Sunday, November 09, 2008

Catching up

As I write this I'm sitting on my trainer spinning an easy gear. It's actually not that easy to do, because the keyboard keeps moving. I'm in the middle of my weekly 90 minute "parachute" training session. I call them that because their purpose is to slow my loss of fitness, not prevent it. I hope to hit the beginning of the real preparation (after X-mas) feeling unfit from a mental standpoint, but actually in okay physical shape. Mentally I am near the point of feeling sloth-like, complete with self-loathing. Physically the metrics are still pretty good. My mile repeats are still sub-5:40.

My performances seem largely governed by neuro-muscular response, and not overall strength. Put simply I'm efficient, not strong or fast. I compete by not slowing down. Years and years of repetition work in my favor. I also "remember" what a given effort should feel like. It's hard to fully explain that to people, but it is this ability to draw on past sensations that I feel gives me my above average ability to pace. The running version of perfect pitch.

So with my body handling these workouts without interference from my brain, I'm able to think about many things, e.g.:
- The election. For me it said something unexpected about our country. Personally I don't care who you voted for; I myself struggled a bit with this. I do care why you voted. I don't believe in just voting against someone by voting for someone else. "I'm voting for the white guy" was the most discouraging comment I heard. Fortunately it appears those people are the minority.
- My family. I'm spending more one-on-one time w/Dylan and we're getting along better for it. I had a good day with him yesterday, and we're raking leaves today. As for Alexandra, I'm just trying to keep up with how quickly she's changing. We have that special father/daughter bond. And Leanna, well that's the toughest part. Still trying to be a better husband. It's not easy.
- Work and Personal finances. I try to keep this to a minimum, but it always sneaks in. Most of the time is spent figuring out how I can reduce the demands of work so I can focus on the important stuff.

It's my generation's time to lead. And you know what? I'm not sure how to start. There's a guy from NYC who organized peace runs in Kenya this past spring following the country's post election violence. I wouldn't even know where to start. I have a wacky idea about following in the steps of Bill Bowerman. No not in founding the corporation that would become Nike. Instead it's to follow in his footsteps with regards to getting the community engaged in activity, and to center that activity around track. You see the town where I live sports a pretty decent outdoor running facility, complete with tartan surface and lights. I've had this idea of Wednesday night track night for residents of the town. I wouldn't be fostering world peace, but maybe I can try and do something about childhood obesity. Maybe just getting a few families involved could have a snowballing effect. Maybe. Maybe I'm dreaming too. But then again some guy from New York put on races in Kenya (oh yeah, he also runs a charity which donates shoes to Africa).

It was one of those perfect fall running days. A little bit of coolness in the air, but the sun was strong and warm. Shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I really enjoyed just being on the road today. Only ditching the watch would have made it better. Yeah I had the watch. Hopelessly addicted to performance metrics. My pace was well off today. While anxiety always has me fearing that the "big slowdown" has finally started, I think it's a safe bet the real culprit was the mile repeats on Friday. "Thick" legs makes for slow turnover, but my endurance was good. So I'm about 2 miles into the 7 mile run, thinking about those things I think about. My mind starts to wander and I recall my high school x-country days, and I start to remember, again, my one and only real running partner Brian. I've written about him before, 4 years ago actually. Today I thought about how I never really pursued the issue of discovering the manner of his death. I didn't really want to find that he never outran his demons. Then I think that thanks to my little muffin and her sidekick, I've beaten mine for good.