Week 5 already!
14.09.09 w5 d1
This is a Rest Day. What could be better than a training program which starts with a rest day?
This week is the first week of fall classes at the studio and I anticipate being crazy busy.
15.09.09 w5 d2
Sprints! The number of intervals continues to climb: 7x 400m today.
I don’t sleep much during the night and think, for a second week in a row, that the next 45 minutes or so will be grueling. Given my lack of time for proper eating yesterday, I munch half a banana and 3 sharkies (watermelon scream) 15 minutes before heading out.
It is 5:00am. Dark. Wispy clouds float across the clear crescent moon and the stars are bright. I stand for a moment in the dark with my neck craned, feeling the pulsation of the universe. I can feel it expanding and I am moving outward with it. Within this infinity of beinglessness I push my stopwatch and become not-a-runner of the universe. I am sure I can reach my hands overhead as I run fast, and they will trail through the deep, rich plush of velvet above me, slipping over the silken hardness of embedded sequins.
I do all my sprints today on the decline. This is a good decision; I feel strong through each interval, even the last few. On my third recovery, my partner pulls out of the driveway on his way to his Tuesday workout. I momentarily linger in the missing of our shared early morning workouts but quickly come back to being present in the sprints.
Sprint number 5 is toughest, and I get a bit of a side stitch part way through. The recovery, though, resolves this and I finish the sprints.
As I head up the driveway, the horizon is relaxing its hold on sunrise and I am feeling groovy.
Today I am 51 years old, the turnaround point of my life. I plan only two things: making the next 51 years pretty great and treating tonight’s kettlebell class to a celebratory workout. Both thoughts put a smile on my face.
16.09.29 w5 d3
I arrived home last night sore from classes, as I knew I would b. A full 45 minutes of lunging and squatting made the 40 minute drive home challenging. My hips were sore and right side sciatic pain, a familiar life partner, was sending a distant electrical storm down the back of my leg. This morning I am stiff and achy as I get out of bed. I contemplate the installation of an escalator, but the morning run is not negotiable.
It is very early and there has been a heavy rain. I step out into the haze of the rainblack nightmorning. My pal Hal gives me about a four foot visibility and beyond that Amelia Earhart lingers.
I have 6.4k to cover today.
I take my first steps. Oh, these legs are heavy and unresponsive. Large congested thighs, the consistency of concrete powder, like the bags in my garage which have never transformed themselves into patio stones. Now they are strapped to my legs. My hips are on fire and the adductors of my inner thighs sqwak. Loudly and with frowns of disapproval.
The air has so much moisture in it, I am drenched in minutes and it feels like ocean spray across my face. I run close to the centre line of the road and my entire existence is pain and breathing in the LED glow which moves with me.
I am just over a kilometre into the run when the skunk frolics begin. I am only 4 or 5 steps from him when he enters the front edge of my 4 foot universe. I stop fast! I can hear his claws scratching on the asphalt as he runs and he is out of my visibility. I move slowly, panning my light to and fro and see no skunk. Just as I relax and begin to push off, there he is again! Ahead of me just those few paces, moving along the centre line in the same direction as I. I skirt around to the edge of the road and talk to him, though he is no longer visible to me. I walk perhaps a hundred metres, slowly and on high alert, assuring him of my noble intentions. No skunk. I begin running. A dozen steps or so and…there’s the skunk! Really. He’s still running ahead of me! I allow skunk the right of way and I do a 180. My run will happen in the opposite direction.
Now I have to estimate my distance as I don’t have it marked on this westward course. It is still so very dark and I think every shadow has skunk qualities. Several times more I come to abrupt stops as I think a skunk is in my path. My imagination is as fired as my left glute medius, which is now sounding like a fiddle being tuned in an oil drum. The screeching of my muscles fills my ears and absorbs my full attention.
Arriving home is such a relief. I pull off my wet clothes and hobble up the stairs to the shower. It is not a pretty sight. The steamy water brings relief and I relax, knowing there is not a skunk in sight.
Later in the day I measure the distance and am pleased to find I covered 7k.
17.09.09 w5 d4
Tempo Run of 40 minutes. Jacket, gloves and hat. There was an overnight frost and it is really cold. It is that kind of crispness you get when the stars are very far away and the moon has an aura. It is a lovely moon. Honey coloured and only a slip of a crescent, like a curled orchid petal resting above the treeline.
My lower body is still sore from Tuesday but the cold biting my fingers distracts me. I wonder what I am doing out here, turning this thought over in my mind for a few minutes and then let it go, watching it drift away.
Surprisingly, my legs feel strong and I run fairly hard for the tempo.
I am grateful for the warmth of home and for the power of my breath as I wrap my hands around my mug of green tea.
18.09.09 w5 d5
Rest Day. But, only from running. It is a filled day which starts without electricity and ends with a shared laugh.
19.09.09 w5 d6
When I wake in the morning, I am well rested and all residual pain has left my body. I take time to have a light snack while I wait for the sky to brighten a bit. I put on gloves and long sleeves and pleasure in the dawn shades as I walk down the driveway. This is a 9.6k run and I am feeling good about it.
There is a rather stiff west wind, gusting from time to time. Wow. Running in to the wind is hard and I struggle to find a rhythm, to settle my breathing and smooth out my stride. By the 2k mark my left tib. ant. is cranky and just keeps winding up for a full blown tantrum. I briefly stop a couple of times to stretch my lower leg which only provides momentary relief.
The next 2.5k are not at all pretty. I make 5 stretch stops and a 6th stop to retie my runner. On two occasions I walk for a bit. It is the first time in this training that I have walked. I reflect on how good I felt heading out of the house just 20 minutes ago. Shifts can happen so quickly. I think about cutting the run short and decide I will do the distance even if I walk most of the way.
At the turnaround I begin to feel better. The wind is behind me, the sun is climbing in to the sky and my tib. ant. finally lets go. I hoof it home.
75 minutes of yoga later in the morning considerably helps with my running tightness and forces my shoulders into ranges they resist.
20.09.09 w5 d7
Okay. Today I can run EZ for 40 minutes. So, I do. It is a beautiful morning. A touch cool and with a strongish wind, but on the horizon of the morning sky are banks of clouds, softly gray topped with frothing blue white mounds topped with soft corals shot through with blue grays — shades for which I do not have words. An amazing array of diversity overhead.
The run, otherwise, is uneventful. I ponder, as I run, how much challenge this week was and I head home for a big breakfast.