Where ideas come from

June 1, 2008

As you know, last weekend I had some serious knee problems. Getting up on Tuesday, my knee was still throbbing enough that I decided to take the week off. (I did some stretching, but no running or walking.)

Now, this is all well and good, but without actually doing anything, a couple things happen:

  • I put in an extra few hours into work, since I don’t take much of a lunch break if I’m not working out. My boss loves this, and doing it occassionally doesn’t bug me. However, I start to get grumpy, because I’m not burning any physical energy off.
  • Being at my desk, or at home, or anywhere else, since I haven’t done anything, I tend to daydream about doing something. These “ideas” pop in my head, and things start happening.

It’s the second bullet that’s more interesting. It was one of these idea’s last January that led to the 29 Cubed challenge, where I thought it would be a good idea to do 29 miles in 29 hours on February 29th. As we all know, that came out a raving success, with a people around the world joining in and completing it.

This last two weeks have generated two new ideas. The first is, on the last weekend of June, we should go out and do some sort of crazy miles. I was thinking of 36, since a race that’s tenatively planned in September involves that mileage. And, conveniently enough, there is a local trail that is 6 miles, so doing 6 laps seems reasonable. Now, this idea is still in formation, and may be put on hold because of my knee problems.

The second idea is all about my knee and the Darkside marathon course. Because the course is essentially flat, it’s perfect for walking. And by walking, I don’t mean a leisurely stroll around the park, I mean race walking. Fast, funny looking, and smoking by slow runners (such as myself when I run).

The next 3M race is on Labor Day, which gives me 3 months to train. (However, due to another race, I may not do this one. Will have to wait to see the schedule later in the summer.)  Even better, in October, they have a 50K on the same course. This is more appealing for a couple reasons; It’s fully supported and it’s a 50K.

I’d like to do the 50K in under 5 hours. This will be tough, since adding 5 miles onto my best marathon time puts me well into 6 hours. I’ll need a plan, and some training. Matter of fact, it would probably be safe to say I’ll need a lot of training. And it’s going to be hard. Maybe even really hard.

The basics of what I need are:

  • Strength and flexibility training.
  • Serious VO2/Heart Rate improvements.
  • a lot of work on form and technique. Maybe even trying to fit a clinic in somewhere.

Now, I need to go figure out how to do that…

Walking on…

May 17, 2008

Bet y’all thought I’d have nothing to say about walking? Well, there is plenty to say, but I’ve been a bit busy.

I’ve headed out a few times during lunch this week and managed some miles walking. It’s definitely a different pace than I’ve been doing. I’m doing 13-14 minute miles, in sort of a not-quite-trot/not-quite-walk gait.

I forgot that this uses a completely different set of muscles. The first day out, my shins hurt a bit, which is pretty common for walking. Its from stretching the shins a bit and foot flex, and will go away in a while. The second day, I mainly worked on using my abs. Oh, I felt like I got a bit more of a workout there than I have in a while! I’m guessing that if I keep this up, I’ll be looking good by next summer.

As I mentioned in my last post, a few years ago, I walked the NYC marathon. As I was preparing for that, some people online mentioned I should go to the NW Annual Race Walking Clinic, put on by Erofit, in Portland Oregon. It was a 2.5 day event, where Phillip Dunn, a member of the 2004 Olympic team, was a guest coach along with a few other very talented walking coaches (Kelly and John). (If anyone is interesting, I have a recap of the retreat somewhere.)

One interesting side note is that although the marathon gets most the attention, the 50K race walk is the longest distance event in the Olympics. And unlike running, the participates are scrutinized by judges almost every step of the way. (Well, maybe the runners are scrutinized too, but there are no rules like the race walkers get.) And, as you can see from reading Phillip’s journal, all this walking really is good cross training for running.

So, although I’ve never become an expert at this, at least I have some knowledge of the sport and what I’m doing. After this first week, I’m still excited by changing to walking. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I try to get some distance work in. (After all, I am still planning to do a marathon in a week.)

And Zen, I was back.

April 12, 2008

Now that I’m officially recovered and all, it’s time to start preparing for the next race in a couple weeks. So, I got up early and met with Roman to get some extra miles in before our group run. For some dumb-ass reason, we decided to meet at 6:20 AM. I can’t complain too much, since this allowed me to sleep in a whopping 25 minutes later than during the week. And happily, the pouring rain, thunder and lightning from the night before was taking a break.

I had recently mentioned to my comrade that I wanted to pick up some time and try to break a 4:30 for my next marathon. He, who is very wise in these things or at least lets us all think that, had some sage advice to offer. “Stop walking.”

Uh, sound simple, so I decided to give it a try. For our 3.25 miles, there wasn’t any walking. Not down the hill. Not up the hill. Nowhere. Okay, that’s cool and if I can keep it up for 23 more miles, we’re in business.

After finishing, sitting around waiting for everyone else and taking it easy, we headed out for part two. The first mile was no problem.

Then, the strange thing happened. I remember passing the club house at the golf course (they were having a tournament). I remember seeing everyone else in the group in the distance. I was thinking about the Blue Ridge relay and stuff. Then I looked up. WTF! Oh. Shit. I’m a mile and a half down the road, and don’t remember any of it. I was completely caught up in the running and focusing on it, I was unaware of the passage of time.

Pretty dang cool. Very Zen like. I know there was moving over for cars and stuff, but the usual landmarks, I don’t recall passing them, or thinking about being tired or any of the other things that normally occupy me.

Unfortunately, once I came out of it, I couldn’t get back. Oh well…it was way cool, in a very hippy like way.

The rest of the run was relatively plain. I stopped to watch a horse competition for a few minutes. (The rest of the group saw me stop and waved, but I didn’t see them.) There was a light rain, then Thor told me to go a bit faster. (i.e. there was thunder directly overhead.) Did just over 6 miles, which gave me just under 10 for the morning.

And I’ll end with the following observation:The problem with not walking is that it means you’re running the whole way.