Writing it down so I can remember it later

Week Two by the numbers

Run: 26.7 miles

Bike: 20.2 miles (no commuting; these were all short jogs around town for National Bike Challenge)

I was trying to figure out which day of training I was on when I realized I hadn’t kept up my promise to post weekly updates on how my training is going for Twin Cities. I then sat down and realized I had very little recollection, even when going back and looking at my workouts on Strava.

I’ve been a borderline obsessive data and numbers person for the last few years, and it got worse when I bought a GPS running watch. It was so easy to automatically sync data after every run. You become this data pirate, hoarding your loot and getting extremely cranky when you forget your watch or the battery goes dead. Those precious miles! It’s like they didn’t happen unless they show up in a database.

When I was pregnant and started to really slow down, I finally stopped wearing the watch, or at least turned off my pace so that I could just focus on heart rate and total time. And after Clara was born, I got more enjoyment out of not looking at the numbers and just getting out there. It was a good time to be unplugged.

I’m trying to strike a balance or at least not get too worked up about the numbers, even though I want to keep track of them for this Saucony marathon challenge. The one thing I like about Strava is the social aspect; it’s more “social” than any other site I’ve used. It also helps that I now know a lot of women who use it. It’s like Facebook for running, without all the annoying political posts.

Before everything was on the computer, I kept a written journal. I still do on occasion, but I’m not as faithful as I was when I was younger. It’s become less important to me to have the details of my mundane life on paper, and do I really want my kids and grandkids to get ahold of them one day when I croak?

However, I wanted this marathon training cycle to be different. I wanted to be able to reflect on past runs – the good and bad – and remember why they were that way. I wanted to actually learn something this time around.

So today I ordered one of these. A place to write about running, biking, cross training, my period, injuries, etc. It arrives next week; I’ll let you know what I think.

Believe Training Journal, Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas

I’m using a new training plan, so why not try something different when it comes to logging workouts? And if it works for Lauren Fleshman, who is just about one of the coolest mothers and runners I’ve ever heard and wanted to meet, I’m guessing I might get a little out of it.

But back to training.

There was a tempo run, which I felt like I nailed as well as I could have, not really knowing what my tempo pace is. My back started to get sore toward the end of the week, which made a six-miler with negative splits a little excruciating for the first few miles. And then there was the long run – ten miles – that I took low, slow, and felt surprisingly great afterward.

scenery on my run - right around the halfway point
scenery on my run – right around the halfway point
A bridge, which reminded me of Dimity, who loves them.
A bridge, which reminded me of Dimity, who loves them.
I bought the training shirt this year.
I bought the training shirt this year.

Having specific workouts is both empowering and intimidating. It’s something I haven’t done a lot of in the past. If a calendar said “run three miles,” I went and ran three miles. Sometimes I’d run them faster. Sometimes I’d run them slowly. If I ran slowly, it was because I was having a bad day and for whatever reason couldn’t keep up the arbitrary “good” pace I’d set in my head. There was no method, no plan. And my long runs? Start out at a random pace and see if I could keep it for the entire run or until I ran out of gas, then curse myself for running out of gas. Long runs were never something I enjoyed; they were slogs. They felt like their main purpose was to deflate me of any good feelings I had built up during the week.

So training is different and good. I still freak out a little when I see “tempo” on the calendar, but I have found that if I am true to the instructions and do what I’m told, I can get through them – even nail them.

I’m riding. Again.

And the bike?

I’ve tried to get out and ride to or to/from work at least once a week on my cross training days. During week two it didn’t happen, but I’d also done a to/from work the week before, right before a long run (eight miles). It wasn’t the greatest feeling.

My excuse about never riding, even though I enjoy it, was that running was less prep work. It took time to get the bike out, to fill the tires, to find all the bike shit needed to go on a ride. My bikes sat around for almost ten years, only getting used a handful of times. It was sad, really.

The truth is, now that the bike is in riding shape and that I have a place to store it where it’s easily accessible (and not in the basement or on the second floor or trapped by a mass of Little Tykes playware, it’s quite easy to get out and ride, even if it’s just a mile or two for this Bike Challenge. And as silly as it might seem to just ride your bike for a mile, some days it’s a nice breath of fresh air, a few moments of peace away from my house. It’s not doing me any harm, that’s for sure.

Bike and Burley on a trip to the playground after Sophie's last day of Kindergarten last week
Bike and Burley on a trip to the playground after Sophie’s last day of Kindergarten last week

So cross training, for the most part, means biking. And since I finally dropped my Ore to Shore registration in the mail – I committed to the 28-mile race – I really need to keep logging miles on the bike, as well as pull out the mountain bike and get some trail miles in.


So Week Two is in the books. It’s all been good. I’ll report next week on Week Three, which is also going well.

Hooray for change and being open to it! Good things can happen.