in a good way and my wet shirt clings to me as I step inside.

In the evening I complete a 45 minute kettlebell workout and I head to bed ready to rest.

01.09.09  W3 D2

It is 5.6km run day and I am missing the early light and more temperate air of just a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t leave the house until 5:20 and still it is not dawn.

I decide to push myself today.  Really push.  A week ago I ran the same distance and I want to see if I can come back with a faster time.  It is cool but I quickly work up a sweat.  I try to stay with my breath and my heart; I constantly scan my body and acknowledge sensations like the tightness in my left heel and the almost constant companionship of left ulnar nerve manifestation du jour.

As usual when my return is eastward, the glow on the horizon is like a goblet of nectar when I am parched or a calming salve on an angry welt; it fills me, it reassures me of my insignificance, it brings me home.  Today it brings me home one minute and 29 seconds faster than last week, a speed I could not maintain for 10k.

02.09.09 W3 D3

Tempo run – 35 minutes.  After I hit my snooze button around 4:45am I slip into 7 or 8 minutes of those crazily vivid and credulous hypnopompic dreams.  I dream of stepping out the back door and finding a skunk perched upon a blue bag (recyclables) which is lying on the ground between the two garage doors.

When my alarm rings for a second time, I dress and sip some water.  As I walk through the back porch I think about the dream.  I open the door and there is a large skunk in the exact spot as in the dream (sans blue bag).  Seriously.  The skunk hightails it (pun intended) around the side of the garage and I begin my warm up trek down the dark driveway, pondering this synchronicity.

It is cold this morning.  Cold enough that the first 10 or so minutes of the run have me unable to focus on anything other than the stinging of my hands.  My bum is also benumbed.  Eventually the sharpness passes out of my consciousness and I settle in to my rhythm.

I have headed out eastward today, under an expansive canopy of late night stars which fade to nothing on my return.  This deep blue sky, which overwhelms me with its immense proportions, always centres me in a comforting meagerness.

Skunk has headed back home as I have.  I wonder where I have tucked away some suitable gloves.

03.09.09 W3 D4

Rest day.  Today I head to the gym at 5:30.  I train back and biceps and so complete 3 x 8-10 reps of:  lat pull downs, assisted pull ups, stiff legged deadlifts, bentover barbell rows, alternating biceps curls and 3 sets of  barbell 21’s which totally toast my biceps.  3 x 25R s. ball crunches and s. ball back extensions. Some kettlebell play and 45 minutes of yoga top off the day.

04.09.09  W3 D5

Long run day — 9.6k, or 6 miles to those of you who are still imperially minded.

The full moon lets me head out before 5:00am and I use Hal only to allow vehicles to spot me.  It is mild, thankfully, but there is a head wind which makes the 4.8k out rather challenging.  I wonder if I am going to have to walk a bit.

My turn around point is just beyond the cemetery, where moonbeams bounce cheerfully from headstones and solar garden lights cast a somewhat eery halogen-blue glow over tended memories.  Some of those memories are surely of running.

After the turn around the wind is behind me and this brings such relief to my effort.  The moon hangs over my right shoulder and gently lays a radiant hand upon me and I shatter.  I shatter and I run.

I arrive home dripping, happy and exhausted.  Hungry.  It is Eat Atlantic Challenge Day and my partner is waiting for me, staving off his early morning hunger to share local free range eggs, bakery biscuits, and fresh tomatoes with me.  The day can only be fabulous from here.

ETA:  and it is!

05.09.09 W3D6

35 minutes EZ run day.  I head out at 6:30.  The full moon still hangs in the western sky, a translucent portal, while the eastern horizon is tinging pinkly.

It is cool and I’ve put on gloves.  It only takes moments to be thankful I did.  On my return, the sun has climbed low into the sky.  It is brilliant and comforting, but it lacks the heat of summer and promises many crisply frosty and crunchy kilometres in my near future.

As I run, I think of Rob.  In a few short hours he will run his first 5k.  His jittery excitement will pass into his pumped explosion of accomplishment.  His journey is inspiring and I’m glad I’ve been following it.  I keep him in my thoughts as I finish my run.  Rob rocks!