Tuesday, October 2, 2007
1 Run 1, Week 2 (BOHR): Slow & Steady Wins The "Race"
I've decided to stay in Pittsburgh for the remainder of this week, as I've decided to capitalize on my visit to the area (for this past weekend's art gallery opening exhibition & trunk show, in which I was the featured artist) by making sales visits to local shops.
So that means more hill workouts. ;-) Oh yea. But also "Yea!" (No, I'm not losing it. You can "insert sarcasm here" for the first "yea" & some anticipation for the second.) Strangely enough, I both look forward to & dread hill workouts at the same time.
Even when I'm mid-hill & starting to grimace, I've recently been trying to focus my efforts on "befriending the hill." By this I mean that, even though it's not always easy, I make a conscious effort to relax my body, release the tension, move steadily along (instead of fighting the experience), & think about the positive benefits I'm gaining from the hill workouts. As I said, it's not always easy, but if I focus my mind on "just getting there/up the hill" & "being conscious of my body's alignment," versus how I'm feeling while I'm going up the hill, things usually go a lot better. ;-)
That being said, today's run was still very challenging; I went for my run around 12:30 pm or so & did the same circuit, except that I started off by doing a 15-minute warmup walk before I started my run. As a result, that put me further along the path & I found myself doing 2 major hill workouts as a result. There were actually several hills: On the way out, there was a gradual hill, followed by a difficult hill, and then a nice long downhill (i.e., the reward of turning around at the half-way point of the run!). On the way back, there was a gradual hill, followed by another killer hill, and finally another gradual hill. I found myself stopping & walking about 3 times -- I stopped twice to catch my breath on the first really steep/difficult hill, and then once on the killer hill on the final stretch. I normally try not to stop, but these hills were really pushing the upper limits of my 02 capacity! Although they are slightly out of my reach on the difficulty scale, I know it's still a good thing to keep forging ahead to do what I can.
I know that my body has become accustomed to the 30-minute runs at a particular pace, so in order for me to break past the current exercise "plateau," I will have to do something different & more challenging. So of course, hills are the perfect solution. They are the next challenge, and will provide the perfect means of reaching the next level of cardiovascular fitness.
Most people in my family -- even the in-shape ones! -- sigh when they hear which hills I've been brave enough to attempt. I plan to take some photos & post them here (i.e., on my blog) at some point, so you can get an idea of what I'm "up against"! ;-)
Due to my interim, unexpected walking portions during my run, I decided to add more time to my run today, as I wanted to ensure I was getting 30 full minutes of cardiovascular exercise. I estimate that I probably ran for a total of 40 minutes or so, including the few minutes I stopped & walked (when I was supposed to be running!). Of course, I ended with the usual 5-minute cooldown walk as well, so I was out there a while today!
It looked like it was threatening to rain during the tail end of my run, but thankfully the weather held up until the end. It was about 63 degrees when I started my run, but luckily warmed up a few degrees towards the end as well. Of course, it's hard to tell exactly how much warmer it got, since a person's body normally heats up significantly during the workout process, & gives the illusion that it's much warmer outside than it actually is in reality. (At any rate, it's now 76 degrees & sunny.)
Today I finally felt that "runner's high" feeling that I've been waiting to feel since I first started the CT5K program back in late July. It washed over me for a few brief moments of the run, i.e., at the last 10-15 minutes. Now, this didn't necessarily make my run any easier, but it was certainly a gratifying feeling!
I used to feel this "runner's high" feeling a lot more regularly, back when I was running distances of 4-9 miles several times a week. So, it's really nice to know that it's returned again!