A creature of habit. Sometimes I can be too obviously predictable and I am really trying to break my routines this year. Going for a run is one of those habits, one of those predictable routines for me, but what was once new and exciting can become old and stale. I seem to exist under the pressure of the same miles, the same routes. Afraid to go left because I always go right and know exactly how long it will take me to run the loop when I go right. It’s Thursday and I should run 9 miles on Thursday. No less. No more. My head says go right but my feet think twice and suddenly dart left. We are into the unknown, the different.
I run most of my runs alone. It’s not a conscious effort but it seems to happen that way. However, this week I’ve gone out and run with people most of the time. It’s like a new me. On Tuesday evening, I joined a 6 PM track session with Troy and Robin Soares and Todd Allington, running various repeats: quarters, halves and miles. I’m not a fan of repeats but I am a believer. Over the next couple months, the group will get bigger and the sessions harder.
Also this week I’ve joined Brad Poore and two of his Kenyan athletes (Paul Ngeny and Edward Kiptum) on a couple of their runs. I blend right in to their running group, as I pant and struggle to keep them in sight, a good 60 lbs heavier than their sub 2:20 marathon bodies that barely tip the scales at 110 lbs. Even their lycra shorts are baggy. Brad is a serious U.S. marathoner and will be trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials at the marathon distance later this year. He already qualified at CIM in 2006 for the 2008 Trials. We’ve run into each other a few times around town on evening runs and chatted for a few miles and we keep saying we’ll connect for more runs together. So when he emailed me to go out for an evening EASY run with him, Paul and Edward, I had to go. I joined them again for an early morning run of fartleks along the Quarry Trail. It was interesting to see their harder training run. 20 minutes of warmup then 25 fartleks for about 8 miles. The fartleks were 1 minute intervals of hard then easy. 1 minute hard, pedal to the metal, running at threshold. Then 1 minute easy as the heart rate tries to come back down to earth. Then the unsettling sound of the timer going off on the watch and another minute of heart pounding, running at max RPM. After just 3 or 4 fartleks, they were already out of sight on the trail and I was left chasing their dust. 10 miles and they didn’t drink any water. No GU or energy gels. No MP3 player. Very little chatter. Just a 3-2-1-beep-beep-beep and then, oh no, not again.
What’s their secret? “The Trials of Miles; Miles of Trials.”