Thursday, August 8, 2013

In Failure...Victory

Yeesh, if that doesn't sound counter-intuitive, then I don't know what does.

All I know is that I have two small victories to celebrate and claim for my own today.

Failure/Victory #1:  A couple of days ago I sent Dorothy Beal over at Mile Posts an email after reading her Meet Mile Posts page and seeing the massive, massive growth she's experienced as a runner in both pace and distance.  I was curious to understand (she's a running coach too) if anybody can experience growth like that, or if it's a matter of being genetically blessed.

A day or two later she sent me an email letting me know that she'd actually turned my question into a full on blog post.  I was at first surprised, and then very grateful that someone so rooted into the running world would still take the time for beginning runners like me.  You'll have to read her post to gather all the details, but one of the numerous big takeaways for me was the introduction of some speed work.

Well, it turns out I had unwittingly done just that very thing this past Sunday.  As I approached being able to run for 30 minutes straight at 5 mph, I thought I'd test myself at the pace I'd previously been able to sustain myself for 30 minutes--6 mph.  My plan was to run a mile at 6 mph, interspersed with walking enough to recover, and then repeat that as many times as I could.

Well, it was a miserable failure--it went horribly.

I wasn't able to run an entire mile at 6 mph.

And in fact, I was only able to run at 6 mph for 1/2 mile at a time, and then that required 4-5 minutes of walking to recover.  I was able to repeat the 1/2 mile runs only 3 times--ending my workout right about at the 30 minute mark.  So same time, less mileage because of more walking.

I had 3 days rest before I ran again because of work (I work 12 hours, and on my feet most of that) and then we entertained out of town company for a day.

Today I awoke with a food hangover after blowing my calories at a steakhouse with company last night.  It took a bit to get myself motivated to get to the gym, but after I got myself in the right frame of mind I could hardly wait to get going.

I started off at my usual 5 mph pace, and it felt...slow.  I kept bumping into the front of the treadmill.  I shrugged it off and settled in for a 30 minute plod run.  I started Pandora and blanked my mind.

The first realization I had that this might be a different kind of day was when I first looked down and half of my planned workout was already gone.  I was sweating for sure.  But I always sweat.  My breathing was well controlled, my legs felt good, and I didn't feel...tired.

I chugged on for another 5 minutes and realized it still felt too slow.  So I turned up the pace to 5.5 mph.  And 7 minutes later I was working harder, but I still felt good.  So I turned it up to 6 mph, and finished out my run, hitting my 2.5 mile planned distance a good 1 1/2 minutes early.  So I ran until time ended.  And then I walked a minute of my cool down, and then turned the treadmill back up to 4.5 mph and loped out the rest of my cool down, recovering nicely, while I ran.

Now, I don't know for sure that one session of "speed work" would make a such a huge difference.  Maybe it was 3 days rest.

All I know is something changed, and even if it was just the encouragement of a strong voice over the internet...I'll take it.


Victory #2:  The needle that broke the haystack in getting me started back on the nutritional straight & narrow happened to be advice from a friend.  I have a pretty important interview coming up on Sept. 19.  The outcome could truly change my and my family's world.  In a strategy session with a friend he mentioned the only thing he would suggest for me to work on would be to drop a little weight if possible.

I totally agreed with his assessment, and had been flirting with the idea anyway.

I set a modest goal of dropping from 277.8 lbs to 260 lbs over the course of about 9 weeks.

Today, 4 weeks later, I nailed my goal.  260 lbs.  Then I had to pee and I weighed in again at 259.8.

Hellllloooo 250's!

I think I'll set my new goal at 245 lbs by Sept 19.  I don't know if I'll be able to do it, but it really doesn't matter at this point.

With the way I'm feeling now--so much better--I've already started winning.