Monday, August 21, 2006


At the tail-end of Saturday’s 20 miler, I bumped into a couple of the guys from the Saturday morning group I’ve been running with recently. A conversation I had with Naz lead to today’s post. As a refresher, Naz is the ONLY guy (or gal) who’s run ever Grandma’s and TCM. He’s also the guy who from 1974 to 1999 ran at least one sub 2:50 – each year. So far this has all been hearsay. I hadn’t spoken with him one-on-one, yet.

During his cool-down we get to talking about his ultra days. He said he did them for awhile but since everyone that he saw running them got slower, he stopped doing them. I’m thinking he did them for 2-3 years, maybe 5-6 races. It turns out he ran 50 of them! In the 1980s he ran 80 races that were either a marathon or longer. Umm, that’s 8 per year for 10 years! Heck if they were all evenly spaced, he’d be doing one every 6.5 weeks. And it’s not like this guy was “jogging.” We ran 3:08-3:15 for 50k. That’s 6:05-6:20 pace. Keep in mind during this period he was keeping his Grandma’s/TCM and sub-2:50 streaks alive.

So anyway, later in the conversation he asks me what I’m training for and I tell him Chicago. He asks me if I’m running this race, that race and the other race. I say something like “No, I have a 5 miler I’m doing the week after” or “No, it doesn’t fit into my training plan.” Later it hits me. He must think I’m a total wuss; “This guy can’t run a half marathon the weekend before a 5 miler? How the hell did he ever get into our training group?”

This whole conversation got me thinking about if we’re all just way too soft nowadays. And it’s not just me. Prior to the men’s race I bumped into my college buddy who dropped out of Grandma’s (after running 2:23 last year). He said he’s only got one more shot at trying to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials. Now I’ve run for 2:23, but I still had 5 miles to go when I did it…anyway I’m thinking “One more shot? The trials are like 14 months away. You could squeeze in 2 or 3 more marathons – if it meant a chance at the Oly Trials.” Hell, Naz would rattle off 9 or 10 marathons (or ultras) during that timeframe.

Seriously, I think we get too caught up in following things “by the book.” We’re too concerned with following “the plan,” not racing because we’re not ready or we don’t think we can recover, sticking to our heart rate zones, taking splits for every mile, making sure we have the right songs playing in our iPod, etc. So I say screw it. This Saturday I will do that half marathon that’s only 1 week before my alumni race. I may even get crazy and race it, as opposed to doing it at marathon pace, since I highly doubt that Naz and the gang ever ran a race at MP.

Oh yeah, yesterday I ran another 15 miles, 8 or 9 of which were with Evan.

Quote of the day;

“Run hard, be strong, think big!” – Percy Cerutty


Lance Notstrong said...

I think it all comes down to what your body is use to. I talk to people all the time that gasp at a 5 mile training run, then there are others that run 5 miles just to warm up for the "real run". It's all relative.

Ryan said...

Great attitude. Get out there and race that half! You're not going to hurt yourself because you're totally trained. What's the risk? You'll be happy you did! Have some fun with it.

massoman said...

there will always be someone out there who, when compared to you, makes one's effort and accomplishments seem trivial. to meet someone who puts his shoes on one at a time just like we do, and has such tremendous gifts,talents and confidence, can be awe inspiring and daunting, too. it often follows such a meeting that one starts the next sentence or two with the words, "if i just... " or, "if i only... "
i agree with ryan. run for it, and have some fun.

brent said...

cool, i'm with you on that (i train far too soft); have a great race!

qcmier said...

I don't race much because 1.) I don't feel like I need to pay $20 for another t-shirt. 2.) I am typically not an early riser. I'm all over night races though.

I will race for 1.) social aspect. 2.) if it helps me towards my A race.

Chad said...

Lance, sure it comes down to what your used to, but how do you ever get better if you don't get out of your comfort zone once in awhile?

Ryan, well my last injury did happen the week after I did that 20k in April.

Massoman, of course there's always going to be people who are faster, stronger, more handsome, etc. I guess I'd just rather compare myself to them and what they've accomplished and hope it helps make me faster, stronger, more handsome, etc.

qc, you must tear up that New Year's Eve run every year.

E-Speed said...

I agree, but only because I see it first hand with all the ultra "freaks" I run with. But the key is balance. Half these guys can and do run multiple marathons and ultras every year and do well, the other half do the same but they are injured year round. You have to find a balance where you can run long but keep healthy.

I honestly think you can run back to back weekend marathons and do well in both, especially if your body gets adjusted to the long runs. Do too few marathons in a year and I think your body forgets about all those long runs you put in.

Just my two cents (coming from a low mileage advocate, lol)

Lance Notstrong said...

You're absolutely right Zeke. I've only been running for about 2 years (out of my comfort zone). I started training for my first full marathon this week....that's WAY out of my comfort zone!!!

Chad said...

Liz, it's funny because I keep talking about all these "old timers" that are just awesome because they used to run high mileage and hammer all the time. Of course, you've never heard me mention anything about the other "old timers" that were probably injured all the time or can't run any more because of the high mileage and hammering.

Lance, congrats on the marathon training. That is big news.

Anonymous said...

"As a refresher, Naz is the ONLY guy (or gal) who’s run ever Grandma’s and TCM."

He is? Am I missing something here?

Chad said...

Yeah, it should say "every" not "ever".

I hope I didn't confuse you too much.