Below is the collection of weekly email newsletter versions of The Bearded Brain. They constitute about a year of links to interesting things and podcasts. This now publishes at a collection of links every Tuesday, available here.
Well, two things have come to my attention this week. One is that I enjoy three-to-four miles and long runs and I really don't like those middle distances — in that 5- and 6-mile range. I think that's even where i started to have to get past it on my 10-miler this week.
The other is that I need to give myself a little more credit. Looking back over the week, I ran a full three miles farther this week than last, and only took five more minutes to do it in.
So, I guess the countdown's really on. Nine weeks until race day. Onward!
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!