Thursday, October 24, 2013

Once a Runner... and, "Don't freak out, you're in Russia now"

Today I finally took the plunge to commit to running again. Running on my own wasn't cutting it. Despite somehow being a relatively successful athlete and student, my personal discipline stinks like a dead rat. So I agreed to meet a coach and (I thought) some athletes for a run today at the school's stadium. It turned out that it wasn't a group run, but a workout (a test?). Maybe the coach wanted to know what shape I was in....

In any case, maybe I talked myself up too much when I was trying to make sure they would take me seriously. I was a little concerned they would just ignore me if I didn't (figuratively) tape my 13:55 5k PR to my forehead and tell everyone in the physical education department that I was, actually, a good runner. Maybe that's why the coach wanted me to do 65 second quarters around the track today...

As he led me to the "locker room" where the team meets to gear up and get ready, he said something along the lines of "Don't freak out, you're in Russia now." Well, he said that because the locker room is tucked away in what seems was supposed to be a storage room in the basement of the university. The only thing that should live in this room is rats, spiders, and coach roaches, but instead its a locker room with clothes hanging from every surface (oh, if only the administration of W&M could see it, they'd probably die from seeing so much dirty clothes hanging from dirty surfaces. Their heads would probably explode.) But this is Russia, and this is normal, and why shouldn't it be? It is a locker room, after all.

Well, 65 second quarters were just not going to happen. I haven't exactly been training like a 13:55 guy these last few months (have I been training at all???). So I did a farthlek sort of workout around the "track" including 6 quarters in 72-74... and well, I think I disappointed the group of sportsmen that were watching my first few reps.

See, in Russia there seem to be rankings of athletes. My 13:55 seems to grant me the title of "master" in Russian sport speak, which I think is pretty good. I don't know what the other rankings are, but I'm curious to find out. Perhaps some other trackies found out a "master" was doing a workout today and came to watch (poor them, poor me). At least now I know I have a reputation to uphold so I better start training again. I may not be fat yet, but I'm not in shape. But as they say, "Once a runner... Always a runner." This northern man who went to college in what used to be the South will rise again!

So tomorrow I'm (hopefully) meeting some folks for a standard run at the university at 3:40. But I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be 200s. I should also probably study some Russian track vocabulary in the mean time. How do I say "I'm not in good shape" in Russian anyway...


  1. I'm not in shape = Я не в форме

    :) удачи

  2. Levels in Russia are: заслуженный мастер спорта (Olympics, World Champions, etc.), мастер спорта международного класса (Those that have represented Russia internationally and done well), мастер спорта, кандидат мастера спорта, 1-й спортивный разряд, 2-й спортивный разряд, 3-й спортивный разряд,1-й юношеский разряд,2-й юношеский разряд, 3-й юношеский разряд. The levels are the same throughout all sports in Russia, but the qualifications differ based on the sport. However, the qualifications for track for example, are the same across Russia.

  3. Ок, Thanks Zanny for the vocab, and thanks JAS for the explanation! I guess I am a "Master" at 5000 meters and a "Candidate" at all other distances from 1,500-10,000. In America we don't have these levels at all. The closest thing we have is the title of "All-American" given at the University level. If you do very well in major competitions (based on place) you can earn this title. For example, the first 40 finishers at the NCAA Div I cross country championships earn the title of "All-American." I kind of like the Russian system :)