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Archive for June, 2009

Rules for desert running

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

1. Always give your body a few days to adapt to the high altitude and heat.
2. Always carry water.
3. Always let someone know where you are going.
4. Carry a map or other navigation aid and a phone.
5. If you are in an unfamiliar area, stick to out-and-back runs, don’t just trust your sense of direction and hope that you can somehow make a loop out of it.
6. Always wear tons of sunscreen.
7. If you fail to follow rule 6, don’t take your shirt off just to make sure you get an even burn rather than just your arms.
8. Always heed No Trespassing signs.
9. Under no circumstances attempt to use the logic that crossing four separate gates with Keep Out signs somehow all cancels out and makes you legal.
10. If you survive a run in which you break all these rules, and even get back to your starting point within 30 seconds of your goal total running time, don’t mention any of your transgressions to your wife.
11. Rule 10 includes cryptic blog postings.
12. Oops!

Las Vegas!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Las Vegas, New Mexico that is. I am actually staying in Montezuma, a few miles down the road from a city you think at first you might have heard of.
It is actually quite nice here – it’s the desert southwest, which I am glad to no longer live in but is very nice to visit – and it is the middle of nowhere but I am used to that too.
I am here for a conference: I am learning to be an IB physics teacher. It keeps me busy.
I am also doing some of the worst designed altitude training ever. I am spending about four days at 7,000 feet, and then, just as my body has dumped all the bicarbonate from my bloodstream and I have no plasma volume or lactate buffering capacity, I am going to fly home, get four hours of sleep if I am lucky, and get up to try to earn some money in a running race. Wish me luck – I will certainly need it!

Stewball

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I don’t want to slander my daughters – they sleep better than a lot of young children. But singing songs at 3:00 AM does get tiring. Sage’s favorite song by far is Stewball.

Quick update

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

My life and thoughts today:

1. My daughters are having trouble sleeping. Somewhat at night, certainly at any time past 5:15 AM, and increasingly at nap time. It makes life stressful.

2. I should not shop after racing. Went to IKEA after this weekend’s race to try to pick up a couple things for the house and just couldn’t deal with the maze and the choices and lack of service. If I had had time I would have written an anti-IKEA rant but I realize it is just that racing hard takes so much out of me I am lucky to be able to drive home.

3. I raced well this weekend. 6th at a New England Grand Prix, 15:12 for 5k, which is 28 seconds faster than last year. Things are coming together well.
4. I have a major paper due in my grad course in about a week. I should be writing that, not blogging.

5. Read the latest string of thoughts about skiing and I have a couple responses:
a. Skiing is not swimming. The longest swim event (1500 m) is far shorter than the shortest ski event (15 km) – and I mean time is way different here, not just distance. Also, just for the record, women don’t swim 1500 m, old sexist policies limit them to 800 m. And all you need to swim is a pool or lake – far easier to find than good ski trails – which is a big factor. You can live in any major city and find a good pool to train in. How many major U.S. cities have good skiing within half an hour’s drive?
b. Our juniors (and our U23s, and our seniors) just don’t train enough hours. I don’t know if that is the problem, but it is a problem, and we aren’t going to get far without addressing it.
c. Our institutions (schools, clubs, regions, USST) have all sorts of stupid issues. Things are worse in Canada, and they are kicking out butts right not. Heck, things have been worse in Germany and Sweden at times. Solving these issues isn’t a bad idea, but it won’t get us any podiums.
d. World Cup podiums = 6 figure income. Anything less and our skiers will be poor. Again, this isn’t something to be solved so much as dealt with.
e. I really will write at length about all this sometime in July or August.

Dialed In

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Today I ran a level four tune-up in preparation for my 5 km race on Sunday. Six time 1000 m, 400 m recovery, 3:08 and dropping 2 seconds each interval, finishing at 2:58. I hit every time dead on.

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Level Three Blues

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I am coming to understand just how badly I have done level three training in the past. There isn’t much I can do about past years but I am trying to get better going forward. Still, I have a long history of going to hard or two easy in level three, and this is proving hard to overcome:
So on Friday I did four times two miles of hilly terrain on a road near my house. I purposely didn’t check my times from last year. It is very hilly, so I knew I would be slow, but I was shocked when my times ranged from 11:50 to 12:30. A check on last year shows that I was just slow that day; times around 11:00 – 11:30 are par. It felt hard enough, but clearly it wasn’t.
So yesterday I went to the track for six times a mile, 1 minute recovery, and ran them all in 5:18. It is amazing how easy the first one was, and how hard the last mile was. Next week I will try to remember that effort and make it work away from the artificiality of the track.