Thursday, April 7, 2011

Training: Man up

I spent years on the bike, riding hard everyday. Quite honestly, I preferred to train more than I enjoyed racing. As much as I wanted to see that I was faster than most of the guys out there, I always got more satisfaction beating my own times than beating others. I didn't train hard for them, I did it for me. Years later, due to kids, work, etc...I started running to reduce training time. 20 hours a week on the bike is not all that do-able as a 30 something father of three.

So, I hit the trails. I am not fast, I say, but why not step it up and push it? Why is it that I am my own worst enemy on the ultra training and racing. Problem is, I have demonstrated that I am fast enough to be competitive. I train like I am training to go somewhere. Maybe I need to read my own words to realize that I need to man up. I don't train on speed but I can pretty easily take 2nd place at multiple short races....just need to enjoy the fact that I am able to run hard, for crap's sake! get out an run like you want to!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Race Report: Fools 50k & John

I made a realization after the Fools 50k that I have not been training my long runs fast enough. So, Saturday I ran with Mike at North Chagrin. I can't tell if it was fast for him, but there were a few moments that I realized my legs aren't back from Fools. After a few years of this ultra stuff and I am still not pushing it like I should. Aerobic capacity is excellent now, but I have not been pushing training at race pace at all. Partially or mostly because I am training for BR100 and that is not meant to be a fast one, just a get it done one. But after all these years of cycling so hard lead me to think that I should stop trying to be competitive. Not so, I have competed with myself for years, slowly progressing without pushing the pace too much. Time to step it up some more.Make friends with pain and you will never be alone. I need to be a more loyal friend to pain.

I pulled up at 5:30am to find Fransisco's front end of the car parked in the ditch. I asked him why he was in the ditch. We tried some pushing & pulling, but no luck. Did a loop and came back. Fransisco started vomiting about 15mins into the run....and continued to do so until we circled back and dropped him back at the car. We made light of it and joked that he had made a really strong first impression. Mike & I continued on for a couple more fast loops, just what I needed. He's quick and light. We got talking about cycling among other topics, really enjoyed the conversation. Realizing that my Step-Dad's funeral was getting closer, we cut the run a little short. I suppose I really didn't want to accept it was time.

John was a runner long before I was. When he was home, he got up at 4am, drank his coffee, smoked his Captain Black in his pipe and ran ~8 miles each day, 6-7 days a week, hard. He justified the pipe smoking because he ran and in the end it took him quite savagely. I tried running with him when I was about 15yrs old. I was no slouch when it came to running due to soccer and cycling, but he was just relentless. I couldn't hang with him for more than 2-3 miles, he was posting 6:45's in daily runs as comfortably as I run 8's these days. If he decided to put himself up against the local age groupers in a 10k, he usually took top 3, puked and smiled. I think he liked to just set an occasional benchmark of how he rated. The importance wasn't how you compared against everyone else, but where you rated against yourself. Every so often, it's fun to do so. Just to know. 

He didn't look back, he was quite literally always looking forward. To me, as a kid, it seemed like his mind had already gone somewhere where it wanted to be, somewhere it was going to be. When I finally broke his concentration, his steely eyes seemed to pierce me, made me feel like a kid every time.

When things start to feel like slacking, I think of him and it gives me that extra kick in the ass to get it into gear, find another gear, get it done right. I never got to run a marathon or an ultra with him....I am pretty sure he would have loved the challenge.