Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's fun to run; it makes me smile; I think I'll run another mile. And another.

This summer, I am training for an endurance event. One might call it an ultra-endurance event, since it's longer than a marathon, except that the running is broken up into chunks. In mid-August, I will be running 33 miles in six roughly equal chunks, with about double the running time for recovery. This is a three-person 100-mile relay. To this end, I am training to increase my endurance, my ability to run multiple times in a day, and my ability to run in the heat. Mainly the former.

My mileage the first week I was here was 24. In order to be able to run 33 miles in one day, I need to have practiced running as close to that as possible in the least amount of time possible. Of course, this will be considerably more than a day in practice. In my training, I have the following goals, in order of precedence:

1. To arrive at the starting line uninjured;
2. To complete the race;
3. To run the race well.

In order to achieve my goal of racing well, I need to increase the volume and intensity of my running. However, I need to do this without getting injured. Down here, most of the running surfaces are paved, which considerably increases my likelihood of getting a stress fracture, especially since I will be increasing my mileage relatively quickly. Thus, I have been structuring my running to be the easiest possible on my body. This means:

(a) run more miles per day, fewer days per week;
(b) run more times per day, fewer miles each time.

I have been running four days a week for the past four weeks. On the alternate days, I lift (upper body only). Sometimes I have skipped lifting. This is bad. However, now when I move my arms, I can see muscles moving that I did not see before. Also, I now have six-pack abs, thanks to my morning abs and ab lifting. However, this six pack is only detectable with fingers; it is still covered by a thick enough layer of fat that it is obscured to the eye.

In the past few weeks I have run the following mileages:

24 (week I got here), 30, 35, 40, 45 (planned for this week).

I mostly did just miles, because it was so hot and humid that it was all I could do to shuffle through 10-minute miles with a racing heart when I got here, and it has only gradually gotten better. Once a week I do a group long run, which is nice; I have also run to a track and done some moderately fast miles (6:30 - 8:00 -- fast during a 10-mile run). I plan to make it more varied in the near future.

This morning I did a hill workout. I ran to a gradual 45-second hill, and did 15 repeats. It was plenty challenging. Then I ran to a steeper, 30-second hill and did 13 repeats. It was a 10-mile run. I weighed myself before and after the run, and had lost 3.4 pounds of water in the interim. That's a lot, especially considering that the run ended before 7:30 AM.

When I do hill repeats, I run fast up the hill, then slow to a jog, turn around and go down the hill to begin again. As I reached the top of the hill for the sixth time, a man passed by going the other way, and said:
Got all the way to the top, eh?
What does one say to that? When I am doing 15 repetitions, and he thinks that the reason that I am breathing hard is because it's so difficult to run to the top of a hill?

I have a hard time thinking when I am running. I usually say reasonably incoherent things. For instance, one time I tried to say "running skirt" while running. I said "running shirt" and "running shorts" and just could not cough out "running skirt," much as I could see the laughable item in my head. I also have trouble parsing the sounds that other people make into comprehensible words -- this morning a woman said, "I wish I had your energy!" as I ran yet another hill repeat, and by the time I figured out what she had said, I had almost passed by and it was all I could do to say "yeah" -- and my distance vision is significantly worse than usual. So, I am not at my most biting and clever when people say dumb things to me while running.

So I could not think of a snappy thing to say to this man who assumed that, because I was breathing hard at the top of a hill, it must be hard for me to run up hills. All I said to him was,
This is number six, got a few more still.
Are other people familiar with intervals? That "number six" doesn't just mean "this is the sixth hill I've encountered over the course of this morning's run," but "this is the sixth time I have sprinted up this hill, and it is not the last"?

So far here, I have not been passed while running. One day a guy did pass me, but he was doing the sprint-and-jog routine where every time I came up behind him, he sprinted ahead, and then slowed down again, so I caught up again... I eventually passed him on a downhill right before his run ended, so that was the end of that. Last week I went to a track to do a few timed miles, and there was a family there running around the track. There was a young boy, about 10 years old, who ran faster than his younger siblings, and tried to race me every time we ended up running near each other. Somehow, even though it was during my rest interval, I did not want to be passed. So I ended up surging every time he tried to pass me. I do not like to be passed by anyone against whom I am not racing, especially not by 10-year-old boys.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Diana, I'm so sorry to hear about Coach White's departure from Williams. I also did not know about his community service involvement and intergrating it with his track team. I met Coach White two years ago, I am a Master's sprinter and Williams had a track meet in December, I asked Coach White if me and two of my friends could come and compete against the high school athletes, not ot win but to procure an early season bench mark, without hesitation Coach White told me we could come and compete. We arrived at Williams and we just loved the facility and campus, we are from Albany. When we went to the registration desk to check in the clerk was reluctant to allow us to compete, she said, this is a high school meet and what events are you all going to run? When we said the sprints she could not believe it. Coach White then came over and shook our hands and told the woman that we could compete and there would be a big surprise for everyone dubious of our abilities. As it turned out, I won my heat of the 55m and placed 2nd in the 300, my two friends also did very well in their events. We raised more than a few eyebrows that day, the point being, that if not for Coach white we would not have been able to compete, he was most generous and kind, this was in 2005. Again, I am very sorry to hear of his departure, we shared many talks on-line about training ideas, I really wanted to come back to Williams.