Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Lots here today...bear with me.

If I had just turn 40 last week, the way I’ve been feeling lately would almost be comical. I’ve already blogged about my quad and my cold. Now I have this “wrist thing” that’s quite annoying. It feels like it needs to crack and every so often pain shoots right up my arm. It may have been related to the barn falling on my head, as it seemed to have started about the same time. It cleared up for awhile, but now it’s back. This doesn’t even include the raspberry I get on my chest whenever I wear my HRM or the raw nipples anytime I wear a shirt for more than 12 miles. Heck, I’m still only 39, so shouldn’t I have another year before my body breaks down?

This morning I managed my first hard workout in a week. Daniels called for tempo runs of 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 minutes with easy runs of 5, 4, 3 and 2 minutes in between. Since that would have given me 17 miles and forced me to get up at like 4:15, I cut out the 15 minute tempo and ended up with 14 miles. The last time I did this type of workout it totaled 50 minutes of tempo. I had 60 minutes at tempo today, so I’m not too concerned with skipping that 15 minute portion.

It was a little warm and sticky; 70 degrees with a dew point of 60. Whatever weight I lost in sweat was equaled in mucus – just what you wanted to know.

Recently I was reading some stuff on managing pain. You know, stuff like, the more pain you can handle the faster you’ll run, etc. Then I was thinking back to Ryan Hall’s Quote of the Day from a few weeks ago;

“I had reached a juncture at this point in the run: either I could get discouraged with the reality that I am not able to think myself into sprinting up the hill or I could accept, and even relish, in the pain and discomfort running throughout my body embracing the pain as part of my mission. Then something happened that I have never experienced during any painful running session: a smile slowly crept across my face. It was kind of a weird reaction to have, but for some reason I felt very alive and there was a new joy that I found in simply going all out. It was a great feeling to know that I was pushing myself to the max, that at this moment I had looked deep into myself for strength and used whatever I could muster.”
And I started to wonder, how do you know how you compare to others? Obviously, you only know what’s going on with your body, in your head, etc. How does your pain management compare to other’s pain management? Are race times enough of a feedback? Probably not because of all the training variables involved.

I was also thinking about Matt Gabrielson’s recent string of races which included 8th place in the 5000 meters at the Olympic trials and then a near-PR 13:30 in Europe. I’d like to think that I’m suffering just as much with my 18:30 5K as he is with his 13:30 – and that he only beats me because he’s genetically gifted (in addition to running twice as much as I do). But logically, it seems like there has to be a (big) difference in pain management too.

I’m not sure how you go about training that side of the sport. I’m sure there are some mental tricks (que words, relaxation strategies, etc.) that I’m aware of. But really is it like Hall says – just a matter of convincing yourself to accept and relish the pain? It sure seems easy on paper, but applying it on the roads is definitely a different story.

Quote of the day;

"I am going to win that gold medal. Silver is crap. Bronze is crap. God, if I only got a bronze I could never go home to Oregon again! I am going to win that gold medal." – Steve Prefontaine, prior to finishing fourth at the 1972 Olympic Games

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chad, the topic of pain management comes up a lot in my thoughts while running. I remember running 1600s and 3200s in high school and as I was really starting to hurt towards the end of races, being able to "transcend" the pain and keep going even though my body was signaling deperately that it wanted to stop. It wasn't so much "relishing" the pain like Ryan Hall describes, but more like focusing my mind squarely on the pain and thinking, "this isn't as bad as I thought it would be . . . I can handle this." Lots of kids tried to forget about the pain, but I found that just the opposite -- focusing on the pain -- worked better than ignoring it.

That's a pretty poor verbalization of what was going through my head at the time, but it's something I'm trying to reattain in my running now. Of course, my 16-year-old body was able to handle everything I dished out and now I can't seem to run anything hard at all without getting a nasty shin splint or an aggravated piriformis/gluteus, but that's for another discussion . . .