Saturday, February 19, 2005

10 Lashings With a Wet Shoelace

A's goodbye cake. It was yummy.

Bad Bex!: I have been such a bad blogger lately. Sorry, folks, for not updating for five (!) days. My only excuses are long days at work; events after work which meant I got home late, which meant no posting; and, because I didn't post for awhile, the thought of writing all of the goings-on over the past week can seem overwhelming. So let's get started, shall we?

Outta here
The photo is from A's goodbye lunch yesterday. She's our photo director. Or rather, was. (She left to become a photog at another newspaper.) She HATES taking or posting headshots (which are boring and sometimes a pain to get) of sources we quote in our news stories. She especially hates putting Gov. Arnold of California in our paper (she's also from SoCal and blanches that yet another dim bulb actor is the Golden State's head cheese). Hence, the multiple photos of him, as well as of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, and Big Bird, among others.

10K Training: My first day of 10k training with the D.C. Road Runners Club last Saturday was both energizing and intimidating. The training is co-sponsored by a local YMCA. When I arrived, I saw a crowd of not-very-fit-looking people waiting near one of the work-out rooms. "Hmm," I thought. "Not very promising, so far."

Then I realized that they weren't runners. They were YMCA members waiting to start a low-impact cardio class. Ah. I saw some folks in running tights, so I followed them. Much better: About 60 people in running gear crowded another small room. I checked in, was given a piece of paper, and told to meet my coaches outside.

I met my coaches, one man and one woman, along with my running group, composed of 8 other people, most of whom looked very fit in that lithe runner kind of way. You know: So thin they look almost two-dimensional. I looked down at my piece of paper and did a double-take. "I'm in the advanced group?!" I squeaked in surprise.

Indeed, I was. The coaches put me in this group based on the races I've run in the past and the time I want to finish the 10K we're training for in May. Which is not very fast - only about 49 minutes, or 8 minutes a mile.

The rest of the runners, evenly split between men and women in their 20's to late 40's, want to finish between 36 and 42 minutes, or just under 6 to 7 minutes a mile. The majority have run several marathons, one was training for a biatholon (run-bike-run), and another runner was a 20-something in the Army Reserves.

The coaches looked me up and down and said, "You'll be fine."

Um, okay. By the time we checked in, listened to our coaches' introductory talk and went over our 12-week itinerary, we had less than 30 minutes left to run. So we set out for a quick 3 miles. The pace was pretty fast - about 8:15 a mile. That wouldn't have been a problem, but the course, which was mostly on a local trail, was extremely hilly.

We started off as a group, but within a half-mile, we spread out, with the marathoners in front. I was the third to last person. I powered up the hills as best I could, and the coach bringing up the rear encouraged us when we did. By mile 2 1/2 the pace slackened a tiny bit, although by then two people were almost 100 yards behind me. Those two ended up dropping out of the advanced group and into the intermediate group.

By then, my hamstrings and lungs were burning. I really wanted to stop, but pure stubborn pride kept me from doing so. Then I perked up and quickened my pace when I saw the Army Reserves dude about 20 yards ahead of me. I covered the last 1/4 mile more quickly and caught up to him at the very end. So that was very gratifying.

Afterwards, the coaches said that we had a good run, though "you all ran faster than usual." You can say that again.

Unfortunately: I missed today's training run because the coaches moved it back a 1/2-hour and I forgot. Damn. So I'm just going to have to run by myself this afternoon. Hopefully by then, it will have warmed up a bit. It feels about 20 degrees outside with the wind blowing.


  1. Gack! Jennifer Granholm. :(

    I'm glad you stuck to the training run. That's gotta be tough to be put in with the advanced class, especially on the day they all decide to show off! I hope they don't think you quit when you did show up for the run. :D If the coach thinks you'll do fine, then you probably will. And being pushed harder is better than holding back because the group is not very fast.

  2. Here, here. No. There, there. Ah, well the group sounds like they'll draw you along and prepare you to do even better than your goal. That'll please you even moreso.

  3. Gotta love that comment about runners being nearly two dimensional. I think it helps to run with folks just a bit faster than you are so you are forced to push yourself harder.