Two Saturdays ago, I threw a discus for the first time. My wife gave me the discus for my 42nd birthday, as I had mentioned that I would like to try to compete in the pentathlon during track and field season. For Masters athletes, the pentathlon consists of the discus and javelin throws, the long jump, the 200, and the 1500. In high school, I competed in the 400, the triple jump, and the long jump, and now I compete in endurance sports, so the long jump, the 200, and the 1500 are events in which I believe I can be competitive. However, the discus and javeline throws are new things that I'll have to learn.
As luck would have it, the husband of the woman who owns the gym that I work in (my boss) is a Belgian gentlemen who was a national-class discus thrower. He is going to give me a couple of lessons before we depart the Netherlands, so I believe I can also become competitive as a thrower. (Now that marathon training has ended, I will need to hit the weights again. I've lost too much strength.) What I don't have is any notion about how to throw the javelin, but I hope I can find a track club in the States that will have someone who can help me with this.
One of the ways we can escape becoming bored is by constantly challenging ourselves to learn new things. We're never too old to pick up a new skill, and by learning new athletic skills both our bodies and our minds become stronger. I look forward to competing in my first pentathlon--probably during the 2013 track season, but I haven't ruled out the 2012 season yet. It's just going to be tough to train during the next couple of months while we're packing up our house, moving back to America and traveling for four weeks before finally settling in Asheville, North Carolina at the beginning of August. (If you happen to live and train in Ashevile, please drop me a note. I'd enjoy meeting some training partners and learning about some great routes, especially on the wonderful trails in the area.)
Now that I achieved goal number one for 2012--qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it's time for me to refocus my training. I've taken some time off and have spent a couple of weeks getting back into the groove. My inclination now is to work on gaining the strength and speed I'll need to compete in the pentathlon, but at the same time, I would like to see if I could run a sub-19 5k and a sub-40 10k. I do think it is possible to work on these three goals at the same time.
I didn't do much running this weekend. I only had time to run for an hour on Saturday, as my older daughter was hosting a goodbye party for her friends, and I had a lot of work to do to get the house and the food ready for the party. On Sunday, I ran with an acquaintance who had asked if I could give him some advice about dealing with patellofemoral pain syndrome and some IT band issues. After discussing what exercises I like best for rehabbing these niggles--lunges and lateral lunges, single-leg squats (both with a straight leg and with a bent knee), and side leg raises, he and I ran for a little over 30 minutes. We began with a nine-minute mile and ended with an eight-minute mile. He usually does not run nine-minute miles, but our run was his first pain free run in about six weeks. I suggested that one of his problems may be that he doesn't start out easy enough and give his body a chance to warm-up thoroughly. If the Kenyans begin runs at a shuffle, maybe we should too. In fact, if I learned anything from trainging for Prague, it was the importance of running slowly.
I took today off from running and did about 50 minutes of strength training. It felt good to throw the kettle bells and dumbbells around. I have an urge to run 400s tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes. I'd also like to discuss some of things I've read recently. I had planned on doing that tonight, but something else came out of me as I began tapping away at the keyboard.