Back running in Savannah, it's tough getting used to the humidity again, but it stayed somewhat cool out. I got back on schedule with my mileage, but I mixed the locations up so that we're not in danger of getting bored. Wednesday's six-miler was at the beach, which was nice, since I got to go for a swim afterward to cool off, but on the other hand, the sand (and possibly running in a combination of minimal sneakers and barefoot) changed my form so that my quads were sore for a couple of days. Actually, that's probably not a bad thing.
I also went out to the McQueen's Island trail for my long run of the week, but found half of it closed for repairs, so I ran 9 miles on a 3-mile trail. The last couple of miles there was actually the first time I had to run in the rain in all this training. I'm sure I'll get plenty of that this week with the remnants of storm Erika coming through. Also, this week, we start four weeks of peak distances – 28 miles per week.
A photo posted by Justin "The Viking" Wren (@thebigpygmy) on
That's fun. Let's see video of that.
Or as long as we're sharing videos, how about the first time the people he's helping saw a white guy?
Wren quit fighting through what probably could have been his strongest years — his mid-20s — to start a nonprofit to help the Mbuti Pygmy people get clean water. Fight for the Forgotten and its partner, Water4, dig wells to draw clean water for a people who are enslaved. Workers go to the fields for oppressors to earn two bananas a day to share among families of four — it's just enough food to keep them healthy enough to work, and it keeps them coming back to work because they need the food.
These are people who are still using army ants to stitch wounds — they have the ants bite the wound, then break off the body, leaving the fangs in to act as staples.
Wren has suffered malaria, parasites and other tropical diseases. His organization employs 17 people full time, but has dismissed more than that to find the right people — people who can survive dense jungle for a month or two at a time, return to the U.S. for a couple of weeks to recover, then go back.
He's back to fighting so that he can raise further awareness, and he's a partner in a documentary on his journeys.
He was on Joe Rogan's podcast this week (he's been on before), and around the one hour, 20 minute mark, he renders Rogan pretty much speechless. It's really amazing listening to Wren talk with such passion and humility, especially while Rogan explains to him that in a few generations, he's going to enter tribal mythology. As a giant, white, hairy myth.
Well, Week 11 was kinda crappy to start. On Wednesday, I was scheduled for five miles and gave up after 4.3. On Thursday, I was scheduled for four, but ran three — though I did average under 10 minutes per mile for those three. After 16 hours in the car Friday, though, I did eight strong miles in Central New York.
Week 12, I was lucky enough to do five runs in four different cities, and I shuffled the days and mileage. I was scheduled for four miles Tuesday, six Wednesday, four Thursday, nine Saturday and a recovery run Sunday. Instead, I ran four Monday in Western Massachusetts, nine Wednesday in Central New York, six Friday in Charleston and four Saturday back in Savannah, with my recovery run also in Savannah.
Most impressive in all that, apart from running on vacation food and lots of travel, is that I ran nearly two full miles longer than I did in Week 10, adding only two minutes to my time. I'm sure the pace will slack this coming week, putting me on the road longer, since I'll be running in 80-plus degree weather with 90-plus percent humidity instead of the 65-degree temperatures and 30 percent humidity I ran in up north. But onward we go.
Normally the first time I do a distance it's a struggle, I'm unsure about how it's going to go. I wind up slugging through with my pacing all over the place and hopefully not feeling awful. This week was different. Eight miles for the first time went smoothly (if slowly), with the fastest and slowest miles being 52 seconds apart (compare that to last week, when the difference between my fastest and slowest miles over a seven-mile run was about 3:20). I'm excited to be traveling next week. I'm not sure what my time Internet access will be like, so if there's not a Week 11, all the numbers will come in the Week 12 diary.
It was a great week! No walking at all, slightly higher mileage than last week but almost 20 minutes less time on the road. It's great that, as a beginner, the improvements seem to come quickly and are quite large.
OK, we blew it early in the week with diet, but cleaned it up and had three great runs out of five. Next week better, I promise! Hopefully much less time on the road for the same number of miles. Five miles should definitely not be taking me longer than six miles usually does!
Some light reading for a recent Thursday afternoon
Well, I don't usually respond to memes, but I like me some books, so thanks, Mitch, for the tag and getting me back to thinking about books. I think the last time I responded to a meme, it was also about books. And like that time, I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you're looking for blogging ideas, by all means...
Here we go, then.
Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?
I think trilogies are lazy, either on the part of the author, or the part of the reader. I enjoy series, and I enjoy recurring characters — I'm nearly through the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes books, and I enjoy Agatha Christie's Poirot books and Anne Rice's vampire series, but a trilogy would come out to roughly 1,000 pages, usually, and I think that's a fine length for a single book.
Putting out three books of 300-ish pages instead of a single 1,000-page book says to me you're either too scared to put that much work into a single product, or you think readers can't handle that much product, or you're an intermediary making extra money off someone's else's creative output. Or you're a reader who can't stand to think about picking up a big book (in the photo above, that brown hardcover in the center comes in at 1,125 pages, and the other books are there primarily for reference).
Would you rather only read male or female authors?
No, but I tend to read more male authors, for a couple of reasons. One is that we tend, as a species, to gravitate toward people who are more like us. As a male, I would naturally gravitate toward other males, particularly in my nonfiction reading. Also, since a lot of nonfiction I'm reading is on Freemasonry and you have to be male to be a Freemason, it stands to reason most books I'm reading on the subject are authored by men.
Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?
I would rather browse at Barnes & Noble and buy at Amazon; I really like the "other people bought" feature of online shopping, and Amazon does it well. I'd rather browse and shop at an independent bookshop, preferably used, but hey, when the meme hands you a dichotomy...
Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?
I don't care. It takes the average person more like 8 or 10 hours to read a book than the 2 or 3 hours a movie can take up, or the 23 hours or so a moderately successful TV show can cover over 2-3 seasons. So, whatever. This is about books, and I like books.
Would you rather read only five pages per day or five books per week?
I'd rather read five pages a day, think about them, discuss them and incorporate the information into my life. If I read five books a week consistently, I'd be even more of a hermit than I already am.
Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?
They're the same thing. I've been a reviewer. You have to write stuff, and you get paid to do so. That makes you a professional author. That said, given the opportunity, I'd rather be the reviewed than the reviewer. I've come to recognize that as a reviewer, you hold the power to make someone feel really bad about themselves for putting hundreds of hours of creativity and hard work into something. It's a power that's easily abused.
Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
A bookseller, maybe. I'd rather not be either, truth be told, but some people have to go to a library. People self-select to walk into a shop, and as an independent bookseller, interesting people tend to go out of their way to walk into your shop.
Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?
I can't handle the false dichotomy here. If you ever limited what I could read, I'd probably stop reading altogether. Part of the glory of it is the freedom to read whatever I want.
Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?
I read both, and also listen to audiobooks. When I first read an ebook, I was surprised to have enjoyed the ebook format, but noted that I also really like the way the weight shifts from heavy in the right hand to heavy in the left hand as you move through a physical book. At this point, though, I tend to have at least one of each format going, and often more.
I go to bed late — after 3 a.m. many nights — and the light from my iPad is much less shocking to my already-sleeping wife than if I walked in and turned on my bedside lamp. I also have the benefit of being able to read a really thick book on the iPad without having to worry about dropping a 1,000-page hardcover on my face as I doze.
I'm also a big fan of audiobooks. Now that my runs are crossing the hour threshold three times a week, it's easy to work through an audiobook every couple of weeks during a time I definitely wouldn't be able to read.
Phew. A little later than usual today, but you know how sometimes life happens while we make plans. As expected, did a little less distance and a little less time on the road than last week, since the recovery run is supposed to taper and no 5K this week. So...
I seem to pace my short runs well; my recovery run wound up at 2.38 miles, with the first two splits at 11:08 each and the last bit a little faster (mostly I just wanted to get home). My long run for the week, however (6.2 miles), featured an 8:58 third mile and a 12:32 fourth mile. I know that a lot of that was most of my third mile was done on even concrete while the rest featured uneven brick, curbs and the like. Since my goal is "finish," maybe I don't need to worry about pacing at all, so long as I can keep going.
This coming week, things change up to five runs instead of four, with one medium distance instead of two, and three short distances instead of one. Anyway. Onward for the rest of the day.