So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ask Coach - March 2008

When I took over the coaching position for ECRT, I originally wrote the club's newsletter. Since I'm a typical guy (literal translation: lucky to do one thing correctly at a time) multitasking - it was a choice between writing communications and writing workouts. So, I chose workouts and told the new club secretary he would write the newsletter. He decided to throw rhetorical/actual questions he thought of and heard from folks asking about our training, etc., at me each month. Here's a sample of the ones from this month...
Which books on running do you recommend? Sometimes I need a little motivation to come work out on these cold nights.
I have good news and bad news. We won’t have too many cold nights after this month… that’s the good news. The bad news is we’ll have 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity. But I digress. I’ll give three non-training-focused books I think every runner should read at least once, or once a year.

The first, ‘Once A Runner, is a classic, a book you search for your entire life, then read at least once a year (Stacie Rockhill has my copy, and I want it back!) during those dreary days when you cannot get out to run. John Parker wrote this novel loosely based on his time at the original Florida Track Club, back in the days when Olympians Jack Bacheler and Frank Shorter were there. I had the supreme pleasure to meet (and train with) the inspiration for a couple of characters in the book during while in college. I asked my wife to read it when we were first dating to help her understand the idiosyncrasies runners possess. However, if it comes to the choice between purchasing warm technical gear to wear on cold workouts and buying OAR, the price might be equal, as this book is out of print and hard to find. If you are fortunate enough to get Parker’s follow-up, ‘Again To Carthage,’ wait to read it until you read ‘Once A Runner.’

The second, ‘Running With The Buffaloes,’ chronicles a season with the University of Colorado cross-country team and their coach, Mark Wetmore. Chris Lear’s development of a team dynamic and the trials of collegiate athletics are only two of the major themes in this book. Reading Wetmore’s philosophy of coaching and the method by which he develops training plans will help you understand some of the challenges as you look at your own training.

While I want to recommend Lear’s follow-up book, ‘Sub-4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile,’ I think Dean Karnazes’ ‘Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner’ is better motivational material. “Karno” runs the gamut from talking about his passion for Starbucks, to describing his first (failed) effort at running the Badwater 150-Mile Run, to balancing corporate life with family and running. Two visuals come to mind as I recall the book: First, the starter who climbs a boulder to read the soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Henry IV (the “band of brothers” speech), before firing a shotgun to start the Western States 100-Mile Run. Second (and there’s a photo on the back cover), the photo of Karnazes at the South Pole showing what it takes to run in Antarctica…makes me laugh out loud. The dietary list from his 250-plus-mile run that frames this book (It’s an appendix, but don’t read it until you get to the end, okay?) is enough to make you topple. Or input the number to the nearest Round Table Pizza on your cell phone. I disagree with Outside magazine’s description of Karnazes as ‘America’s Greatest Distance Runner,’ but he definitely has a rare and special quality.

I’ve read that a serious runner should get in interval miles, long miles, tempo miles and easy miles. At the track, aren’t we overemphasizing interval training at the expense of the other types of training?

I‘ll start with the rhetorical question, ‘what is serious? And what does that mean to me as a runner?’

What we do at the track should only be a small part of your training, with long miles, (more) tempo miles and easy miles on the days you aren’t there. For example, I run easy on Monday afternoon, do interval work on Tuesday and Thursday, and a long tempo run on Wednesday. Sunday is my day to do either a long, easy run or a long bike ride (I also swim and ride a stationary bicycle as cross-training and to train for multi-sport events.). Some of what I have been reading says (in contrast) older or less-experienced runners will benefit more from increased aerobic-pace training than from interval work; after a time the younger runner needs interval work to continue speed development. But, don’t get hung up on what you read and consider it as the norm. Remember what works for the local running stud (or stud-ette) or the elite runner might not fit your needs. If you need help in developing a training plan to meet your running goals and touches all of those elements, (and includes rest,) please speak to me at the track, at the Deli on Friday night, or any time you can dial my phone.

This isn’t a question, just a comment – I am so glad that we are running the trail for our warm-up instead of two miles on the track!

I’m as glad for it as you are. We all need a little bit of diversion, and the trail warm-up allows that. You’ll get to run out on the trail as warm-up for a longer period this summer: I draw the line after I receive a bite from those nasty yellow flies.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Detraining and Retraining

This week has been a quote-unquote easy week. However, I cannot say my body can tell the difference between an easy week and a hard week at this particular point in time. On Monday afternoon my body would have called this week hard. However, after yesterday afternoon's run, my physiology clearly said things were all right and that I was on the right track. Sure, my heart rate was a little higher than I would have liked it for eight miles, but I did the same loop I ran six weeks ago a minute faster, without stopping the watch at two intersections and felt better about the whole thing this time.
I could find a lot of excuses for why I'm not where I would like to be at this time of the year, but I have to agree with my coach's dictum: gains in distance running (and endurance sport) is as much a function of patience as it is of pace.
It's important to get out and do something, even if it isn't directly related to your main sport, as many days in a row as possible. Run, jog, bike, briskly walk, do jumping jacks...because, beloved, the concept of detraining is reality, as real as the rising numbers on the scale and the doctor's chart. Life gets in the way. Business gets in the way. Weather gets in the way. And worst of all, our own laziness gets in the way. My education psychology professor might have had it correct when he told us, one quiet spring evening in grad school: 'If you don't use it, you lose it. If you do use it, it breaks.' But I'd rather Super Glue it together than walk around the track looking for it a second/third/fourth time.
Triathlete/coach Chuck ("Chuckie V") Veylupek wrote something very politically incorrect in his blog, inspired by the attitude of some walkers on the track where he was training a neo-pro triathlete.
"The human body-yours-is the single most amazing instrument you will ever own. You will own it from the day you are born right up until the moment you die; it's the only "thing" you will own throughout that entire span. Don't be ashamed of your body, no matter what condition it's in. Learn to cherish it and befriend it, or the date of your demise may come sooner than you realize. Change your ways before it's too late, and though it may already be too late to ever be fully healthy, it's never too late to try. Diabetes Type II is preventable. Heart disease is preventable. Obesity is preventable. Cancer (to a lesser extent) is preventable. Bad health is preventable. Death is, um, delay-able. Walk on ladies, walk on. But do me a favor: don't despise Angela because she cares about herself more than you do. Your mumbles are as loud as each of your foot-strikes."
I have fun challenging athletes who have developed their fitness over time. I care about the entry-level runners who come to me, but with the fit athlete it means I can pull more tricks out of my little black bag without worrying if they will come up dinged from too much training. Retraining the detrained athlete can be frustrating, both to the athlete and the coach...most coaches would rather not see their athletes regress into that state. That's why many of them have little regard for excuses...doesn't mean they haven't used them at one time or another, but they know what those excuses do.
So, as Chuckie V said: Cherish and befriend your body. Keep it trained. Make your coach use their imagination when developing your next workout. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Eighty-Percent Solution

Of course, the only caption I could probably think of at this particular time is a rip-off of an old James Taylor tune, Hey, Buddy, That's Me On The Jukebox...or something like that. Once again I decided to join up with 17,500 of my closest friends in order to partake in what might be considered (lightly) the sacrament of sweat on the day before Easter.
After running one of my strongest 10K races last year, followed by probably what has been the most challenging training years I've ever had as a runner, I harbored no unrealistic expectations for the day. All I wanted to do was:
1) Run well enough (top 500 finishers) to earn my fifth Crescent City Classic poster in five tries.
2) Finish in under 40 minutes.
3) Not injure myself.
This years' trip had more of an Emerald Coast Racing Team focus to it, since seven of us stayed in the same hotel just blocks from the starting line. What it lacked in pure amenities it made up for in location, location, location. (Editorial comment: Probably not worth a repeat next year, but the price was reasonable enough to merit one.) I had to take care of some RRCA business earlier in the day - promised the LA state rep I would support her meeting and provide a brief presentation on measurement and certification - hope it was good enough. CCC always has that sort of work hard, play hard attitude around it; the volunteers from the New Orleans Track Club and other local sporting organizations really bust their chops to make our experience each year a memorable one.
We didn't push any particular itinerary, allowing the laissez faire, laissez passe mentality to go on. Suzanne and I knew what we wanted/needed to get accomplished; everything else was gravy. It kind of made for a smaller group dynamic, but we managed to hook up at least once through the weekend.
Enough about them. Back to me.
Great conditions for racing, especially when compared to last year's near freezing temperatures. We had temps in the high 50s at the start with a gentle breeze coming from the north, if I rightly recall. Since we were so close to the start I completely overlooked the need for a warm-up jog; usually the Pensacola contingent all meets at the Chateau Sonesta for a quick photo-op, then makes their way toward the starting corrals, about half a mile away. Being as close as we were, I had to walk no more than three blocks, maybe four, to the corral and porta-johns. (I worried more about the potty stop than the warm-up. Both are just as important; I could have jogged a couple of corrals back and hit a porta-john with a much smaller waiting line...achieving the desired or necessary results - empty bladder/bowel and loose limbs.)
As usual, the NOLA military contingent seems to find a new way to screw around with athlete access every year. This year there was no division of corrals, so we found more than our share of persons who were about two corrals out of their league, up with the elites, near-elites and pretty darn good runners.
No warm-up and lots of nervous tension doesn't do well when you're standing in a crowd of 17,500 waiting for a cannon to shoot you down Decatur Street. I looked at the readout on my HR monitor and found it registering somewhere in the high 190s. Probably a good thing I didn't take more than a swig of Suzanne's coffee to go along with my bottle of orange juice.
Mile 1 & 2 were run in 6:15 and 6:10 pace. Right from the start of the race I didn't feel like I was running with the option of an extra gear. (There's the consequence of undertraining and insufficient warm-up) I also noticed my left shoelace flopping about after the first mile split. I knew it would mean the difference between a bad day and a very bad day; stopping to retie would lead to a bad day, ignoring it in the presence of all these knuckleheads could cause a very bad day. Stopped for about 20 seconds just before the left turn onto Esplanade Avenue and did a quick double knot...something I should have done a couple of hours earlier.
Mile 3 & 4 felt closer to a typical day on this course. I hit the three-mile mark at about the time I normally would have run a 5K (if racing fit). While I wasn't too worried I didn't have the confidence of rolling through the rest of the race like I wanted to. Sure, I was still passing runners in ones and twos, but I couldn't tell whether these were good runners, knuckleheads who went out too hard and were starting to pay for their mistakes, or jumpers, folks who were not seeded and decided to jump in on the course after the starting line.
I used to have evil things to say about bandits, but I am learning to dislike jumpers more so. If you're not seeded in a race and you decide to jump onto the course after the starting line, wait until you begin to see a lot of people at your pace...not at the pace you wish you could run.
Okay, there's my cranky moment for the blog. I'm back now.
Mile 5 & 6 is always the worst part of this race. You're away from the packs of spectators on Esplanade and far off from the packs near the finish under the oak trees. This is the part of the course where if I'm not racing fit or haven't run smart I end up Gallowalking. This year was no exception. All I could hear during this particular stretch was my mind telling my body how badly it (my body!) sucked. Once I turned into the park, over by the tennis courts, and saw the time clock (32 minutes at 5 miles) I resigned myself to the fact I would have to have a super last mile and two tenths to make it in under 40 minutes...and that at this point it wasn't going to happen without a lot of hurt. When you get to the 5.2 mile point on the course, at this little bridge, there's a guy who stands and counts the runners coming through. He's usually pretty accurate, give or take ten runners - well, at least up to the first hundred or so. After the pack thickens up it's probably a SWAG (serious wild-@$$ guess). Counter-Guy has me at 190-195, which is the lowest I've been on the food chain in five years. At that point I make the decision to turn and burn the last mile and see how many people I can pick off, regardless of how badly I'm hurting (Note: Bev Fair's "what would Coach do?" comment again). I lost count of how many persons I passed once I got to the circle around the museum, but I suspect somewhere around 15-20.
At .2 to go is the boom where the Marathon Foto folks take some of the best photos during the race. It's usually my favorite part of the course because there's not that many persons near me when I get here. However, some knucklehead who is barely ahead of me decides he's going to have his moment of exultation, raising his arms skyward for the camera. Thanks, dude. Now it's going to take some serious Photoshop work for me to get a good photo of this race. I guess I'll pass you now.
I can hear a guy coming up on my left and working it hard. I have nothing left in the tank. Zero. He's going to pass me, so I might as well keep pushing and make him work a little longer.
Finished in 40:18, 136th overall. For the first 30 minutes after the race I'm disappointed with myself, especially for not having the guts to maintain the effort in the fourth and fifth miles. However, looking back, I did meet at least two of my three goals for the day. I knew I was under-trained; needed more long runs, and more quality speedwork. Forgoing a decent warm-up also prevented me from being more comfortable at the start (sometimes you need to release a little of the excess energy before you go to the starting line) and making necessary equipment adjustments (I normally use a lightweight trainer with elastic laces, but the last two races have been in either a lightweight trainer without elastics or a medium weight trainer without elastics).
We're not there, but we're doing fine getting there.
The rest of the group ran well - one was in the top-100, another two besides myself finished in the top-500, and my senior guy barely missed top-500 by less than a minute.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Comfortably Numb

I vaguely recall a tale of my father's, from a period of time when he was a police officer in a small town in southwest New Mexico. He still is there, living the life of a comfortably-retired civil servant. The term above was not exactly the last words spoken during a cuff and stuff episode outside of a hometown watering hole...there was one more word there.
The chapeau in question above only reinforces something I find rather strange. How is it that athletes in the pool or on the bike can wear Spandex, but if the average Joe Paper Lunch Bag decides to wear the same type attire his masculinity is called into question? How much of that 1980's-big-hair-glam-rock influenced this attitude? I realize it's not a universal thing, only an American thing. My European friends see nothing wrong with Speedos, Lycra bike shorts or tight-fitting attire when working out. As for me, I'd rather have you mocking me behind my back as I'm blasting down the road on my triathlon bike at 20-something miles per hour, rather than meet your seal of approval and have to deal with chafing and other discomfort. So there.
Find a need and fill it. Sounds like my day job. Unfortunately, the recommended intervention (while worthwhile) seems a little too big. Then again, I remember seeing a Dave Matthews Band video a couple of years ago; the protagonist got up in the morning and went out into the world, giving a hug to everyone he encountered. Looked a little too silly at first. However, after long stretches of short chats with my wife (She tends to buy into this kind of solution set; I tend to raise the b.s. flag after five minutes.) this might be an idea whose time has come.
There are certain questions that should never be answered. Some calculations should never be made. However, the best one I've heard, for want of a better term, would be best called beer mileage. A friend looked at the calorie content of the typical 12-ounce American beer and figured it to average right around 100 calories, more or less. So, in order to burn off 100 calories, she figured the average person would have to run at least one mile. So, running a ten-kilometer (6.213712 miles) race would burn off the calories taken in by a six-pack of American beer. I guess, if you took this analogy further, you could say a 12-pack would equal a half-marathon's worth of running, and a case of beer would require you to get out and do a marathon. Of course, the catch is doing the mileage before the intake. Yes, you have to earn your beer, friends. You get to be comfortably numb after you do the work.
It doesn't work as well the other way around; drink the beer, then do the distance. I've seen what folks look like trying to run after doing a beer. Twice. One can per quarter mile. Not a pretty sight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Matter of Quality

The other week, I came out to the track at five minutes before the start of practice and found a team member jogging laps. Rather than be pleased at their motivation to start early, I was a little less than happy. ‘You’re not going to need those junk miles,’ I said, ‘do you know what I have planned for this workout?’ It’s not so much that I wanted to be authoritarian; I looked at conditions and adjusted my plan accordingly…in this particular case, I moved the warm-up from the track out onto the trails.It’s almost a month before the last races of the late spring season here (we don't race anything other than triathlons during the summer here!), so the time for easy-paced mileage is beginning to pass, at least at the track. The track workouts for my more experienced team members is going to increase (a little) in intensity; higher perceived effort, shorter rest interval or longer distance…two of the three (in the case of some team members, all three) variables more often than not.
I made a comment while writing last month's club newsletter, something to the extent of ‘if you’re not running the repeat at the right intensity level you’re wasting your time.’ This also lends itself to a phrase one of my college coaches used to remind me, ‘you can run hard and you can run long, but you don’t run hard AND long.’ Easy days are where your body - and your mind - makes its gains in fitness. If you hammer all of your workouts, day after day after day…your mind will probably rebel (burnout); hopefully before the point where your body breaks down and you suffer an injury that will leave you frustrated and focusing on rehabilitation.
How do you gauge how hard you’re working; when to back off, when to take it easy? I gauge my workouts by percentage of maximum heart rate above 50 percent (by tens, so 50-59 percent would merit a 1, 60-69 a 2, 70-79 a 3, and so on...) multiplied by time, so if I run for 60 minutes at 50 percent of max heart rate, I score a 60 (1 x 60). Ride a bike for four hours at 50 percent effort would equal 240 (240 x 1), the same as an hour of running with an average heart rate of 80-90 percent (60 x 4), more or less.
You can check your pulse at the end of repeats – rather than your stopwatch - in much the same way as I check my athletes if they have no monitor and I want to know how hard they've been working. A perceived effort scale to “ballpark” your effort works great for weight training, where heart rates are less intense, if you don't want to check your pulse all afternoon.
If you felt the effort on a track workout was 8 on a 1-to-10 scale, then subtract five and multiply by the workout duration (90 minutes, usually), which would give, in this case, a 270. A number in the 100s is an “easy” day; a score above 300 might merit easy workouts for the next day or two, or perhaps a rest day and an easy day. If you’re not doing too much the next day at work you can probably stand to go out and run for an hour, as long as you keep the effort between a 6 and a 7 on that 10-point perceived effort scale.As you approach the racing season, if performing well is your goal, your training focus needs to move away from ‘more miles are better’ and closer to ‘how comfortable am I at this speed? Can I hold this for an entire race?’

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Roles To Play

Honestly, the role of a coach is not to eat all of the doughnuts.
I started to slide into deep thought at the end of yesterday afternoon's long (ish) run; much of it caused by the amount of quiet around the house. Fortunately for me, the d-a-w-g has not learned human speech, nor has he developed his remote control operation skills. So, I'm still in charge while Suzanne is out.
If one ascribes to the belief - sport is religion - here are some parallels for running and multi-sport enthusiasts:
Sacraments - Races. As in most religions, there are sacraments performed on a more frequent basis (the local Rancid Possum 5K or Friendly Neighborhood Sprint Tri/Du)...others, are (ideally) once-per-lifetime experiences, your Boston Marathon or your Kona/Clearwater Ironman/70.3 World Championship. Preparing for the sacrament usually consists of a period of trial in order to prove ones' worth. Completion of the sacrament ensures membership into the select or chosen. Ask any Boston or Ironman finisher - some IM finishers will be easy to spot by their paraphernalia; the rest will have to be identified by their tattoos ("Dixie," I'm still jealous, brother...).
Prophets - Research physiologists, physicians and coaches; the ones who wrote the good books. In my humble opinion, there is a canon of literature every athlete should have at their disposal. Timothy Noakes' Lore of Running, anything written by Lydiard, research performed by David Costill, Jack Daniels' Running Formula are high on the list. Humble opinion - any text that has 100 pages of bibliography separate from the book (in re Noakes) is meat for the athlete.
Saints and Martyrs - The great athletes from years gone by, whose exploits become more great in light of being performed in low-tech circumstances; in Speedos, on non-aerodynamic bikes, in kangaroo leather spikes on cinder tracks, and most importantly...without benefit of altitude tents, Gatorade or (heaven forbid) performance-enhancing drugs. Most can be named with a single recognizable name - or diminutive version of it.
Dogma - refer to Prophets. For as many persons who wish to test the limits of their heart, there are as many paths (seemingly) up the mountain from non-athlete to athlete. Wasn't it Chairman Mao who said, 'let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend?' At this point is where great schisms lie, especially in the world of running and runners. Triathletes, however, come from a history of being rebellious, self-coached, risk-taking loners and thus appear to the untrained eye to be less dogmatic. However, the sport has only existed for three decades; provided enough time it could happen there, too.
Preachers - Coaches. Some are willing to provide their credentials whether (or not) you decide to ask. Others feel a calling and take up the vocation in much the same manner as the local storefront preacher learns his trade; slogging away at his/her 8-to-5, Monday-through-Friday and standing trackside once the whistle blows. They try to be like (or better than) their master, despite suffering slings/arrows from those who would say 'isn't s/he the brother/sister of (blank), who we've seen running around here all this time?' The good ones rejoice when the individual athlete rejoices, and weeps when they weep. More often than not, they resist the same temptation as their athletes to find the easy, soft, graded, gentle downward-sloping path. Sometimes, though, it's hard to transmit the message that this stuff can be hard. If it was easy there would be more people out doing it.
So go do it. Prepare so you can show yourself worthy before the unwavering measures of time and distance.
(Someone needs to switch me to decaffeinated, methinks. And quickly.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brain Frittata

While I haven't been to the point where I wish the ESC key would beam me up off the Planet of Training and Education and back to the Starship, there have been brief, transient moments where my brain couldn't handle all. Take, for instance, contract administration. A program guy like me knows (of course!) this is the reason contract officer's representatives exist. I mean, come on, for what other reason would they? It's certainly not for making coffee.
However, my CAPT is asking for a document I will probably give a working title (and a tip of the cycling cap or running visor to a former boss for this one...) Contract Administration For Bears Of Little Brain.
Fortunately, we're past the hard part of the Information Professional survey, so I can focus on one thing, and one thing only for at least a week. One of my weaknesses has been the (relative) inability to multitask. Some tell me it's a guy thing. This might be true, but I think my loving wife suffers from the same weakness. Well, she can multitask, but there are details she (IMHO) should remember but doesn't...that's where I come in to save the day. While I can't walk and chew gum at the same time I can remember the formula of which the gum was made.
My caffeine and bagel pusher (for want of a more genteel term), Mike, told me the 'Evil Empire Barriobucks' chain-wide training session is not a first for them. (NOTE: I stopped using my iTunes Song of the Day card as a bookmark after the lunch break where I received the third degree from Mike...the "S" word is pretty much a vulgarity of the highest order at Cafe' Espresso on Barrancas!) I guess it's like coaching, too. You can either guide and counsel a small number of athletes up-close-and-personal, or you can be Coach On-Line. I'm not throwing stones at Mssrs. Carmichael, Allen, Friel, et. al.; they have the knowledge and are willing to pass it along to the public for a price.
There's something cool about being able to take the time and talk to an individual. I laugh more standing on the side of the track than I ever did trying to do two things (train and administer workouts) at once. There might be coaches who can run and coach at the same time...once again, I can't multitask, and prefer not to. Besides, I'd rather not hammer a workout...or blame my hammered workout on the folks I've decided to help.
I mentioned something about PED last autumn after reading books written by Floyd Landis and David Walsh. In the world of triathlon the idea of testing age-groupers is starting to take hold (most tri-geeks are in a more-comfortable financial position, save for guys like me...), and it's suspected road racing (at least at the highest caliber races) might begin testing to level the playing field. While I doubt road runners are taking PED I've no doubt in my mind trackies (especially sprinters) play the let's see if I can be caught game. Okay, not all of them are taking drugs, but every time you turn around there's another athlete getting busted for something from years back and giving the sport a huge shiner...not to be mistaken with the beer from Texas.
Of course, there is a difference between tri-geeks and road runners: tri-geeks have to purchase a national governing body (USA Triathlon) membership in order to participate in an event. That membership includes a form which states the athlete will follow the USADA/WADA (anti-doping) rules. Roadies at USATF or RRCA events aren't bound by such constraints, unless they participate in a major sanctioned event (Azalea Trail, Peachtree, Boston, and the like)...where money or titles are at stake...and then they probably can expect a cup to be handed to them when it's all said and done.
I was going to ramble mindlessly on about religion of sport, especially running, but as you can tell if you've read this brain is pretty much toasted. I need more coffee and probably a day to sit in the sunshine, reading a good book...which won't happen for at least another week.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nice... Problems To Have

Every time I hit the road for a race/trip it seems the desk clerk or the concierge assumes everyone who is a runner wants pasta the night before the race. Personally, I'm not in the mood for pasta; I'd rather have Chinese...then I can have rice, and veggies and chicken.
We had some fantastic pasta in the past, I dare admit. One place near Dayton, OH, had some good stuff. But the most memorable thing had to be the abundance of garlic...Chef Emeril Lagasse was asked during one of his shows, 'how do you know when there's too much garlic?' His response almost broke the seatbelt on my couch and risked having me roll on the floor, laughing my @$$ off: 'I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet.' Okay, we were warned about the garlic content of this place's house dressing, so we went with ranch on top of our salad. HOWEVER, the chef must have caught on to our plan to avoid the bulb, because the fried calamari must have been marinated in the stuff. Yes, it was delicious, but (exhale, wrinkle nose) I think I'm still detoxifying five months after the fact.
...sounds like someone in need of a Toastmasters intervention.
My swimming coach and I were chatting after this morning's workout (once I regained consciousness/normal heart rate/normal breathing) about what easily could have been considered the match race for this local running community. Two of the area's strongest runners finally went head-to-head during a 15-mile race at Fort Pickens, on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. One specializes at racing the half-marathon and under, the other races the half-marathon and up. Both are quiet, unassuming, and modest gentlemen; coaching and inspiring many of the area's young adult runners. It's almost funny to see the running community line up behind one or the other when the (inevitable) debate arises each year. The runner who took second place has won his share of marathons. He was the first American male to win the Disney Marathon, and he's won Pensacola's marathon on at least two occasions, I believe. His comment about what happened during the race, 'I still got (sic) a little marathon in me.'
Steve was planning to ask Marathon Matt about his recovery regimen; seems an interesting topic, given the (painfully obvious) fact he raced (okay, ran - his winning time was ten minutes slower than his winning time the previous year) Pensacola two weeks before and Disney several weeks before that.
I think there's probably two or three points Matt would mention:
1. Train to peak at the right time. Know the races for which you want to be the most fit and the most ready, then walk backward as you're planning your training cycle.
2. Follow the hard/easy principle of training. If you train full-bore all year long the odds are high you will incur an injury.
3. Listen to the times when your body says it needs rest. Complete rest, active rest, and regeneration is as important as tempo runs, interval work and overdistance.
I'm certain the races Matt's run this early spring have been signposts on the way to his ultimate goal; a strong finish on Boylston Street come mid-April. You don't see him racing throughout the year. In fact, a long, steady training progression (with a single-peak period) ensures the highest and longest peak he - and most well-trained athletes - can possibly achieve.
Fatigue. Starting to see the possible benefits of massage therapists and "bone benders," especially as there are more miles on the ol' odometer. Funny, running will beat you from the behind down (unless you've got old shoes, and then it can beat up you lower back, too) takes that swimming and cycling we use for cross-training to beat up the rest of the musculoskeletal system. I don't get it...yet. But I will soon.
Four days so far, and I've been good on my vow to steer clear from french fried potatoes. I'm not certain whether I'll be able to hold off the entire month, but I'm going to try. I think if I see a couple of extra pounds drop off this frame it'll be the motivation to keep at it. It's an interesting paradox; while fat stores in the body are beneficial to swimming (buoyancy) they are useless excess baggage once you get on the bicycle or out on the run. Get too thin and you might be able to climb or ride strongly, but you then lack on the run...and swimming is a nightmare.
So where do we draw the line? My wife says a little more to the right than I say. There's a happy medium all over the place.
Res Ipsa Loquitur, NSPS.