Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Uphill climb

No, the above title isn't another characterization of my own running situation, well not yet anyways. That connection may inevitably come later on in this entry, but who knows for sure. Rather, this uphill climb refers to the Heartbreak Hill workout that I witnessed my Reebok Boston teammates complete this evening, the old "bottom to top" routine as they like to call it. The crew looked good as a whole and Ryan, Justin and resident Olympian Mark Coogan were anywhere between 1:45-1:50 for all 8 of theirs - nice, quick and to the point. "Coogs" has been working out with us the last few weeks while making a pseudo-competitive comeback as a master's runner. He and Kevin go way back to the Sev days with Nike Boston, and since our program is largely Sev-based and influenced, I suppose Mark decided to start his comeback by going back to what worked for him in the past. The man has run 3:58 for the mile and made an Olympic team in the marathon, so I'm not gonna argue with him. I think he knows damn well what he's doing.

As those of you who know me well can imagine, I was like a kid in a candy store tonight. I got to practice a bit early and Mark was already there, so I was able to pick his brain for a bit. He remembered me as "the kid with all the questions" from three years ago when he was our preseason guest speaker at Stonehill, so that was cool in a dorky runner sort of way. Even though he's past his prime, the chance to train with a former Olympian and listen to his stories and experiences has got me all fired up. Between him, Kevin and the rest of my Reebok teammates, I'm surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only benefit me. As if it wasn't the case already, I left practice chomping at the bit to get going again. I gotta be careful to mind my manners until I'm healed and make sure I chew slowly.

Since I wasn't running the workout with my 'mates, I was able to discuss with Kevin what direction to go in with my training and racing plans. He pretty much reiterated what Hodgie told me this past weekend, which was basically to forget about any races right and just focus on getting healthy. It makes plenty of sense - such a simple concept but always a difficult one for my stubborn, competitive ass to accept. I'm getting better though. Kevin made a good point tonight, saying, "The beautiful thing about being a runner in New England is that you can find a race to run 52 weeks of the year. We don't need to rush anything." I guess Roland was in a similar predicament at this time last year and once he got back in the saddle he ended up having a great summer and fall. I'd like to follow a similar path. I just need to keep reminding myself the words of Mr. Miyagi: Patience, young grasshopper.

And that's gonna do it. Time for my nightly dose of Leno and musical guest Augustana, my current band of the week. They'll be in Boston this Thursday night for a free show, but of course I'm working. Go figure. No worries though, they'll be back in the area for four shows during the first and second weeks of April, so hopefully by then I can convince someone to catch them with me in either Boston, Providence or both. Any takers?

Quote of the day:

He made a career out of beating people he had no business beating.
- Kevin on "Coogs"

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