Busy Day

I took the day off because I wanted to try to photograph the eclipse. I’ll probably share a few of the photos on my other blog when I get them processed. I’m not thrilled with how they turned out. It seems practicing taking pictures of eclipses is harder than practicing running.

What that meant for me, though, was that I could run my longer route again today — though today I did the downhill route. After the run, I hiked up to the top of Pulpit Rock with my camera and waited for the eclipse to start. I won’t lie, the hike had me a little winded early on; but I think this may be the first time I’ve ever hiked after a morning run.

Since I was in town today, I offered to pick up our daughter from Volleyball practice; and when we got home, my wife and I walked the downhill route. I’m a little beat.

Today’s stats:

4.15 miles
46:26 m:s
11:10 avg. min/mile

Uphill or Downhill?

My daughter decided to try out for the volleyball team, and subsequently made the team; which means there’s no more Saturday morning cross country practice. My Saturday-morning runs are my own again. There’s a four-mile loop around my neighborhood that has been my running route since I started doing this. From my apartment complex to the north is a relatively steep climb for a mile and a half or so, and the other direction is a short downhill bit.

But it’s not really that simple.

Half of the distance of this run is along the trail next to Monument Creek. And the geography of Colorado Springs is such that going north along the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail it’s a slow steady climb in elevation. Going north and dealing with the uphill section out of the gate seems like a good idea; I am, after all, planning to run the Run to the Shrine next summer.

But doing that means the majority of the run is actually downhill: the return leg comes south.

This morning, I opted to run the uphill route. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the opportunity to run it.

Today’s stats:

4.13 miles
45:07 m:s
10:54 avg. min/mile

Since the subject of competition and comparison has been close to the surface recently, here’re my stats from the last time I ran it:

4.15 miles
45:36 m:s
10:59 avg. min/mile

So some incremental improvement. I’ll take it.

Combatting “I Don’t Want To”

Yesterday was the last day for one of my coworkers, one who will be missed immensely; so I ran today instead.

But I didn’t want to.

Temperatures for the first couple of weeks of August have been unseasonably cool, which is a treat when you go out to run at lunch. But this week summer has returned, and temps around mid-day were in the high 70s, low 80s. I recognize that some of my problem recently is that I’m a little bored with my route, so I’m going to have to do something about that.

What do you do to combat that little red devil that sits on your shoulder and tells you it’s okay to blow off the run?

Rather than blow it off entirely, I made it a point to run somewhat slowly and consistently. I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast run, but I didn’t care about that.

Today’s stats:

2.5 miles
29:32 m:s
11:48 avg miles/min

Competition

The other day I found myself comparing my 5K run times with another blogger’s 5K run times, and thinking My time’s better than that.

And so what? In the whole scheme of things, that matters precisely zilch. That person isn’t me, and I am not that person. It’s not a real comparison; it’s empty and pointless. And stupid.

Now I’m not saying that there’s no point in competition. I’m a firm believer that competition is a good thing. Comparing specs on a computer or a phone or a car, all that makes sense. I’m a Formula 1 fan, and competition there is extremely fierce – and makes it a great sport to follow.

But competing against someone else’s run times? Pft, that’s just silly. It’s easy to get wrapped up in that sort of comparison, but it’s really only a fair measure of progress when you’re competing against your own times. That person’s circumstances, training schedule, discipline and every other aspect of his life is going to be different from yours.

If we compare ourselves against someone who’s not as good as we are, there’s no competition in that; we are already better than they are. And if we’re comparing our times against someone who’s better than us, we’ll never truly be out from under his shadow.

We can only compete against ourselves. There will always be someone better or faster than us. Likewise, there will always be someone who’s not as good as we are at something. Ranking ourselves on some arbitrary scale is silly, and perhaps a little desperate too.

Oh, and this blogger I mentioned also has a goal to run 10K at least once a month. I’m not doing that yet. Factor that in, and my faster 5K times really don’t mean anything at all.

I should thank blackbeanqueen for helping me hone some of these thoughts into more cogent statements than possible with the irritation with myself when I caught myself in this pointless comparison. She thinks the running community should try to build each other up. She’s probably right.

Back in the Heat

Last week, the skies were mostly overcast; it rained a lot, and temperatures were down by 10 or so degrees. This week, the heat was back, and there was some humidity to go with it. That said, between the time I walked from the office to the locker room, got changed, and back outside, there was a bit of a breeze and the clouds had rolled in a little bit to take some of the edge off the heat.

Even so, it made for a slightly more difficult run; and even though I like to enjoy the now, I’m not above admitting that I thought about how much nicer it’ll be when September and October temperatures roll around. Then you’ll get to read how cold it is!

Today’s stats:

2.49 miles
27:56 m:s
11:13 avg min/mile

Racing Against a Showoff

I didn’t realize there wasn’t cross country practice this morning, so my daughter and I showed up anyway. She’s decided to try out for volleyball instead, which means she may not be running cross country this year. She accompanied me on my first mile or so; and I finished up my run.

Monument Valley Park is a really great place to run. The trail runs alongside Fountain Creek and consists of hard packed dirt that’s mostly the color of dried brick. There’s no denying it when you run there. On my return leg, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cat running next to the trail. It quickly left me behind and disappeared into the weeds. I’m not too proud to admit I spared the breath to actually call him a showoff.

Should it be a new goal to outrun the cat? Hmm…

Today is my furthest distance so far, coming in at a whopping 4.32 miles. I’ve been pushing a little farther each run, and will probably continue to do so until I decide it’s enough. Here are today’s stats:

4.32 miles
49:54 m:s
11:33 avg min/mile

Consistency

I didn’t run yesterday, which is my normal day. I just wasn’t feeling it, and I decided instead to go to lunch with a coworker who’s leaving in the all too near future. Since I started my running routine at lunch, I’ve forgotten my locker room key card once — yesterday was the only other time so far that I’ve skipped it. So I went out today instead.

I’m focusing on consistency. Not a consistent pace, or a consistent distance (though that comes from running the same route at lunch); but simple consistency in just doing the running. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t want to go run. I went anyway, didn’t push it too hard… and felt better for having done it anyway.

Bad habits are as easy to form as good habits are hard.

Today’s stats:

2.46 miles
26:56 m:s
10:56 avg min/mi