I ran two miles today. Actually, I ran four half-mile intervals, and pretty much stumbled way through the fourth interval, but the math still adds up to two miles. When I got off the treadmill after the workout my legs were so tied that I tripped over my own foot and almost fell into the lap of an unsuspecting, lovely woman who was just minding her own business on a stationary bike. I was able to catch myself before falling, but to think what could have been. Perhaps the two of us would have struck up a conversation about how tough running can be, and after trading pleasantries I would have asked her out to dinner in what would have been the start of a beautiful relationship. We'd have this funny story to tell our friends when the asked us how we met. On second thought, I'm willing to guess the poor woman would have been grossed out by having a profusely sweating, slightly overweight gentleman fall on her mid-workout. It would have probably ruined her day. Crisis averted.
One tweak I'm going to make to my current workout schedule is to separate my weight lifting and running schedules. The longer these runs get, the more I can feel my energy levels depleting mid-run. I've noticed that, on days where I lift weights before running, I barely have the energy to finish the workout. It's not that I'm having shortness of breath, or shin splits like in the first two weeks, I just run out of energy. It seems that I am not a teenager any longer and need to do a better job of managing the finite amount of energy I have to spend during the day. Thus the almost falling into unsuspecting gym patrons. I think I'm going to switch from a four day weight lifting split to a three day split in which I train shoulders, chest and triceps on the same day. This way I can devote entire days to running, which seems to be the ticket to having successful workouts.
If there is one thing I've learned over the past two years of working out it's that you have to pay attention to the signs that body is giving you. If you are hitting a wall in a workout then maybe it's time to examine the things in you life that could be causing the stagnation. For instance, I've realized in the last couple of weeks that I can not do squats and this running routine at the same time; my knees can not take the added stress right now. Five years ago I could brute force my way through just about any workout, these days, not so much. I'm also starting to notice that the extra work load on the treadmill is starting to give my calf cramps, and I'm guessing that has something to do with the fact that I drink two cups of coffee and two diet soda's before I go to the gym everyday. It may be time to cut out the soda entirely and drink more of that clear substance that comes out of kitchen sink. I hear it's good for you.
There's a girl that is often at the gym around the same time as me, who can not be much taller than five feet, but she can run like a gazelle. I'm not one for a lot of idle chit-chat at the gym, but one of these days I want to give her a high five after we get done running, because it's inspiring to see her kick ass every time we are working out together. I notice that sometimes we steal glances at each other, and it's starting to feel awkward that we haven't said anything to each other. I almost always have my headphones on when I'm working out, especially when I'm running. Even if there a bunch of people I know in there with me, I'm all business when it comes to working out. it's not that I'm not rude, if someone comes up to me and starts talking, I will engage in conversation, but I wish there was a sign on my back that would light up when I'm running that reads, "Fuck Off!" Instead I just turn up the music in my headphones loud enough it drones out the sounds of my own breathing, and any talk in the background, both of which I find hugely distracting.
My workout for Wednesday calls for two, three-quarter mile run intervals with a half mile walk in between. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I will be challenged by this workout. It's crazy to think that just a month ago I was intimidated by having to run 90 second intervals, now I'm running six-seven minutes intervals with relative ease. I've also been able to drop a few pounds since the start of the year, and I feel great. When I heard about the new of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's passing yesterday I was incredibly sad, and wanted to go for a run to clear my mind. I actually had to stop myself from running because I knew it would hurt my workout today. To have running back in my life as a means to clear my mind is a blessing. I've said it before, but running is the closest thing I'm ever going to get to meditating, and I always feel refreshed after a good jog. I feel like it helps me as a writer, and makes me a less irritable person in general.
Now if we could just get rid of all this damn snow.