running

A Confluence of Historical Threads

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I'm at the confluence of two events in my history.

There are echoes of other moments, with these two standing out, these two being the first order variables that are dominating the signal.

Once, when running up the hill at the Stanford Dish with some Mischief people, Chris, Kris, Brynne, Shirley, someone else, and me, during a break, Brynne commented, "Do you ever have the pains in your ovaries? They just cramp when running, then go away after a bit?"

I hadn't know what she was talking about then. I know what she's talking about now.

I went for a run today, a run that I expected to be an easy run, and it was for the most part. Bob said it was only spittling outside, not raining. As he was right, I went on this run. It was short, barely over a mile, enough time to loosen my legs and find my stride, not enough time to tire.

My quest for a 6:30 mile

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You can't cram for fitness. No, but you can set a new goal for yourself.

I ran track in junior high school, high school and college. I started running in junior high because that was the rule in our house: sports or a job. I didn't particularly like it, I wasn't very good at it, and I didn't exactly have the best experience with it. Yet, I ran because I was supposed to.

Did I mention I wasn't very good at it?

Yeah.

So, the way that distance runners are trained to run faster when I was running was to have them run speed workouts in addition to distance workouts. The theory being the distance running gives the runners an aerobic "base" and the speed workouts make them faster.

Pew pew! Pew pew pew!

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One of the problems Kris and I have with working out together is that he's faster, stronger and, let's admit it, far more motivated than I am. Track workouts generally work well for us, since he can run extra sets or just rest longer while I'm finishing up. Longer distance runs haven't worked as well, since both of us essentially run by ourselves, and meetup at the end.

Kris has been training to run the 10k part of his relay team's Wildflower Triathlon this weekend, and has been running some good distances. He's tapered this week, and asked if I wanted to use my new scooter and keep up with him as he runs. We talked about whether or not it would work, and decided to give it a try. I've been to his work only a few times since he's worked there, so it would also be a good chance to see the campus.

We ended up doing three loops around the campus. I, for the most part, kept up with Kris, except when I didn't. I came in too hot on one hairpin turn and ended up in the dirt, but still standing, at one point. I also had problems on the back side with the head wind in the parking lot being so bad I could have walked faster than I scooted.

In all, the experiment was a fine success. Especially when I started pew-pew-pewing the cars that tried to cut us off.

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Does it get any easier?

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Just after college, I lived with John Schmidt and his brother Dave in a one bedroom apartment. I did warn that I have lots of John stories.

We would go running most evenings, through the rolling hills of the streets of Monrovia. John would hold back and run my pace with me, I would try running faster so that he wouldn't be bored. He'd often run ahead when we were out of the "bad" parts of town, ones that really weren't so bad.

Most times, my times would improve. Not always, but most times. One evening, having run harder than I had before, I asked in exasperation, "Does this ever get any easier?!?" John laughed, and said, "It doesn't."

"It doesn't get any easier, because you're always pushing yourself. Running slower becomes easier, but running hard never does."