Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

I went with a small group of tri-buddies to see "Spirit of the Marathon" screening tonight. One of my secret super-powers is that I am very good at getting movie seats. It may sound as simple as "show up early", but it's a little more complicated that. I literally count seats in the row to find the middle seat. I made a blunder tonight though; our seats were excellent, but with a group of 6 people you do 3 people in each of 2 rows, not 6-across. My bad.

The movie started out with me using my spaghetti arms to try to open a bag of Reeses Pieces. Coeur d'Alene-bound Rich offered to help, but it was a matter of pride so I just kept struggling. When I did finally open the bag, it EXPLODED. E.T.'s candy was everywhere. And don't ask me how, but I wound up with Reeses Pieces up my sleeves (which I did not discover until a few minutes later. They went that far up.)

But enough about that: what about the actual movie? Triathletes will certainly compare it to What It Takes, but because Spirit focuses on elite and beginner marathoners, you can relate to it a little better. Also, this screening lacked all of the drama of my What It Takes experience. My favorite "character" is the old guy who says "you hear about the 'runner's high; the only time I've felt that is when I stopped running." He calls it like it is.

Movies like this do two things: they inspire people, or they frighten people. Sometimes both. Although it's an inspirational movie, I'm not sure I can say it "inspired" me. I've done two marathons, and although I'm no speed demon I think I "get it". My own experiences running 26.2 miles will inspire me to try it again. Did the movie frighten me? Yes. I watched all the struggles and the tears on screen and it reminded me of what I'll be going through. Because I'm doing another marathon in June, and I will be going through the same thing these people were. The little difference is that I'll be running my next marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112.

And that scares the crap out of me.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Here Comes Speed Racer

I ran 2.5 miles tonight. Probably the toughest 2.5 miles of my life.

My rough workouts typically involve one or more of the following 3 things:

1) Double-digit mileage
2) Steep hill climbing
3) Gerald

I had none of that this evening. Leah took us out to the track for some speed work, which was something I had never done before. We had a group of about 12 of us, and we started off by doing a four-lap (1 mile) "Indian Run". Basically we all ran single file at a very slow pace, and the person in the back sprinted up to the front. Repeat. There was a certain organized, systematic feel to the whole thing and I have to say I thought it was kind of cool.

We did some stretching and then Leah told us to run one 1/4-mile lap. Just one. The only catch is that we had to run it as fast as we could. No problem. That's shorter than the distance from the porta-potties to the starting line in some races. How hard could it be?

For the first 150 yards or so (out of 440), I was thinking "hey, running fast is pretty cool!" I never do sprint runs, so this was a new experience. But then the next 150 yards I was thinking "huh.... 1/4 mile is longer than I thought it would be." Then it was "why am I slowing down, and why do I feel like puking?" Having Tri Team Tim on my heels laying down the smack talk probably didn't help. The last 100 yards was basically just a story of survival.

I understand what it's like to feel pain after a run. But typically it happens after a couple of hours. Or at least 30-40 minutes. Not 90 seconds. I have never gone from feeling great to feeling miserable so quickly.

After that we got to do a relay race. We broke up into teams of 2, and had to run 8 laps total (4 laps per person.) I was paired with Sarah, who decided she wanted to get the suffering over with so she went first. All we had to do was run 1 mile, with roughly a 2 minute break after every quarter mile. On paper it sounds SOOO simple. But when you're trying to race your laps, it's awful. When it was all over I went over to the trash can for a minute and waited, just in case. I wasn't sure if I was going to puke or not. I had kind of a half-hiccup/half dry-heave, but that was about it.

MORNING UPDATE: Oh man are my calves sore today. All because of 2.5 miles. Sheesh.