Sunday, February 19, 2012

Run, Run, ... Keep Running?


40 Days!!!!

The hardest part about all of this training is definitely doing it through the cold winter days. For 3 main reasons:

  1. As we have discussed before, all of the holidays and events that take place during the winter months make it really difficult.

    2.  In the winter, you are generally more lazy and more prone to eating, drinking and lounging around   
         infront of a fireplace, while watching your favorite movies...

    3.  It is hard to run when it is 20 or 30 degrees out and/ or snowing... impossible to bike when it is this 
         cold and icy... and swimming... the outdoor pools aren't open in the winter and there's no open   
         water swim locations around, therefore you're stuck indoors, going back and forth, back and forth 
         with no fresh air... and well,... you make up some random excuse not to go do this. 

Well, the three of us (My brother, Jackson and I) all said to one another... no more excuses... let's bundle up and get out there!

So, last Saturday... we put on about 5 layers and went out in the suburbs by my parents house to run a 2 hour, hilly... and snowy run. 

After stretching for 30 minutes trying to get psyched up in the living room and pulling ourselves off of the couch, we walked up my parents driveway and the cold hit us like a ton of bricks!

At this point, the conversation was somewhat like this:

Alex, "Oh boy... not in the mood. It is cold!"
Jackson, "Can't we just run up this hill a few times and call it quits?"
Me, "No. Let's go. Get it over with"... 2 minutes later, "Ok, I'm not in the mood for this."

BUT, we continued and climbed up our first hill within the first two minutes... (I got yelled at by the boys for choosing this route)

For some reason, they let me go first... I never really know why, but I charged up the first hill (I regret it a few moments after)... but I looked back and the boys were not looking too pleased with me... or this whole workout.

It was cold to the point where your toes got numb within the first 5 minutes of the run, your leg muscles tightened up simply because the first hill came up so quick we didn't have a good warm up and it was so cold that our legs weren't ready for it... so within the first mile, we were already struggling far more than usual, which was not good for the psyche with an hour and 45 minutes left in the run.

Still continuing on...

The problem is, when we are instructed to do a "hilly run" by my Tri- trainer, choosing the hills around my parents house means they never, ever end.

About 5 hills in, already freezing cold and miserable... my brothers knee (which has been giving him some problems) completely gave out to the point where he couldn't run anymore. Jackson and I stayed behind with him, as we knew it wouldn't be a successful run and didn't want him to walk back alone.

So, we walked back to the house and after about a 30 minute walk we were back... cold and Alex, in pain. We decided to count this as a day off...

I didn't mind stopping. In fact I preferred it. I was tired, cold and was not enthused about the run. I run harder and get more results when I am 'into it'. I was at this point worried about my brother and his knee and not in the mood to continue. 

So, I went out on a nice hour and a half run on Wednesday, instead. A little behind with my running. I have been focusing on my bike and swim, therefore putting running to twice or even once a week. All three of us have come to the conclusion that no matter what, the run will stink at the end of this race... therefore, as long as we keep it on the map each week and are in shape (which we obviously will be), it will be ok. 

I started the run today by leaving my apartment and running down some side streets to make my way down to the Schuylkill River Trail. It is about half a mile from my apartment. 

The plan was to run down to the trail, then hop on Kelly Drive, past the boat houses until I am about 45 minutes out. Then, turn around. I go by time, simply because its less grueling on my mind rather than miles. 

The start of the path was not very welcoming. Cloudy and not as warm as had said it was going to be...

Entrance of Schuylkill River Trail

It was so dreary... hard to run and be motivated. Once again, the winter weather was winning the 'training battle'. Usually there are either other people on the trail to catch up with, or one of the boys with me... today... just me and the road. This time the alone time wasn't as great as when I was biking last week...

Ugh... just started.
The first uphill Grade comes about half mile into the run. It's not huge, something I should totally be able to handle considering: 

1) I run this route all the time
2) I am in training for a 70.3... * come on, Ali... stop complaining! (Yes, I talk to myself) *

At this point, I was warming up, running up the hill at about a 9 minute mile pace. I usually like to pick it up after Water Works when I hit Boathouse Row.

So, I get to Waterworks and already want to turn around. I turn up the music and push through it, almost stopping at Jackson's favorite, yet torturous workout spot: the sprinting hill:

That nice path you see above... so pretty right? Maybe for a nice stroll up to the top where there is a Gazebo, to look out on Philly with a nice cup of Joe?... Guess again. Try sprinting up it 10 times, after running 3 miles... nope not done.... in less than 20 seconds. No breaks. 

This workout was inspired by a drill my Tri- trainer told us to do this past summer. Same idea, but hers did not require as steep of a grade. Jackson decided to choose a steeper hill than what was expected of us to do these workouts once every couple of weeks. He drug me along with him once at 6 am in the fall (the same day he got jumped by a fox on the run... not kidding. Serves him right!) Anyways.. now, I try to avoid this workout whenever possible, therefore I ran right by it today with a smile on my face!

I was finally at Boathouse Row. The 3 miles seemed like it was 5 already with the cold weather and running alone. So bored.

I picked up the pace to run approximately an 8 minute mile. I did an 8 minute mile, then backed it down to about a 9 minute mile, then back up to 8 and so on. 

The worst part about running on Kelly Drive is that it is an 'out and back' course. Meaning, you run out... then you run the same way back. Unless, you are doing 'the loop' over The Falls Bridge and back onto West River Drive, but I think that may be worse as West River is made up of mostly just highway and cement. 

The long grueling path, once again I mention alone, with very few people in sight... was terrible. But, I kept going and going and running and running.

From riding, I realized that no matter what, your mind gives up before your body. Riding was a head game. You could be the best horseback rider in the world, but if you psyched yourself out... you would quickly become your own worst enemy. 

I believe this is true for most sports and most things in life. Think positive thoughts, more luck positive things will happen to you. 

I kept the goals of my tri- season in the back of my mind to push me through this boring hour and a half run.
Usually this scenery is peaceful and mind- clearing. I think today, since it was such a 'stay on the couch' type of day outside... I was struggling a bit. Not to mention my hamstrings were as tight as rocks, even after stretching, from my strength training and swimming the day before. 

Eventually, I turned around and it never felt better. After covering some ground, I made it back to Boathouse Row, which without a doubt every time reminds me of my little sister, Gracie's crew races. I used to watch her Row this past Spring, but get there in the early AM with my parents to run and train for the summer tri- season before she would go off in the afternoon.

Then, I picked up the pace even a little more, because once I see the city again... I get a bit antsy to finish the run. If Jackson and Alex are with me, this is usually where they say "slow down!"... or "jeez, someone wants to get home!"

So, I finally made it back. It was a long and boring run. But, once I was finished, I'm glad I did it- as usual. 

It is officially CRUNCH TIME. 

We are almost into March... and in my opinion, no where near ready to run this 70.3. It is time to pick up the pace... get to work and concentrate on our goal that we set for ourselves this past summer: the finish line. 

I have the magazine clipping on my fridge... and have had it since June of this past summer. It helps motivate and also make me laugh in the early mornings when having to work out, or late at night when I'm tired and hungry and just want a big cheeseburger (which is always...)

Wish us luck! More to come!

Never Give Up-


"Training is what you are doing when your opponent is sleeping in." - Brian Owen

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