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Thanks. I needed that.

After a week of Runner Susan-sympathetic lethargy I was glad to go out and run 10 miles this morning. I almost didn't make it.

I cracked an eye at 6:36. I closed the eye. I thought about how nice bed was; whether I could still make it by 7:00. At 6:37 I decided I would turn into a fruitcake if I didn't get up. I hate fruitcake.

In 5K speed I was dressed, had the Zippfizz packed on ice and a banana in my hand. I was out the door and on my way.

First sight I see on the Avenue is Jack showing off his 1st Place age group trophy to 2nd Place age group finisher Bob (different age groups). Jack said he might still strap his award around the Mercedes logo on the hood of his car.

19 runners started off this morning as a group. Roll call would be too much text for the blog (I have my limits) so let's hit the highlights:
  1. Christy made her long-awaited return to the team after a stunning NYC Marathon. I spent as much time as I could picking her memory for the highlights. She says she may never run another marathon because nothing could top New York. I might have to agree with her.
  2. Chris was starting with us after doing 10 miles beforehand. He seems to have a sleep problem and solves it by running. That doesn't really solve it but it's what he does. If you're looking to buy a dialysis machine Chris is taking offers.
  3. Brian "greatest Central Florida high school runner in history" J. (and my neighbor) was out again and, fortunately, had a pack of fasties standing by to whisk him away.
  4. Jack showed me some good form and stamina. Off his superb half last week, he's running the full 10-mile circuit with speed and confidence. I noticed him only take one shortcut.
  5. Ed ran so fast that I completely lost track of him after 4 miles.
  6. John, Jurgen, Russ and I ran together until six miles when Jurgen peeled off with Christy for the shorter seven mile route.
  7. John and Russ are on the same Higdon training plan for the same race (Disney) so they compared notes and I implored Russ to share his previous experiences at Disney with John.

I pulled back onto the Avenue after the 10 and felt just great. 1:39 time and hungry. I stretched, changed and went up to the Briar Patch to eat eggs Benedict and tip my waiter 30%. Hey, he's going to Greece for five weeks (school, you know) and needs some travelling money.


The circus was back in town

After a couple of decades in the sports business and lots of "big" game media events, I am fairly non-plussed by media circuses. Today was a circus-plus day.

One of our schools is situated at the end of a dead end road with no other access. It was along this road, within 100 yards of the front gate, that the remains of a young person were found this morning just into the nearby woods. Without going into all the details, the common assumption is that the remains are that of Caylee Anthony, the missing 4-year old cutie pie (since June) who's been a favorite of Nancy Grace and other media networks (CNN story here).

Well, I had to hurry to the scene shortly after noon today to explain how we were going to release the students from the school and allow parents to pick them up - with a road closed off by police fully engrossed in an investigation - in the rain - with every network you can name on the scene.

School was out at 3 p.m. and the buses with many school kids rolled by the police cars, media tents, satellite trucks, curious neighbors and reporters oblivious to what was going on, smiling and waving. I felt obliged to wave back and smile just to help them relax, in case they had any fears about what was going on.

Knowing kids, I expect they had a pretty good clue even though they'd been in school all day doing what they do. The media circus has been on their school's street for months so it won't be any big surprise when they find out, but the news is grim. Nevertheless, teachers and staff will be ready tomorrow to listen and watch for reactions and questions.

A sad day but maybe one of relief for many.

Oh. I ran 1.5 of 5 planned miles this morning before stopping. I walked home. Something was bothering me. I didn't know it would be Caylee Anthony.


Hard core runners show up

There were fleeting promises of showing up to run this morning by many among the Sunday Orlando Runners Club crowd; after yesterday's taxing signature half marathon for Central Florida.

I rolled onto Park Avenue at 6:56. Jurgen was there. He didn't race. Seth showed up. He hosted the ORC Christmas party the night before so he kinda had to show up. Chris showed up. Brian Jaeger, "Central Florida's greatest high school distance runner" showed up for the first time. End of show ups.

We immediately ushered Brian over to Kim B., who (a) is much faster than us and (b) is our default relief valve for too-fast runners who show up to run with Jack and friends. That left me, Seth, Jurgen and Chris to be the hard core Sunday runners bunch.

We presume John was still coping with race soreness he had never experienced before, especially in light of his inaugural 1:51 premier run. We presume Jack was en route to New York or LA for his Leno appearance (where do they shoot that show?); for winning his age group (70-74) yesterday and beating the mayor, 24 years his junior by 10 minutes.

Christy - ah Christy, the erstwhile NYC Marathon legend - is on short term medical leave, we hear, and is expected back next weekend. Ed must be licking his 10-mile wall wounds. Summer, Adrian, Bob and others were not hard core enough to be out after the half to run again this morning.

Run, is a loosely applied term in this case. We were moving forward and that's about as good as we will allow. Chris turned home after the 4-mile stop, lamenting that there weren't the same amenities on the race course (cool your heals and chat stops every four miles). Seth turned in when we got to his house around mile 5. He is running somewhere in Hawaii next weekend so he gets top props for hard core status. Both did warm up miles running to Park Ave. at 7:00 a.m.

Jurgen and I turned at Seth's house too, making a bee-line back to Park Avenue. For me it would be a 7-mile jaunt at 10:15 pace. For fresh-legged Jurgen, I gave him the challenge to do a chase run from Seth's house back to the Avenue. When I turned right he turned left and had an extra block to navigate before being on my heels again. Within two miles he caught me.

My seven miles restored weekly mileage to the 20 miles or more plateau. Now that the half is over I need to plot a new training plan. But for what? The Pig isn't until May. Gasparilla is March 1. I'll have to play with it to see if I am training for the 15K, half or full.


Father Jack won!

Yes, Jack won his age group by about five minutes this morning. A fine performance by the godfather of the Sunday running group. He'll be rigging some way to mount his trophy on his car hood tonight to show off tomorrow morning.

I ran feeling pretty decent but my time was not up to snuff - 2:03:22. I had an equipment malfunction during mile 5 (shoelace came undone) that cost me my place running with Chris. Ed was with us for awhile too. I saw Seth and John - who smoked it in 1:51! That I beat Seth was an accomplishment.

I placed 31 out of 66 in my age group among 2,248 total finishers. The best part of this race is the beer garden afterwards. It stayed open past noon even though I left at 11.

I plan to go out tomorrow morning for some more running in what are pretty nice conditions in the high 50s/low 60s.