TITLE: To Tell the Truth AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: July 12, 2006 5:40 PM DESC: ----- BODY: This morning I was thinking about a game show from my youth, To Tell the Truth (not the 1953 version!). In this game, "a person of some notoriety and two impostors try to match wits with a panel of four celebrities". The goal of the celebrity panel was to identify the 'real person' and ferret out the impostors. Why would a thirty-year-old game show come to mind on a hazy July morning? The track was doing its best to determine if I was an impostor or the real McCoy. I think I passed my first test of the training season. The Twin Cities Marathon takes place on October 1, so I have just under 12 weeks to prepare. Last week I bumped my weekly mileage up into the low- to mid-40s, and this week I began a 12-week "can't fail" training plan by running coach Bob Williams that I found in an old Runner's World magazine. Now generally, I'm no better at sticking to someone else's training plan than I am sticking to someone else's textbook; I like to tinker with the plan, make it conform to my schedule and a bit to my expectations. This year isn't much different, with one exception: I intend to follow Williams's speed workouts as closely as I can. His plan calls for one workout of short, fast repeats each week or so, and one workout of longer repeats every other week or so, with tempo runs in the alternate weeks. Today, I ran speed workout #1, 5x800m repeats at roughly 5K pace. I managed 3:13-3:15 per half-mile on this fine day, but only after I spent my warm-up miles wondering if I had what it took to run repeats today. The plan I selected for this season is unusual in another way, one that doesn't demonstrate the sort of humility that has cropped up in my recent writing: I opted for the "advanced" program. Many training plans for 5Ks, halfs, and marathons come in three flavors, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I have always gone with the intermediate plan, but this year I was honest with myself; by the recommendation of the coaches, I am ready for the advanced plan. For example, Williams's plan says "Typically this person has completed at least three marathons and has run consistently for three years or more." Check and check. Note that this precondition says nothing about the runner's speed or goal time; it depends only on the person's ability to work up to a sufficient mileage and handle speed workouts at a runner-specific pace. I'm ready for that. One thing I like about running, which has popped up from time to time in this blog, is the accountability it exacts from us. It's impossible to be an impostor in this game. Eventually, the road or track finds you out. It lets your body know that you've been found out, and your body tells your mind. The feedback comes immediately, in the form of aches and pains and fatigue, and over the long haul, in the form of persistent fatigue and injury. So we do end up facing the need for humility after all, but also a challenge to stretch and grow. For one day at least I am the real guy. Let's see if I am found to be an impostor by 11:30 AM or so on October 1. -----