You are invited to join me on a journey that will take me into the so-called new millennium. It is my hope to submit accounts of my running activity to this journal more or less daily, beginning today, Thursday, June 17, 1999, until the first week of January, 2000. During that span I plan to pursue some training goals that promise to impose the greatest test of my meager abilities to which I've ever subjected my so-far 55.90-year-old body.
Why would anyone be interested in the running diary of a talentless geezer who has been running conscientiously for barely five years? Wouldn't it be more instructive to learn from the likes of Haile Gebrsellasie or Ann Trason?
Yes, it probably would be. But their training logs and personal reflections aren't available to us. Mine, however, are, and for free!
In addition, I believe many readers will benefit from a record of the experiences of the common man. The regimens of Geb and Ann have little in common with the disciplines of runners like me, whose travails are much closer to that of the majority of runners.
At the beginning of 1999 I carefully laid out my training plans for the year. Remarkably, I'm still on target to accomplish everything I set out to do, except losing the weight I had hoped to. I like to eat.
Some runners, when itemizing their goals, think in terms of races. Not me. I race relatively little, and because I finish consistently around the eightieth percentile, regardless of distance, have little expectation of ever doing well in a race, in the competitive sense. My personal running goals are oriented around training, not races. The six events I've scheduled for 1999, an all-time high number for me, are merely target points, punctuation marks at the ends of training phrases.
So far this year, in chronological order, I ran a 10K in February for a PR; a 7:26 training run through a mountain preserve with steep hills; my first 50K, mostly steeply uphill, at Crown King, Arizona; and Whiskey Row Marathon, a standard 26.2-mile course, but considered an ultramarathon by many because of the hills. During May and early June I recovered, while working on shorter, more intense runs, with nothing over ten miles for over a month.
Last week I began to increase mileage once again, with a 37-mile total, topped by a twelve-mile long run. This week I will run forty miles, with an anticipated half marathon long run on Saturday.
I've arrived at the leading edge of a large surge of activity. The race events I've committed myself to for the rest of the year are
Across the Years will be the year's climax. What will be interesting for me will be to find the answers to these questions:
I'll have much to say on that as the days go by, in the record of my responses to the training efforts I've mapped out.
My training week runs from Sunday to Saturday. This year I'm counting walking mileage, because of the ultrarunning training. Last year (1998) I counted only running miles. I accumulated 1825 miles for the year, exactly five miles times 365 days. This year I'm behind that pace, averaging 4.82 miles a day as of June 1. This was deliberate and expected, but I expect to surpass last year's total by the end of the year.
This week has gone as follows: on Sunday 5.7 miles of both slow running and walking at an overall 13:13 pace; Monday two miles of easy running and one walking, plus weight lifting; Tuesday was four miles of interval training at the gym, where after warming up I did four laps hard followed by three laps easy. It was an exhausting run.
Yesterday (Wednesday) I ran eight relaxed miles. It was one of those character-building efforts, when I felt tired and wanted to be done before I started. Only rarely do I give in to those urges, unless there is something terribly wrong physically.
The flood of ideas that surfaced during yesterday's run has already faded, so I'll leave you with the colorless version for now, a simple statement of the facts. Later today I plan on doing a five mile tempo run.
So this concludes my introduction to the beginning of Geezer's Folly. What the future will bring remains to be seen. Meanwhile, let the mad festivities begin!