Monday, December 7, 2015

Lee, the Runner???

Several years ago I related a story about being a cyclist that actually came from an encounter Sherry had with an acquaintance.  The bottom line was that as they were catching up Sherry’s friend asked - “Is your husband Lee Alderman, the cyclist?”  Sherry’s quick answer was yes.

Doing my thing!
Based on recent events, I’m wondering how she would answer that question today.  She might say, “Yeah, he rides sometimes.” She might struggle to find the right words and say something simple like, “he used to be.”  Perhaps she would just laugh and try to change the subject.  Or, just maybe, she would be truthful and reply, “Now he is Lee Alderman, the runner!”

I’ve already written about my Ragnar Relay experiences and Cheating on My Bikes, so the fact I’m running more isn’t a surprise.  So, what’s changed?  Why do I suddenly feel like I’m a runner these days and not a cyclist.

There are three distinct things that tell me I’m much more focused on running - running with friends, running with a purpose and skipping rides.  The events of this weekend highlighted each one of these.

It started with a 6-mile run from my house on Saturday morning.  I know my running is getting serious when I start coordinating group runs the same way I coordinate rides.  There were 4 of us heading up through Montecito Heights, which is lovely wooded, low traffic section of Santa Rosa.  It also includes a great climb.  While we would all prefer to run on trails, Sherry has nixed my trail running because of our pending trip to Paris for Christmas.

One of my running
After the run, we sat around the house drinking espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos (thanks to the Rocket).  We talked about how great the run was and other running related things.  It reminded me of the cycling chit-chat heard in the coffee shop after a great ride.

My original plan was to ride later in the day.  However that never happened.  I would like to blame it on the weather since it was a grey, overcast, windy afternoon.  But the truth is I just didn't feel like riding.  I had already completed a 6-mile run so that was good enough.

On Sunday, I decided to push myself and repeat the same 6-mile run from Saturday.  This would be the first time I’ve done back-to-back long runs in many, many years.  I also decided two other things.  First, I planned on being faster than the previous day (which I was) and second, I would take advantage of the hill to work on my form and strength.

The hill’s natural slope is perfect for training.  As you climb, it has steeper and flatter sections are regular intervals all the way up the 2.5 miles from the bottom to the top.  This means you can push it on the short steeper sections and then recover on the flatter areas.  I usually only run for a little cross-training in the winter so the idea that I was using the hill for training told me I’m getting pretty serious about my running.

With all this running, you might wonder if my cycling days are over.  They are not!!!  To begin with, I still love to ride.  I also have 6 bikes in the garage and I can already see the look in Sherry’s eyes that says “ride them or put them on Craig’s List!”  

Running is great cross training in the winter but cycling will always come first.  And come this spring, just like the flowers waking up from their winter nap, Lee Alderman, the cyclist, will be back.


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