Treadmill Dreadmill


My brother recently wrote a really good post about conquering fears.  Even though he was relating it to running, it really could apply to so much in life. Please read it here on the blog: Coaching, Training and Motivation.

One of the things I love about my brother is his willingness to help others, and even though he has an amazing running ability, (one that most of us would pretty much die for), he always seems very low-key about it. When I told him that one of my very fast runner friends thought my brother was ridiculously fast in comparison to him, I could tell I made him blush over the phone.  He said, “you know I spend so much time talking to people about speed, I just seem to take myself out of the equation.”

I love people like that – people who could be all “big about themselves” for a variety of reasons, but they choose not to. People who dig down deep and face their fears. People who follow their heart.  (FYI, clicking on this picture of the elevation chart will blow it up for you.)

Elevation Chart for Leadville 100 course, which is an out-and-back, so what goes up must come down, and vice versa.

My brother has come a long way in a few years. He made a career change that took him from one of constant stress and anxiety attacks (literally) to one that he’s so devoted to that when he comes to visit, he always has his laptop out so he can communicate with his running clients. When he was on a bus enroute to come see me last fall, he asked if I could give a client of his a call, to let them know he’d be sending an email as soon as he got to me, telling them final strategy tips for their marathon race the following morning.  When I contacted his client, he said that my brother was an awesome coach, and so dedicated.  It was no surprise to me, but I think it might have been to my brother.  That’s just how he is.

A few years ago, he barely seemed to have the energy to train for marathons. Now he’s training for the Leadville 100, and signs his emails about it, by using the phrase “Crazy Train.” [At least he knows he’s nuts. :-)]   I like the fact that he’s pushing himself to another level (figuratively and literally, as the Leadville Race has some mileage that will be run above the tree line.)

In case you are wondering, yes, a longtime friend of his and I have already volunteered to pilot the Medivac Helicopter for him when the race is over.  We’ve watched him run the marathon at Philadelphia a few times, and always wonder “Why do we drive all this way [from D.C. and Boston] to see him fly by us for just a few seconds during the course of 2-3 hours??” LOL

Brooks ST Racers, image from Amazon.com

I’ll never have my brother’s speed (6 repeat 800s at 2:45, anyone?) but I’ve been thinking of ways to challenge myself too, running and otherwise.  On my brother’s advice, I’ve just bought a pair of racing flats to try out this year: the Brooks ST Racers. (This link takes you to the new model, 5, but I think mine will be the 4, pictured at right.)

I never thought that they were for people like me, before.  By that, I mean  people who tend to run in the middle of the pack. However, Ive seen my times improve over the past few years.  So, now I want to see if having less physical weight on my feet, and the added mental boost of knowing my feet are lighter, will help speed up my times. (Even though they will clash with all of my running clothes, color-wise…)

I’ve been meeting new people and reaching out to others more than I used to. I’ve tended to move away from people or situations that are not right with me, and doing so lifts a heavy load off of me, mentally.  Sticking with them just tends to make you look backward, and I don’t want to do that anymore. (I’m not saying it’s bad to remember everything, I think you need to learn and grow from past experiences, and not always dwell on the past.  It won’t change it.)

I’m also toying with the idea of learning how to rock climb. People who have known me my entire life know how terrified I am of heights.  So, I’m thinking more of learning what they call bouldering, because with that type of climbing, it’s more about the challenge of forging a route to the top of a, say, 30-foot high piece of rock that others might not see.  Or, it’s the challenge of finding handholds or footholds that work, while others might find them impossible. (At least, this is what I have read about it.)  You don’t have to be 100 feet off of the ground, or trying to scale the flat faces of Yosemite or Zion out west.  I’ve always liked reading about people who challenge themselves physically and mentally, such as the mountaineers who climb Everest, or any of the other 8Kers (mountains taller than 8,000 meters).  I’m thinking that maybe I should experience some of it rather than just reading about it! (Although, don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to actually climb an 8,000 meter peak!)

So, who knows? I may go to a class or two and find that “yep, I really do not like heights” or I’m so clutzy as to find the endeavor totally laughable, and feel like a complete and total jackass.  I may end up in a class with a bunch of under-10-year-olds.   But I will never know until I try it.

p.s. A friend suggested I find a half marathon to run this spring, after having run 10.2 miles (walked about .2 of it) on the treadmill yesterday. I am considering it. Some days, you just feel like running long and zoning out, and I’m just trying to go with the flow these days, in so many ways. I’m trying to make a concerted effort of keeping my workouts fun, and even think I’ve found a new good friend to run with now.

Things are coming together, slowly but surely.

Advertisements

Chestnut Hill Reservoir, with sun glare, even!!

I’m writing today just because I feel like it.  The pics I’m posting are to show why I love living where I live right now. I’ve got this beautiful piece of water so close to where I live, I am blessed.

All I can say is, I cannot WAIT to run outside again. I don’t care if it’s cold enough to make my eyes water and ears hurt, it’ll be nice to run on hills again, see the sunrise while I run, and generally have no fear of becoming human roadkill from slipping on ice just as a car rounds the corner. We all know how impossible it is for drivers to turn their head right when turning onto a road (of course, when I’m driving, that never, ever happens.)

I am still running inside, can’t believe it myself. I’ve become such a wimp. This afternoon, I took Ruthie for a walk and saw the hill I used to run every single morning, the one that would tell me how hard or easy the run would feel for the rest of the time.  It looked high/tall.  I really miss it, though. Running a “random hill” workout on a treadmill just isn’t the same.

So, I’ve been downloading lots of new music, and trying to distract myself as much as possible on the treadmill. I’ve been *trying* to do speed work on my trainer’s advice, basing it on time over distance, but might start doing some of my running club’s coaches workouts, because well, the ‘time” option is kinda boring.  I do a minute each at 7, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, and 9.  When I’m feeling really daring, I kick it up to 9.5.  Of course this means I have to kick the incline down to 0. (Like I said, I’ve become a wimp. Go ahead, slap me.  I won’t even try to escape.)  When I tried running at 9.5 with the incline set to 1.0, I literally felt like I had to hold on for dear life, or the whole machine would go flying apart or shove me off the back.  And I figured I kinda looked like a jackass doing it, so I gave that up.  (Although it did make the 8.5 seed not seem so bad, and the 8.0 kinda manageable!)

What I wish the reservoir looked right now, because it'd be warm out!

I blame my wimpiness/aversion to the cold/ice running on the fact that I’ve not raced in about 2 months now, and on the really beautiful scenery at the gym.  (No, I will not elaborate, but I may giggle/smile a bit. Yes, I’m 14. Leave me alone. 🙂 Hey, I’d rather be smiling every day than feeling sad.)

My brother was here on New Year’s Eve and that was a late night at my older brother’s. So, yeah, the New Years Day race was soo not happening for us. Then I was signed up for a 10K on Super Bowl Sunday. With all the freaking snow we’ve had, the state police decided they wouldn’t allow the organizers to have the streets closed, and it was probably a field of a few thousand, so even after postponing it for another week, it just never happened. The kicker – no refunds, UNLESS you made a $20 donation to LiveStrong, to get your $30 back.  Yep. Supposedly we will be able to use our entry fee to run another race they host in December, but it’s only a 5K. Bleck.

Reservoir this morning in the sun, snow still covering the running path

I am planning on running the An Ras Mor race on St. Patty’s Day (it’s run by the Somerville Road Runners, my new group.) And the BAA 5K, because it’ll likely be my only opportunity ever to cross that finish line. (I’m not bummed personally about the Boston Marathon changes, I was never dreaming of qualifying anyway. I do think it sucks though for people who might work their ass off to qualify, only to still be shut out because they’re still not fast enough.)  After that I need to find some good 10Ks so I can measure my improvement from all this treadmill running.

I am also hoping to go on some runs with someone new pretty soon. He’s much faster than me, and really nice and laid back, so it’ll be great for me to run with him (emphasis on the phrase, “much faster.”)  We’ve both been kept captive inside on the treadmill and I don’t know about him, but I’m about ready to shoot myself soon from not running all my hills! I hope he just doesn’t die of boredom since my speed will be so slow for him.   I’d say he’s at least as fast as my brother, if not more so, for the shorter distances. So, I guess I will have to depend on my sparkly personality and wit to keep the coma look from crossing his face (I know, this is where you scratch your head and go, ‘um…should we tell her?  Should we tell her she doesn’t have any? Nah, her drugs seem to be working, just let her be….” 😉

Ruthie perfecting her "pathetic" look so I will pet her on the head. She was wagging her tail too.

I’m hoping to run again with my friend Dan eventually, too, but he’s not been running much lately. Not even inside on the treadmill.  (WIMP!!! J/K, Dan.)  Last week, we agreed that right now, I might even be able to kick his ass. Happy Dance! Happy Dance! Nothing says an ego boost like being able to kick a natural fasties’ butt.  (Actually, wait, there are a few other things but I won’t elaborate.)

My first of four sessions with the trainer is tomorrow. I am hoping I feel really dead afterward, since I also plan on running long afterward, then probably taking Monday off, because yes, I have to work. Enjoy your day off for the rest of us if you are a lucky enough bastard to have it off.  (And don’t worry, that’s not jealousy you feel coming from me…not at all…)

Of course, I will then be taking off Patriots Day to watch the Boston Marathon while the rest of you can only dream of doing such a thing….(evil laugh.)

.