Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Mumbles

I really did start this post on Monday, but I soon lost my focus ...sorta like my training lately.

So, waddup??

Super Teams

Entertaining discussions going on about a few of the Elite and Masters teams around California. Some folks have strong opinions... read here for example, where the subject is the Amgen/UBS masters team. It's true that their roster is a who's who of top SoCal geriatric talent, including many ex-pros, etc., but it's not like they're the New York Yankees playing against Little Leaguers. A quick check of results posted on scnca as of this writing reveals they've won half of the 35+ and 45+ races thus far in 2010 (including a podium sweep in the Red Trolley 35+). Not bad, but not totally dominant either. Other people will win plenty; races will still be fast and enjoyable; the sky is not falling...

...except in NorCal p/1/2 racing. Four "real" races so far this year, four victories by the new Yahoo! Cycling Team. Complete podium sweeps each day in the Cantua/Pine Flat/Dinuba weekend! Of course that kind of dominance is less likely when the bigger races roll around, but certainly Yahoo! along with Cal Giant will be major forces in NorCal racing. Maybe some opportunist up there will remember Clint Eastwood in "Fist Full of Dollars" sitting pretty between the Rojos and the Baxters "...the heart Ramon, shoot for the heart!"

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Running ...huh?!?

I am 100% committed to running the Santa Barbara International Marathon on November 7th. That's 100% farther than I've ever run in my life, and about 99999% farther than I've ever run comfortably since childhood! I ran a tad over 2 miles on Monday, and I still feel it 5 days later. Gina says she thinks it's only 40% likely that I'll follow through, which oddly enough makes it more likely. I don't really know what I'm doing, but continuing with the numbers theme and a bit of math...

I hear the rule-of-thumb is to increase your running mileage no more than 10% per week. OK, if I can run 2 miles now, and need to run 26 miles eventually, then we have:

2 * (1.1)^N = 26 ; . . . where N = # weeks of mileage increases

(1.1)^N = 26/2 ; . . . simplifying

N * ln(1.1) = ln(26/2) ; . . . take log of both sides

N = ln(26/2) / ln(1.1) ; . . . simplifying

and so we have: N = 27 weeks!

Add onto that 2-3 weeks for a taper, plus a few weeks of rest and/or flakiness, and it means training starts ..... NOW!

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Born to Run

No, not Bruce Springsteen, I'm talking about the Tarahumara in Mexico from the book Born to Run -- A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Half way done and loving it.

I strongly resonate with the book's key theme, that the human animal needs to run. (And by run, I extend the meaning to include any sort of substantial aerobic exercise.) Not only do we need it, but we should love it. We're wired to love it. A bunch of millennia ago, running was essential to our success as a species --eat or be eaten-- and nature has a way of making the important species-survival activities pleasurable. We're still good on one of them, procreating, but somehow the other one got lost along the way.

Or should I say, our society squashed it. Every kid loves to run. If you're a parent, you know this. First mobility is a few months of crawling, then eventually standing, followed by about a millisecond of walking, followed immediately by full-speed-ahead running. That lasts until about the middle of elementary school for almost all kids. But then something happens; running is no longer fun. Why? I don't know, but I speculate it has to do with how our society turns it into a competition. That innocent fund-raiser jog-a-thon at school? Clearly your child sees it as a competition -- how does it feel to not win? Or get last? Why would a kid like to run if it instills a sense of mediocrity or worse? Then there's Junior High PE class ...how many kids emerge from that experience with joyous feelings about exercise? (Not to dis any PE teachers out there, but that's how it is for most kids.)

To be sure, plenty of adults get back in touch with their inner animal and take up running (or cycling, swimming, etc). Many will compete again, and almost all of them will not be winners, but age brings the wisdom and awareness to not equate self-worth with a placing in the local 10K fun run. I think the majority of adults who take up aerobic exercise generally stick with it for the long haul. They reestablish that connection between exercise and mental/physical well being. Unfortunately, they (we) represent a very small minority of the entire population.

I'm wandering here so let me wrap-up with one thought: If all people exercised and ate right, our world would be so incredibly better than it is today on all fronts. It's so obvious.

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More Randoms...

Ever wonder what it costs to put on a bike race? Check this out.

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I crack myself up... When I saw the picture below (Sunday Worlds ride getting lectured at by Officer Rodriguez) all I could think about is how funny it would be if all the cyclists had on kits that resembled the CHP uniform, complete with shiny badge, helmet, and glasses.


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Next up: Figueroa Hillcimb TT (last of the SB Triple Crown) and Cal Poly SLO crit on a supposedly technical and topographically-challenging course. Both in the rain apparently.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark....my wife is reading the Born to Run book you are referring to and she says it is very good. I plan on reading it after she is finished...one of the ultra runners around here is in that book. Those guys are nuts!

See ya in SLO on Sunday...but without rain!

Craig Nunes

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

Have you read "Why We Run" by Bernd Heinrich? Also a very good read, also about an ultramarathoner.

Anonymous said...

I finished Born to Run about 2 months ago, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. It resonated with me as well! What an inspiring book, and I thank the post above that recommends Why We Run. That'll be my next fix. :)

Anonymous said...

Figueroa Uphill TT???? I never heard of this, but would LOVE to do it? Is it a USA Cycling event?

Marco Fanelli said...

Craig- Oh man, the forecast calls for rain. Technical course... tough decision....

Kim- Thanks for the book recommendation. That will be next.

Anony- Yep, yep!

Anony- The TT was the 3rd and last event of the "SB Triple Crown KOM" and was not USAC sanctioned. Still fun.