Anderson's Olympic Trials On-Line Journal:
Part 10 - Morning Workout/Business
To Take Care Of
This is the tenth installment of
miler Scott Anderson's (aka Slicko) Olympic Trials Journal (well I guess
we should just say Scott Anderson's journal since the Olympic Trials ended
months ago). Anyway, if you missed his eye-opening installments
#1 or #2
we strongly urge you to read them before reading this installment as they
provide background information which makes things a lot easier to understand
(especially #1) .
To make a long story short, Scott
spent much of the last 4 years preparing for the 2000 Olympic Trials, which
he unfortunately didn't qualify for, but after the trials he ran a huge
pr of 3:38.70 for 1500m. On the verge of quitting the sport, Scott has
tentatively decided to stick with it for one more year as he tries to figure
out what he wants to do with the rest of his life (or at least that's what
we think he's decided as he's been very vague). Click
here to be taken to Installment #1.
#10 - Posted Thursday, November 16, 2000:
(My roommate) Robert (aka Rojo)
pokes his head in the room, "It's 6:50 (a.m.)." I roll over and think,
"I can't believe he does this every morning." Actually, I realize,
he usually gets up an hour earlier to go for his morning run, but the lack
of sleep caused by his following of last week's election (that and the
fact that he keeps having blood show up in his urine) forced him to call
it an early season and thus he's in the middle of a break from running
and gets to sleep in until the late hour of 6:45 a.m.
Nonetheless, he has to be at school
by 8 am (he's a high school math teacher), so last night, I asked him to
wake me up in case I missed my alarm that I set for the weekly 7:30 am
tempo run. Somehow I managed to get in bed last night by 10:40, keeping
my ambitious goal of 8 hours of sleep tenuously alive. However, it
didn't become a reality as I first made it through four lessons in my GMAT
book and a whole chapter of Jon Jordan's "Teach yourself HTML in 24 hours"
before drifting off and then I I got up twice to go to the bathroom in
the middle of the night. Thus I don't not how far short of the magic 8
I fell (as I refused to look at the watch because it would have been bad
When I woke up in the middle of
the night awash in sweat (our unpredictable furnace compensates for its
inactivity during the day by raising the temperature in the apartment to
the mid 90's when I'm buried under a pile of blankets), I was tempted to
write Rojo a note telling him not to wake me, but my Protestant work ethic
kicked in (although I'm half Catholic) and I instead decided to take a
pre-emptive salt and warm water gargle, a la Mark Sivieri (a former teammate
whom I follow as he's got to b smart since he's in medical school).
I pull a pair of tights from the
hamper and don my Once a Runner (a running book by John Parker for
you non-literary types) long-sleeve t-shirt for the third day in
a row. I miss having a laundry machine. I also miss having all my
clothes at my disposal, as I shortsightedly parted with much of my cold-weather
gear in an attempt to squeeze into Rojo's apartment's already cramped quarters.
(I've been squatting here since September.)
Being so early, it doesn't occur
to me to look down at the reproduction of the book-cover on this t-shirt.
If I had, maybe I would have been inspired by the picture of Quentin Cassidy,
trainers in hand, looking out his apartment window in anticipation of his
morning run. But then again, maybe I would have been bitter about
the fact that he's in Florida and this feels like the first day of winter
The one redeeming factor about this
apartment (aside from the excellent company) is that it's exactly two miles
away from the Georgetown track and it's 100% downhill, so I can basically
sleep-run there for my warm-up.
As I run up the stairs to the track
(okay, 95% downhill) with about 5 minutes till go-time, I hear an enthusiastic
"Slicko" from (5k runner) Pete Sherry , who's doing strides up on the field
adjacent to the track. At least someone's cheery this morning.
More likely he's taunting me: he knows I always whine about early morning
workouts, and as a married man with a year-old daughter, he gets up at
6 in the morning naturally. Even better, there's frost on the turf
inside the track, indicating a near-freezing temperature. Pete Sherry,
aka "Old Man Winter," thrives on these adverse conditions, as indicated
by his top 10 xc finish last year in NC and his xc exploits in the late
80's. Or maybe, he's anticipating the encounter I'm about to have
with Gags (Frank Gagliano, the coach of the Enclave).
Before I even pass the gates to
enter the track, Gags is yelling at me. At first I think he's chastising
my tardiness (the rest of the gang looks ready to go), but I can see that
playful twinkle in his eye. No, this is going to be something good,
I can tell.
From across the track: "I heard
one of your twin friends is writing trash about the Enclave on the Internet
[internet enunciated very deliberately]." So Gags has heard about Rojo
and his questioning "why any company would pony up $750,000 to $1 million
per year to sponsor the [Enclave] with the way it currently it set up."
Ever since Robert
wrote his piece two weeks ago in response to
the USA Today and Washington Post articles about the Enclave,
I've been meaning to crank out a piece in defense of the Enclave and its
marketing potential. But it looks like Rich Kenah, who runs for the
Enclave but isn't even sponsored by Reebok, has beaten me to it.
Last night, Robert showed me Rich's
letsrun.com post, in which Rich points out that
Reebok had dropped the high profile Enclave runners before they went to
other shoe companies. Robert had not known this and before I left
this morning, he told actually told me to ingratiate myself to Rich for
Quite pleased with himself and his
attentive audience, Gags is on a roll, "He doesn't know the full story.
You tell those ____ guys to call me if they want the story." He chuckles.
Gags loves playing up the tough Italian role. "Tell them the Gag
called them a couple ___. That'll scare 'em, right?" I love when Gags refers
to himself in the third person. Then he reassures me: "No, I know
they're nice guys. They just have to get their information straight."
And I reassure him that Robert has already issued a mea culpa.
Back to the workout at hand.
Tying up our flats, Pugsley and I recall the 19:04 4 mile tempo run we
ran up here in a blizzard two years ago, in January of 1999 (in hindsight,
I realize that was probably the high-point of my season). I distinctly
remember Tommie Howell chipping the ice and sweeping snow from lane 1 on
the far side of the track. I don't know who had it worse.
As I finish my one and only stride,
Gags looks over with another mischievous grin and announces, "Honerkamp
left me a message. He said he wouldn't be here this morning-- he
said he'd make it for the afternoon workout. In mock defense of John,
I reply "He's got business to take care of. Gags shakes his
head: "Unbelievable. His thing's gonna fall off by the time he's 30."
The crowd roars in approval.
As we line up at around 7:40 am,
Sherry asks what pace we're going. The Arm (Terrence Armstrong) sobers
us up with his reminder: 5:15, 5:05, 4:55, 4:50. The milers are doing
4; Pete and Ray are going to tack on an extra mile. Pete informs
us that he'll be hanging out in back. With Gibbons and Honerkamp
MIA, it's not looking good for lead-sharing duties. At least (Matt)
Holthaus and Sammy G (Gebremanian) are here. In typical Enclave fashion,
a hybrid version of musical chairs determines who will lead the first mile:
everyone drifts as far away from the start line as possible.
In an uncharacteristic loss of focus,
I find myself closest to the start line when the music stops (ie, when
Gags, yells "Let's get going), and thus involuntarily volunteer to lead
- only to find a huge tractor in lanes 1 through 3 at the start of the
back stretch. I'd forgotten that Gags had warned us about the renovation
of the inside lanes and told us to swing wide. We have to swing out
to lane 4 again at the top of the home stretch to avoid 3 guys digging
up the track. Coupled with the slippery track conditions, I generously
estimate a 3 second handicap and am reminded of (my former college roommate)
Lear's reports from Boulder of altitude-equivalent
workout times ("Goucher ran (the equivalent of) a 29:30 10k in trainers!,
"SLOW DOWN, yells Gags as we cruise
through in a 74. I guess I was overcompensating. I settle into
78s and we cruise through in 5:15 exactly. For about half of the
fifth lap, it looks like no one is going to pass me, but then I hear the
distinct clomping of the Holthaus specials (he's still wearing trainers
due to his plantar injury), as Holthaus glides into the lead. We
go through the next mile a little ahead of schedule in 4:59 before Pugsley
takes the lead. Midway through the 10th lap, I catch myself fantasizing
about curling up in my warm bed, even though I know resident dog Ginga
has already polluted it with his excessively shedding hair. My second
loss of focus this morning can't be a good sign. Or maybe it is a
Maybe I'm not working as hard as
I could be. As we go through 3 miles in about 15:12, I realize there
are only about three or four of us left. Looks like Pugs will be
stuck up front for a little more than his share. After 2 more laps
in about 74, my guilt overwhelms me and I take the lead and finish up in
20:01. It would have been nice to break the 20 barrier, but I am
content with a 4 mile pr for before 8 am. On the cooldown home, the
Arm tells me I looked good this morning. I confide in him that I
only ran 2 miles yesterday (I don't admit that this was done as a double
a mile to my car pool base, a mile back). He comments that I don't
seem to be too concerned with my mileage. Quite an understatement.
I ran 61 miles last week, and that's more than I've run since April.
But I'm enjoying running more than ever with this less stressful approach.
To think that just 4 months ago,
I was thinking of giving up this drama and these good times to join the
rat race. And my day with Gags is not even complete. Next workout:
3:30 this afternoon. I've got to roll if I want to get my double
shot of espresso.
We're thinking about taking a poll, is it reassuring or frightening to
realize that Scott freaks out about his sleep and health even in the non-competitive
season? We're not sure, so please be sure to email your thoughts to Scott
at or letsrun.com.
Lots of people have really enjoyed
his journal and have inquired about contacting Scott and he said he'd be
happy to receive any emails.)