Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perfect Recovery Workout

Wow, it was just what I needed. A lot of huffing and puffing, sweat and even some nausea towards the end, but a lot to be proud of afterward.

So soon after a marathon, you ask?

Yes. But it was not me who did it. It was K, a new person at our tri club run workout tonight.

I really didn't have a workout scheduled but showed up just to say 'hi' to my tri club buddies whom I love dearly and miss since I've been unable to do as much with them recently with all my marathoning. I had some new running shoes that I wanted to give a test spin anyway. Knowing I shouldn't be doing any of the speed work that was assigned, I told the coach I'd be bringing up the rear.

It was hot, really hot, like 90 degs F at 5pm when we headed out for our "warm up." There were 10-12 of us and the group spread out quickly as folks settled into their easy run paces. My legs and butt felt fine (YAY!) but I forced myself to run super easy. I chatted away with some folks at the back of the pack whom I don't usually get to run with often. Then I turned around and saw K running by herself falling further and further behind.

We'd only gone perhaps a quarter mile and I could tell she was really struggling. Have I mentioned it was hot? She began walking and I fell back to check on her since the coach was further up with others. K said she was OK but really out of shape. She mentioned maybe being able to go on if she could do 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking. I said fine. Let's do it together.

Initially, K didn't want to hold me back and encouraged me to go on without her but I told her I needed to take it easy because I'd just run a marathon. We walked on for a bit more so she could catch her breath and the coach came by. She too suggested run-walking but doing 1 minute intervals of each. I looked at K and told her let's give it a try. I'll keep track of time.

So we set out running again. I kept chatting away as we were when we were walking not realizing at first how hard poor K was working. We were running at probably a 12-13 minute per mile pace but for her that was really hard. I told her not to talk. I'd talk when we were running and I told her about my Delaware Marathon.

3 - 2 - 1, time to walk. She told me she'd quit smoking 5 months ago and this was her first time running. She mentioned again how very out of shape she was and asked whether she should maybe do something else to get started.

3 - 2 - 1, time to run. I told her that I thought the best way to get started running was to do exactly what we're doing, just go slow and do as much as she could, unless she had any knee or joint issues. She shook her head. Then I proceeded to babble on about how some people actually run-walked marathons this way.

We got to the mile 1 marker on the bike path doing the 1-1 run-walk and then decided to turn around and go back. Others in the club were supposed to run to the 2-mile marker and turn around so we'd see them coming back.

K didn't think she'd be able to do what we did to get out here. I suggested we go as far as we could doing the 1-1 thing and then walk the rest of the way in if needed. K was OK with that so off we went.

It was still 90 degs but felt a bit cooler going back with the wind in our face. The sun also went behind a big cloud for a while which was nice. I was doing pretty much all of the talking now as K was having a hard time talking even during the walk breaks. She was just barely making it to the end of the one minute runs.

With about a quarter mile to go, I pointed out where we'd started, which was where we were to finish. K had never been on this bike path before and had no idea how much further we had to go. Knowing the end was near was a huge relief to her.

Now only a couple hundred yards left and a large sign by the end is clearly in sight. K tells me she's feeling a bit nauseous. I knew she was staying hydrated as she had a large bottle of water with her and was drinking often. It must be due to a very high heart rate. But she surprised me by saying, "The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up." Wow, this girl is a real trooper!

I may have given her an extra 5 seconds of rest but we began running again. It was our last run interval and I encouraged her as much as I could to keep her going. As we got closer to the sign, I realized it was going to take a little more than a minute to get there, maybe 1:05, 1:10 max. Should I tell her?

I glanced over at her at the minute mark and saw there was no need. She was gunning for the sign.

Afterwards, we gave each other a high-five and walked around a bit while waiting for the others to return. Later she gave me a hug and thanked me for running with her. She told me she never would have gone so far or pushed herself as hard on her own. I thanked her for giving me the perfect recovery workout.


Regina said...

That's great! I remember a little over a year ago when I started running how hard it was and I was already an lifelong athlete, I just never ran for fitness.

It really helps to have someone in your corner when it's tough. That was really good of you to stick with her.

Jenny Davidson said...

Very nice post!

Sherry said...

That is so awesome! I think most of us have been in K's shoes at one time or another and what you did for her yesterday will really help her (physically & mentally) for the future.

I smiled when you said that you would do all of the talking so that K could work. During the Philly 1/2 Marathon last year, my friend Christina ran with me (who I hadn't seen 14 years)!!! My pace is slower than her pace by a lot and she talked me through that entire race! It was BLISS! I wish I could hire a pacer for every race I enter! LOL! Really, it's such a mental comfort and I KNOW that K probably made it through that workout yesterday because you were right there beside her.

Good stuff, Shirley!!!

DaveP said...

Looks like your tri club has another convert. This like this occur when the the club is a true team and not just a bunch of elitist.

Marlene said...

Wonderful! Sounds like it turned out to be a rewarding workout for both of you.

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

Inspiring! I have been in her shoes before and I always appreciate an encouraging word from someone - it does help to keep you going!

Kristi said...

Nice post! I think K is awesome just for getting out there and getting started. Sometimes that's the hardest part. And good for you for encouraging the 'new girl'! :)

Midwestern Dot said...

Way to pass it a few months she'll be able to return the favor to someone else who is just starting to run...spread the love!

jen said...

Great story. Good for her, and good for you helping out!

lindsay said...

so awesome of her and you! :) i just love helping out new runners. we all started in a similar place. motivational and inspiring shirley :)

i def need to step up my toughness! K has more than me!

Bootchez said...

I *TOTALLY* remember being K, struggling SO HARD to run 1:00, 1:30 . . . how awesome for her to have you as a cheerleader! That little bit of time spent might be all she needs to keep her motivated and moving forward . . . .

Petraruns said...

That's a great story sweet SP - I could have done with you at the back of my pack!

She will do great - just encourage her!

I did the same with Adam in his training and half-marathon 2 weeks ago - just kept talking at him and distracting him so the last miles would pass. They did, he finished, and his sense of achievement is STILL great - as it should be. Helping other people "get it" is the best.