So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Carry That Weight

"Boy, you're gonna carry that weight, carry that weight a long time..." - "Carry That Weight" (The Beatles, "Abbey Road," 1969)

I dreaded this morning's first-Monday-of-the-month weight check, especially after I saw the photos from the Easter holiday weekend. My friend Randy's commentary was more than correct; I didn't look "bigger," I looked fat.

Okay, maybe not "Gabriel-Iglesias-'fat.'" Perhaps "healthy" or "husky" on his 'fat scale.'

Looking at the photos taken by my wife, I can understand how someone could say 'the camera adds pounds.' I knew the numbers were not going to be good.

As a former "fat" person (5'8", 180 pounds back in 1992 may not seem fat to you, but when your face looks like Garfield the Cat in a photo...), the digital scale at the rear of the gym is the most fearful piece of equipment in the joint.

I stepped on the scale after a 30-minute elliptical trainer session and saw a good sign: Even with workout shoes on I dropped a pound in the past month. Sounds like cause for celebration. Woo hoo hoo!

Now, back to work.

Part of me sometimes asks why the weight has come off in an agonizingly slow manner. It's not that I've denied myself any particular food item in the past nine weeks. Outside of my wife's insistence on packing a healthy lunch for me whenever she can, I suspect it has much to do with the slow, conservative approach I've taken in my return to running:

- In the nine weeks since I started running again, I've increased the duration of my runs by no more than ten percent each week. I started at 20 minutes each run; I'm now at a little under 40 minutes. Barring unforseen circumstances, I hope to be running for 60 minutes in six-to-eight weeks.

- The Sunday morning "long run" has walking added to the week's run duration to make it a total of 60 minutes each trip. I also split the run duration into two parts; this week's 40-minute run was divided into two 20-minute pieces, with a ten minute walk in between.

- My Tuesday and Thursday evening speed workouts, amazingly, are near the intensities they were before the injury. But, quitting time is quitting time even if I feel good. The same goes for my Wednesday night run on the beach; I know exactly when I need to quit running. I slow down to a walk when the timer says I'm done. Ego, or the need to be "top dog," only stands in the way of recovery.

- I still use the treadmill and the elliptical trainer at the gym, but the workouts start easy and progressively increase in intensity. I'll cut the workout short if things are not going well rather than try to fight through an issue.

- Most importantly, I allow my body to recover as much as possible from each workout. That means the "two-a-day" workouts come once every six days, and I'll rest if I feel badly.

My wife handed me a couple of race flyers, which I summarily dismissed as being too soon for my taste. Racing is out of the question until I think my body is ready. Because, the most important thing is not being able to race well, but to be able to run for a long time.

Fitness takes a long time to gain, can be lost quickly, and can be thwarted by a lack of patience. There can be no doubt, running is a sport of pace and patience.

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