There are no lonely Klingons…

5 06 2011

….but I as a mere Terran do yearn for the company of others, and never more so than when training for a race.  Since the majority of my friends and family are best counted on to join me in the pursuit of food-and-drink-centric merriment, I decided to sign on with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) for a marathon training program.  I figured I would at least be guaranteed a bit of camaraderie on weekend long runs even if all I saw of the others were elbows and shoe soles as they all ran ahead of me.

I attended the program’s Super Clinic yesterday which was (rather ironically, I thought) held at the UIC Medical School in the City.  I was very impressed with the number of resources offered and the level of expertise as well as enthusiasm of the staff.

Among the speakers were runners, CARA staff, a team of sports medicine physicians, a nutritionist, physical therapists and some very high-level trainers.

Coach Bill Leach,  who has been training runners for over 40 years at the college level as well as amateurs like myself, spoke to us about the importance of proper training to avoid overuse injury.  He even gave us private access to some drill videos on his website and demonstrated some of the exercises we would find there.

We will also have 24/7 access to a team of physical therapists from NovaCare who can advise us about the inevitable aches and pains that crop up.  They spent a good deal of time instructing in posture and stretching and other easily-overlooked precautions that will keep us running instead of limping.

But the big name among the group’s mentors is Hal Higdon.  Yes, the actual real live Hal Higdon who writes for Runner’s World.  In fact, he designed our training program and gave each of us a copy of his book “Marathon: the Ultimate Training Guide” which could be considered our text book, I suppose.

While the whole experience gave me a much-needed burst of enthusiasm, there was one particular exchange which resurrected memories of events long-forgotten.  Perhaps it was being back in a medical school classroom that seemed to throw me backwards in time, but I found it amusing.

During Hal’s session, he told us many things including the fact that all of us novice marathoners who may never run more than a 10k to date *would* complete a 26.2 mile marathon in 18 weeks.  He also stated that those of us regularly running more than 6 miles should not worry about suffering from mileage reduction because the plan would steadily advance from 6 mile runs back to and beyond their previous maximum distances.  Upon finishing his narrative, he invited questions.

Immediately, some perky little wisp of a girl raised her hand and said “I’m running a half marathon next weekend.  What should I do after that?”  My eyes rolled and I slowly swiveled my head around to look at her as the med school memories came rushing back.  With annoying regularity there would always be SOMEONE who would ask a question designed to alert the rest of the class to their superior insight.  It might be a legitimate question, although it rarely seemed like it, but the greater message conveyed would be “I want to impress everyone with how much more I know than the rest of you schlubs.”

Unlike my former professors, Hal handled it with aplomb.  “Is this your first half marathon?” he asked.

“Oh no,” replied Boasting Betty, “I’ve done a few others.”  Now I’m grinding my teeth because if this chick has trained for more than one half marathon, she can intuit what to do next.

Hal my new hero responded, “A few others….well, you know everything then.  Paula Radcliffe get out of the way!” and the crowd absolutely roared.  “Just take a couple of days off then follow the training program.”


With that comment, any future head-trips down memory lane back to those long lost classrooms in which I sat feeling every day like the oldest, slowest, least-supported person in the room were exploded as if by a blast from a Class 10 Photon Torpedo.  I left the seminar feeling well-equipped and just as capable as anyone else in the room.  Maybe even more than some.

Me likey.Tlhingan Hol makes you Smile



Friday — nothing, no excuse

Saturday — nothing, overslept

Sunday — rode 15 miles on the bike, then walked the dogs 3 miles


Still a work in progress.  Ate too much junk on Friday and Saturday, then reined it in once more.  Daily input-output stats on my Excel spreadsheet were pretty embarassing and I have resolved yet again to do better.



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