Saturday, January 08, 2005

Fan Fade-Away
I was stunned today to learn exactly how far removed from the sports scene I've become (remember, I spent the first six years of my professional life as a sportswriter).

Now, mind you, I still pull the Sports section from the rest of the paper first thing in the morning, and I do look at Sportscenter from time to time. I just don't study these sports-news outlets very closely anymore, I guess. And I almost never watch pro football. And beyond the Giants, even baseball has become a challenge (Infospigot has written well on this topic).

Nevertheless, it was shocking to see this Yahoo sports headline this morning -- Schottenheimer Named AP's Top Coach -- and not have a clue what team Schottenheimer coached. I didn't even know if he was coaching in college or the pros! Turns out it's the San Diego Chargers, who apparently won 12 games and are in the playoffs. Who knew?
Training Log: Jan 08 05
Run: 15.63 miles / 2 hours exactly / 7:41 minutes per mile pace
Actually, this was a 2-hour run. In the first hour I covered 7.62 miles (7:52 minutes per mile pace) and in the second hour, 8.01 miles (7:29 min/mile). This was my first long run in prep for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 6. I had plan on doing two more longs, but am now reconsidering. This run was great and there's no doubt it will improve my muscle endurance, particularly. But I worry about the toll it takes on my body. After about mile 12, a lot of joints begin to ache -- not just the knees, which always ache on long runs (and actually, they weren't too bad today, but also the hips. I want to be fit on March 6, but I also want to be healthy. The new plan may be to stay in the 8-12 mile range over the next couple of weeks then go for 20 on January 29. That's five weeks before race day. I'm not suggesting I'd then do a five-week taper; I just think another body-crunching 18+ miler from then on in isn't going to make me faster on March 6. Instead, I see a week of mostly rest following the 20 miler (lots of walking), then a mix of 5 to 13 mile runs over the next three weeks, then an easy week heading into race day.

A few additional thoughts: I went pretty hard the second half of today's run and was well-whipped when it was over. I couldn't have sustained that pace much longer. This suggests to me two things: I can almost surely run a half-marathon at 7:30/mile pace; and I might be able to run a marathon at 8/mile pace -- though that's no sure thing.