Saturday, February 4, 2012

My soul and the three energy systems

As so often happens in life, my life at least, the weekends end up being a lot busier then the weekdays.  I'm at work 8-9 hours a day (which is really more like 11-12 hours) so when I get home I'm pretty much spent.  Too spent to do anything but watch a ballgame or some crappy reality show that my wife loves...or a ballgame.  So on the weekends we wake up thinking we have all the time in the world to do the laundry and do the dishes and go to the grocery store for the weeks food and go get a haircut and start getting your taxes together and dealing with the leaky kitchen sink all before daytime turns into night because at night you have to get ready for the evenings activity, dinner with friends, date night, etc.  So I found myself today trying to squeeze in a quick 3-4 miles between unloading the groceries and getting some bungee cords and a new trash can from the hardware store.  "All right babe, I'm going for a run." I anounced to the little missus, "I'll be back in 30-40 minutes."  "Can you make it more like 30?  We still have lots of stuff to do!"  My internal "hurry up" was officially activated.  I figure I can get my 3 miles in a little faster, if I push I can be home in 25 minutes.

For the first time in a long time I was running.  Really running.  Not jogging like I have been all last month but but running smooth and fast and it felt great.  Sometimes it takes a little unwitting encouragement from an outside force to run a faster tempo.  I ended up doing two miles at this fast pace and then I remembered something I learned a long time ago when I was first getting my PT cert.  There are three different energy systems in the body.  For the sake of dumbing it down for the general masses (I realize that neither of my followers need me to dumb it down since you are both very smart, I just don't remember the scientific names) let's call these three energy systems: long distance slow, middle distance fast, and full speed sprinting.  As the creatively simple names indicate, your body has these three "speeds" that you draw on everytime you run.  So as I got to the two mile point today I wondered what natural running feels like at full speed, with "run like you stole something" fury.  So I slowed to a walk, spent a minute getting my breath back then slowly eased back to a run.  I've done these "pick-ups" a thousand times.  I start off at a very gentle jog and I simultaneously start counting seconds in my head 1...2...3... I try to increase my speed gradually 5...6...7 until I get to 10 when I am at full speed (I actually strive to get to about 95% speed, tests on Olympic sprinters found that they tend to run faster when their perceived exertion is a 9.5 out of 10 as opposed to a 10 out of 10.  I think it has a lot to do with relaxing the muscles that are not actively involved in moving you forward, facial muscles, shoulders, arms, etc.  Interesting, right?). I then try to hold this fast but relaxed pace as I continue to count 16...17...18...then I just as gradually bring the speed back down until I am walking at 25...26...27.  I kept walking for 15-30 seconds and then repeated the whole thing.  I did about 4-5 of those "pick ups" and they just felt magical.  I felt like I was one of those jet powered racing boats you occasionally surf past on late night TV.  When you hit the gas, all but the props of these boats seem to rise up out of the water.  I felt something stirring deep in my soul.  I want to race again.  I want to test myself against others.  I want to run as hard as I can for as long as I can and see where it takes me.  It often times takes competition to bring out the best in people. Really hard physical work like that sometimes takes me to an almost spiritual place.  It can be so freakin' hard to run past that skinny dude with the chiseled calves as you go up the monster hill.  The effort takes everything you've got, but it also clears your mind of all the stress and drama and crap.  The budget just won't balance, My mother-in-law is being overbearing again how do I deal with that, how will I be able to afford a new bathroom floor, will they ever make triple stuff oreo's, etc.  None of these thoughts, or any of the millions like them that enter our heads, will be able to stick while you are running full bore.  It's impossible to think of anything else because your mind is using every available neuron to force your body to ignore all of its warning signs and JUST KEEP PUSHING!!!

But for now I am content just slowly building strength in the lower legs and grooving the new form.  Unless I'm told to hurry up because we have to go find a rug to match the new table.

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