Archive for October, 2014

Thinking Crazy Thoughts

October 31, 2014

I had the opportunity to train recently with 2-time Olympic Trials finalist Carolyn Kealty. She’s training hard, working on her own come-back, so she asked my about my plans. “Killer” has never been a fan of long distances so when I told her I was only planning on shooting for the 50k Trials she asked why the Hell I wasn’t going for the 20k. I gave my reasoning, rattling of the required paces–5:42/km for 50k and 4:48/km for 20k. I said that I knew I could get down to 5:42 fairly easily–although doing 50 of them in a row still seems a bit daunting–but that 4:48 looked out of reach. Then she brought up an excellent point: The pace we were walking was well under the pace I would need to qualify for the 20k Trials! Granted, we were only doing 400m repeats, but I was able to hit 4:35 km pace fairly easily. If I can do it for 400m, soon I will be able to do it for 1k; if I can do it for 1k, it won’t be long before I can walk that pace for 1,500m, then 2k, then 3k… The 50k Trials are about 16 months away. In my mind that’s plenty of time to get the 4:45 (four hours forty-five minutes) standard. So why am I giving up on the 20k Trials which are 21 months away? As of today I’m not, thanks to a kick in the pants by my diminutive friend, sometimes training partner, and many-time voice of reason. Thanks, Killer!

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Indian Summer

October 15, 2014

What an incredible day for training yesterday! 73 degrees, sunny, but with enough of a cooling breeze off of the Bay to make for perfect training weather. It’s nice to be in a place in my life where I can enjoy such a day for what it is. There was a time long, long ago when I would have seen such a day as almost a wasted training day. When the weather is perfect everybody is motivated and training. Only when the weather was really beastly hot or cold or rainy or snowy did I feel like I had a chance to get ahead of my competitors. Every time I went out to train in a rainstorm or snowstorm I told myself that the guy I was trying to beat was sitting at home waiting for the weather to clear and I was getting a leg up on him, and if I didn’t go out and battle the storm, that was the day my competitors were going to get ahead of me. I also felt like training in horrible weather would make me tougher for the inevitable hot or cold or rainy race days ahead. I’ll have plenty of nasty weather days ahead of me this winter, so today is another perfect weather day to revel in and store in the memory banks to help get me through the tougher days ahead. 18k or bust today!

The Road to Ocho

October 9, 2014

Dave McGovern is a 7-time 8-time (!) USA Track & Field Olympic Trials finalist in the 20 kilometer and 50 kilometer race walks. Only a handful of athletes in any track and field event have appeared in five consecutive Trials; fewer still have qualified for six. Only two have extended the streak to seven — hammer thrower Ed Burke, and McGovern. The Road to Ocho follows Dave McGovern in his quest to stand alone at eight by qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

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On the Road Again

October 9, 2014

Yesterday felt like I was finally back to training with a purpose after a very long hiatus. I always feel guilty and unmotivated when my wife Loretta, herself a 2x US Champion, Internationalist and Olympic Trials finalist, can’t train. She’s had a long layoff, just having undergone a c-section 11 weeks ago, preceded by a difficult pregnancy, cardiac issues, kidney stones, gall bladder surgery, etc., etc., etc. It’s hard to believe I’m the (much) older partner in this marriage! She’s been back to training for a few weeks. To get our mileage back up we’ve had to slow our pace down considerably from what we’re accustomed to, but it’s all good base training. We’ve been getting in a lot of good 15km sessions the last couple of weeks, and hit an encouraging pace-per-kilometer milestone earlier in the week.

We weren’t able to train together yesterday so I picked up the pace to what I’ll need to hit to qualify for the 2016 50k Olympic Trials. After a couple of kms of progressing down to the pace as a warm-up, I was able to hit the pace needed to qualify – 5:42 per kilometer – for the last 10km. But then again, pace isn’t really the problem in a 50k, it’s the distance – all 31 miles of it! I still have a long way to go in training to get where I can imagine hitting that pace for the 30, 35, and even 40k workouts I’ll need under my belt to be able to reliably walk under 4:45 for 50k on race day, but it’s a start. After several years in the wilderness, I finally feel like I’ve at least found the road back to the goal.