09 November 2009

Racing again

Saturday I got to meet a barn owl and a red shouldered hawk.  Both were amazingly calm for all the runners who were milling around.  The owl was looking around at all the dogs, deciding whether they were snack sized or not.  (Concluded 'not', though I think a couple of dogs caused some serious calculation.) Fun to watch an owl look around.  They were out as part of the parks and planning commission entertainment for the Jug Bay 10k (and 5k, and 3k walk). 

I and a fellow club member were out for the 10k, with our plan being to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.  This being a much flatter course than last week's cross-country, I was able to follow the plan pretty well.  Passed the mile 5 marker in 49:45, vs. last week's 8k (a touch shorter) in 54:25.  My rule of thumb for the cross country course worked out pretty well -- about 10% slower than a flat course.  Finished the 10k in 61:23, which also satisfied my check list for the conservative goal at my February 10 miler.  Needed 72 minutes to be in line with the 2:00 goal; this time also meets the more aggressive notion of a 1:45 10 mile, having needed 63 minutes for that.

Bad news, good news being that my calf/achilles acted up again.  Bad news being that it did so.  The good news being that I've now got a better line on what, exactly, is the problem child.  The major muscle in the calf area is the gastrocnemius.  That is the one I had been focusing on when doing my stretching and Alfredson exercises.  Day after the race with the calf complaining as I started to walk, I stretched (as my doctor had advised) the calf -- the gastroc.  Didn't feel any response, no complaint, no difficulty.  So finally I stretched the other muscle down there -- the soleus.  That is where the problem is (now).    I may well have just rehabilitated the gastroc earlier.  Either way, the soleus is what needs the work now.  It's a little harder to stretch, and a little harder to do the Alfredson exercise for.  Not a lot, but enough that I'd been slack about doing it.

To go back to the more typical theme of this blog, I'll observe that probably a fair number of the people running with me were scientists.  In particular, in earth sciences (lumping geology, oceanography, meteorology, glaciology, paleontology, ...) it seems very much the norm that scientists are physically active in one way or another.  Running is not the only sport.  We also have tennis players, swimmers, basketball players, bikers, ....  Team sports are harder to manage later in life, so most people are doing individual sports, even where we like team sports.  But, whatever it is, we get out and do something.  And this is true whether the person does field work (which would require a degree of physical fitness, just to carry out the job) or sits in an office (as I and my coworkers do).  It might be that scientists in other fields don't do as much sport as earth science types do.  I don't know of any research on it.  But we folks interested in the earth also seem to like to run/walk/bike/swim/... around it.

To turn back for a minute to the running ....  In terms of final race times, this 10k was very slow for me.  When walking, I averaged 16-17 minutes/mile (10-11 minutes per km), which is normal for my walking.  In running, I was around 7 minutes/mile (4.5 minutes per km).  If I were in good shape, which is the goal, I'd have run the whole 10k at about that pace.  For my current training level, with the current goal (that 10 miler, 16.1 km) run/walk is the way to get to the finish of a workout or race in best health.  Best health then means I can get out for the next workout, and the ones after that.  It's getting out consistently that is the key for training.  Given the achilles/calf issues, the next workout is tonight -- swimming.  Rest the calf and work the lungs.  The lungs (cardiovascular system) have a long way to go as well. 

Plus, one of these years I'll be doing a sprint triathlon.  My plan being: don't drown in the swim, don't fall off the bike, and then pass a lot of people in the 5k.

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