Deposits in the Training Bank

Let’s face it: some workouts are just clunkers we’ve gotta get through. Maybe we’re tired, or grumpy, or suffering from hormone poisoning, or distracted. There’s no magic or euphoria involved. We’ve just got to keep moving and deliver the reps or the miles so we can check it off our to-do list for the day.

I don’t particularly like when that happens, and it doesn’t happen often. But it does happen. On those days, I like to think about the workout as a deposit made in the training bank. It wasn’t fun, and it didn’t make me happy, but it had value that will pay off later.

Other workouts are either penance for having too much fun (say, a 6-mile run the day after a few too many cocktails and chicken wings at Happy Hour) or are “deposits in the fun bank”… like a really killer bootcamp on Friday morning so I can enjoy an arthichoke-and-sundried-tomato pizza at the Alamo Drafthouse on Friday night.

The best workouts are the ones that are awesome and fun and inspiring and totally kickass and WOOHOO!!! all on their own. They’re not payments made against bad debts or investments made to balance out future poor decisions, they’re just a celebration of breathing hard and feeling my muscles at work.

I fully expected today to be a “deposit in the training bank” kind of day. I just could not get excited about running 10 miles. But thanks to Bonita and Dave, they made a deposit run border on being a WOOHOO!!! workout by adding a handful of fun glimmers.

What’s cooler than your friends turning a chore into fun?!

Not much, people, not much.

Today’s run was intended to be my “mental confidence” run… the one I knew I didn’t physically need to do, but felt was necessary so I could start the ZOOMA half marathon with confidence instead of dread.

ZOOMA is a hilly course, so I thought it would be a good idea to tackle the hills on Enfield that I learned about when we ran the Austin Half Marathon. We started with the 4-mile loop around the lake, then turned onto Lake Austin Boulevard and trudged to Enfield for the hills. At Meriden street, we turned around and did the rolling hills in reverse.

This morning was warm and humid, and there was definitely a stretch along Lake Austin Boulevard that felt like punishment, but the high points made it fun:

1. Bonita ran slightly ahead of me part of the time and periodically broke into either a) running backwards or b) skipping. It’s impossible to wallow in one’s own running misery when there’s a blue-and-yellow clad skipper up ahead.

2. We stopped to catch our breath and regroup with Dave a few times, and every time, that handsome husband of mine was smiling. I’ve always known that Dave was sweet and solid — a real stand-up guy — but I don’t think I realized how tough he is until we started training together. He might not be super speedy, but he is relentless… and y’all know how I love that in a person.

3. Back in the park by Deep Eddy, Bonita did five burpee pullups (burpee then replace the overhead clap on the jump with a pullup) for an audience that included me and two tan, muscle-bound dudes chillaxing on a picnic table. When she was done entertaining us, they were cool enough to say to her, “That was awesome. I don’t think I could do that… maybe we should be running with you two!” Sweet. (And that was after she’d already done 11 perfect kipping pullups on the bar at the other end of the lake near the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.)

4. Bonita and I took a short break from our run to do burpee box jumps in the park and finished the run with 10 burpees… one for every mile we covered. We have an agreement with each other to celebrate our ZOOMA finish with 13 burpees when we cross the finish line.

5. After our run, we went to Izzoz Tacos on South First. It was our first time to try their tacos, and I can’t wait to go back. Everything was very fresh and flavorful, the picnic tables are inviting, and the woman who took our order at the trailer window was super friendly. We started with queso and chips to take the edge off until our tacos arrived… then I had pork carnitas with pineapple, avocado, and verde salsa… and a bacon, egg, and potato. Dave and Bonita had monsters called The Bat: eggs, beans, bacon, cheese, and potato. Dave also had an old school: a crispy taco with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. It was all ridiculously delicious; the perfect post-run re-fuel. And the Izzoz coffee is worth mentioning, too: it’s mild and flavorful with a touch of cinnamon.

6. Conveniently located next to Izzoz is Holy Cacao, another food truck that serves cake balls. They’re like mini cupcakes on a stick, dipped in delicious frosting. Bonita and I had wedding cake flavor, which is white cake with vanilla butter cream frosting; Dave had dark chocolate with chocolate butter cream frosting. They’re the perfect size, about 1/3 of a regular cupcake so you can enjoy three bites (which my Weight Watchers meeting leader Pam insists is the ideal amount of dessert: the first bite for the delicious “first bite” experience, the second bite to enjoy it again, and the third bite to be, like, “cool, I’ve had enough now.”)

So there you have it: a “deposit” workout that turned into a totally fun morning. All it takes is lots of hills and sweat, burpees, good friends, and a breakfast taco.

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