Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Perfect Mile

I was going to wait to comment on Neal Bascomb's The Perfect Mile until I actually finished the book but now is as good a time as any.

I love true life tales of people pushing themselves to the limit and accomplishing their goals. It could be sports, music, education, whatever, I'm always fascinated by people with such dedication to a singular task that they cannot be satisfied until it is accomplished. I'd love to claim a similar driven attitude but I suffer from varied interests and wandering goals.

Looking back, it seems impressive but not very monumental to beat the four minute mile mark. People do it all the time these days. However, in the early 1950's, it was thought to be impossible. In fact, the best medical advice of the day was that, if anyone was to run a 4 minute mile, they would no doubt collapse at the finish line and die of heart failure. Many runners never attempted the feat for fear of shortening their life spans.

The book chronicles the three main challengers to the 4 minute mile - Bannister in England, Landy in Australia, and Santee in America - as they train on 3 separate continents while keeping tabs on each others progress through news reports. Of course, we know that Bannister was the first to accomplish the goal while simultaneously completing his medical degree doing rounds at a local hospital. However, even knowing the outcome, it is very exciting to read the accounts of each runner's progress as they inch closer and closer to the record before Bannister finally breaks through. If you have a chance, take a look. Any runner will be fascinated by this book. It gets my highest recommendation for a sports book.

I see that the film rights to the book are owned by Universal Studios but, as yet, production hasn't begun. I guess we needed another Die Hard installment first.

Running Update: 10 miles last night at a 7:20 pace. This weekend, I'll do 15 miles at around the same pace. I read an article recently that suggested a marathoner should run at marathon pace on the LR every three weeks. I've also read differing accounts that say you shouldn't do your LR's at marathon pace ever. I'm going with the former as I feel stronger and more confident when I hit the LR's at my marathon goal pace and visualize myself working that hard at the marathon itself. This will be the last LR at marathon goal pace. Next weekend, 21 miles and then the blessed taper!

1 comment:

Mir said...

It's hard to believe taper time is almost here! It sounds like your miles are going great. You're going to rock this marathon.

Sorry to hear about your car key ordeal. If it makes you feel any better, one time I drove to a trailhead to run and instead of taking the car key off my keychain, I took my house key, tied it to my shoe, locked the car door, and only then realized what I'd done. Smart!

Thanks for your thoughts on the book--I might have to pick that one up sometime.