21.09.09 w6 d1
I am so very glad I moved the training schedule to have Rest Day on Mondays and Fridays. My morning schedules on these days are somewhat frantic. So, today on Rest Day I am simply frantic without being not a runner.
22.09.09 w6 d2
I consider the perversity of my anticipation of interval training as I roll out of bed. I wonder when that happened but it does seem I most enjoy these mornings. I am up and out very early today. It is 4:30am and I have scarfed back 3 sharkies.
The sky is clear, the stars are crisp and clear and the milky way arches over me. It is like the gathered entrance of a sleeping bower, mosquito netting cast aside as I climb into a precariously perched bed in a treehouse in a secluded cove on the coast of a small island in southern Thailand. Yes, these long sentences are running through my head and I have trouble letting go. The bunched tulle of a galaxy has transported me. I work hard to shake it off and I walk briskly to my starting line.
8x 400m sprints. That feels like a lot. Let it begin.
They are all good this morning. With each repeat I feel strong. My legs feel solid and capable. They respond to my will. The recovery intervals are sufficient to the demands on my limiting cardiorespiratory capacity.
I cover 6800 metres in total. That just seems crazy to me as I head up the driveway, pulling off wet layers of clothing and craving an aggressive back scrub. In the shower I travel back to Thailand and barefoot runs on morning beaches.
23.09.09 w6 d3
It rained during the night and there is still cloud cover, making it quite black and slick. Driving home last evening I was enchanted by the waxing moon, honey in colour, low in the sky, textured and almost touchable. I was hoping it would hang around for me this morning, but it is nestled somewhere behind fast moving clouds.
I am feeling up to the 7.2k before me. It is chilly and I am happy for my gloves.
I get into my little zone quickly and I stay there. That is a good thing.
The sun begins to brighten the sky and the horizon becomes this riot of blooming clouds and taffy pulls, tinged in shades of cantaloupe and salmon and dove and pewter. The smooth black gravestones of the cemetery catch the morning light, a flamboyancy of flamingos reflecting the coral colours of the sunrise behind me. I am glad to be here at this moment and I expand larger as I turn into this glory and run home.
24.09.09 w6 d4
Upon heading to bed last night I told my partner I would go with him to the gym this morning to complete my 40 minute tempo run on the treadmill. This lets me stay in bed a few minutes longer, recover one of the lost gym visits with him, and chat with former co-workers and unseen gym members.
As we step out the door at 5:20am, I pay homage to the confluences of my life. It is raining. It is a cold, straight down rain and I will, in a predetermined choice, miss it. I could rejoice, but it just seems right.
After a 5 minute warm up, where Life Fitness and I reaquaint ourselves with each other, I begin the tempo run. Quickly I lose my focus and decide to see how fast I can run 5k. So I run as hard as I can, varying from 10 kph to 10.12 kph — that’s really my limit over a 5k distance. I do finish that 5k in a time faster than I ever before have. I do a 5 minute cool down.
No tempo run for this week, but a PB on the 5k time. I take home the consolation prize.
Eggs for breakfast. And later in the day I complete about 40 minutes of kettlebell and 60 minutes of aerobics.
25.09.09 w6 d5
Friday Rest Day.
I learn the chemistry of sugar crystals in lab – fudge, caramels, lollipops, ice cream; I consume more sugar in this 2 hours than in the last year of my life!
I take the youngest out for Chinese food, one of her greatest food pleasures, in the evening and really enjoy her company. I have chicken schezuan and enjoy the veggies. The owner of the restaurant, a friend of mine, brings me some ‘leftover’ lobster and there is enough to share. I have had it before and it is a lovely lobster recipe. I ask how it is prepared — the lobster is cleaved into sections while still alive and coated in potato starch. It is very briefly deep fried and then put into the wok with garlic, onions and chicken stock. Tomorrow is long run day and I feel assured this lobster will be great fuel.
26.09.09 w6 d6
I am training for a 10k and this week’s long run is 11.2k. I don’t get it. I stayed up late last night, cooking. I don’t get that either. So, when the cuddle-starved cat rouses me this morning it is already light. I have a cup of green tea, a banana, and 3 sharkies. 40 minutes or so later, I head out for my run.
The sun is already in the sky though the air is cool. I note once again how nice it is to be in full light. There is something very basic and vital about standing in full sunshine. At a visceral level, it is the same as a snuggle to me. The birds are singing too. All kinds of them. What a treat.
I set off. Around the 10 to 12 minute mark the left tibialis anterior pushes its way to the forefront of my attention. The familiar burning sensation and lack of control over my foot ensues and I at once decide to take this in stride. The sensation is not pleasant, nor is the occasional drag of my left toe. The left foot slaps the asphalt on each footfall, creating a pattern by which the right foot is light and quiet and the left is the drum beat at the end of the one liner. Funny stuff, this body of mine.
I run through the burn on the outer side of my left shin. Eventually the pain subsides though the issue with my foot remains. I resolve to have some physiotherapy on this muscle. It has been overworked in the last few weeks. It is tired and I am unable to give it sufficient time to recover. A bit of acupuncture might be of benefit.
It is 5.6k to my turnaround point. Far. The turnaround is at the base of a fairly substantial hill and I put all my energy into the hill. When it is but a distant thought, the remainder of the return, run at the behest of the beckoning sun, feels easy. I stay in a groove, with my pace and with my thoughts. My hamstrings and calves feel tight when I stop running and I smile thinking about 75 minutes of yoga.
27.09.09 w6 d7
I sleep in again today; heading out for my 40 minutes EZ run after sunrise. I am immediately aware of my legs as heavy, unresponsive appendages. They are tired from yesterday’s long run, and two late nights in a row have left me with an energy deficit. I really must insist on movement from those lower limbs this morning.
The temperature this morning is around 9 degrees, a comfortable temperature for the run and I don’t regret forgetting my gloves. There is a WSW wind, blowing at about 30 kmh and gusty. I am running into it and this makes my EZ run not so much so. I think about swimming into a strong current or being a running mime.
It is good to reach the turnaround. I am relieved to have the wind behind me, though my legs have become heavier and resist my will. They are recalcitrant and I struggle to shore up my energy, to convince them it is in their best interest to keep moving. But I do, and they do.
The fall harvest is well underway. I run past the halfway harvested corn field. The remaining stalks are dry and blonde, striking in the morning sun, rustling. The potato field is partially turned and lined with shiny green tractors with shiny yellow attachments and shiny red side dump trucks. They rest, abandoned on a Sunday morning, needing only to glint their newness at passerbys.
I am happy to arrive home and now the legs are allowed to make the next decision. They opt for a seat.