"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

90 Minutes of Pain-Free Running

But it didn't come easy. If you get queasy easily, skip the next, italicized, paragraph.

I awoke at 3 AM, wheezing, as I have most nights the past several weeks. I doubled my pillow over, hoping that the elevation would allow me to go back to sleep; it's worked before. It didn't work and I started coughing, coughing like a baby with croup, a loud seal-like bark, so hard that I'd gasp for air. I coughed so hard that the abscess on my left tonsil ruptured, filling my mouth with the taste of pus and putrefaction, making me vomit. I needed to mop that floor anyway, but 4 AM was not good scheduling.

So starts my day.

I went through my usual stretching and strengthening routine, my back and hip flexors not spasming and my achilles not aching. This was a day to run.

I started off a minute per mile faster than I had been lately, 8:17, 8:26, 8:13. Then I did a mile including 6 uphill sprints (8 strides long only), top speed only 6:25/mile as opposed to 3:35/mile earlier this year, in 9:09. I was not ready to run that pace for long and the next miles went 9:10, 9:21, 9:22, 9:24, 9:09, 8:49 for a total of 10 in 89:17. The last mile I felt a slight twinge in my heels and started wheezing slightly, so 90 minutes is now my long run. I started coughing again after finishing.

That's the first day of what I call training in many months. I hope it's the first of many. Even if it's not, it's important to seize the opportunity when a good day presents itself.

I was reminded of my favorite world record: Grete Waitz running 2:25:28.7 in the London Marathon on April 17, 1983. Waitz, considered the first real champion of the women's marathon, had run 2:32 at New York City in 1978, 2:27 in 1979 and 2:25:41 in 1980, all world's records, but all disputed, as the New York course was found to be 150 meters short in 1981. Between 1978 and 1982, Catalano had run 2:30, Smith 2:29, Teske 2:29 and Benoit 2:26, so Waitz was not even among the top 5 women marathoners, officially. Then she ran London and broke the world record. The very next day, Joan Benoit ran the Boston Marathon in 2:22:43, but being a point-to-point course (and slightly downhill), it's disputed for record quality. Grete Waitz was the undisputed champion in the marathon for exactly one day.

Each day counts, if you make it count.


Londell said...

Baby steps is what I learned... Hard lesson but thought i would say it to you... Baby steps.

wildknits said...

Just a thought but could you have pertussis??? Often goes undiagnosed (speaking from experience) or misdiagnosed.

Glad you were able to get out there and run! Wondered if I would see you somewhere on the trail yesterday ;->

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Make those daze count without doing anything anyone else would call count-worthy.

That's MY mantra.

And if you haven't heard of me?

It's working.

RBR said...


You know what I am going to say, so I am not going to say it.

But for Christ's sake, just do it.