I ran yesterday.

And I felt pretty smiley about it.

Note that I didn’t say I ran/walked. I ran. Period. It was hot and sweaty and kinda difficult and slow but it felt oh. so. good.

I woke up with the intent to do a 1.5 hour (TT trainer) ride and 1.5 hour run. That was when I was hoping to be on the bike at about 7am. I slept in, partially due to it being a hell of a week (I know I say that every week but I REALLY mean it with this one), partially due to the 90 minute walk we took the night before that ended after dark, and partially because I’m just not a zero dark thirty riser even on a good day. When I got on the trainer at 8:45 (oops), I was DREADING the run. Even just going outside to feed Nachokitty that morning reminded me of soup.

So, I decided to break it up a bit. Running 90 minutes at 10:15am when it would be already feels like 100 sounded like the worst idea ever, but running 30 minutes at a time after some bike breaks in the AC sounded at least doable. I spent the first bike segment warming my legs up and watching some Bloodbowl. I suppose the combination of the Super Go-Go Juice Coffee (we were gifted some Starbucks coffee pods and WHEW they are only for long workout days), half a bagel, and watching Elves murder each other had a nice effect because I hopped off the bike at 14.2 mph (which, in trainer speeds, is pretty fast). My legs were into the run, they even felt good starting uphill and I kept pushing off my planned walk break until it was pretty obvious I just wasn’t going to take it, when I was cruising downhill feeling absolutely great. I even passed someone running! She was probably about 30 years older than me, but still. IT FELT LIKE RUNNING NOT REHAB.


Absolutely chuffed from the first segment, I hopped back on the bike and raised my average speed to 14.6 mph for the hour, and ran the same 2.5 miles in 30 minutes again without stopping. As you can see, it wasn’t fast, but there was no walking! I ran low on time for the third brick, so I did 15 more minutes on the bike (raising my average to 14.8 mph), and 15 on the run. I ended with 6.3 miles, or 11:54 pace, for the 75 minutes on the run total.

Two years ago, I would have been disappointed with this. I was running about 2-3 minutes/mile faster. Today, I’m just thrilled I was able to run. It’s the longest (without walking) since March 2020. My stride is nowhere even close to efficient or strong, but I was able to put together a nice, steady clip and get into that zen space for a while.

I have missed that place so, so, so much. I would process a lot of my life on the run. I would come up with silly big dreams. I’d sort through problems, dissecting them mile by mile. I’d tell myself stories. I’d get ridiculously into my music and kind of… feel through it on the run when I needed to hide somewhere. ‘Tis one of those things that you don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s gone. At first I neglected it because I didn’t think I needed it, then it was stolen from me via injury, and now I’ve fought hard to find my way back there and it feels sooooo good.

Run/walking isn’t the same. It’s not even a pride thing, it’s a perception thing. I lack the ability to get lost when I’m pulled out of the same repetitive motion of running for a break every 5-10 minutes. Part of that zen is when the miles sort of unconsciously fly by and you realize you’ve storyboarded a music video for your ridiculous bard from D&D or solved a tricky problem you’ve been chewing on all week at work or sometimes on those ridiculously lovely cold and foggy days, you just get lost running through the mists to a Pink Floyd concert in your headphones. Run/walk is better than nothing, but it’s not that, not that at all.

Not quite running 9 minute miles for 2 hours yet but so much closer than when I was hobbling to get out of bed.

There have been a lot of lights at the end of a lot of tunnels during this zero to Ironman in a year thing, and running off the bike for 2.5 miles at a time without walking is just another one of them. I still do not anticipate running the entirety of either my 70.3 race next month or the whole enchilada next April, so run/walking in training actually has a level of strategic use. However, even just the idea that I can now set out for a short training run and get lost in it sounds like utter bliss… and maybe when the weather turns cooler I can start stretching those a little bit longer and longer.

Note the lack of verbiage paid to speed. I don’t care right now. If my body wants to continue to produce 12 minute miles until the Ironman, I’ll gladly welcome it. There’s a time and a place for picking up the pace, and that’s in 2022.

Today, I am unscathed from the effort. I had feared that I’d wake up barely able to walk, but I’m just a little sore, which is absolutely normal, in the “that was a different thing you did with your body” not “holy hell your back is effed again” way. I punted on a swim this week and am seriously considering making it up today because I feel a lot less wrecked than I figured I would.

I should want to go to here more than I do right now.

Now, let’s talk about that. If I don’t go make it up, this will be 3 weeks in a row where I have bailed on swimming. It was my happy sport for a while, earlier in this training cycle, but now it’s difficult for me to motivate myself to the pool or lake. I had some success with scheduling my training sessions on my work calendar, and it’s working super well for the bike, run, and weights portions, but it’s been difficult to get to the pool.

Swimming at lunch is optimal, but that means tearing myself away from what I’m doing, and a 30 minute pool swim takes about 75 minutes round trip, which means I’m usually pushing right up into a meeting and I feel rushed and behind all day. We’ve just accepted that after work doesn’t happen. I’m always too mentally toasted to do anything but walk. In the morning, I’m good to go but it’s very difficult to drag Joel out of the house with enough time to get back before work. We solved the problem for at least one swim a week by going on the weekend, but with longer workouts on Saturdays now, the Sunday swim is almost always punted as a rest day.

Then, there’s the whole Covid Stage 5 thing in Austin. I’m trying not to let that get to me too much, I’ve done what I can by getting vaccinated, I’m wearing masks everywhere in public, and I’m not doing large groups things. However, I may be avoiding the gym unconsciously because it’s lots of people. While I’m not worried about swimming the distance, I need to be swimming again. I’ll have to sort it out. Probably starting by getting my arse off the couch and going today.

Then, it looks like this for the week:

  • Monday: 1h trainer
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike, 15 min run
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: 1.5h TT bike, 1.5 hour run Triple Brick (30 min bike/30 min run x2, 15 min bike/15 min run)
  • Sunday: off go swimming you fool!

So, yeah. Five weeks to go. Two more weeks until taper. I think I may have this thing. Let’s try this for next week…

  • Monday: 1 hour trainer, weights
  • Tuesday: 9 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: practice tri! (1000m swim, 30 min bike, 2 mile run), weights
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: lake swim, weights
  • Saturday: Real triple bricks (1 hour bike, 30 min run x 3)
  • Sunday: off

As for the other stuff – I’m going to give myself a thumbs up and a B for effort. I haven’t necessarily made time to do full stretch sessions but I do a little bit whenever I think about it. I sit on an icepack most days and use the boots more days than not. I’ve been tracking my food, typically staying under my calorie range. Uncoincidentally, the scale, which I have been facing a few days per week at least, has been showing me slightly lower numbers, reminiscent of before I decided to eat way too much on two back to back vacations in June and July. I feel a bit less like a bag of water stuffed into a meat shell, and that’s helpful for many reasons.