I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis with running lately.
Really, I’ve been lost, or at least without direction (what did the Scarecrow say in Wizard of Oz? If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t go the wrong way?) since finishing the marathon last year. I can’t believe that was only 16 months ago.
I’ve been running regularly, but my mileage — both the quantity and quality — hasn’t been anywhere close to where I’d like it to be. I was skipping runs, shortening runs, and not bothering to do anything more than just hit the pavement, or trail. No speedwork. No hard efforts. I knew I wanted, and expected, more from myself, but I wasn’t sure exactly what “more” looked like.
As 2016 rolled around, I just kept half-heartedly running. I would think, no, I’m going to start work early today instead of running first, and once I finish this one task I’ll go for a run around 10:00 or so. But that “one task” would turn into “that one task and checking email and scrolling Twitter and checking email again and remembering another deadline I should work on and oh look, it’s lunchtime, and I don’t want to run on a full stomach…”
And then, last weekend, I went to a free Gut Check Fitness workout at Road Runner.
Look, I can run all day. I can even throw in some sprints if I need to. I can lift (a reasonable amount of weight) all you want.
But I cannot do more than five jump squats without wanting to die.
I have no jumping or plyometric strength or endurance whatsoever.
Seriously, I’d rather run 10 400-repeats at mile pace, or lift to muscle failure, than do more than 10 burpees.
They started us with this circuit of 1 minute each of burpees, push-ups, and sit-ups, followed by a lap around the parking lot.
First, I’m pretty sure their minutes were longer than normal minutes.
Second, I can do legit push-ups, not knee push-ups. But after those burpees, I managed maybe two push-ups before dropping to my knees.
Then we did that circuit again, except the moves were for 45 seconds each and two laps around the parking lot. A third time, 30 seconds each for the moves and 3 laps around the lot.
Then, they put two cones about, I don’t know, 40 or 50 yards apart (I suck at measuring distances, so it could’ve been 20 yards, it could’ve been 80), and told us to do burpees from one cone to the other. So, like, when you come up, instead of just hopping up, you would bound forward. When the guy demonstrated, he also sort of dove forward when he dropped to the ground, but I was pretty positive I would break my wrists trying that. Then we did squat jumps back to the first cone. Then single-leg burpees with that forward bound again.
That was the “warm-up.”
We ran a couple good-effort pick-ups for half a mile or so to a parking garage. I was feeling much more confident because, as I said, running is my thing. I wasn’t the fastest but I was close to the front of the pack (for women, at least). We got to the parking garage and they were like “now sprint up the ramp! And walk on the flat part, and sprint up the next ramp! And walk on the flat part, and so on until you get to the top.”
No problem. I got this. This is what I’ve been missing from my workouts — good, solid, hard, gut-busting efforts, instead of just steady, easy, long-distance effort.
Then we went back down to the bottom and they were like “sprint up the first ramp, then side-shuffle on the flat part, then sprint backwards up the next ramp, then side-shuffle, then sprint forwards and so on.”
Still no problem, I thought, until the second time running backwards. My quads, owwww…
We went back down again and they said “okay, last time, do a burpee, then sprint up the first time. Then do two burpees and sprint up the second ramp, then three burpees, and…”
At the very top we finished with eight burpees.
I wanted to die after the first two ramps. After doing those damn burpees, my quads wanted to give out completely. I wasn’t sprinting, I was barely even running. More like staggering up each ramp.
Luckily after that we ran back to Road Runner and finished up with some stretching.
And guys, that workout slayed me. I got home, ate two soft-boiled eggs on avocado toast (new favorite breakfast), and thought I’d get some extra work done. Oh no. I watched most of Raiders of the Lost Ark and then Temple of Doom while trying to stay awake. It was as if I’d raced, not just run, a half marathon. Ooof.
Which, to me, means I need more workouts like that in my life. I don’t know, yet, if my “mojo” is truly “back,” but I need get my ass to a track every now and then (or more often than that) and do some 400 repeats or ladders or even just strides mixed in with those awful burpees and other bodyweight moves. The goal will be to build up a good, strong base with some speed…that I can put to use in the summer, when I start training for the Giants Half Marathon (I think I might be going for a sub-1:40…).