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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Running to a standstill

Allow me to talk about me.

So, thanks to the magic of inhaled steroids (Advair), I'm now able to run pretty much any distance I want, without complaint from my lungs, before my legs give out. Right now, that's somewhere around 6 miles. Hooray for modern medicine! And in two weeks I'm going to run a 5K (3.2mi) race. It'll be my first 5K race since 1987. I'm not exactly fast anymore, so I won't be competitive to other runners; I'm really doing this to see if I can finish without stopping to walk.

"But, I thought you said you can run 6 miles?" Yeah, that's the tricky part - I can run 3.2 miles, any day of the week, no problem. But when I get into a race situation, or even a self-timed situation, the clock (and even more, the desire to not get passed by people who don't look like they should be faster than I am) takes over my brain, I forget all about pacing, restraint and discipline, and I turn into a rabbit - I run far too fast too soon, trying to stay with people I shouldn't, and end up exhausted before I'm anywhere near the end. It happened in the majority of my high-school 5Ks, and is the reason I always hated distance running - give me a nice 400 meters where I can throw everything I have at it all at once, don't make me restrain myself and pace myself and run "my own race"; that's for wimps. It even happened the first time I timed myself on a training run - the first mile was far too fast, the second was right on, but the last was far too slow, because I was exhausted - and that was just because I had a watch on - gotta run faster! this isn't fast enough! the clock is ticking! For me, the very hardest part of this 5K is going to be all about shutting out the other runners and keeping myself at a reasonable pace. So, I've been training, doing timed repeats and long distance runs, trying to get used to a pace I think I can maintain for the race. I'm even following a training schedule.

Looking at the results of the race from last year, I think I can expect to come in somewhere in the top 90, and will probably be beaten by two girls under 14, three men over 60, and two women over 45. See, not content with running my own race, I'm competing with people two weeks before the race even starts. Ugh.

Now, down at the bottom of this page is a list of sites that have linked here in the past 24 hours. Usually it's a handful of regulars. Today, it's a relatively long list of other blogs that I've never heard of - I probably wrote something recently that showed up on a bunch of searches (American Idiot! American Idol! Green Day!). But, there's also a link from a blog by someone who's training to run the London Marathon, First Time Marathon. He's talking about all the stuff he's doing to get ready for the marathon, and he's posting all his training times (reading them makes me feel really slow, FYI). He's also having daily worries about getting sick before the race - all the people around him are sick - something with which I can identify completely. It seems like everyone at work, and my wife, has a cold or the flu - exactly what I don't want right now.

Because I'd hate to miss a week of training so close to the race, and I'd really hate to miss the race itself, I'm doing my damndest to stay healthy these next two weeks - eating better, drinking less beer, drinking more water, taking vitamin C, washing my hands frequently, getting enough sleep, Positive Mental Attitude, avoid being sneezed upon - whatever I can think of. And this morning I thought of something else I could do to stay healthy : I could stop wearing myself out with all this running! Sigh. Logic has failed me.

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