Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rainy Running Day…Oh What Fun?!

In The Morning
“66F, Cloudy, Showers likely throughout the day…” isn’t the first thing you want to hear early in the morning when you’ve got a rather intense interval workout of [9M; 3x1M@6:07] scheduled for the late afternoon. As I got dressed ready for work and packed the gym bag with my clothes and running gear, I carefully weighed all the options available to me: A) Run outside in rain and postpone speedwork for later in the week; B) Take extra rest day and postpone running all together or C) Succumb to the machine and do miles on the treadmill. I had to admit that none of these options seemed particularly appealing to me as I was planning out my day, so I gathered everything I’d need for indoor or outdoor running and resolved to reassess the situation again after work. Still, as I got out of my apartment and found myself in the midst of a torrential downpour, I admitted that the prospect of any running happening later in the day wasn’t going to be good.


The Treadmill Miles
A few hours later, I found myself at the gym still undecided about my running. Work at the hospital was unusually light this morning as most parents opted to keep their kids home rather than subject themselves to the mercy of the weather gods just to come see me, (A rather wise choice in my off-the-record unprofessional opinion…) so I took the opportunity to escape to the gym much earlier than I had planned. Since the persisting rain eliminated any possibility of outdoor speedwork, I surrendered myself to the machines and climbed on the treadmill for my planned interval workout. But instead of setting it for 3 interval miles at 6:04, which I thought would be rather monotonous, I decided in the spur of the moment to do progressive miles – 0.25 miles at 6:07, 0.5 miles at 6:04, and 0.25 miles at 6:00. My reasons for doing this was not only to add variety to an otherwise boring workout, but also to teach my body correct pacing for these type of faster workouts. In the end, my plan worked brilliantly as I knocked out a total of 6 miles on the treadmill with my three interval miles clocking in at 6:04, 6:03, and 5:58 respectively…not so terrible for my first dedicated interval workout of my new marathon training plan.


The Park Miles
I was so inspired by my treadmill speed workout that I braved the rainy weather and ran my cooldown miles in the park. Even as I told myself that it was only supposed to be 3 flat miles, my legs wouldn’t listened and carried me straight through to the upper 5 mile loop of the park! As an added bonus, I even kept my pace at a steady recovery pace of 7:28 min/mi the entire time, never speeding up or slowing down at all! Wahoo! I dare say I’m slowly getting the hang of the whole “run more miles, run slower miles” philosophy to marathon training. And as if that wasn’t enough, I had a bunch of silly, slightly euphoric moments that made the run slightly humorous…

Moment 1: I’m at the entrance to the park and find myself stretching my quads and hamstrings next to a street vendor selling umbrellas in the steady rain. I’m casually looking at him as I go about my business. He catches my stare and asks me in broken English…”Do you want to buy an umbrella? Umbrella…good for running…” I shake my head and chuckle to myself, What? If I’m crazy enough to go running in the park in this weather, does it look like I’d need an umbrella? What could I possibly do with an umbrella while I run? For some reason, this interaction energizes me as I start my trek around the park.

Moment 2: I’m running up Cat Hill at a slow and comfortable pace. In the past 2 miles, I’ve only seen a handful of runners. This is extremely unusual for a late afternoon in mid-July. The thought makes me feel a bit hardcore and a bit more confident. All of a sudden, I see a fellow runner chugging down the hill with a poncho of sorts. Okay, maybe I’m not as hardcore as that guy. I’m thinking to myself as I instinctively track his progress with my adoring eyes. He passes me. I glance back. What I thought was a poncho was not a poncho at all; it was a mylar blanket from last year’s NYC Marathon!

Moment 3: I’m winding down now, flowing through the rolling hills of the western section of the park. Directly in front of me, part of the road was being blocked off with orange cones and a sign labeled “Central Park Conservatory - Tree Work In Progress”. Some city workers were high atop a big crane getting ready to cut down a giant tree by the side of a road. As I ran past, I wondered Geez, what kind of conservatory work would involve cutting down a tree? I thought the whole point of their line of work was to preserve the park environment to allow a safe and natural habitat for animals and wild life to thrive and grow. Hmmm…does PETA know about this? Should someone tell them? I don’t consider myself an environmentalist, at least not a passionate one, so for me to have these thoughts was a bit out of character for me.

Total distance for the day: 11.23 mile @ 7:09 min/mi


A New Book and Sushi
My running day didn’t end there as after the gym I went straight to the bookstore, perused around a bit and picked up my next reading selection! I had finished “Born To Run” earlier that morning on the way to work and had already listened to Brandon’s insightful interview with Chris McDougall by the time I hit the gym so I was in need of an outlet for my new found exuberance in running and marathon training. I spent about an hour at Barnes & Noble, researching and interviewing potential candidates, but eventually settled on “Brain Training for Runners”. Why? Three reasons. 1. Ana-Maria recommended it to me. 2. It is medically relevant. 3. It is guaranteed to improve my running (or so it claims!) Any others who have read this book, feel free to comment…

After making my purchase, I ended the night by indulging myself to some Japanese sushi with a friend on the Upper West Side. I’m not sure if it counts as a recovery meal but it definitely hit the spot and provided a perfect ending to my unexpectedly fulfilling rainy running day!

19 comments:

Biscuitman said...

Just found your blog and am enjoying going back and reading some of your race reports. I ran Boston this year and loved your report. Even though it didn't turn out the way you wanted, I think your report captured the spirit of the race perfectly. You certainly seem to have come out the other side a stronger runner going on your recent performances.

lindsay said...

gotta love those non-supportive weather forecasts. i let them get in my head too much! nice job on the run - on the 'mill and in the rain. not sure which is worse? :)

the dude in the mylar blanket... too much. suck it up and get wet!

Brandon Wood said...

Hey there Laminator!

Thank you so much for the plug! I hope you enjoyed the interview!

BW

I RUN LIKE A GIRL said...

Sounds like you had an awesome workout - indoor and out! I know the dreadful treadmill feeling - it's like the worst thing E-V-E-R!

My favorite part is the umbrella guy - I mean, really??!! An umbrella is good for running? Since when?! haha I'm glad you braved it and left the umbrellas for someone else!

B.o.B. said...

I love when it rains here during track night. It's so flippin' hot so that makes a big difference between here and NYC I am sure.

You should have asked that guy to just run next to you with the umbrella. That would have thrown him waaaay off! :)

Susan said...

Now I have a silly picture in my head of someone running with an umbrella...that would make my day!

Nitmos said...

If you do an umbrella, you might has well put on the parachute for some true hardcore resistance training.

Chic Runner said...

The whole parachute would work for you! :) Just kidding. I hate the rain, and loathe running in it. Then the dreadmill. You have bad luck my friend! :)

NY Wolve said...

Yesterday was a bear to run outside, and I tip my hat to ya. I stayed indoors on the treadmill.

I have that book too and never read it past the first 5 pages or so. I am interested in your perspective and thoughts, and maybe I'll pick it back up...

runner26 said...

ha! i did the same thing yesterday! was supposed to do my first run of marathon training and it was pouring in the am! so i went to the gym and sucked it up on the treadmill. not as bad as i thought. props to you for doing your cooldown outside ;)

Running and living said...

Awesome job on the run. We've had similar weather, more rain than sun this summer. I hope August and September will be nicer. Ana-Maria

Jamie said...

Way to get those miles done. And finishing up in the rain! Nice job!

joyRuN said...

Welcome back to civilization (yeay cable guy)!

I'd rather run in the rain than in the hot weather, but these days - I'll take any excuse I can get :)

runnerinsight said...

Having an umbrella is always exciting, isnt it? : ) Anyway, it depends on how we take things and manage to make it work for us. Guess that explains why we make running fun! : )

Spike said...

nobody loves running in the rain but me? I love to run in the rain. mile repeats in the rain is the best! regardless, great job nailing your splits.

Mike G said...

Sounds like a great run. Nice pace! I like the rain, as long as my shoes don't get too wet, it's mysterious and romantic.

The Happy Runner said...

Brain Training for Runners is on my list so I'll be interested to know what you think about it.

sRod said...

Isn't it great when workouts turn out better than you anticipated?

Michelle said...

Awesome running Lam!

You know they have those hats with the little umbrella on them, you could wear that next time!!!

:O)

 
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