Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Need for Speed...and Endurance...and Everything Else

While working to hammer myself back into shape these days, I'm trying a new challenge to reach certain "speed benchmarks" along the way. In addition to my thoroughly enjoyable 19.2 mile run commute to work on Mondays and Fridays, and other "easy" miles spent cruising around with Sammy in the stroller or just solo at night, I'm trying to make my speed workouts translate, in a valuable way, to my decidedly non-speedy ultra races.

The game I'm playing over the next few months goes like this:  I need to pass a Time Trial for each of the following distances before I allow myself to "move up" and take on the time challenge for the next distance on the list: 5k, 10k, 10m, 13.1m, 20m, 26.2m.

Right now I'm still hacking away at the necessary time needed to pass Stage One, the 5k. I think this will be the toughest for me since I started completely out of shape. The good news is I'm chopping off 30-45 seconds or so every time I run the distance (twice a week), so I know I'm both getting back into shape and nowhere near my peak yet. The bad news is, I have a ways to go, and I know it only gets more painful from here!

Last week I ran a 18:29 followed by a tidy 17:59 a couple days later (look at those think I was gunning to break a couple benchmarks at the end of each?!). Since the time-goal I need to pass the 5k challenge and move up to the 10k is 17:00 (basically sub-5:30 splits), I know I now have some real work to do, but I'm hopeful I can gut out a 16:59.99 within the next 2-3 weeks. ...and to think, I could cruise through a 16:30 like nothing as a kid. ....stupid 'Kid Dan' always making me look bad...

Of course, my reward for passing the 5k test is a 10k time goal that is only going to be more painful. Remind me again why we torture ourselves like this, especially when the reward is always just more torture?!!

Daddy and co-pilot, ready to roll. Quite literally.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Angela Ivory

After enjoying my 9.6 mile run-commute to work this morning, I sat down at my desk to learn some tremendously sad news. Angela Ivory, a seemingly omnipresent smiling face in the running world, has passed away at the age of 44.  The fact that I read this news just after finishing my run, the type of run I know Angela would have enjoyed just as much, really made this news hit extra hard.

Over the past few years we shared about a hundred "Go Dan!", "Alright, Angela!" call-and-response greetings as we passed each other in various out-and-back and loop courses. It was probably the third or fourth race I ran with her when I started to think, "Man, that lady runs a LOT of races! Who is she?!", and even though we never formally sat down and chatted with each other, we quickly learned each other's names and cheered for the other like we were family.  Of course it didn't take long for me to realize that Angela had a HUGE family in the running world. Her infectious smile and positive vibes naturally brought dozens of runners just like me into the "Fans of Angela" world. Her positivity was so resonating that when I saw her name listed in the results for random races that I didn't even run myself, I still smiled to myself and said, "Check out Angela, gettin' it done! Good for her!"

In the past few years Angela ran over 300 marathons and ultras, including a bunch of 100 milers (3 of which I had the pleasure of running along with her). She also achieved the special goal of running a marathon in all 50 States (plus DC!), which is good, because that means every corner of this country had a chance to see her smile.

In the end, Angela's fight with cancer limited her running, but not her spirit. In her own words: 

The best thing about my three miles a day routine is that I get to be outside. It makes me feel better mentally to be able to still move although I am incredibly slower. It’s raining and very cold today, but I don’t care. I’m still a runner at heart, so a little wetness and coldness are not going to scare me off. I’ll still be outside on a beautiful, rainy, and cold day, dressed like I live in Alaska, lol.
Rest in Peace, Angela.