Sunday, February 21, 2016

Running lessons: Know your limits

A view of George's Island
The plan this weekend was to head to the country as usual Friday night but, after a hectic week at work and home, I felt an overwhelming need to stay in the city and get myself organized. Husband - bless him - was happy to go along so we settled into a weekend of tackling paperwork, enjoying city activities (like going to the market, visiting two local galleries and checking out the new creperie in our neighbourhood), visiting friends and, of course running. It felt good to catch up a bit. 

It's interesting how difficult it can be to recognize our limits sometimes. Too often, we push ourselves to meet expectations - our own and others - until we're forced by illness or exhaustion to rest, by which point the damage we've done to ourselves can take a long time to heal. 

One of the things running has taught me is that it's good to know and respect your limits - to slow down or stop before you're forced to. That's not easy to do when you have a goal in sight but ignoring your actual capacities can lead to disaster.

A case in point was a long run I did last spring. It was intended to be a long slow 20k run but, due to a series of misadventures, I ended up running close 26k.  At the time, I was pleased to discover I was strong enough to complete such a run. However, I came to regret it  a few months later when I was forced to undergo a series of painful ART treadments to release the tightness in my hip flexors brought on by running 26k in the rain.  In retrospect, it's clear the better option would have been to find a warm, dry place to wait until Husband arrived to pick me up. 

The memory of that run was front and centre as I headed out the door to tackle my 18k long run this morning. Husband and I ran 10.5k to Shubie Park and back yesterday and I felt tired and sore afterwords so I was worried 18k might be too much today. After some serious soul-searching, I decided to give it a try but opted for a route that would enable me turn back sooner if need be. In the end, I finished the distance and I felt okay afterwards so I hope that means I stayed within my current limits. 

The mild, grey weather made it easy to set a moderate pace, which helped, and I took plenty of walk breaks to savour the scenery. To my surprise, there was some impressive surf at Point Pleasant Park. I love running to the sound of the waves.

The mild weather also meant there were plenty of other people and dogs enjoying the park.  It made me wish we had a dog I could run with. They're such happy creatures.

My only disappointment was that I couldn't travel back and forth to Halifax via the MacDonald Bridge. It's under construction at the moment and the pedestrian walkway has been removed to facilitate the work. There's no firm date for its reopening but I look forward to running across it regularly again.

On the upside, the return ferry trip gave me time to stretch so that I was ready to head out for dim sum a little sooner after I arrived home.

Dim sum is one of my favourite post-run meals. It's an excellent combination of salt, carbs, and proteins, and the pots of tea that accompany it rehydrate and provide relief for sore muscles. Today's brunch didn't disappoint.

Once we were well stuffed, we made a quick trip back to Halifax to see friends and meet their new puppy, then headed home to tackle the remaining chores.

My big accomplishment this weekend was clearing my side of the desk that Husband and I share. In the process, I came across this little box. It was a gift from my best friend 36 years ago. It's chipped on one side and doesn't serve much of a purpose anymore but I can't bring myself to throw it away. Yes, one of my New Year's intentions is to dispose of unnecessary possessions, but there are so many memories attached to this little box, I'm not quite ready to part with it. I suppose it's an example of an emotional limit I need to respect for the moment.

Plans for the coming week include four running workouts - a 6k tempo run, a hill workout, a short weekend run of 8-10k with Husband and a long slow run of 20kms or more - and a yoga session or two. Here's hoping the weather cooperates. It's positively spring-like today but forecasters are calling for more wintry conditions later in the week. I still have plenty of time to train for a marathon at the end of May so long we don't get too much snow in March and April and I stick to my program. Fingers crossed.

What about you? How's your training going? Do you find it hard to part with sentimental things? How do you know when you're getting close to emotional and/or physical limits? Love to hear from you!

Happy running and writing!

1 comment:

  1. Blah is how I am, though I'm surfacing as of Monday. Last week was very blah training, and the worst of it I was rethinking the whole idea of training for a marathon. Some sentimental things are hard to let go, even in a house full of clutter. Some of my very oldest possessions are a dozen or so Hardy Boys novels, the ones with the brown covers. They were old when I got them, and while I haven't looked at them lately, I suspect the pages have oxidised to the point of complete fragility. I get cranky, the closer I get to my limits. Not like hungry cranky, that's different.