Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Money Where My Mouth Is

A lot of money.

A lot more than I planned.

A lot more than I imagined.

As is often the case with me, I know what I’m supposed to do, but don’t always put that knowledge into practice.  When it comes to marathon training, this is especially true for cross-training.  I lift and do core work 2-3 times a week, but that’s a force of habit from before I decided to try running marathons.  I’ve ended up at the orthopedist after each of my three marathons, for three different reasons.  I know I need to be cross-training to work complimentary muscles, create balance, and counter the repetitive-use issues that I get from running, running, running.  My obstacles, or more accurately excuses, have been that I don’t have a pool available to me beyond the summer, I don’t own a decent bike, and I really, really dislike riding the stationary bike.  My wallet and I have addressed these excuses, so now things get interesting.

Swimming – I went straight from the parking lot of my orthopedist to a local Lifetime Fitness with multiple pools and signed a contract.  I don’t love distance swimming, but I’m learning to like it.  So far I get there a couple times a week and usually do something between 1000 and 1500 meters.  I swam swim-team for 10 summers as a kid so I have a decent stroke, but I’m unlearning a lot of my sprint habits and learning a stroke and cadence more conducive to extended sessions in the pool.  I know I’ll never ‘enjoy’ swimming like I do running, but it’s growing on me and it’s a nice way to burn off some steam after the kids are in bed, since the pool is open 24 hours.  The swimming (so far) hasn’t required a big $ investment … cycling, on the other hand….

Cycling – After far too much research, and a bad case of sticker shock, I invested in a Scott CR1 Team road bike 2 weeks ago and am now officially menacing the highways of NC.  I didn’t realize how much bikes can cost, and this has made my investment in running, which before I thought was fairly high, look like a drop in the bucket.  The upside is that having invested the dollars is more than enough impetus to get me to invest the time to get a proper return on the investment.  So far I’ve only done a few long rides, but I really enjoy getting out on the roads and exploring.  Too soon to tell if it’s helping my running, or helping me avoid too much running and thus stay healthy, but it’s a fun alternative.  Buying a new bike in December is probably not the best timing, but the weather has been pretty mild this winter which is nice.  It’s also made it very easy to come up with a wish-list for Santa.  Maybe too easy.

Right now I’m not officially training for anything, just mixing things up and trying to stay healthy.  With my run this morning I passed 1,000 miles for the year, which wasn’t a goal or target of mine, but is a nice little milestone.  Considering I lost all of January, half of February, and all of November to injury I’m glad to have been able to get that many miles completed.  The only race on my calendar right now is a half-marathon in DC on St. Patrick’s Day for which I’m not planning to specifically train.  I’m planning to spend some time over the holiday break figuring out what I want to do in 2012.  I’ve got all the ‘raw materials’ now for a triathlon, but not sure I want to head down that road … yet.  The lure of an Ultramarathon is still very strong, and I think that might be where I end up sometime next year.  For now I’m enjoying not being on a specific plan, but once the new year rolls around I know I’ll be yearning for some structure.

Since my blog posts have been far too sporadic lately, I probably won’t get another post up before Christmas and/or New Years, so Happy (and Healthy) Holidays to everyone.  If you see me on the road on my bike please take pity on me and give me a wide berth.  My technique has a long way to go to catch up to my intentions.