Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Running Update

This blog may suffer from lack of focus. Some bloggers have multi-sites to cover their interests, but for now I'm keeping this one stop shopping: endurance sports, biology, conservation, Alaska. So far I've been blogging in relative obscurity. I need to link this site up with some of the regular sites that I visit. However, the art of self-promotion eludes me.

Only seven weeks have passed since I put away the skis this year, and my transition was short, too short maybe. Nevertheless, we're well into running season so I just jumped in. Who knows how long I can keep this up?! Or want to. Still I love to be in top shape and just feel better about life when I can train an hour or more a day.

I'm up to 60 miles a week now, plus have been doing a little cross training. The first couple races (5ks) were just tune-ups but those went pretty well. Two weeks ago I ventured onto the track and ran a 17:17 5000 meters. I'd hoped for sub 17, but could tell all week that my fitness level and psyche just weren't there. In the 5000 you have to prepare yourself mentally to push through 8 or 10 minutes of running when you're just gasping for breath and wanting to slow down. If you don't commit--usually before the race even begins--you will slow down over the last mile.

Things turned around last week. I just felt strong again--not fast yet (if that will ever happen anymore!)--but strong. On Tuesday I did a stellar "Oregon" type workout that included 2 miles at pace followed by some 300 m surges with 200 m recoveries. It felt invigorating to cover 3.5 miles a little over 20 minutes of continuous running on the track. Then at an all-comer's meet on Thursday I managed a 4:56.0 for 1600 m (10 yards less than a mile...it's an arcane American thing), about 5 or 10 seconds faster than expected.

Looking at the USA Track and Field Master's webage for June 12, those track times would be top 3 for the 45-49 age group so far this year: http://www.mastersrankings.com/2006/MDIST.HTM

This I find unbelievable. I'm the n'er do well runner who never broke 4:30 in college. A lot of people made fun of me back then. A 4:56 does not seem that special, even for 48, and I think there should be dozens of guys who could run faster. Where did everyone go? This age group is tough, especially in the longer distances like the marathon. Anyway, I'd like to bring that time down a bit in the Flint Hills Mile (a true mile) on the 28th. I won't submit the 1600 to USATF, but plan to do so for the mile. A sub 4:50 would probably rank in the top 5 or 6 for the year. The mile isn't even my main focus this year, but it's a fun and challenging event.


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