Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mile 101 - Testing the Race Surfaces

I got a little behind in writing up my miles.  One purpose of this blog had been to be a running journal of sorts just for me, and I have been pretty faithful about writing after each run.

After the costume thing I got off track.  I went for a run later that day but didn't get my little write-up done for it.  Right from the start blogging has been part of barefoot running for me.  I have usually blogged about each run while it was fresh in my mind.  In fact, as I ran along, it was the thoughts that sprung out of the run that wanted to come home and be set down on the blog.

But I have to write about a run from three days ago now.  It's not fresh.  Yet to keep my blog going the way I first set out, I want to get it down here.

I have had trouble with my last two runs. The first one, this past Wednesday, which I'm writing about here, almost didn't happen, and then was disappointingly shorter than I wanted it to be. And the second one, which should have been yesterday, hasn't happened yet.

I got it into my head that I wanted to go run the HoBooken race course.  This is the same course I ran/walked in the summer of '09 which ended up in making my plantar fasciitis much worse.

I had a plan about what time I should leave to get over there with Daffodil, my dog.  But there was a 20-minute period of time before I had to leave and I decided I could get the bathroom clean in that time.  Once I got started, I took a little longer than expected to finish the bathroom.

This resulted in my not getting over there leaving myself enough time to run the entire course.  I only got to run about a mile and a half.

I am really glad I went over there, however.  The running surfaces are rougher than what I usually run on.  It looks like there is going to be a long stretch of rough road.  Although I've been adding lengths of road (asphalt) on my runs, I'm not sure how I'll fare for a long distance on the road.  I had to run on the sidewalk along the course because there were a lot of cars and I had my dog.  On the day of the race, they shut the road down.  I remember that.

I think I need to go over there a couple of times without Daffodil (how will she get her exercise?) and run in the road as much as I can during the run.

I planned to go out there yesterday, but there was no time or leftover energy with all the tasks I had to get through. I had a big task to accomplish that necessitated driving an hour and a half each way, and then I had a big extra choir practice last night.  I had intended to squeeze the run in between the giant task and the choir practice, but -- well, in life you have to pace yourself as well, and based on what I knew I was going to have to do today, I couldn't get out there for my run.

At any rate, I have to "make up" yesterday's non-run either today or tomorrow.  My friend (Athletic Performer) showed me an article in the New York Times about Pushing Past Pain to Improve Performance.  One part of the article was describing how elite athletes try out the courses before they race them.  Familiarity with a course made them go faster.  Also it helps them to pace themselves on the course.  I will add that for a barefoot runner, it further aids in knowing what to expect of the the terrain of the course

Well, I am about as far from an elite runner as you can get without being a non-runner.  So why pay attention to what the elites do?  Because I believe that all good practices are present at the lowest levels.  My maximum ability is my maximum ability and in order to become stronger and/or faster (does that equal better?), my task is the same, even if on a lower level. I have to push past pain too -- to run a 14 minute mile.  That's my reality.  Maybe the pain is of lesser degree, and it's all happening on a lower level, but it's the same basic task.

So, running on the race course a few times will be useful I'm sure, especially if it gets my feet toughened up for a rougher surface.  I hope I can get there today, but it will depend on how I feel after Kung Fu.  I have run before Kung Fu before and then the Kung Fu didn't happen.  Maybe Kung Fu before running will be a different story because my body, after three + years is more acclimated to the Kung Fu.

I shall let you know, of course.


Ewa said...

I read that article also and it makes sense to me, especially the part about knowing the course. It makes it a lot easier for me to run longer runs on trails I know. For me the worst part when i am tired is not knowing how much more and what to expect.

Avocational Singer said...

Ewa, In Kung Fu class I can do much better if I can count and measure the crunches and pushups and amount of time spent in horse stance.

Sometimes they make us shout out these motivational things while I'm doing it, and I think to myself, "sssshhh, I HAVE to keep count so I can tell how many I've done and how many more I'll probably have to do."

I feel like there is probably this zen way of just being in the moment with each crunch or pushup and not caring how many (and I think they mentioned something like that in the article too) and just kind of being in the "pain" and not having to measure. But it helps me keep sane to measure and count and know how far is left to go.