Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Archive for the category “training”

Daily Chase: Vol. 36

Can you smell it? It’s the smell of spring, and the sweaty scent of race season fast approaching us! The winter push is almost over (well, it was 80 degrees here yesterday, so maybe we skipped spring?) and it’s about time to toe the line at races all around the country. It’s almost high season for everything from track meets to 100-milers. What do you have on your calendar? Have you signed up for all of your races, or are you taking it easy and focusing on just one or two? What are you looking forward to running? The opportunities are endless!

Chasing42 Log: 20160308-20160310

Run: It’s been a beautiful week, which has made my running that much more enjoyable. I was able to get up early on both Tuesday and Thursday with relative ease and head out the door some two very calm and peaceful sunrise runs. I bookended those two days with two sunset runs, and the double two-a-day felt really good. I tossed in a nice easy Wednesday run after work, and I’m feeling good. I’m doing my best to take it easy this week and next as a bit of a taper. No additional intense training is going to make a lick of difference at this point, so it’s time to focus my mind and mentally prepare for the challenge ahead.

Thought: I recently listened to a wonderful discussion about training consistency and variety on Trail Runner Nation. They hammered home the point that it’s not enough to simply make sure you are getting in your workout every day. If you find yourself doing the same thing, running with the same intensity or pace, running the same route, or running the same distance, then your progress will plateau. Variety is the spice of life, and our bodies are wonderfully well-equipped at adapting. So, it should go without saying that real progress comes through variety of training. However, the ability to maximize available opportunities came through as a secondary point of emphasis. We often convince ourselves that if we don’t have enough time for the full workout that we had planned, then we simply can’t do it. The reality is that with a bit of shifting, we can still get in a solid workout and something is always better than nothing. Keep #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 35

The semester is in full swing, and I’m finally feeling like I’ve hit my stride with all of the new lesson-planning I have on my plate, and the various other responsibilities that are beginning to add up. I’ve always loved being busy, and feel like I thrive on it, so it’s a wonderful feeling to be getting back to that place again. My training seems to be benefitting from the stricter schedule as well!

Chasing42 Log: 20160304-20160308

Run: The last five days have been a bit of a blur, but there was some fantastic running going on among the chaos! I kept my streak in place on Friday after work, and was able to stretch my legs for my long run the next day. I was up by 3:45AM on Saturday morning, out the door by 4:30, and I thoroughly enjoyed a long trail run all morning. It was the longest I had gone since ATY, and my legs felt great! I followed that up with some hill repeats on Sunday at a faster pace to really push my legs and test my recovery (success!). It was a beautiful afternoon yesterday, so I went out and explored Newark and the paved trail system in town when I finished up with my teaching responsibilities. Today was an even better day, and I had a nice run on the books before my day even began. Spring is just around the corner!

The silent shadows at Winterthur as the sun began to peek through the moonlight!

The silent shadows at Winterthur as the sun began to peek through the moonlight!

Thought: What is a runner? I’ve been working with my students on aspects of gender identity, and challenging them to rethink their notions of “man” and “woman” as we begin to unpack these social constructions. This lead me to start thinking about the question “what is a runner?” I often hear customers come into the DRC and preface their needs with “I’m not a runner, but…” or some variation on this theme. They then go on to tell me that they are indeed lacing up their shoes and getting out there, and realized they needed a better pair of shoes to support their new-found hobby. I do my best to point out that if they are out there doing it, then they are indeed a runner. This realization is often met with a shy smile or a giggle of embarrassment. Even in our humble sport, where access is much more open than in many others, we seem to communicate a certain set of characteristics that make one a “runner”. This no doubt turns some people off from the activity all together, and more importantly, sends a dangerous message. Running is many things to many people, but the commonality always seems to be that it is a positive force in everyone’s life. Why would we deny someone this beautifully positive force because they don’t feel like they can identify as a “runner”? Perhaps we all need to start thinking more critically about how we describe our running identities and how we engage others in those discussions, eh? It’s just one more step on the road #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 34

The chase is on, and the clock is ticking closer and closer to the Georgia Death Race. I can honestly say that I’ve trained as hard or harder for this race than perhaps any other race in the past. More particularly, I’ve climbed more in this training cycle than probably the entire rest of my running experience combined. I have no idea if this will be enough and/or translate into success out on the course, but I can feel happy about my work regardless!

Chasing42 Log: 20160229- 20160303

Run; My weekday running finally feels like it’s settling into a routine a bit more this week. I’ve managed to get up early twice for a morning run before work, and have had a tad more energy throughout the day. I was able to hit the stair climber, bike, and treadmill @ 15% on Monday as well, which was great for my vertical climbing strength.

Thought: I’m not typically one to dwell on past mistakes or errors in judgement, but that doesn’t stop me from contemplating how various decisions I’ve made throughout might life might have impacted where I’m at now. It’s an interesting thought exercise to consider the ripple effect that various choices we make, both big and small, have on future aspects of our lives. I feel like it helps to give me perspective on where I’m at now, and be more conscious about being in the moment and finding contentment in where things are at, no matter how chaotic or unsettled they might feel. Lately, as life has gotten busier, I’ve found that my runs, most of which are solitary at this point, serve as an excellent mental podium for combing through the recesses of my memories and thinking about how the various deviations from the path in my life have actually become the path itself. We are often taught, especially in Western culture, to believe that we must pick a particular path for ourselves relatively early on in our lives, and then guide all of our decisions towards staying on that path. Reality, however, tends to get in the way of the best laid plans and can cause us quite a bit of discomfort if we aren’t ready for the detours. So, the goal of all of this training then isn’t just about the physical aspects, but also to keep #chasing42 and embraces the detours on the trail!

P.S. Interesting…perhaps I’m simply not at peace with the 7-10 hours a week I’m now spending in the car. I’d love to hear thoughts from folks that have found contentment with those longer daily commutes!

Daily Chase: Vol. 33

Another weekend is in the books, and it was a busy but quite enjoyable couple of days! The weather took a turn for the better, and I was able to get out and enjoy it in between time working and handling the other various chores that encompass most weekends. It’s been interesting to watch the seasons unfold in Delaware, and I’m enjoying the fact that regardless of what each day brings, it’s all new and amounts to more information to catalog for future reference!

Chasing42 Log: 20160226, 20160227, 20160228

Run: I got home from work on Friday and squeezed in my run to keep my streak in check. I was out the door by 6AM the next morning for a few hours of solitary running as well, before heading in to tackle a busy day. Everyone comes out of the woodwork at a running store when the weather is nice! On Sunday, I headed out to Brandywine Creek State Park with the epicurean and Lulu with the sole goal of hitting the vertical climb. After some delightful trail running and countless hill repeats, I was a happy trail runner!

Hitting maintenance hill!

Hitting maintenance hill!

Thought: The Oscars are on tonight, and no doubt means millions of dollars flowing into the local economy as highly paid actors and actresses put their enormous paychecks to use. We’ve already paid our money to see the films, so now it’s their turn to pat themselves on the back and assign awards that will result in even more money going into their pockets based on bonuses that were predetermined in their contracts. I love movies as much as the next person (when they are of a certain quality, of course), but did you ever stop to ask yourself if the performance you just watch really justified the millions of dollars they were paid? On the flip side, you could spend your time outside enjoying the natural beauty of the world. It turns out that #chasing42 saves you money too 😉

Daily Chase: Vol. 32

So far this month, the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings, gale warning, tornado warnings, thunderstorm warnings, and flash flood warnings, all for the state of Delaware. I realize I might mention the weather around here rather frequently, but come on! It’s February and I think I’m in some sort of meteorological twilight zone. I honestly don’t know what else to expect, but it’s almost hurricane season, right?

Chasing42 Log: 20160224 & 20160225

Run: My brief run yesterday kept the streak in play after a long day of teaching and working at the DRC, and I even managed to squeeze it in before the storms hit! I was back at it this morning, and the rain had subsided so I was able to get up early for a warm-up run near home, and then hit the hills out at Winterthur as well. it was a solid day for vertical climb!

Thought: I just read that former KKK-leader and raging racist, homophobe, and neo-Nazi David Duke is now encouraging his “fans” (apparently someone gave him some time on the airwaves- seriously?!) to support Donald Trump. I realize that the support base for these two individuals overlaps quite a bit, and Trump is drawing quite a bit of his support from the card-carrying racists in this country, but I continue to be baffled. I am constantly in awe, not only of the GOP’s ability to let this joke continue, but of the American public’s acceptance. There have always been outspoken oppressive individuals, but its no longer the overt racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia that is truly dangerous. It’s become at least partially socially unacceptable to espouse these beliefs to a wider audience. However, the Trump campaign is making it ok again. Placing a Trump bumper sticker on your car, a sign in your yard, or a t-shirt on your back isn’t communicating your socially or fiscally conservative views. It doesn’t scream Republican, regardless of how far right the party might have shifted in recent years. All that bumper sticker tells me is that Trump has made it ok for you to publicly and overtly tell the world that you are quite alright with the racist, sexist, homophobic trail of slime being left out on the campaign trail. Your support for Trump is no more a statement about the need to simply “shake things up” in the GOP or “make America great again” than hanging the Confederate flag in your window is a sign of your Southern pride. There is no gray area here, folks, and if you think there is, then you are fooling yourself. Just be careful, because sooner or later, he’ll come for you…and you said nothing.

*Phew- Deep breath- ok, good to go…now get out there and keep #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 31

Ok, so I suppose there had to be a tradeoff at some point. I couldn’t expect to simply leave the snow behind and Mother Nature not compensate in some way to still push me. It would seem that a significantly more frequent amount of rain is that compensation. For the most part, I think I prefer snow to rain, which makes this all the more ironic, I suppose!

Chasing42 Log: 20160223

Run: I set out from Winterthur in the freezing rain for an exploration run. I wanted to mix things up so I ran through the estate and down the road to Brandywine Creek State Park. There are some great hills in the park, and along the cross-country course so I made my way around the course and tried my best to ignore the rain. My Saucony Exo rain shell kept my relatively dry, and it kept enough heat in that I stayed warm enough, but I never quite felt comfortable. I’ll chalk it up to character-building and move on. At least I didn’t have to shovel when I got home, right?

Thought: I’ve been thinking more lately about my activity level when I’m not running. I move around quite a bit and walk plenty, but I’m always looking for new ways to build strength when I’d otherwise simply be sitting at the computer or watching TV in the evening. I suppose it’s my misguided need to try and multitask as a means of feeling like I’ve accomplished more during the day, but it’s fun to look for short, quick exercises I can do to break up the day. Do you have any quick exercises you enjoy doing as a means of breaking up your routine?

Daily Chase: Vol. 30

Variety is indeed the spice of life, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to mix up my daily runs and workouts. I have a great deal of respect for folks who can run the same route or hop on the treadmill day after day and be content with their experience. In part, I suppose it’s the result of different motives for running in the first place. Whatever the reason, I need variety to keep me interested. I use running as not only a means to test my own limits and abilities, but also to explore the world around me in new and interesting ways. Where have you gone exploring lately?

Chasing42 Log: 20160222

Run: Now that I am back in a university environment, I figured it was time that I familiarize myself with the workout facilities at my disposal as a way to mix up my training. I brought my running clothes along so I could change in my office, and I headed over to the university fitness center. They happen to have a faculty/staff fitness facility in addition to the full student facility so I had no shortage of options. Vertical gain is the name of the game as of late so I actually found myself on the treadmill for a few miles after setting it at a 15% grade. It still boggles my mind how folks can spend any significant amount of time on a moving belt, but the climbing definitely made for a great workout. I then spent some time on a stair stepper and a climbing machine to really push things, before taking a run outside around campus to cool down. It made for a delightfully varied workout!

Thought: University course registration policies baffle me! I’m currently at an institution where students can register for a new course up to three weeks into the semester. I understand the need for flexibility, and I certainly acknowledge that there are any of a number of scenarios that may require someone to pick up an additional class after the start of the semester. However, at the point at which three weeks (or 20%) of the course has already passed, why would someone think registering would make sense. You have presumably missed so much content at that point that, and any course curriculum worth a darn certainly shouldn’t make it possible to simply skip 20% of the course and still reach any of the learning outcomes. At the end of the day, however, many students don’t see it that way, and simply need the credits. Many faculty members don’t see it that way either, and water down their courses to allow for this absurd level of flexibility. I can’t help but wonder, though, how much actual learning is sacrificed in the process of providing such extreme flexibility.

This makes for an interesting parallel when thinking about running and training plans. For many folks, each race begins 12 to 18 weeks earlier with a detailed training plan. Sure, you might miss a workout here and there, and you might need to adjust your schedule. However, you wouldn’t consider simply skipping 1/5 of the workouts and still expect to live up to anyone’s expectations. If you are truly #chasing42 in any aspect of your life, you are hopefully doing so at 100%. I’m now stepping down- my soapbox is available for rent!

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