Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Slow And Steady

Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, I’m in the middle of a mid-week weekend. That means I have two days off in the middle of the week, and am enjoying some down time in spite of the impending doom of the Crescent City (overreaction compliments of Meteorologist Bob Breck). This morning, during a lull in the slight drizzle and wind, I ventured out of my downtown lair with my PIC (Partner in Crime) to have pre-storm breakfast. Our one last jaunt before being under lockdown for the duration of the storm took us to Slim Goodies on Magazine Street, and a great idea it turned out to be.

The drive home along St. Charles Avenue was disrupted by the discomfort caused by a gluttonous consumption of banana pancakes. To add insult to my metabolic injury, I had a wave of guilt wash over me when I saw multiple runners along the streetcar line. They were dodging cars that were parked on the tracks in an attempt to avoid rising flood waters. I wanted to pull over and thank these jogging weather bandits for helping to solidify the runner stereotype … that we’re a little left of center, because even I certainly thought they had lost their mind.

Not only had my in-town evacuation led me astray from a healthy(er) weekday diet, but I had written off my training regimen as being “under duress” and these people were showing me up. Unacceptable.

When asked how training is going for my NYC Marathon debut, my typical response these days is “Its Going.” That’s not an emphatically positive statement saying that I’m convinced I’m going to knock it out of the park, nor is it an admission of throwing up a white flag in total defeat. I’ve been maintaining a steady stream of weekday workouts the past several weeks that range from 6 mile short runs to an hour long spin class followed immediately by a two mile sprint. My pace is totally lacking, and I was thrilled to lay down a 4 mile run the other day where I maintained a 9 minute per-mile pace. That’s better than the 10 or 11 minute miles I had been posting through the first part of August, but far off the 8 minute mile pace I want to have for NYC.

I’ve dubbed the worst part of my runs “Self Imposed Walks Of Shame.” Those would be the parts late in my workout where I am completely spent from the heat and humidity, and I have to walk, stretch, regroup and level off my breathing. And yes, I am usually walking kinda funny at this point and look totally disheveled. I hate having to do this, but it’s sometimes necessary to finish a run. Doing it as hundreds of cars pass by you on main thoroughfares in downtown New Orleans? That’s where the shame comes in, and motivates me to continue to omit the breaks from my workouts.

I’ve convinced myself that getting through a six mile run with minimal walking is most important right now. Once lower humidity and cooler temps arrive in the coming weeks, easier and quicker pacing will follow suit. Until then, I’m maintaining my training schedule as much as I can between tropical disasters and momentary lapses in persistence. September and October also have several races in store for me (Back to Football 5K, Tipitina's Rhythm & Blues 5K, and the Jazz Half Marathon), and those will help prep me for the big show. Until then, I’m keeping the same motto as Isaac … Slow and Steady. Now I just wish he would abandon that so he can leave the Gulf Coast, and I can return to my regularly scheduled programming.