Silence. Cool running.

Let us first share in a moment of silence for the passing of Daylight Savings Time. Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) I stayed outside doing yard work just so I could be out there to savor the last vestiges of early evening sunshine. The clouds were kind enough to stay clear of the western sky and I bid adieu to the bright warmth of my days. Come spring, you'll hear me craving to leap forward and regain that late light. Ahhhhh.
Now what? Shall we fool ourselves with silver linings? My, it was light out when I ran this morning. Gosh, it's already dark but it's still early. I can blog longer. Whatever.
I did roll over in bed this morning when the clock said 455 knowing I had another hour to get up and get ready for today's training run. It was half-light and a cool 58 degrees when I stepped out into the driveway at 645.
I stashed a cooler with Gatorade behind a wall on the way to Park Avenue, planning to reunite with it around my 7th mile. Someone else had set their cooler behind the wall too, complete with three pumpkins and two ghouls to guard the coolers. It was cute. I surmised a full throttle party girl had the creative mind to decorate a water stop. I'd like to meet her.
I was three minutes late to arrive at Park Avenue. My group had already gone. So I headed out alone and just cruised. By the third mile I had caught the group which tells me they run too slowly. I reined back a little while to chat then moved out after another mile. Chris stayed with me and we were off on a long run. The others were going short.
We stopped and shared my Gatorade at mile seven, went another mile together then split up as I had an even longer run in mind today. The cool weather was invigorating and I felt like I could run forever. I did experience a little hot foot up under my right middle toes for awhile. I read somewhere it could be from shoes tied too tight but, if anything, they were loose today. No telling what it is about. It dissipated eventually although it has been chronic in my Asics.
I had an option to turn in and finish at 12 miles but went for another mile just so I could compare a training long run in my current condition with a half marathon race of a year ago. At 13 miles the watch read 2:00:03. My half PR a year ago - 2:02:17. So without even trying I would have PRed a half today (with that extra 0.1). Yup. The legs and running works are in peak condition and getting better. I like it.


My how things change

It's been a wacky week. The training schedule has been off yet still successful. I raced Sunday (10K) and intended to run another five miles later in the evening but dinner was served just as I was about to go out the door ready to run. I'd probably be hospitalized if I'd not sat down for dinner, so I was down five miles to start the week.
HurricanceWilma blew through on Monday which was supposed to be a rest day. Tuesday was predicted to be cold (by FL standards) with temps in the 40s. I was not ready to swing from summer to winter without a fall segue so I went out for a Monday evening run just before the sun went down. I hate running after work but I did it twice this week. Monday's nine miles was tough and taxing. I went 2 miles at expected race pace (9:30) then dropped 30 seconds per mile for the next four miles and closed with three more at race pace, in the dark. Draining but satisfying would be my description. Niggling pains appeared in my right thigh and behind my right knee. They have since disappeared.
Tuesday I skipped running because the school board met at night.
Wednesday I almost skipped but got home in time to squeeze in an "easy" three miler. Since it had been 48 hours since my previous run I was all juiced up to go. I was about as "easy" as giga-Jeff when he runs, logging a top 10 PR over my 3-mile course.
Then this morning I braved the cold 49/50 degree temps and went out in the dark at 545 to put in 7.5 miles in 70 minutes. I beat it by 1/2 second. Overall I have to say that the last two runs have been incredibly easy to go hard and fast. I feel a confidence and strength in my legs that remind me of pre-New Haven when all was right with the world and my body. I do notice a few mechanical problems that may have to be remedied by Cherlene, my massage therapist. I think I need to schedule some monthly maintenance between now and the Miami run to make sure I can get in on the days that will matter most and keep me loose. I also realize I need to be attentive to the core strength work in my garage gym. When I let that go, everything seems to niggle me; like a vertebrae in my back that seems out of line, a potato chip neck and a lower back soreness/stiffness. At least the legs, knees and ankles are behaving.

P.S. Dianna is a potato chip addict.


More PR for Thin Traders

I stayed up too late and slept in too long. I had time for breakfast and read some newspaper but allowed almost too little time to make it to the race this morning. As I pulled into the parking garage I heard the PA man say, "Three minutes until the start of the You Can Finish 5-Miler." I had resolved to start late if necessary and just run across the mat and work for the chip time. I put on my race number and jogged down to the start, with about 20 seconds to spare before the air horn went off.
I used the first mile to warm up, reining in my inclination to run fast. During that first mile I worked through light traffic and didn't hurry to pass anyone. I thought about race strategy in that first mile, deciding to just go easy the first two, try to not drop off in mile 3 or 4 then kick it in the fifth mile for a PR.
There were a number of hairpin turns and track backs that allowed us to see the front runners. At mile two the leaders were scooting past the nearby three mile marker. Geesh. My first two miles were 8:15.6 and 8:01.2. I guess I went off plan in that second mile.
The third mile was the most scenic. It ran straight across the heart of the campus, along tree lined paths, by fountains and the administrative palace. I held the third mile in 8:03.4 and slowed to swallow some Excel (?) water at the stop. I would not usually do that in a 5-mile race but the heat (80 degrees) and humidity (3000%) was taxing. Mile four and five were an out and back along a winding boring road. Wheezers were saying to anyone listening, "Where the f^#@ is the turnaround?" I just kept motoring yet the slow up for water cost me: 8:10.0.
I figured a PR would be close and, since I still had plenty of stamina, the home stretch was inviting. I forgot exactly where they said the finish line was but when I remembered it would be by the arena I could sense I was close. I went into my stride kick the last 150 yards and finished out with a 7:54.4 mile for a total 40:24.6 that beat my previous PR time of 40:48, a 23 second improvement.
Now it's off to work and see about closing schools tomorrow while Wilma tromps through the peninsula. I look forward to Tuesday: predicted sunny skies and a high of only 68!


Where're Fred and Barney?

Wilma is taking up too much of my time. I wish Betty would come and take her shopping in Acapulco or something. Three hurricane preparedness meetings, writing and producing emergency information messages and being nervous about every hurricane center update has pretty much been the state of things since Wednesday.
It rained most of yesterday and will likely do so more each day with landfall predicted for sometime Monday. The mass of the storm appears to be widening which will give us some 50+ mph winds here in Central Florida. I worry for Oldman down there in Naples. This isn't very good.

Despite all that, training is still on track. Thursday was an hour run at a slow-Jeff pace, well maybe even slower. Today is four miles and tomorrow is my 5-Miler race and a follow on extra five miles just for fun. We'll report again tomorrow.


Reset for the M

Now that I have commitments everywhere I need them in order to run my first marathon I've had to reset my training plan. Toss the half plan. Load in the long miles plan. So why did today only ask for three miles? That was like eating the appetizer and bread then leaving the table. Even the half schedule was for 4 miles. Oh well. I'll pay later.
Sunday's 5-Miler race looks like it could rival the Hartford Marathon. Hurricane Wilma (CAT 5) is due to cross the state Saturday night/Sunday morning and lash us with rain and 50 mph tropical storm winds ... unless it turns and rakes us like Charlie did in August a year ago. Yee gads. I just hope it's a roarin' good storm worth running in.
Tonight was C's last race. It was by far the best cross country race I've ever attended. It was held on a golf course which allowed me to plant myself on the clubhouse porch overlooking the course with a nice cold beer and some appetizers. It was the equivalent of "going camping" and staying at the Marriott.


Weekend Recap

What a weekend. I was fairly busy and productive.
I did a lot of thinking and running stuff.
I signed up for two races, a 5-miler next Sunday and a 10K in November. My thinking and chores on Saturday caused me to skip a 4-mile run but I made up for it on Sunday.
I overslept and missed meeting my running group at 700 so I had a banana and just started my run from the house. I went for 10.4 miles and ran into Jack from my run group who said Tim and Chris hadn't shown up either; plus there was no chance of parking on Park Avenue Sunday morning. There was an exotic car show moving onto the avenue for the day.
When I finished my run I took a shower and took teenage son C. back to the car show. There was every maker of exotic car you could think of. I liked a Porsche but I couldn't tell you what model it was. They had Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Austin Martin, Alfa Romeo, Lambourghini, BMW, Citron, plus some vintage US cars like Corvette, Camaro, Mustang Shelby GT, etc. The people were as much fun to see as the cars. Lots of men, not many teens, lots of women who love men with money who can afford luxury cars, etc.
Sunday I was surfing the web and discovered there is an appealing marathon to run in January (29th) down in Miami so I wrote to a college friend who has agreed to put me up on Miami Beach and serve as my support staff. Now I have to adjust my training schedule.
Last night I had dead legs but still pulled off 2 sets of 1200/800/400 efforts in virtually identical times each set. That was amazing in and of itself! Mrs. T. returned from West Point last night and the plane was 90 minutes late so it was a short night and a yawny kind of day.
Tomorrow I look forward to resetting and resuming the marathon training.
Hurricane Warning. Oh yeah. There's a hurricane due to hit the state Saturday night. We expect 50 mph winds and rain. I hope Dianna, our cruise director, is not lurching and rocking in that stuff on her vacation.


Heads Up

Pops, props, kudos, a shout out and a WOO HOO to Runner Susan for her masterful personalization of my new header.

For you underwater rock resistent sea faring runners out there, that's the lighthouse at Watch Hill in RI; picture taken on a cool summer day in the company of my friend (left) who can't get enough boats in her life.


23rd Blog Entry. 5th Sentence.

At Susie's request ...
Lightfoot Listening (February 16, 2005)
I laced 'em up Tuesday morning while it was still cool out. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm going to miss the cool/cold weather of winter here in a few weeks. I ran through Baldwin Park at a swift pace with feather light legs pumping away and regulated breathing. I couldn't have been happier.Today I had no time for anything but squiring around a reporter from National Geographic who was absolutely fascinating to listen to as he relayed his well worn stories of the world and his global social and political philosophies that have evolved from those travels. Somehow, to my pleasure, he enjoyed my company and accommodations made in researching his story on the schools of Orange County. It was as great as day as I could imagine without running.

My tags to do the same thing are: Sarah, Jon, Bex, Rachel and Mia. [In case you're not paying attention guy and gals, go back to your 23rd post - ever - and tell us what it said in the fifth sentence.] Oh, and tag five more people. If mine wasn't so short I'd have given you just that.


Running Again

After the Sunday 10K I thought I'd be spent; not in the mood to run. Silly me.
I went right back on my methadone, I mean training schedule to prep for the next race. That'll be the OUC Half in Orlando on December 3. I've actually decided to adopt a full marathon training schedule starting in three weeks on the off chance that I might actually have a marathon available to run on February 26 in Tampa. I'll have to look into that. Either way, the training schedule matches up nicely with where the OUC Half falls into line. I'll do a brief taper the week prior.
So Tuesday I went out to do some speed work, this time at longer distances than what my 10K plan asked for. I let the legs feel the strain as I jumped out on a 1x1200, 2x800 and 4x200 set. No problem although it went a little slower than I might have liked, but I really wasn't worried the first time out since the race.
Today was an easy 4-miler and I just cruised through the neighborhoods on a fartlek. It was about reviewing form.
Race leftovers: I have to say I had some interesting memories of the racing I did at the Disney 10K, such as cutting the curves down to the shortest distances between two points; cutting off and blocking followers on curves; feeling confined in narrow close-in points of the course when it ran backstage at Disney; positioning myself to abate the pace of my competitors trying to pass me; watching a woman sprinter accelerate on bridges as if it was all downhill then lose pace on the straightaways; feeling the humidity in my lungs as I ran wheezing along in the fifth mile; running on the heels of a runner who was blocking me and shooting the narrows between him and another runner at just the right moment; and hearing a woman call my name as I passed her by early in the race.
Finally, here is my age adjusted race time (especially for Sarah): Rating for a time of 50:40.00 age 53 is 62.08 Age adjusted is: 43:14.85. That's pretty special.


Disney Stats

Runners - 1,304, My Place - 199
Number in Age Group (50-54) - 51, My Place - 11
Winner time - 31:06, Age Group Winner time - 37:49, My Time 50:40 (8:09.1 pace)
My splits -
1, 7:50.0
2, 7:59.9
3, 7:54.0
4, 8:14.5
5, 8:34.2
6, 8:29.8
.2, 1:42.2


10K PR at Disney

I think there is nothing quite so enjoyable as being up and on the road on a weekend race morning. You're out there at O-Dark hundred. The streets are empty. The highways are clear sailing. It's still dark and misty beyond the wash of night lights. Your windows are open. Bono and U2 are blasting out of the stereo. It's a Beautiful Day!
As you approach the race site the traffic congeals around the road into the parking lot. Runners are everywhere, stretching, jogging, chattering, adjusting, etc. It's a high in and of itself, so long as you're on time, properly packed and mentally prepared for the race. If not, well you have some other kind of training to tend to.
Today was hotter than it's been lately - 78 or so - even at 700. The humidity was at the upper limit, just short of a mist. The Disney people have a penchant for doing things in a show-bizzy way. There were two DJs on a stage talking to the runners, two "characters" with mics working the crowd at the start line and lots of inflated wine bottle balloons adorning the starting gate that might otherwise be a concert lights frame. With the start we were startled by a fireworks display to launch us on our way.
I went out at a comfortable pace. I had in mind some negative splits and a sub-50 minute run. The first three miles I turned in at sub-8:00/miles but the last three were slower, more like 8:20. That was disappointing. I PRed in 50:40, 2:19 better than my previous best in November of 2002. If it had been cooler and not so difficult to breathe, I think I'd have done better. There's another 10K next month I look forward to.

Disney Notes. Disney did it again with a goofy race gift. Some genius decided a chef's apron was more appropriate than a race t-shirt. It was a leap of bad judgment off the race theme "Race for the Taste 10K". At the first water stop they were serving cheese. I saw no takers. At the second water stop they offered Ghiaredelli chocolate and I thought of Jon in Michigan and Mia in San Francisco. I passed again. What were they thinking? At the end of the race the food was much better. Racer food included oranges, bananas, bagels, muffins, Powerade and water. The Taste booths included Turkish, Polish, Mexican and American food samples. The only thing that appealed to me was the Polish potatoes with cooked onions topping. The race wound through MGM studios, the Yacht and Beach Club Resort and around the lagoon of Epcot, out the front gate by Spaceship Earth and into the parking lot. Lots of Disney cast members cheered us on throughout the course. No park patrons were inside so there was little else to motivate. The sites were pretty. The bridges over boat canals were surprises even though they made sense. I posed excitedly for contracted cameramen when they appeared. Perhaps with my arms raised you will be distracted from noticing my weak gait.


I Feel Badly

I feel badly for everyone who had to slog through the Hartford (Half) Marathon Rain this morning. In a show of support I passed on Nicky's dog training this morning (phew!) to take son C. to a cross country meet out in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere used to be a fairly decent county sports complex but after the rain from two tropical depressions over the last five days (that now haunt New England) the complex really is nowhere because it's a swamp. But far be it from XC organizers not to relish an opportunity to make a course difficult and times slow. (I wonder if they're related to PGA officials who make golf courses so difficult.)
Having to put in an easy three miles before tomorrow's race I took to the course myself to scout it out for the boys. My account was abbreviated insofar as I relayed the few dry spots to them and the one particularly nasty wet corner that I am sure ate a few running shoes this morning. As 4-time back-to-back state champs our coach plays games with the opponent coaches. Our #1 who finished 2nd at the Great American two weeks ago ran a JV race on Wednesday and skipped today. Coach is giving the other teams false hope. Sly guy. We finished second today. When you're #1 all that matters is the post-season which starts in two weeks.

Weight check. After all that chocolate craving and consumption, plus the lighter training schedule I managed to add a few LBs. My ultimate (lowest) weight is after a looooong training run in the heat which is at 148. This afternoon before lunch I sit fat at 155.

Now I'm off to the Disney Sports Complex to pick up my race packet and browse the expo for special deals. Susan would enjoy that if she were here. She loves shopping you know.


This is Training?

Something has come over me since Sunday. [Remember this is Taper Week.]
I went shopping for beer because I was thirsty and the NFL was on TV. I was hungry too. I wanted something with chocolate in it.
Never mind the beer right now. All I want is chocolate. Chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate chip home made cookies, Pepperidge Farm Orange Milanos, Dark Chocolate Kit Kat bars, Hershey kisses and a few candy corns thrown in for seasonal flavoring. I would not make weight if my race on Sunday was a fight. I am just snarfing it down and it all feels good. I must have really needed it. Some sort of nutritional balance. Or maybe it's sympathy consumption for poor Susan up there stretching the cracks out of her ITB. I need Dr. Jon to give me a consult on this. He would know why this is happening, wouldn't he?

I ran some repeats this morning. Only 2 miles worth and they flew by. Later in the day I remembered what it is that usually hurts me: doing something physically that I do not normally do - like chainsaw an oak tree after a hurricane or pressure clean the house for five hours. You know - stupid stuff. I promise to avoid all unnecessary and untrained for physical activities. That'll get me in the dog house but running is more important. Remember my dependency?


Taper Week

I have a little old race on Sunday too. It's not Hartford or Chicago where the people I envy are going but it'll do. Disney 10K. My last long run - according to plan - was to have been nine miles yesterday. I thought I knew the distance but when I came home to log it I thought my time was a little slow so double checked the distance with the google pedometer and, well, it was 10.5 miles. No big deal. I felt great and met some faster runners who asked me to join them next time out. I might enjoy their challenge.
This is taper week. A little speed work tomorrow ( 2 miles), four miles on Wed. and hardly anything on Thursday. Saturday will be three easy ones and then the race on Sunday. I'm bored already. I'm looking ahead to my half marathon training (Dec. 3 race) and possibly, just maybe, if nothing breaks before November 7, I'll turn the page and look at an even more rigorous training schedule for a race in February. That's all I'm going to say about it, especially after reading Brent's post today.


Running. Dogs.

Running. Tuesday and Saturday I ran the same six mile route that has a fair number of inclines, mostly at the end. Tuesday I approached the run as if it were a trial race and ran it at an 8:35 pace. Today I just creaked along the first mile and worked my way up to a comfortable quick step gait. The pace today was 8:27. Go figure.
I've done four 10Ks over the last four years which isn't many. The PR to beat at next weekend's race at Disney is 52:59. The goal in my head is 51:30 but I think I can do even better.
Wednesday was an easy 4 miles. Thursday I did speed work averaging 6:56/miles while doing 800s, 400s, 200s and strides.
Dogs. Today I was the parent not selected by son C. to go to an admissions candidate orientation at the local college that happens to be ranked the #1 college in the southeast by US News and World Report. That left me, by default, with having to take our alpha male terrier to dog training school. Mind you, that the training is supposed to be for the dog but inevitably it's about training the owner/handler on how to be the alpha human who is in control. My tendency has always been to be the "do what you want-you're a dog" owner which undoes everything a more discipline minded dog owner tries to maintain. So my going to doggie school was more for my education. And did I get one!
The trainer who usually shows up didn't. A substitute did. And Ashleigh was a hard driving woman. At first I didn't like her. She was 30 minutes late which allowed Nicky a chance to salivate over a little puff of a dog that he saw as lunch. A few lunges and he had the dog's head in his mouth. "Oh, I'm sorry."
Ashley pulls in with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth talking a mile a minute about her new dog she's training for police work. She's only had him four days and she's got that all male Belgian something-or-another minding her like George H. W. minds Barbara. She proved it to us too.
She eyed the eight dogs in class and asked each of us what our dogs needed for training. She didn't even have to ask me because Nicky was in attack posture staring straight at Puff Ball. She said, "Okay. We're going to have some fun with him." which actually meant both of us.
By lesson's end Nicky had the drill down pretty well: Attack Puff Ball = Alpha Rollover, which only had to happen once before he adopted a better attitude. Here's what happened: Ashleigh took him from me and let him approach Puff Ball. He was up on his hind legs, stretching the leash, snarling and trying to do the death dive. She yanked his chain so hard to the ground he was yelping like a baby. Then she made him sit, lie down and roll over right next to Puff Ball (with dominating physical force) which humiliated Nicky to no end. Then she sat on him. Then she had me sit on him. From there I did everything Ashleigh told me for fear she might pull the Alpha Rollover on me.
Nicky is well trained now. So am I.