Thanks so much for the stimulation you provided me this past Sunday May 27 2012 over the phone.
I am not sure I want to go ahead with an orthodox training program.
My goal in life is to abolish suffering : I am a “spiritual activist” seeking to change the
world, and this begins by changing the way we approach our lives…
So what the heck am I doing asking a veteran, accomplished coach to give me a recipe of, say, 7×1 km with 2 min recovery trot? I have tried many times to do one such nice, pretty-looking, streamlined, hard long-interval session, and on most of those occasions I have aborted at the second or even just the first rep.
The Monday morning of May 28 after we talked, in fact, I felt like aborting even a mostly easy run. Total lack of motivation. Something did not feel right to me about racking my body and asking my mind , one more time!, to fire through the appropriate neural pathways to keep flogging on the oxygen-starved, lactate-swamped or simply fatigued muscles against the dictates of common intuition and nature. The human body is the sacred temple of God. Why should we brutalize it, and habituate it to perennial discomfort, to fighting the wholesome impulse to quit and rest? Birds happily flutter about. They don’t time themselves and each
other in agonistic contests against fatigue and the clock. Maybe the Buddhists are right, and the only way out of pain is to dissolve the ego and renounce all goals and ambitions.
At the same time, without effort on one’s part, there is no reward. Everything
worthwhile in life costs something. But does this mean that, in fact, no pain no gain?
Life, at least in the present reality, feels to me like a punishment by God, because one is ever fighting the losing battle against entropy buildup and decay. I take no solace from the comforting advice from the likes of my mother that running is something I ought to do just for health and fun and without getting obsessed. Neither am I relieved by the common medical counsel which posits that just those twenty minutes of aerobic easy exercise three times a week are enough to “maintain fitness”, “stay healthy” and minimize (but unfortunately never
fully avert) the problems associated with aging. Health is not something that one ought to perpetually toil and strive, in a Sisyphean manner, in order to maintain. Health should be our natural state, requiring no effort or sacrifice. But it is not, because we live in a fallen world, subject to the merciless arrow of Time, and our consciousnesses have accepted this indenture to Time, entropy and sorrow for so long, generation after generation, that they have forgotten that this is not the way things should be, and have inadvertently kept generating, and perpetuating this reality, at least until now.
I am 37, I am over the hill. Conventional understanding proffers that no amount of training is going to keep me from, almost imperceptibly at first, then ever more noticeably, slumping down that hill of entropy and aging, although it may still take me a while to reach my genetic ceiling as I have been training very seriously only for a few years. Deepak Chopra does
not run competitive marathons year after year after year. He is not seeking an Olympic spot. He does not follow Lance Armstrong in the sports news (did Lance dope, then?). There are
days when it seems that my dad was right, after all: life ends up defeating you, bending you down like a sagging tree, breaking you. Also, no amount of hard training is going to change my inferior genes.
Now, one can change one’s genes, and rewrite one’s DNA codes, through the power of
Consciousness. Here I must introduce the horrible and grotesque, but still mostly unaccepted when not plain unheard-of, realities of mind-control: the total takeover of someone else’s
mind (and hence body). According to Fritz Springmeier and to my good friend Cisco Wheeler
in their awesome tome The Illuminati Formula Used to Create an Undetectable Total Mind-Controlled Slave, the main finding that scientifically launched the super-secret Monarch mind-
control program was that, in stressful situations, the brain can convert nerve signals into messenger molecules that induce the endocrine system to make certain hormones, which
then reach the nucleus of some cells and alter their genetic makeup, the DNA blueprint responsible for metabolism, sexuality, development and the immune system.
In mind-control, the set of behavioral instructions laid on a subject in such a manner that he/she can only obey them is called programming. Under suitable programming, individuals subject to Monarch mind-control –slaves- can influence their body’s temperature and heart
rate, and even paralyze their bodily functions so much that they look dead.
Ken Bowers, Franz Alexander and a mind-control programmer known as “Dr. Black”
were all involved in this ultra-sensitive area.
The capability of humans to affect muscle tension, glandular responses, breathing patterns, skin surface electrical activity and heart rate was broached to the public in the 1970s with Barbara Brown‘s research on biofeedback, but it is important to emphasize that her
findings were known in the secret mind-control programs years before her book New Mind
New Body came out.
One goal of these heinous mind-control programs is to create, sometimes in conjunction with cyborg-type robotic “upgrades” or other techniques, military combatants with super-
human traits as in the movie Universal Soldier. This I must repudiate vehemently. Another
matter would be the peaceful, benign application for the benefit of society of some of these techniques covertly developed in the baleful mind-control programs. The techniques might conceivably be employed to cure Down’s syndrome and other obvious genetic afflictions. But I
question the morality of rewriting one’s genetics through one’s mind powers just for the sake
of something as banal and competition-driven as sports achievements.
Moreover, conventional medicine soon might enable one through gene therapy to
rewrite his/her genetics to an extent. Applying such a medical genetic treatment to improve one’s sports performance, however, does not feel right or ethical to me, even if all athletes
competing in a sporting event have had equal access to the treatment, treatment which at first will presumably be very expensive.
In a similar vein, one can stem and even reverse the ravages of entropy and aging, lifting oneself up from the fallenness of this world, through the Godly power of Consciousness: “free
energy” systems with which I am conceptually familiar already might upend the second law of
thermodynamics, and John Hutchison, a Canadian “free energy” inventor, has reported
anomalies in time flow. He is not the only such inventor reporting that, but John has furthermore gone to the length of stating that his biological aging has reversed, although this
last thing, even if true, could be due to his vitamin supplementation. Without going to these
still very uncharted unconventional waters, soon conventional medicine with telomerase
therapy and all that is going to step in as well. But is it ethical to benefit in a professional sporting contest from reversing one’s aging through any approach? If one contestant is
allowed to do it, then all contestants must be allowed to do it. Obviously, age-group records will no longer be kept after a while if this glorious scenario unfolds.
Can you imagine Haile Gebrselassies training at the maximum level of their youths all
through their 60s and 70s and 100s and 200s and 300s? (The term “youth” and a good swath of
our language will lose its meaning, or will have to be further clarified, if and when aging reversal becomes commonplace).
And where will we end up, as far as absolute world records are concerned, if athletes at large learn to improve, running-performance-wise, their genetic makeup with the power of intention?
Clearly this nonsense of agonistic gladiatorial contests, of pushing the body to the limit and seeing who can suffer the most, which a lot of high-level athletics is, must stop at some point. It eulogizes the wrong view of life, that of the survival of the fittest, of hunting, of
running for one’s life, of escaping predators: athletic fitness, after all, is a modern proxy for Darwinian fitness. And the term “cutthroat” needs no etymological exegesis if the world is
ruled indeed by the law of the jungle. But the world in the last instance is not thus ruled. Life
only seems such a dog-eat-dog contest because we live in a fallen state, having forgotten our divinity, our Oneness, and the eternal, infinitely-creative, nature of our Consciousness.
It is not in the realm of the hard-core paranormal to consider a possible holistic natural
regeneration of the human body as something at hand in the coming years, if we detoxify ourselves from the stresses and daily insults of our corporate consumeristic Big-pharma GMO junk-food fluoride-in-the-water society. Furthermore, Deepak Chopra suggests a modicum of
regular physical exercise as a way to lessen, if not stop, the body’s deterioration with age, and
to feel reinvigorated. But such a regeneration is not to be abused: its purpose would be, I feel, to heal the pathos of our competitive Darwinian existence which some runners tend to play out in their will to prove themselves to the limit. And, in fact, as I told you over the phone, my perception is that the ultimate defeat of entropy and aging will be accompanied by an evolutionary shift to a more ethereal, energy-radiating body form that will no longer need the daily purge of hard exercise in order to regenerate itself from the stresses of daily life and feel good. We will have cleansed the karma. I might be wrong. But at any rate I don’t want to wait
to die in order to enjoy the blisses of heaven, so I want to see heaven brought down to Earth (or to whatever Earth transforms into) in my lifetime… or in whatever my existence morphs
into if Time as we know it ceases to run…, and in such a heavenly existence I see no room for
races or discomfort or agony, whatever the body form we end up taking .
Call me a prophet if you want.
I am also against doping of all sorts, and in fact I do not take any dietary supplements or pills. To me they feel like a form of unnatural enhancement of one’s body. And the cyborg,
transhumanist pictures of man-machine or organ-design amalgamations are repellant to me, except for isolated justified cases like amputees, disabled people on wheelchairs, etc. The evolutionary implications of transhumanist athletics where genetic, nanotechnological and
biomedical enhancements to the body are allowed might be worse than eugenicist, and I am
scared of even contemplating them.
For a thorough study of the deep transformational issues confronting us, and also for cutting-edge information about the related subject of what’s really going on in the world, you
can consult my webpage http://conradosalas.info .
So enough for theoretical ranting.
You basically said when I first contacted you by e-mail that any person (with normal genes) can, with consistent proper training (at least 75 miles a week, I remember), progress within the span of two, three years at most, from a three-oh-something marathon (which is where I then was) down to the “the Magic Enchanted Land of Two Thirty Something”, as a
poster in a runner’s internet forum yearningly put it. In fact, you talked about progressing
down to a marathon time in the very low 2:30s within that time span and training volume.
There is just an abyss, a world of difference between a marathon time in the very low 2:30s and one in the very high 2:30s, and I will not indulge in daydreaming. I don’t see myself
running a 2:30-something marathon, or even a 2:32-something marathon, ever. But even if we
talk about a 2:39-something marathon, I must say you were wrong, Glenn. Either I have subnormal genes, or I have a subnormal tolerance of suffering.
So, if after all this you are still in the mood of giving me some advice, I will happily summarize for you my “running career” and training so far. I think that a detailed, five-month
training plan as you suggested might be premature. Even if I were in the mood, one would still have to think about what races to aim at, as well as to factor in things like travels and other foreseeable and unforeseeable disruptions in life’s routine. There has to be a proper interplay
of discipline and flexibility, even for professional athletes who can schedule their whole lives solely around their training and racing. There is also one more thing I have discovered these past years. Training is 24/7. It is not just enough to crank out the training sessions. In fact, you cannot work and have your mind and spirit during the day in something totally unrelated to running, and then suddenly when the workout hour arrives switch your mindset to running and expect to produce the performance. It just doesn’t work like that. What produces the
performance is the motivation that you soak in not just during the actual time of running but during the entirety of the day –and even night-. The drive to push your body through pain,
discomfort, fatigue, even agony comes from the mind, and that source in the mind must be nourished and replenished constantly by external stimulation and inspiration, such as by watching others succeed in endurance events, which invariably prompts you to want to
emulate them. In other words, you don’t have to just train running. At a certain level, you have
to speak, read, watch, breathe, and live running, make it your whole personal milieu, and be surrounded by supportive friends, relatives and acquaintances who mirror back that attitude. You have to move gradually, but inexorably and ascetically, toward the world of pro runners. I am not sure I am ready for this. Moreover, my mother has submitted me to nearly constant scold for my abnormal running-centeredness. She no longer gives me a hard time when I go for a second workout in the late afternoon or evening, but she sure isn’t very pleased. She finds
two-a-days offensively pathological and pointless. She is right about the latter. I agree that, to run a 3 hour marathon, two-a-days are certainly pointless. But, even if I have already reached my genetic limit at three hours and I may never progress substantially under that, even if I may never become a pro or semi-pro runner, two-a-days make me feel that I am training like one,
and this, in a deep psychological way, is important to me. God knows up to what extent I am driven by the desire to get back at nature, at society… or at my mom.
So here’s a brief history of Mine, to crib poor Stephen Hawking (doesn’t he deserve the
normal physical mobility that I unjustly take for granted?). Here’s a brief history of my efforts
Here’s my running background.
My father had very thin legs and as a boy rode a (heavy) bike around the local villages to aid his family in the hard, hunger-stricken days of postwar Spain. He never had the opportunity to compete in any sports: to him, surviving and getting ahead was the only competition he knew. He went out on foot to sell door to door and village to village, he sweat doing the almost
Sisyphean errands required to stay on top of the dog-eat-dog business world, he wrestled with the debasing treacle of commerce and enterprise regulations, he stood in long lines and put up with the red tape. He ended up becoming very successful as a businessman, but he overworked himself and was also a very nervous person: all this stress finally took its toll, and he suffered three heart attacks.
My mother was very thin and handsome when she married. Her father had been a great swimmer, and while she worked as a school teacher she exceeded at the running tests and was even asked to coach youth track for a little while. But she also has an obesity gene, and after giving birth to me her metabolism suddenly changed. Now she is very overweight, and this has been the cause of untold suffering of hers (and of mine, too).
I was the plump nerd at secondary school, with straight As except for Physical Education, where other kids snickered at me. I think that I once finished last at the 1500 m in the PE class, somewhere in the 8 or 9 minute range, at around age 8 or 9. I then took up team handball, where I was actually rather good, because I was tall and strong.
The onset of puberty suddenly trimmed off my plumpness. I took my first trip to the States, as a 14 year old exchange student, and resolved to kick those jeering classmates’ asses
at the PE class track tests the following year. That summer I took up running and ended up timing myself over a (mostly flat) 7.5 km course in the park in basically 30 minutes, (under 6:30
pace I would venture). I would never repeat that performance in many, many years, however. Neither did I get the pleasure of making all those mocking classmates bite the dust: some still beat me, although I was no longer at the bottom of my class on the PE track tests: in fact, I was now near the top. (truth be told, many of those jeering classmates had by then taken up smoking “to be cool” and “in”) . That year I gave up team handball for track and cross-
country, … and learned the kinds of times that the good high school runners of my age were
already racing in. I was no match. On one practice test, over 200 meters at the track I was timed 29.5.
With less than a month after I turned sixteen, realizing that competing in the standard races for my age was not my thing, I decided to excel by doing something really singular: I entered, and completed in 4:31:30, the 1991 Barcelona marathon, which ended in the pronounced ascent to the Olympic stadium (my recollection is that the climb was made more gentle the following year for the Olympic race). Then that summer of 1991 I trained very hard to add some speed to the endurance, throwing in some swimming too, but I must have done something wrong, because I suddenly developed a heart arrhythmia that left me very fatigued and diminished. I was told by a physician to totally back off from running for several months, doing only jogs at less than what I now reckon to be the minimum threshold for an appreciable
training effect (correct me if I’m wrong): 55% of the heart rate reserve. The problem
disappeared in ECGs after the prescribed months of rest: I would be told much later that such arrhythmias can be quite common in adolescents with their ion counts screwed up.
On resuming my running at age 17, I timed myself 13.8 seconds for 100 (flat!) meters. That’s the fastest I’ve ever been. I also timed myself 69.6 seconds for a 400 m. So sluggish, I
know. In the Spanish equivalent of my senior high school year, I enrolled a local track team, the former Scorpio, but I was still shamefully slow. I timed myself 20:00 for an unofficial 5 km loop in the park.
I did university studies or research in the States, with some interruptions from late 1994 through early 2004. Except for the 1994/95 academic year (my first year of studies in the States), I did not pursue competitive running in university, doing only basic gym and dancing , some yoga and the occasional jog or unstructured run. And some sex, I must add… “the best
exercise”, as a beautiful blonde I picked up one night, told me.
I returned from the States in 2004 to settle definitively in Spain. And then in late 2006 I took up again running earnestly. I was now an autonomous worker, helping my dad and mom in our small real estate business, and this was giving me a more or less leisurely schedule with little physical labor. This is the tranquil occupation I have had since then, increasingly freed from stress, and I have sought to take full advantage, running-wise, of my new found calm.
In my first year of serious training in this new period of my life, I basically worked out for an hour and twenty minutes Tuesday thru Saturday (Tuesday was an all-around full-body, natural workout in the woods, with my heart rate not lower than the aerobic zone; then, for the rest of the days, sundry intervals were intermixed with base pace recoveries and hills) . Then on Sundays I went for the usual long run, which at first went only for two hours.
Initially Mondays were to be total rest days. (Concerned about me, my poor mom had consulted a physician and he had recommended a prescription of one weekly day of complete rest, a prescription she wished to see me heed. I must add that I live in my parents’ house: this
is normal in Spain, especially now during the economic crisis). However, I realized right away that, psychologically, if I don’t get my daily minimum of an hour of continuous, aerobic-or-
more-intense, exercise I feel I have not been “man enough” and do not deserve the little but indispensable pleasures of life, which by then were essentially reduced to reading. I only drop that self-imposed requirement when it is truly indispensable, such as when tapering for a marathon (and then it took me quite long to accept the imperativeness of a full marathon taper), or the day of a short race. (Very lately I have added the incomparable fine morning grilled croissant with coffee at the local brasserie to my sacred, -almost- daily rituals). Besides, the chemical urge to exercise becomes simply unbearable and I feel too yucky for my day to have any enjoyment. Hence I was soon commencing what was to be my perennial frontal attack on my mother’s nerves and tolerance by tucking in an easy 1-hour run or swim on
Mondays as an “active” recovery day. I so have loved recovery days. Why couldn’t all days be
recovery days?, I have wondered.
The Tuesday all-around full-body natural workout was eventually replaced by just another standard (although typically hilly) training run; the Sunday long run began to go beyond two hours, at first only a little. And after some time, recovery days began to stretch a little longer past the hour.
Then I underwent a few episodes of anomalous arrhythmias that forced me to stop in some runs, totally short of breath and with my heart going wild. My parents took me to see José Antonio Casasnovas Lenguas, a Professor of cardiology at the University of Zaragoza.
After strapping me with a portable monitor of my heart rate (and perhaps of other parameters, I don’t remember now), and having me undergo with it the routine of a typical day of mine,
including a normal training run, José Antonio assured me that my heart was healthy and OK, “well coupled” to the training, and that I shouldn’t worry, the arrhythmias being the product of my nerves.
By the summer of 2008, I began to first experiment with, and then get used to, sporadically adding a second, shorter run in the late afternoon or early evening. I discovered that I actually relished running out in the heat, especially if followed by a dip in the small pool we have in our apartment complex. But my mother has often expressly forbidden a second training session in the heat, she is understandably very scared of the heatstroke stories. So, would you have any special expert reassurance for my mother that a second workout in the day is OK, that I am by now acclimatized to the heat, that I have over the years learned to
carefully read my body and monitor its signs of stress, that Zaragoza’s summer late afternoon
oheat can be scorching but is very dry, and that if the temperature goes over 100 F I can always
don a fully soaked T-shirt as refrigeration?
Progressing in running or in my athletic aspirations became for a while almost tantamount to going up against my mother, defying her view of what a respectable life should
be about: now she is becoming a bit more accepting. Putting my training center-stage has felt for quite some time like an affront on her sense of identity.
On July 20, 2008, I finished, totally exhausted, the toughest race I have ever done, a grueling 16.1 mile mountain run in the Pyrenees, with 1,640 yards of accumulated (positive) altitude difference.
By then my attitude had become that, if in this present reality, subject to aging and entropy, one can only maintain basic fitness through a minimum of routine exercise, if I have to breathe this oxidizing atmosphere of Earth, then, given my extremist character, I may just as well go whole hog and turn exercise into my life, training almost like a professional athlete, at least as far as exercise-centeredness is concerned. I would go on grinding myself in training with a quasi-pro dedication until I could improve no more in my times; then I would just retire to a basic, “maintenance” fitness routine.
In September ’08 I ran a marathon in my hometown of Zaragoza. I did 3:08:13 on a
(mostly) flat course (net 3:07:43), including a forced pit stop due to what I was to learn was a great dread of any marathoner: the runner’s trots. I ran under 3-hour-pace until the 30 Km
point. When I was passed by the 3-hour pacing bus, I became demoralized and totally crashed: my crawl to the finish was an 8-minute-per-mile-pace calvary, the traditional scenario of hitting the wall which was to become quite familiar to me.
By then I was doing the bulk of my training runs with extra weights, so at the easy base pace effort of 142 beats per minute I was plodding along slower than easy base pace. Moreover, I had also just learned to ride a bike (that’s right, I had missed out on that as a child),
and was enthused about the prospect of triathlons. One Friday I logged in a total of four hours between the running, the biking and the swimming. What seems now retrospectively so remarkable, given my inborn propensity for sleeping a lot, is that I pushed myself through those grueling (although very low in anaerobic quality) multi-sport training sessions sometimes on just 9? hours of sleep a day or even less. And in those days when I was toying with triathlon, I had to put up, due to my dad’s high-powered business drive, with far more stress and with
more physically demanding work-related activities (errands, travels and the mandatory calls to the various real estate properties we have scattered around) than I do now.
With hindsight now, however, it seems clear that it was precisely my dad’s commanding
presence as “the boss” that pushed me to sustain for that time (what to me was) such an
exacting training routine. My dad did his exercise throughout the day by walking about town and physically carrying out sometimes very heavy errands: hence work and the fun of a leisurely walk was for him always blended into one. I couldn’t partake of that fun because I had
picked up early in my adolescence the notion that walking tires you but has no training effect (This, I have learned now, is not accurate, but certainly a stroll about town in casual clothes is no substitute for a decent, compact easy run). Moreover, my dad understood that I naturally wasn’t thrilled by doing business the way he innately was. And he could understand that I did
some morning jogging before starting my proper workday: after all, even George H. W. Bush
famously jogged around the time when he was President. But a heavy training routine, semi-
professional in mindset and aspiration if not in performance level, upset my dad’s notion of
what a decent, respectable life should be like. So I wanted to show him, with a certain seething fury, that I could attend to my family business responsibilities and train for a triathlon. My dad
would pass from a fulminant cancer in July 2010, and the underlying psychological motivation “to get back at him” by redoubling my athletic self-punishment is now gone.
Also, a couple of duathlons I took part in later 2008 quickly disabused me from multi-sport projects. Cross-duathlons demand a high level of mountain biking skill and are simply not for me, I painfully found out... And then, for ordinary (road) duathlons I had to master the road bike, and my parents had banned me from road bikes, rightly concerned about their inherent risk of accidents.
Then in April 2009 I came across you online and you sent me your inspiring running encouragements. I heeded your advice and dropped all the weights in my runs. I still went out for an occasional bike ride but now I was to focus solely on running.
In late 2009 I really squeezed myself in training. One week I logged in over 125 miles: that’s the highest mileage I’ve gone up to. Two-a-days had by then become rather common. I
sure reveled in training like a Pro: that’s why I wanted to see that 200 km+ week, even though
it surely sagged me more than boosted me as my running speeds and my access to peripheral but very important aspects of running like physiotherapy were not those of a Pro. In preparation for the ‘09 Zaragoza marathon I did one long run (not entirely at easy base pace) a few yards in excess of the distance of 26.2 miles, finishing completely depleted, drained. There was little quality training in those high-mileage weeks, though. For that marathon, which took place on Sunday November 23 2009, I clearly did not taper adequately (I did my hour of easy running even on the Friday and on the Saturday before the race: I couldn’t let go of my ritual
habit). Still, I should have been able to properly break three hours, I surmised. Wrong. I finished in 3:17:28 on a flat course and a perfect, windless day, struggling through half in 1:29:59, and being forced to stop to empty my bowels three times. It was a horrible day for me.
By 2009 my consistent training went year-round: there were no “off” seasons, although
the quality was always scarce: I dread discomfort, I go by feel, and I am just not man enough to push myself to agony.
For the November 2010 Zaragoza marathon, however, I made the supreme effort of incorporating those high-quality workouts, the pinnacle of suffering being a two hour continuous session on the flats with a total of 4.35 miles of what to me is a very hard pace, roughly 5:26/mile, scattered in chunks throughout the run, with at least one chunk being of 1.2 miles, and the rest smaller; and with the recovery being easy base pace (7:40/mile or quicker), not a jog. Moreover, I am almost sure I topped off that session at the end by a four-to-five minute pickup at 6:25/mile. If I didn’t, then on another day of training (perhaps after the 2010
Zaragoza marathon), I certainly completed, between the morning and the afternoon-evening sessions, two hours of running on the flats with:
; chunks of (what to me is!) high-quality at ;5:26/mile pace, totaling 4.35 miles
or more in chunks (one chunk being of at least 1.2 miles);
; 12 minutes at ;6:25/mile pace;
; and the rest easy base pace as recovery.
This type of training day remains my most exacting accomplishment. (Actually on one day I strung together 5 miles in what felt like ;5:26/mile pace intervals, again with one of
those intervals being longer than 1.2 miles, but I was totally broken after that, and I don’t think
I managed to top off that day by picking up my pace to ;6:25/mile for the last few minutes).
That kind of training day is certainly not something I can do every week, or even every other week. Psychologically, in fact, I now dread it.
I also had my go at the infernal 440s, although I never strung together a classic 12×440 yards: the closest I came was one day when I did a block of half a dozen 440s (at, perhaps, 78 seconds/400 m) with a 1-2 minute recovery trot, then two miles easy, then a couple more 440s, then another two miles easy, etc. And it was only on that day, of great motivation and focus, when I managed to do that; I haven’t repeated it since.
Since about that time, it has also become customary for me every week (typically on Fridays), to go for an all-out sprint, just for a second or two, enough to reach peak speed. And then I like the hills, the natural strength, and (if done as intervals) the power, that they give you. Hills have been a staple of my training for quite a while. I am especially “fond” of “the
owalls” I use: each about 45-50 yards at a 70-100% grade (35-45 incline). I crest the top
painfully and in very high oxygen debt: I have taken 190 beats per minute. Hence I have come to highly respect mountain runs. Mountains put you in your place.
That year you would think I would have learned the lesson and would adequately taper for race day. I did actually take a day of full rest, but I felt disgustingly yucky on it, and I sensed that it didn’t do me much good either. Then the Saturday before the Sunday of the 2010
Zaragoza marathon I ended up stretching the usually mandated very short and easy shakeup run on the eve of the race to 50 minutes. God knows if I paid for that on race day, but I must say that in the end I am proud of how that marathon came out. Indeed, often since that marathon, I have thought in frustration that it may end up being the only occasion in my life when I manage to break three hours. But did I truly break them? My official time was 2:59:33, but at some point along a (quite flat) course the route to follow was not well signaled, and I found out later that I had gently cut a couple of curves. I am pretty sure I made up for those shaved yards when I took the exit to (yes) empty my bowels, as well as with the usual slight sideways moves at the water stations etc, but the doubt is still nagging me. The best of that day was the elated feel I had up to the 3 Km point, which, because it was placed across the avenue from the exit, the official clock said I passed in 11:39 (6:15/mile pace). After that, I gradually slowed down (half in 1:25:21), the gusts of wind ended up getting the better of me,