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Friday, June 22, 2007

Difficulty With Mediocrity

Defining mediocrity is difficult. It is partially relative, and partially absolute. Being that it is, then, absolutely relative, coming to terms with it, and how it relates to me as a runner is part of the dilemma.

Mike, a fellow runner on the Jim Spivey Running Club, came in work clothes last night. Work clothes, in his case, are business casual, and obviously not ready to run. He ran in the morning, so bowing out of the evening practice was necessary.

In passing, Mike mentioned he put in 31 miles over the weekend. Whether he divided the weekend into two or three days was of no matter - that's a lot of miles however they are sliced up.

Two days. Saturday, 17 miles, and Sunday, 14. 8:15 pace.

Mike's fit, and flexible as can be, taking yoga seriously. That he ran the distance only amazes me some. What I asked myself is, "How long before I can do that?"

I'm up to eight miles. I'm hoping to try nine or ten this coming week. My heart's not set on it, but I would like to give it a go. I did the eight @ 10:30/pace and have no reason to believe I'll run a longer distance faster.

Unlike my sub-20:00 5K goal, I have no timetable. I can't. I could just decide to try, lace up, and hope to return in three hours, but wisdom must be a greater virtue than pluck. Knees, calves, backs (or, rather, back, since I have only one) are the usual concerns. A run that long draws in other considerations, like glycogen depletion, bathroom breaks and hydration. Not counting what do I do if I get tired? Bring a cell phone?

Jim was intending to go out for a ride last night after the workout. I think he was aiming for a quick eight mile spin, a sort of scenic loop home. His Blackberry wasn't cooperating, and he thought it wiser to get home than risk a flat in a lonely part of the Great Western Trail. Good call, especially as he didn't have a spare or other tire fixing tools.

Back to running.

On a bike, Jim can carry a phone easier than I can on a run. So, I could bring some change, make a call, and hope to find someone. Do I risk using my two quarters on a cell phone message, then sit and wait and hope?

I have no solution for that.

The bigger issue is the body parts. Mine. Getting sore to the point I wipe out everything in a couple of hours of thrill seeking -- not a good choice.

The thrill is not gone. Vestiges of that thrill are growing. For now, I'll need to be satisfied with shorter run. Eight miles is still a good, long run. Even @ 10:30/mile, there's something to enjoy.

A good effort is never mediocre, and I am putting in a good effort. The only things I can currently add to this effort are better stretching and more sit-ups/push-ups. I'll add weight training a little later on, once the paunch is reduced.

When I run, I run hard, even if it is slow. I'm still learning to relax, get form together, watch my pace for a given distance, but the effort's all there. If the effort were mediocre, I wouldn't be itching as I am to run Saturday's race.

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