Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Winter friendships

It's Tuesday, and where am I supposed to do my mile repeats? The track is covered in frozen snow, the trail is a deathtrap of patchy black ice. All I need is a 1600 meter stretch of flat ground, and I'll be happy. The answer is so obvious, it escapes me. There's a back road right next to the trail that fits my criteria perfectly. It's a quiet residential road that parallels my precious trail. My friend Marty announces that he will only be doing part of this workout with me, as he needs to save his energy for a race this coming weekend. No complaints from me. Truthfully, I get anxious at the thought of another human next to me as I struggle to adapt to the stress of the faster paced mile. I know it's good for me, I know it will make me a stronger runner mentally, I know all the great runners practice running fast in training with groups of people next to them.. But I really just find it overwhelming. What if the person starts to talk to me? What if the person picks up the pace? What if their foot grazes my foot and sends me crashing to the ground? No, I really prefer my own company when it comes to doing the bitterly difficult workouts. But I relented and agreed to let Marty run with me today. I was relieved at his announcement of only joining me for part of the workout. We warm up with an easy paced two miles, and then start with the first mile repeat. I set the pace. We're striving for a 7:10-7:15 mile. The first couple of minutes go by. My breathing is steady, Marty's keeping his thoughts to himself; everything is so far not too terrible. We get to the turn around point, and head for the second half of this first mile. My breathing has become more labored, and I'm feeling the effects of the endless hills of Goshen from last week. I'm surprised that Marty is keeping up with me. How can he keep up with me? He doesn't do any speed, and I've been doing speed for a few weeks now. Then he has the audacity to lead! I remind myself that he will be cutting this workout short, while I still have another three of these things to complete. We pass a house with a green cutout Styrofoam letter 'J' lying on the lawn. My ability to hold this pace is running out. I note the numbers of the mailboxes that we pass. They are descending. I tell myself this mile will be over by the time we reach mailbox number 5. This ends up being true. I press my stop button on my watch. 6:58. Well! Now it's OK that I was feeling tired, I was going a little too fast. Marty puts his hands up and says that's it for him. I laugh, as I knew he was going to say that. I try and stay focused, as I only have 20 more seconds before I have to start my next mile. I say good-bye to Marty, and start mile two. I'm happy to be alone again. But I know I won't go as fast. Freedom versus community. They both have their contributions, but this is an argument not suitable for an oxygen depleted brain. I return to simple thought units. Mailbox number 33. There's the green letter 'J'. I pass that house. I hear a female Brooklyn accent call after me. "Hello. How are you." The voice sounded tired, like its owner had been trying for hours to strike up a conversation with passers-by to no avail. I did something I've never done while running mile repeats. I smiled. I almost laughed, but I was just too tired, and couldn't get it together. On my turn-around, still running at the faster speed, I determined to scan the area to locate the owner of that voice. As I approached the house, I see no one. I passed, and again the voice called out, "Hello, how are you, how is your day going?" It kind of sounded like an adult playing a prank. The accent made me want to laugh again, but I still couldn't. I finished that mile, took my minute recovery walk, and got right back into the next repeat. Just as I passed the voice's house, a woman comes out, peeks her head out of her front door, says, "Hello, I like your shirt and your gloves.." I think she was listing other things she liked about me, but I couldn't stop to chat because I was still doing my mile. Now, I must have the ugliest pair of running gloves in Orange County. They're oversized wool workman's gloves with leather pads that I bought at the gas station for $2.99. Was this woman making fun of me? I knew the gloves looked ridiculous, but they really kept my hands warm. I finished up my workout feeling a bit tired. I never saw that woman again. I was disappointed. I wanted to see if she would notice my new pink athletic gloves I bought that week . I only wore them once. I really hated them. I kept worrying about getting them dirty, and wouldn't even wipe the sweat off my forehead with them. It felt great to put my hideous wool man-gloves back on the next day. Nothing like an old work glove to remind you of who you really are.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tamar: For years I've worn socks for gloves since I don't like anything restraining my fingers. My fingers are claustrophobic. Last year a friend gave me a big (i.e. huge) pair of mittens which were OK for when I was really cold. For Christmas a good friend gave me a nice pair of gloves that are mitten like with slots for each finger that can be covered or un-covered. I've been wearing them for running and the seem nice. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep them for running or use them for non running activities and go back to the socks for running.

We never found out how you did on your last 3 repeats and if you ever found the woman with the Brooklyn accent.

Happy New Year.

Kevin

tamar said...

happy new year, kevin!~
I'm glad I'm not the only one out there with funny looking gloves! :-) for winter running, comfort has to come first.. I ended up averaging 7:07 for all 4 of the repeats, so I was pleased.. I never did find the woman again, but that accent seems to be all over orange county..

Anonymous said...

Tamar: Glad you were able to do OK with your 4x1 mile repeats. I know how much you like the mile.

When doing mile repeats I only do 3. I never moved up to 4. There's an approximate half mile loop at a park near work where I can do my speedwork if I want to do it during the day vs. the morning, so like you I don't necessarily use a track.

Maybe you'll find the woman with the accent the next time you're doing your repeats.

What's the next speed workout and the 2008 goal(s)?

Kevin

Jon said...

I'm surprised you were looking for her when she was doing something you don't like... talking to you.

Happy New Year!!

Just_because_today said...

But even if you find that woman, I know you won't talk to her; you don't talk while running...

Happy New Year. Time to start writing again!

tamar said...

kevin~ It's nicer to run during the day this season, isn't it? there's only so much torture a poor runner can take..
I'm trying to balance speed/mileage/hills.. I will probably do the winter series 5ks.. goals this year: pr for the 1/2.. how about you?

jon~ happy new year!!
ah, even my non-running friends no my running MO, that's sad.. :-)

just~ ditto! glad you got back to writing.. thanks for visiting!

Anonymous said...

Tamar: Glad to see your looking toward the 1/2 this year. I'm looking to improve my overall times from where I'm currently at and to do a few longer races (10K - 1/2). Doesn't look like any marathons this year.

Kevin

Just_because_today said...

mmm...and what half marathon may that be?

Bill Braine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Braine said...

You know, I thought you were going to say that it was a parrot calling to you out the window.

Has that speedwork done anything for your winter racing?

tamar said...

kevin~ there are so many ways to go about lowering your times.. good luck!

just~ hmmm... let's see.. what 1/2 marathon could I possibly be training for? Well, a few, but the one that is dearest to all of our local hearts is the 'Celebrate Life 1/2 Marathon' in March.. (not to be confused with Celebrate 1/2 Life radioactive marathon.. )

Bill~ A parrot would not have surprised me.. That race Sunday was tough! I credit two things with helping me get under 22: running hills for the last few weeks (for lack of choice due to snow on the trail), and 6 months of mile training last year; My finish yesterday boiled down to a dead sprint against Tara.. Would not have broken 22 without the kick.. (Alas, youth won out, by a second).. How was your race?

Bill Braine said...

Not my fastest 5k, but for excuse I'll use my knee, which has not been quite right for some time. The vicious cycle of not stressing it but then deciding to run eight miles on a weekend is not doing it—or my fitness—any favors. Still, though, a fun race yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Have you done the mile repeats since this last post?

I've been doing 1x2 miles around the Binghamton University track when the weather permits (i.e. they don't maintain it)and try to maintain the same splits. I've been getting faster, but have much room for improvement.

Kevin

tamar said...

bill~ I'm sorry you're still having trouble with that.. My advise I'm sure you already have heard a million times.. Ice, new sneakers, and massages for your quads, since tight quads can sometimes cause knee pain.. good luck!

kevin~ 2-mile repeats?? gads, that does NOT sound like fun, but it does sound like it would make you strong. I was increasing my weekly miles, so I backed off on speed.. I did mile intervals today, great workout, if you ignore the times :-)