I’m just back from this morning’s run and can gladly report that it was just about the same as yesterday’s run: same number of calories, same time, same distance. The one change is that I was a little faster toward the end today and (conversely) slower in the beginning. My guess, however, is that it’s better to speed up toward the end (reverse split) rather than lag, so I’m pleased by that.

Yesterday’s bike ride was again a model of consistency, although I changed my song to “In These Shoes?” by Kirsty MacColl, the one gem from her otherwise disappointing Tropical Brainstorm album, from the other day‘s “Metronomic Underground.” No me gusta caminar/no puedo andar por caballo, sings Kirsty’s backup chorus, and there I go, andar por bicicleta.

It was quite warm and pleasant out yesterday, and even though the wind was kind of brisk, it was from the south, so it didn’t bother me as much. I knew I would have a good lap when with my torso tucked down and pacing myself briskly along the open spot just parallel to the runway I looked down and saw that I was working at 82% max heart rate. I did the whole 7-mile lap in less than 22 minutes, or a 19 mph pace, which was enough to bring the average for both laps up to a whisker over 18 mph.

Today’s bike picture is from Antwerp. I like the plastic leaves on the fender stays, personally.

Stay motivated!

I hit this exact same feeling every morning I go running, about five minutes along, as I pass the laundry on the right on my way west. I feel achy and tired and slow, and I feel overdressed in jacket and two shirts, plus sweatpants. I don’t feel cold, but instead I feel bulky. I consider seriously just turning around when I get to 12th Street, instead of turning left and climbing the hill on the road toward the dump, a mile out and a mile back to the same junction spot.

Turning around at 12th Street would result in a 3.6 mile run, which isn’t bad at all, except that I would have to do the same run just about every remaining day of the month to get to my goal of 100 miles. It would mean 13 events in 15 days, which is tough. At a rate of 5.6 miles per event, I only need nine more events to get to 100, which is a little more reasonable. Back in July and August and September, I used to do the shorter route regularly, but I had lower expectations then and wasn’t trying to get to 100 miles a month.

And the difference between turning left and going up the hill to the second revetment and turning right past the car wash and going back to the lodging isn’t really that much. I’m already out there pounding the pavement, all dressed up and moving forward.

So I kind of put the thought to the side and think about a movie I’ve seen or something, then by the time I’m at 12th Street I just turn left as if I hadn’t really considered not turning left. When I finish up I’ve taken a little more than an hour, which is hardly a record-breaking time. What’s funny is that the steady accumulation of training time does have an effect: yesterday I ran in the afternoon, leaving the bike parked (I think the chain may actually be too tight and serious riding might damage the freewheel bearings). On that run, in daylight and after having been awake for more than 10 minutes, I did the same 5.6-mile route. It took me less than 51 minutes, or my fastest time ever on that route. So all my frustrations–at bulking up like the Michelin man, at having the alarm send me out to the piste 90 minutes before the sun thinks of rising, at carrying around the dinky flashlight I use to illuminate my path–are somehow shifted beside the point, as if I had been fully and completely supportive of my own efforts instead of partially engaged in pondering how I could shortchange myself.

No matter what it takes to get to a goal or achievement, once you’re there, the doubts and fears and inhibitions you felt become unimportant, like the howling wind of a storm that has since passed through your area.

More road-bikers spotted

There was a whole group of road-riders, six or seven, that I came upon
this afternoon as I was doing my laps. They were going the opposite
direction, so I saw them three times. I did my best to hurry through
the laps in order to pass them strongly. Of course, going in the
opposite direction makes you look like you’re going faster.

 I wouldn’t mind riding with other folks more often, but these days I’m
in such a groove, with the same distance every afternoon, that waiting
around for such a group would be a disincentive for me to train. I
just don’t think I’d go as far as often as I do now.

Sweet feeling of achievement

Just got back from one of the better rides since I’ve been out here. I managed to hit the turn into my second 7-mile loop with a full head of steam and it kept on, kept on giving. Even better was rushing past several scattered squad-sized elements of marines along the route doing some kind of Tuesday afternoon organized PT.

With exercise, I try to isolate and keep everything else equal. These days, with the double-shot boost I get from the exercise cycle–feel better once while exercising, then feel better a second time as I sit, dozy and dim, listening to a couple tunes and considering what would be necessary to change my clothes–I really want to keep up a consistent level of exercise that I can do every day. That level I have identified as 5.6 miles running in the morning before dawn and then 28 miles biking in the afternoon when it’s warm. I can do that every day.

The great thing about those distances is that they’re just long enough to discourage variation. Why should I do an extra 7-mile lap when I’m doing six or seven 28-mile sets during the week, when that extra lap involves freezing for another 20-25 minutes and doesn’t make as much difference to the monthly goal as just getting out there on the 7th day and biking some more? Why tire myself out and get inconsistent?

So today the first loop wasn’t much to boast about, but then I got the heart-rate up on the into-the-wind leg, passed the marines, shouting “Get some!” at each group, did the tight turn at the west end of the loop, and headed back, more or less with the wind somewhere off to my left rear quarter. I felt strong the whole way through, with a good pull on the pedals, and I went for broke on the last 100m. Whole thing took under 21:45, or faster than 19 mph for the loop. I haven’t done that kind of consistent speed since probably the time I rode to the family reunion in South Jersey and just hit the hammer on Rte 578, around Great Adventure. That was with the racing bike, however, and this one was on my trusty one-speed fixed-wing.

It feels really good to be consistent in mileage and to see some kind of small improvement in the overall speed. I don’t know if I can make it happen again tomorrow, but I know I’ll be out there once again.