back from the dead

all my shoes
all my running shoes

patient grasshopper

I’ve been running with smiles for a week. I probably look like a freak running with a grin on my face. Not many things feel so good as steadily getting healthier and better. When you’re out with an injury or disease, there’s always the nagging feeling you may never get back to where you once were.

The Recovery has gone pretty smoothly. Strength training, stretching and a ton of patience has been the name of the game. The first couple weeks after the big race were pretty grim, with my body struggling to get through half mile sessions with stabbing pain in my lower quad muscles. It’s now been almost 6 weeks and I’ll be hitting the 50 mile mark for the week. My body feels strong and relaxed. My form has changed for some reason. Hard to describe, more confident somehow.

I feel stronger than before the race, like I’ve bounced back and more. The race stretched me beyond some limits and with intelligent recovery it’s adapted and ready for the next stress challenge. This is good, the failure to go the whole 100 doesn’t feel like a failure. The next 100 attempt will be fine. I’ll be prepared like a maniac. No more half measures in physical preparation, it’s time to take things up another notch. Find out where the next limit is, then move beyond that one.

Finding the breaking points have become very appealing to me over the years. Perhaps the mental barriers more so than the physical ones. At some point it becomes a pure state of mind. Everything else melts away and the mind becomes detached. An out of body experience, perhaps even a spiritual experience.

I don’t necessarily find answers to questions, but I become more at peace with not knowing. More at peace with the absurdities. More at peace with myself. And hopefully more at peace with the people around me.

MAF test

maf test chart
17 MAF tests over the last 1-1/2 years

I’m back to doing routine MAF tests. The consistent progress broke down a little around the new year and the last big spike was around the time I caught the flew. Not much to say here other than it’s easy to lose focus and lose ground. It’s easier to maintain consistency than having to make up for lost fitness.

A couple observations:

– MAF is just one variable to follow. What is more important is looking at the available data in parallel. My weight and mileage are other major factors that need to be taken into account.

– MAF does not necessarily coincide with performance at races. I’ve had a few good races where the MAF score was poor. So overall fitness is somehow maintained even if the MAF suffers. This is partly why I’m taking MAF less serious this year. I’ll still track it and use it, just not as much. I would eventually like to have it consistently under the 8:00 min mile mark. For a sub 3:00 marathon I’ll probably need it around 7:30. We’ll see if I can make it in the next 5-6 months. It’s going to be close.

Track people
I do the test on a local college track. I don’t usually run on track, but it is kind of fun to observe “track people.” They are a different breed of runner. More focused on speed of course. I had my little slow 50 min jog to get done, but it was a slow consistency that when compared to the others had me thinking of the fable the Tortoise vs. Hare. In the end I had a lot more miles in the pocket. I kind of feel bad for letting loose on the last lap just to show off. I can be a hare as well when I need to…