Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Measure of Effort

Everything we do involves effort. We are constantly exerting energy and extracting from our finite reserves. There is a psychological component, a physiological component and an overarching biochemical component- indeed, the process is all encompassing. But when it comes to running the former two dominate. There is an endless dialogue, a symphony of communication and feedback that inform the decisions we make. Do I run this entire hill? When the gradient steepens, do I tighten my stride, increase my cadence and will myself to the top? Can I maintain this pace for another three hours? What pace should I even be running?

These thoughts have been a prominent fixture in my internal dialogue as of late. More importantly, the notion of effort itself has been informing my running decisions. Every day when I step on to the Pacific Spirit Park trail system just outside my apartment door I have a general idea of the "effort" I would like to expend. The intention is there. The seed is planted.

But how this intention materializes in a quantitative sense varies on a daily basis. Indeed, "steady-hard" on a Monday afternoon may materializes into something surprisingly distinct on a Wednesday morning. Similarly, "easy" for a second run Tuesday afternoon is often much slower than an "easy" Thursday morning jaunt.

But with these thoughts I have found a balance- a place where I can control my finite energy embrace today's run and prepare myself for the next day. When I stray and ignore the signs that my body is sending, the current and future runs suffer. Perhaps I will be able to push through it for a day or two, but it inevitably catches up and the path is unsustainable.

I must learn. I have learned. And will continue to learn what effort means.

Whatever you do
With your running
You only cheat yourself
By pushing, pressing, competing.

There are no standards
And no possible victories except
The joy you are living
While dancing your run.
In any life
Joy is only known
In this moment--Now!

So feel the flow
Of your dance
And know
You are not running
For some future rewards--
The real reward is now!

Fred Rohe- The Zen of Running

Monday June 13, 2011: PM: 6miles (58min) Easy with Meredith. 4 times 8second steep hill repeats in the middle. Legs heavy but better as went along.
Tuesday June 14, 2011: PM: 11.5miles (1:40) Run from work to North Vancouver; tried to find as many trails as possible. Had to withstand a little pavement pounding. Achy by the end. PM2: 3.5miles (35min) 5times hill repeats 3min duration.
Wednesday June 15, 2011: PM: 9miles (1:21) 4.75mile warm-up (legs felt ridiculously heavy) 20min of 1min ON with 1min OFF. Got rolling during these. 1.5mile cooldown.
Thursday June 16, 2011: PM: 3.5miles (38min) Easy.
Friday June 17, 2011: Noon: 5miles (43min) Easy run on my lunch. Legs felt good. PM 7.5miles (1:05) Progression Run- felt good- managed the effort well.
Saturday June 18, 2011: AM: 13.25miles (1:52) Good run. PM: 5miles (47min) Easy with Meredith.
Sunday June 19, 2011: AM: 22+miles (4:15) First 7.5miles with Meredith in 1:13. Rest of run sought out vertical. Went over to Mt. Seymour up Old Buck to Picnic area via Seymour Grind, etc. down Neds. Beautiful morning in the mountains. Miles ticked by.

Weekly Mileage: 86.25 (13:50)

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