I mean, I run now. What I mean is, I am sort of a runner already. But when I mean "runner", I mean the runners I see here and there when I'm out pounding the pavement on some of my runs. There are a few, yeah, you've probably seen them too, the thin, lean, long legged runners. The ones who run in a pair of running shorts, the young guys with no shirt, good looking girls in sport bras, running a fast pace, they just look like a "runner'. Hmm...I wonder...my philosophical side is coming out tonight...
I'm finding the more I've worked out in the past 3+ years since my back surgeries, the more similarities and more differences I think I find in the sports I participate in. I love to bike, and I love the solo rides where I can hit one of my usual routes, finding those stretches of road where I can suffer and think about how great it feels. Those steep, short climbs, the longer, gradual climbs where you have to find that cadence to settle into and just suffer, while you just keep pedaling. I can just pedal along and think, clearing my head or getting away from the 'demons' as I ride faster than they can go-whatever those demons might be. Cycling has brought me to the level of fitness that I enjoy right now, that level I didn't have even when I was 18 years old. I feel like when I jump on my Giant, the bike is just an extension of myself, it's natural, it feels good (well, most days. After 100 or so miles, it gets to be a little old). I think to myself when I ride, "This is how it should be. The bike is part of me".
Now that I'm running again, I find that I like running more and more. I've been logging more miles in the past three weeks, bought myself a new pair of shoes last week (finally), and feel more comfortable in my running. Not the 'runner' comfortable where I'm running without a shirt, but I feel my pace is quickening, my heart rate is staying a little lower, my breathing is more rhythmic now. And I can listen to my iPod while running, much more safely so than when riding. So with the music with, it makes the run that much more enjoyable, I have that much more desire and drive to run faster. The music play lists are set, I can get into a groove, I can think about things that happened at work, things that happened 10 years ago, and enjoy that music. I can still run away from those 'demons' as I call them, the ones that everyone has in the lives, albeit everyone's are different than the next. I feel more complete with my run done, like mission accomplished for today; what's tomorrow's going to be? I feel guilty if I don't get out there for a run.
The thing I am also finding is to do both cycling and running at the same time, and to do both as well as I want to do them, is a tough thing for me to do (and swimming is not even part of my plan right now, that's a whole 'nother story!) I started out training on the bike late last year, early into this year, riding hour after hour on the trainer, getting ready for the long FLETC ride, and really did not run at all. I didn't have a need to train for running races that early on in the year. Now, summer is here, and most of my long rides are done. The Milwaukee Marathon is less than 2 months away, and I feel the benefit of running much more than biking right now, so running is just 'right' at this point in time. Does this make sense?
I don't know, I guess it makes sense to me right now. I feel pretty good, and even though I've got a lot of miles to run yet and a long road to go before the marathon, I feel good about my approach to things. Could I jump on my bike and ride a century tomorrow, and feel good about it? Sure, I know I could. Will I ride a century soon, No, I won't. I don't really need to is all.
This winter, in the off season, I might try another approach to my training. I really do not know what events I will do next year, there are a few that come to mind, but how will I train for what I don't have planned? I want to keep running, all winter, and maybe mix in less trainer time, more road rides if the WI winter cooperates. I want to keep that 'winter 10 lbs' off this year. I want to become the 'runner' I picture I could be in my mind; I want to run a 5k in under 22 minutes, I want to run the '10 Full Moon 4 Miler in under 30 minutes, I'd like to do a travel marathon somewhere warm, maybe a Rock N Roll mary? I want to run the Chicago Marathon too, and run in New Orleans.
And there are the cycling goals I want to do, maybe not next year, but sometime. I want to do RAAM one year, even as a team. I want to do L'Etape du Tour, I want to see the Tour de France in the Alps, and ride my bike there. I want to see a Spring Classic, and go to Belgium to take in a race while drinking a pint of Belgian Ale. Maybe ride some cobbles too. Wouldn't that be cool, to ride some of the Paris-Roubaix lines or in Flanders? Yeah, it would be OK in my book.
Maybe I'm rambling on about all this because I feel like I'm getting old some days, that our 20 year class reunion is this Sat night, maybe I'm just getting more sentimental and see more gray hair on my head, maybe I think of old friends and what the past really meant to me. Maybe I'm just rambling!
I do know today was my 'off day' for this week; I'd run 6 days straight, and felt I could have easily run today. But common sense tells me not to, to avoid pushing off the edge and into an injury, so I took today completely off. I ran about 26.5 miles since last Sunday, and about 24 miles the week before. Tomorrow, will be my 'long' run, either a 10k or a 7.5 mile loop, depending on weather and how I feel.
I know there will be more time to think when I run, more music to listen to, more energy to blow up when mad about something at work or something from 15 years back, more 'demons' to keep at bay. And I will ride my bike. Just not as much until Oct 4th is done and I've hit my goal of finishing my 1st marathon in the time I want. That's all I got now. I will post about my training/running log in the next post, details of how I am training for the marathon. Maybe a pic of the new shoes, not much different than the old shoes, but they're new and feeling good!
In the mean while, time to route out another new running course!