This year, as a junior, all was planned far in advance ... well except the date. That came down to the wire as T waited on a long-time acquaintance (M) who was non-committal about attending. In the end we all had a great time with an enthusiastic H as his date. We were hoping he'd double-date with a former 3/7 CAV buddy but there were overriding issues. T was the oldest cadet there (and the only prior service academy student I saw) so he had the honor of cutting the Army cake after dinner. I took pics on his camera addressing the cake in samurai fashion with a sword.
Overdoing it. The downside to me attending was it ran late and I was not in bed until after 11 facing a 6 o'clock-ish start to my scheduled 18-miler. I wanted to start early and get it over soon. The forecast was for temps to top 80F and the less of that, the better.
The other downside is that I was having too good a time at the ball with several dehydrating adult beverages. As soon as someone reminded me I had a run in the morning I switched to water.
Run down. I headed out at 6:15 and used my Garmin to click off four miles from the house to downtown. I arrived just at 7:00 to join Jack, Chris and Charline. A small crowd today.
We were all laboring at slow paces with a variety of hindrances but were scooped up by Seth at the first mile. He pushed our pace and ran me down. Jack and Charline cut out to just do six. Seth, Chris and I soldiered on to finish the 10-mile loop. By the time we made it around and back downtown I was still moving but not very swiftly.
Heavy weight. I bid the two men adieu and started on my four mile return trek to the house. It was hotter. I was thirsty. Seth had run me down. I took 30-second walk breaks far too often in the last four miles. Nevertheless, I made it home in 3:07:44, a nasty 10:26 pace. It might have been even slower. The Garmin missed about four tenths of a mile somewhere. I suspect it beeped off when I bumped Chris one time.
Afterwards I stretched and took an ibuprofen. I have not been so sore in months. Everything from my hamstrings, abductors, adductors, back and feet were aching. I looked like one very old man limping around today. It was brutal. Then I weighed myself.
Two weeks ago, after running 17 miles in the heat with A and C, I weighed 155. Today after running further in as much heat I was four pounds heavier. That is an indication of how well I have managed to stuff food in my face over the last week. According to Garmin I ran off 2,200 calories today. I need to step away from the kitchen.
Final numbers: 1,208 miles in 2007 (101/wk). I had only targeted 1,000 for the year. Lifetime cume (since 1999): 5,653.
Blog posts: 153, exceeding 150 for the third straight year.
The family stirred when I got home. The boys rifled through their traditionally packed-to-the-toes stockings that Mrs. T always fixes for them even after 20 years. Now it's full of toiletries, boxers, movie passes, chocolates and checks.
A breakfast quiche and mimosas got us started. I was happy right from the start to receive an external hard drive from son T. Sister A topped that with a Garmin! It's not as heavy as it looks. I went for a test drive run Wednesday morning to make sure it works. It works.
Everybody was pleased with their gifts and the day was topped by a splendid roast beef dinner with many fixin's including Yorkshire pudding. We had plenty of joy and glad tidings in our house.
Okay. You read it?
Well Thursday I sent Jack an email at the Orlando Runners Club address signed by Helga and Ingrid alerting him to their return visit to Southeast United States for the holidays. They asked if he'd run with them Sunday morning. I received no reply.
I showed up a few minutes before Jack today and the first thing he said was, "I got your email," with a knowing look. Then he started grilling me about another "questionable" email he got from some Indian who invited him to come run with him 25 miles south of town. I avowed no knowledge of that one and ignored his comment about the Helga-Ingrid email.
Chris and Marty arrived as did Mary. Then, from 30 yards away, two attractive young blond women wearing black shorts and matching green tops came walking up. Jack perked up immediately and introduced himself and asked their names.
Jack's face was arrested with curiosity and then turned my way and then back at them and asked, "Okay. What's your real names?"
A and C couldn't keep a straight face and cracked up and confessed to being C and A from my run last weekend. The rest of them were laughing so hard, it was a slow start running.
But we did. I introduced A and C to the lush and gilded course that is our Winter Park route. Another guy, a former colonel in the Marines, the hubby of Kim who was also mentioned in that earlier post, showed up for the first time and needed a guide through the winding residential streets of our city. He and I ran a little faster than A and C but we all kept together by virtue of the scheduled drink breaks at miles 4 and 7.
I finished the 10 with the three of them and pushed on to do another three by myself to meet my training demands. It felt good out there in the lingering cool wet air after an overnight rain. We did the 10 at a 9:10 mile pace. I wound down the last three at 10:00 pace.
Kite Runner. Another great flick about Afghanistan. A stirring story and study of a life and culture far removed from the USA. It is good to see such works so to defuse the stereotypes we have of places that were barely on our radar 25 years ago.
I recommend them both.
Miles so far: 1,166 (new record); Lifetime: 5,624.
Average per month: exactly 100
+/- to goal (1,000): 196 ahead (projected)
PRs: two marathon PRs but not nearly as good as I want. I will continue to learn to run those suckers and get down to something closer to four hours than five.
Other PRs: 200 meters, 800 meters, 1600 meters, and 3 miles.
Races: 11; two Wholes, a 10-miler, 8K, six 5Ks, and a 3-miler.
Plans for 2008: Two marathons (A1A and Chicago); a half and a handful of 5K-20Ks. Nothing new in my scopes but I'll consider anything so long as it fits into a plan.
Without a plan I do not run a disciplined life.
Thursday night I bopped around the Sunday 10 mile loop in the dark. I felt fast at a 9:25 pace.
I dropped 3x1600 in progressively faster times: 7:56, 7:51 and 7:46. I could have done more but I was hungry and done.
I also sang all the praises of you, my blogger friends, in an essay submittal to the A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon, on why I like to run and especially look forward to running their race. Why would I do that? To win a pair of free tickets on JetBlue. Hey I won free entry into the A1A race while at the NYC Marathon expo. I am riding the free and lucky train until it stops.
On the flip side of the torrential front that brought the cold snap through Saturday night I ran 17 miles earlier that morning with my new running friends C. and A. who work in the district office. They are both working their way up to longer distance races. C has only done halfs while A did one marathon and swore she'd never do it again. We'll see.
Their plan was to only do 13. As I said, mine was 17, so I drove over and parked at the midpoint of the Cady Way trail which is 6.5 miles from end to end. I headed towards the trail head where the girls parked expecting to meet them at mile 1.5 or 2.0. C. was late so I got as far as the .75 marker before they appeared. Both were still fresh and running at a strong pace. I asked if they planned to do that all morning - in the 75F sweltering heat - because it was going to be a short run if that was the case (we started at 8 a.m.).
I slowed them down a little and we fell into a groove. The girls had music playing in their ear buds but with the heat I wasn't too worried about conversation. I did develop an interest in A's stories about running the "Bacon Strip" in Gainesville, FL, a renowned running route with elevations that resemble a strip of frying bacon. They're both training for a half marathon up there the week before my A1A Marathon.
When we got to my car at the mid-point I stripped off my shirt. It was that hot.
C. had arranged for another friend to leave two water bottles at the far end of the trail which we shared. Likewise, I shared some of my Clif Blok Shots which neither C nor A had ever tried before. This morning C came by my office and left me a whole new bag of Bloks to thank me. She had gone right out Saturday afternoon and bought a few bags; she liked them that much.
On the way back to the other head of the trail we stopped at every water fountain and again at my car where I served up some ice cold Gatorade. Notice how much of this report is about drinking? It was god-awful hot.
We sloshed along back where we met up at the .75 pole, the point I had figured I needed to reach before turning around to drag my carcass back to the car. C and A went on their way. I admit I did a lot of pathetic walking over the last three miles. I was ashamed. I blame the girls for going out too fast. Yeah, that's my story.
... but I enjoyed some new young running friends who may take me up on an offer to run the Sunday morning 10-mile Winter Park route sometime soon.
I ran for eight miles this morning in 1:19, a 9:44 pace. I expect more in the days ahead.
Santa came by the neighborhood tonight, complete with police and fire escort. All the little kids were out with their mommas. Dads were there with dogs on leashes in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other; I went out with our fox terrier to mix and mingle. I was a little alarmed when Santa called me out of the dark shadows by name. Who was that bearded man? He said something about being a bad boy and getting coal in my stocking.
Just my luck. Jeanne talked to Santa already.
At work I finished a staff meeting and my cell phone rang. It was Santa!
Sherlene was in town for her daughter's wedding and was taking massage appointments for three weeks while back in Florida (she's currently a resident of one of those Dakota states up there near Canada). When word got out that she was doing massages she booked up faster than the runway seats at the Victoria's Secret show. I missed out and was feeling left out. Then somebody cancelled and I got to go in at 2 today for some hands-on therapy.
I must admit I have become more attuned to the pneumatic thumb pressure of Hank since last May. I found Sherlene did not beat me up like I have come to like; but she did remind me why she is so good. She gives a massage not to rub me all over but to find the tight knots and work them out; to eliminate all the crystalized crap that clings to my muscles.
I hadn't been to Hank since late October and here it was seven weeks later and my body was in pretty decent shape for having peaked in marathon training, run the race and ramped right back up to train for another one. There's something to be said for keeping a steady high level of fitness and training.
I see me slacking off in March after Ft. Lauderdale. My plan is to run Chicago next fall which will give me some down time in the spring to get all fat and lazy.
Donald & Tyler
whoever else ....
I went out and ran 16.2 this morning and felt it. I skipped last weekend's 10 so was a little out of "the shape."
Got it done. Felt stiff. Stretched. Loafed all the rest of the day.
Made room reservations at the Riverside in Ft. Lauderdale for the A1A Marathon. Mmmmm.
Monday I ran at night because I skipped the long run in Baltimore.
Tuesday was a lecture at the college by a "heavy" (man!) philosopher from Serbia who's name I cannot spell much less pronounce. He was thought provoking.
Last night we had free tickets to see the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts flick about the covert war in Afghanistan back in the 80s. Pretty good flick but I wanted it to go longer.
Tonight I ran six miles at a brisk tempo pace (sub 9s) and caught up on a hundred emails.
Now I am here again.
We shall return to normal patterns again tomorrow (I hope).
It is quite possible that I will have an RBF meet-up this weekend with the incredible Jeanne! Now she has been known for getting lost, being late for a rendezvous and not observing the obvious. I have personal experience in that regard but I love her dearly. We're soulmates ... or so says Facebook.
I'll be in the Great State of Mary Land this weekend for the Army-Navy Game and I am always looking for secret good local places to eat and run so maybe we'll get lucky. I'm definitely packing for some non-Florida weather.
Go Army. Beat Navy!
I did the 5.3 mile 10K race last Sunday; five hill miles on Tuesday; the 5K Turkey Trot race on Thurday, nine miles on Friday at tempo pace and - so to keep pace with Runner Susan even though she hasn't confirmed she did it - I ran 15.1 miles today in rather balmy 70 degree temps.
I was pleased to put in the 15 without any problems. I feel very fit and the legs are as taut as ever.
I finished reading Again to Carthage by John Parker and found out this morning that Sunday running pal Chris has a copy of the original running invigorator Once a Runner by Parker. I went to his house today and traded books. We're both fired up now. Great motivation in those pages.
With today's run I have surpassed my record for miles in a year: 1,087. That's exactly an 100 mile month average (as of today). Much more to run in December as we ramp up for Ft. Lauderdale.
Army plays Navy in football next Saturday. I've never been to the game but I am going this time. The week prior to the game is historically known as Spirit Week when each academy gets all worked up about dissing on the other and pulling various pranks.
Well, this year, Army's team stinks so the most likely victory is in the off-field arena; and it's never too early to start.
It seems that somehow, a number of West Point sympathizers - and by that I am not ruling out the USMA cadets who attend Annapolis on an exchange program - have managed to kidnap (no pun intended) the Navy goats. All three of them. Notice the military issue flashlight in use.
Word is that the perps were not going to be released for Thanksgiving break until the goats were returned.
P.S. I finally saw the results of Sunday's 10K. Bill Rodgers (not Frank Shorter) ran in my age group for the win. I finished sixth behind him.
1. I was always the home team for neighborhood baseball games when I was young. I had the best field. We played in my dad's church cemetery and used grave stones as bases and markers as surplus fielders. Hit the marker on the fly and you were out.
2. I used dual purpose tactics in my run for election as student government vice president in college. I targeted the sorority houses and girls' dorms for my door-to-door campaigning. How could that not be successful - one way or another? I won the election and married a co-ed.
3. In a similar vein, in boarding school where there was "coordinated education," meaning the boys campus was by the river in the valley and the girls school was seven miles uphill on the mountain top, I formed a cross country club team which allowed for off-campus training runs. That's when I developed an affection for hill work.
4. I was never in better shape in my life than the summer before seminary when I worked on a stripping crew. (When was the last time you saw seminary and stripping in the same sentence?) The stripping crew pried out the wood forms from under highway bridge overpasses after the concrete set in the road surface above. I learned a lot about the hardscrabble life in that short period.
5. I have the humiliating distinction of having dropped a Vespa motor scooter seven times in five weeks. It was in Martinique where a bottle of French wine was a standard for every meal. To this day and all those ahead, you will never see me riding a motorcycle.
I am not one to tag someone so you are spared. Spared except for having to read my odd stories to get to here.
Repeats. As I wrote yesterday, I am aching to run long. Today I bagged the 1600 intervals even though I love the track. I wanted to do something else so I ran over to the Chelton hills which is a lovely little neighborhood with pricey well-kept homes that surround a former sink hole. I have a perfect one-mile circuit there that includes three ascents and descents per lap. I did four of them in succeedingly faster times. From 9:25 down to 9:00 for the last one. With the 3/4 mile warm up and cool down from the house to the hills I was feeling challenged enough cardiovascularly to take the edge off my ache.
Tomorrow I'll go easy for a few. Thursday is the Turkey Trot race; and this weekend I will go about 15 (Yes!). I realized that the following weekend will be a mess as I head to the Army-Navy Game in Baltimore. I just hope I don't have the same problems as Runner Susan and can find someplace to run 10 miles or so.
I have done intervals, raced and run for Shay. I haven't gone long. I must run long. I need at least 15 long slow ones to keep my mojo up. I could go Wednesday afternoon but I race again with my two boys Thursday.
Let's see. What else? No mile markers. No mile timers. Start race from finish side of finish line and run through gate and over mats ... not the finish mats but start mats another 25 feet up the asphalt. If anybody figured out when to start their watch, I'd be surprised.
Oh ... and the ChampionChips were on velcro straps to put around your ankle. I saw some blood that had me figuring some people had it too tight.
A 5K started 15 minutes after the "10K" and, on the second loop around, the latter runners ran into the former walkers who, of course, filled up the entire lane of the road. I barked, "On your left," until I was hoarse. Naturally, walkers have no concept of what it means so I and my colleagues faced the danger of car-back traffic in the other lane.
The food and drinks were plentiful and the swag was extraordinary, given Sea World/AB probably put some muscle on their park sponsors. Frank Shorter was there signing autographs and posing. The crowd was good. Maybe 1,000 or so in all including the 5K runners and kid runners.
The race? Oh yeah. Well they said the course was now 5.2 miles or an 8K. Okay; which is it? The top five finishers had ungodly pace times. The presumed winner went around at a 3:36 pace. No, it was not Ryan Hall. Maybe that's why the score sheet requested the top five to go see the timers.
I ran well. It took me 43:08. My friend C who gave me A's race bib (who saved $1,000 by taking a Saturday flight to California for Thanksgiving) said her Garmin read 5.3 miles. If it was 5.2 then my time was not so great so I measured the course on Google maps. I calculated 5.3 too so I have changed my records to reflect an 8:06 pace run over the longer distance.
Seeing as how it really wasn't me running, who cares? A, who's name was on my bib, amazing to her friends, finished fourth in her 25-29 age group. I was 7th of 11 in mine, assuming nobody else was running under an assumed name/age/gender.
Fellow runner C. from the 7th floor is outside my office talking to K. She waves and smiles then disappears. I sign off the phone call and K brings me a note with C's cell phone number. Note says "if you'd like to run here's an extra #. It is Sunday @ Sea World 10K, 7:15 a.m. start."
You can surely call me Shirley but I won't answer. I do respond to number 58 though.
Shay. I did my 5.5 for Ryan Shay this afternoon. He probably would not have approved, given that I am racing tomorrow, but, hey, it's free. I 'll give it my best.
Cross Country. Today were the high school cross country state championships at Little Everglades race park in Dade City, FL. Went there last year to see the magical victory by our home town boys. This year six of the seven runners set personal records with times that would have beaten their champion selves last year. This time the field was stronger and Winter Park finished fourth. They were all knocking off runners on the negative split. They moved up from a seventh place half way position. All the mommas, poppas, girl friends and alumni parents (me) are still proud.
7.1 miles, 1:06:52 (9:25 pace).
That was about all I accomplished today. Now I lay me down to sleep.
I sent Susan her training schedule for Austin. It looks very much like mine except mine says Ft. Lauderdale.
I went out this morning bright and chipper to do 6x800s at the track, the same track where the lead character in the new runner novel by John L. Parker, Jr. Again to Carthage, found his stride as a middle school sprinter. How weird is it to pick up a book and be reading along and all of a sudden the writer is telling you about your neighborhood? I mean no less than 200 yards from here. Very strange.Anyway I did the most consistent repeats I have ever done. After a not-quite-warm first 800 of 3:54, the next five were (dropping hundreths) 3:51, 3:52, 3:51, 3:51 and 3:51 (7:46 pace). Not super speedy but the pace guide that the marathon trainers use said that the 800s for 4:30:00 marathon runners should be about 4:30 per 800. I tore it up by that comparison.
The final course of business was to prepare for tomorrow night. I put in a call to Santino and he assures me Tim Gunn will be on his best behaviour for the season premier of Project Runway. Actually I didn't call Santino but I'll never forget the episode with Tim coming into the cutting room asking, "What happened to Andrae?" and Santino mocking him for days afterwards. Anyway, Heidi K., Michael K. and Miss Highest Ra-rrr Heels take to the runway set tomorrow. It's been too long. Make it work!
P.S. By my loose approximation, I calculate I passed about 12,000 people during the NYC Marathon. I started in the back of the last corral of 38,000+ people and finished 26,100th. That's almost 500 per mile.
I was still on a NYCM high and itching to go run long again this weekend. I figured I'd reverse the training plan and recover over taper distances. That meant going 10 miles this weekend. If that went well I am going to go 15 next weekend. I worked so hard to get in this shape, I do not want to lose it. I remember Susan saying much the same thing.
Thursday and Friday I indulged Mrs. T by participating in the arts world. An art lecture Thurday on Bloomsbury, followed by a la-dee-dah dinner at a private estate. Friday was a musical production of Gypsy at the college. I was exhausted and nodded off in the balcony during the first act. At intermission I excused myself, drove home, and crawled into bed. Mrs. T tells me I should have hung around. The college girls gave their best impression of strippers in the second act. Who knew? Dang.
Saturday was a long overdue yard project trimming some bushes that had been long unattended. That gave me a first rate backache which I felt when I woke up this morning.
Running again. I tried the same breakfast as last Sunday: bagel with peanut butter and some orange juice. It did the trick.
I went to Park Avenue. Only Marty and Ed showed up. There was a 10K/5K race this morning and it is a popular one. I just wanted to run 10 miles. And did I ever.
Ed bailed out after five miles. Marty stuck with me and labored a little as I pushed the pace. When we stopped for Zippfizz and Blok Shots at 6.7 miles, we were both energized and he accepted my ramped up pace. We pushed on and never slowed down.
Back at Park Avenue, I clicked on my watch. 1:32.44. I was thinking that was fast. I toweled off and strolled down to Starbucks for a coffee cake and Cafe Americano, then home.
I entered that 1:32 for 10.2 miles in my logrun file. Are you kidding me? That was a 9:05 pace!! I haven't gone that fast since June 3. I am loving running right now. I may have to jump up to the fasty group next week.
.................Place of Finishers (Percentile)
Overall - 26,100 of 38,440 (68% )
Men - 19,062 of 25,962 (73%)
Age Place, 55-59 - 928 of 1,561 (59% )
USA, Men 55-59 - 311 of 574 (54%)
Florida (M&F) - 385 of 720 (53%)
Florida, Men 55-59 - 15 of 27 (56%)
1 - 11.19.1 up the Verrazano Bridge
2 - 9.31.4 down the Verrazano Bridge
3 - 10.32.7
4 - 10.26.7
5 - 10.23.2
6 - 11.18.7 slow for fuel
7 - 10.32.0
8 - 10.49.2
9 - 10.52.0
11-11.22.4 slow for fuel
16-11.52.1 slow for fuel and Queensboro Bridge
20-11.57.1 slow for fuel
22-10.57.7 after parting company with Susan
24-11.41.5 slow for fuel and Fifth Avenue ascent to Central Park
25-10.32.8 Central Park
26-10.17.1 Central Park
0.2- 2.14.6 Finish
I can't stop eating and the eating season hasn't even begun yet.
I think I'll take up running so I can burn it off.
59 degrees. Four miles. Tempo pace. That's better.
I also got a nice three mile recovery run in.
To make the day even better, I received an email from the good folks with Ft. Lauderdale's A1A Marathon. You see, at the NYCM Expo, I entered every enter-to-win race entry contest they had. I am holding out for Scotland but for the time being the A1A gang want me to come run for free on February 17. Woo Hoo!
Average low: 60; high: 77. Maybe a little toasty but they start at 6 a.m. so that may be bearable. Ocean breezes the whole length of the course, right along the water. Totally flat. Yup, I think I can do some major reconstruction to my PR down there.
Also at the Expo I picked up a copy of John Parker's book Again to Carthage which was featured with excerpts in the latest Runners' World. Good stuff. I read half the book on the plane ride home. Now I want to go finish it.
Mark November 17 down for a 5.5-mile run in memory of US elite marathoner Ryan Shay who collapsed and died last Saturday in Central Park at the Olympic Qualifying. Run that much or more but remember him, please. It was a sad day and a great loss to his family and American distance running. The amazing hip man wrote about it. Go see for yourself.
The Bronx mile had taken us 11:25. We'd lost another 30 seconds. The next two miles were flat. I had good leg turnover working, no pains and nothing in my way except a lot of walkers and slooooow joggers.
After I took on the single mission of running as best I could for the remaining five miles, I came up upon a man running with a memorial t-shirt. It listed the birth and death dates of his mother. She had died three days before my mother. I hailed him as I passed and told him of our similar circumstances and wished him luck the rest of the way. At the time I was maybe 20 blocks from where my mother grew up as a girl.
I got back on the 4:45 pace in the 22nd mile and bettered it on the 23rd mile. The last stretch of Fifth Avenue was unbelievably tough as it ascended 100 feet over the mile up to 90th Street where it turned into Central Park. I was wearing down and made time for a half blok of margarita shots. I felt a cramp in my right foot start up and worked to relax it as I ran.
I wondered where my fan club would be next. I was putting so much focus on my pace and stamina that I blew off giving them a cell call. I just hoped for them they were having a good time. As it turns out they were near mile 24 in the Park and my sister-in-law saw me ever so briefly. Nobody else did. I was taking off.
I entered Central Park East and found congestion, tons of spectators cheering, cooler air, and more hills. My time on the 25th mile was as good as any mile back in Brooklyn: 10:32. I was running the tangents, elbowing people out of my way, drafting behind those who were running when we went up hills. I kept looking for the 40K mats. My lungs were heaving. I knew after the 40K mats I had just 1.4 miles to go.
Finally I saw them around a curve and let the beeps ring around in my head. I imagined Ryan Hall cruising this stretch the morning before with crowds screaming, an Olympic qualifying race victory minutes away and a place in the Beijing Summer Games as a marathon favorite. He had a smile on his face and was pointing to the sky.
I became Ryan Hall in my head and ran like a gazelle (by my standard of gazelle, thank you) to towards the finish line. I passed the 26th mile marker. 10:17. My fastest time of the day except for the downhill mile of the Verrazano Bridge.
Next was the 800 meters to go sign. Two laps around the Glenridge Middle School track on a Tuesday morning in August. Hot. Sweaty. Dark. With purpose.
400 meters to go. Less than a quarter mile. An uphill finish stretch to deal with. Push. Pump. Bump my way through.
100 yards. What a dash. Cheering sounds bouncing off the trees and rocks of Central Park. Bleachers on either side of the massive finish line structure. A slight leveling. The mats. The finish. A personal best time of 4:46:44. YES!
Post race. I reveled in the accomplishment for a few minutes right there at the Finish line. Others moved forward for their just rewards. I dawdled to be there and hear all the encouraging words from the incredible race volunteers and officials to everyone who finished. I kept an eye for Susan. I checked my watch and calculated. Maybe soon. Maybe soon Susan.
I back-stepped my way to the first station where a man put the substantially impressive race medal around my neck. I lingered, still watching for Runner Susan. Next was the photo area with the medal. For a PR I thought I would at least like to have the option of having it.
Next was the heat sheet distribution. One person put the sheet over my shoulders. A man offered to tape it closed for me. I was a little baffled by the offer but was very grateful later.
I entered the food area. A bag with water, Gatorade, an apple and bagel. I held onto it and walked with the crowd to a spot where I had seen the Olympic qualifiers pass the 6 mile mark.
I stopped. The crowd was jamming up on the path to the UPS trucks and baggage claim. I could not sit or squat. I was not so hungry yet but did drink some water as I fiddled with my cell phone. It was time to try Susan.
She had just crossed the finish line. I went salmon on the crowd and worked my way back upstream to meet Susan. We hugged and congratulated each other; then worked our way into the stream and shared accounts of our time apart. I apologized for abandoning her. She apologized for being bitchy. I couldn't remember that being the case.
We were herded like cattle to the baggage claim and chip clip. A long walk and a few calls to family established the meet-up plans. Once we had our gear we headed out to Central Park West and met Amy, Linda and Marta. We got warmer clothes on, took pictures and declined Amy's cold hot dog offering.
We bid adieu and I headed back to Lolly's apartment a few blocks away and was ever so grateful to get in a warm room, have a beer, lots of salty chips and recap everyone's race experience. How crazy am I? When I got there I did not wait for the elevator. I hoofed it four flights up the stairs.
Bring on the next marathon. A flat one would be a good chance for a big PR. Chicago is on my mind for next fall. I need to decide what's next for the spring. One of three Florida races might work: Gasparilla, Run for Donna, The A1A. We'll see.
Time to go for a run.
As I lumbered down the Queensboro Bridge I dialed up Mrs. T to find out where she was located on First Avenue. I knew it would be a madhouse and there was no random chance of seeing her and my friends and family without a heads-up.
No answer. I left a message and dropped down into the cacophony of the Manhattan crowds. We were starting our 17th mile. Our pace had suffered going through Queens with 11:27 and 11:52 miles. We were 2:53.12 in. That was still 40 seconds ahead of our 4:45 pace schedule. We gave it up in the next three miles.
Once on First I made another call and connected with Mrs. T. She and my brother, his wife and son; and Mrs. T's brother (Rich) and his wife and two kids were on the southwest corner of 75th Street. It was a blessing that there was a slight downhill leading to them. That made for less excruciating photos. I spotted them. We veered to the left side of the street. I waved, posed for a picture and gave Mrs. T a smooch, all captured on video by my brother.
Runner Susan commented that she could not stop. She needed to keep moving or she would be in trouble. As you know, after any downhill there is likely an uphill to follow. We were on it. The blocks clicked by. I felt a need to offer encouragement.
I suggested we have our next gel and bloks at mile 19 instead of 20; and move up the meal at mile 25 to mile 23 to give us enough to get us through. It was way past lunch time by now. Normal folks had had their turkey cucumber spinach wraps at least 90 minutes before. Somewhere along the way, a woman was offering small cups with cold pineapple cubes. I had one for lunch. It was delicious.
At mile 18 the water station was offering Power Bar gels. I had a caramel which tasted quite good. I took it as an appetizer before the main course. We slowed and walked through the stop at Mile 19 to take fuel and Gatorade Endurance drink. We crossed another damn bridge into the Bronx.
The Bronx. The crowds had thinned as we hit the northern most portion of the course. The Bronx had small crowds of spectators but they were very enthusiastic. A band played. Reports I read said this was the best year in years for support from Bronx fans. I could feel it. Those I engaged by eye contact were very pleasant and encouraging.
I spotted a runner wearing a shirt with Red Sox markings on it. I kept my distance in case any Yankee snipers were on the rooftops. I was inclined to yell out how much the Yankees suck but felt that would be in poor taste today.
Unfortunately, this was a bad mile for time. Susan was starting to fade. I kept looking back for her behind me. She nobly kept pace. I slowed slightly to keep her on my tail. We reached the Madison Avenue bridge (21st mile) at 3:38:50. We were 90 seconds off our 4:45 pace. When I looked back, she told me to run on. I stopped and waited for her shaking my head.
Harlem and the Split. We ran into Harlem. The neighbors were loud and the band had a strong bass line playing. It was energizing. I was feeling good. Way back in Brooklyn Susan had suggested that at Mile 20, if we felt strong, we could kick it in and push for 4:40 or better. I told her we only had five miles to go. It was a short training run.
I was at a crossroads. I felt good enough to push but concerned that if I left Susan she would not get the time she wanted. I was ever mindful that I was in range of a PR.
I looked back again and Susan was 10 yards behind me. She said, "David, you go. You can make it."
I turned back forward and imagined her chasing me all the way to Central Park. I held a belief that if she could do it too, she'd be right behind. I didn't look back again.
To read the conclusion, click here.
Coast Guard, TV network and NYPD helicopters had filled the skies an hour before we reached the starting line. Anticipation was in the air. The choppers left with the elites while those of us with dedication and purpose set out in their wake to tackle our own goals and expectations.
Runner Susan and I beeped across the starting mats. It took me five seconds after crossing to realize that we had started. There was hardly anybody there besides our fellow last-corral mates, a few Army medics and race officials. Sadly the news photographers were not waiting for the last of us.
We ramped up the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge at a measured warm-up pace, looking to break out slowly and deal with the hill. It was a 150 foot ascent followed by a 200 foot descent into Brooklyn. Susan and I started our routine of checking on each other regularly and cussing the hills.
'Welcome to Brwoook-lin," were the first words I heard from a crowd of spectators on a bridge overpass in Dyker Heights. I waved a salute.
Our run was going well. We caught up to a 4:45 pace group that actually became a rolling road block to us several times. We wanted to stick to our own pace and they were such a blob running together. Over the first six miles we had banked about a minute and a half better than our pace required. We were out to do 10:53 miles or better. Our first 5K was at 10:27 and the second was 10:35.
Brooklyn was awesome. The run up Fourth Avenue was loud, with fans cheering and bands playing. Being the caboose of runners, the street was only half full of us and the sidewalks probably not as full as before, yet the neighbors and fans were still out there cheering us on.
We made a few cell calls while cruising along this stretch to see where our support teams were. First sighting was Amy and Linda at Mile 7/Webber Street. There they were. We waved. (Photo courtesy of Runner Susan and Amy) We did not stop but Susan did hand off her long-sleeved top. We were just past a quarter of the way to the finish line.
Runner Susan had her name on a decal stuck to her short sleeve top and immediately began to receive incredible recognition from the crowd. For a period of time, I counted the number of hardy cheers for "Runner Susan" compared to those for "Go West Point" (my shirt's advert) and I have to say she beat me by a 3-1 margin. Being an attractive blond has its natural attraction to men fans, I learned. Similarly, it was the ladies who gave me more measured encouragement.
We soldiered on, through a hill in Mile 8, checking our pace, slowing for water and Gatorade; and to ingest our fuels. Susan had her gels. I relied on my Margarita Clif Shot Bloks. We ate every five miles. I could feel a need the mile before and a surge the mile after eating.
We were passing people with regularity. I found we had to bob and weave quite a bit but we always managed to move together around and through the crowds so to not lose each other. I didn't mind fending a few folks off with my elbows to clear the road for Susan. At 15K we were at 1:39 and had covered the last 5K at a 10:37 pace.
The character runners were a sight to see. First, I saw the woman written up in the Times who ran dragging a tire tied to her waist, to draw attention to how much we humans consume and waste. There was Raggedy Andy, Lighthouse Man, the Waiter in leather shoes carrying a platter with a bottle of wine attached, two girls with wings and glitter, a Chilean General, Superman with fake breasts, and a guy in a gas mask and bio-chemical suit. Beyond that there were so many foreigners running, I was amazed. So many French, Germans, English, Irish, Welsh, Japanese and more. Plus there were so many cause-teams with race singlets I could never remember if I had traded leads with people.
The Jewish communities of Brooklyn were eerily quiet which did not surprise me. A few groups of young girls stood on the sidewalk and waved. Others parted curtains and peered out windows at the spectacle. Before we hit Queens, we saw some more of the rowdiness and cultural richness that made Brooklyn my favorite part of the race.
Queens. Queens was short and mostly uneventful. A few narrow neighborhood streets held crowds out to see the race remnants. Bands still playing. They were all good folks but had that reserved demeanor that one might expect of witnesses to a lashing at the stake. You see, they were the last people we saw before "the bridge."
From inches above sea level we were about to cross the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan. And that did not involve running across water. It required a god-awful climb for what felt like an eternity. It had to have been a three-quarters of a mile climb of 125 feet ... in the 16th mile. We had just eaten, thank goodness. It gave us the strength to get over but, man it was tough. There was nothing nice about it other than when we got over, we only had a ten-mile run to go.
Susan was cussing.
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The Night Before. I saved my brother (or anyone else) the trouble of having to drive me to a bus at O-Dark-Hundred race morning. His wife drove me into Manhattan Saturday night to stay with my childhood pal Lolly, her hubby David, and daughter E. who live half a block west of Central Park. Their sweet daughter offered up her extra perfect bed (an excellent mattress) for me while she took to an air mattress camp out in the living room. I slept great and quietly. I expect Mrs. T did too back in Jersey.
Race morning. I woke at 400 but laid in bed until 530, dozing and meditating on all that I had done the weeks before in training and the night before to prepare. My clothes were on the chair. My other belongings were repacked in my backpack. I listened to the early Sunday morning sounds of the West side. I was relaxed.
I got up and took my time dressing. Body Glide is my friend. David was up reading the Times in the kitchen. I fixed a bagel with peanut butter, had some orange juice and ZipFizz. At 600 I was ready to go. The phone rang.
"Where are you??" asked Runner Susan with a nervous laugh. She was already at the Start area.
"I'm in Manhattan. I am leaving now. I'll be there soon," I said.
"Okay. It's quiet here. Very few people," was the report. Susan then gave me a rough idea of where she and Marta were hanging out.
David had offered to see me to the subway for which I was extremely grateful. He went way beyond that by escorting me all the way to the Staten Island ferry terminal. On the way from the terminal subway stop we walked right down Wall Street past the stock exchange. Such a cavernous and ominous street. Susan called for the second time wondering where I was.
The Ferry Ride. At the terminal it was a runners' world. Half the field must have been trying to catch the 7:30 ferry. We queued up at one door only to have it close in front of us with a full boat. The big sign said to go to door 2 across the lobby for the next boat. That was a comical quick step migration by the remaining mass.
The doors opened and we were herded onto the next ferry. I made myself comfortable on the lower deck, put my feet up and chatted with a couple from Vancouver who had come east to run. Oh; and Runner Susan called again. I told her I was waiting for the ferry to pull out. She had a seven course runner's breakfast waiting for me if I would JUST GET THERE!
We pulled away at 745, passed the Statue of Liberty and made our way to the island. She called again as we landed. I was just a bus shuttle away. Well actually it was about eight buses away. There was another queue and wait.
The packing house. Once at Fort Wadsworth, it took another two phone calls to find each other. It was now 900 and we had another two hours to kill before we actually crossed the starting mats. Susan's pal Marta had gone off to her fast girl orange corral to hang out with Katie Smith a/k/a Holmes (little did she know).
I partook of several items on Susan's menu: PBJ, banana and raisins. Even though she'd been there three hours Susan had not yet located the UPS trucks for checking bags. With that in mind, we headed north. The sun was shining. It was a little breezy depending on which side of the buildings you were on. In the area of the UPS trucks, it felt like a day for the beach. Susan checked her bag then we went to my #66 truck.
I decided I had overdressed. I checked the sweatshirt, gloves and hat I anticipated wearing and kept my tearaway pants. We sat down on a grassy embankment right next to our corral area and, for the first time, relaxed. We had an hour or more to sit, visit and review our race strategy. A calm came over me and I felt very comfortable and confident that running with someone I had met just yesterday was going to be a very pleasant experience.
We called Mrs. T, Sister Amy, Susie and Jeanne. To the first two we coordinated our locations and meet-ups. To the latter, we left messages.
At 1008 back-lit bodies streamed across the Verrazano Bridge above us. The race was on. The cattle drive of runners started to move. Being in the very last corral was an intriguing situation. On the one hand I felt slighted by the notion that we were seeded there. I knew we would be faster than thousands of other runners. On the other, it was quite a novelty because it was not crowded when we got off. Nobody was chasing us down and blowing by us in the first mile. It was quiet; almost like a training run.
click here for the next chapter.
I have had many memories of yesterday's run course through my head in the 24 hours since I finished. I plan to take tomorrow off to recap it and post.
I was relieved to see the NYCM organizers had my time printed correctly in the New York Times today. I was worried when I saw the Athlete Alert email that went out to a few of you. The alert was correct up to the final time which came out 5 hours plus, which was way wrong.
Anyway, the official time was 4:46:44. Hey I beat Katie Holmes! In fact Susan and I must have passed her somewhere along the course because we were the last to start and she ran much slower than we did.
I saw many medals around necks in the airport today. A proud crowd heading home in glory. As Mrs. T asked, "What other day would you ever wear your medal?"
I did, on her second request, leave her behind and found plenty of gas in my tank to power through the Central Park hills and finish with a new PR, 4:46:39 unofficially. That bested the old time by about 3-1/2 minutes.
I felt best about running the entire race and not walking; and surprised myself by my ending strength and speed.
There's a lot more to recount but I am done for the day and turning in.
I did pick up a gray windbreaker that I'll want tomorrow. It is supposed to be windy and sunny. I didn't see any hot boots for Runner Susan or anything in her color. I remember seeing pics of her closet and there was no ING orange in the collection. She may not be too happy. Maybe she'll settle for pink.
I ran into Tom W. from the Track Shack at the expo. He is here as a hired pro to help run the logistics for tomorrow's International Friendship Run.
Took the wrong bus back to NJ but we got off about a five minute drive from the house and B. came to pick us up. Big spaghetti and meatball dinner did me just right.
Sadly ... no photos yet.
I am packed. All that stands in my way of flying to New York tomorrow is my 19-year old college student in his dorm who is charged with taking us to the airport at 7 a.m. tomorrow. That's shortly after he usually goes to bed. The only thing working for me is that he can't have the car this weekend if he doesn't get up and drive.
I am going all runner geeky tomorrow wearing last year's Marine Corps Marathon heavy long sleeve mock turtle neck participant shirt.
Sat Nov 3 Partly Cloudy 59°/47° 10%, Men's Olympic Marathon Qualifying!! and lunch with Runner Susan!!!
Sun Nov 4 Cloudy 63°/51° 10% NYC Marathon! I like it!!
Mon Nov 5 Partly Cloudy 62°/50° 10%
I went out with the Sunday bunch at 7 this morning and there was a good crowd. A few long-time-no-see-'ums and a lot of other runners out on the streets; more so than usual.
I veered off the course at mile 6 to add a mile loop so I could do 12 today. I felt fine. The right knee was still a little sore but with the scaled back week ahead I will have some ibuprofin and rest to heal myself.
My expectations for New York are not anxious ones. I look forward to the experience, meeting and (hopefully) running with Runner Susan to PR together. I definitely look forward to seeing the Olympic Qualifying. I hope it's an easy spectator event to see. I worry a little about being on my feet too much but I think it'll be worth it to see the race.
At 8 I went out to run 8 miles. I was supposed to do it Thursday but saved it for today. The humidity was very high under drizzly skies and temps in the 70s. My tempo run was not so special through and through but I made it home in 1:20, just under 10 minute miles.
After stretching and a shower it was time to go see Hank for my pre-race massage. Only a three tendon attachment on the inside of my right knee had been nagging me the last month with some soreness that subsided once I warmed up on my runs.
Hank finished on my hips and asked me when I had last run. I told him about an hour ago and he said he would have never known. He found my hips in good shape and strong. After he had finished the rest of my legs he predicted a good race for me next Sunday.
Tomorrow I'll put down 10-12 miles with the Sunday gang. I wish the rain would stop. There's a front sliding in and out of our area that is mild and wet.
How does Runner Susan get 500 hook-ups for notification? That is boggling or she's trying to make me look bad. I will have my turn this weekend.
Flashback City. After the run I helped my dad put away numerous accessories and peripherals to my mother's health care that are no longer needed. That meant hauling them to the attic. I had never been in this 90-year old attic and it was very intriguing to see what I saw up there for the first time. Old steamer trunks my grandparents used when crossing the oceans, a parasol hanging from a rafter with most of its cloth lying on the floor boards, boxes marked "photos" and "ledgers" that have decades of history stored within.
I did not have time to explore too much but my eyes did fall upon a Boy Scout (Troop 4) backpack that a certain younger version of the Thin Trade had in junior high. I saw that it was packed full and my curiosity surged to Level 5. I looked inside and found two boxes, an old water canteen and three 33 RPM oldie albums from the mid 60s that I had absconded with from a former schoolmate. I could tell by the sloppy cross-out of another name and the clear spelling of my name.
One box had assorted baseball stickers that I believe were from my brother's era, knock hockey sticks and a puck to a game I built by hand in the early 60s; and a telescope I could never get into focus for the month or so I used it, way back when. At this age (now) I finally figured it out.
The second box was the mother-lode. It was a stationery box for envelopes and in it were sorted (by name and date) all my correspondence received from others (mostly female admirers) from 1966-1969. Wow. I spent the next 36 hours reading about all sorts of things that gave me a new insight into my former adolescent psyche. Allow me, right now, to express my sincere apologies to the following young ladies to whom my attempts at courting may have been gross or grossly misconstrued: Ellen, Maureen, Chris, Cindy, Cindi, Gretchen, Marjorie, Tonia, Beca, Sue, Susie, Laura, Dee, Ann, Catherine and a few other girls I can't even remember but who seemed to have had a deep interest in me.
Good grief. I could write a screenplay.
Most interesting is that one of the ladies named above just happened to visiting Rhode Island this past weekend and I could not help but bring her letters over to share some of the highlights and let her read what she wrote about life and love back in the late 60s. She threatened me my instant death if I shared any of the intimately revealing details with anyone; and her husband offered not a single penny for the lot of them. Bad luck.
15 Miler. For Sunday I mapped out a variation run from last week's 20-miler. Instead of leaving the colony and heading westerly I headed towards the sun and up a narrow, winding and hilly 2-lane road, rich in color and country. At the peak, I stopped at St. Vincent Catholic Church in Bradford and found myself red-faced, drippy and bare-legged in the under croft with all the Sunday school kids while the organ pumped out hymns above us. That was rich. I had some water, used the men's room and was on my way.
I angled back down straight to the Weekapaug breach way and along the ocean shore to Susie's and my beach (and that of a few of the aforementioned girls) . The sun was sparkling on the waters. The beach was deserted but for a few fisherman down towards the rocks. I breathed it all in and stared at a spot in the sand that had triggered many years of bliss.
I turned away and picked up the course along the back roads of Weekapaug, east on Shore Road, back to Shelter Harbor and down Gounod again, through X Corner and finishing at Sea Tower. It took 2:37 to cover the 15.75 miles. I felt good and strong but not interested in running any more that day. I had to pack and head back to Florida.
I gave Dad a hug and we shared a few moments remembering Mom and how things will be different but, perhaps, in a good way in many respects. He'll be fine once he gets through these next few weeks.
I am now tapering for New York. Runner Susan: be ready.
I was ready to set out shortly after 8:30. I dawdled because the NYC Mararthon will not start until 10:10 a.m. Might as well simulate as much as possible.
All was quiet in the house but for the oxygen pump doing its work. I had all sorts of dressing options. It was 45 degrees, breezy and sunny. I chose a short sleeve shirt and no gloves or hat. It was very nice by my estimation.
The first mile was uphill out of the colony and I took it slow to warm up. This summer hamlet is very quiet in mid-October on a Sunday morning. I headed west on US1 to Dunn's Corner with a fair stream of traffic and a steadily improving pace. Nothing in my body was hurting at all today.
At Dunn's Corner I headed north towards Bradford. That took me "up-country" where there are farms and hills and fall colors. Manfredi Farm still had corn and lots of pumpkins. I trotted past mules, sheep, goats, horses, and roosters. The sheep and goats bid me a few bays of salute.
I passed an RV park with free golf on an immaculate par 3 9-hole course and up some hills to Bradford. At SR 91 I headed west on the Bradford-Westerly Road where there is no shoulder, few homes, a lot of hills, a swamp and Chapman Pond. Past the pond, the rail line appeared and a couple of Amtrak trains flew by. The steep hills of Westerly's Italian neighborhood presented themselves and I pushed up them with pace and comfort. Three pizzarias, then a Tim Horton's donut shop. I stopped and begged a glass of water. I was about eight miles in.
Past the train station I ran through downtown Westerly, a town past its prime and not reinventing itself very well. I ran by the store that, in the '60s, was where my mom took me to buy wide-wail corduroy jeans (by Lee). Today it's a consignment shop.
Down to the river with a wave at Connecticut across the bridge, I headed south along Beach Street towards Watch Hill. Along the way I ran by the River Bend Cemetery where Mom has a reservation alongside her parents.
The rolling hills of the road to Watch Hill kept me sharp and slow. I ran by several marinas and boat yards where I have gone to sea on some memorable cruises. More water was available at the Cooked Goose where gourmet breakfasts fill the place especially on Sunday. This stop was at mile 12.
I continued on to more familiar roads near Watch Hill then cut across to the Shore Road. I passed the Lawrence's house then cut south to the beach at Misquamicut. The roads were virtually empty compared to the summertime. None of the beach clubs were open. No stores either. The state beach pavillion had turned off its water supply so I was running dry. Over a short distance of grass I ran with a dozen or so butterflies.
The three mile stretch to Weekapaug was flat and tedious. I could hear the ocean rolling and waves spanking the shore on the other side of the dunes. Tall grasses on the pond side were rustling in the wind. Gravel skipped as I chipped it on the roadside.
I was hoping that the bait and tackle store or Lambs would be open at the Weekapaug breachway but, alas, I was on my own for the last three miles home. I chewed on my last Clif Blok Shots and had enough saliva to get them down. Weekapaug is a pretty little beach house enclave and a few people who live here yeararound were out for walks.
I mounted the Noyes Neck Road inclines to the Shore Road, passing the farm where cows loiter in mindless bliss. Turning east, I had two miles to close out for the day's 20. The Clif Shots had given me some energy and I kept the pace up enough to reach Shelter Harbor again and run the false flats of Gounod Road, around X Corner and finished at Sea Tower, feeling mighty fine and tired.
As I walked back to the house I saw unfamiliar cars in the driveway. The hospice nurse and aide were there to tend to Mom. I had my fluids, a stretch and went upstairs. When I went in to see her, she opened her eyes and Dad told her I'd just run 20 miles. He asked what she though of that. She was able to say, "Wonderful."
... however ... life happens.
My brother and sister have gone to Rhode Island to be with my mother who is of very sound mind but failing body. Dad needs some help and encouraged us to come if we could. So I am back in the Ocean State where I can see the blue water from where I sit across the dunes in the sun room while Mom rests upstairs.
I mapped out a 20-miler for tomorrow morning. It'll be memorable. It'll be in high 40s/low 50s temps too. That should be a good little taste of what New York might be like. There are plenty of hills just up off the shore to torture me for the 3.5-4.0 hours tomorrow.
That's what it was this morning when I went out for an easy five mile jaunt. It was the first time I wore a shirt while running since May (except in Rhode Island back in July).
I am dusting off the wood pile and pulling out the wool pa-jammies.
The bad news is the inside of my right knee hurt after my 20 miler two weeks ago and radiated to a very sore ITB after the 15 miler on Sunday and 6x1200s I did Tuesday. I am chewing ibuprofins and delayed my latest 5-mile run until tomorrow. It feels better. I stretch. I roll. I self massage.
I have 20 to do on Sunday. It doesn't hurt too badly once I warm up but it sure is noticeable.
I visit Hank the pneumatic massage specialist next Wednesday. That painful relief cannot come soon enough.
Sports note - have a nice winter Yankees (but don't fire Torre)! Go Rocks and Sox!
The heat and humidity returned this weekend. The only good thing I can say about today is that the rain didn't start until about 11 a.m. after I got home from going 15. I did the first five with Charline on the Lake Chelton hills. Then we did the 10 mile loop with a few others who made it out. I did it all in 2:35 but not without some cussing and wishing for last weekend's cooler and drier air. Today was 77F at 6 a.m.
And I didn't care. It felt fine. I maintained 1:45-1:55 times for the most part and never felt not up to the challenge.
Best of luck to everyone running Chicago this weekend. The big triple of marathons is upon us and there's a whole lot of tapering or peaking going on. I still have a 15 and 20 to do before New York. I really just want the "cool" low 70s to come back this weekend.
Tuesday I did four mediocre but steady 1600 repeats.
Friday I attacked hills and ran 7 miles of them. Then I pondered the weekend runs.
The Miracle Miles 15K and 5K was Saturday. Susan was committed to running it with a friend of hers. I was in the mood to race too but I had to do 20 long miles this weekend. I opted to use the 5K as a speed workout and covered it in 25:00 (8:03 pace) which is top third among my history of 5Ks but nowhere near as good as my dead-of-winter 5K records of earlier this year.
Susan ran the 15K with a former football defensive back who still looks like an athlete. He beat Susan to the finish while she came in at 1:20 (8:35 pace). I told her to call me later about running this morning.
We spoke at midday and I gave her a plan to do 20 miles with a 5:15 start. It was a beautiful morning to run with temps down to 72F, low/no humidity and a refreshing breeze. Unlike last week when my shoes felt like foundering rowboats with leaky hulls, today was an evaporating kind of day.
Susan and I did a 10-mile loop to Park Avenue in time to meet up with my usual suspects. I was feeling very good to that point but she was whipped. Even with some coaxing she headed for the barn. Between yesterday and today she'd logged 19 miles which would have been easy enough for me to rationalize into an excuse to go home. I know Jeanne could use the same deductive logic in a pinch.
I turned away and headed off with my Sunday bunch. There were about seven there this morning and only stately old Jack was going a full 10 miles which was highly unusual for the others. A few niggling injuries and overloaded mileage from the last two days had beat them down.
So I was running 10 at a slow pace on my own. I bumped into Jack a few times but it was pretty much a solo effort. With the day as nice as it was I was feeling no urge to slow to a walk. I let my hips work more regularly - loose and fluid. I relaxed my feet and worked efficiently to put one foot in front of the other.
I did the 20 in 3:19 which gave me a rush. That was under 10 minute mile pace. To celebrate I went over to the outdoor bistro to sit in the sun with the breeze blowing, and watched a steady flow of beautiful people out early. I devoured some buttermilk pancakes, bacon, cranberry juice and coffee. Mmmmmm. It was outstanding. Back home, I stretched and I am not feeling anywhere near as bad as I did over shorter distances in recent weeks. Maybe I am rounding into marathon shape. Who knew it would work again?
I planned our morning together so that we could knock off five miles, end up back on Park Avenue at 7 a.m., and run with my usual Sunday morning crowd. If my pace was too slow for her she could run with others over the 10 mile loop.
Prelude. Susan liked my plan and we headed out right at 6. We spent a lot of time talking shop, my kids, running, travelling, etc. We moved at a brisk pace and I felt fine. Over the last mile I told her the story of Helga and Ingrid Swenson that had been such a big yuck back in June. She found it amusing.
Jack, this is Ingrid from Stockholm. We arrived back at Park Avenue to find Chris, Charline, and Marty. Soon after Jack arrived and, with Susan playing along, I introduced her to Jack as Ingrid, the bikini designer from Sweden. His jaw dropped once, before suspecting me of pulling his leg again. We all got a good laugh before setting off.
The regulars complained right away that Susan's and my pace was higher than the norm for their start-up. That didn't slow us down. I was feeling good.
Everybody enjoyed running with Susan, especially Chris. We left Jack early with our pace. Charline and Marty cut out at six miles, leaving me and Chris with Susan to make the full loop. When I fell off the pace around mile 11 Chris and Susan kept it going. I tried my darndest to keep up but it was a push. They waited for me now and then and even walked when I had to walk.
When we got back to Park Avenue Susan checked her Garmin and it told her we did exactly 15 miles and at a 9:30ish pace. That's booking it for me. I was exhausted. I walked her home and headed back to the house to visit with my sister, in from RI.
Movie reviews. Went with Mrs. T to see Jodie Foster's new flick "Brave One" last night. It was riveting and tempered my easy approach to the NYC Marathon. I will be inside after dark. Today Sis and I went to see "In the Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones. Having had a son go to and return from Iraq, I found the movie to be very personal and left me extremely grateful that my guy came home with a pretty straight head on his shoulders. Sad account of what war does to young men. View with caution.
As you may recall the pool has been green all summer. Mrs. T has been belly-aching about not getting to float aimlessly in a clean pool so she hired a bonded licensed pool guy who does a neighbor's pool. I got my walking papers. In a week's time Jose has shown us that there is a bottom to our pool and reminded us that pool water can be blue if you throw enough chemicals in it.
So today it's cloudy. Not much of a pool day.
I went to see a high school cross country meet this morning. Our Winter Park state champs were to face some stiff competition. The meet director is an old former West Point grad with ties to the Hudson Valley area. He invited Warwick Valley HS down last year and they came again this year. They were incredible. Their boys finished 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7th to win the meet. Columbus high came up from Miami and finished a strong second. Winter Park had to contend with another local high school for third and fell short. Not a good day for The Park. I wouldn't want to be at practice on Monday.
Practice. I have been practicing too. I did 8x800s on Tuesday. I should have stuck to 10K pace but did the first two at 5K pace. The last six repeats deteriorated over time to a just a bit slower than 10K pace. I finished and felt good.
Thursday I went out for five miles of hill work. I like hill work like some people hate speed work but I felt better for it. Hill work does a body good to build strength and stamina. I could feel it in my legs today mowing the yard. Is that possible after one hill workout? Don't tell me. Let me believe it is so.
Tomorrow. I have a run date with one of our principals tomorrow. Susan cannot stand to run alone for long distances, her usual run mate has schedule problems, and she asked if I was available this weekend. Of course, I said yes :). We're going 15 starting at 600. Susan's running the Nike Marathon out west. I forget when it is but that's her race.
Today I left the house at 600 to do six before reaching Park Avenue at 700. It was already 78F and would be 85F before I finished. I tried a new circuit which may work out quite nicely in the future. A new asphalt trail has been poured around Lake Baldwin, part of a mega-development on a former Naval Training Center property across the street from us. It runs all along the shore and it adds about three miles to the 10 mile Sunday loop, if needed. It was dark when I was there so I can't speak for much of it other than I kept wondering if any gators were up early.
My warm-up along Lake Baldwin and the run to downtown got me one-third of the way along my planned run for the morning. I reached the meet-up point in plenty of time and was dripping wet from the heat and humidity. I had some water and my first pretzel.
Pretzel. Yes. I forgot to go to the Track Shack yesterday for Margarita Blox so had to improvise this morning. Fine time to have to do that with 18 on the dance card. I stuffed one pocket with six pretzels in a baggy and the other with golden raisins in a baggy. Both served me well.
From Park Ave. I headed out ahead of the group. I seem to train harder when being chased than when in the group. I find I am not much of a chatter. I reflect internally on what my body is doing. That's hard to maintain for 18 miles.
I was evenutally passed within three miles and ended up running the 18 pretty much solo. I fought off impulses to walk more often than not. I pushed up hills because I read that that is really a good source of strength and stamina. I plan to do my tempo runs on hills for the next seven weeks leading up to NYC for just that reason.
I averaged 11 minute miles for the 18 total. It is not very good by my standards but it is what it is in this weather. Give me some of that Boston weather and I'll knock down some 10 minute miles.
I left the track with a degree of satisfaction. The last time I did 12x400, in February, it was 44F and took me an aggregate 21:22. Yesterday it was 75F and the loops added up to 21:01. The intervals ranged from 1:41 to 1:50, only four of them over 1:46.
That was encouraging.
Last night I let Hank crank on my muscles for 90 minutes. Hank is not Sherlene. You remember sweet Sherlene? She had such a gentle way of rubbing out all the knots and wrinkles. She never missed one and you could feel them release one by one under her hand.
Hank? Thumbs of pneumatic steel. The man can make you wince and oftentimes levitate you off the table with one stroke. If he weren't holding me down so hard with those thumbs I'd be lying on the ceiling. Whatever knots I had are gone. Of that I am sure. But I feel like I went through a brawl this morning. I may need an IV to flush out all that he broke off the muscle fibers.
I immediately booked another session in a few weeks. Did I mention I enjoy going to the dentist too?
Saturday night I drank some leftover Zipfizz, the immensely satisfying and energizing drink I like during runs. It gave me a buzz that made my sleep restless, so I got up at 5-ish which was not entirely necessary but, hey, I was up. I had some breakfast and planned my 14-mile morning run.
I was out the door with my cooler to stash down behind the wall and down the street. I jogged on over to Park Avenue in the crisp cool morning air (yeah, I'm trying to fool you and me) with a few minutes to spare - this weekend. A small gathering headed out for the run.
I immediately fell behind. Then when I heard Kim and an insanely attractive new running mate coming up behind me I found my stride and quickened my pace in multiple ways. With the new surge I found myself catching up to my group and leaving them behind for a mile. Then they caught and passed me.
It was that kind of run. I will call it a fartlek. I kept going end-of-marathon slow (including walks) for a spell and then pushing a pace with long strides, quick turnovers, fluid form and all other natural ingredients. I finished on the quick pace side which gave me great satisfaction. I also found my Zipfizz doses gave me extra oomph that was noticeable. It has become repeatedly noticeable over the last several weekends. I might have something to work with now.
Once home, I walked the dogs and jumped in the car to go to the beach. Unlike last weekend with Mrs. T I caught every red light out of town. Nevertheless I got lucky at the beach and got the last parking spot in my targeted beach area.
It was then that I made a crucial error in judgment. I left the car with chair, umbrella, cooler and beach bag. What's missing? Sandals. The sand from the parking area to the boardwalk was worse than hot coals (It must be. Anybody want to challenge me on that?). Naturally, with 50 some odd days of NYC Marathon training left, I now have big red blisters on my soles. Can't wait to try those 12x400s tomorrow.
The beach was wonderful with a cool breeze. I read the paper and did Sudoku puzzles, ate my lunch, had a big Fosters 32 oz. can of beer and did a fair amount of people watching. The water ocean was a little robust but it made for a good soaking.
Mrs. T came home late last night while I was asleep. Small blessings can be yours when your son has a drivers license and a nocturnal lifestyle. It was nice to see her again in the morning.