Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Believer" Article Response

If you haven't seen it, writer Mark Oppenheimer decided to offer his brilliant insight to the mind of a high school male cross country runner in an article written for Believer magazine. Since his characterization was so off-the-mark (and, being entirely based on his own experiences, pulsating with arrogance) I decided to write a short response to the article. Any of you who know me personally know that "short response" does not compute with my brain. I emailed the response to the editor of the magazine, but I certainly don't expect anything to come of it (what use does a magazine not focused on running have for a rambling refutation of an article? I'm guessing it'll get put into the "file cabinet" with a basketball hoop fixed above the rim. . .) I decided to post it here. I tried to split it up a little better because its length isn't exactly blog-friendly, but anyone interested in reading the whole thing might be better served cutting and pasting it into a word file or something.

Link to Original Article:


Here it is:

Don't Speak For Me: A Response to Mark Oppenheimer's Projection of his Cross Country Experience

It isn't often that distance running is mentioned in a mainstream publication. Outside of our niche publications and the sequestered communities of people who hold court at running websites, the rest of the world doesn't seem to have much regard for distance running. While I won't presume to speak my fellow athletes and followers of the sport, I can say that, for me, this is not a problem. Endurance athletes will occasionally capture the public imagination, and, during the Olympics, polite homage will be paid to any gold medal winners before the public largely turns its eye away from distance running again. The polite acquiescence with which many of my fellow athletes regard being ignored by the public has led to the propagation of the stereotype that distance runners, and high school distance runners especially, are by and large a passive, lonely bunch. Mr. Oppenheimer, certainly, falls among the population of distance runners who came to the sport because they could not jump high enough to play basketball or sustain the agility necessary for the various ball sports. No one should be surprised, then, that Mr. Oppenheimer, in an attempt to give meaning to his own experience as a harrier, projects his own feelings and motivations into the hearts and minds of all runners in his essay “The Race That Is Not About Winning.”

With respect to Mr. Oppenheimer's feelings and memories, I insist on politely asking Mr. Oppenheimer to butt out of group psychology. Perhaps it was his experience that running is some personal struggle for identity that transcends sport and achieves some level of art with which mere victory cannot compare; perhaps Mr. Oppenheimer fears that a majority of runners had the same tepid and lonely thoughts define their careers as harriers as surely as it apparently defined his.
Unfortunately, no matter how many actors and books and mediums of creative outlet Mr. Oppenheimer cites, his thesis ultimately commits the logical fallacy that presumes one or a few cases can be used to draw a broader conclusion about every member of a population. While I'm sure there are runners who can identify with the life of the harrier as Mr. Oppenheimer defines it, I'm equally sure that there are many of us who do not. Ultimately, Mr. Oppenheimer settles for the easy way out; he insists on the stereotype as the frightened, cowardly loser running for something more significant than mere honors in a footrace.

I was compelled, then, to write this response not out of an emotional denial of Mr. Oppenheimer's conclusion, but a need to refuse to allow a fallacy of a conclusion to be perpetuated when there is a more complex truth that deserves to be heard. Yes, Mr. Oppenheimer has a point when he says that running lends itself to self-reflection It can be an incredibly lonely experience, and every runner I know can discuss a time when he felt lonely. The mistake, then, lies not in the observation but in the conclusion Mr. Oppenheimer draws from it. There is a dirty secret that unites a vast majority of high school cross country runners, but it isn't what Mr. Oppenheimer, or the press, or public opinion, or even a few runners themselves would have you believe. Despite what the press and the public believes, despite what a vocal minority of runners themselves insist, and despite what Mr. Oppenheimer posits in his essay, the secret is not that runners are at heart cowards, or otherwise useless athletically, or at heart loners with social anxiety.

The Dirty Secret of which I speak is perhaps only surprising in its absolute banality: male high school cross country runners are nothing more than a population sample of male high school students. Contrary to what so many want to believe, the truth of the matter is this: we are typical adolescents, which is to say we are as nonboringly average as any other high student.

I understand this is as hard a truth for many of my compatriots to accept as it is the general public. To the non-runner, it is inconceivable that any well-adjusted high school boy would choose to go out and run for six or seven or eight miles after school, only to end back where they began, merely sweatier for the journey. To the non-runner, it is inconceivable that, in an age where shorts ending above the knee are considered to be a sign of homosexuality, a sport whose nature encourages a shorter short preference in the name of comfort would not attract the most effeminate boys in school. Perhaps most unforgivably of all, though, is that running is not only a physically miserable experience, it is also the hallmark of the coward. A group of boys who would rather run away than fight must be effeminate, passive cowards desperately seeking acceptance.

It is a convenient narrative, revealing not only of the absurdities of assumptions people will make (exactly what is so latently homosexual about a partially-exposed quadricep muscle, but not, say, a bare bicep?) but also of Western values. Success in distance running is primarily dependent on two factors: the steady, unyielding application of effort over prolonged periods of time, and an ability to disregard challenges and discomfort while pursuing a goal. What could be less sexy than the lesson that success is more based on those two factors than the ability to pour one's “screaming machismo,” as Oppenheimer calls it, into short, glory-punctuated moments? It's true, cross-country races don't often present many flashy moments for the highlight reels.

More important than the highlight reel, though, is the Dirty Secret that high school runners are hardly different, as a group, than high school boys. I too ran cross country during high school, and I don't remember any of us being teenage anti-heroes more concerned with “beating their own 'personal best[s],'” than with beating our opponents, as Mr. Oppenheimer boldly insists. Like any group of competitive young adolescents, we wanted to beat the other teams we raced, whether our goal was to finish top 10 in the state or win the whole shebang. Mr. Oppenheimer unfortunately makes the same mistake so many Americans do: “beat” might carry connotations of an actual physical beating as much as it means a victory, but just because the physical connotation doesn't apply to running doesn't mean the victorious connotation is also invalid. Make no mistake about it: the runner holding the 16th position in a cross country race wants to overtake 15th as desperately as the runner-up strains to catch the winning runner in the final straight.
Unfortunately, many of those who aren't familiar with a racing career don't see the achievement in finishing 6th or 14th or 31st. One runner wins the race, and second place is also the first loser, yes? Ultimately such a reduction is just as convenient as Mr. Oppenheimer's hypothesis and just as absurd. Something even many runners don't want to admit is that sometimes, 25th place can be an excellent result. A runner who is pleased with 25th or 45th or 75th isn't a runner who has resigned himself to mediocrity or reduced to using only an internal metric as a yardstick for improvement. The runner who disgusts sportswriters by being thrilled with a 42nd finish is likely a runner who, in the same race last year, couldn't even muster up a finish inside the top 100. He is now better than almost sixty boys he could not beat a year ago. A year of training out in icy winds, driving rain, and the sticky humid heat of high summer has resulted in two classrooms full of boys who could not match one runner's fierce determination or competitive instinct. Who is Mr. Oppenheimer to say such a result is mediocre? Who is Mr. Oppenheimer to reduce the boy who makes a suicidal surge to drop a pack of pursuing runners with more than a mile of racing left to a coward because the brave and magnificent effort the athlete is making involves running instead of, say, a desperate last-minute shot from half-court.

This isn't to belittle other sports, of course. I just posit that the desperate buzzer-beater attempt or the no-time-on-the-clock fake punt is no more heroic—but no less heroic, either—than the boy heaving himself forward at the finish line, risking a mouthful of mud, to please-God-finish-one-place-higher. Just because Mr. Oppenheimer's cross country team didn't seem to seem to understand that while 40th place is not a winning position, it is still superior to 41st, which is better than 42nd, and so on ad infinitum doesn't mean that other, less self-pitying runners, do not. I know that my cross country team was full of adolescents who desperately wanted to be top-100 if they had finished 110th the week before, or top-50 if they had placed 60th, and so on.

When I joined the team as a sophomore, we were a group of teens from varied sports backgrounds. I had played soccer in the fall and run track in the spring before deciding I preferred running to soccer and made the switch to a full-time runner. Of my closest friends, we had a teammate who planned on leaving us in the spring for baseball before we convinced him to stay with us. Our captain, one of the most friendly and extroverted people I knew, wrestled in the winter and occasionally ran track in the spring, though he disliked running on the track, preferring the undulating terrain and unpredictable nature of cross country races. During the fall, we were united not by our sense of isolation, or our inability to have girlfriends, or our social anxiety, but our mutual affinity for running and our shared desire to win.

As impossible as it is for some of our number to accept, we weren't outcasts or noncompetitive spirits who viewed the races as tests of the spirit. To paraphrase John Parker, author of the cult running novel Once a Runner, we didn't saunter into the woods for crypto-religious reasons. We trained to win races. We trained to cover the ground faster than we thought we could, faster than anyone else we raced. It was as uncomplicated as the football team's ardor to win their games, or as any team's desire to win. We didn't do it while screaming like berserker warriors; we did it one mile at a time, methodically preparing our bodies for a contest of endurance, will, and courage.

We sure as hell weren't an athletic Dead Poet's Society, and neither were the many teams we came to know in our time as harriers. To the short-sighted like Mr. Oppenheimer, it is a difficult concept to process, but just because we were friends with runners from other teams, just because we hung out with them on the weekends and sneaked into their dances and invited them to our spaghetti suppers didn't mean we weren't trying with every fiber of our being to crush them into the dirt when we raced. And likewise, just because we were crushing them in a footrace doesn't mean we were scared of them. Spectators who take the woods during a cross country race are often shocked to see the supposedly cowardly, mutually-respective-of-one-another pansies driving a bony elbow into the gut of a runner who tries to pass on the inside of a turn. I've had dear friends take swings at me during a race, only to have us both laugh about it after the fact.

I believe Mr. Oppenheimer that the anti-heroic waifs who fall into running due to failure at everything else do exist. I also have never met a single one in my years of association with running. The old stereotypes, like most stereotypes, fall away when you meet the individual runners. Runners don't have girlfriends? Most of the ones I know don't have trouble meeting girls, nor did they in high school. Unlike the young ladies in romantic comedies, most real adolescent girls will respond to a boy they find funny, or smart, or worth talking to in any way. Runners are socially awkward and invisible to “normal people?” My cross country team provided my high school class with its Vice-President, Secretary, and one of four Officers-At-Large, and this wasn't a particularly rare occurrence at the schools against whom we competed, either. The football team and the cross country team are natural opposites, and the runners harbor some desire to be football players themselves? Perhaps in the world of “Grease” or Happy Days, but in the world I lived in, most football teams provided a few shot putters or sprinters to the track team in the spring, and both teams had a mutual respect of what the others were capable of.

I'm not saying every football player wanted to hold our hands and sing with us, but in general, the shot putters who played football in the fall held a deep respect for the distance runners as they watched them run lap after lap on a track shimmering with May heat, their faces contorted in discomfort but their gazes far away, breaking imaginary tapes and setting hypothetical untouchable records. Likewise, as we distance runners stopped by the weight roomm to knock back our paltry pushups and chinups, we cheered as our sprinters exploded upwards from under barbells that would take three or four of us to lift. We didn't always get along, but we never got stuffed into trash cans or lockers, either.

The bottom line is that rarely do reductionist stereotypes tell the full story of any community. Rarely, if ever, does poetic license present a complete story. This response, then, is ultimately a boring and inconvenient reminder that people are more complicated than amateur group psychology and the projections of the overly self-reflective. It's telling that Mr. Oppenheimer so whole-heartedly agreed with Alan Sillitoe's characterization of the runner in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, because Sillitoe, despite his brilliance as an author, gets it wrong, because he was not nor ever was a runner. Sillitoe's characterization is a great hypothesis, but it isn't factual and even it if was, it would say nothing about the actual thousands of American boys who join the ranks of harriers every year.

Ultimately, elevating distance running to some higher plane than mere sport while dismissing distance runners as lost souls, cowards, and anti-heroes is a convenient but useless reduction. The truth, however, is far more boring and uncomfortable. Who are these runners? Why, we're you. We're in your math class, we went to the prom with your cousin, we had trouble with geometry, and last weekend, while the soccer team had Sunday practice from 8am-10am, we did our long run. After practice, both teams went home, showered, did some homework, mowed lawns, ate dinner, went to bed. We're not more or less noble than any other high school student. Like all adolescents, we're figuring ourselves out, and while there's social anxiety and anguish that go with that, we don't have any more of an identity crisis than the kid who dyes his hair black or starts pretending to be a rapper.

However, we are so sorry if you think our shorts are homosexual, or our sport is inherently cowardly, or you think we're trying to make statements about being independent. Whatever you may think of us, the truth is that we're just as boringly average as the rest of you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Late Blog/Date Blog

Sorry, Internet. I broke my on-time streak- but it was for a good cause! I had a date last night and then had to do my homework like a good student and go to bed at a reasonable hour like a responsible runner, so the blog suffered (besides, who reads these things, anyway?). I had a pretty good week, again. I'm stringing 'em along pretty good, now. I hadn't take a day off in a while, mostly because I hate taking a day off. I don't mean that to imply I think a day off means anything in terms of loss of fitness or anything like that, only that the day AFTER I take a day off, I often feel like shit- all tight and sore and whatnot. So, in an effort to avoid that, I just ran 4mi really really slow on both Monday and Wednesday. I got in some nice recovery, but never had to deal with post-day off stiffness. I'm flying out to Florida on Thursday (I think at like 3am, woof) to run the 1500m Friday night at the Florida Relays, then the 1600 leg on the DMR on Saturday. I'm excited to race again in the BU uniform!

Without further delay, the log:

Monday 3/21 8:30PM- 30min super slow indoors. Tiired.

Tuesday 3/22 8:30AM- 3mi shakeout in the morning, felt pretty tired (like sleepy, not fatigued) despite a good night's sleep. 3:30PM- 3mi up, strides, solo track workout.

1000 2:51 (jog 3:30)
800 2:13 (")
600 1:37 (jog 2:30)
400 61.5 (jog 7')
1000 2:51 (jog 3:30)
800 2:17 (") (Bruce told me to slow down)
600 1:36 (jog 2:30)
400 60.8 Didn't feel good, like I was stuck in 2nd gear the whole way. 3mi down.

Wednesday 3/23: 4PM- 4mi nice and easy, didn't feel too sore at all.

Thursday 3/24: 10:30AM- 5mi, standard trip to the allergy doc. 3:30PM- Fresh Pond with the lads. 16:15 around the pound, Harvard-Ashford mile in 6:20. Felt pretty good today, had to hold back the last 3-4mi. I was two-stepping the group something fierce, but I wasn't called on it.

Friday 3/25: 3:30PM- Another solo workout. . . forever alone. . .

3mi easy, plenty of strides, 5x400 with 1:40 rest, mostly jogging, in 62 avg, extra 3:20 rest after the 5th one, 4x150 in 20.8, 20.8, 20.7, 20.3 with 1:20 jog (3:40 extra after the 4th) 4x400 in 61, 62, 61, 62 with 1:40 rest, some jogging. Tough workout to do alone, but I was running quicker than the assigned paces by a little, so I'm happy. 3 down.

Saturday 3/26 12:30PM- Spent a few hours helping a friend of a friend with a film project, which entailed me and a teammate doing a series of ~50 yard dashes from the Boston Aquarium to the Mass Ave Bridge on the Charles. It took about 3 hours to get all the camera angles, and it was freezing/tiring. 8:30PM- 11mi indoors, after spending an afternoon freezing my ass off, I desperately wanted to run shirtless and get a good sweat going, so I did. 4mi in the warmup lane, 7mi on the treadmill. Kept things around 6:40/mile at the fastest, 7:00 pace the first 5-6 miles.

Sunday 3/27: 12PM- 4mi easy with James while he warmed up for a workout. My calf was quite sore the first 10min, then it went away. 5PM- First half-mile was really sluggish, so I just turned off my watch and resolved not to worry, but by ~10min in, I felt amazing. I ran to JP from my apartment and decided to pace check the JP lap, which was 5:40/mile. While it felt easy, I slowed down because Bruce told me to keep Saturday and Sunday relatively low key. I'd put the conservative estimate at 10mi at ~6:00 pace, including 5x150 strides in spikes at the track.

Total- 71 miles

Less than a week til I race! Hope everyone is doing well!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break and Musings about WXC

Good evening, internet. Before I talk about myself AGAIN, I have some observations regarding this weekend.

Shalane Flanagan proved yet again just how good she is in picking up a bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships. The United States showed good its female distance runners are by putting 4 women in the top 20 and nabbing a team bronze medal. Lisa Koll, in an uncharacteristic off day, STILL placed 40th in the deepest distance race in the world. Without a doubt, this is HUGE for American running. I hope that their performances are given the credit each one deserves. Unfortunately, I think professional cross country gets a bum rap in America and I'm not entirely sure why. Rarely do the very best Americans elect to go, but today is an important insight as to what cant when they DO decide to show up and the chips fall just right. I obviously have no way of knowing this for sure, my wager is that if you asked the US women what they thought of their experience at World Cross, none of them would say "sweet Christ, I wish I had run a road race."

Don't get me wrong, the NYC Half is a great event. I don't think a single American athlete "owes" it to anyone to compete at World Cross. I'm just saying that, as a fan, it would be COOL if the best Americans (men and women) made it a habit to compete there. World Cross is the single deepest race in the sport; what better measuring stick can there be for an athlete? We know that Solinsky, Teg, Bumbalough, and Rupp are all in amazing shape right now. I believe Salazar has already said that his plan this year was for a late spring racing period followed by another rest/buildup cycle for the World Championships. I get that Rupp probably made some serious scratch for showing up to the NYC half, but how sick would it have been to see a ~27:10 shape Rupp (his spring was focused on getting the AR in the 10k) duking it out in the lead pack at World Cross?

Anyway, I understand that elite athletes have their racing schedules for a reason, I just think that it would be awesome to put 5 of America's top 5000m and up guys on the line at World Cross, fit as hell, and see what would happen. (note: I didn't leave Lagat out of this discussion out of ignorance. I just think that as a track focused 1500-5k specialist, he might not have the same XC chops as, say, Tegenkamp).

Enough grasping at what-could-bes, though. I still have some Spanish homework to do and I want to get to bed early, so on with the blog. Wait! One last thing- local yokel Ruben Sanca ran 65:23 to win the New Bedford Half Marathon today. Not too shabby! He's running the Rotterdam Marathon and I'm very interested to see how it goes.

Monday 3/14: 3:30PM- Fartlek on a flat stretch of Lane Rd in Derry, NH. 2.5 up
Run (jog)
2x (80" (80") 65" (80") 46" (3'))

4x 22" (80")

extra 3:40 after the 4th one (so 5min total jogging)

2x (80" (80") 65" (80") 46" (3')), 4.5 down. I was assigned sets of 500, 400, 300 and 4x150 followed by two more sets of 5-4-3, so I had to improvise a little due to a still-snowed-in track. I went back and measured my 80" and 46" segments since both of them began and ended at conveniently distinctive driveways. I got 518m and 312m for each segment, so I was moving pretty fast for wearing a borrowed pair of spikeless XC racers on a road. (total 14mi) Longer cooldown because I ran into an old HS teammate.

Tuesday 3/15: 2PM- 7mi easy with Trethewey, very tired, sore. 8PM- 4mi easy, planned on 7 but cut it short- dark, cold, tired, hungry, whiny. Got a new pair of glasses though! This was much-needed, since my old pair were about 4 years old and barely held together by tape and good intentions.

Wednesday 3/16: 7:30PM- Back in Boston, managed to get into the TTC despite it being closed. 3 up, 2mi on the treadmill, 10:36, half mile jog, 8x100 FAST with 200 jog, 1/2 mile jog, 2mi on the treadmill in 10:36, 1/2 mile jog, 3mi cooldown. Tot 13 Since the workouts were pretty close together, Bruce had me keep it easy.

Thursday 3/17: 4:30PM- 2 laps of Fresh Pond from the house, I had only planned on running 8-9 but it was about 65 and sunny out and therefore too nice to run short. I cooked a traditional New England boiled dinner for some friends and my roommates, and we all concluded that "thank God we're not expected to eat boiled corned beef every Sunday."

Friday 3/18: 11AM- 4mi easy with Amy, who was on her own spring break and came into town for St Patrick's Day. Beautiful out again, 65 and sunny. 4PM- 11mi easy, first 3 with the T-Dawwg, last 8 solo at about 6:30 pace meandering around Brookline until I found JP. I was originally scheduled to work out today, but when I got the Brookline Reservoir, Bruce looked at me and said "I had you work out Monday and Wednesday? What, was I living in a fantasy land? Work out tomorrow, that's makes more sense." I record his exact words because they struck me as funny.

Saturday 3/19: 10:00AM- Nearly overslept for this one, which is impressive considering I was asleep by 11:30PM the night before. 3mi up to the Brookline Reservoir, then surges of 4:00, 3:30, 3:00, and 2:30 with 4:00 normal training pace rest. It was a little different than a normal fartlek in that each hard part was sub-divided into three parts: the first 1:00-2:00 of each rep was at the normal fartlek "hard" level (maybe about 4:30-4:45/mile if I had to guess), the next 45-90 seconds of each rep was at a fast but not so hard gear (maybe 5:20-5:30 pace) followed by a 45 second segment at 1500m pace to end each rep. This was a pretty tough workout, and Bruce gave me the option of doing 0-5x30 seconds at a very fast pace with 90 seconds jog afterward. I did 2 of them and figured enough is enough. 3mi down, 11mi on the morning. 7PM- 4mi easy, 1xlarge cheese pizza, 1xviewing of The Fighter with Sean.

Sunday 3/20: 2PM- 3mi on the fast end of easy for heading out the door with Peter and Joey (both of whom can hit 6:35 pace from stride 1, something I've always been envious of) who were warming up for a workout, then about 6 and a half miles working it pretty good on the river. I was a little grump about 5mi into the run because it was windy and it cooled back down to the low 40s, but I split my watch to get a pace check going and was surprised to see I was running 5:35/mile, which cheered me up. I added on a few minutes inside to get 10 on the morning. 8PM- 4mi at a super slow Kenyan shuffle pace, partly because I was full from dinner and partly because I misbehaved and ran basically 10mi under an hour this morning after 3 workouts in the preceding 6 days.

93 mi on the week. This will be my last "up there" week for a while, since it's time to start focusing on doing some workouts near 1500m speed and preparing to race. I've averaged over 80 miles a week for the last six weeks and have really only had 1 or 2 bad workouts, so I'm feeling very fit and ready to get down to business.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm going to get a stern email for this

Ok, internet. After 3 weeks (a month?) of late entries, I'm back on schedule. BU is this week, and I'll be working on my tan in Derry, NH until Wednesday, when I'll be off to L.A.! (Lower Allston, that is) for my last week of high-mileage conditioning before it's time to get down and dirty with the 1500 again.

The big news this week is that two of my BU teammates, Dickie Peters and Katie Matthews, competed in the NCAA D1 Indoor National meet in College Station, TX. Rich had a rough run, just missing the final by a few hundredths of a second. He'll be back harder than ever outdoors, though, and if I know Rich, he's more motivated than upset. It was kind of strange to see a guy I run and work out with duking it out with the nation's finest on the live stream, but I don't want to gush too much, since I have to see Rich in the dining hall after practice. Katie, on the other hand, ran a great race to grab 6th in the 5k and her first All-American award! If you can catch the race, Katie is the one who stays pinned to the rail the whole way and picks off athletes as they fade rather than go into lane 4 in an attempt to pass as many athletes attempted. Of course, now, until I knock about 10 seconds off my mile PR, I'll have to be patient as she tells me "this one time, at nationals. . ." Proud of both of you!

I'd also be a fool if I forgot to mention my former teammates at Keene State, who traveled to Columbus, OH for the DIII Nationals this weekend. The women's distance medley notched a 3rd place finish, followed up by senior Amy Knoblock's 3rd in the mile and a near-miss 9th place finish by junior Paige Mills. Amy and I were the same class at Keene and often ran together on easy days, so congratulating her on double All-American weekend is something I've looked forward to doing for a long time. Paige is a raw talent who has been bitten by bad luck worse than any runner I know, so for her to make the meet and anchor a 3rd-place DMR in a PR is both a great achievement and indicative of greater things to come.

I had a great week of training complicated only by an annoying little cold. I didn't alter my training any because of the cold, but I felt like crap for a few days and will probably get a talking-to from wiser men than I about skipping a double-run to sleep when one is sick. I know, I know, I know- but this time, it didn't bite me in the butt!

My log:

Monday 3/7- 3:30PM: Decided to give my achilles one more day to rest, even though I felt fine. 9mi moderate, started with the group but just couldn't hold back, 55 and chance for a run that's closer to 15k than 9.

Tuesday 3/8- 3:30PM: Bruce assigned an easy workout on purpose today with the instructions not to hammer it "or you'll be useless for a week." 3 up to the BC Reservoir, 10min hard, 5min easy, 5min hard, 5min easy, 5min hard, cooldown til I was back at school (11mi). I averaged roughly 5:30/mile for the 30min of the workout, figure I was just a touch slower than 5min/mile for the hard parts. Boring workout, since it was so easy, but Bruce knows a thing or two about a thing or two. 9:30PM: 4mi easy on the treadmill after work.

Wednesday 3/9- 3:30PM: 10mi easy around JP twice with Eric. Woke up sick, very sore throat but no swollen tonsils or white spots, so I figured it was just a cold. Vitamin C, tea, etc. 9:30PM- 4mi easy on the treadmill after class.

Thursday 3/10- (still sick, a little worse than yesterday) 3:30PM- To Fresh Pond and back with the group, 7:15s down to 6:15s by the end, 4x150m strides and a 200 in 29.6, plus a short cooldown for 10mi. Billy made a Galaxy Quest reference and I didn't even need 13 seconds to think about backing him up. 9:30PM- 27:23 light progression on the treadmill, 7:30/mile down to 5:30 for the last one.

Friday 3/11- Amber Day! (whoa-oh) Rest all day as much as possible, today was the peak for the sore throat, headache, and congestion. 3PM- 3.5 up, 5x3min on, 2:30 off, 2.5 cooldown. I might have been sick for this workout, but it didn't hurt me as I split 21:06 through a measured 4mi during the course of this workout. That puts me through 5mi at what, 26:30? I'll definitely take it, since I didn't feel like I was pushing above 7.5/8 on a 10 scale. Good day, sir.

Saturday 3/12- 1PM- 7mi easy, Slums to Mass Ave, everybody left Boston :( Ran slow, felt fine, not quite as sick today. 9PM- Same loop, same comments, feeling better as the day wore one. Tired, though.

Sunday 3/13- 12:30PM: 12 mi easy building to moderate. Ran to JP from the house and did 3 laps and came back, just under 78' for a healthy 12. I'm still not sure if Bruce is going to have me work out tomorrow or if I was supposed to do a longer run today, so I hedged my bets. 8:30PM- 4mi out and back in Derry, with 5 good strides incorporated into the run.

Total- 93 mi

No one get in trouble over break!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Catastrophe Averted!

I'm late again, Internet. I've been on quite the streak lately. School has been merciless lately, so I guess I'll have to use that as a blanket excuse. I had what began as a very solid (if notably sluggish) week of training and tapered off when I tweaked my left Achilles tendon a little. It wasn't anything serious, but I cut my running way back for two days and that patched things right up. I ended up with fewer miles and a canceled long run on the week, but things have been going really well for a few weeks now and an easier week is probably for the better in the long run. I had a fantastic run this afternoon and will be working out tomorrow, so I'll chalk this one up in the WIN category.

Here are some specifics:

Monday 2/28: 9PM- 3mi shakeout indoors, tired, but needed to get some junk out of my legs. Definitely settling into that "hard training" mode. 3PM- 3.5 up, strides, two sets of 600, 600, 800 and then two extra 600s with one lap in the green lane (236m, I think) after the 600s and two laps after the 800s. I was pretty tired today and didn't press very hard. Yesterday's triple wiped me out. 3mi down. Bruce kept asking if I was ok to work out, and I was, but boy was I tuckered out.
600- 1:39
600- 1:40
800- 2:20
600- 1:41
600- 1:40
800- 2:15
600- 1:39
600- 1:38

Tuesday 3/1: 9AM- 4mi easy indoors, very tired and heavy, but better as the run went on. 3:45PM- Downtown run with Ken, Chris, and Rob. Felt suspiciously excellent today, given how sore I was when I woke up and how sluggish the morning run was. 6:20s all day after the first 2mi, 57:30 total after a minute or two indoors for padding.

Wednesday 3/2: 7:30PM- 75' easy indoors, some around the track, some on the treadmill, some more on the track but more barefooter. Felt pretty good, the 24 hours off wasn't planned (skipped a morning run and practice to study for a macroeconomics midterm) but it was nice regardless.

Thursday 3/3: AM- Doctor's office for shots and back, like normal. 3:30PM- With Rob and Ken for the first part. 20' up, 6x75 seconds HARD up Summit- Bruce said run the hills "moderate" but you can't run up Summit Ave "moderate." You can't even walk up Summit Ave "moderate." Anyway, Ken ran the hills with us. Then we jogged back to the TTC and Rob and I spiked up for 6x500 avg 81 with 1:40 jog rest. We both thought this workout would be harder than it turned out to be. The first 500 was the worst, but then we were fine. Great to have someone to push with for once. 1mi down since I was rolling in miles today. Walking home from work that night at 9PM, my left achilles started whining a little. I iced it and begged God for mercy, and didn't feel it the rest of the night.

Friday 3/4: 12:30PM- 7mi before traveling all day. Sweet Jesus was I sore and tired from yesterday. Left achilles was complaining, uh oh. 9:30PM- 4mi easy with Owen from his place, achilles was quieter, but still wimpering.

Saturday 3/5: 4mi easy from Owen's place with his roommate, Eric, for some of it. The achilles was still whispering, so I didn't run my planned 14 miler, but I was pretty certain that it was doing better. I've never really had achilles trouble before, so I wasn't too worried as long as I didn't do something dumb.

Sunday 3/6: 36:30' easy from Owen's place again, solo this time. My achilles felt 100% and was displaying no creakiness before or after the run, so I figure I'm good to go. Like I mentioned, today's run was very good, so I'll probably go for some quality running tomorrow. My cautiousness cost me a long run and a one-day workout delay, so, overall, a tiny tiny cost for what could have been a big issue if I had let it. I swear I'm learning- it's only the rate that's questionable.

Total- 74 miles

Ok, everyone, time to start petitioning the weather to begin the en-spring-ening.