Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The fatalism of running, estrogen and rocks

I received these pictures from Mette today and felt like an idiot for being disappointed in once again not running a 10k PR (constant headwind on a point-to-point course; my excuse). Sometimes I love photographic proof of what we all really get out of running. .

Old lady goes to ground.

Note Mette's resemblance to Emelie Forsberg 
Billede: Thanks for cheering and thanks for believing in me and thanks for the encouragement you give! Just a big big thank you to all of the fantastic you!!
Emelie Forsberg in the Dolomites.
I have never beaten Mette and I have no clue what type of Herculean effort it would take on my part to achieve this, but I doubt Hercules himself could do it. I DO love the fight, though. I love how perfectly she runs and running behind her, dreaming that I will, at some point, run just like her. And the very fact that I believe this and keep trying means that I continue to run 10ks exactly 1 minute and 30 seconds slower than her. If I gave up, I probably wouldn't even be that much slower, but who doesn't love believing?

And then there was Thea. Last weekend, we ran a 5k together (the second weekend in a ro). I am 34, she is 17. Note the math. I have at this point been physically forced to sit down on the couch (by my husband) and watch womens' 5000 meter races at least 10 times. Probably 20. I know that if the goal is to win (and not PR), you don't start out fast, you start out smart. It was probably the hottest day of the year here. Already 85 degrees F an hour before the race. Thea ran the entire race about 20 meters behind me. I knew her plan was to speed up at the end, but what she didn't know, was I started out slowly so I could also speed up. And also I knew sprinting against a 17 year old wasn't going to be easy.

Thea has the right attitude about running, but I wonder how much time she loses by running with her phone. Photo: Jan K Madsen

Sprint to the finish- owww. Photo Jan K Madsen

. It was close. My time: 19:44, granted on dirt and in the heat, but only 2 seconds faster than my 3rd 5k in 2008! But I eaked out a 3 second win.

SR also won, in a super close race, in 17:18. He has always been a good tactical runner. 

SR knows exactly how to position himself before his sprint to the finish. Torben in front is apparently a 2:35 marathoner.

So we move, improve, lose or gain millimeters, seconds in these short races. Perhaps the only way for me to really improve would be to get pregnant again. I have thought a lot about why it is pregnant women runners improve so much post-partum and I think it may have something to do with the high level of estrogen during pregnancy. Since estrogen is the female equivalent of testosterone, it only stands to reason estrogen would create stronger muscles (heck, it also helps to ensure a baby grows strong). Has anyone else run across this theory? 

Or, maybe improving involves throwing yourself into entirely new experiences. Something I know I could improve at by working at it is technical trail running. SR, Andreas Carlsen (of the documentary Ultra fame) and I went to Kullaberg Sweden for a day trip last week. I love how over the course of one day you can let go of a lot of the fear of going downhill on steep slippery rocks. I wish I could run in Kullaberg every day with these two.

A mini Team Salomon outing

It is awesome to have a skill to focus on--- running on technical trails--- that also can take you places. You escape the feeling of being fated to run one particular time and you just run.

Went out for a 2k trail run with the boys  Who knows how much starting them early will decide their future talent and running "fate", or if they'll even care about running at all. At least we had fun.

I gotta thank Tony Krupicka for this one. I love it:


SteveQ said...

I was thinking about your comment on the inevitability that someday Mette will beat you. I used to run against a guy, Scott, who was a more talented runner than I, but I convinced him I was unbeatable and he stopped trying. I used to stand at the start line and tell him, "You won't believe how I'll beat you this time." Eventually, he'd groan whenever I showed up at the start line, "knowing" his chance of winning was over. He didn't know how very very hard it was to keep the charade going.

PiccolaPineCone said...

Is that a running skirt I see before me? Argh! Must... race....SeaLegsGirl.
I am running a 5 km on Wednesday so maybe we can have a virtual race... I wonder what the mutually inconvenient "show down" distance between us would be (as in the Bolt-Farah show-down) somewhere around the half marathon I would guess.

sea legs girl said...

Steve, did I say some day Mette would beat me? If I did, I should have said "every day Mette will beat me". It is very phychological though. I am certain that why I beat Thea. And at 5k I was catching up to Mette and this voice in my head kept questioning me: "what are you doing? You can't beat Mette!" it said... I am impressed you kept the charace going by the way and I know exactly what you mean.

sea legs girl said...

PPC, I think you are right about the HM being our race at this point. If I wear a skirt, clearly you are going down, though. Ok- honestly, at my very first race in 2002 (!)- a 5k- I wore a skirt. Like a real skirt you could wear to work. I had only ever run in hiking shorts (I had one pair) and I couldn't imagine running fast in them. I ran 10 miles that morning (in my hiking shorts) and then a friend convinced me to run the Germanfest 5k in Milwaukee that night. I put on my designer skirt and took 3rd!. It was all the skirt. You should really try it.

SteveQ said...

Oops. You know those Danes are all the smae to me...

Anonymous said...

Jeg syntes stadig du er den sejeste & er SÅ cool også selvom du ikke slog Mette (denne gang) ;) I belive that it will happen for you on day - NO doubt about that! Kram fra en flittig læser & stor beundre :) Maria

Dave James said...

Enjoyed your music choices Tracy :)

Dave James said...

Love the music links!