Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 13 – Why You Shouldn’t Run With Your Girlfriend

This week I remembered why you shouldn’t go running with your girlfriend…especially when your girlfriend runs 20 kilometers at lunch, for fun.

Click here to read other journal entries and articles by Andrew Read, and look for his new journal every Monday as he trains for Ironman Melbourne.

Journal Entry 13 – Why You Shouldn’t Run With Your Girlfriend

Last week was a good week. Pain free running for the first time in over two months is something to be excited about. And I’m just as excited this week, maybe even more so, about a solid week of short runs that have also been pain free.

I’ve never enjoyed running. Never. Not even when I’ve been fit for running and able to cruise through 10k runs day after day. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. And for now I feel heavy and sluggish, like one of the Budweiser horses, instead of the thoroughbred I want to be like.

But I’m getting there.

Saturday is my long run day. While this will steadily be built up to three or more hours, right now my long run consists of a walk for about twenty minutes then a run of about six kilometers. By long run standards it’s not much, but considering that two weeks ago I couldn’t run across the street without slowing to a walk it’s a big step forward.

Yesterday I made the mistake of going for a run with my girlfriend. I say mistake because when she’s in shape she can really motor. This is a girl who used to run twenty kilometers at lunchtime just for fun. She’s slowed down a bit because she doesn’t run quite as much, but she still has got me for speed.

After the warm up walk I told her I wouldn’t run with her as I knew she’d take off and I didn’t want to kill myself trying to keep up with her at this point. With only a few pain free sessions under my belt there was no way I wanted to spend another month not running. And when she took off boy did she go. Even though we started running at the exact same time, within just a minute or so she was over two hundred meters away and still accelerating (all while fiddling with her hair and clothes.)

Meanwhile I was doing my best to breathe through a nose that was running so badly I had snot dripping down my face. (I’m not sick it was just cold outside yesterday morning).

I did my best to not watch her run as every time I looked I felt my pace increase. I just can’t help myself. It’s hard for me not to try my absolute best at everything I do, even when the goal is go for an easy run. I suppose I could try to have the best, easy run possible, and I do – my entire run yesterday except for about two hundred meters uphill right at the end of the run was done breathing solely through my dripping nose. But I still want to chase down whatever is in front of me.

And so started the world’s slowest chase. For twenty-seven minutes I edged closer and closer to her. At points I felt like I could catch her within just a few more strides, but then I would notice that my breathing was becoming more ragged and I was in danger of having to open my mouth to breathe, so I would back off slightly and she would edge away again.

The reason for the nasal breathing is simple. I don’t like running with a heart rate (HR) monitor. In fact, I don’t like running with any gadgets. No iPod. No HR monitor or GPS. Just me. Let’s face it – I run poorly and need all my attention to be on my running, not on bringing sexy back. Breathing only through my nose forces me to keep my pace easy and I know from experience, and using a HR monitor previously, that I’m within my aerobic cap doing this.

But little by little, inch-by-inch I got closer and closer. Right near my house we had to dodge around an elderly lady and as my girlfriend went to pass her she turned her head and realized I was only about ten meters behind. This final stretch is about two hundred meters from my house and slightly uphill and I was right there having made up the gap over the previous miles – all while still running easy.

In the end I didn’t actually catch her. For once I was fine with that because my calves are pain free. While I want to win every battle as well as the war, the truth is that everything I do before March 24 of 2013 is either helping me achieve my goal or dragging me further away from it. Running harder now, while I’m trying to build my aerobic base, won’t actually help and it may injure me again. So to be pain free and able to keep up with the racing snake actually makes me kind of happy today.

And any training week that leaves you feeling positive about the journey ahead is a week well spent.

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