Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes It Feels Good To Run Fast

For better or for worse this blog has had more readers in the past week than in any week since I started it. I guess people prefer a good old fashioned debate/controversy to my usual boring rambling.

Me? I think I've decided I prefer the boring rambling and what could be more boring to talk about than interval running? (at least to the 99% of the population who have never and will never run intervals).

My back and leg problem that forced me to take a couple days off from training (and from work) last week has improved substantially. At this point I would consider it at least 95% healed and improving enough each day that I more or less expect to be 100% by tomorrow. I was able to run about 10 miles on both Saturday and Sunday with almost no pain in my back or legs so I decided to head to the track this morning to begin what will be a once weekly interval workout for the next 4 or 5 weeks. Being that this would be my first interval workout in about 8 months I didn't really expect to feel that great. All summer I used "training races" as my speed work which is the way I prefer to do it, but right now I really want to focus on my speed in preparation for my next race. I'm hoping to get in at least 4 good interval workouts and 4 good tempo runs between now and the end of November.

The plan for today was to run 5 x 1 mile intervals with a 1 mile recovery between each one. I didn't really have times in mind that I was trying to hit, mostly I just hoped to feel comfortable running fast and see how fast I could make that be without over doing it. I always run intervals with my peak effort in the middle. In this case my first and last mile would be the least effort, the third one would be the most effort, and the second and fourth somewhere in the middle. I suspected my times might be somewhere in the 5:30 to 6:00 range.

After a 5 mile warmup I began my first interval and felt surprisingly loose and quick. I finished that one in 5:43 without even feeling like I'd pushed myself much at all. The second one I busted out in 5:27 and the third one a 5:13! The fourth and fifth were an exact mirror: 5:27 and 5:43 respectively. I was pretty stoked about these times but I was more excited by how comfortable they felt. Even on the 5:13 mile I felt like I was running a fairly sustainable pace and my heart rate seemed to peak and then remain steady with about 600 meters to go.

When it was all said and done I had put in a 15 mile day that was very encouraging on two fronts: First that my recent injuries seem to be behind me, and second that I have a lot more speed and am in a lot better shape right now than I thought.


Andrew said...

Good to hear you're feeling better and back to running.

random thought/story that I think fits here...

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

"How long it took you to catch them?" The American asked.

"Only a little while." The Mexican replied.

"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" The American then asked.

"I have enough to support my family's immediate needs." The Mexican said.

"But," The American then asked, "What do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats."

"Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said slowly, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos..."

Keep it up Geoff! Catch some fish for me and keep blogging about it! :)


Anonymous said...

Great story Stack.... so appropriate ;-)

Anonymous said...

Boy!!! I dont check your blog for a week and all hell breaks loose. I have no dough to offer but just keep up the speed work. It will be a track race at the North Face race for sure.


Anonymous said...

Great story Stack.

If Geoff were the fisherman he'd be asking his amigos to help pay his bar tab for the wine he drank, because he didn't spend enough time out fishing to cover it. ;)

Vito said...

Stack...that is one hell of a good story.

Dave said...


I go on vacation and miss all the drama. I have no respect for those unable to put a name behind their words.

Keep runnin.

Bryan said...

I had some thoughts Geoff on your asking for donations to help with the iditarod invitional. Here is my couple cents.

When athletes reach a high level of performance in their sport, a natural step is to look for ways to afford the lifestyle that allows them the time and energy needed to push oneself to an elite level. One such aid to this is of course sponsorship.

In reading your recent posts and comments I was contemplating what is the point of sponsorship. One for the athelete is obviously removing obstacles that may be in the way such as financial constraints. But what about for the sponsor, what is their gain? Well the obvious one is the promotion of their product. In my view as a recreational athlete the other benefit of sponsoring someone is the inspiration that person may give to others. In some cases this may 'inspire' someone to go out and buy the product that the sponsored athelete is promoting. That is the point isn't it? To inspire people to buy their product.

So Geoff I think you have the inspire part down. You have definitely motivated me in my own running and from reading your blog I can see you have motivated and inspired many others.

Your only issue then is that your not inspiring people to buy anything in particular. Maybe some of us will get some Nuun tablets or go to Foggy, but the influene is probably minimal. So I say let the folks in the blogoshpere who are inpsired by your dedication to ultra running be your sponsor for the time being. Maybe down the road you will net more lucrative commercial sponsorship, but I see nothing wrong with the donation tab on your blog for those that have found you an inspiration. To me it's the same thing as buying a snowboard because Jeremy Jones rips, or whomever.

To add to the above I would consider attaching some sort of matching donation to a charitable organizaion. Clearly people are interested in helping you out and others are reserved about doing so. Maybe if you consider donating a portion of what you collect towards a 'good' cause that would help validate the donations for some. I'm sure there are plenty of organizations out there that would gladly take contributions via your blog.
Well just some thoughts anyway. Good luck with the training in the 40 degree rain.


PS Anon needs to zzzzz him/herself off your comments.

Anonymous said...

the posting on oct. 21 at 2:07am should not read anonymous. I did put my name. Don't know why it didn't post that way. I don't want to share a name in any way,shape or form with that other @#$%^

Anonymous said...

hey Geoff,

I know you're trying to move past this topic, but I haven't had time to comment before now. I just started reading your & Jill's blogs a month or so ago. I work for a non-profit that helps kids in the developing world. My husband also works for a non-profit. We don't have a lot of money & god knows I am highly aware of all the very needy & worthy children in this world.
BUT, I sent you a modest donation. Why? Because it made me feel really f*cking good to do so. I'm thrilled that you are pursuing your dream, and that you are good at it. I love reading about it. And it would make me very sad if you had to stop running and this blog folded.
I donated just about the cost of a hardcover book with the thought that, if this blog were in book form, I would want to buy it. And I'm almost gleefully glad I can positively impact the life of a stranger I have come to admire. Maybe one way to 'repay' your donors would be to try and talk at a school or 2 about what you do & inspire some kids. Really, that's up to you.
I don't understand why some folks are so angry about your request. My guess is that they don't understand all the subtleties of generosity. No doubt, they're not giving to organizations like mine either.
I wish you all the best success. And I look forward to reading about it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Geoff,

Great blog. I missed the whole heated debate regarding following your passions, but I hear you on that one. Personally, I've decded to become a personal trainer to help support my passions and I'm able to support my wife and 2 kids at the same time(though admittedly not without some debt). It does allow enough time to train in the middle of the day as well. If you make it to SF early and want to get some course knowledge, I'd be glad to take you out on some runs, there's some tricky sections that will be good to know. We may also be able to find a place for you to stay as well, if you need. You can email me at Keep up the great work.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Stack: Great story!

Geoff: Glad your back is better. Sciatica is not fun. I'm looking forward to your training posts and race results, go kick some lower 48 *ss! Keep the donate button up 'cus as soon as I've got some spare change you and Jill are getting a chunk of it.

Everyone: Don't respond to trolls. They live for the arguements.

ClearlyEnlight, said...

Some of these comments are comical.

I do have a hard time understanding why a person would let themselves go into debt just for a sport.

I mean in America if a person can figure it out, money can be made, and I am not referring ambition, I am just referring to making money to support your lifestyle.

If a person cannot support their lifestyle then what is the point of pursuing the lifestyle or hobby.