Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Bubka-esque PR - and a Lance commentary

Sydkyst Marathon. Cold, windy and rainy described the day. 4 flat laps in a low-pressure environment. If it didn't work out, I could just drop after 3 laps.

I have two ways of burning up in marathons and ultras. It seems like in flat, fast marathons, I get more and more fatigued. It's hard to put a finger on it. My legs feel tired, although not really sore; I get a little disoriented and care less and less about the race. In ultras, or hilly trail marathons, I simply cramp up. My body and mind are fine, because I have been running slowly, but my legs cramp up.

Neither happened today. I clicked off 4 laps at almost equal pace (3:57, 3:56, 3:57 and 3:59 per K, respectively). My time was 2:48.06, which is a PR by 15 seconds. The first lap included 3K of warming up and 7.5K of catching up on lost time. Maybe I could have started out a little faster.

But hey, I ran a PR in cold rain, and it felt like there was a headwind the whole way. Vix Steen won in 2:45, his new PR. I have beaten Vix twice by latching on to him and then speeding up at the end, but today he took off right at the gun. I honestly thought he would come back to us, but he ran a great race.


Why didn't he admit it years ago, like so many other past stars? Fans of the sport have known that 99% of the peloton doped; people would have shrugged and moved on. Now, the dirty laundry is out for all to see.

I want to see it all, of course. I hope the report includes the medical details. I read an excerpt that described how they were able to not get caught with synthetic epo in their blood. Someone suggested that they slept in hypoxic tents, not to make more blood, but to obscure the endogenous:synthetic epo ratio. Fascinating. And the blood transfusions were apparently very small. In mainstream medicine, many physicians always transfuse 2 units of red cells (which is a little more than half a liter of blood), but they apparently transfused something like 100 to 200 cc's at a time.

It's almost too late for Lance to come clean. It would seem like too much of a defeat. If he had done it a few years ago, when the decision was his to make, he would have seemed like a true champion. Of all the dopers, British David Millar and American Jonathan Vaughters will be remembered as the ones who emerged as victors. Millar got caught and Vaughters voluntarily admitted that he had doped, but both were able to turn their past into an advantage.

What about the ones who never doped? They were stuck in the French and Italian equivalents of Cat 1 and now work as carpenters and TV salesmen. Who knows where Lance would have ended up, if he had refused to dope? Even today, knowing the final outcome of his decision, I think he would choose the ill-gotten millions and fame over a job working at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Where to start...

So, it's been a while...

Life is hectic. The patients don't have broken legs and coughs now; they are all dying of cancer. It wears on me.

I notice the defense mechanisms of the oncologists. Everyone must somehow build up a persona at work, so they themselves don't become overwhelmed. My persona is dysfunctional and may have faulty chromosomes. He doesn't protect me; he just sits there and watches me flounder.

It's always the last patient before lunch, and I've always run hard the day before, so my blood sugar is 2. Pick your units, it's 2. The last patient before lunch is never easy, and I often feel like postponing to postprandial times.

The pre-lunch patient comes in to hear the results of his latest scan and to discuss the next step.

But the scan is often bad. I look at the scan before calling the patient in. I open the report on the screen and scroll to the conclusion. New lesions in the liver and bones, say. The primary grew, as well. Despite 4 rounds of chemo. Blood sugar hovers at 2 as I call the patient in. If just the patient gets up, it's hard. If the patient brings 3 family members, it's harder. Husband and wife is doable.

If they are nervous, I can't look at their faces. If they are young and know exactly what is going on, all they care about is what the scan shows. They have waited 2 days at home to hear the results. So I tell them. I hate seeing their faces, when even the most poised patients reveal a moment of panic.

I try to comfort them and tell them about the next line of chemo. If all lines are spent, I tell them they are done with our poisons, which didn't work anyway.

"Who would want a job like this?", I often think. Who would you have to become to like a job like this?

Enough whining. Life is good in other ways. Colleagues are good; there is no call. Natali plays soccer and runs. Christian is riding his bike; I run behind him. Mattias is close to walking. The Girl is a little manic right now. She is fast; for the first time, she is definitely faster for a woman than I am for a man. Her eye study is rolling along. Lots of minor injuries, but nothing that seems dangerous.

I run fartleks 3 or 4 times a week. It's all I do. It's fun and life is too hectic for anything else. It keeps me at 90%. 100% can wait until better times.

Hey! Hey, did you notice that Jake Hegge won Voyageur? Jake Hegge is 20 (maybe 21 now) and he won Voyageur in 7:35 (on the hard, revised course, that is). Scott Jurek was, like, 24 when he won Voyageur in his 3rd attempt. I have written about him before, and I will repeat that he could be big, if he keeps it up. I trained with him this summer in La Crosse and basically tapered before each session to be able to keep up. He has a blog at although it looks less than oft-updated.

September Running Log

2: Skovløberen (trail marathon). 2:58. 2nd place. Halfway in 1:26, 4th place, felt easy. Smug as hell. Made a move at 25 and had a 2 minute lead at 30k. Cramps at 25K and got passed with 2 K to go! Argh. Girl ran a 3:22 trail marathon without a taper!
Ran 4K with Natti that same night.
3: 2K with Natti
5: Permiteter trails. Almost recovered
7: 10 Hills 21:18. PR?
12: 10 hills. 21:01. PR
14: 7 x 800. Weird workout, as the track was used by a kids' track meet. Ran 3 laps around 2:37 to 2:40 on the real track and 4 laps on the short HG track.
16: 5K 18:57 with the boys in the BOB. Beat the Girl, who PR'd in 19:31.
18: Very fast fartleks in the woods.
20: Some with Natti.
21: 2 perimeter trails. Tired legs. Rainy.
22: 3K with Natti
23: 10 hills. 20:28. Huge PR. Very surprising.
I forget the rest. Some perimeter trails and such. Busy. Not enough time to train.

August Running Log

I don't remember the specifics.

First half was kind of an "off season" with only a few hard runs.

I got some good runs in toward the end of the month. Almost all on trails.