I know I should be doing other things right now, but it has already been a long week at the office, and when creativity or good ideas bubble up, one must follow!
Last night before I went to bed I looked out the window and saw the snow lightly drifting down from the sky, catching the ugly amber of the floodlights on the side of our apartment building, but still holding on to the inherent beauty of snowflake. When I got up this morning I was happy to see more snow outside, covering everything, and then in the hour between getting up, and getting out the door, a nice cold rain transformed the fluffy snow to heavy 'ass-porridge' slush... yes, I called the slush ass-porridge! I don't mind the winter months, in fact, I prefer them. In the winter you can put on another layer and get warm, in the summer one reaches a point where they are out of layers to take off, and then you are confined to the indoors or risk local law enforcement reminding you that there are certain regulations regarding public decency, but I digress. I guess I should be over it by now, I have lived in New England all of my life, and have stood in a puddle of slush more than a few times in my life, but happiness is certainly when the weather decides to just drop precipitation in either frozen or liquid form during the course of a storm. The only thing worse is ice, or a rain storm that is followed by a cold front that freezes the liquid before it has a chance to drain off of the roads. For the most part it is because I have had a couple occasions where I have slipped and fallen on the ice while training, which seems to always result in numerous days of recovery and lost fitness. I'd rather run in a foot and a half of powder snow with trainers on, than two inches of watery ass-porridge... anyway...
Thanks to the bipolar disorder that is New England weather, I took advantage of the warm temperatures Monday night and did some faster running. On the docket was 30 minutes, and my general plan was to push the pace only slightly, just to get my legs away from the acclimation of the slower ultra pace. Where the ultra pace is good for my general goals for 2009, I understand why so many ultra training plans insist on longer track repeats and tempo runs. The benefit is the development of one's Lactate Threshold, which will make it possible to run faster on the shorter road races, but it will also help to bring that "easy feeling" pace for ultras from 10 mins./mile down to perhaps 9:00 range.
In my college days I could really crank out a 5k training run at 5:10 - 5:20 per mile, which translated to running longer runs of 60-90 minutes more easily at 6:00-6:10 pace, which made 7:00 mile pace seem extremely slow and manageable. I certainly wasn't fast compared to other college runners, but my ability to endure longer runs at what now looks like a blazing pace was there. It is fairly basic, but I have found that by running fast, one gains the ability to improve times in shorter events, as well as in longer events, even ultras. Training to just run long and at a relaxed pace doesn't necessarily provide the ability to endure the type of hurt and strain that occurs during shorter races, Nor does it provide the milieu to improve basic speed. Although, I will say that long training runs where I went overboard and found myself absolutely cooked at 3 hours, and was still 30 minutes from home, and just had to suffer to finish the run, illuminated a different type of pain that has made me less of a wuss when it comes to shorter tempo runs.
Finally, perhaps this should be reserved for the other blog, but I am in agreement with some of Sherpa John's (http://sherpajohn.blogspot.com/) comments about the power and importance of music. I absolutely love music and I wish my parents made an effort when I was growing up to expose me to some sort of music lessons or training so I could grant the wishes of some of my more lyrical poems that should most certainly be songs. One of my favorite singer/songwriter's truly has a talent and dedication to creatively crafting great music. The artist is Chris Trapper, and I highly recommend checking out some of his stuff. His MySpace page has 5 songs on the player, two are original Christmas songs, two are from his new CD (one of which is the title song from last year's movie 'August Rush'), and the fifth is an amazing Ballad he wrote and performed at the United Nations this Fall. He is one of those artists that should get more national attention and airplay, but he allegedly doesn't fit the archetype of mainstream pop music.
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