Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pro Compression Sleeves

Just got a pair of compression sleeves from Pro Compression in the mail. I've heard talk of how effective compression wear can be for endurance athletes, and also I've read the opposing studies.

My legs were stiff from a few tough runs this week. Slipped the sleeves on and cooked dinner. I was shocked to feel the difference in how my calves felt.

Won't say that I am converted, but I will have to try them a few more times over the next few days and runs to see if they really make a difference.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Footfeathers: Briefly on What it Means to Suffer

Fairly recent post from Footfeathers Racing.

This perfectly captures my recent thinking. If it didn't hurt I don't think I would be interested. After the hurt, I feel I can deal with anything.

"Footfeathers: Briefly on What it Means to Suffer: I've always been of the mindset that suffering in training makes racing pleasant.  I don't mean the common knowledge that training ..."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why I Run, Possibly

I spend a great deal of time trying to understand why it is I obsess about running. Why does it take up so much of my thoughts after the running is done?

For my family, I would like to live longer, but I know that I do not run for health. I could give a shit about that unless it is working toward the end goal of being able to run faster or go further.

I don't run to lose weight. That became an easy, natural by-product of the miles. The extra pounds had to come off. Now I do everything I can to keep enough calories coming in to push the growling stomach away.

Beauty in a snowstorm
Two other possible reasons come to mind. Suffering and the commune with the natural world.

Second one first. I like nothing more than listening to my own breath and footsteps in an otherwise quiet environment. I can't find that indoors, and I love the woods, the dark streets. I am at peace there.

This is why I don't do headphones, why I do not run with friends. Not because I don't like music or conversation when I move, but because everything is so loud all the time. Home, commute, work. It is nice to hear very little, to give myself the opportunity to think to the point of void. When it all just wipes away.

Then there is the suffering. Anyone who has known me over the last twenty years knows that I have always been a fan of self-inflicted melancholia. When I was younger I sought out creative and (occasionally) destructive ways to suffer through life. I eventually smartened up, but never lost the need to feel torment. Running into pain filled the gap. As long as there is a further distance or harder route to attempt, I know that I will never be without my beloved misery.

I am going to spend some time over the next few months probing these thoughts further.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Struggling With Goals

I find setting personal goals challenging. While they help to keep me motivated, putting them on paper also works to eventually highlight my many little failures.

With this year's running schedule, I am attempting brief three month training windows. Ramps that take me to some adequate level of performance in time for some "A" race. The race will happen and then a new window opens. The obstruction I find is that I haven't yet figured out how to bake my life into these goals. How do I plan my sometimes hectic life into this rigid structure that will get me to some peak performance so that I can walk/limp away from a race satisfied with my result?

Do I plan in my weekly running schedule for a known early morning Wednesday meeting that will not only eat into my Wednesday pre-dawn run, but will eat away at me with stress all through the Tuesday before? The short answer is that I currently do not. Then I toss and turn through a few hours of sleep on Tuesday night. When the alarm beeps at 4:30 am the next morning, I push it away and decide that it would better for my health to get another hour of sleep. Then I spend the day in regret.

I have not found a way through this struggle. Not yet. And honestly, I'm not sure how to look for the answers.

It gets tougher with a recent move. While I am happy to have the family in more relaxing and greener environs, the payment for this comes in the form of a longer commute. Add to this the exciting upcoming addition to my family, and these goals push further and further down the priority lists.

One recent ray of light on all this has been the invitation from Altra to join a bunch of talented athletes in their Ambassador program. Being able to listen in and share with the team our daily activities and thoughts provides the inspiration for me to push a little harder... to keep moving my line of limit a little further out into the distance.

Now it's about taking the successes where and when I can. I push harder, and try to work smarter. If I have to miss a day, I stubbornly push on. Eventually, I will get it figured out.