The Goal Remains the Same

I’m just back from an aborted long walk attempt, warming up, drying off, trying to regroup. I’m not so good at this part, though, I just feel like a lazy-ass whining quitter. (Good thing I’m not too hard on myself. ;) I realize on the way home, that both of my cut-short walks have been for the same reason — wind. Today its pouring right from the start, but I have a goretex jacket on, and its above freezing. But the wind is gusting up pretty strongly, so half of each loop is head on into strong wind, and *that* is nasty. Harder, for one thing, but also, even in all the rain, I feel dehydrated, because the wind is right at me. Good grief. Two of my teammates are out training as well, and I’m really thrown when one of them starts urging me to quit the workout, saying she’s afraid I’ll get sick. I guess everyone’s so different, in what it takes to get through, and I know she means well, but this actually shocks me because how I get through is to never think for a second about any other option, and I only say positive things to the others as I go by. I just can’t process this much re-thinking while walking. Anyway, the wind’s the thing, it means I’m getting blasted with colder air while soaked, and I decide, tomorrow’s another day.

Its been a full week. New Year’s Eve I did a 3 mile race that starts at midnight. I did this last year for the first time. I thought, I’m going to do something positive right at midnight, before I have a chance to start the year with some screw up or other, or sitting around thinking about what I could be doing. I liked the symbolism, starting off a year of walking that way. And it sure seems to have worked — in 2006 I did a whole bunch of races, two racewalk clinics, and embarked on my current 50k journey. So I want to repeat the ritual this year. My schedule tells me I’m supposed to take it easy, and I don’t push all out, but I go along and it feels great. Its right around freezing, and I try something new, adding leg warmers over my calves and ankles, remembering back to training from dance classes. This actually works great, feels very good. My pace puts me with the slower runners, those who mix in walking or just run at a slower pace, so I really stand out, people notice me. It does seem to frustrate runners when they can’t pass me — one person is next to me for a little bit, trying really hard to pass me, huffing away, and I’m there next to them, not really breathing hard, walking smoothly along as they bob up and down, and I’m thinking, “this is soooo cool.” I should bring along cards with the racewalk clinic info, to pass out to people like this. Although I didn’t push all out, I beat my 5k PR time from the summer, and I’m pretty happy about that. The post race part is kind of odd, there are a bunch of tables and chairs setup but they are all outdoors, and I’m thinking, yeah, that’s what I want to do after getting all warm from racing, sit down in thirty degree weather — NOT!! I find water and some fruit, and run into someone else from the racewalk club, so it kind of works out. I think maybe the party part of the race was before the race, so I missed it because, well, who wants to party *before* a race?? I was busy warming up.

Tuesday night I head to the track for my 8 x 400 meter intervals. I workout at a quarter-mile track, but I just do 8 x 1 lap anyway, then I can only be happily surprised at my real times, since I’m going slightly longer each time. As I get started, some lizards (members of a local running club called the Red Lizards) are there training, and one or two other folks are working out. About 4 intervals in, though, I notice that its gotten pretty empty. Then I’m startled to notice a guy sitting on a bench on the darker side of the track, further from the street and the Y, I mean, its dark and raining, and as I pass I realize he’s just sitting there, maybe watching me, and that snaps me into urban combat mode pretty fast. I finish the lap and as I stroll through the recovery, across the track from him, I try to decide what to do. I want to finish my workout, and I’m probably faster than him, but he’s bigger than me and I don’t carry mace on the track. He gets up and starts walking around the track as I’m stretching, so I decide to go ahead with the next lap. He ends up going into a bathroom, and I know homeless people sleep in them, so I figure, probably not a troublemaker, just sitting in the rain because he’s got no place else to sit. Then a jogger shows up and starts doing laps, so I breathe out, and finish my workout. Time for a change, though — I decide to move all of my workouts to 7am. I head inside the Y to do my weight training, and when I get home, I blast “Just a Girl” (No Doubt) to get the frustration out of my system.

Friday’s my first hard workout in the morning, I know I won’t make 7am but I get to the track before 9 so I’m pretty happy. Its a whole different set of folks on the track and inside the Y. I’m a bit drowsy, feeling a little out of sorts, but its not too bad, and its not raining. I do a 10k acceleration, beating my 10k PR by finishing the whole thing in 1:12:06. Then I head inside for weight training. After I finish, I drive over to Dr. Ray’s office to get some more metatarsal pads for my new shoes. Friday evening I make a lasagna, and a couple of my teammates come by to eat and talk. We watch some of the video coverage from the 2004 Olympics, and as the head judge DQs Nathan Deakes we are all pretty quiet. I figure we’re all thinking the same thing — please don’t let that be me — I know I am. There’s no 50k women’s footage, because there’s no women’s 50k in the Olympics, only men’s, so we alternate between watching the mens 50 and the womens 20. I don’t know if there’s ever been a women’s 50k race, the national championship we’re training for is mixed, and the international events like the World Cup are men only. It would be cool to be able to look at video of women 50k’ers while training. There’s plenty in common, so we can learn from watching the guys — at one point a helper gets an athlete his drink bottle by throwing it in a high arc over another walker, and we laugh and discuss whether there’s enough time to practice that with our Team Waterboy before the race. Somebody suggests perhaps it would be easier if we just opened our mouths and he tossed in some Cliff Cubes, and well, we just got sillier and sillier from there.

Saturday I’m down for one hour easy. I join in the racewalk club walk, at Mt. Tabor. This gives me a slow uphill as a warmup, then we do loops around the circular path at the top. I’m a few minutes late so I do the uphill alone, but its a really great walk, there’s a spectacular view of the Portland downtown skyline along the way. Then I get to chat with folks as we walk around the top.

Today I’ll just feel lazy and unserious, with the redo scheduled for tomorrow. According to the forecast, the winds should drop down to 4-5 mph by then, and compared to this morning’s 20mph, I’m hoping it will feel like, well, a breeze. :)

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