Recently, I realized something. Despite not training almost at all last year for the Hood to Coast, my overall conditioning was way better than it is this year. I attribute this to all the basketball I was playing last year. So while I may not have been going out and running a lot, overall I wasn't in terrible shape. This year, things are different. While I'm still far from being a toad, I'm noticing that it has been taking me way longer to get my body back to normal after runs. Even after my short runs, I've been getting winded like a fat kid who just got chased around the block by the neighbor's doberman. Obviously, if I'm going to survive this year's Hood to Coast, all this is going to have to change. And after today's run, I think it's getting there.
Yesterday was the first time I've run right after work. I'll admit it, running was the absolute last thing I wanted to do after working for 8 hours. Making things worse was the fact that my girlfriend and I visited the fair on Sunday and filled up on fair food. If you haven't experienced fair food lately, here's a sampler of the menu: Deep fried twinkies, deep fried pop tarts, deep fried klondike bars, a chicken sandwich with a Krispy Kreme jelly donut as a bun and deep fried butter (you read that right-butter). Regrettably, I had the Krispy Kreme sandwich and, while it wasn't as bad as I expected, let's just say I didn't really feel like running when I woke up in the morning. However, I'm trying something new this year- running when I don't feel like running. I feel like the more I run when I don't feel like running, maybe my body will get sick of not feeling like running and just feel like it more often. Actually, I don't think that makes any sense. Whatever, moving on...
Even after a long day at work, today's run felt really good. I don't know if it was because my muscles were already awake or because my ipod was on fire today with song choices (who knew "Billie Jean" was good for running?) but I finished the loop a minute and a half faster than my previous fastest time. For a loop that's less than three miles long, a minute and a half is a lot of time. Either I was just smoking today or I've been an absolute sloth in my previous runs. We'll see the next time I run the loop.
If I had to pinpoint one spot where the time was made up on the run, it had to be at the end. As I crested the last hill, I was pretty much toast. My legs felt pretty dead and my lungs were ready to explode. To add to my anguish, there seemed to be an old lady walking a mean looking dog every ten feet. Every time they would see me, they would choke up on the leash and try to steer the dog away from me. Most of these dogs were smaller and looked like they wouldn't be able to do too much damage, but a few were decent size and looked like they could run me down in three bounds. I turned the corner to go down the last straightaway and was relieved to see a single lady with an animal on a leash. At first, I assumed it was a dog, but as I got closer, something looked wrong. This animal was way too fluffy to be a dog but it's head was turned away from me, so I couldn't be sure what it was. Then it turned to look at me as I ran by and my suspicions were confirmed- it was a Persian cat. For being on a leash in an area with a ton of dogs, this cat looked surprisingly calm. Still, it did not look happy and the image of this pissed off cat stayed in my head. Soon, I was back to full speed again and in much better spirits.
After I had showered, I sat down and instantly realized that I was completely recovered. It was probably the best I have ever felt after a run. I think my body's finally coming around and it feels good. I'm definitely getting closer.