Went out for a fast, speedy ride to hit the crosstraining quota. On the first half of the ride, I was getting pretty smug - I was absolutely flying, my legs were hanging in fine even on the highest gears, I was like "Hey, I guess all this running is paying off!"
At the halfway point I turned around and realized my mistake. The wind had been blowing hard at my back the whole time. Duh.
Now I had a long, slow ride back against the wind every minute of the way. Still, better than running!
Went to a party in the evening, and felt no desire at all for a beer or glass of wine. Some training cycles I fight alcohol temptations regularly but this one I haven't had the slightest desire. There is some honey in the pantry which keeps needling me though!
This was the team's first fartlek, and I took a route that would let me spend the ten speed play minutes on a flat quiet road with plenty of landmarks for pacing purposes. Well, I'm apparently stupendously bad at estimating time and distance, the surges/rest was supposed to take 10 minutes, and I thought I was on track but after the fartleking was done I still had a full 10 minutes of run in front of me. Next time will have to add more time updates.
Also, during this run my freakin' ELBOW hurt every stride. I've done pull-ups, bench presses, chest dips, diamond push-ups, all kinds of crazy stuff to my elbows over the years, but during this running program my elbow bothers me! What the hell, running, why are you so disagreeable!
I have a lot of things that go through my head while I'm running, but when I'm having a bad run (the default state) sometimes I'll tell myself "I am the worst horse." This phrase comes from a Buddhist story that teacher's reference when someone is having trouble meditating. Here's an excerpt from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, the chapter “The Marrow of Zen” by Shunryu Suzuki -
"In our scriptures (Samyuktagama Sutra, volume 33), it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver’s will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second best will run as well as the first one does, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn how to run!
When we hear this story, almost all of us want to be the best horse. If it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be the second best. This is, I think, the usual understanding of this story, and of Zen. You may think that when you sit in zazen you will find out whether you are one of the best horses or one of the worst ones. Here, however, there is a misunderstanding of Zen. If you think the aim of Zen practice is to train you to become one of the best horses, you will have a big problem. This is not the right understanding. If you practice Zen in the right way it does not matter whether you are the best horse or the worst one. When you consider the mercy of Buddha, how do you think Buddha will feel about the four kinds of horses? He will have more sympathy for the worst one than for the best one.
When you are determined to practice zazen with the great mind of Buddha, you will find the worst horse is the most valuable one. In your very imperfections you will find the basis for your firm, way-seeking mind. Those who can sit perfectly physically usually take more time to obtain the true way of Zen, the actual feeling of Zen, the marrow of Zen. But those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will find more meaning in it. So I think that sometimes the best horse may be the worst horse, and the worst horse can be the best one.
If you study calligraphy you will find that those who are not so clever usually become the best calligraphers. Those who are very clever with their hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage. This is also true in art and in Zen. It is true in life. So when we talk about Zen we cannot say, “He is good,” or “He is bad,” in the ordinary sense of the words."
Running despite being the worst runner I know has a certain nobility that I try to get inspired by on a tough outing. Not that it makes the running any easier.
Headed out for the free run with low expectations, but muscle recomposition, food timing, and a cool breeze started kicking in and after 10 minutes I was pleasantly surprised that my pace was staying steady. Took a route with a long uphill at the end, and I was just kind of zoned out putting one foot in front of the other. Before I knew it I was halfway up the hill, no burning legs, no labored breathing.
Of course as soon as I noticed this things started to deteriorate, but I finished the run without major incident. Probably one of the high points of this training cycle, I've been burned too many times thinking a high-watermark workout was the new normal and getting slapped in the face by reality on the next outing.
Did this run in the middle of the afternoon, sun beating down on me like a hammer. I tried to find a route that was 5k but clearly made some miscalculations, every 5 minutes I was thinking... surely the tracker has an error, I must have run an kilometer since the last message... surely something must be wrong, time and space couldn't possibly stretch out like this. It was like running at the event horizon of a black hole.
I even had to run PAST my house because the 5k message hadn't ticked over yet... there was a LOT of temptation to call it a day there, but I know my anti-cheerleaders in the comments would make me pay for that transgression. Last half kilometer was basically running back and forth on my street. The neighborhood cats getting sun on their porches were watching me like "Uh... someone broke that human."
Finally the 5k notification fired off and I walked home with my head held low. I'm the nail that running pounds down, day after day.
Song of the run: Oscar Wilde by Company of Thieves
I decided to tackle this run at the beach. I've run on sand before and figured it would be a nice change of pace, you just stick to the part where the tide has just been and the sand is wet and hard-packed and it's not too bad.
Well, this particular beach had the weirdest, softest sand I've ever seen. Not just in the dry parts, but the wet sand too. It was this big-grained kind of stuff that didn't seem to pack down. Every step felt like running in oatmeal.
After just 5 minutes my calves were screaming like they never have before, it dropped my pace to a crawl. I got passed by a toddler stumbling around with a bucket full of sand. I had to bail on the beach running and did the rest of the loop on a trail next to the road.
I tried to work on the column, it helped every time I paid attention to it. But the agonies of my plight quickly deteriorated the column when my mind wandered.
So all in all, another terrible idea, and another terrible run!
Anyway, for old times sake she jumped into the old baby carrier backback we have and we busted out some crosstraining on the bike. Along the path we talked about possible solutions to the red giant problem, planetary colonization, dyson spheres, the limitations of light speed travel, how space time works, wormholes She was feeling better and I got a great workout with the extra weight. At the end I had to walk the bike uphill, cause no matter how low the gear I just couldn't hang carrying the equivalent of a large kettlebell on my back.
So, some good two-for-one value there. BEAT THAT RUNNING!
Sigh... we're at that point in the program (or any program) where my core has tightened up nicely, with the abs and obliques forming a kind of muscular girdle. But for me, I make new muscle faster than I lose fat, so when I run I've got this tight inner core rubbing up against the looser sheath of adipose around the torso. I call this the fleshlight effect. It usually takes a month to go away.
When you're running this feeling makes you feel so fat and schlubby! Throw it on the pile of indignities and low-grade miseries of running.
Despite fleshlight pace was better, feels like the other end of a muscle recomposition.
Well, this was an unpleasant run. Body felt pretty good, breathing was steady and consistent, and felt well fueled, but my left calf and arch of my left foot starting cramping after a few minutes. It was super distracting and really slowed me down, pace was way off the usual, and that's saying a lot, since the usual is slow as molasses.
I looked like a pirate with a peg leg trying to hobble up a hill as the British Navy closed in. They caught me, tried me for my crimes, and strung me up from the quartermast. As consciousness faded my final thought was "At least I'll never have to run again...."
I've been meaning to post this but haven't had the chance to get the video off the phone and online. Last week for the Free Cardio I went to a trampoline park with the kid. An hour of full body, intense exercise - they had ninja courses, trampoline basketball, and the foam pit you see below. "Swimming" through the foam pit is honestly one of the most intense exercises I've ever done, it feels like a MORE full body version of the Jacob's Ladder machine if you've ever seen that.
It was the first real high intensity exercise I had done in a few months, and I could really feel that my body has switched over to mainlining running-style aerobic respiration vs. anaerobic. So that's good. Although in the foam pit, it was bad!
It was raining all afternoon, but I saw a blue patch of sky rolling in so I decided to get the run done then and there. The town was completely emptied out because everyone was inside for the rain. It was like running after the rapture, all the good people spirited away and the world left to us heathens, cursed to spend our remaining days plodding out kilometer after kilometer under the judgment of a harsh and cruel god.
When given a range in a Kenzai program (for example, Push-ups - 8-10 reps) I always do the max, because why not? You're already in position, knock 'em out! Today was a 25-30 minute run and I did it in 25 minutes and 3 seconds! When it comes to running I'll take that shorter time, thank you very much.
Does it help that I wrote and designed this program with our running pro Malia? Not a bit. It's like asking a dog food company owner how the kibble tastes. It tastes horrible! But I'll keep crunching through it with my awesome Euphrates team!
When your legs are beat, one of the best recovery options is the simple legs up the wall posture. It lets pooled blood drip down back to the heart and gives your hamstrings and calves a good stretch (if you really want to feel it, point your toes down towards your face!)
Most people don't get into it properly. The key is to start on your side, use your arms to push your butt into the wall, and only then roll to your back and extend your legs. If you try to start on your back you end up wriggling around like an overturned tortoise and not getting a good connection to the wall at your butt. You want your sacrum to be right up against the wall for best effect!
Once in place give it at least five minutes, but you'll really feel it if you hold for 10-15 minutes. It helps to have a buddy to pass the time with!
Wow this was the worst run yet! After a day of driving I struck out for a slow 25 minute jog around the neighborhood. About 2 minutes in my calves went on strike, too much hiking and swimming maybe, but when they went on lockdown it basically turned my lower legs into two rusty pylons attached at the knee.
So I clomped around the route like an AT-ST (google it) after bloodthirsty Ewoks smash some logs into the kneecaps. Step by painstaking step I hit the turnaround point of my loop, only to realize I had way misjudged my time and it was shaping up to be a 40 minute run. I don't like running but I like stopping even less, so this was a quandary. I pushed as long as I could but the calves wouldn't ease up so I threw in the towel at minute 29 and completed the rest of the loop with the walk of shame.
Stretched for a half hour, foam rolled, cursed the old gods for forsaking me... the usual. But hey "IT CAN'T GET WORSE THAN THIS RIGHT!?"
Decided to knock out this run on the well laid out and mostly flat lower Yosemite Falls trail. Was pretty zapped from day of hiking and didn't have my running shoes, just some clunky cross trainers. From the first few steps I knew I was in trouble - feet like lead, shuffling along the trail like an old man in poorly fitting slippers. The altitude wasn't helping, I simultaneously felt like I couldn't catch my breath and a weird kind of lung heartburn.
One part of the loop takes you through the mist of the 2500 foot waterfall. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but it was like telling a convict on the chain gang with iron balls attached to his feet to enjoy the view inbetween shovel fulls of dirt.
The one good thing about the waterfall is that the mist disguised my tears of bitterness and self-loathing. Had to hack together this runkeeper image it couldn't find cell reception up there.