I got back on the road after 3 weeks. Then I got hit by a car while biking to work. Only hurt my knee, but otherwise nothing special happened. But in between I have been battling on and off with a man flu. So, I have soon missed soon 2 months of running.
I'm injured. Again. This time I sprained my right ankle pretty badly. After 8 days it is still blueish. But no bones were broken. Accordingly, the fall racing season is postponed. Currently my first race for this fall might be a 5k in Florida in November.
Nowadays I really like New Balance. I used to be friends with Nike (various models between 1989-2010) for many years, then I skipped to Saucony (A5 and Kinwara) and now NB's introduced Fresh Foams. They work well, and they offer a right amount of fallacy for believing that I'm fast.
Of course the real reason for improved pace and feeling that I have been feeding asphalt for my running shoes despite their brand. The weekly amount is sad, 50-80 km, but the quality is the key. I'm not even close to my peak, but what makes me really glad is the fact that my shape improved quite a bit in 3.5 months. My threshold paces are now at the 2005 level (when I returned from 7 months periods spent with an injury and totally without running if I recall it correctly), but they are way better than what they have been lately. I consider this as a sign for better times.
Because of couple of short periods of acute injuries I had to skip couple of races, but on Sunday I might race a 10km in a loop which used to be my morning run when I lived with my parents. My PR on that course is just below 32 minutes. I suspect that this is true also on next Monday.
Running with correct technique (even in prepared bare feet), on
any surface, is injury free.
Running equals springing through the air, landing elastically on
the forefoot with a flexed knee (thus producing quiet feet). On
landing, the foot should be directly below the body. (Walking is
landing on the heels with a straight leg).
Any and all additions to the body damage running skill.
Quality beats quantity; the speed at which you practice the most
will be your best speed.
Walking damages running.
The correct running tempo for human beings is between three and
five steps per second.
Arm power is directly proportional to leg power.
Good posture is critical to running. (Don't lean forwards!).
Speed kills endurance; endurance kills speed.
Each individual can only execute one “Program” at any one time;
an individual can be identified by his or her idiosyncrasies (i.e.
“Program”). An individual can change his or her “Program” only by a
determined, educational effort; each individual's “Program”
degenerates unless it is controlled constantly.
Static stretching exercises cause injuries!
Running equals being out of breath, so breathing through the
mouth is obligatory (hence the nickname “Puff Puff Pirie”).
Only thing which I have change in between is that I started to run. Simple lessons. On Tuesdays I have join the local "November Project" a.k.a. Juoksuliike. We ran 40 minutes steady state run, 3x10min or 5x5min with varying pace. The best thing in these Workout Tuesday is that they are suitable faster and slower runners = for everybody. They are designed to enable runners with various pacing strategies to join and just run. Fast and slow runners start and finish at the same time and that has been pretty unique even for me who has been on the road soon almost 30 years. Every week 50-70 runners group up and run the streets. How awesome is that? Then on weekends I've ran a steady state or faster if we have had a brick workout session with triathletes. And then I have tried to include one longer run in my weekly schedule. It is not that long, usually 13 miles. It is better than zero. Everything is.
This winter we have received the first snow already four times. First it snows, then it rains and in between there's freezing temperatures (sub 32F). Accordingly, the roads are almost always icy. Suck my balls -icy. I hardly recall that any winter would have been like this. Conditions like this are okay only if they occur during last weeks of March... Running is now easier than last November. The progress since then has been pretty steady and enjoyable. I did a lactate threshold test in November and the results were worse than before but they were easy to accept. The five weeks before that test I barely ran or did any sports. I was recovering from an Ironman race. Since November I been running around 45-50 miles per week, but altogether with swimming and riding the weekly hours pile up to 10-13. It is not much but in our family I'm not the only one who is training for the next summer. So, the current state of affairs is just awesome. Injuries are not a problem, I am not tired and the muscles are working fine. Only thing which sucks to some degree is that my faster running paces are miserable. They make me wanna cry like wolf. But I won't. It has been worse. For instance, just in December I celebrated 1oth anniversary of the 6 hours record of aqua jogging. But choosing between aqua jogging and running (even at slow pace) is not difficult.
I have this ongoing battle between focusing on running or on triathlon. At this point I think that the battle is irrelevant and useless. But it is just my mind playing tricks on me. Yesterday I ran the legendary NYE race in Lieto. I was 2 minutes slower than year ago. That's just brilliant. Not. But I haven't trained so much lately, I've been just running. I have an initial plan to run more and faster but that story is soooo old already. I will update my version 2014 anytime soon. Now...
The fact is that I'm not going to be faster than I used to be. I accept that. Another fact is that I am a rebel. I do not take facts as they are. I eat them as breakfast. This relates to my identity as a researcher, as an academic scholar. I like to see the opposite sides of things, to dig deep in them and follow the embedded mechanism in order to realize the world. This also means that over and over again I find myself powerless in front of the enormous space of new knowledge, a space that expands continuously. But one fact that has pissed me off is the physiological aging which I just can't turn upside down. Being involved in different sports since 1984 I have lived my life through my body and mind. I have faced many ups and downs, just like anyone else. I have enjoyed the epic battle between the joy and disappointment. Thus, becoming more and more aware of that this engine will be slower and slower was devastating at first, but now I'm okay with it. It eases the life. When we lived in the USA, I relived my youth. I was part of a group of runners who - each at their own level and motivation - ran workouts and long runs together. I realized that that was what missed to most. It is not the results, but the feeling of being part of a wolf pack. Running early morning workouts in a company of your kind made me realize that it was where it all started in the late 1980s. By that time I jumped from the loneliness of speed skating into running group fulfilled by guys with egos of a teenager and taste for bad music. We ran together through the teenage, on a mountain, on a swamp, in the woods, every where. For me this was particularly huge, since I regenerated myself from a shy person into an annoying loudmouth who I am nowadays. Now, when I have an opportunity to join a huge group of local runners on Workout Tuesdays and Fridays, and Sunday's long runs, it is all about happiness. I feel so thankful for these chances even if I'm the old fart around young shiny diamonds. I no longer care that my current anaerobic threshold is soon at the same level with my aerobic threshold in 1997. Yes, this trend is something that I try to slow down, but there's only few things to do. The most important to me right now is to enjoy the journey and live to the fullest. And this is what I shall do. So. I just run. .... and do some triathlons here and there.
Ok. My experience with triathlon is done. I finished an Ironman in October and lost the motivation to do any sports for a month. Last Sunday I flew back from my annual visit to the USA. During that trip, especially in Columbia MD, I got back the energy which I need to do any sports. Now I just want to run. It is so easy. Just tie up your shoes and go. I like swimming and biking but they are now mostly indoor sports. I want to live and be outside. So I run. 1.5 weeks ago I raced at the Run Through the Grapevine XC race. It is tough as hell and now when I'm slightly out of shape, it was harder than before. But big fun! On Saturday I was able to join HCS crew in the legendary Bagel Run. Running with the running buddies from 2007-2009 is insanely motivating. Thank you! Today I was able sneak in the Workout Tuesday and run 40 minutes steady state run with 55 other runners. Awesome!