Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Even Worse than it Appears

But it's alright.

Week two of my return to fitness started with a 4 mile time trial in Standish this evening. This loop was where I used to test my race readiness on my way home from work when I worked at Maine Medical Center a decade ago. I would park at the gravel pit and make the loop in a counter clockwise direction aiming for 26 minutes for the loop. The first three miles are flat and fast, then it gets ugly. Starting out tonight, I couldn't remember exactly how the hills would come at me in that last mile, but I remembered they were there.

Just as I recalled, the early miles were flat, and (I liked to imagine) fast. I felt smooth. My stride was stretched out and my turnover was quick. I was landing on my toes and pushing off effortlessly. I was really moving... or so I liked to think.

It was getting dark as I turned the corner at the three mile point, marking the start of the hills. Luckily, it was too dark to read my watch without trying to find that little button that lights up the face, and I can never find that so I didn't try. I started up a gradual long climb, thinking "this isn't as bad as I remembered." Then I went down a little hill and up another. It almost leveled off for a moment and I started thinking I was home free. Suddenly I saw it looming ahead of me in the dark, the big hill. The one that always tried to push me back from that 6:30 pace I would be trying so hard to maintain.  It looked like a gray wall extending to the skyline. Oh yes, now I remembered.

My breathing felt worse than I ever remember it feeling. My heart threatened to explode in my chest. Boy, did I miss being fit at that moment. But I pushed through it and made it back to my car. I checked my watch. It was very disappointing. 34:12. How could this be? On a few good days, I have broken 25 minutes on this loop. Now I am barely under 35. All I could think to say was, "ugh." and I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

But I'm over it. Now I have a point to build from. I didn't get out of shape in a few weeks, it took a year and a half of working too much and not working out enough. It's going to take some time to get back in shape. So yes, it's even worse than it appears, but it's alright.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just Checking In

I got in a few good runs and some strength workouts this past week. It remains a challenge to fit running and working out in my life right now because of severe work overload, but I'm doing what I can. I definitely am not the only one at work being stretched to the limit. A lot of us have had to give up doing the things we like to do because of long work days. We all know it's a problem, including upper management, so I think changes will be made and things are going to get better. In the mean time I am trying to stay positive and stay active!

Tuesday, I met Mary and Jordie at Pineland in the late afternoon for 1 hour and 45 minutes of easy trail running. It seems like it has been ages since I have had time to meet someone for a run! So the company was very much enjoyed. We just wandered around without any plan and got in some good miles. The trails were wet and the skies were heavy, but we didn't get any real rain while we ran. This was one of those runs that felt effortless. I felt like I could have kept running all night.

I fit in a mid day run one day this past week and two short evening runs. I also did 3 evening strength workouts. The fitness is coming back, slowly but surely.

Today I had a wonderful hour long run with Scout on the Ossipee River Trails. I have to work this afternoon, but it sure felt great to get out on the trails this morning. We took Hurricane damage inventory on all the trails except Bootlegger, which we couldn't get to because the river is still too high to cross. The damage was mostly small blow downs and branches that I was able to move by myself. There are three spots that need a chainsaw to clear and Kevin will be heading out this afternoon.