Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running Track Again

Last week, we went to check out the local track club. It's been five years since I ran actual "track". Those days, I trained with a group of guys at roughly my level. We pushed each other and all got faster. We ran track races, road and cross country races.

I have missed the "track club" feeling ever since. Our present home town has a track club with a nice club house and a really nice track. Walking in, I noticed kids doing intervals and testing out starting blocks. However, five minutes later we learned that the adult track team is almost extinct. There is a group of maybe 100 runners of varying abilities who train together, usually running on trails in the many forests and hills around town.

It turns out there are a few fast people. A 45 year old man, who won the national M45 title in the 800m in 2:15 and an 18-year old who runs a 1:56 800. I tried my best to keep up with the national champion on a few 300m intervals; just running around instantly reminded me of training on my old track. The national champion, of course, kicked my ass.

We officially joined the club now and have been on a few runs with them. The Girl went on a tempo with the fast guys. I guess they started out 20 people, people evetually got dropped one by one and at the end there were three men and the Girl left.

In two weeks, there is a 10,000m club championship. Should be fun to see if some fast people will emerge. If not, I guess I will end up as 10,000 champion of a club I joined last week.

In my old club, the club championship would be awarded to the one who posted the fastest time at the "regular" distances through the calendar year. I never won anything there, as that meant a 29 minute 10K, 14 minute 5K etc.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Bad Race

This was a 5K on the trails I run every week. I won this race a number of years ago and had thought I would at least get a top 3 this year.

The race started with a loop around the track (always a fun way to start a race) and then 1K of a strong headwind. For some reason, I let the front group go. I probably could have held on, and should have considered doing it in the wind. So 3 guys got ahead by working together, while I ran behind a guy who seemed like he was working way too hard.

Then we turned right and the wind was in our backs. I tried half-heartedly to bridge the gap up to the top three. With 2K left, one of the guys up ahead fell off the back of his group and it looked like he might come back. He didn't and I finished fourth.

In short, I felt fat, old and out of shape. Everything was clicking a couple of months ago. Then came our vacation and two races that got in the way of focused training. I have gained weight during all this. I gotta get back in shape; next target race is a half-marathon in June.

The Girl ran a great race, setting a strong PR. For someone who runs for fun, she is getting very fast.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Had a very disappointing race this weekend. Leading up to it, I thought I was a little off PR pace, but not much. I had gained a couple of pounds in America but didn't think it mattered too much.

This was a half marathon. We started out running two loops around a track, which was cool. I found myself in a front group of three, with me in the back (as is my weasly nature). At 2K, one of the two guys fell off the back, leaving me with a man in his late 20s, who wore a "save Tibet" shirt and long compression-type socks. Needless to say, I thought I had this one in the bag. My parents had come to watch the Lorax during the race, and I figured they would think it was cool to see their son win a big(ish) race like this.

Then at 5K, I had half a cup of some Gatorade-like drink. It didn't sit well in my stomach. I had fallen behind the guy at the aid stating but caught back up almost immediately. I was planning my attack, when the legs started getting increasingly heavy. Then it was holding on for dear life for a couple of Ks and I finally let go at 7K.

At 12K, the stomach cleared up and I ran OK the rest of the way. As I was finishing, I thought I had run a low 1:15, which would be a little worse than expected. However, my real time was low 1:17 (don't know the exact time as the timing system required me to walk through the shute and then back to the finish line to scan my chip).

The Girl came in in PR time (again, not sure of the exact time), in around 1.34.30. She outsprinted another woman to take third place. We both got a small cash prize (so far we are making money off the races here in Denmark).

I don't know what happened. I have to get back to the drawing board. I have to lose some weight. More miles; keep up the intervals.


On a side note, I was out of town for a few days to a hematology meeting. The Girl came with me for the first couple of days. It was in Odense, the birth place of Hans Christian Andersen. The hotel room must have had some fairy tale dusy left over from his day, because I had the two most vivid dreams I have had in a while.

Dream # 1 had me back in medical school. I have always said I never want to be the Guinea pig in any study involving brain imaging, because I would be afraid of what they would find. Nevertheless, in this dream I was rolling through the CT scanner and when the scan got to my brain, my whole medical school class, which included the Girl (and a childhood friend named Anders, whom I haven't seen in years), screamed in horror. Or was it more like amusement? I tried to ask what they had seen, but suddenly someone was reading the CT real time from the neck down. Everything was normal and I forgot about the yelling.

The class ended. The other students evaded the topid of the CT scan and, finally, the radiologist called me into a room to tell me that I had had a huge stroke. I protested, saying I didn't have any symptoms to which he said "then it's probably a tumor". In the dream, I looked at the scan and decided it was inoperable and went about my life. Other dreams came and through all of them I had the horrible knowledge of the inoperable brain tumore growing inside my skull. It felt great to wake up.

Dream # 2 was almost worse. We were in a cabin in the country, again with my childhood friend Anders and some other people. The Girl's ex-husband was there and we were all getting along well. I woke up in the middle of the night to find the Girl gone. As fate would have it, she entered the room, stating that she had slept with her ex-husband the last three nights. I don't think I said anything, but she went on to volunteer that she had simply slept in his bed these three nights. In the dream, I remember wondering where the Lorax had slept , figuring that if she was going to cheat on me, at least she could bring the little midnight cartwheel with her. Then she told me that she had gone to second base with her ex-husband, and I remember wondering what exactly that meant.

Next scene, the Girl and I had made up (turns out I could live with second base). Her ex-husband left, carrying a brown leather bag stylishly over his shoulder.

I know the origins of everything in those dreams:

1. Lately, I have asked myself almost daily: "if you suddenly had cancer and had 6 months left, how would you feel?". I see these people every day and I wonder what it is like. That must explain the brain tumor.

2. My brother saw my old friend last weekend.

3. There was a hematologist, who looked suspiciously like the Girl's Ex.

4. We talked about Daughter growing up so fast and discussed kids making out (including the baseball terminology).