Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The route I run is along a busy 6 lane road with three lanes in each direction. It's a residential area, with the usual grocery stores and schools along the way but none the less, it is still a busy road that is basically a major thoroughfare for the area. I like it because it is flat and long - I can easily rack up 12-14 miles by going out and back in each direction with no problem. This is also the same street where I have had a few mishaps - and although they have left me a bit nervous, I think it just comes with the territory of road running.
The other "bad" thing about this road is that there is a stop light about every 1/2 mile - sometimes every 3/4 or 1 mile, but usually every 1/2. They are all busy intersections and do deserve a stop light. But they can really mess with your running when you're constantly having to stop and wait. Many times I can time my run with making the majority of the lights (i.e. sprinting when I see it is going to change) - maybe only having to stop for one or possibly two. But really it depends on what time of day I'm out there. If it's in the 5 o'clock hour during the week, you can be sure that I will hit every.single.one. This can be so deflating to my run when I'm in a good groove and found my stride. Other times, especially when it's warm out, it can be a godsend. And this is where my post is going. I hit stop on my Garmin at the lights (I know, so sue me!). Sometimes I can be stuck there for two minutes! Other times as little as 30 seconds. I feel like if I kept my watch running then it wouldn't give me a good clue of where my running was or my fitness - I would have crazy peaks and valleys with my pace and I really want it to be more accurate. Do you hit stop when you stop? I don't usually hit stop when I stop for a second to take a drink mid-run or fix a shoe, but I always hit stop at those damn stop lights. Do you think I'm cheating? Do you think I'm shorting myself? What do you do?
The way I see it, I don't have a choice to stop. It's not because I want to stop, it's because I have to stop. I can't say for certain if it effects my training negatively, as in it's not helping my endurance. So far in all my races I haven't been able to make a direct correlation to it. But, it does cross my mind every single time I have to. There are other routes I could take - this is the easiest for me, though. I literally just step out my door and can start running. I am sure this is a running debate for all. I am sure that some are very passionate about it while others err on my side with the thinking that I just can't keep running. My buddy Jamoosh just made a comment about this recently. His scenario was a bit different. He noticed people in his group runs stopping at water stops and socializing. Here, they often turn their watches off. I'm with him - if you're stopping to socialize, what are you doing out there? You aren't doing yourself any favors, keep running and don't stop your watch! But what about more legit reasons - you stop to help an old lady cross the street - do you hit stop? Or how about when you have to stop and give some idiot in a car directions because they thought they could just stop you - do you hit stop?
I'm not a professional runner - I never will be nor pretend to be one. My running and my training are for me. I get out of my runs what I put into them - much like the rest of you. Is it a crime to hit stop when you're not actually running? Is the stop light cheating? Is there legit times when it is okay to hit stop? Talk amongst yourselves - I would love to hear where you all weigh in! I'm sure this is a touchy topic for some - and it always crosses my mind when I hit stop at the lights.
Running is going well this week - it's only Tuesday :p On Monday I decided to stay inside and hit up the dreadmill. There is a crazy guy on the loose in our area who is jumping out of cars and attempting to attack women runners. No bueno for me! I pulled off 9 miles at MP and felt awesome the whole time. I kept checking in with myself and couldn't believe how good I was feeling. I hope I didn't just jinx myself by typing that. Today I got up early and hit the gym. I just found out they have a spinning bike with a training program attached to it! I plug in my headphones and the screen pops up with music and a personal spinning session! I love it! I rode 29 miles and then jumped off and did some weights and abs. Tomorrow I will try to tackle around 10, but this week I'm attempting to take it easy - I don't want to burn out for Sunday!
Have a great Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!