Monday, May 17, 2010

Hardship and Poverty

Hardship and Poverty seem like they are often in the background of great distance runners. Somewhere I have a printout of a training manual authored by Gordon Pirie. As I recall, his father was a race promoter. I think he described a lot of the runners as young Welsh men who ran to escape the mines. I was reading about Joseph Ebuya who won the world cross country championships. He has a fascinating story. Part of it is that his family is nomadic goat herders. His family's goats were stolen by bandits, forcing them to move closer to the city where he survived by making charcoal. He was discovered when he could keep up with a group of professionals running in long pants and barefoot. Apparently just a few years ago, Tsegaye Kebede - whose last 3 marathons have been 2:05:20, 2:05:18 and 2:05:19 - was gathering firewood to survive, eating one meal per day. I was just reading that even Usain Bolt's home did not have running water when he was growing up. His strength is attributed to the fact that he had to carry water to his house. Even Greg McMillan - coach of McMillan Elite - talks about how suffering is a component of one's training.
Is suffering in of itself important, something like what Gary Cantrell calls "meaningless suffering without a point?" I don't think so, otherwise Cambodian survivors of Pol Pot would dominate endurance sports. My wife who is such a survivor is a hard worker and very strong-minded but does not have an athletic orientation. So there are some other factors. Greg McMillan talks about logging mileage consistently - year after year. We can see that in Haile Gebrselassie, running 10 km to school and another 10 km home for 10 years. I also recall reading that Shadrack Biwott would run 5 km to school, 5 km home for lunch, 5 km back to school, then 5 km back home every day. Even Ed Whitlock runs very consistently -about 20 miles per day. So I think the idea is to make it normal to run consistently every day as you would if you did it of necessity.
So my current plans are to stick to a plan of gradual increase in mileage, hopefully getting to a certain goal. But if I start having problems prior to that goal, I'll just back off and slow down progression of mileage at a maintainable level.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Recovery progressing well

I started running again on April 15th, starting with 1.75 miles at a time. I've been running 4 days at one distance, then increasing the distance by .75 miles, so 1.75, 2.5, 3.25, 4, 4.75, and now 5.5. Since 4/20, I've only missed 2 days where I didn't run. I've been running most of it barefoot. All of it has been barefoot on grass until 5/2 when I ran 4 miles in dirt wearing shoes. I did my first trail run today which means the first time with any vertical (probably about 1000'). I did get hurt one more time when I tripped while running stadiums and really bruised my left shin (on 4/27). This hasn't affected my running much. I only skipped one day (on 5/4) when I rode my bike 23 miles and my leg looked pretty ugly - ankle swollen, a lot of discoloration from under my ankle to above my knee. The bruise has been improving recently as I've been trying a number of things to get the bruise to clear.
Today was the biggest deviation from the plan because I accidentally ran 6.25 miles instead of the planned 5.5. I did an extra out and back which accounted for .68 miles.
I'm planning on sticking with the increases until I get up to 16 miles per day. I'd also like to run a lot of it at 8:48 pace and try to run the Hotter Than Hell 6 hour on 8/14 in Cameron Park at that pace. I'll continue for a while at least to run about half of it barefoot and rotate surfaces between grass, dirt, track and pavement. But most of all I'm intensely listening to my body. If I get a little tingle in my soleus, I stop and massage it. If I start getting sore by the base of my heel, I make sure I warm up with a bike ride before my next run. And I've been doing plenty of cross training with core exercises and bike riding. I just got through a 16 count Pedestal core routine for the first time - woops - forgot the crunches. Actually, Trey Hardee and Diana Pickler really make these look easy - and they are TOUGH!

Amy Palmiero-Winters wins Sullivan Award



I just heard the news. I bet this is the first ultra runner to win the Sullivan Award. A list of winners is at Wikipedia.

Congratulations Amy!