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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward + Tempo Run

The past week's been so busy at work (and at home) that I haven't had the chance to write this post. I hope it isn't an omen for the rest of the year!

Looking Back: 2008
2008 began as the "year of backpacking", but ended as the "year of running". It's funny how life happens that way. I certainly didn't plan it that way, but I really can't complain about it. My hiking activities started as finishing the rest of the hikes on the Tahoe Rim Trail, which I completed, covering a total of 165 miles over 8 separate hikes.

It was certainly the year backpacking finally materialized for me, after 4 or 5 years of debating. In 2007 I took my first backpacking trip, and later did one on the Tahoe Rim Trail, but in preparing for Mt. Whitney, I geared up and got to the point where I feel I can go just about anywhere with everything I need on my back, and safely survive, having a good time in the process.

Of course, Whitney didn't materialize due to the granite wall we thought stood in our way. We realized too late that it was a simple mistake, but that just gives us an excuse to go again. We still got to summit Mt. Langley, which is over 14,000 feet in itself, and had a wonderful time in the process.

In the midst of the hiking, backpacking, and inside/outside training required, running started taking its shape in my life. I'd been jogging & running for a few years in the name of fitness & weight loss, but not to the extent I started doing in 2008. I went from jogging 2.5 miles, 5 times a week very slowly to downright running between 3 and 6 times a week, at varying distances. In two years I never went beyond 2.5 miles, yet here in 2008, I peaked at 14.

I started half marathon training, using the FIRST plan, adapted & published by Runner's World. It was the first structured running I'd ever done, but after a few weeks I realized that some of the runs I just couldn't do because of my Whitney training commitments. When I was backpacking, I wasn't able to do long runs. My original idea was to train for the half marathon (the distance of which I was already doing once a week), do one in October, then spend the next year training for the full marathon the following October. I abandoned the half marathon training once the trips leading up to Whitney started.

After spending a week away from my family, I made the promise to my wife that I wouldn't do any activity that took me away from the family until after the first of the year. This meant if I was running, I couldn't be gone the whole day by myself, so if I was racing, the family would be joining me. If I was hiking, I'd need to bring one or more of the kids.

The half marathon training is what started me in longer distances, but it was not spending time away from the family that started me racing. 2008 is the year I did my first & second 5k's, my first 8k, and my first 10k. I learned the anticipation of a race, felt excitement of crossing a finish line, and experienced the helplessness of being unable to run or work out for SIX WEEKS while suffering from chronic bronchitis. I also realized how quickly running fitness comes back after a short period away.

I experienced the Jillian Michaels "Making the Cut" workouts for 30 days. Twice. I served on jury duty. I sang in the choir for Handel's Messiah for the 5th time. I avoided learning how to climb a wall by watching Iron Man instead. I rewatched about 3/4 of Babylon 5, to be completed within the next month. I reconnected with my good friend David Rees, who got me into using Twitter. And I made it through a year without my near, dear friend and adopted brother, Jim Vestal.

Looking Forward: 2009
After my weight loss, I've tried to have major fitness goals each year, culminating with one big achievement. In 2005/2006 the goals were in the numbers, the amounts of weight loss, and the fitness goals were simple. Being able to walk two miles in under 50 minutes, under 40 minutes, under 30. Being able to jog for more than 1 minute at a time, then 5, then 15, and finally 30 minutes straight. In 2007 I wasn't concentrating on running goals, but in building the legs up in addition to upper body strength in order to hike to Half Dome. 2008's major trip was climbing Mt. Whitney. So how do I follow it up for 2009?

A major backpacking trip is seemingly out, since Bob's being deployed for a few months. So I turn my eye towards running, and as I posted the other day, the major goal for 2009 is The Ave Marathon on May 3. The nice thing about that date is it leaves the rest of the year for hiking and backpacking, sort of flipflopping running with hiking. I'm perfectly fine with that prospect.

My only regret is that my wife doesn't join in either of these obsessive activities. She supports me in what I do, but she tends to speak in nevers. "You'd never see me on that cliff edge." "I'll never go hiking like that, 2 or 3 miles is fine, but 10 is just crazy." "You'll never see me out running. Walking fine, but running is just too much."

Meanwhile, my kids are growing as much as I am. My son, who's about to turn 6, just hiked 10 miles with me to Feather Falls, and today he ran about 2 miles with our group. My 3-year-old the same way, she ran about a mile. My 4-year-old daughter ran, but she fell down and needed TLC. Still, she remembers the day as a fun one. I was telling my pastor today, I doubt my children would be as active as they are had it not for me taking control of my lifestyle. It's all been worth it, and I cherish every opportunity I have to continue.

But what about this Tempo Run?
Yes, the tempo run. My aforementioned pastor invited as many people who were interested to run 5k with him today. He also made it clear that it wasn't just a run, that people could walk if they wanted to, and he wanted to see strollers as well. About 20 people showed up at his house at 11am.

Before we started, I made it clear that I was doing 6 miles, 2 of which would be tempo miles. The goal for me was to do 2 miles easy (around 10mph), then kick the tempo pace for 2 miles at between 7:37 and 7:52. I'd finish with 2 miles easy.

I didn't quite get into my goal range, but I don't think I did half bad.

Mile 1: 10:05
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 8:11 (tempo)
Mile 4: 8:05 (tempo)
Mile 5: 9:15
Mile 6: 9:01
.07 Mi: 0:34 (7:37/mi)

We ran on the bike path in Yuba City, which used to be train tracks that traveled 10 miles between Yuba City and Sutter. The map's not the most exciting thing in the world.

I would have done this tempo run on Thursday, had it not been for hiking with my son. Sometimes though, spending time with the kids is the most important thing.

I still have an 8-mile long run I need to complete tomorrow, hopefully I'll be able to fit it in. If not, I think I'm okay with it.

1 comment:

Pat said...

that's great that you all got together to do a run.