Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Goal Examination and a Good Workout

Yesterday as I was checking up on bloggy things, updating and whatnot, I stumbled across my 2011 Goals tab. Folks, progress looks bleak judging from the things I set out to do, the time I gave myself to complete them, and what I've accomplished so far. I've still only achieved one of my goals, which was qualifying for the Indoor Tri Championships. According to my schedule, I should now be able to run 2.5 miles in 20 minutes, a 5k in 24 minutes, and do a pullup. I've only come close to accomplishing one of these, which is 2.5 miles in 20 minutes. I did it once at Crunch with Jared and today, which I'll explain in greater detail shortly.

What's the problem here? Well, I think it's a lack of focus. Not only did I have three concurrent goals, I've also been working to keep my running streak alive and trying to train for the tri this weekend. I want to accomplish all of these, but in order to do so I need to focus in on them one, maybe two at a time so that achieving them is manageable. The best increments for these, I think, are weeks. This week I'm going to run 2.5 miles in 20 minutes and continue the streak...and train for the tri. Alright, so I've sort of set myself up to have trouble focusing. To be fair, 2.5 miles in 20 minutes is a subset of tri training. Anyway, back to the plan.  Next week I'm going to run a 5k in 24 minutes. If I have time, maybe I'll throw in some assisted pullups, but that is not the focus. I won't focus on that for another two weeks.

If I don't break these goals down into manageable pieces, I'll find myself in December having accomplished only a couple of them. So there you have it, this week: 2.5 miles in 20 minutes.

Now, during today's workout I may well have accomplished this. Unfortunately I'll never know for sure because I was only able to time it roughly. This afternoon I finished with work early so I came home to walk and feed Phoebe. Normally I have a hard time making it out of the apartment once I'm home, but today I was really motivated because I decided to do a small indoor tri as my workout. After Phoebe and I returned from our walk, I collected all my stuff for not only the workout, but a comedy show I had to attend after, and set out for the gym. I was afraid I'd be pressed for time since I had to make it for the comedy show so I decided to get my run in on the way to the gym. Unfortunately for me, the most direct route to the YMCA I planned to visit was down 7th Ave, which cuts right through Times Square. Times Square is great for strolling and not so great if you want to get anywhere in any amount of time. It wasn't as bad as I feared, though, once I parkoured my way around some tourists and a few piles of garbage.

I will say that running with a backpack can be a real pain in the butt. Not only is it an additional 5 or 10 pounds to lug around, it also sways back and forth if not kept in check. I'm sure there are backpacks that are better suited for this purpose than the one I have, which I won from a dining hall vendor show raffle and has Tony the Tiger on the front. However, a backpack is pretty far down my list of gear priorities so I plan to make do for as long as possible.

Once I got to the gym I did a little over 8 miles on the bike before heading over to the pool. To my dismay, there were at least three people in every lane! I don't like sharing a lane with anyone let alone three other people. I decided I'd make it a mini-duathlon (run, bike, run, typically) instead and began to run again around the indoor track. I started fast an only got faster after the first five or so laps. I knew I was going fast because it was an uncomfortable pace to keep. Normally once I hit this discomfort I'll slow down my pace. Not this time, though. I was flying and I knew it. Discomfort be damned! Once I was about a mile in I considered timing myself but eventually decided against it. Strangely enough, I become anxious when trying to meet time goals and sometimes do worse than I would have without the knowledge of what my time is.

I decided to make it a time goal. Once I saw that blessed minute on my iPhone I stopped, having done 2.5 miles. I was a little regretful of not having timed myself when I realized that I'd received a text just before starting and so would be able to estimate my time. It was around 20 minutes. I rain 2.5 miles in around 20 minutes. I don't feel that I can really count this given the fuzzy nature of the time calculation, but I felt good about the run while it was happening and after. I haven't pushed myself that hard in a long time and I'm looking forward to doing it more frequently.

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