January 6, 2008

I am not yet "in shape"

I was all ready to run Saturday when I got a call from a possible running partner, C. She wanted to run Sunday, so I put off the run and did core exercises instead, which once again made me feel pretty weak. But I'm slowly progressing and it's only the first week of training, after all.

So Sunday morning rolled around and I got up early, instead of sleeping in, to meet a guy who was supposed to buy a spare hard drive from me. Turns out he never showed: I could have gotten two more hours sleep. What a dick.

I went ahead and took a shower, even though I'd be running within a few hours, figuring I should make a good impression with a new running partner. I even shaved. Well, guess what? C called about noon and sounded terrible. Said she was congested and didn't want to run and risk getting sick. OK, no sweat.

I was split between going to Central Park anyway or just doing my five-miler on the flat five-mile route here at home. But, truth be told, I don't want to get too bored with my five-mile out-and-back, and it's good training to deal with the pedestrians in Central Park - keeps your attention focused.

Once at Central Park, I debated with myself about running with Phedippidations playing in my ears or not. On one hand, good training means doing the long runs without music. On the other hand - I'd been left high and dry and deserved some kind of running partner, even if a virtual one. So I took my iPod with me.

The run was about middle of the road. I didn't think I'd be able to do five miles without some walking, but I didn't count on the hills kicking my ass like that, nor how overheated I'd get. It was cool today, but overcast and with high humidity. So that fed into things. I am happy with the route and distance and even the overall time - less than an hour - and that includes two stops for stretching. I just couldn't get warmed up below the waist, it seems. I couldn't get loose. I'm going to have to get MUCH better about stretching before my runs and a little more after, too. It's my weak point right now.

I'm also having to train myself how to run with a bottle of water, again. Time was, I wouldn't leave home without it and would always have fluid when I ran. But in the last few months of 3 milers, I've done without. It was good to have a small bottle of water today, but I will have to take Heed and gel on the long runs from now on.

Anyway, the charts are interesting. I started near the bottom of the park near 6th ave. You can clearly see where Cat Hill begins about a mile into the run. I'm surprised how much elevation one loses running across the 102nd street crossover, but not surprised about the elevation gain soon after. The long series of downhills to the bottom of the park, the flat around the bottom, and the final uphill in the last .4 miles of my run are also evident. There's not much more overall elevation change on this route than my route to Prospect Park.

The fact that it takes me 3 miles to warm up is evident here. See how after the third mile marker, my pace evens out somewhat, walk breaks are shorter, pace is more even, despite the hills, and my heart rate is constrained to a more narrow range.

To cap this post off, I want to point out three weird things. One was that I must have passed twenty people or more who were wearing the same long-sleeve tech T as me, the one from NY Marathon two years ago. Unlike them I didn't earn mine, so I had mine covered in a second shirt. The second weird thing was that a full 80% of the other runners were wearing tights. These things have really caught on. Bizarre. Finally, everybody in the park was well behaved! It's as if everyone's New Year's resolution was to not be a jackhole. No crying babies, no mindless pedestrians, no jerk bikers. Everybody was polite and making room for each other. Very, very Twilight-Zone-like. Stepford Park People.

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