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Trial of Miles

Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I was being lazy, and maybe rushing at the same time, which isn’t a good idea because lazy and hurried are sort of contradictory efforts. And in my hurried lazy state, I decided to climb over a 7 foot tall chain-link fence to more quickly make my way to the IC track for my Saturday workout. My plan had been to do a simple tune-up for the upcoming track meet. Nothing too complicated, just 4 x 400m at goal mile pace with 400m rest.

Somewhere between vaulting my legs over the top of the fence and finishing the quick descent to the ground, I thought “maybe that wasn’t such a good idea… maybe I should have just walked the extra 200 meters and gone through the gate.” But it was really too late to make any practical changes, and I did my best to make a graceful Terminator-style landing.

Of course, I injured myself, but not in the way I would expect. Something strained in my groin/perineum as soon as I hit the ground, and whatever got pulled referred pain to everywhere in the vicinity. It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t walk for a couple minutes. The pain conjured images of brutally torn suspensory ligaments and strangulating hernias. After five minutes I could jog and walk again, and being the stubborn guy I am I decided to work out through the pain.

The plan called for 4x400m at 75 seconds each, and I (barely) pulled it off. Running 4 of those consecutively with no rest seemed a lot less feasible after the workout, but it’s good to know where you stand even when you end up standing somewhere different than you hoped. My 5-minute-mile days were a long time ago anyways.

So I was really, really surprised when I pulled off a 5:02 mile at the track meet last night. There was a part of me that was kicking myself for not pushing just 3 seconds more out of the last lap (I think the last one was actually my slowest). But I’ve only run one sub-5-minute mile in my life, and the fact that I’m even coming close again is really a wonderfully happy thing (I almost want to call it a blessing). Add to all this that various parts of my body were still slightly sore and swollen from that ill-advised fence-jumping, and my race becomes a promise of future improvement as well as a smashing success.

So track season is over, and now I look forward to cross country. I feel like I’m coming into a new phase of my running life, where some PR times may actually be possible for the first time in 10 years. And if not, that’s fine too. Running is a fantastic example of eternal return within a single life. You get so many opportunities to experience that high, and even the lows are productive. I’m running for life and it feels good.

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Posted by on August 20, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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We Were Only Freshman

Running LogoI’ve been able to keep up my winter running so far this year. I’m hovering around 20 miles per week, and not forcing myself to go out if it just feels like to much. I try to do one speed workout per week, but it’s often not that long (e.g. 4×400, or 5×200).

At the local January Track meet, I ran a surprising 11:33.6 for the 2-mile. My goal had been to run under 12 minutes, and 11:33 was an awesome surprise. Afterwards a 5:30 mile seemed within my grasp and I started mentally prepping for that.

Yesterday was the February track meet, and I ran the mile. I had been trying to run my speed workouts at 5:20 pace to prepare for this race, but they were really hard. Even 200m at that pace felt like I was going all-out. So when I registered for the meet and entered my ‘predicted time’, I thought that my prediction of 5:25 was probably pushing it.

But somehow I did it. During the race I just focused on the huge digital clock at the start line, and made sure that every lap put me under 5:20 pace. Then with 2 laps to go I let all the rest of my gas burn and came through in 5:13!

This puts me in an interesting place going forward. I haven’t run 5:13 since high school, and my first time running that fast was probably my sophomore year (10+ years ago) . It feels like this could be the beginning of some really great racing for me. Or, it could be the beginning of a big downhill slump. In any case, 5:13 puts some new post-high school PRs in range… Eleven minute 2-miles and eighteen minute 5Ks suddenly seem possible again. That would be… That would be incredible.

I’m not too worried about the future though. I’m just going to focus on training frequency like before. I think if I can maintain a consistent schedule until it gets warm again I’m going to have a great running summer.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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