It’s Go Time

Chapter 4, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Guess it was still my torch to carry.

And this, my friends, was a crying shame. That is, if my sore, abused muscles could cry. But Ralphie’s sheer insolence shoved me over the edge. I swung into training with the gusto of a one-armed madman swinging on a trapeze high above an incredulous crowd.

Madness was required. I had no net.

After three “brutal” weeks of walking/running around the block once a day, it became obvious I was just going in circles. I knew I needed to do something out-of-the block different.

Basically, I obsessed about three things:

No. 1, should I stick with the 800 meters?

That was my best event in high school, having won the state title in 1977. Then, it was the 880, as in yards. I also ran some mile races. That would be the 1500 today. But I thought the 800 held the most promise for me. And, yes, it was a helluva lot shorter.

No. 2, if I did stick with the 800, how should I train?

For three weeks, I built toward running a half-mile, the equivalent of once around the block. I could make it about three-quarters of the way before my brain would sound the red alert that my cardiovascular system was ready to blow a fuse. There had to be a new school of thought on the 800 since the Dark Ages when I last competed. My legs prayed for some state-of-the-art training shortcut to spare them any more old-school torture. Also, I was curious. In the course of 30 years, what had I missed?

In high school, we knew nothing except what our coaches yelled at us. We just ran and ran. Then we ran some more. The coaches never told us more than we needed to know. When we did question our track gods – heaven forbid – they made us run more.

So the smart ones kept their mouths shut. The dumb ones ran laps.

Dumb or not, I had a limited number of miles left to put on my odometer and couldn’t afford to waste any of them by making mistakes. I needed to make each a quality mile – or 800.

The best 880 I did in high school clocked at 1.53-something. So No. 3 was what time would I have to run to be in the ballpark – or on track.

During my recent, pathetic attempts at training, I clocked myself for 200 yards at a time. Splits they were called. I averaged just under 30 seconds for a split or 1.58 to 1.59 for a half mile. Starting with that time and calculating a decent rate of improvement every week, I figured I would be ready for those 2016 Games in Chicago.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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