Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We really don't get it . . .

I happened to run into a few of my neighbors as I was beginning my run the other day and something I've noticed is that 99% of runners have no clue how to warm up or even what a warm up is really all about.  I'm much faster than my neighbor friends at least at race pace and we were all beginning our run and I refused to keep up with them as they immediately started at something near a 8:00 - 8:30 pace.  Similarly, I watch a lot of runners jump out the door of their house and immediately start in the 8:30 pace range which I think is insane.  The body hasn't awaken much less warmed up.  I tend to start in the 11:00 pace range even on days I'm going to eventually do tempo runs in the 6:00 pace range.  I learned this from elite level runners who I watched prod along very slowly during warm-up.

And, another thing, the idea, even as promoted by our running magazines, that a 20 min. warm-up is sufficient is not only wrong, but short sided.  It was awhile to warm-up the body correctly before launching into a hard effort workout.  I tend to warm-up for 40-45 minutes, followed by some active stretching, before moving into hard effort running.  This is likely why I haven't suffered a serious injury in many years.  Maybe it's a cultural thing in that we are just too darn impatient to let our bodies warm-up.  Or, perhaps, we don't have time and just force the issue instead of waiting until maybe the weekends when we have more time to properly prepare.  Or, maybe it's a competitive thing where we can't prod along because our ego's can't handle other runners passing us while we are warming up.  I don't know but I do know this is one of the major reasons so many runners are injured on a yearly basis and it won't change because we refuse to practice patience.


Friday, May 11, 2012

And so the beat goes on . . . the next plateau

No question I've crossed another successful threshold in my running life.  It's amazing what you learn about life and yourself from running.  A few random things as I continue my journey.

1.  In the near ending quest for the perfect running shoe, I found a shoe that surpassed the Nike XC and it's old school.  It's the Puma H-Street.  Yes, they are back.  These are in that group of the original minimalist footwear and was an all-time favorite of ultra runner Anton K.  I started running in these puppies several weeks ago and they are excellent.  Just a big better than the Nike XC b/c they are lower to the ground, no arch support and they fit my foot like a glove (note:  these are not for wider foot folks).  This is the new Terra Plana failed to develop with the Evo.  This is what the Evo should have been.  And the best part, I bought 2 pair for $35 each and they'll last thousands of miles.

2.  I don't do the "pain" thing anymore.  I'll run hard, although 90% of my running is nice and very easy, but even when I run hard, I will "within my breath" as is preached by Fred Rohe in "The Zen of Running."  As a result, I've lost about :30 - :45 sec. per mile when I run hard.  I run in the 6:30 pace range vs. 5:45-6:00 pace range but I run longer at that pace and, more importantly, I run happier.

3.  I still "run by feel," and it's the best thing I ever decided to do.  I run 20, 30, 40 days consecutively and I'm able to do it b/c I run by feel.  I do what my body wants to do each day.  I don't run with a watch, garmin, heart rate monitor, or any of that crap.  All those devices do is block the natural communication path between the body and mind and that's dangerous, in my humble opinion.  I basically run for 1 hr. every day and every 7-10 days, I stretch out a 90-100 min. run and only when my body says "go," then I'll throw in some hard runs, generally in the 15-30 min. range.

4.  Trails rock, streets suck.  If you believe surfaces don't matter in terms of impact to the body, I think you are crazy, at least with respect to this subject.

5.  I love life!!! Of course, the main reason is my wonderful wife and beautiful kids but I'll include running b/c it has changed my life.  I'm about 5,000 hrs. into running and half way to meeting that 10,000 hr. threshold everyone talks about.  I look forward to the journey to that destination but running has made me a better husband, father and person.  God gave me the ability to run so I thank God . . . thanks God!!!

Ok, enough and back to life (and running).



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Un-friggin-believable - Pete Magill rocks

Pete Magill: 15:11 for 5K at Age 50

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By Peter Gambaccini
Photos by Diana Hernandez
Californian Pete Magill was dominant in the 45-49 age group; for example, he ran 14:45 for 5000 meters in March 2011, three months before turning 50, to become the oldest American to break 15:00 for the distance. He's kept to his record-breaking ways since turning 50, including running 15:11.13 for 5000 meters at this weekend’s Oxy Invite in California, under the recognized 50-and-over American record. But, as you'll see in a bit, don't look for Magill's name in the record books for this mark.
There’s been an abundance of activity in the 50-plus 5000 in 2012. The American record of 15:41.67 by Mike Heffernan had stood for 20 years until it was lowered by Ken Ernst to 15:34.62 in March and then to a formidable 15:16.77 by Mike Blackmore just a week ago.
Blackmore and Magill will apparently be doing battle in the coming weeks to further lower their times, and ownership of it may pass back and forth between them, with Tony Young, who has just turned 50, possibly joining the fray. But Magill, who is also a terrific Running Times columnist, is making no small plans. Lamenting that he “just got started too late this year” and is “definitely not quite race-fit yet," he declares, "I'm going to try to find another 5000 in June, because I think I'm 3 to 4 weeks away from 14:45-14:50." His concern, he says, is that "I honestly think I might not find a decent race."
In any case, from what Magill tells us, his 15:11 may never be considered an "official" record because he finds the ratification procedure to be "a really demeaning process." He explains, "It ultimately requires multiple follow-up phone calls, lots of begging, last-minute reminders at the [USATF] annual meeting where records are ratified, and that's after running around a meet for a couple hours, trying to get people to sign off on all the things that need signing off on (the person who installed the track is supposed to sign off on the track being 400 meters, the starter for the race has to sign, the timer(s), somebody signs to guarantee that the track has proper rails, the meet director, etc.) ... and even then the applications aren't always accepted (and are often misplaced ... often)."
Magill concludes, "Anyway, all that counts is that it gets on the ARRS top times list (they keep selected track times too) and the American Records Wikipedia entry, and I don't need paperwork for that."
Magill is exceptionally fast at 50 but, he says, "The worst part about being a 50-year-old runner is this: The day before the race, for no apparent reason, my legs and feet suddenly got inflamed. It actually hurt to jog. They had improved by race time, but I still had to loosen the laces on my shoes to warm up (you know, just so my feet could fit into them!). It didn't affect my race (exhaustion was much more of a factor). But it was one of those annoying age things that really puts a damper on training and racing enthusiasm."

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