On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rebecca Black... rhymes with Track...

Yesterday, as promised, I went to the track to run 8 x 400. Whether I should have done speedwork or whether I should just be running more, that's still being debated. But I did it. It was cold, hailing, and windy. The track was wet. I'm basically a hero for doing my prescribed workout and not wussing out.

My track looks very dramatic here.
Advice: make sure before you leave for your track workout that your tights won't cause a wedgie. And your shirt won't ride up. Or you'll spend your entire workout with one hand pulling your shirt down and the other pulling your tights down. It won't look decorous, no matter how hard you try. Also, be sure that you have anything else in your head - ANYTHING - besides Rachel Black's Friday. Because that song is so catchy, it almost makes me wish that RCN had never fixed my internet (because having internet again after a week basically meant I had to watch that video over and over again yesterday).

There were geese on the track. I couldn't have made this up if I'd tried. PICK A LANE, GEESE.

I decided while doing my repeats that I should try a little bit of advice from the February issue of Runner's World and use a mantra. I chose a simple mantra: "You're strong." Two syllables; one for each foot strike. Because I AM STRONG.

And you know what? The mantra worked! Well, sort of. Here's how each of the two minute long intervals went:
  • "You're strong You're strong You're strong" - repeat for about 30 seconds, down the length of the straight part of the track
  • [Edited for all audiences:] "What the [censored] are you doing here? Where the [censored] did that wind come from? The hail is hurting your [censored] face. For [censored]'s sake, stop being such a [censored] [censored]. You think this [censored] is going to magically make you a better runner? You're not strong; you suck [censored]." - repeat, with variations, for about 30 seconds, through the curve and into the wind
  • "It's FRI-DAY, FRI-DAY, GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY!" - repeat for about 75 seconds
If you'd like to try it yourself, I can highly recommend this mantra for its effectiveness in causing you to push through your repeats. However, I might suggest that you learn the rest of the lyrics to the stupid song if you're going to use it. I'm providing the video here as a service to you. You're welcome.


  1. Bloody rude geese not paying notice to the track rules. Enough said.

  2. I was hoping to see a parody video with you dancing and singing about your training strategies. Aron

  3. Ack! The link was broken. Well, sorry about that, but my singing is even worse than how she comes across here. Trust me on that!

  4. That said:

    1. If you want to be *technical*, speedwork isn't horribly effective until you've got a solid base. (The Lydiard school of thought on this is dead on.) That's really all I have to say, since the DEBATE IS ALIVE.

    2. I've had that song stuck in my head since last Friday. And tomorrow is Friday. Fuck me raw.

    3. Somewhere there is footage of me in a race where I had to weave around geese. It's swell.

  5. nice weather ... as if the track isnt hard enough already

  6. I had never heard that song. Now I wish I still hadn't. So, does it make you feel super old too watching that video? I feel ANCIENT. Plus, poor girl needs a better make up artist...

    (I just googled her. She was born in 1997. I feel old. Wasn't 97 like yesterday??)

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  8. I was in college in 1997.
    Holy crap - that means that she could be my daughter, and it wouldn't even be that I had her at a scandalously young age.
    I'm old.

  9. After a segment on "Soundcheck" yesterday regarding Ms. Black, I had that song (mostly the Friday repetition part) in my head for roughly six hours straight. NOTHING HELPED. It was the like hiccups. I don't even know why I'm talking about it, it's going to get the song in my head again.

    Anyway, I try using "thrive" as I run - as in, thrive on pain. It doesn't work, but it does help as a reminder that running, as a rule, sucks.

  10. The geese would have been reason enough for me to stay away from that track. (I once clotheslined a goose with my oar on a row and they now all seem to have a vendetta.)

    "WEEKend, WEEKend!"