Sunday, June 10, 2007

Run And Learn

Well, I received additional education about myself this past Saturday.
I decided to forsake my uphill course for a "flat" one.
The idea was to run a course of which I knew the distance, rather than guess.
So I went to my old course in Research Park.
If you were to see this portion from the air, it would look like the number 9.
The loop is exactly one mile with two hills on it.
So I started at the bottom of the nine, ran up to the loop, turned left, ran around the loop and back to the start point.
Just short of three miles.
But as I was coming up the second hill at the top of the nine (about a quarter mile long), I had to kick my breathing into the "one and a half" mode.

Some explanation - my usual "comfortable" breathing rate while running is one breath every four steps.
When I work harder, my breathing rate increases to one breath every three steps.
There is a fourth breathing rate that is reserved for the end of races where I sprint as fast as I can and breathe as fast as required.
I do not pay much attention to my breathing rate vs. my steps during this time.
It seldom lasts longer that about thirty seconds.

Anyway, if my breathing increases to the "one and a half" rate too early in a run, I try to slow down to allow my breathing rate to drop back to my comfort pace.
Well, Saturday I could not get my breathing back down to my comfort rate so I ran the last mile or so under some duress.
This surprised me.

I thought that my uphill Bankhead course was a tougher course even though the second half is all down hill.
Flat with two smaller hills is harder, it seems.
So, rather than run my beloved Bankhead course for a few weeks, I will run the Research Park course until I am strong enough to handle the "flat" course.

The workout Saturday was substantial.
Fortunately, nothing broke.
In fact, nothing even whined.
No knee problems, no hip problems, no connection problems.
Just general tiredness.
I was very tired afterward.
It was a familiar feeling - tired yet still feeling the high from the endorphins generated by the session - from my racing days.

I did my usual two-mile walk this morning and could feel several complaints from stiff hams and calves.
Pain is good.
No pain, no gain.
So pain = gain.
Ergo, I gained this weekend.

It is good to be running again.

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