We’ve had some wicked rains the last few days here in Illinois. The Geneva Middle School track where I do speed workouts was covered with dead or dying worms. There were robins so stuffed with the free food they barely wanted to fly as I jogged by during warmup laps. I confess that I felt a little more like them that I cared to admit.
I’m down to 180 pounds after a winter weight high of 189. Ugh that was an awful feeling. My goal is 175 and maybe 173 if the training goes well.
I figure running will be that much easier with 6-7 lbs. less weight to carry around. But the only way to get there is to do the work.
After warmups I set up my Smove camera to look at my stride. I have to laugh because my right arm has always swung because one leg is shorter than the other and it’s now such a part of my running form I have to consciously change it to avoid looking like I’m casting a fly rod from the hip with every stride. It really helps to watch yourself running on video.
Because once you’re out there running it also helps to concentrate on achieving efficiency in order to run relaxed. Having a mental picture of your optimal form can be helpful in that.
I ran 8 X 400 meters and again had to laugh because my times were precisely, exactly the same pace that I’ve been running on the indoor track. I turned myself inside out trying to gain a few strides on each of those intervals but kept hitting 48 for the 200 and 1:38-1:40 on the 400. What that proves is where my current baseline resides.
The goal is to drop my baseline mile pace to 6:20 per mile. Then my target pace of 7:00-7:20 per mile for 5K Sprint Triathlon races and 7:40-8:20 for 10K Olympic events will feel sustainable. Conditions permitting, of course. Heat and wind and weather always determine what you can ultimately pull together in any summer race.
The challenge is in improving that baseline over the next 4-6 weeks of May and into the June-July racing season. It’s an age-old rhythm with me. A small voice in my head chuckles at how long I’ve been doing this. And why? It is apparently who I am and will always be until it is no longer possible to run. Who knows when that will be? So many aspects of life are like that.
The question that senior athletes such as me must answer each spring is whether the season’s baseline is a product of fitness or age? Which is the factor holding us back and what is the best way to defy that tarsnake against all odds?
The only way to answer that question is one step at a time and by engaging in laps of the mind. Turning oneself inside out on the track is a lifelong process. I’m not going to let a few worms (or tarsnakes) on the track keep me from giving it my all.