Saturday, December 29, 2007
3 Run 3, Week 2 (BTHR) + Strength-Training Workout: I'm Apparently The Pied Piper of Running Today!
I went running today at 4:50 pm. On today's running agenda was a slow 60-minute run. It was a lovely 51 degrees (which felt more like 70 once I warmed up!) & I had an extremely enjoyable run today. I only wore 1 layer (long-sleeved running tee & pants, & a very thin/light-weight fleece headband to cover the ears, but no gloves or neckwarmer!).
I didn't worry about my pace at all, as I was not going to push it with a tender knee (or two!). Today's run was just about trying to finish without further aggravating the situation.
In fact, I didn't even look at my iPod's stopwatch until I was finished with lap 4 (my time at this point was 34:18 minutes), & then only again at lap 7 (1:01:36). That's a total of 5.18 miles, or about an 11:34 minute mile. I'm very happy, because even my "slow" runs are getting faster. Yippeeeeeee!
The irony of this noticeable improvement in my pace is this: Not caring about my pace really helped me improve my pace!
But that's not all my carefree run accomplished: It also tremendously helped my knees as well as my mental outlook.
Today I ran for the sake of running, just like little children do. They run without thinking. They run because they can. They run because it makes them happy to let go & surrender to the energy of their own motion & the joy that accompanies it. The race each other for fun, enjoying the competition of trying to best each other, propelling/hurling themselves forward without a care in the world!
The joyous, carefree way children run is something that Danny Dreyer talks a lot about in his book, Chi Running. (You can check out the related book review I wrote if you're curious to know more.)
Speaking of children, I felt like the Pied Piper of Running today. Yes, despite everything I was feeling yesterday, I left all of that crabby energy behind (yes, it's safe to come out again! ;-) ) & instead felt a really contagious, joyous energy inside during today's run. I felt like I just couldn't contain it. I was spilling out of me & into the atmosphere, as my smile seemed to have some sort of magic effect on everyone I was passing by.
Little children saw me with a smile on my face, & many of them started running as I passed them. A few even ran beside me for a bit! ;-) I asked one of them jokingly if he was going to finish the run with me. Some of the children up ahead didn't even see me approaching but started to run nonetheless, as if they sensed the energy coming toward them. It's as if my energy was a basketball or a football & the children just caught it in the air & passed it along. Some of them saw me & then started running out in front of me, darting around in circles. One of the little kids (who was probably no more than 3 or 4 years old) almost collided into me, as he quite clearly wasn't paying any attention to the direction in which he was randomly circling. But it didn't even phase me. I smiled at him & then at the parents as I darted around him & just kept moving along.
I felt fantastic during the whole run! Originally I thought I might tire by the end, since I was feeling a tad bit lackluster on the fourth lap, but then I was able to pick up the pace again without much effort. In fact, I actually had even more energy during the final two laps. I felt an incredible runner's high & just started running faster & faster. I ran the final two laps much faster than all of the previous laps. I even sprinted the last half of the final lap. The funny thing was that I wasn't even pushing myself really hard & wasn't out of breath at all. It was all very natural & effortless. I just "coasted" along as I sprinted to the finish.
Even better, I didn't feel any knee pain at all at any point before, during, or after the run. (Or atleast none so far!) I think that day of rest in between runs & the slower pace really helped. And also, I took medicine which had Tylenol in it earlier today, (for another problem I was attempting to address), which also seemed to work really well for my knee as well! I don't like to over-medicate, so this was a perfect way to "kill two birds with one stone," as the expression goes.
Doesn't you just love it when you have runs like this?! Of course, I realize that it's not always going to be like this, but all the same, these runs are a true pleasure to experience.
I was on a roll. So next, I stopped by the gym & did my strength workout: 150 crunches, 20 bent-knee push-ups, 70 calf-raises (unweighted), & an entire circuit of free weight exercises for my arms. As usual, I used 5 lb. weights for most of the free-weight exercises, save the one arm rows, for which I used 10 lb. weights. As usual, I do a set of 20 reps for each arm. Below is a pictorial diagram showing all of the exercises I did:
[Note: Since I don't have immediate access to nautilus equipment I use barbells for the pectoral flyes (a.k.a., pec deck). I also do two different kinds of front shoulder raises: The first set is done with forearms perpendicular to the ground & the second, with forearms parallel to the ground.]
OK, well that about wraps up my posting session for tonight.
Have a great evening & a Happy New Year!