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Showing posts from September, 2009

A Quick Shift in Focus

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What does your 100m time tell you about your ability to run a mile?

Not much.

What does your 800 meter time tell you about your ability to run 5 miles?

A little more, but basically, not much.

What does your 5k time tell you about your ability to run a trail 50k?

Not too much either.

On the other hand, as I opined way back in February, if you train in a balanced way you can be ready for both. At least that's the hope as I put last week's effort behind me and turn towards the task that lies before me on Saturday: the Stumpjump 50k. The Stumpjump is a pretty special race for me.

First, it's held on trails that I used to run and mountain bike as a kid. My old stomping grounds. I remember my first 20 mile run was in Prentice Cooper. My long time training partner Andy Anderson and I stashed a couple of quarts of gatorade back on the old four wheel drive roads. We were just done with high school--I think it was the summer before college--and Andy was trying to convince me to run a mara…

The Arrow Flew--5k PR!

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I ran 15:49 on Saturday morning at the Shelby Bottoms Boogie 5k. It was a breakthrough race in a couple of ways. Those who have been following my blog know that I've had a sub-16 5k on my mind for the last month or so. I'd taken several shots, but the closest I'd come was pretty far off. The progression went like this:

16:50, Howl at the Moon, 8/14
16:39, Run for Recovery, 8/22
16:29, Great Prostate Challenge, 9/5
15:49! Shelby Bottoms, 9/25

In 5 weeks, I dropped 71 seconds off my 5k and ran a lifetime road PR. Pretty snazzy. It's sort of hard to know what to say. Since I've been focused lately on the experience of running, and since the experience of running a PR--what it felt like during the race--is still fairly fresh in my mind, I thought I'd try to get it down in words.

Elly Foster got a couple of great shots of me coming through the last 200 meters toward the finish--they are posted down below. I am surprised to see just how intense I am. Or, rather, it is stra…

cruel fitness

"The art of the great rhythm..." --Nietzsche

I am resting now. This is the hardest part of training, something I've always struggled to do. You work yourself into a cruel fitness, the sense that you can run forever. You have these new capacities at your fingertips. The eight mile runs, the ten mile runs, the twelve mile runs, even the long runs do not leave your weary. The workouts reveal strength behind strength, and speed where there was only acid before and empty effort.

It's at that very moment that the runner has to be careful. Having pulled the bow taught, the feeling of that tension, that power, is so great and pleasureable that the temptation is to fritter it away in small releases, in the joys of the tireless state and the effortless 6 minute miles. We want to luxuriate in this power. To squander that shape in those private moments, on the private joy of training fast, of working out. But this is not the point, no. Having built a heart that is ready to pump g…

Senses of Running

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"Boil the beast" she said, "what else?"

"But it's not dead" protested Belacqua "you can't boil it like that."


She looked at him in astonishment. Had he taken leave of his senses?


"Have sense" she said sharply, "lobsters are always boiled alive. They must be." She caught up the lobster and laid it on its back. It trembled. "They feel nothing" she said.


In the depths of the sea it had crept into the cruel pot. For hours, in the midst of its enemies, it had breathed secretly. It had survived the Frenchwoman's cat and his witless clutch. Now it was going alive into scalding water. It had to. Take into the air my quiet breath.


Belacqua looked at the old parchment of her face, grey in the dim kitchen.


"You make a fuss" she said angrily "and upset me and then lash into it for your dinner."


She lifted the lobster clear of the table. It had about thirty seconds to live.


Well, thought Belacqua, it'…

We Nomads

"The nomad has a territory; he follows customary paths; he goes from one point to another; he is not ignorant of points (water points, dwelling points, assembly points, etc.). But the question is what in nomad life is a principle and what is only a consequence. To begin with, although the points determine paths, they are strictly subordinated to the paths they determine, the reverse of which happens with the sedentary. The water point is reached only to be left behind; every point is a relay and exists only as a relay. ... The life of the nomad is the intermezzo. Even the elements of his dwelling are conceived in terms of the trajectory that is forever mobilizing them." --Gilles Deleuze

I had a good run today, 30k on a hilly course with the last five miles under 6:00 pace.

There are two aspects of a good run. One of them is articulated in a language that grounds the run in a type of analytic fact. I ran this distance and it occurred at this pace on this course which happens to…

3650

Okay, another post about numbers.

Yesterday I passed the 3650 miles for the last 365 days. It was this week last year that I recovered from my achilles tendinitis enough to begin training. (It's almost totally healed now.)

Some stats from the 365 days:

Lowest mileage week: 25, week of Dec. 1. (I only ran two days that week, as my left quad was bothering me.) This was the only week I didn't hit at least 40 miles.
Highest mileage week: 111, week of Feb 2. That's an all-time high for me. I had four weeks over 100 miles this year.
Weeks above 80 miles: 19
Weeks above 60 miles: 36
Doubles: 73
Days off: 21
Highest Monthly Mileage: January, 09: 360 miles
Lowest Monthly Mileage: June, 09: 231 miles
# of races: 15
# of PRs: 2 (HM 1:12:51, 50k trail 3:51:33)

Onwards!

Sub16

I took my shot on Saturday at a local 5k and ran 16:29.

After the race I was disappointed, but only for about 5 minutes. I walked backwards on the course and watched as the runners came in. It's impossible to stay blue when you see folks working it that last half mile of a 5k. I stood and watched, offering words of encouragement. But I was the one encouraged. Cheesy, but true.

I looked back today on athlinks through some of my old road racing. Though I've done it several times on the track, in my entire life I've broken 16 minutes for 5k on the roads exactly twice. Once the course was short--I ran 14:47, supposedly. Ha! Unfortunately, I think that race would have been my road PR. The other time I squeaked under with a 15:55, a road race I ran in April after track season while home visiting from college, more than 10 years ago.

So, that puts this goal into some perspective for me. The fact that I'm considering it is pretty meaningful. On Saturday, I took it out hard with a…