I used to be a runner. Not a very good or fast runner, but a runner nonetheless. I was mostly on again and off again before trying to dedicate myself a little more a few years ago. That didn’t go well and I found myself injured. That’s when I began cycling and have never looked back.
After discovering my passion for riding, I wondered whether I would ever run again. Why did I ever run in the first place? In fact, I would say that I have hated running.
That said, I have been running again. It all started innocently enough. I was hitting the gym regularly for my strength training. I started mixing in some cardio exercises, mostly elliptical machines. Those things get boring and I get a weird numbness in my feet after awhile, so I started walking on the treadmill. The walk became faster and faster until I found myself at a brisk jog. To my surprise, it didn’t hurt. I kept going and for the last few weeks, I have been supplementing my workouts with the occasional run.
Now that I am working on base miles, the goal for this weekend was to get a little bit of easy riding. Mother nature intervened and that didn’t happen. When I went to vote in the primary on Saturday, I found my usual polling place closed because of an 8k running event. Hmmm. I researched that event while waiting in the voting line and decided to give it a shot. An 8k would be a lot, but I knew I would be able to walk a good portion if needed. No worries if it rained a bit. That might even help.
The weather became worse. A light drizzle became a torrential downpour right before registration time. I was not going to risk injury by running on wet roads with inexperienced legs. Instead I decided to run the 8k anyway, but this time under the covered shelter of my local gym. I loaded my phone with some listening material and headed out the door.
The good thing about a treadmill is it allows for easy pacing. I started at a light jog around 5 mph. That went well for a mile and I picked it up in the second mile to 5.5 mph, then 6 mph, then a little higher. As I watched the miles tick away, still feeling good, I played with some faster paces. A couple times I brought it up to 7 mph for a short while, before bringing it back to 5 mph in order to recover. I found that I was keeping a decent amount of energy and gradually increasing my pace. The first mile was 12 minutes; the second was 11, and the third 10.
Even though I was tempted, I did not stop jogging until I got to 5k. At that point, satisfied that I would make the 8k without trouble, I walked for two minutes before getting back to the jog. Starting to tire, I kept the pace down between 5-5.5 mph for the 4th mile.
For the 5th mile, I was both tired and impatient. I wanted to get this thing over and done with, but I was also about ready to explode. So I mixed up my speed again and even pushed into the 8mph range on a couple occasions. Finally I finished, drenched in sweat. My 8k time was just over 55 minutes, which I was more than proud of.
I’m curious how this will affect me on the bike. These past few weeks I have struggled a bit on certain climbs because of my out-of-shape lungs. This might help. I’ll keep running here and there for cross-training, but I can safely say that I will not change sports just yet.