31 July 2007

Relationships -- When I'm OK but You're Not OK

Since following a training program is a new thing for me (I usually just pick a distance and run at whatever pace I can maintain), most of my thinking these days is on my pace -- Am I going too fast? This feels way slow! Shoot, it seemed like I was swimming upstream in molasses yet I ran at that pace?! OK, now where, exactly, does this mile end? The program is good for me, I think. Last week's tempo run was definitely better than 2 weeks previous and I actually ran the speedwork faster than planned and faster than I thought I could.

This morning, though, in addition to pace and mile marker, I had some folks on my mind. I have been struck by how different our perspectives on events can really be. In a recent conversation, someone told me they had worked through some issues stemming from a time when they felt unfairly treated and are OK with things -- it's behind them. Other parties honestly believe that this family way overreacted out of stress and I suspect that when these folks are face to face, the other parties aren't going to feel that things are resolved. How do we fix that?

I'm not sure I can fix this particular situation but the question did lead me to the personal conclusion that just because I've worked through something for myself, it really isn't settled until I work through it with all parties involved. If I'm OK and you're not OK, then we're not OK and I'm probably not as OK as I think.

That's pretty heavy for 5:30 AM. Maybe that's why my run didn't feel "easy" even through the training plan called for an easy run today.

Run well,
Bob -- Richmond, VA

18 July 2007

I Did It!

Today was speedwork day on my training plan -- 5 miles total with warm-up, 2 x 1600 m @ 7:05, and cool down. I decided to warm-up by running easy to the closest high school (@1.6 miles), do my repeats on the track (measured distance and easy to monitor my pace), and then do an easy run back home to cool down. Just in case something was up with the track (the school normally leaves the track open for the community), I had a contingency -- the road in front of the school is just over 1 mile between 2 major intersections -- but really didn't want to do that because there are no easy markers for monitoring pace.

So, off I went and the track was closed for resurfacing. It was tempting to chuck the speedwork and just do an extra easy run. But, that really wouldn't help me reach my goal, would it?

So, back to the first major intersection (an extra half mile or so warm-up) to do the first segment. It was then that it hit me that the first 1600 meters was going to be basically downhill -- not steep at a net change of about 14', mind you, but still generally downhill. That meant (yeah, you are pretty sharp) that the second segment was going to be basically uphill. Well, nothing to do but go for it.

The first 1600 m was difficult but I completed it in 6:45 on the nose (not too bad for an old man). I jogged back up the road for what I estimated to be 1/4 mile and then back to the end to start the second 1600 m. The first 200 meters or so weren't too bad but then ... I knew this wasn't going to be pretty.

I ran as hard and as long as I could will myself to do then slowed down and continued that way -- hard, slow, hard, slow. That happened for what seemed like at least 5 miles. When the end finally came in sight, I checked my watch and, can you believe it, there was just the slimmest of possibilities that I could actually reach the end in the target time of 7:05 (though it seemed like 7 hours and 5 minutes, the target was actually 7 minutes and 5 seconds). Sure enough, I gutted it out to the end and stopped my watch at 7:04.75.

Then, I figured, Well, it must be less than 1600 m so I really didn't do so great. But, I plotted it on gMap Pedometer and it was actually 1644.6 meters. Hooray! I had been dreading failure for 10 days -- wasted emotional energy!

So, I've gotten past that hurdle. Maymont Half-Marathon, here I come.

Run well, y'all,

11 July 2007

That Was Hard!

Today was day #4 on the half-marathon training program and it was definitely the hardest. The previous 3 days, I was having difficulty slowing down the pace enough -- the point being, I suppose, to get in a good workout without trashing muscles and lungs in order to get in a hard workout mid-week and a long run on the weekend.

Anyway, since I've been unwilling to fork over the money for a Garmin Forerunner or a Polar watch, the only way I have to judge the time is to know where my mile (or fraction of a mile) spots are and to check my watch at those points. In order to keep from focusing too much on time, I've chosen to check my watch at each mile. The downside is that I only know my pace after each mile and then make a subjective adjustment for the next mile.

Today, though, the goal was a tempo (supposed to be comfortably difficult) run. That included a 1 mile warm-up, a 1 mile cool-down (both defined as easy or 8:58 minutes per mile) with 3 miles in the middle at a pace of 7:30 minutes per mile. I did OK on the first mile at about 9:15 mpm. The second mile went fine at 7:31. The third mile was a bit slower at 7:38. But the fourth mile was a killer -- I really pushed but could only manage 7:46. Then the final mile was 8:56. The problem was that I was dog tired at the end of 5.1 miles.

I'm trusting Runner's World on this training plan. But, is it going to get me to my goal? I'll know at the end of September.

BTW, I'm ready for winter to come back. This business of 70°+ and 85%+ humidity at 5:30 AM is for the birds! The spot where I stretch at the end of my run always looks like a swimming hole when I finish from all the sweat that pours off me. Yeah, I know -- GROSS! Give me 45° and 60% humidity any day.

Run well y'all,

08 July 2007

4 Years!

Today I finished my 4th consecutive year of running (and walking). That's a milestone (pun intended) for this 53 year old because, even when I ran track in high school, I only ran 3 years and didn't run year 'round. (Article related to the picture.)

I began in earnest on 9-Jul-03 by walking 2.9 miles in 45 minutes. I finished the 4 years by running 7.3 miles yesterday in just under an hour and running 4.6 miles this morning in 40 minutes (intentionally slower). In those 4 years, I have run about 4,395 miles in 7 different countries (US, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar, Dem Republic of Congo):

2003: 557 miles (Jul-Dec)
2004: 837 miles (medial meniscectomy in Sept)
2005: 924 miles (achilles tendinitis in Feb)
2006: 1364 miles
2007: 712 miles (Jan-today)

In addition (and the reason this morning's run was intentionally slower), I ended the 4 years by beginning a 12-week training regimen for the Maymont X-Country Half-Marathon on 28-Sep-07 (there, I've committed publicly to doing it). My "that would be great" goal is 1 hour, 41 minutes -- approximately 07:45 mpm (minutes per mile), which is a pretty challenging goal for me. My "I would be happy with it" goal is just under 1 hour, 45 minutes or 08:00 mpm. Following a training program will be very different from my normal routine which has been to vary my distance and route for 4-6 runs per week but with the pace about the same for every run. So, we'll see how it goes. This is supposed to be a fun race to run because of the course.

I start year #5 tomorrow morning.

Run well, y'all,

04 July 2007


Yesterday, Linda and I spent the day at Williamsburg. It was quite interesting, especially the reenactment of select events between 1774 and 1776. One of scenes was the arrest and trial of a loyalist merchant in Williamsburg. The militia arrested him and put on a mockery of a trial.

The whole thing got me thinking about the judicial system in the US. While there is plenty to critique about our judicial system, in general we do benefit from a well-ordered legal system (my thoughts on this are certainly those of a layman and, I'm sure, are very simplistic). Our rights to competent representation in court, the requirement that findings of an investigation must be shared with the defense, our right to trial by a jury of peers approved by both defense and prosecution, etc.

The system doesn't always work; there are numerous examples of abuses; a higher judiciary that legislates rather than interprets law is not what's intended. One could also certainly point to many examples of mob justice (the KKK would be an accurate, though awful, example) that are outside the system -- essentially, that's what the reenactment portrayed yesterday. And, it was very clear why an individual who disagreed with the process would be very afraid to stand up to the crowd.

I left Williamsburg disturbed that quick justice can seem so appealing when the alternative is a seeming labourious journey through the proper system. But I am thankful for the protections that our prescribed system of justice provides.

Happy Fourth of July. Thank God for your freedoms.

Run well,