Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turtles (no, not the chocolate kind)

Well people, I am half way to being a personal trainer. I survived the theory portion of the course and only have to complete the practical exam before I am full-fledged. Look out, world, I plan on conquering the realm of personal training one newbie marathon runner at a time.

Speaking of my course, I learned something in my course that ya'll may want to consider. SO. We all know that our long run is a priority run when training for a full or a half. And this past week I have learned the science that makes it so. In a nutshell, the body operates on energy called ATP. The body has 2 different systems for making ATP- the aerobic system and the anaerobic system. The anaerobic systems are used when we are doing very high or high intensity activities that last from 10 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes. Therefore, as you may have guessed, they are NOT in use when you are training for a half or full...or at least NOT on the long run. The aerobic systems are the systems that create ATP using oxygen...they will continue to create ATP forever and ever as long as there is fat and/or glucose and oxygen available. Thus we need to train our aerobic system to be ready and efficient on race day, as it is the system that is used in running long distances. The best way to do this is to stay in the aerobic training zone when you're doing your long runs. How do you know that you're in your aerobic zone, you ask? Well, if we were going to be very scientific about it we would calculate your aerobic zone and take your heart rate from time to time on the long run to make sure you were exactly where you needed to be....but we're not, so the best I can tell you is that you need to SLOW DOWN. You should be able to carry on a conversation the WHOLE time you are running. If you want to push your pace, you need to do it on one of the shorter runs! Think TURTLES...slow, steady, happy, lovely little creatures...

You know, I've always loved turtles. They are just so unassuming and cute, sunning themselves on rocks in the heat of the summer. My lovely sis and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane this summer while she was still unmarried and free as a bird so we went for a bit of a turtle hunt, just like we did when we were kids. It wasn't quite the same as when we were chilies, we had a tin boat with a motor instead of a little wooden green boat with holes in it that we had to paddle, but it was exciting and adventurous nonetheless. Anyhow, to make a very long and funny story short, we found one of those quiet, unassuming, cute little turtles sunning himself on a log in the bay across from our cottage. We tried a few times to corner him on the log but he swam away from us and ended up where we couldn't quite angle the boat in to get him. So I made my dear sister (who was getting married in a week and really didn't want scratched and bruised legs for her wedding), climb up this rock face with tons of prickly branches, lichen and such to "scare" the turtle into swimming towards me in the boat so I could catch him in the net. Oh- and she wasn't wearing any shoes. Well, after several minutes of trying, we finally caught the little gaffer, tossed him in the bottom of the boat and took him home to brag to my sis' husband to be about our turtle hunting prowess...and to obviously prove to him that he had chosen a worthy mate. Gone are the days of the dowry, are the days of the little wifey bringing home the shape of a turtle! Needless to say, I don't really think he was that impressed and may have thought our passion for this whole turtle hunt was a little strange. Obviously he has NEVER had the thrill of netting an animal that is the size of his hand and whose defense mechanism is to pull its head inside of its shell...

I digress...the point is this. On your long run, run like turtles people! Not like the wind, not like a rabbit, not like some axe murderer is chasing you down the a TURTLE. Slow. Steady. Breathe easy. Enjoy.

Thank-you and good night.

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