Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Very Slow Walk

I think earlier blog posts have alluded to the fact that at some young and precocious age I discovered popular music beyond the limits of my parent’s Carpenters and Simon and Garfunkle albums.  My first music came on 45s, including a copy of “Afternoon Delight” that I loved, misunderstanding the ode to the afternoon quickie and thinking it was actually a song about rockets.  At some point, an older cousin gave me a few singles for Christmas, the only one of which I remember is the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.”  In any case, those slabs of vinyl have long, long since been lost.  Maybe my parents figured out just what the Starland Vocal Band thought was so delightful about the afternoon and confiscated that single.  While that music is lost to history, my copy of Pat Benatar’s “Fire and Ice” single still sits in my record collection.

I bought that 45 at Gamble’s, a general store in Socorro where you could buy a box of nails, a mop, a lawnmower, and Pat Benatar’s music in one stop.  And I became a huge Pat Benatar fan.  Soon thereafter I bought (or had purchased for me) my first magazine dedicated to the glories of rock-n-roll.  Was it Circus?  Hit Parader?  I don’t know.  But there are two things I do remember from that magazine.  First, it had fun facts about Pat Benatar, which is probably why I got the magazine in the first place.  According to that article, Pat Benatar and I were the same height.  To my pre-teen brain, this meant we were made for one another (notwithstanding that I would continue to grow and she had probably leveled off for good).  We would probably marry, and she would sing me songs while I continued to play with my Star Wars action figures.  Maybe she would play too and we would just listen to her songs on the radio, although I would limit her to the Princess Leia figure, being a girl and all.  Second, an article about AC/DC reported that Angus Young lost ten pounds every night the band played, sweating under the lights and as a result of his energetic performance.

You might be wondering what Angus Youngs’ weight loss has to do with anything.  I think I’ve mentioned that I went for a run in Reno?  And that I am turning this blog into an insufferable training log?  Well, nothing is more insufferable than a detailed weight record, except for maybe a detailed record of dieting.  My in-laws have a scale in their guest bathroom.  I happened to weigh myself before and after that Reno run, and interestingly lost something over 5-pounds over those couple of hours.  I gained it all back within an hour or two.  In that case, I rehydrated with water and refueled with cookies, but under normal circumstances at home I would refuel with chocolate milk.  Chocolate milk is now widely recognized as the best post-exercise recovery drink, with a perfect blend of protein, fat and sugar.  Using the Reno run as my benchmark, I’ve taken to consuming 5 gallons (approximately 5 pounds) of chocolate milk after every run.  As such, I now drink a minimum of 20 pounds of chocolate milk a week.  Strangely, I’ve been putting on a ton of weight.  And bloating.  If this continues, I may need to forego the chocolate milk, take a page from the Angus Young playbook, and rehydrate with beer and whiskey.

But before I can drink the milk, I need to run, and towards that end I signed up for and ran Alaska’s state 10k championship.  I finished in 42:53 (chip time, 43:02 gun time), with a 6:55 pace, good enough for 41st place overall out of 161 males, and second in my age group.  Age group awards are, of course, a concession to the majority of racers who have no hope of actually winning.  It lets us try and triumph over the other middle-aged slow guys while the front of the race fights it out for the overall.

I was pretty pleased with my result, that is until I got home and turned on the Olympics.  I caught the finish of the men’s 10,000 meter, which was won in 27:30 (4:25 pace).  Kind of humbling, but then it isn’t really fair to compare myself against an Olympian, right?  Then the end of the 20k race walk comes on.  Keep in mind, this is a walk.  The fact that the competitor from Russia collapsed in exhaustion just 100 meters of so from the finish line, unable to finish, suggests it is a strenuous walk, but a walk just the same.  Then I did the math based on the gold medal finishing time: these guys covered the 20k in a 6:20 pace.  It turns out that the run I was feeling good about was nearly a minute slower a mile than a stroll through the streets of London.  Assuming I make it through the next month-and-a-half uninjured and manage to finish the Equinox, I’ll just have to forget that a guy from China could have probably walked the course faster.

(Just another pace update as a frame of reference: we watched the women’s Olympic marathon today.  The pack finished the first 10k in 34:56, 5:37 pace.  Also, you can find video of my triumphant finish at:  Put my name in where prompted to get results and the video.)