Saturday, March 15, 2008

Long, slow, slog

Geez, have I slowed down in the last month or so. After doing very little mileage for the two weeks after Mt. Cameroon, I've been beat. We are following a plan I designed to get our mileage up into the 40-50 miles per week range (all workouts are based on time, so for me, it gets me to around 40 miles per week whereas for Emmanuel, it becomes around 50 miles a week). This is in preparation for the hoped for Njalla Quan marathon which we have not heard anything about even now. But yesterday (Friday of the second week for me) was the first day I felt pretty good. My butt has been really dragging.

Today I was reflecting that my times in general have been at least 30 seconds per mile and maybe even 1 minute slower ever since returning from India in January. Is this because I basically took December off? I began to wonder if it might be due to giving up fish and thereby becoming totally vegan. I dunno. I'm going to try keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks and then analyse what I'm eating to see if there is anything sorely missing. As I was walking to the street to buy some things, I realised that I was not eating many dark leafy greens, so maybe I'm low in iron? I had fufu corn and njamanjama last Monday (njamanjama is a dark leafy green), but it had been awhile.

And now, I'm sure my age is another factor. Last week, not once but twice, I heard a report about a study someone did that showed that older runners lose fitness faster and regain it slower after a layoff, and that they, in fact, do better training more consistently year-round (as opposed to the typical young runner who has at least one "off season"). That certainly seems to be true of me.

Whatever the cause, it's frustrating. Tomorrow I'm going to run to Bambui & Mforya again. I did this last week and was doing pretty well for the first 10 miles and then just died. With almost 6 miles to go to get home. Blech. Tuesday morning intervals I ran okay, though I was exhausted at the end of the workout (10 x 2min accelerations with 2min recovery) and then Wednesday was supposed to be 90 minutes easy. Again, I was feeling fine for about 6 miles and then I just died. The weird/scary thing, was that when I stopped running, I felt dizzy. Really dizzy, like I might keel over. Was I dehydrated? Was my blood pressure low for some reason? That was so disconcerting that I mostly walked all the way back home.

I tried to drink a lot of water and eat well Wednesday and Thursday I didn't do our hill/speed workout -- just ran an easy 3.5 miles. Yesterday we did an hour on the dirt roads in town and I actually completed that just fine. So maybe I'm coming back. Tomorrow will be a bit of a test.

It's rough getting old sometimes. Mostly I actually like the fact that I'm in my mid-40s (Monday's my birthday, so it's on my mind), particularly because I look a lot younger than I am, so in addition to bending people's images of gender, I'm also bending their images of age. That's kind of fun. But when I run with these folks in their 20s, I realise that I am NOT in my 20s. . .


Stacey Grossman said...

Hey RevRuns,

Happy birthday! My experience with the age thing is that it takes longer and longer to recover from hard workouts. But I've also realized that with some age comes some realization that some years take more out of me spiritually, or emotionally, and other years I am able to focus on my physicality and get stronger. So, my friend, give thanks for your wisdom of another year and keep on running!


Ann said...

Happy birthday!
I'm another Californian runner volunteering in Cameroon for a year, also keeping a blog. And guess what: your picture is on it! Go to and look at my post about the Mount Cameroon race. (Just a few from the top.) Your picture is the first one down. I wondered who that white woman was! I'd love to e-mail...