Race Training – Outing 6 (February 18, 2010)

Broken Shamrock

Wowee! My dogs (not to mention my calves) are barking. Consider this shamrock officially shuffled!

I have never been the greatest runner. My trainer Rob described my usual stride as “lethargic and heavy footed” – not a compliment by any standard. But when I commit to a challenge, I want to give it everything and do it right. My aversion to social embarassment is off the charts, but serves me well when it comes to the study and practice necessary to avoid peer mockery. So in the midst of last week’s blizzard, PMS and plenty of overtime on the day job, I have thus far stuck to my plan of running at least 4.5 miles twice a week. Starting Monday, the frequency will be upped to thrice.

Everything, and I mean everything, hurts during this adjustment period, as my body attempts to acclimate to running a lot farther and a lot faster than it ever has before. I was prepared for sore legs, but sore arms and abs too? I meet Rob on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kettle bell strength training, which is fairly intense. But it seems I don’t feel the full brunt of those efforts until I have spent an hour pumping my arms in the wind. The walk up the four flights of stairs to my apartment never feels longer than after a practice run – sweat running everywhere, winter hat stuck to my head.

But you know something? Through all the discomfort: the cramping in my left calf, the aching between my shoulder blades, the chafed skin on the left side of my torso (windburn) – I have never felt better. A month before the Shamrock Shuffle officially begins, I feel like I have already achieved so much. This old dog is learning a new trick, and the results of my efforts are showing up in my timing.

When I started training almost three weeks ago, it took me 70 minutes to run 4.5 miles. When I put the key in the lock to my front door last night, I had covered the same distance in 47 minutes. Better yet – I managed to jog briskly for the first two miles without slowing down to catch my breath. During my first drill, I couldn’t get to one. Surely, I am not where I want to be yet, but I think I see a dimly lit path to success. Yes we can!

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