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…

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Accidents Happen

May 13, 2008

(Note: This is the article for this months RunnersFit newsletter.)

They say that most accidents happen within five miles of home – but usually the victim knows what caused the accident. That was not the case for my dear friend Left Knee (LK for short). The accident happened about three weeks ago while on a casual run down the street, but the details are a bit sketchy.

About three miles into an eight mile run, LK started to complain a bit. By the end of the eight miles, LK was feeling pretty stiff. After a few days rest, LK tried a short run, but, was sadly still sore.

It has now been a couple of weeks, and after fighting through a cold, LK is still having some serious issues. So, after consulting with the rest of the ‘family’ (Right Knee, Feet, & Head), LK has decided to try walking instead of running for a while.

Now, y’all don’t need to feel sad. The whole ‘family’ is actually quite used to walking, and we usually enjoy it. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, we walked the NYC marathon. All 26.2 miles were spent with at least one foot on the ground at all times.

(That’s a bad race walking joke, since one of the rules of the sport is that one foot must be in contact with the ground at all times… and this would be the point where my wife likes to remind me that if you have to explain a joke, it probably wasn’t that funny But that’s a whole different story.)

Now, there are plenty of advantages to walking. The biggest, besides LK not complaining, is that the rest of the ‘family’ stays happy too. After that jaunt through New York, the ‘family’ walked all around the city for days afterwards with very few complaints.

The one drawback is that the pace is a little slower, but not enough to keep the ‘family’ home. To date, our fastest recorded race-walking pace is a 12:16 mile, which isn’t much slower than my running pace. But, as everyone knows, for us, it’s never about speed, it’s just about being out there.

Now, some have called us “nerdy” for knowing how to race walk. But even they are impressed with the speed at which we can move, and our great race walking form. And we think it’s important to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, plus it’s fun to laugh at ourselves. Plus, if we call this “cross-training”, it will be new, exciting, and good.

It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good knee down.