Friday, August 19, 2005


My friend Jim sent me an email regarding my recent entries. He (along with others like Double, Evan and Peter) had a lot of great insights into the current state of my running. Many of these things I've touched upon recently just I thought his email and my responses would be a great way to put everything in one spot.

JIM: Chad, if I may be so bold as to offer a candid, but probably not so insightful observation, your recent writings have a sort of not-so-positive tone, which I think is notably uncharacteristic of you.

ME: Yeah, it’s easy to be positive when you’re running strong – like I was last summer. Throw in some bad races and it gets tougher to be positive. Add an analytical personality on top of that and it gets worse yet.

JIM: It really sounds like this blah summer has taken its toll, because there is NOTHING wrong with your running, save your injury.

ME: I think it’s the combination of Grandma’s and a hot summer that have given me the blahs. Not having a firm goal for the fall doesn’t help matters either. I wouldn’t say there’s nothing wrong with my running. You don’t miss your marathon goal by 15 minutes or go from running 37:40 to 39:40 for 10k in 3 months without something being wrong.

JIM: You are such a disciplined and controlled runner. Your pace is always strong and measured. Earlier I observed to Eric, that I wondered how you managed not to have those irrational, exuberant moments of poor decision-making that I always seem to have in running.

ME: Well, I’ve been running for nearly 26 years. I’m sure I’ve made a lot of poor decisions during that time.

JIM: My running reveals so much of the “me-of-the-moment”; I reflect my mental attitude upfront--that's how Jared and Norm (Jim’s two arch-nemesis) can know that they will beat me--both are more disciplined.

ME: Now to me, that’s negative. Norm hasn’t beaten you this year and Jared’s only beaten you 2-3 times. Yet you write like they continuously beat you. I bet if I were able to speak to them candidly, they say they were “scared” of you every time they lined up against you.

JIM: You have that uncanny control…is it possible that you sublimate that "go-for-it" compulsion?

ME: Yes, it’s very much possible. It’s probably gets back to my analytical personality. Usually based on my training on my last few races, I “know” what my pace should be and what my finish time should be. So in a race, if I see my splits where they’re supposed to be, am I content to maintain that pace rather than run as hard as possible? I don’t know. I’d like to think I’m going all-out.

JIM: You never seem particularly spent or exhausted at the end of your race; maybe you could afford to run more crazy/emotional/joyful?

ME: I noticed other blogs where the writer is spent after a hard workout. That does seem like something that’s missing from my training and racing. Maybe I need to focus more on running hard as possible rather than focusing on splits. I tried to do that at H-L. I didn’t even take my splits. However, this year they had someone reading them out at every mile marker. Even without paying close attention, I could figure out we were running 6:20+ pace and I let it affect me mentally.

JIM: I also think you generously stay to help me along: Grandma's, H-L, etc.

ME: I wouldn’t say I stayed to help on purpose. Heck, I didn’t even see you at Gma’s till mile 13. Late in the race I thought it’d be easier for both of us to work together. After Lemon Drop I thought I’d seen the last of you. If I were trying to stay with you at H-L I would not have “let” you get 5-10 seconds on me on the hill at mile 4.

JIM: THIS SEASON IS JUST GETTING TO THE FUN PART. There is a lot of Chad yet to be revealed this season.

ME: Again, I agree with you. I think I just need to figure out what my goals are for the next 2 months. There’s no way I’m running a fall marathon. I need to tell coach that so he can adjust my schedule towards 5-10Ks not marathons. Running 7 miles @ 80% on Thursday’s is not going to get it done.

So in summary; 1) I'm going to try and regain my positive outlook, 2) I'm not going to give up on this season - instead I'm going to pick some fall races I want to focus on and 3) I'm going to speak to my coach about gearing the rest of the season towards 5-10Ks rather than a marathon.


Beanie said...

Chad, this post sums up much of what I was just about to write in my blog about myself. You and I have been going through the same thing this season (although, it should go without saying that we are in an entirely different leagues). I too, have decided that I need to rid myself of this negative attitude I've developed. I guess we have to take the rough with the smooth, and hope it makes us stronger in the long run. Good luck :o)

Chad said...


Thanks for your thoughts. The runner's mind can definitely be a fragile thing. If nothing else, I'm trying to learn from these experiences to help avoid them in the future. Hang in there. Fall and cooler temps are right around the corner.

Anonymous said...

Chad - I take it Jim wrote his email and you responded, but intertwined the two for our benefit, right? Either way, it makes for good reading, and says alot about you, and Jim. We all go through similar thoughts and feelings, and even though I run 98% of my mileage by myself, other runners do tend to know what's going on with each other. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the best shape of my (post 30 y.o.) life, yet I bagged a long run on Saturday (ran 10 instead of 17), and yesterday ran as slow as I can remember running a workout (about 9 minute pace for much of my run). Yet this morning it was 53 degrees, and my run felt great. Is it just the hot weather? I'm not sure, but it's easy to blame it on that. All I know is I feel pretty good about running Lakefront (as long as I remember to register), and I've got 4-5 weeks of solid running left. I'm jealous of the great racing opportunities you have in the cities. Btw, nice effort in the 5k, and it's good to see that your attitude and approach is better. Take care...

Chad said...


To answer your first question, yes. Jim had bookmarked my website awhile ago then forgot about it. He was going through his bookmarks and rediscovered it. After reading my recent entries, he sent me one long email (the comments in red) and I replied in one long email (the comments in blue).

Jim probably knows more of what's going on with my running than nearly anyone else - even without reading my blog. We email each other about 5 times a day and train together 1-2 times a week.

It sounds like you are being very smart with your training and going by feel.

The racing scene here is great. I asked Jim for suggestions on races and he immediately sent me a list of 15 races in the next 10 weeks.

Get that entry form in!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have a base training program (Hanson's advanced) that calls for speed/strength on Tuesday, Marathon Pace Run on Thursday, a Long Run on Sunday (which I actually do Saturday), an off day on Wednesday, and easy/recovery runs on Monday, Friday and Sunday. Mileage has ranged from 40-65, with an average of 52. I know this might seem to be low, but it's worked for me. Plus I've averaged the 52 per week since mid March (wonder why I feel stiff, sore and stale sometimes?!)

I will get the entry form in this week.