Thursday, July 17, 2008


I've been suffering lately with what I call Russian syndrome with my running. When I was in college, I needed a foreign language to graduate. I had had four years of French in high school and was bored with that, the Spanish labs took hours to get into for your oral tests so that was out of the question, so I decided to go more exotic. My first choice was Greek, since I had a Greek friend in high school and Greek food and I are having a torrid love affair, lol, but I was looking to start in the Spring and first semester Greek was only taught in the Fall. So I decided to go more family heritage and take German. No classes when I could take them. So I decided on Russian. I registered for the class, went to the bookstore to get my books, which were a sealed 3 pack. I was so excited when I got to my dorm that the package was open as soon as I walked into the door. I opened the first book. No English. At all. Hmmm. I opened the the second book. No English. Oh. Crud. I opened the third book. Look- English! But it was describing the rules of grammer, which are extensive in Russian, so it might as well have been in Russian, lol. My eyes filled with tears- I was going to fail this class and fail hard. I couldn't even read the alphabet to sound out the words. After a while, the sobs subsided enough that I could hear a little whisper of common sense- no one taking this class was going to know more than me at that first class. I decided to give it a try, and lo and behold, my little whispering voice knew what it was talking about! I ended up acing the four semesters I took, and would probably have taken further semesters if I had the time.

My running has been like this. I've been reading Perry's Runners magazine, which has been a mistake. I was reading an article about taking a beginner to a half marathon in 10 weeks. For her beginning, easy, runs, they had her running at a pace of 12:00-12:30 miles. I was instantly transported to that dorm room 15 years ago. I've been running a few weeks now three times a week, and I was pushing it to get to go 13:31/mile today, which is the best I've done. Perry says our treadmill is miscalibrated, but not a minute off to be close to comparing. I lost it. I've lost one pound since starting the running in June. I was dying and hopelessly slow. I'm going to be running in the back of the pack at my race with Aunt Bertha and Grandma Bessie, picking up knitting tips.

Then, while I was running, I started thinking (which I normally don't do, because I'm pretty boring inside my head). For fun, I decided to see if I could speed walk at 4.5 (14:30/mile). And I could! I didn't want to keep it up for a sustained period of time, but it made me think back to when I started walking. I warmed up at a 3.0 and booked it at a 3.5. I could get up to a 3.7, but a 4.0 was always at a jog. Now I'm warming up at 3.5, sometimes at 4.0 (at a walk), and a 4.5 is a jog. So while I'm not 100% convinced I'm not going to come out of this race with some new best friends and a new hobby, my voice is telling me there is a little glimmer of English in my pack of books, and even if I don't understand a thing it means, it's still English in a sea of Russian.


kodiak73 said...

I can't begin to express how proud of you I am. A peacock has got nothing on me! At the same time, more than anything, I want YOU to have a good experience, not just give me reason to flare the plumage.

Countless runners get to that first "Здравствулте!" and end up just saying "Я не могу сделать его".

I'm glad my wife has the tenacity of a badger... most of the time at least.

Real said...

I love this post!

And I know what you mean. Two days in a row,my weight is up and I can't possibly imagine HOW thatis with as little and as well as I've been eating and how much I hurt! LOL!

I've really felt like giving up. But if you're doing it, so am I!

Also, a friend just told me yesterday about a book called "From Couch to 5K" or something like that. Maybe that book would be more your speed?

Jamie said...

I've looked at couch to 5ks, and they start you off walking forever, which I don't want. has a good training schedule creator if you have a race in mind- you tell it what distance race and how long you have until the race and it tells you what you should be doing. Plus, it has a training log there.

kodiak73 said...

The mere concept of this conversation occuring is putting a HUGE smile on my face! ;)

Kristine said...

I think you are amazing.