Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tempo and Speed

The new name of my blog is a reference to two types of running workouts. I promise not to have all my postings about running, but indulge me once more with this one. As background, a tempo run is done at a "comfortably hard" pace and is designed to train your body to run faster for a longer time before fatiguing - building your endurance. A speed workout includes intervals, running even faster than that comfortably hard pace for shorter periods. The purpose here is to get used to running faster - increasing your speed and strength. As a runner, I have only recently begun delving into these workouts. Up to now, I have run as fast and long as I felt like it for any given run. Feeling good? Let's run a bit longer. Feeling really good? Let's run faster. Not a recipe for improvement or achieving goals but a fancy free approach and frankly, more fun.

I like the sound of these words together - tempo and speed. At first blush, they mean the same thing. But dissect them and you will find the nuances. I won't all do the dissecting for you; add your own interpretation. For me, they are an interesting metaphor between my life and my running. My tempo days are spent doing all my regular and varied responsibilities: making meals, packing lunches, laundering, paying bills, volunteering, running, making phone calls (necessary and other), chauffeuring, shopping (necessary and other), mediating (the kids), negotiating (the kids), maintaining calendars (mine, the kids and sometimes hubby's) and much more. These days are busy, full and fast-paced, and even sometimes hard. But they have become routine and I find I can continue to pack more into a tempo day than I would have thought in the past. My endurance is building with every tempo day.

A speed day is thrown in every now and then. It shows up sometimes unexpectedly when a child gets sick or an unscheduled business trip is announced. Sometimes speed days are planned and occur in preparation for a rest day (a.k.a. family vacation). In either case, the tempo routine is thrown off and my pace is ratcheted up past my comfortably hard level. I must maintain my regular load and then some. But I know these speed days come at intervals and I do get a break, back to my comfort zone after what usually ends up as a relatively short time. With each speed day, I get better at managing these fast-paced times of irregularity. My speed and strength improve with each speed day.

I fantasize sometimes about approaching my life as I used to approach my running: doing whatever based on how I feel - the fancy free approach. Days of complete personal choice, whimsy, no accountability and pure fun. As a wife, mother and frankly an adult, those days are gone but I clearly remember them. College, I think it was. But going down that laissez-faire lane gets you nowhere and nothing that you don't already have. No improvement. No gains. Fun maybe but strangely I find my fun in different, better ways these days. Laughing with my family, doing science experiments with the boys, watching G-rated movies repeatedly, and yes, running faster than is comfortable.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Run, Courtney, Run!

I have set up a mileage tracker on the top right of my blog. What this all about? I am training for a 1/2 marathon this May. The tracker is my log of total miles I have run so far this year. I run 3-4 times a week. My training doesn't require keeping this tally. Mainly, it is a statistic that I am curious about. Let's see how the number grows.

I ran the same race last May and plan to better my time this year. I have been running for about 2 years. In my younger days, I would have never imagined me being a runner or any other athlete for that matter. I started when my youngest was in preschool and I finally had some kid-free time. A great friend invited me to join her in a running class at the Y (thanks Kelly!). After my body adjusted to really exercising for the first time in much more than one decade (!), I was hooked. Aside from the physical benefits, here is the short list of why I love to run:
  • Running boosts my mood
  • Even a hard run is better than no run at all
  • I love what my body can do
  • It IS social - I have great, FUN friends who I run with
  • Setting and achieving personal goals, on a run-by-run basis and grander scales
  • Running is simple - Have good shoes? Let's go.
  • I actually look forward to "gu-ing" at miles 4 & 8 (you can google "gu energy gel")
  • Running outside whenever I can
I actually could go on, but that wouldn't be a short list. But you get the idea. Kinda like Forrest Gump, but a little bubblier.

So watch the mileage tracker and see how high it rises.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am a Blogger now...

I have avoided it for long enough. I can no longer act like this is going away. I am too young to not embark on this new journey. I will be left behind if I wait another day. I must blog! I really don't know what I am doing, but I will learn as I go. I am a good faker if not a quick study. I will share my thoughts with anyone who cares or who otherwise happens to fall into my blogspot. I will show my amateur photography with pride. I will talk about my kids, my husband, my daily whatevers. I already feel freer! Love me, love my blog! Or not! I can't say what this blogging business will lead to, but right now it gives me something else to do other than laundry. I love it!

Come back if you dare, if you care to my blog. See you again soon.