Once more, with gusto

Another post that may or may not have been abandoned at some point…


The boy (6 yrs) is taking soccer camp this week. More accurately, the boy is going to soccer camp this week. But, he’s also going through a phase where all he wants to do is act a bleeding fool all the freakin’ time. His mom is on the verge of trading him in, and the coach at soccer camp is on the verge of leaving him at backfield, which, for 6 year old soccer is the equivalent of being the kid off in left field picking daisies. (I remember it vividly)

Anyway, after bath, I decided we’d try something a bit different tonight. It was cooling off, about 70, so I decided that it’s time that Jake learns to run.

Yeah, you read that right – “Learns to run”.

‘Cause I’ve come to realize that distance running isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most people. It really isn’t. We’re set up, physiologically, to sprint. The whole “Fight or Flight” response, and that instinct is what’s honed in us for most of our lives, especially in a world of fast twitch video games, sound bites, and deep philosophical discussions summed up in a 30 second ad on television.

So I said “Hey, let’s practice running down to the end of the block and back” – a trip of all of about half a mile. “Sure”, says the boy.

The out went like this – Jake would sprint as fast as he could for as long as he could without breathing, then stop and watch as I jogged by. Then he’d sprint again, laughing hysterically.

At the turn he was really starting to drag, so I summoned up the good parts of the OCS Battalion runs, and we started making up and singing jodies all the way back to the house. Next thing we know, we were passing the driveway – more than a quarter mile without me saying “C’mon, Jake…” I was happy, he was happy, the bees buzzed, the birds sang, and the last rays of twilight beat down on our ears.

Which is when it hit me – people do need to be taught how to run. As silly as that sounds, there is some level of skill involved – regulating pace, regulating breathing, etc. For a lot of us, being stubborn and working through pain is enough to learn those skills. But for others (and looking back, I’m in this category), rhythm, pace, and breathing don’t come naturally at all.

Which is another thing that might come in handy with the whole portable music player thing – running with tunes can be akin to having someone call cadence in your ear. Doesn’t do much for the breathing, unless you try to sing along.

Race Planning

Woah –

So, it suddenly hit me: New Haven is five weeks away, and Josh Billings is seven weeks away. And I’ve been kind of half-***ing training for most of the summer. Not that it hasn’t been productive – my motivation is way, way up, past where it’s been, well, pretty much ever.

But, I’ve been just kind of coasting along. Time to buckledown and kick some of my own rump.


Back on the Road

Went running at lunch with one of the guys on my team. Great time – he’s been a slacker for most of July, I’m in recovery mode.

WX was perfect – 80, humid, breezy – nice ozone haze on the bay rendered the boats beating down towards the Newport Bridge like something straight out of Impressionist France, and with neither of us having anything to prove, the run was the most relaxing thing I’ve done – well, since the RBF meetup on Thursday.

Nike+iPod continues to delight – even without the earbuds, it’s small, light, unobtrusive, and easy to read. I prefer it to my Forerunner by leaps and bounds, and think I like it more than the HRM – nice to look at pace rather than HR, which jumps around during the first part of the run since I’m too cheap to spring for electrolyte jelly. I’m even really starting to like the shoes – the more i wear them, the more they feel like a great pair of socks. There really isn’t much to the shoes as far as structure goes – I think I can feel the road better in the Nikes than in my Asics. The black ones are ugly as sin, though. But they’re light. We’ll see how they last through New Haven at least.

And I’m even looking forward to painting the house.