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Confessions of a Dangerously-Confused Mind

With Triathlon training well underway, I have been dabbling in the various disciplines involved. The most serious, thanks to the Masters class, is swimming, which I have been doing twice a week, and enjoying it very much. I haven’t been training as hard as I would like at cycling, thanks to late meetings or CPR evening classes. My running has been nearly nonexistent – mostly stumbling about on the Dreadmill for a while on mornings when I’m not doing P90X.

As luck would have it, I got an invitation to join a friend’s free cycling class over the weekend. The class was whimsically titled “The Sufferfest” and featured two (!) hours of intense cycling training. Her facility has a great many stationary bikes, a sound system, and giant televisions. The first Hour of Suffering was her own program – interval training mixed with long, long climbs for endurance. THEN, we got to the Extra Special Bonus Suffering. The next hour was a video program that we followed along with – from the perspective of a biker in various races. It was great. And difficult. I’m happy to report that I pushed it hardĀ – as hard as I could. My posterior was not thrilled with the saddle time, but I managed to walk away from the class. Angie, our instructor, was not only pushing harder than anyone else, but encouraging and very helpful.

After the Sufferfest concluded, I decided that it was in my best interest to join her Triathlon-specific training program, which was to begin Monday.

After work yesterday, I rolled up to the SoHi parking lot and met my fellow triathlon enthusiasts. There were a bunch of us. I was apprehensive, as I had that day learned that the day’s lesson was a time trial. For RUNNING.

Yes, my most dreaded form of transportation, aside from moon walking.

“What’s your mile time?” Coach Angie asked. I had no idea. I thought about running in high school (nearly two decades previous).

“Um, seven, eight minutes?” I guessed.

“Okay, you’ll run four miles today, then. I have to see your averageĀ heart rate for at least a 30 minute run.”

“Oh…kay?” I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I was reasonably sure I could do three miles, especially if I could walk for a minute or so between miles, but four? I was dubious.

After some warmups, we set out to run.

I began with what I thought was a good seven or eight minute per mile pace, and monitored my heart rate. After a few minutes, I was steadily into the 160s, which is perfect for me, as I felt that I could maintain that pace for a good while. My legs weren’t really used to running, but they were in good shape from P90X and skiing. One mile rolled into two, and I felt surprisingly good. Coming in on the home stretch to mile three, Coach yelled me my three mile time and asked if I wanted to keep going so I could complete my four. Astonishingly, I did, and kept rolling.

This is where things went haywire.

I managed to get lost (in SOLDOTNA!). But I kept running, eventually found my way, and ran all the way back to the SoHi parking lot. I even put on a little extra speed at the end, pushing my heart rate up into the high 170s.

And I felt great! I ran for over 37 minutes straight, and could still do things like speak in complete sentences and not die.

I was blown away. My three mile (5k or thereabouts) time was 22:40 – so there is room for improvement, but that amounts to about a 7:33 minute per mile pace. That I held onto that (and even sped up) for 37 minutes means that I ran for nearly five miles, WITHOUT STOPPING. I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that in my life. My average heart rate during the run was 164, max 177.

So, I was able to run. I am a runner. Gads, I might even be enjoying it.

It seems my most-feared event might be not-so-terrible, so who knows? They might make a runner out of me yet.

Now I just need to stop getting lost.


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