Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loving my bed

I admit it, I’m a homebody.

In kindergarten our teacher asked all the kids to say what we were thankful for at Thanksgiving and sent that list home to all the parents.

Most kids named things such as: God, Mommy and Daddy, little sister and brothers. For me, it was “trees and my bed.” Though my mother likes to tease me about that, she always comes home from a trip and tells me she’s thankful for her bed. Though I was only 5, I guess I was no dummy.

There are two types of elite runners — those like me who like to live and train in the same place year-round, and those who are more like nomads. I have many runner-friends who never stay in one place more than a few months. The most popular running cities for elite runners are probably Flagstaff, Ariz. and Boulder, Colo. As altitude training started getting more popular, runners started living full-time in the higher elevations or going for month-long stints to reap the benefits of altitude training. Some runners can afford to rent an apartment, other crash on a friend’s couch. It’s a laid back lifestyle where you learn to go with the flow and live out a suitcase.

My coach and I used to kick around the idea of going to Tahoe or Flagstaff, Ariz. for some altitude training, but it has just never been feasible with work, marriage and now an active 2-year old. It does work for a lot of athletes, though. Many enjoy the time away from distractions. It’s also when you can completely focus on running and be around other runners with similar focus. American distance runner Ryan Hall, who was third in this year’s Boston Marathon, seems to be a great nomad. He and his wife Sara, also an elite runner, train part of the year in Flagstaff and do several months of sea-level training in Palo Alto near Stanford where they both attended college.

From the time I arrived here, I’ve loved running in the Monterey Bay area. But sometimes I feel like training here can be a disadvantage because we almost always have perfect 50-60 degree running weather. Being a runner you do have to consider what the weather will be like at your main competition. I went to the Beijing Olympics with enough time to acclimate to the heat and humidity, but for the most part, I get more out of training in a familiar environment, having my family and coach close, and staying in a good routine.

Luckily for me, the Olympic marathon trials will be in Houston in late January.

Barring a freak heat wave or snow storm, the temperatures during the race should be between 45 and 60 degrees, which is great for a marathon. Monterey will be the perfect place to train for the race. And that’s good, because at the end of the day, I love my bed.

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