Day of Rest

I sit here at the kitchen table, watching the sun come up and feeling itchy to get out and run. But I shan’t. I’ll let my body rest and recover.

Yesterday and Wednesday were one’s for the books. Something I’ve worked towards (not a goal mind you…we can’t have goals yet) is to be able to run the four mile circuit down Washington Street, across Route 340, through the park and back up again. It’s a route I know intimately from my walking days. Most of that route is flat and a good chunk of it is downhill. However, if you run down to the river, you eventually have to make it back up again.

Continue reading “Day of Rest”

215 and Heaven and Hell

August has just about left us. For personal, and meteorological, reasons, this is is the month I like least. The oppressive heat that makes its appearance in July sits down and makes to stay. The projects I worked so hard on during the spring and into the early summer are neglected. Sloth rules.

Usually. We have been blessed with a very mild summer and this more than anything, I think, has allowed me to keep faithful to working out. I am up to between 3 and 3 and a half miles a day now, and six miles on my long runs. I have conquered the Terminator, the long hill that climbs from the river up to the park visitors center. I have dropped from 221 pounds on August 1 to 215 today. Since I started working out in late May, that makes 18 pounds lost. 28 since early February.

Continue reading “215 and Heaven and Hell”

4 and 220

After three days off, a long run today. I just finished four miles on the canal trail. The sky on the walk down was overcast. The footbridge across the Potomac was wet and slick, as if a shower had passed through not to long before. I ran two miles towards Brunswick this time and two miles back.

It stayed overcast and while it was relatively cool, the humidity was a bit oppressive. I took stock at the end of the run: my body felt fine and my breathing was fine. The biggest problem was sweat in my eyes. I’m trying to build up some mental toughness here and at times really have to talk myself to keep going even though I’m suffering no real discomfort. Sweat in my eyes did not help with that.

Continue reading “4 and 220”

A Challenging Week

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 4.25.06 AM

A new route this week, starting on Monday. Up the gentle swells of Washington Street, before turning onto the tough hill that is Whitman Avenue. The end of Whitman Avenue is Bolivar Heights and the view is worth the tough climb. Whitman turns right onto Prospect. The hill continues here, but at a noticeably shallower grade. Then comes the long downhill along Cheney Avenue and finally Old Furnace Road.  A little over 2.1 miles, with that big ass hill in the middle.

Continue reading “A Challenging Week”

4 Miles

As is my habit now on a weekend day, I walked down yesterday to the towpath and did my weekly long run. Four slow steady miles. I felt pretty good at the end of the run. Whenever I get impatient and think that I’m not progressing fast enough, I need to think about how painful a half mile was six weeks ago.

My breathing was ok and I didn’t really feel any muscular discomfort. The only minor issue I seemed to have was in my lower back and my hips. I felt..tension…more than anything else.

Four miles is an important distance. It’s about the length of the run I would make if I started from my house, ran down and through the park and back down Washington Street to my house. The only difference being the enormous hill smack dab in the middle of it.  This circuit is what I’d prefer to run on a daily basis, rather than the out and back routes I’m now accustomed to. Because of that hill, though, I’ve got to do a bit more work until that’s my routine.

Next weekend I’ll probably try for four again, in the opposite direction on the towpath toward Brunswick. The following week I’ll take a page from some of the stuff I’ve seen on Hal Higden’s website and cut it back to three miles before embarking on that magic five.

Off day today. I’ll feel antsy, I know it.

The Grind Indeed

I really don’t have any problems motivating myself to run. In fact, I probably have the opposite problem. I need to reign myself in and not do too much running before I’m ready.

Hitting the Bowflex, though, is a different matter altogether. I work out on it immediately after a run. I feel I need to do this because I don’t want to sit around and have things start to tighten up on me.

Continue reading “The Grind Indeed”

Long (for me) Run

Got kind of tired on Friday and couldn’t make it through my Bowflex workout. I felt pretty good the weekend before last and boosted up the resistance more than I should have on some of the exercises. Yesterday I lowered the resistance a bit and had a pretty good workout.

Continue reading “Long (for me) Run”

Crisis of Condfidence

I think it’s important, especially a month and a half in, to look for the danger signs. Signs that indicate I’m either getting too full of myself or that ambition and determination are waning. The physical part of this has always been pretty easy for me. It’s the determination to see my way all the way to the goal that’s been the problem.

Last week I went was in the middle of a 12 workout cycle, doing mile runs. The course I chose was difficult for me, a beginner. I finished the run and then went up to the loft to lift. I got about three exercises in, to the curls, when everything just got…tired. My mind, my body. The energy just poured out of me. I shut it down right there. One thing I’m trying very hard not to do is push myself beyond my limits.

I have a feeling the fact that I hadn’t really gotten much rest on my previous rest day ( I spent it outside, staining the fence) had a lot to do with why I felt so tired. I’ve been pretty good about jettisoning the schedule when I feel it’s necessary in order to listen to what this old body is telling me. So last week I gave myself two days off.

Last Friday, my first day back, I woke up feeling anxious..maybe a bit melancholy. I sat at my computer, eating yogurt and drinking coffee, and I noticed that I was procrastinating. I also noticed there were  mysterious aches in my heel and above my knee which hadn’t been there when I woke up an hour before. I was wondering what was going on. Was this some sort of biblical test of determination? The gods throwing obstacles in my way?

I thought about this and chalked it up to fear. I was afraid that I’d begin running and immediately tire again. I was afraid that all the gains of the previous six weeks or so were just a mirage. Two days off would have put me back to square one.

I’ve had a problem with this fear my entire life. I don’t know if it’s more a fear of failure or a fear of success. After I sat and thought a bit, I got up, grabbed my water and went upstairs to warmup on the bike.

The workout was a success. I did the mile in my fastest time yet and the lifting portion saw gains in resistance in several exercises.

Though I do not want this blog to become an exercise in navel gazing, I do think it’s important to keep an eye on my brain, as it were. I can teach my body how to run ten miles on a consistent basis. Teaching my mind to do so will be the much tougher task.


How many new starts? How many leaves turned over? How many new dawns? New beginnings?

So many that hope finally started to wane this spring. I guess I could have been excused for being especially slothful over such a brutal winter. Still, as the weather warmed, motivation seemed very difficult to come by. My usual MO of getting up at 4:50 AM to walk seven miles a day seemed to me like torture. I was also well aware of my history of overreaching in the early stages of new leaf turning/new starts/new beginnings/new blah blah blah…

Continue reading “Beginnings”