Wednesday, June 6, 2012
I had my best run ever yesterday. Ever. It felt like I was finally starting to get it, like there's actually some hope that I'll be able to make it through that half marathon, and beyond, with a smile on my face. I'm not sure why it happened, but there are a couple of factors that might explain it.
One is that I'm training at 7,000 feet in elevation, and have been doing it since February. It's about time something started to click into place. The other is something I read about Stu Mittleman on the No Meat Athlete website, where he explains his theory about using fat as fuel, rather than sugar. It made sense to me, since I still have some fat I want to part with. I'm all fueled up and ready to go!
Normally I have a nice healthy fruit-and-greens smoothie before a run. I always start off fine, but after about 3 miles I'm dragging and can barely pick up my feet. 30 second intervals of running and walking have helped, but it still wasn't right.
Yesterday morning I headed out with only a glass of water in me, for good hydration right from the start. I started slow, as recommended by Mittleman, and kept the pace nice and easy, so I could still talk - even though that meant talking to myself, just to make sure I could do it. I set my interval timer (the one on my phone, since my other one bit the dust last week), and started my 30/30 run/walk. What was different right from the start was where I'm usually waiting for the run segments to be over, today I was stretching them to a whole minute. I kind of wanted to go even longer with the running, keeping the 30 second walk breaks the same, but I made myself quit at a minute so I wouldn't burn out before the end of my 3 miles. The next surprise was when I got to the last half mile, and I was still going strong. I got home feeling terrific for a change, rather than wanting to fall to the floor gasping for breath.
So was it the slower speed that kept me steady, and actually made for a faster overall time? Was it the fat burning instead of sugar burning? Maybe both, or maybe a lucky fluke of cosmic alignment. Whatever it was, I'm encouraged, and I intend to investigate further. Now that I know how good running can feel, I want more!