Just sitting here with the patented Autumnal Cold Of Death, and thought I’d torture myself by writing about how great my training was going until this happened and I had to take THREE DAYS OFF FROM RUNNING which has clearly blown all my progress to smithereens and I’ll probably have to start out by crawling around the block tomorrow.
I’m up to about 50 km or 31 miles a week, which was my goal at the start of the summer. Yay! I will stay at this level in October, then move up to the next goal: 60km/wk. The extreme slowness of stroller running has been great for my legs. Not so great for my running form, especially the upper body – I seem to have regressed to the old boxing-nun arm form, if my race photos are to be believed – so I try to work on that whenever I can get in a stroller-free run. My main focus is on mileage right now so I haven’t done much in the way of impressive-sounding workouts, but I did do two speed-training sessions in the last two weeks: one hill workout, where I ran uphill for 5 repeats of 2:30 at 5k effort, dodging skateboarders most of the way, and a mini tempo run on the track, 4km in 18 minutes. Who knows if that counts as a tempo run – but it surely did *something*, however minute, for my lactate threshhold.
The closest track is about a mile away, and nestled into the armpit of a highway junction/four-leaf-clover thing, with a huge big-box furniture store on one side and a gasometer on the other. A gym class from a nearby school showed up halfway through my workout: about 20 15-year-old girls, half of them with head scarf and mostly chattering in Turkish. They were adorable, even though they hogged the inside lane on their two-lap warmup whatever (jog? walk? joddle?). In typical high school gym class fashion, guaranteed to spark anyone’s passion for sport, they then sat down on the sidelines and were called out in pairs to sprint 100m. I.e. they warmed up, then sat down in the relatively freezing cold for half an hour, in order to each sprint for 20 or so seconds. Fantastic workout. Really.
As I rounded the last curve I heard one of them say: “Look! She’s been sprinting by herself the whole time!” (Sprinting! lol.) And the other ones were like “omg why?” I jogged a slow lap, and as I went to collect my jacket and hat from the bleachers, one of the girls called out, “How many laps did you do?” in a tone that suggested honest bewilderment that anyone would do this alone, voluntarily. “Ten,” I said, smiling/grimacing through a waterfall of sweat and trying to hide my internal sobbing at the fact that she used the formal, respectful “you” that kids that age are supposed to use with their elders. “Whoa,” she said. Then the groundskeeper, a white-haired man in a windbreaker who’d been carrying a measuring tape around and marking the infield while I ran, popped his head out the window of his office and said “But she’s an elite athlete!” I had to laugh at that. Ridiculous as it sounded, I still felt like a rock star. A really smelly rock star in compression socks. But still.
I jogged home in the saccharine afterglow of this made-for-tv encounter, easily the friendliest interaction I have ever had with a bunch of random Berliners. (In fact I can’t recall any others that would qualify as “friendly.” At the most I can think of some where people weren’t outright rude in that “yeah I know I’m being rude and I’m proud of it and what are you going to do about it anyway” way that they have here. After 8 years it was bound to happen, I guess.)