Thursday, June 6, 2013

Judging Speed

Yesterday Laura and I headed out for our weekly run. She's the only guide runner I've found locally and we manage to get a good run in on most Wednesday evenings. I was a bit worried because the previous week my run had not felt very good at all. We had gone about five K and I nearly threw up by the time we got back. I had run two days later for 50 minutes on the treadmill and had not felt that bad, but I was concerned that our outdoor runs were so much harder than just holding on to a treadmill.
When you're running outside there are so many things to pay attention to that you tire really quickly. At least, I do. I think seasoned blind runners probably learn what to listen to and what to filter out, but I'm still pretty new and I haven't quite mastered that skill. Hence, my runs outside tethered to a guide by overlapping shoelaces can be a bit harder on me than the indoor runs. However, these outdoor ones are so important since any races I'll be entering will be obviously outside with  a lot of other distractions.
I also worry that I hold her back a bit. She's already run quite a few marathons and I would hate to be slowing her training down. That said, Laura doesn't strike me as the type who would keep guiding me if it impacted her negatively. Often, she's already had a run in the morning and runs home from work before she comes to meet me. The woman's a machine. :)
Anyway, as we ran Wednesday night, we both agreed to take it easy and see how we felt. Laura's legs were heavy from running intervals that morning and I was concerned that whatever I was doing in training wasn't paying off-somehow, the previous Wednesday's run was a real struggle despite me training more consistently.
So, we set off at a leisurely pace with no particular mileage in mind. We fell into an easy rhythm and soon found that we had easily run about 4 K. She asked me if I wanted to extend the run at that point and I said that I did. I was feeling much better than the week before and so we pushed on.
As we ran we chatted; me doing most of the talking. Chatting away to her kept my mind off of the small stitch developing in my side and how tired my quads were feeling. I know breathing regulation is a big part of running and so I tried focusing on that, but I think sometimes as a blind person running along without seeing what's going by can lack some stimulation. Laura is excellent at describing, but for the most part she's busy keeping us safe and giving me verbal directions. So, I yapped.
It was a really nice night and so inevitably we came across cyclists, walkers, dogs and of course other runners. It was interesting for me when a man ran past us, his footfalls much slower, but much heavier. I think that if I had been standing still I wouldn't have known just how fast he was going because his stride was quite long. From how heavy his footfalls were as well I think I would have assumed he was moving slowly because he sounded as though he was lumbering as opposed to running. It really got me thinking of my perception of speed and how it's really off. He sounded as though he was going slow, whereas, he was going fast enough to over take us and pass us. Most of the other runners we past were going the opposite direction so it was difficult for me to gauge if they were going faster than we were in relation to how fast their feet were moving. It made me realise that I really have no clue how fast we're running at all. The splits on Laura's watch, or my Iphone, let me know, but I think a race situation will be good for me so that I can have a better understanding of how fast people actually move. Maybe even being a spectator at a race would be educational. Regardless, I think it will be something I pay attention to more when we're out running next week. Maybe it'll teach me a thing or two about pacing and efficient running.
Aside from my little "ahah!" moment, we also ran six K and it felt good. I was excited and started thinking that maybe I struggle with over heating and not bad training. The week before had been much warmer and I had been way over dressed. Laura pushed me to finish the six K to prove to me that I could be ready to run a ten K race in July. So, I think that is my new goal-running ten K locally in July.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I'm Back ;)

It's been a while hasn't it? Almost six months to be exact; well, kind of exact. A few things have changed since my last post and things that are helping me get consistent training in.
I went away and was matched with my new guide dog. We've been together for nearly three months now and things are going well. One of the first routes we learned wen we got home was how to get to the gym. Obviously, this means I can train more consistently. I've also started running outside on Wednesday evenings with Laura again and that's been really good. We've been out twice now and I'm really enjoying it. I don't really know what goal I'm working towards, aside from getting fitter, but that will come. I really think that the first race I enter will be for me. I'd like to run for charity in the future, but just getting a race under my belt, so to speak, is my first priority. After that I can focus on finding another race and fundraising. I had always thought running for a charity would motivate me more, but I think at the end of the day, it just muddied the waters a bit too much; at least in the beginning. As Laura aptly pointed out, I have a lot of things to get used to running in a crowd of people without having to worry about raising a certain amount of money for a charity. So, for now, I am going to find a race and run it for me and then after that I will run another for someone else. Part of my decision has come from a realisation that I thought I had internalised a long time ago; apparently I forgot. It's really important to do things for yourself. I.E., quitting smoking, losing weight Etc. Training and/or racing could be the same.
I had been running with a friend to help her get into better shape. When the excuses not to run kept coming up or when she kept telling people I was dragging her out, it became clear to me that I needed to do my own thing. I was getting faster and she wasn't improving at all. The last straw for me was when her excuse not to run was, "I already showered today." You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. So, instead of tailoring my workouts around her, starting today, I will do my own workouts. If she wants me to write her up some workouts, I can do that, but unless I run with her as a second workout in a day, I am done. Running with her had been enjoyable because we were outside and I got to run with another person, instead of running by myself on a treadmill, but if I actually want to run a half marathon or a full one in the future, I am going to have to switch gears.
Also, a woman I had been in contact with a while back is moving close to here and has suggested we train for a triathlon together. She's willing to be my guide and although I'm not sure if it will work out, I am really excited about at least trying. It sounds as though she's in better physical condition than me, so in order to catch up a bit, I need to actually improve. Running 3 minutes and walking 2 minutes which was what all my workouts with my friend consisted of, at the same pace week after week is not going to get me there. Since this woman wants to be competitive in the triathlon, I can't afford to hold her back either.
So, it's with all of this in mind that I prepare to head to the gym in the next little while to run some intervals on the treadmill. :)