Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Summer Season

The Flat at Sauvie Island—or Sauvie's Island, as a persistent minority of locals call it, among them most recently a little-girl "Nature Photography" campmate of Niko's up at Audubon, describing her shot of a green frog on a gray board, snapped on that island—that marathon on the Fourth of July was my fourth hard 26.2 in less than 10 months. Ask me to describe the physical toll and I throw my hands in the air and roll my eyes; no marathons, lots of marathons, there's always something, always been something, always will be something. Worse or better now after the four? I don't know. Achilles is A-OK, calves are fine but hips ache. A moving target, a woe of the moment. Seek it out, deal with it, train on.

Upstairs, however, it's a different story. Mentally, I'm a little checked out. My training style has always been more intuitive, more ad hoc than the next guy's: yes. But my spurs-of-the-moment and flights-of-fancy come in a context of careful study of what's necessary to advance in the sport. Building base, long runs, tempo runs, recovery runs, miles, speed—these things I have grasped and over the long haul they all get their due.

Now? Now it's just put on the shoes and the shorts and go. Summer has something to do with this. Literally it's shoes and shorts (OK, Badger sunscreen, a light cap and sunglasses, too) and out the door. And out the door I go, for a few miles easy to warm up, then maybe I find a pitch perfect for 110-meter sprints, and bounding, and dancing back and forth over and along the sideline. One day post-Sauvie I ran for 80 minutes I think it was, but mostly I'm in the neighborhood of 40-60. Just moving and grooving, watching, watching being watched, chatting passersby, jayrunning, skipping, tripping. Really, out there, it is a little like being high. It's an exploration that would be called aimless if it weren't so precisely aimed at being exactly fun.

With this, I go after the Bowerman AC 5K at Nike HQ Sunday night, and the Mount Tabor Doggie 8K on Wednesday night. These short ones are not necessarily painful. Rather, they are as painful as one wants them to be, and I have a feeling after all the fun and games of recent weeks I'm keen to kick (my own) ass.