Thursday, November 03, 2005

A runner at last

Daddy's "delicious milkshake" recovery drink, as made by Haiden

A rough night's sleep last night, even though we went to bed at 8:30, I didn't drift off until after 10:20. I know this because at 10:15 Finn started grousing in his crib and I hadn't yet fallen asleep so I went into his room and tucked him in. Finn then managed to wake up again at 11:15, then again at 2:30 or so. He's usually such a good sleeper, so this was kind of a drag. Kiera knew I had to get up at 4:30 to get my run in before Finn's physical therapy, so she kindly took care of the feedings. Still, it was a very restless, short night.

Today was 18 miles, and again, it looked like the hardest of the week, coming the day after a hill workout and two days after a 22 miler. For a change of pace I headed up the road into Sabino Canyon, where there's a paved 3.8 mile very hilly road. After trudging to the "top", where the road ends, I headed back down. It was still dark, but the dirt shoulders let me know where the road actually was.

At the bottom I stopped for a drink and to use the restroom, and I started thinking about calling it a day early and heading back to the house with just 10 miles covered. I just wasn't feeling motivated and I was certainly tired, but then by chance I turned around after washing my hands and saw myself in the full-length mirror in the restroom. I actually had my shirt off (which I never do, but I chose a long-sleeved shirt that was just too damn hot), and it was still dark so my modesty (when you're a hairy ape you call it modesty but really I don't want to scare any children who might be out) allowed it. Anyway, in the mirror the guy I saw had lost the remaining lovehandles that curse the Salkowski males, and he actually looked like a runner. Not a "Runner's World" cover model mind you, but with the cheekbones, wrinkles around the eyes from squinting into the early morning sun, and the kind of leg muscles that look like you could actually do something run, really far. It kind of hits me, running has become something more than a hobby for me. I'm on week 16 of 26 weeks of training, half of my running is done in the dark, I spend three days a week running up a hill many couldn't bicycle up, and I pester my wife to only buy "whole wheat" cereal. Something has changed in me, and I blame Arthur Lydiard.

After that simple realization there didn't seem to be a choice- I take the long loop, end up with 17.5 miles, and do a quick out-and-back to make it an even 18. Losing the last 8 miles probably wouldn't have hurt, but I feel good for sticking it out. I do hope to get more rest before running up those hills tomorrow.

Training: 18 miles, 2:08:14, 7:08 pace, very hilly


Marc said...

Mike - Sounds like a great run. I am very interested in following your progress as you adhere to the Lydiard philosophy. What sort of base did you have before you began, presumably 16 weeks ago?

Mike said...

Hey Mark, check my log on the sidebar of the blog, and I'll try to put a link here as well. I have my mileage logged all the way back to the beginning of the year. Basically, I was running between 40-70 miles per week. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy a little time off before diving back in to get to Boston. Best of luck to you.

Thomas Sørensen said...

Hi Mike

You just achieved what motivates me the most. To become a "real" runner. No extra flabby fat and a feeling that this is how a strong man should be. This type of fitness is what let us survive on the anciens savannah.
Running messes with our heads. I felt I was a rock-star after yesterdays run with my club. These moments are soo cool and so precious.

Thomas said...

To keep going when you've already decided to cut the run short, that's a real sign of determination.
With your mileage, I would have described you as a real runner anyway, even if you had turned home after "only" 10 miles.

Marc said...

Mike - Thanks. I feel like a knucklehead not thinking to actually look at your log. I am going to try to hold on to Andrew's coat tails through his training.

I just noticed that you had David Sedaris listed on your profile. I'll never forget the first time I heard Santa Land Diaries on NPR many years ago.

Zeke said...

It's weird to think that guys running 56 minute 10 mile races don't consider themselves real runners. Maybe you've been reading too many threads.

My friend Jim got me hooked on smoothies this summer. I hadn't had one in awhile until 2 nights ago, then I come to work and read about your smoothie fetish too. My girls don't like mine.

Fruit (like pineapple, peaches, strawberries or raspberries)
Ginger Ale
Wheat Germ

No ice as my friend Jim says, "it just takes up space."

Mike said...

Ginger ale? No wonder your girls don't like it Zeke! I like the wheat germ idea though, I'll try that. Glad to hear you had a good day Thomas, and you're right, it really does feel good. Irish Thomas, you had one of your legs fall through your ceiling, and you still go running the next day? That's determination! Marc, my wife has a ton of Sedaris audio files on our iTunes at home. His voice definitely adds to the charm of his stories.