How cool is that?
Being part of the Dana-Farber team, I have the great opportunity with many other Dana-Farber runners, to train with Jack Fultz, the 1976 Boston Marathon Winner. Jack won the Boston Marathon with a finishing time of 2:20:19 and where the temperature that year was one of the hottest – almost 100 degrees. Can you imagine running 26.2 miles in 100 degree weather? That is insane to me.
This past Tuesday (yesterday) was the first time I actually had a chance to attend an official training run with the team. I had a blast. I was a bit nervous to be getting out there and running after just having run one of the toughest races of my life on Sunday, however I was really anxious to get the chance to train with Jack and also just meet other runners part of the DF team. I was debating all day whether I would be able to make it to the Dana-Farber run yesterday after still being extremely sore.
On Tuesdays, Dana-Farber runners are able to run “speed workouts” on the Tufts University track in Medford. I haven’t done speed workouts since high school. All I remember was not being a great fan of track runs because of the repetitive nature of going around and around a big circle. But my prior thoughts went out the window after last night – it was actually really fun and the time flew by.
When I went to the workout last night, I had every intention of taking it easy and listening to how my body was feeling. I was still extremely sore and the thought of running seemed impossible earlier that day. However, once I started jogging around the track, my body felt pretty good. I think running helped me get into recovery mode quicker.
Our workout last night consisted of 12 – 600 meter repeats (3 laps of 200 meters) at our 5k-10k race pace with a recovery of 200 meter jog between each 600 meter and a full 2 lap recovery jog after set 4 and 8. A total of about 6-7 miles was completed between warm up runs and the speed workout. The Dana-Farber runners split up naturally by our pace and I ran with a group of about 6 other runners. We timed ourselves during each 600 meter repeat and we actually kept our pace pretty even between sets…and perhaps even a bit faster at the end.
A key to track workouts (that I also remember doing in high school) is to run in both directions around the track (i.e. clockwise and counter-clockwise). It’s important so that you can make sure both legs are getting equal impact. Going in the same direction puts a lot of torque on the knees, so it helps reversing directions time to time.
After the run I spoke to Jack and Glenn who were coaching for the night. I was sharing my experience about feeling cramped in calf muscles from Sunday and also the pain I’ve been experiencing in my hip. I got some great pointers from 2 very experienced marathon runners. Glenn suggested that the muscle cramping might be due to a lack of sodium in my diet. When I finished my race this past Sunday I noticed my face had a white salty look to it, but I didn’t think much of it. Glenn asked me if this occurred and said that it is a sign of low sodium. While you’d think this is good for a diet on a regular basis, when running sodium helps retain water. He suggested I try getting some sodium in my diet or eat pretzels the night before a race. In terms of my hip, he suggest using the foam roller and showed me a few more exercises I didn’t know about. Foam roller was probably one of the best investments I’ve made. Another tip suggested for recovery after long runs is to make sure to walk at least a mile later that day of a long run and then walk 1-2 miles the following day.
The great thing about running for Dana-Farber is first and foremost the funds that raised for an extremely important cause: cancer. But I also realized running for Dana-Farber is a lifetime experience. The team has provided DFMC runners with so many opportunities for training that would probably not otherwise been afforded to us. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity – in a small way – being able to train with Jack Fultz last night. I am going to try to make the Tuesday night track runs a regular thing since it was such a great time. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Jack sends us for a workout next week! Keep you updated