Friday, March 25, 2005

The fastest mouse in all Mexico, and why I have the best job ever

Okay so picture it:

It’s close to seven pm. The last traces of sunlight are disappearing below the horizon as I drive up to a mostly deserted high school. As I lock my car in the empty parking lot, the only people I see are some recreational tennis players in the adjacent court. But I’m supposed to be meeting my Team in Training group for some speedwork on the track, so, despite my growing doubts that I have gotten the date or location wrong, I soldier onward towards the dark and closed-looking track.

When I get there, I finally see some shadowy forms running and a group standing a dozen yards away. I know I’ve found the right place when I see the 40 inch thighs and body-builder stance of Coach Ironman.

He tells me to warm up with an easy lap, so I start jogging and I fall into step with two friends. One has been having knee trouble, so she asks me about Jen. As I start to explain, my breathing gets more and more labored, at which point I realize that they are doing the fast part of their Yasso repeats. But, in puffs and gasps, I finish the lap and my story.

Coach Ironman explains the two run/one walk lap repeats that we’re doing. And based on my 5 hour goal time, we decide that I should be running my two fast laps (800 m) at a 5 minute pace.

So, he loans me his digital watch, and…

I’m off. There is no Naomi any more, just the blurred image of me zooming past everyone.

Guys? I’m really fast! I had no idea. I never time myself, and except for Wednesday’s treadmill mile, I’ve never tried to do anything other than finish. I have no sense of distance or pace, but I run with other people who understand such notions, and they told me that we were running at about a 10/11 minute mile pace.

So when I set off to run two laps in 5 minutes, I just figured I’d run at the fastest pace I could maintain over the distance, and hope that was fast enough. I tried to look at the stopwatch to gauge how I was doing after the first lap, but I could really see it as I was running.

It was really hard. On my second lap, I passed my friends from the first lap (who were on their walk lap), and in reply to their shouted encouragement, I could only manage a short, “Running fast sucks!” and I kept going.

But at the end of lap two, I stopped the watch and was shocked to see 3:50.

Oops. Because the thing with Yasso repeats (and intervals in general, I gather) is that you’re supposed to maintain the same pace for the last interval as you did for the first. So on the one hand, I’d only been aiming for a five minute pace, which left a lot of room to slow down. But on the other hand, if I wanted to prove that I hadn’t just fucked up, I’d better keep it up.

So I walked a lap, caught my breath, and was off again. This time I took it a little easier, and I ended up at 4:02. And, another walk, and off for my third (and final) repeat. This time I was determined to get under four minutes again. I was starting to feel it in my legs and my lungs were definitely burning, and there may in fact have been some wheezing, but when I got to the end?


I may have to revise my expectations for the marathon. I mean, I’m still totally not going to win, or anything, but I think I'll aim for coming in second.

Heh. Maybe not. But now my reach goal of finishing in 4:30 seems like somewhat more of a possibility.


In other news, Jen made a friend. We’re going to call him Eric, after yet another annoying kid from elementary school (and if you think it’s easy to remember these kids’ names, it’s not, so there had better not be any more injuries in store for me, is all I can say).

Eric is my right ankle. At some point in the last week, I apparently twisted Eric. I don’t remember it happening, and in fact, for most of this week, I pretty much ignored Eric entirely. I thought it was some weird shin-splint thing that was happening because I don’t stretch enough (shhh, let’s not yell at me for that right now, we’re talking about Eric) and I just tried to stretch my shins and calves some more and kept going.

This morning, though, I was finally forced to admit that Eric was a problem, when I compared both ankles and determined that Eric was slightly, but unmistakably, swollen.

Here’s my question: do you think I’m sub-consciously sabotaging myself? Tomorrow was going to be my second attempt to top 10 miles, and we all know what happened the first time. And now, Eric.

Something tells me that it’s not a great idea to run 14 miles on a swollen ankle. And, I don’t want to jump to conclusions or anything, but it occurs to me that it might (might ) have been a smarter idea to not run on a sore ankle all week, so that it would’ve had time to heal before Saturday’s big run. (I know, crazy.)

Okay, but here’s why I work at the best place ever:

We have a nurse’s office. (And no, it’s not a school.) So after lunch, I headed over there, and they pulled out a fancy chemically ice pack, and wrapped it to my ankle so that I could keep the ice on my ankle without having to hold it there. All for free. And the nurse gave me an extra one for later, with extra gauze for wrapping it.

Also? when I was walking back to the elevator from the nurse's office, someone gave me green silly putty. Just cuz it's fun.

And? I had a shoulder massage this afternoon. That’s not because of Eric or Jen. That’s because my boss is awesome. I’ve been kind of stressed this week, due to some changes to my job and in general a bunch of things to do. And he felt bad for me. So he scheduled (and paid for ) me to have a massage with the in-house massage therapist (oh right, did I mention that we have an in-house massage therapist? Or not in-house I guess, but he comes twice a month.)

Oh, and last one, I promise, but this morning my keyboard broke. It may or may not have had anything to do with the water that I spilled on it when I dropped a water bottle. Not that it was my fault, in any way, shape, or form, I'm just mentioning what might have been a useful detail. But anyway, it broke, and when I called IS about it (after stealing an available keyboard from the office of someone who is on vacation) they just said, okay, we'll get you a new one, and it was at my desk within 10 minutes.

I have a tough life. But don’t try to come beat me up or anything, because I’m super fast, and you’d never catch me.


Anonymous susan said...

Ok, I want your job. I don't care what you do. I just want your job! Good going on the speed work.

8:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

I like the sounds of your job too; especially the shoulder massage part ... and the quick IT support ... nd the generous boss. Do you get paid too?

9:43 PM  
Blogger David said...

By the way, you're fast. Really!

9:44 PM  
Anonymous BD said...

Excellent work on the intervals.

No, you aren't subconsciously trying to sabotage yourself (or at least I don't think so). So much stuff can happen when training for a marathon that this kind of thing is not uncommon.

I want to work where you do. Mostly for the back/shoulder rubs.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Am I allowed to post on here even though I'm an actual friend and not a vitual runner?

I can come up with a few more names of bullies from the past if you get any more injuries. Not that I want or expect you to get more injuries, I'm just saying I'm here to help in any way possible, and running advice from me is certainly not possible.

8:10 AM  

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