A.M. Ran with the BYU ROTC Army Ranger Challenge cadets. Could not find shoes/shorts, had a late start, took a shortcut to BYU, 1.85 miles, 12:47 6:54.5 avg (used the new calculator feature I coded up yesterday to compute that) fairly brisk for 5:15 AM, but being late gave me the extra adrenaline. The cadets were doing 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with equal rest. During the warm-up I discovered that at least two cadets spoke Russian, and it sounded good to me. With the temperature being 39 degrees, I spoke to them in a burly Russian man mumble rather than like a newscaster, making no allowance for it being the second language for them, and noticed no trouble on their part. I was actually expecting to find some Russian speakers since we had a group of about 30 and mentioned it to them. They suggested I should try Spanish. I did. Nearly half the group started chattering away simultaneously in Spanish telling their mission stories and jokes. Mind you, this is a group of white guys most of whom grew up in Utah in a family where English was the only language spoken.
Back in Moscow in the 90s as Russia opened up to all variety of missionaries I had a chance to meet with a number of representatives of different religions. None of the ones I met had more Russian fluency that a couple of phrase book sentences except for the young LDS missionaries who ranged anywhere from accented functional to virtually native fluency. Even some of the older missionaries, including the mission president and his wife were fluent. Some of them were really good. I remember talking to Elder Jamie Codee, who incidentally happens to be Kendra Hooper's brother, and Steve Hooper's brother in law, small world. We spoke for half an hour, with him doing a lot of talking, and I had not caught anything that did not sound even the tiniest bit wrong in spite of staying on alert the entire time waiting like a vulture to correct him.
That meant a great deal to me. The ability to communicate was not an issue. I was already fluent in English, and in fact, I preferred to have religious discussions in English. Religious terms in Russian just did not quite mean their dictionary translations to me, and when put together produced awkward and confusing sentences. 70 years of state-sponsored atheism had subtly corrupted the language. Those same sentences in English flowed naturally and carried a lot of meaning. I was able to get away from my background and think with a different perspective.
What did matter to me, though, is the thorough wide-scale effort to learn the Russian language, which is not the easiest for an English speaker. It represented preparation, solid work ethic, determination, and commitment. I figured a church that had the ability to instill what it takes to learn Russian in their English-speaking youth was up to something worthwhile.
The Spanish chatter ended with Ted announcing it was time to start the speed portion of the workout. That is when the group split, and we eventually ended up with 2.5 cadets. Ted ran the repetitions somewhere in the 5:30-6:00 range. 2.5 cadets were able to hang on until the 3 minute one. Ted wanted to run at least his marathon pace effort, so we would drop our precious 2.5, and then come back to them during recovery. 10 seconds before the first 4 minute one I had to make a VPB stop. Ran a 3:17 1000 (off Hawks marks) up 0.5% grade (the stretch of the Provo River Trail from Wills to Riverwoods), that felt like threshold-comfortable, caught up to/passed everybody, Ted was the hardest to catch, and I think he picked it up when he heard me coming because all of a sudden he started coming to me a lot slower while I was running a steady pace, then ran about 50 more meters with him, and the repetition was over.
Got back to Smith's Fieldhouse at BYU, then ran home without the shortcut. Total of 12.07 in 1:25:42. Sarah had a mile left when I got back, so we ran 1.05 together around the block in 10:00.
P.M. 0.5 with Jenny and Julia in 5:30, Jenny is still sick, but can run a bit, so her little sister Julia decided to be a nice sister and keep the pace moderate. Jenny did struggle, though, but that is better than yesterday when she could not run at all. Benjamin is feeling good today, is planning on running the cross country 3 K at Kiwani's Park tonight.
Benjamin thought he was feeling good, but really the sickness was still there. He suffered his way through 16:31. I think from now on we will have a rule that if 8:00 pace the day before feels hard or impossible, we do not race. Ran some errands to the church and back afterwards, total of 0.5.