from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Monday, September 23, 2013

without a car

I have been walking to work and back every day. Wonder if that counts as cross-training.

Also, I couldn't drive to the foothills, so I couldn't run uphill on trails. But I found a street on a hill close to my house, with half a mile's length of considerable incline, and I did that for more than an hour, up and down, again and again, both the day before my big run and the day after, taking it easy, thinking of nothing, in a pleasant, empty state of mind.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the way i see it

The nice thing about the day of rest is that next morning you are less sore, so you are inspired to train with renewed vigor, so you can be more sore again.

As to the car, it's totaled. It's gone. I am not sure how I did that. Not exactly matching my plans for autumn. But here's the good news: I am in one piece. And I can add to that: not having a car doesn't interfere with my training plan. Yes, I can run without a car.

There are people who think I am a pessimist. Go figure.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Saturday I wavered between running trails and cross-training at the pool.

Doing trails requires extra time because I have to drive there, and the foothills are too deserted to start while it's dark outside. So I can do it in the mornings only when I don't go to work. Saturday it was raining. I had the big run planned for Sunday, when it was supposed to rain as well, and I have only one pair of running shoes. Two days in a row with soggy shoes didn't seem like a good idea.

I know it's smart to alternate shoes, and I intended often to buy two pairs, just never got to it, in all these years. I probably will for the Wisconsin race, since it might be wet. Running 50 miles with wet shoes means not only blisters and extra weight, but also cold and unpleasantness, and there is already enough going on to guarantee discomfort. I will probably end up buying two pairs at the same time, because I already put close to 500 miles on the pair I have right now. One pair might be for trail running.

As to the swimming, the pool has been closed on and off and will be closed again. I will wait it out, since I can totally afford this place and it's not far from my house. It was open on Saturday, so (even if trail running seemed to be more of a priority) that's where I went. I liked it. The cross-training always comes so easy, and is so pleasant, I feel as if I am taking the easy way out.

The rain had stopped by the time I left the pool. The roads were still wet though; driving home, I had a car accident. So the car got a bit banged up, and I got more than lucky. I am all right, but I have to get the car fixed. Which means it's going to be harder to buy two pairs of running shoes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

by the numbers

Number of days until the race: 50

Highest weekly mileage so far: 35

Longest "time on my feet" so far: 3h 50min

Days my fundraising page has been up: 14

Number of people who have donated: 10

Number of people who said they wouldn't support this cause but they consider supporting me: 2

Money raised so far $319

Percent to goal: 6.4%

Number of days Leonard Peltier has spent in prison: 13733

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

where did it go?

The scab came of my knee last week, so I went swimming again. I liked it.

Between cross-training (bike and swim), tempo runs, the big run, and hill work, the day of rest disappeared. Last week I trained every day, even twice one day.

I sulked a bit that I lost the one day when I could sleep longer, but otherwise I didn't mind. I thought if I have to, then I can do it again, until the race if need be.

A bit later I remembered the rest day is not there for my enjoyment, it has a purpose. It's supposed to promote recovery and prevent injury. So it doesn't matter where the rest day went, but I have to bring it back, put it back in.

I was reminded of a theater show I saw once, "Somewhere between Tuesday and Wednesday, your true day must have gotten lost."

Never mind, I'll find it. I'll put it back in the schedule. I'll even enjoy it.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

tempo runs

Last year when I did a 50-miler, I ran Berlin and then for a month I just heaped up mileage. The race, I kind of winged it, which might be why I barely finished.

This time, when I made up my mind, I had two months to prepare and a more solid base of training over the summer.

So I emailed the Ironman, the one who paced me in Nashville, for some suggestions.

He said it's not about mileage, but about time on your feet and intensity. He admitted this ends up translating into mileage, but mileage is not how he thinks of it.

I am trying to wrap my mind around this difference. In the meantime, in a more practical vein, he mentioned tempo runs.

Oh - tempo runs. Speed work. Intensity. I have run almost twenty marathons, and never did speed work. I am not sure if this is ridiculous or not. Speed is not my strength. Or maybe... I always called myself a lazy runner. Maybe I was just lazy.

The truth is I don't even know how to do it. I tried to read up on it, but the articles talk about lactate threshold and similar stuff, as if I am running with a little chemical lab attached to my belt. It just confuses me.

I can, on the other hand, simply put in some intervals at greater speed. So yeah, I started doing this.

I had this one little problem. When I fell, nearly three weeks ago, I was running much faster than usual. I wasn't doing speed work. I was just enjoying the fact that, with all the running over the summer, I could run hard from time to time. That's why my body described such a splendid arch through the air that I came down face-forward and almost broke my nose. It was speed. Two fingers on my right hand are still swollen. Not that I run with my hands. Just made me think twice before I started on tempo runs.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


On Labor Day I went out on the foothills to check out the trails. This was the day after my big run, and I didn't intend it to be a serious workout. Just wanted to see how I can deal with running uphill.

The Wisconsin race has 1,700 feet in elevation gain. Per loop. Five loops. Yeah. Had to transform that in meters to get an idea. Over 500 m every 10 miles or so. Still have no idea. I guess I will make a little drawing to scale and compare that to the slope on the trails.

I didn't go very far out, because I had told a couple of people where I'm going and they warned me about bears. The current trend in New Mexico is bear visits, that is bears come into town. I had not thought about that before, but if I were a bear, that's where I could come into town from, the foothills. I am not a bear, so I might be wrong, but it's not likely they will come in from the highway.

So I picked a trail that was visible in its length from the trailhead, and did that a few times up and down. The first time it was excruciating, then I got used to it. Harder on the lungs than on the legs. Guess I have to go there again.

Didn't see any bears, although the news reported three sightings that day.

Oh, and I am developing a little bit of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Have to abstain from checking my site all the time to see who else has donated.

Monday, September 02, 2013

back to last year

That pain I had last year on the right side, traveling from buttock to knee, that made me limp half of the Provo marathon... I stretched and tried to will it away, and it diminished to manageable proportions. But I still ran both Berlin and the Nashville ultra carrying it with me.

It took me months to figure out what it might be. Reading stuff here and there I finally concluded it was ITBS - ilio tibial band syndrome. I did some exercises for that, but it really went away when I started training for the triathlon. I didn't even notice how - one day I realized it was gone, I was pain-free. So good.

It came back. I mean the fall, almost two weeks ago, activated it somehow. Maybe it's not exactly the same thing, but it hurts exactly as it used to. It feels as if the impact with the ground threw me out of alignment. Or something.

Well, cross-training should take care of it again. I cannot swim yet - the scab on my knee has shrunk in size, but the thick, deep center, pulling the skin taut, is still there.

The knee itself is all right. I ran 16 miles yesterday. Had planned for 16, but was willing to cut it short in case the knee would give me trouble. It only started hurting during the 15th mile, so the pain must have been simply fatigue and I didn't stop.

Aside from the pain from last year, I am back to normal.