TITLE: Running Experiences, Old and New AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 27, 2010 4:57 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Teaching class two-plus hours every day has been keeping me busy and, on some days, wearing me out, but I have maintained a decent running regimen nonetheless. Last weekend I ran my first 5K race in over a year. I have done no speed training since before my marathon last fall, and no training for a race this short in a couple of years. But I have been running approximately 30 miles a week and so had a decent aerobic base to work from. My splits were 7:17, 7:13, and 7:20, with a finish time of 22:26. I finished strong; the second half of the third mile was much faster than the first, which was much the slowest half-mile I ran that morning. The race was put on by my daughter's high school student government as a fundraiser for a school in Cambodia. There were a lot of HS kids running the race, including several of their best cross-country athletes. Not too surprisingly, those guys smoked all of us duffers from the starting gun. Still, I did all right, quickly jumping to the top fifth of the pack and then picking off runners one by one over the next fifteen minutes. Conservatively, I estimate that I finished in the top fifteen of the 100+ runners. I wouldn't be surprised if I made the top ten. In any case, I cut over a minute off of the time I ran in my first 5K last year and felt good doing it. The next week, though, I struggled with fatigue, which is pretty typical for the last few months. I seem just fine running 30 or so miles a week without much speed, but every few weeks I hit a trough. I am hoping that some slow and steady training for longer distances will yank me out of that pattern. 5Ks are old news for me. What's new? I was planning to run an 8-mile race the week before the 5K, but heavy rain and local flooding of our trails forced race organizers to postpone that event until late July. Eight miles would be something quite new for me; I've never even run a 10K. That new experience will have to wait. For something really new, I am talking with a friend about putting together a six-man team to run the 192-mile Great River Relay, one of the races in the Ragnar Relay Series. The event is open to teams of six or twelve, but my buddy and I agree that it would be much cooler to run 50K or so each in twenty-four hours. (Not to mention how much easier it is to find four more crazy runners than to find ten!) I have certainly never run an "ulra" race distance, usually defined as anything more than the marathon's 26.2 miles. As a relay, this isn't really an ultra, because I would be able to rest for a couple of hours between legs. It would be a new experience, though! Training for this will also be a new challenge. I am sure that it requires marathon-like mileage and workouts. But it probably also demands some days running two, three, or more times, to acclimate the body to running marginally fast for 4-8 miles six times in a day -- and overnight. I'm starting to get excited about this idea. I am also thinking of a fall marathon. That goal, and how training for it fits with the relay, is currently TBA. One big challenge at a time... -----