Monday, April 1, 2013

Horses Are Hard to Ride

The problem with "getting back on the horse" is how difficult it can be stay on at first. Let's just say, there have been relapses. Failure to log my food. Failure to not eat like crap. Failure to reduce sugar intake.

There was, however, some activity logged. So at least there's that.

Friday, with the office closed for un-Orthodox Good Friday, I logged some time on the Buckeye Trail, a 30-minute out-and-back run on a sometimes soggy slurry of a path. A game of beat the clock helped me rediscover "Beast Mode," as one final hill stood between me and the final buzzer of my watch alarm.

My run began at the Blue Hen Falls trailhead in Boston Township. The trail starts off with a steep downhill along craggy asphalt that's in the process of being reclaimed by nature. At the bottom is a bridge over a creek with the overlook to the small falls to the right and a rude uphill straight ahead.

I started my timer at the bridge with the goal of making it back to the car before the buzzer sounded. My confidence was immediately boosted when my legs responded well to that rude incline and upward my legs chugged without the need to walk.

My legs were feeling stronger than during other recent runs. Was this a sign of progress? My running schedule has followed more of a biweekly basis, but I walk daily and have added a circuit workout once or twice a week.

The latter exercise includes squats and lunges, which I used to be allergic to but recently discovered that the principle of short strides also applies here. In the past, I would lunge too far and would soon discover my knee hurt from the stress. Don't overstride, people.

My alarm sounded at 15 minutes to signal my turnaround point, which of course coincided with having just descended into another valley. Climbing back up the hill resulted in the first of many walk breaks of my short run.

This section of the Buckeye Trail crosses an overhead utility right of way, which marks about three-tenths of a mile from the parking area. My watch showed less than five minutes to go. This was going to be close.

The hill to the falls was much less rude going down. But that craggy asphalt was hell going up. My apologies to the families who were just trying to enjoy a nice spring day. Beast Mode is not pretty.

Each step that beat the buzzer propelled me ever upward. My legs strained. My lungs screamed. My face contorted. Those poor, poor passersby.

The parking lot neared. Just a bit farther. But then the alarm went off. Close, but no cigar.

Still, though, I was happy with the effort. Running to the alarm provides strong motivation to run hard, but it also governs my distance based on my ability. I've always been a mile marker, but now I enjoy marking the minutes.

Saturday was another good weather day. My legs were tired, but I wanted to run. Instead, I took the dog for a long walk through the surrounding neighborhoods. It was good recovery and good exercise too.

Unfortunately, I followed that up with a terrible diet for the rest of the weekend. This week, I'll do better.

4 comments:

Jamoosh said...

Something to aspire to. Love it!

Carolina John said...

Good effort! If you push it hard enough, the trail will push back. My diet has been complete shit for the last few weeks and it shows in the waistline. hang in there.

Redhead Running said...

I like the idea of the timed run, definitely makes you push and try for it, almost like a secret speedwork...

KW said...

My diet is awful and my workouts have been almost non-existent. I did have a bootcamp on saturday. I rewarded myself with tons of sweeties on Sunday. Motivation...please come back!