Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Facing the Demons

Last week, my trusted advisor, Margie, asked me what put me in a dark place after I reported "battling demons" and ALMOST skipped one of my runs. Not running for no good reason is sacrilege to me and Lauren, as we just can't afford to miss a day. After some thought, it was obvious that the demons were of my own design--that week I lived large and the lack of sleep caught up with me. By Friday night I was throwing a pity party: perched in bed in my reflective bike gear, cold, snacking on peanuts and mindlessly clicking around on the internet.

I read something sensible--which took an hour of browsing to find--that made me realize I was being a big baby. I pulled myself out of bed, put on my running clothes, grabbed my gaga-filled ipod and ran. These demons I battled? Turned out they weren't so threatening, although, this discussion helped me realize a DEEPER DEMON WITHIN.

Here is my neighborhood YMCA pool--the basement/dungeon pool

Do you see all those red tiles on the other side? I've counted most of them--several times over, during aqua runs.

Back to our demonic discussion... in recent years I have done LOTS of 400s in this pool. There are an infinite number of ways to do a set of 400s. To get the creative juices flowing, here are a few examples: 6 x 400 zn 4, 3 x (3 x 400 w/ varying rest), 6 x 400 desc 1-3. 400s with toys. Your imagination can really run away with you.

I know the 400 times I have swum in my beloved SCM (short course meters) pool in the past and with my year's exodus from training, I DARED NOT swim a 400 as of late, for fear of what the clock might say. I did NOT want to see the slower times so I simply avoided doing them.

This morning, however, I jumped in my own lane and figured, what the hell, I'll do some 400s... I initially set out to do 4 (not fast or anything, just testing the waters) then a few more with paddles. I peeked at the clock after my first 100 and knew I was good for 5.

I held the same time for each one--they weren't my best times, but not bad either. It's a marker and it's reality. I know that doing the workout a few more times (with 6 repetitions as originally designed), I'll learn to do the set again and bring my times down.

That's my success story of the day. I battled my demons and looked reality in the face.

A special thanks goes to Lauren and Kloner for sharing their tales of 400s over the past couple months while I worked up the courage to do them myself.


  1. I am glad that you are back in action and, as it was stated by a certain tender runner, are ready to tear it up at Columbia. It will also be nice having someone to talk triathlons with at track practice (and by that I mean me picking your brain). Good stuff!

  2. Which tender runner?

    Yes, just get out and run. Gotta do it.

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  4. I was visiting DC this past weekend to run the Nat'l 13.1 and could've sworn I saw someone who looked like you running down U Street Saturday evening. Of course, I might've yelled something offensive about Ohio in your direction, but then again it was probably more like a whisper.

    Great to hear you're back in action again! Good-luck!

  5. Sean, it looks like you had a solid race--congrats!

    I was running on Saturday and must have whispered back something equally offensive about Michigan.