Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day #6: 10.62 miles and Getting Lost

Mileage: 10.62

A man troubled with committing to something greater than himself only finds excuses.  A man troubled should take a hike and get lost.  Left with only the fear of never returning.

Only then, when he has nothing to distract him from himself--when there is no one telling him what he should do; no family or friend reminding him to care; no familiar path to take.

When there is no more useless disturbance--the noise and banality of everyday life.

Only when there is that desperate, elemental stillness left--and his humanity just about crawling over jagged rocks scraping against his feeble knees--does he hear the animal within.  Thrashing against the crumbling walls of normality, comfort, and complacency.

It's at that moment that he desperately digs within and lets it loose.  And it's starving.  Starving for sustenance.  For survival.  For life itself--and all it has to offer.

Only when a troubled man is forced to become starved for life does he willfully commit to it.  To thrive.

Because he no longer fears getting lost and never returning.  No.  He fears getting lost and returning.  Returning to a life teeming with emptiness.

All dramatics aside.  I got lost.  And while I did get a little worked up about it, getting lost made me commit to getting back.

Sometimes that's all we need.  To get lost.  So that we can remember the reasons why we need to get back.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day #5: 7 Miles and Ruminating

One of the beautiful things about running is simply forgetting.

That's right.  Forgetting.  Thinking about absolutely nothing.  Just doing.  Just running and moving.

I began my running career my Freshman year in Mark Keppel High School.  I signed up at the end of the 8th grade because my friends said they'd join.  Plus, the name was CROSS COUNTRY-XC.

I mean, how badass does that sound?  PRETTY BADASS.

I made great friends.  Especially a best friend, Ms. Lam.  But then I moved to Texas.  And I kept running.

Because it was the only thing that remained continuous within my life at that time.  Of course, my family was still with me, but running kept me connected to my friends in California.  Back at home--before Texas became my home.

I would wake up at 5 AM every morning the Summer after my Sophomore year (the same year I moved to Texas)--and I knew no one.  I ran to think about my feelings.  Sort through them.

And, in the middle of the run, forget them.  My feelings.  My disappointment.  My past.

Or maybe I fell in love with running because it's fundamentally what I do: run.

From what?  I don't know.  I think I know, but I prefer to forget.

MILEAGE: 7 miles.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day #4: Easy 5 and Heat Training

I got in an easy 5 miler today in Ann Arbor.  I finally found a somewhat flat route to follow.  Thankfully.

As you can tell from the heading, I experienced some 'heat training."  That's training in any temperature above 90 F I believe.  Anyway, there's a cool article in Running Times that documents the benefits of heat training:

A former NCAA champion and Argentine Olympian in the decathlon, Santiago enlisted 20 elite cyclists and put them through an identical training regimen, but for one significant difference: One group rode easily for 90 minutes (50 percent of VO2 max) at a comfortable temperature of 55 degrees; the other group rode at the same intensity in a heat chamber set at 104 degrees. The cyclists did ten of these sessions. Both groups continued their normal training outside the lab. After the test period, the groups did all-out rides in the two environments. As expected, the heat-trained riders performed better than the control group in the heat chamber. The real surprise, however, was when both groups were tested in the 55-degree chamber: The heat-trained cyclists outperformed the other group by an average of 7 percent.

That's big.  But will it stand up for marathoners?  I don't know.  But I'm trying it out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 2: Chicago Marathon Training 2.0

Today I hit 6 miles, tracking my mileage with my Garmin 405 Forerunner.

Ann Arbor is really, really...hillacious.  In the good-bad way.  A good training regimen for any runner who would like to get in a strength workout without actually hitting the gym knows that hills do just that.

I haven't really read too much about hill training, but I know it makes flat races a lot easier.  But there is a downfall:  pace slowdown.

If you do too much hills without getting in your speed workout, you lose elasticity in your legs and they "forget" how to hit it hard and fast.  They get used to moving slowly.

And the next time you get on a hill...the second you start feeling tired and start slowing down.

Gun it.