Thursday, February 01, 2007

Swan Song in South Bend

Today was my last day in South Bend. I was up rather late last night working and, as a result, rolled out of bed later than expected. Peaking through the curtains, it was evident that the snow fall had continued throughout most of the night and after sticking my head out the door I could tell that the temperature was much lower than yesterday; probably something close to 10F (-12C). Since I had left my hat at home, I didn’t think it wise to try a 5 miler in the dark pre-dawn sky sans chapeau. However, as I slogged my way through the fresh snow while walking over the hotel’s main building (home of the exercise room), I immediately regretted not bringing a hat, for the snow had that squeaky crunch crunch crunch sound you can only get from fresh snow under your feet. A run through this would have been memorable; oh well, perhaps in my next life.

I found the exercise room and stripped off my gloves, jacket, sweat shirt and sweat pants and hopped on the treadmill. For reasons I never figured out, I couldn’t reset this old treadmill. After screwing around with it for a few minutes, I gave up and just crank up the speed and started the run with 3.1 showing in the distance display. I didn’t pay attention to pace the first mile and simply kept my HR at 125 (trying to follow Ewen’s sage advice). Looking down at my watch at 1 mile, I was shocked to see 12:18. I was barely walking and my pulse was racing at 71% max. At this rate, I wouldn’t get through 5 miles within an hour and I didn’t have a hour to spend screwing around in the basement of this hotel. Hence, I pushed up the speed a couple of notches and continued on, convinced I was now plodding along at a more reasonable pace.

My HR increased to 131 but I had barely increased the pace; completing the second mile in 10:34/mi. So let’s see, 76% max HR = 10:34/mi pace! If I’m going to run at this speed, I’ve really got to learn how to do it comfortably. My shins were starting to hurt from all the pounding and I’d been on this bloody machine for 23 minutes and only complete 2 miles. I didn’t have all day to get finished with this run. I still had to get to work and finish the day before returning to Phoenix. So I threw caution to the wind and cranked the speed up again.

Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang (I don’t know how D runs so many quality miles on a treadmill). I ran mile 3 in 9:52 … I was on fire now! My HR held steady at 141 through most of this mile; disappointing, but that what it was. I think Ewen would label this a grey run.

Within a minute of passing mile 3, the infernal machine turned itself off. I frantically pounded on the start button trying to get it moving again, but I had to let it come to a complete stop before it would respond (I HATE THESE THINGS). But by this time, neither my heart nor my head was in this “run”. I stepped off, put my sweats on and went upstairs for breakfast.

I’ll be back in Phoenix on Thursday and will try to get the body moving again on Friday. I hear that it’s been raining solid for the past few days in Phoenix, perhaps I can get in my first raining day run of the year on Friday. One can only dream.

Have a great week.


D said...

I just left you a long comment and blogger zapped it!!!! UGH. Let me try and repost it from memory.

A good machine does make the difference when running on the treadmill and your hotel treadmill was horrible! A good distraction helps, like reading the closed caption of an interesting program or having a conversation with an interesting person.

Sorry to hear about your frustrations with the airlines. IF I could, I would opt to drive everywhere to avoid the hassles, frustrations, rudeness, etc involved with air travel.

We are snow covered here so I'm not feeling too sorry for you while you are in Indiana considering you get to go home to nice mild temps!

Anonymous said...

Bleah, sorry about the treadmill. That is so disappointing. Sorry, I think the rain is gone.


Sempre Libera said...

Treadmills make me feel like a hamster, no matter whether they're working or not.

As for your heart rate / pace issues, just take it easy - you just ran a marathon and it will take your body a while to recover. My runs were hard - huffing and puffing at a slow pace - for a good three weeks after I ran New York.

Ewen said...

Yes Phil.

I've found it does take some practise to run comfortably at a low HR. Initially, it's a bit like doing a foreign exercise, such as sprinting or race-walking. So, while you're trying 'hard' to run easily, it's not a truly 'white' session.

As your fitness improves over the months, you'll be able to run a little quicker (at a more comfortable pace) for the same low HR.