Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't They Have A Pill For This?

Well, it's been a quiet week in Spring, Texas, my home town, out on the edge of the megalopolis. Autumnal temperatures -- shivering dang near 50 degrees -- have descended upon the Gulf Coast, and that can only mean one thing:

Marathon training is proceeding in earnest.

I, myself, have been proceeding in earnest, and in so doing I am coming to the conclusion that endurance sport is anti-American. How could I possibly claim this? What am I? Some kind of communist? Some Euro-Kenyan wannabe? Well, let me explain.

No, let me sum up.

If you turn on the radio or the TV or open any magazine, you will be confronted with someone trying to convince you that you can have something for nothing--or at least something without effort:

  • You can have a sexy core and abs of steel if you buy this machine and work out just 20 minutes a day, three times a week.
  • You can be rid of the chronic disease that your lifestyle gave you if you just take this pill.
  • You can have babes-a-plenty if you use this mouthwash or body spray.
  • You can be rich without working.
  • You can be healthy and happy and blessed if you buy this preacher's book.
  • You don't have to change your life and quit eating yourself to death; you won't be obese any more if you take "small steps."

Endurance sport, however, is the opposite. For all the doping in sport, there is no "fast pill." You have to work hard. You have to hurt. Small steps won't do. If you want to run fast, you have to run fast. If you want to run far, you have to run far. If you want to race well, you have to race. There is no easy way. There is no victory on credit. You have to pay now. You get what you settle for, and you have to participate in your own rescue.

Dang, that'll never sell. That's not the American way. What about buy now and pay later? Yeah, let me know how that's working out for you.

**End of rant--I promise**

So, toting a history of wimpy racing, I've been trying to run fast, and far, and race this fall. Speed workouts with real runners like Scuba Steve and Coach T. Long runs without lollygagging. Training on the marathon course. Running the hills.

Today was the first in a series of warmup races--The Houston Half Marathon--three loops on a fairly brutal, rolling course. The computer simulators said that if I want to run a 3:40:00 marathon, I should do this half-marathon in 1:46:27, which to you and me, kids, is 8:07 pace. I used to do Yasso 800s at 8:00 pace. My previous best in a half was 1:56 -- although I was not going all out and it was not anything like a near death experience. My first half put me in bed for the whole day and probably was 2:30.

On paper, I ought to be able to run it, but they don't run the races on paper. They run them for real and the numbers don't lie:

Mile 1 8:32
Mile2 8:15
Mile 3 8:10
Mile 4 8:04
Mile 5 8:07
Mile 6 7:49
Mile 7 8:11
Mile 8 8:01
Mile 9 8:07
Mile 10 7:43
Mile 11 8:01
Mile 12 7:59
Mile 13 8:01
.23 (yes the course was long)

Total: 1:46:48
Avg. Pace: 8:04
Avg. HR: 155
Max Pace: 6:33
Max HR: 173

Of Course, Carrie was probably running her whole marathon today at that pace. I wanna be her when I grow up.

There may not be a pill for this, but there is a prescription. I did cheat only a little bit. I kind of had a pacer--except she kept running away from he while I thought I was going to puke. Coach T was kind enough to haul herself out of bed early this morning and join me for the third lap only. She was very mean to me, called me "old man" a lot, and nearly ripped my lungs out during mile 10. Thanks for that.

If I had managed to get through the water stops instead of wussing out, or if I had just puked and got on with it, the last miles would have been 7:50s. That's what Coach Garmin said I was running most of the time. I wish I could have run faster to make it work Coach T's time. It really was above and beyond the call to get up at 0500 after baby sitting well past midnight last night. I owe her.

So, imagine that. If you practice running fast, you learn how to run fast. So, supposdly I could run a 3:40 marathon on a course much flatter than half course I just ran. But that's not for another 80 days or so.

Hmmmmmmm. I wonder if I can hit 3:3?------

Especially without that pesky swimming and biking warmup.


Richard said...

Great job - right on target! And actually, Carrie ran in ~7:40s. I'd totally like to grow up to be her, too.

Curly Su said...

congrats; that's awesome! of course you can do it. and hey, having a pacer isn't cheating... you still had to move those legs all by yourself.

Bigun said...


Cass said...

Good job! I'd settle for running like you when I grow up. Thanks for the comment on the course length, I was concerned about that.

CoachLiz said...

OK, now you are intimidating me. I don't think that I am worthy to hang with you and Teri anymore on runs. I'm too slow.

Congratulations on only being a few seconds off of your goal!!! That is awesome.

I am back at Memorial Park this weekend if you want to put the hurt on me.

Fe-lady said...

Great job!
Hard work USED to be the American way. And for some people like us it still is....
There is nothing like a fulfilling but exhausting workout or day at work or even a combination of the two to help one feel good about why they are here and to sleep well at night.
Keep like your name!


If there was a pill, I'd be an addict. Of course, I already am addicted to this endurance sports thing and the hard work is most of the fun for me anyways.

Bottom Line: Your Half was a damn good indicator of your current fitness and you have plenty of time to rock a 3:3-- If I can offer some advice??? START SLOW!!

Lana said...

I've obviously gotten a bit consumed in my iron endeavors and have not kept up with your blog like I should have, or I would have already congratulated you on this 1:46 half mary and also on your quest to a 3:40. Now...I want a 3:40 too. But I never thought that I was capable of that. I think I'll reconsider. That would get me to Boston, ya know.

But seriously - you rock, Greyhound! You aren't afraid of anything. I have no doubt...absolutely no doubt that you will get that 3:40.