What is the greatest compliment one can pay a runner?
1. "You are fast" (no comparisons or specifications, just straight-out)
2. "You're so talented"
3. "I can't believe that you could run that fast" (okay, now I'm getting silly)
4. "Nice technique"
5. "Nice genes"
6. "Nice jeans"
7. "You've really improved"
8. "You look really happy"
9. "You've got a nice ass!"
Well, if it's just a superficial conversation a "you are fast" is always nice, albeit meaningless. I have for a long time had a dream of running a race in jeans, so I would hope to get #6 in the event that does occur. But honestly, of all of them, I'd take #9. I mean, come on, I can't be the only person who hopes that their ass looks impressive as they pass someone in a race. So I'm not sure if that says more about how important it is to feel one has a nice ass or how hard it is to find a compliment for a runner. Except for one, which is my favorite and which I didn't mention but will return to in a moment.
Sandhya asked how I have gotten to the point of running such fast mile intervals. Well, as many of you are aware of, my answers are rarely simple. First of all, I believe that inside of every human (who is capable of running) is a fast runner. Everyone for a moment, please, forget the idea of genetics and realize that if you want to run fast at short or long distances that you can. The question is how hard or easy it is for each of us to access this fast person. And no, I don't think I've accessed my true fast potential yet, but I am getting closer.
We all have different starting points on that day we call ourselves "a runner". And no, I am not talking about "talent" or "genes", I am talking about general physical condition as a result of previous exercise, weight and self-confidence. All of these play an enormous roll when one becomes "a runner" in comparison to anything written in our chromosomes. I will just go out on a limb here and say that anyone who is considered to be an extremely talented runner as an adult has run (or practiced some endurance sport at a high level) since childhood. I challenge any of you to find an exception to this. Classically people who think they will never be a fast runner because that is just they way they are built/made/created are people who did not have regular exercise in childhood and young adulthood and take running up after age 25 to get in shape. These people have a lot of ground to make up. And yes, it will take years (but they can of course get there)! How can I convince everyone that all talk about genetics, supplements, high-protein other fad diets, gear, etc. is all meaningless in comparison to being at a light weight and in excellent cardiovascular condition? (not that genetics and gear should generally be categorized together)
Now back to the question. So, before I started doing any sort of speedwork, I had already run a 5k in 19:20, a 10k in 42:40 and an 80k in under 9 hours. And to get to this point it took years and years of pushing myself in running and other sports. But then it was weird. Last fall I started getting slower. And I had a huge crisis. But I identified two people who I thought were such amazing and inspirational runners: May-Britt and Mette. SR thinks I am jealous of them. But I assure you, my feelings are much more constructive than this. When I see them run, I think to myself, "that is how I want to run" and I believe I can. The biggest hurdle after getting in good physical condition and believing one can be fast is finding a training program. And this was all new to me this past fall. It is SR's training program I have been following consisting of 3 key runs a week: intervals, 1 tempo and a relatively fast long run. All other running is junk and should be decreased (in all of my restlessness I've become much better at swimming, cycling and yoga).
When I started running intervals, I could not for the life of me get myself to even complete 6 x 1 mile. I would do 2 miles in just over 7 minutes each and be toast. So part of getting to the point of doing consistently fast intervals has been learning to control myself to the point where I can make it through all 6 with a consistently fast effort. Once I got to that point, I averaged around 7:25 per mile. Since that time, I have just gradually gotten faster and faster. And am now at a 6:40 average.
So now, back to the greatest compliment one can pay a runner, well, it must be "you inspire me". Why do I always get so sappy? Anyway, thank you Olga, Meghan Hicks, Helen Lavin, Piccola Pinecone, Mette, May-Britt and most of all my husband SR. You guys have inspired me!
Running song of the day: sometimes a song comes of out the crypts to surprise you (thanks Steve Q) Ça plane pour moi by Plastic Bertrand