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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Mondays

Of all days in the week, it is most important that I get up and run on Monday morning, for a number of reasons.

For one thing, it's the start of a new week, and even though I was working all weekend (catching up on some hours from the holidays), there's still a feeling of a fresh (or not) start on Monday morning. It's important to set the right tone for the rest of the week.

For another, Mondays are my strength days. They're the days I work purely on speed. And they come after my long runs. Like I said, the best treatment (in my opinion) for stiff muscles is continued use, so the best way to combat the aching legs of a 14 mile run is to go out and push through a 5K.

The 5K is my favorite distance. It's what made me first enjoy running all the way back in 6th grade, thanks to my grade school. Every year, they spend a week focusing on positive addictions. Essentially, it's about choosing good hobbies and addictions over things like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. The culmination of the week is a 5K race with three area grade schools, a high school, and people from the community. When you reach 6th grade, you get to compete in the race.

I did well enough in my first one that the junior high cross country coach approached my mother and suggested I try out. As she wasn't wild about the prospect of me trying out for football (with my 95-pound frame), she got me to try it, and I loved it.

Today, the 5K is the perfect distance for me. It's long enough that I don't feel like I have to be able to sprint to do well, but short enough that I can really push myself to the limits of my strength. I don't do them often, but I am finding that it's a good reference point for where I am at in my training. Basically, I'm always excited for a 5K.

That's probably how I managed to get up right at 6 this morning and head to the gym. Of course, someone was already on the treadmill, so I went back inside, did a few work things, and returned a little later. There was someone on the elliptical machine, but the treadmill was free.

When someone I do not know is working out near me, I find that I usually fold up into myself. I hide behind equipment, I stretch until they leave, and I hope that they don't see what I'm doing and think, "Wow. Weak." I've never been the strongest guy in the room, and I don't have any formal education on how to train myself, so I'm always nervous that the other person can tell that I'm clueless. Recently, though, it occurred to me that in all likelihood, no one else cares how my workout is going.

So today, I used all that nervous energy, and pushed myself even harder. There's still a little voice that says, "If you slow down, they'll know you overshot yourself." Now, though, it just pushes me to go faster. And in the end, my run isn't about impressing anyone else or showing someone what I can do. It's about being faster, stronger, and healthier. And those things are all for me.

I felt great when I finished today, and even managed to increase the weight on my arm workouts. I felt strong, energized, and accomplished, and all of this before 7:15am.

That's the way to start a week.

Today's run:
Indoors / Treadmill
3.1 Miles
19 minutes, 20 seconds

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