Almost faking it

Procrastination is on the verge of getting me right now. I waited until Wednesday to do the first of 4 workouts for the week that Nike+ Coach has scheduled for me, which means I’m running every day through Saturday. I’m still on the recovery program, so I’ve got that going for me.

The downside is that I have no choice BUT to run today, tomorrow, and Saturday (or Sunday – guess there’s a little choice)

The upside is that the mileage is light, so I ought to pull it off.

Today was Tempo. Not really sure what pace I can sustain any more – I’m at the top end of weight, haven’t had a great year keeping up with the run, and … yeah. Plus, I’ve never really been one for structured workouts, though I’m trying this time (Saturday is 400’s!)

10 minutes of trying not to puke while the sun set into Fisher’s Island Sound isn’t a bad way to end a day.

5 for 5

SaltyWar shared today that he’d finally been back on a streak running for the first time in a couple of years. Turns out, I am, too. 5 whole runs in the last 8 days, 10 minute pace, a total of like 9 miles, and I’m more estatic about running than I have been in years.

Earlier this summer, before the Lyme kicked in, I’d been starting to get back into a great running groove for the first time since the 2015 Mystic half and Burlington Marathon Relay. Work had settled out, and I was starting to feel good about the whole thing. But when the joints started flaring up, I kind of dropped into a little bit of a funk.

This month has been the end of the beginning, again – most of the joint damage appears to be healed, and I’ve been feeling energy again, too. I’m using the Nike+ beginner program on my phone, and really enjoy it. They’ve finally added a coach fixture to the app, which talks you through runs, including an interval meant to set speed expectations. The interface is great, too, because you can reschedule workouts.

Tonight, I had to pick up #1 son from a pre-XC meet pasta party, so I dropped into Haley Farm for today’s 15 minutes. Dusk, just after sunset. Nasty, late summer day – heat hanging on, humidity coming up from the tropics, grey sky, drizzle. And perfect.

There was one other car in the parking lot when I showed up; didn’t see a soul on the trails. I ran the main trail down to the bike path/Amtrak overpass, then followed the access road to the trail through the fields along the river. The sections through the trees were dark, but I know the road well, and don’t go terribly fast right now. They’ll be light at twilight soon enough, though the heat and the rain we’ve been getting are going to keep the leaves on for a few more weeks.

Nike+ told me that I was done with about a tenth of a mile to go back to the car; so I walked it back in. Low tide; lots of rot left over from the summer. No cars in the parking lot when I got back.

Love the run.

Galloway – Meeting a legend; or “How I learned to stop dreading and learn to love the miles”

So, nigh unto 18 years ago, Melissa brought home a book. Specifically, this book – “Galloway’s Book on Running“. 

“I want to run the Disney marathon in January 2000,” she said.

“Uh, OK,” I said.

I’d been a runner by then (1999) for about 5 years – I did Navy Officer Candidate School in Pensacola Florida, and the Marine Corps Drill instructors we had really (REALLY!) liked to run. Partially, I think, because the United States Marine Corps is the toughest large group of people you’ll find on the planet, and mostly, I think, because they liked seeing cocky college kids puke at 5:15 in the morning.

So, way back when i graduated college, I, in the space of about 3 weeks, went from someone who’d run a mile or so each month since it was good to run, to someone who’d go run 3 or 4 miles a couple of times a week because running was good. There were a couple of hiccoughs, but I could at least go out and put in some miles a couple of days a week. But, I wasn’t really a runner. 

Galloway’s book, though, was an eye-opener. In easy language, he put out a plan by which folks like me – joggers, folks who hadn’t run as kids, folks who wanted to get active again – could. And he didn’t talk down to us, he didn’t focus on the harm we would be doing sitting on the couch, he didn’t say “Push through the pain”. Instead, Jeff put down a positive, low pain, high gain approach to becoming a runner.

Missy and I followed the plan religiously, sort of, until about September, when we found out she was expecting our first child, and then I was on my own (Again, we’d gone from couch potatoes to runners, so the thought of running through pregnancy was somewhat foreign to her). I lasted until November – had a glorious 16 miler one late fall weekend, and then, faced with 18 miles of sleet, it seemed that the wiser thing to do was not fly with a 7 month pregnant wife, and we withdrew.

Fast forward 18 years, and Missy and I are still running. 

A couple of weeks ago, one of my social networks said that Jeff Galloway was going to be at Kelley’s Pace right here in Mystic. So, I convinced Melissa (Hey, y’wanna go? …Sure…), and we put it on our schedule.

It wasn’t without concern that I went – I’ve met authors before and been terribly disappointed – people are often on to different projects and are different people from what your impression is from reading their books.

Jeff wasn’t that – he was a man who seemed genuine, happy with his mission, and just as excited about the next people he was going to get running as the first folks he started with back in 1972. 

We got our book signed, talked about our guys running cross country, stood around chatting with a couple of other Mystic runners we knew, and then Galloway talked. A couple of takeaways:

  • Running is a social activity –  Jeff’s running career started as an overweight 8th grader new at a school that required all kids to do some sort of sport. He picked XC, since he’d only have to get to the woods, and then could hide till practice was over. But the second day of practice, a couple of kids he thought he’d like from practice told him to tag along. Each day, he went farther and farther, because he wanted to gossip with the other guys.
  • Human Brain vs. Monkey Brain – I’m going to have to spend some time on his website to get this exactly right, but it boils down to mindfulness – when something is difficult, the way to get it done is to spend some time thinking about it. That’s why he thinks the run/walk/run thing works, that’s why he’s big on pacing. Kind of blew me away in a GTD/43 Folders kind of way (I know that 43folders hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s still a great resource, and Back2Work is a breath of fresh air each week).
  • The Magic Mile – Wanna know how to pace? Go run your fastest mile. All out, leave everything on the track. Then add at least 30% to that. That’s your long run pace. Add time for heat, add time if you’re feeling out of it, whatever. Mostly, don’t worry about it.
  • Run/Walk/Run – While I think Jeff’s secret sauce is his personableness, and his ability to make running seem like something that IS doable by anyone, THIS is what sets the Galloway method apart from everyone else. After listening to him last night, I may start incorporating this into my own running again. The essence is to fool around with CONSISTIENTLY, not just when you’re tired, but from the beginning, taking walking breaks in your runs. It allows for some recovery during the run, and lets you go longer. 

Honestly, I could probably keep pushing this post out to about 10,000 words – really, without “Galloway’s Book on Running“, I wouldn’t be a runner, I wouldn’t have been writing this blog for a decade, and I’d be missing out on wonderful Saturdays and Sundays with the wife and kids and a whole host of wonderful people I’ve met on the roads and trails.