Sorta Out of Sorts

I'm off my rocker. First it was the laptop issue and I think I've overcome that. Then there's the getting ready for vacation rush. I'm just not in the routine I want. I ran yesterday but only three miles. I was sore and slow. The humidity was palpable. I promised myself I'll go tomorrow. There's a race in Rhode Island (mmmmm, Rhode Island) sometime this weekend but I don't know which day. I have to train up for that and just be ready when I get there on Friday night. It's all about losing the watch when I get there. I go on Jamaican time: Don't worry. Be Happy.
I hope you're all coping with your summer paces. I'm hopeful to catch a run with Jank while up there, not to mention Movin' Susan. That will be fun.
Maybe we should develop little icons to paste on our blogsites to signify how many of the RBFamily we've met. Kinda like Red Baron Snoopy has German crosses on his dog house ... sorta.


Barely Alive

...that would be my 'other' laptop. It's slowing to a crawl and screams like hell when it gets warmed up. I'm dragging important files to my flash drives and bringing them over to this year-old HP that I inherited from son T. who left for West Point yeterday. He gets a brand new Dell when school starts so I've taken over his personal laptop.
Running has been hot and humid, but what a surprise that must be for everybody. It is summer after all. I thought I tore it up on Wednesday morning only to see I was plenty hot and sweaty but not very fast. I guess I'll have to wait until next week when I'm up north to appreciate how this fine thick as cream cheese Florida weather has prepared me for running in 'cooler' weather up north. Then again, they have real hills up there.
I'm as ready as a graduating senior to get the heck out of town and have a vacation. My mind needs to shut down and forget work. I know there are those of you out there who pride yourself in working to the bone and never getting away but let me say this to you, "Phtttttt. Yeah, right. Have at it." I know I'm going to be more fired up and effective after vacation. It's been a long year; a decent and good year but taxing.


Due to Technical Difficulties ....

I am having a laptop problem: the fan is burning out I believe. It's whining and complaining. You'd think Mia or Jon were inside. I fear for the consequences of the rest of the laptop by running it too long without any cooling so my on-lap time is now being reduced to essentials. Posting blog stories about my runs is not essential.
I will be visiting repair stores in search of a 4-year old fan replacement part (Ha!! Good luck) or shopping for a new laptop.
I already tried the super duper vacuum sucker treatment to relieve the blade of gunk. It's not as noisy but still not blowing any air out the vent.
If you have any ideas - all your tech wizards - please post. HELP!!!!


TV Finally Inspires Me

So yesterday the TV is on. I don't know who left it on Fox Sports but there for the viewing was the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon one hour show. It is rare to see a running event on TV so I watched for awhile - actually until it was over - and was so inspired that I made immediate plans to run forever this morning. I picked up some Gu at Track Shack, ate well, drank little and went to bed early. At 600 I had breakfast and by 700 I was downtown looking for the long runners.
I followed some fasties who eventually pulled away yet still within visual distance. Only one guy passed me so I was somewhere in between two running group speeds and running solo. No matter.
At the four mile Gatorade stop I had a splash and pushed on. It was about 75 degrees, sunny and humid. It was a beautiful day and all the nice homes along the shady streets had manicured green lawns and vivid colors. I tore open my Gu at 55 minutes, dissolved a few grams in my mouth and felt the strength come back into my legs after a few minutes. At the 8 mile mark I started to veer over to a park where there are water fountains and a runner came up behind me (K.) who said if I followed her another 100 yards I could stop for some Gatorade she had stowed behind a wall. Sure enough, there was a cooler sitting there and in a few minutes there were seven of us taking a break to refresh, chat about wayward football quarterbacks in Tallahassee and run on.
I took the long route back downtown to add another mile or so to the run and came in just all happy with myself. Mission accomplished.
At home I took a swim in the pool, laid out in the sun with the dogs and listened to the birds still singing at nine in the morning.


Righty or Lefty?

I ran this morning and realized I was doing it again. When I run, I default to using my right leg to do most of the work. My left just sort of goes along for the ride; not dramatically but enough that I can sense a difference. When I realize I am favoring again I make a little more effort to try and "lead" with my left leg stride. It's amazing to me how it rights the ship and propels me down the road with a bit more balance and speed.
That was the essence of my easy 4-mile run this morning. Form correction. Anybody else notice the same inclinations?


Order Up

I had to be up no later than 530. I slept lightly and was awake at 453. I kept my eyes closed until 515 and got up to have a raisin bagel with cream cheese. At 530 I woke up C. and we pulled out of the driveway at 545. We picked up E. who was waiting in the drizzle at his house and made it to the rendezvous point just before 600. A string of cars pulled in and some got out of their cars despite the drizzle to confer about the ride out to the woods. This was the 4-time state champion high school cross country team's first Saturday running the trails of Chulouta. By summer's end (early August down here) the boys will have logged 500-700 miles since Memorial Day as a base for the upcoming season. They do it right.
The coach was a no-show as he came in on a red eye from San Diego the night before and obviously couldn't get moving. We high-tailed it out to the park 15 miles from town; me and 17 high schoolers. I now have a refreshed reminder of how novice drivers (males) drive crazily when given a chance. One guy spun his daddy's Caddy SUV in a 360 on the wet roads and managed not to wreck it or hit anyone. He'd had his license 5 months.
My greatest fear was losing these guys on the road since I did not know the way. I was lucky to not get pulled over for the speeding I had to do to keep up.
At the park it was raining and 77 degrees. Everyone circled up and stretched for the run. The target was 50-70 minutes depending on one's condition. I was ready for either. Around the fence and onto the sandy trail we went. The rain was a blessing through the open fields which typically are sweltering hot plates. The trail reached some underbrush and wound along a brook. It finally had to cross the brook known as the "Deep Hole" and the only way across was to traverse a few accurately placed limbs in the water. A wrong step and you were in the water and running with wet socks and feet - the worst. So care was taken fording the brook.
Once across, the cool forest trails were a delight. Woods were full of wild turkeys, birds, owls, and large flies that bit like hell if you slowed up or stopped. Palm varieties and scrub oak were everywhere. Gullies down to low swampy water were evident as were smaller paths into nether regions. We crossed a river several times over wood bridges and through swamps where who knows what resides. Under a blanket of rain and huddled quiet I listened to my breathing and footsteps. My shoes squeaked as I paced through long grass and plopped across muddy flats.
My inclination was to take a bike trail or smaller path deeper into the woods but my companion group was more focused on going out 25 minutes and then retracing their steps. The foolish devil in me wanted to find another way out along the narrower trails my senses were teased by. Since I was the grown up I put aside my mischevious thoughts and ran back with the boys. Seeing the same sights in reverse was different and deeped my appreciation and memory of the trail.
The boys were dropping subtle hints ("I feel like I'm going to die.") to keep me from pushing the pace too hard. I ran ahead of them and then walked at trail intersections to let them catch up.
We made it back to the parking lot and in a short while everyone was in the circle stretching and drinking water. Without their coach they were at a loss what to do for breakfast. Every Saturday in the summer they go out to the woods to run and someone always hosts a pancake breakfast afterwards.
Well I knew we had plenty of batter and syrup back at the house so I volunteered to have them over. They were ecstatic. I phoned the house and warned Mrs. Thin Trade that a swarm of grimy wet skinny high school runners were coming over for breakfast in 30 minutes. She doesn't like surprises and she also doesn't like having to sweat too long over something unusual like cooking breakfast for 17. With such short notice both purposes were served.
At home they sat around on the terrazzo floor, put on some music and talked high school talk. I cooked up two pounds of bacon and seven batches of blueberry pancakes. It was a great feeling to fulfill their hopes and wishes for a good breakfast after a hard run. It was a great morning. I actually found an appreciation for running in the rain. I look forward to going out again next Saturday and enjoying somebody else's pancakes too.


Land of the Dead (Legs)

Hello Everybody.
It was a stress-filled week. Being in education means having to worry about grades. In this case it was state wide school grades. An urban district has it's challenges and complexities so we had plenty to worry about. Thankfully the teachers did a pretty good job this year and so did the kids. Grades were mostly up and learning gains were plentiful. The Grim Reaper of media and community outrage was quieted.
Nevertheless, anxiety was prevalent this week; it was as if I was an expectant father. Hence I skipped my mid week run and fretted around analyzing numbers and drafting releases. When the relief valve was spent and the last microphone was packed away I went for a run this morning and it was like running in concrete. Holy moley. Less than four miles effort and I was feeling like I might not make it home. I thought about solutions to a state takeover candidate high school and that distracted me long enough to bring it into the barn - but just in time.
Tomorrow the boys and I are going for a tropical trail (more like undergrowth) run with the cross country team. Only the post run pancake breakfast makes it entirely worthwhile. Let's hope we don't twist, fall and shout when a snake, panther or alligator pops out and pushes me into the pointy palms.


Make the Most of the Day

Thinking About Running. I woke up this morning well rested and realized I had time to have something to eat and make it downtown to participate in the ritual Sunday morning running swarm. Everybody parks on the Avenue and takes off running in the direction of the shady million dollar home neighborhood(s). Some kind soul always has a water/Gatorade stop set up near a park that offers facilities for those with tested bladders. There are variations of distances to go, ranging from 3 miles to 15 miles. I had my mind set to go about 10.
Running. I arrived downtown a little after 700 and saw the crowd had taken off already. They were in the distance about a half mile. I jumped out and followed them, not expecting to catch them and resigned to enjoy the run on my own. At the 2 mile mark I saw the swarm coming out of a 1-mile loop that I was entering. We waved. At 3 miles I ran across a former colleague from my old job and I stopped to chat and hear the latest gossip of who else was leaving. They're dropping like flies.
Onward. Oh crap: the water/Gatorade stand was not there today. I used the water fountain and moved along. At the 7 mile mark I merged with a threesome of runners who were going a little faster than me but I kept with 'em for a mile or so. I completed the 10 miles in 1:35, a 9:32/mpm pace. That's right around what I usually do. After yesterday's Army Run I didn't figure to set any records today.
Weight and Stress. Back in December Jon from Michigan gave me a link to a very cool excel spreadsheet template (David Hays) to track time, HR, shoe wear, lifetime running and stuff like that. One worksheet is to track weight which I've been doing since the first of the year. To my surprise I looked at the trend line and found that my weight has gone up since school let out. The stress levels have dropped and my weight has gone up. I am fairly certain my caloric intake has been about the same. Go figure.
All else being the same, I'm counting the days down to my 2-week summer vacation in Rhode Island. I am starting to fill out my dance/run card with fun things to do. Anybody know of a good race between July 3 and 17?

Gasparilla Race Dates Posted

The dates for the epic fun time great races of the Gasparilla Distance Classic have been posted: February 25-26, 2006, Tampa, Florida. tampabayrun.com. 5K, 15K, Half, Full. Something for everybody.


Army Run

It's been raining here since Tuesday so I've been lazy about running. I last ran on Monday and today would have been another scratch except that son T. is home from West Point Prep, has three weeks off and plans to stay in shape by running. After I fixed blueberry pancakes, bacon and coffee breakfast we went for a run during a rain lull around noon.
T's routine is to run about three miles - fast. I told him I could go fast for awhile but usually concentrate on long and easy. He said he'd be glad to push me. I said I'd be glad to help him run farther. Guess who prevailed? Youth? or maturity?
Well, I started out fast somewhat; the same way I raced last time. T. had no trouble with that pace - which had me worried he runs even faster. Oh - did I mention he did about 50 push ups for a warm up? No.
Well bottom line is that T. pushed me hard. We went four miles and I came in at one of my top dozen times for the distance. With all the rain we've had, the humidity was about 200%. I was gasping but not hurting. I am refreshed a few hours later and look forward to tomorrow's next Army run.