Spring has always meant 5-K racing season in Austin and even though the number of races has diminished, there are still several races left such as the Purple Stride 5-K at Arbor Trails in south Austin (May 7th), the Daisy 5-K at Camp Mabry on May 28th and the Stars and Stripes 6-K, also at Camp Mabry (May 30). This Sunday (May 8) is the biggest and best of the bunch: The third annual Silicon Labs Sunshine Run.
Noted philosopher Yogi Berra, the 20th century’s version of Aristotle, once supposedly said: “Half of baseball is 90 percent mental.” So is running. Actually, sometimes it feels like half of running is 100 percent mental. Especially in the summer.
My calendar says it’s still spring, but sure feels like we're already knee-deep into summer. It hasn't gotten disgusting quite yet, but it's just around the corner (otherwise, known as May). You don’t need me to tell you that the heat and humidity here in Central Texas makes running pretty darn tough. That is, running on dry land.
Courtney Okolo, the UT senior from Carrollton, shattered her own NCAA 400-meter record at the LSU Meet on Saturday. Okolo became the first college runner to break the 50-second barrier when she ran 49.71 on Saturday.
I don't happen to be one of those runners who continually looks back and laments how running isn't the same as it once was. Nothing is. Although the sport still entails putting one foot in front of the other as fast as possible, running, and especially racing, has changed dramatically over the last 30-40 years.
Bunions. Just the word is repelling and scary. Sadly, bunions are an ugly, yet all-too-common foot deformity that afflicts millions of American women. And some men. The incidence of bunions has risen over the years to the point where it has become practically an epidemic. Especially among women who spend hours on their feet such as nurses, teachers and waitresses, many of whom are also runners.
When I started running as a third grader, the health benefits of running were largely unknown. Even if I had been aware of the blessings running provides, it wouldn't have mattered. I was way too young to care. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of us who start running as adults, the bounty of health benefits have always been cited as the main reason why so many begin to run.
It isn't exactly a newsflash that we runners are an awfully disciplined, highly motivated group of achievement-oriented, dedicated people. Maybe too dedicated. At least some time we are. To run a marathon or even a half marathon, obviously takes a lot of dedication to put in all the training miles. But many of us tend to do too much and run too many miles, hills, long runs and speed work. If you do, you certainly can get in great shape, but once you go overboard, all the work you put in can develop into overtraining and it’s just as serious a problem for marathoners as training too little. Maybe even more so.
There's absolutely no question that running is a difficult sport. Certainly, it's extremely rewarding, but any long-term training program is a major undertaking requiring a significant commitment. Take a look at what training is. Basically, it's hard, physical work which essentially boils down to adding specific stresses to your mind and body over a certain period of time.
The 39th annual Austin American Statesman Capitol 10,000—Austin’s annual spring fling and one of the largest 10-Ks in the country—gets underway Sunday morning (April 10) at 8 a.m. at its traditional starting point on S. Congress Avenue at Barton Springs Road on the Ann Richards Bridge, right across the street from the Austin Statesman. Nearly 20,000 runners, walkers and a wide variety of other costumed things are expected. Last year, more than 18,000 participated in the Cap 10.
One of the most difficult training concepts to accept is also the very simplest: Rest. That’s right, total rest. Not active rest or cross-training, but complete rest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, swimmer, cyclist, weight lifter or bowler (OK, maybe not a bowler), but your most important training day should have a big goose egg next to it. A zero. Zilch. Nyet. Nada. Nothing.
Hopefully, Patriot's Day weather will be cool and with a tail wind this year. As you are running, many thoughts will likely cross your mind during your long journey. And one just might be: Why the heck is Boston and every marathon on the planet precisely 26 miles, 385 yards?
Now that all the major winter races are in our rear view mirror, the spring racing season heats up on Sunday with the Austin 10/20. It's a 10-mile race and will be held at The Domain in north Austin, beginning at 8 a.m.
Just about every runner who trains consistently and with some degree of intensity will suffer some type of injury. The stress of training and the repetitive nature of the sport makes it almost inevitable that somewhere along the way you will injure a body part, usually a running muscle.
What can make a normal, every day run truly great? Certainly, that differs from runner to runner, but great runs tend to be ephemeral, fleeting. Here today, gone an hour later. Still, great runs don't happen every day on every run. If it did, there would never be any exceptional, memorable runs—they'd all be the same.