As the fall marathoners begin their training in the various groups around town, they will probably be asked the same questions by their non-running friends that we all are asked: Namely, what do you eat and drink and how do you do it (train)?
I guess they are good questions, but our answers are usually so plain that the simplicity confuses folks. I mean, my answers are (1) everything, (2) constantly and (3) nothing special.
Let’s face it, getting ready for a marathon doesn’t take entail magic foods, strange fluids or even complicated training plans. To me, one of the beauties of the marathon is it’s so straightforward and uncomplicated. There’s no technique involved; just a lot of hard, sweaty running.
Marathon training plans are also straightforward. Even though they vary in length and intensity, for most of us our marathon training looks like this: Run four or five days during the week and on the weekends, go long. Sprinkle in a few tempo runs, some hills and you’re basically set to go.
Certainly, the intensity, terrain and length of the long runs vary from runner to runner, but it’s not a complicated process. The long runs get longer, you get stronger and before you know it, 20-22 miles is a piece of cake. Some of the training plans even go longer than that (up to 30-mile long runs), but the basic principle of gradual adaptation is the same.
Our bodies adapt to the different stresses we place on it as we go longer and longer, but the greatest adaptation is in our heads. The two and three-hour long runs are as much for our legs as our mind. By the time we finish whatever schedule we are following, what once seemed incomprehensible—covering 26.2 miles—no longer is.
A friend of mine—a former world-class marathoner, now a college coach—once summed it up to me with one cliché: “The marathon is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”
The marathon’s going to hurt. They all do. None are easy. But dealing with that discomfort and running past it is what the marathon is all about.
Plain and simple.
O Dick Beardsley is speaking on June 20 at the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth which he won twice (1981-82) during his heyday. But knowing Beardsley as I do, he probably won’t be speaking much of his victories. Instead, Beardsley, a native of Minnesota who moved to Austin eight years ago, will talk about his struggles with addiction dependency. That’s what Beardsley—one of the nicest people to ever walk on this planet–does more than 100 times a year. Although Beardsley has been sober for 17 years now, he still battles his addiction to prescription drugs every day. “My job,” says Dick, “is to convey hope. I can’t remember the last time I spoke when I haven’t had people come up to me and say, ‘I’m a friend of Bill W.’ So many people out there are affected by addiction. There’s such a stigma about it. People come up to me who are in recovery and they almost whisper. I almost want to say, ‘Why are you whispering?’ This should be shouted for joy!” Amen.
O Liza Galvin of San Antonio won her fourth consecutive Christchurch Marathon and fifth overall. Galvin, a native New Zealander who is a two-time Olympic marathoner, won Christchurch in her fastest time ever in that race (and a masters best) of 2:43:40. Not too shabby for a 44-year-old.
O Leo Manzano won the Prefontaine Classic Mile last weekend in an impressive 3:52.41, but Leo’s win came in the slower of the two heats of the mile. Ayanleh Souleiman won the much more loaded Bowerman Mile at the Pre in 3:47. But the big story of the Pre Meet was the incredible 26:44 Galen Rupp ran to break the American 10,000 record by four seconds. To put that time in perspective, Rupp ran what was Pre’s 5000 PR (13:21.9) back-to-back.
O Former Longhorn and two-time World Champ Trey Hardee won the prestigious Gotzis Decathlon in Austria last weekend with a point total of 8518. (His PR is 8790.) In a non-championship year, Gotzis is the most important decathlon in the world.
O Last weekend at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Jeff Sadler posted the fastest time of the numerous Austinites who ran with a sparkling 2:38:31. Brenda George won the 40-44 age group with a solid 3:30:34.
O But the big winners were Ryan Hess and Pam Witte. Hess, a co-owner of Ready to Run, proposed to Pam at the finish line and she accepted. Hess completed his first marathon in 3:19:25, while Pam ran 3:33:26. Congrats.
O Also in San Diego, Kristin Popowich, who is coached by Gary Brimmer in San Antonio, ran her comeback race after being diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. Kristin battled through the cancer and chemo and to get ready for San Diego and finished the half in 2:48. Much more importantly, she is now cancer-free. Congratulations.
O Schertz resident Andrea Duke was the third overall woman in San Diego in a PR of 2:57:34. Duke, 35, won the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll in February in a then PR of 2:58:57.
O More congrats to Sarah Mark. The road racer and PE teacher was named Teacher of the Year at Patton School in south Austin. She and Brian Perriman are set to get married some time this winter.
O Michelle and Jim Ryan both won their masters divisions on Sunday at the Rogue 30-K at Reveille Ranch in Burnet.
O Word has it that Kelly Williamson, who won the Texas IM on May 17th in 8:54, may be doing the Coeur d’Alene Ironman on June 29th. Williamson, who has excelled in the 70.3 distance has been a reluctant Ironman contestant in the past, but is busy training in Colorado with her husband-coach-bottle washer Derek. She isn’t listed among the pros who are entered in Idaho and that date clashes with Buffalo Springs, but you never know with Kelly.
O The UT men’s and women’s track teams had a huge meet at the NCAA West Prelims in Arkansas. The No. 1-ranked women qualified 16 in 12 events, while the No. 7 men advanced 12 in 10 events to the NCAAs in Eugene (June 11-14). UT’s top distance hope—senior Marielle Hall, the Big 12 cross-country champ—won her 5000 heat in 16:08.97 to give her an automatic qualifier. Olivia Mickle placed fourth in her 10,000 heat in 34:08.53 which is the seventh fastest in UT history and improved her PR by 32 seconds.
O John Bingham is retiring. That name might not mean much to you, but John’s alter ego is The Penguin, the patron saint of slow, take-it-as-comes marathoners. I’ve known John for 20 years and have never been able to call him “Penguin” but he helped to make the back-of-the-pack marathoner an accepted and valued member of the running community through his writings in Runner’s World and currently in Competitor. A gifted and humorous speaker, John has appeared at just about every marathon expo in the country, including Austin’s, and delighted crowds with his journey from slowpoke to…slower poke. John, currently 66 years old, will officially retire from writing and speaking in December and his final marathon appearance will be at the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll.
O And please don’t forget the dedication of The Boardwalk on the Butler/Lady Bird Lake Trail is this Saturday at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be at the Lakeshore Trailhead at the eastern portion of the trail.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Live in Europe,” by Otis Redding. Even though it’s a muddy recording, it is one of the better of the five live performances to be released after his death in 1967.
Have any news for me? If you have something, send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The weekly “Heard” column is brought to you by The Cadenza Group – an Austin-based real estate company involved in the running community, serving your home buying, selling and leasing needs!