Sunday, September 21, 2014

Getting Paid by the Hour

I don't want to boast, but the truth is, I'm awesome. And not always humble.

Seriously, I can't quite believe how I pulled myself out of the hole.

As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, I went to the gym that day.

On Wednesday I did it again. I rode the upright bike for 20 minutes and then did an ease-back-in weight training routine, a bit of everything, including a couple sets of pushups even. Thursday was more of the same. I ran one mile on the treadmill and did a short full-body weight routine.

And then came Friday. I had the day off and was toying with the idea of a long run. What if...what if? Midday came around and I had that get going! feeling, so I ran with it (pun intended) and changed into my running clothes.

I knew I was going out for a run. How far? don't know. How fast? don't know. My body would be my guide. What I did know was this would be an indicator as to whether or not I would be able to run the US Half Marathon, San Francisco coming up in 6 short weeks. If I want to get up to 11 miles the week before the half I had to do 6 miles. But I can't force it, not this time.

So I set on my way, running so easy and slow that, in terms of my exertion, I almost felt like I was walking. "I could run like this all day," I thought. The running continued to be almost effortless so I started to have ideas about shooting for 3 miles before I turned around. But I wasn't wearing my Garmin so I had to run for time. I figured 13-minute miles are about as slow as I could possibly be running. At that pace, I would need to run for roughly 80 minutes to get to 6 miles.

So I kept shuffling along with a plan to turn around after 40 minutes. I should add, I was running in a beautiful area, next to water, with perfect conditions. That helped. As I ran I started having all these amazing, positive thoughts. It went something like this...

Later in the day, after my run.
My body is incredible, I'm running!, this is the way to run, slow, easy, effortless. How lucky I am to be able to do this! Look at that sky, beautiful. And the temperature is just perfect, with plenty of shade. And the breeze that's coming along every once in a while, straight from heaven. I'm so lucky, so grateful that I can do this. See? I still got it, I'm not done-for. These legs, they're carrying me along, slow, easy, smooth.

On my run out I'd look down at my shadow and feel like I had a running companion. Yep, there I am, running. I lost that buddy for the return trip. And on the return I started to feel twinges of discomfort, indications that despite running easy, this was still a challenge. So I slowed down, backed off my already easy pace.

And I figured, why not? I'm running for time. It doesn't much matter how far I go, I've decided to run for 80 minutes and how far I cover in that time-frame isn't all that important. It's kind of like getting paid by the hour to paint a wall. Why rush? The longer it takes, the more money I make. I chuckled at that concept and kept myself entertained for a good 10 minutes thinking about how running for time is like getting paid by the hour. What's the hurry? Slow down, take it easy, enjoy!

And so I did. When I hit the 80 minute mark I laughed, probably in part to being high on endorphins. But no matter, I felt great, and I'm pretty sure I ran 6 miles. The half-marathon is still possible. I came home and mapped my route - 6.6406 miles in 79:30 (I stopped just before 80 minutes because I'd reached my starting point). That's a pace of roughly 12-minute miles. Snap!

My eating has been much improved. I did do a lot of indulging over the past few days but not in a bad way. I was mindful, present, and not just munching on snacks I didn't enjoy at 11pm at night. And as the weekend wraps up, I'm thinking about getting back to my "regular," less indulgent eating. 

Ok, so I still got it. And, I exercised four times this week. Though I was missing one weight-training session. So yesterday I went to the gym, I ran a very leisurely 3 miles (roughly 11:30 pace!) and then did another round of full body weights. Admittedly I was worn out but I was happy worn out, not exhausted worn out. There's a difference.

And so there you have it. I'm all about the comeback. I was down, but not out. Lost, but not forgotten. And now I'm up, found, and working my way to back. It will take a few weeks in the weight lifting department, and who knows how long in the running department, to get back to where I was but you know what? I don't care this time. What matters is that I'm here. And right here is a damn fine place to be!