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Tempoo runs

Mom and I are adjusting to the new house. After cutting Mom a little slack on her marathong training through the move, it’s time to put her through her paces again. She has also discovered that we can run to My Trail from our new house, we just have to run an extra mile to get there and then another mile back. I didn’t know this because when we drive Mom does the navigating, but I don’t understand why Mom didn’t figure it out sooner. I’ve noticed that sometimes people don’t understand distances. They drive places that they could easily walk or run to all the time! Dummies…

Other than our long runs on the weekends, another part of Mom’s marathong training is that sometimes I need to make her run fast. Some days her fast runs are really short, like bunny sprints, and we do a lot of them. Other times I need to make sure that Mom can run hard for longer. These runs train her to be able to pull the leash for miles and miles without rest, like Bodie does. For those runs we need to practice something that Mom calls “pacing.”

Mom is not very good at “pacing” without the help of doggie doping.

This morning we had to run for 20 minutes at Mom’s tempoo pace. “Tempoo” is another good vocabulary word. It comes from the Latin “temp” which means “for a short time” and the suffix “poo” meaning “your digestive system is going to shut down soon.” So a tempoo run is a run where we race to see if she can keep running fast until the timer goes off, or if she’s going to have to stop with diarrhea or to yack first.

This morning we warmed up, walked for about a minute to let our heart rates come down, and then started running at tempoo pace. After a couple of blocks I reminded Mom, “Make sure that you don’t go too fast at the beginning.” Every tempoo pace has an expiration time after which Mom blows up. If she runs at the 15-minute expiration pace, it might take her 10 minutes to notice the error. Then the next 10 minutes are BAD.

After about 8 minutes I asked, “Are you sure you want to go this fast?” “Oscar, we’re fiiiiiiiiiine. I’ve done plenty of running at this pace this fall.” “Yeah, but you missed a lot of time. And you’ve been sick too.” “I told you. I’m fiiiiiiiiiiiine.” I’ve noticed that the more i’s Mom pronounces in “fine,” the less likely it is that things will turn out fine.

After about 13 minutes we had to go around some curves and a little climb to an overpass that seemed to mess with Mom’s rhythm. When she got back to a straight path, she started running even faster. “This is really fast. Maybe you should slow down,” I suggested. “This feels like your 4 minute expiration pace.” This time when Mom told me she was fine, there were more i’s than ever. “I can do anything for 5 minutes,” Mom said.

But Mom is not the coach. After 17 minutes Mom started to slow down. It happened gradually, and then it happened quickly. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I don’t feel so…” then she bent over. “BLAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!” she went on. “Not again…” I said. Whenever Mom barfs I always stand a respectful distance away and look the other way until she’s finished. Just like I do when she takes pictures.

When Mom had finished, we jogged for a few seconds before finishing the final 2 minutes at tempoo pace. But it was all wrong. Mom just doesn’t understand proper training strategy.

-Oscar the coach



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