It's my birthday and I'll shop if I want to

I woke up Thursday facing a 10 mile tempo run.It was cold (40F) and raining. I rolled over knowing I could catch up on Friday.

Friday I woke up, still my former age, and did my 10 miles with gusto (9:21 pace) in more moderate temps and just puddles to dodge. It went effortlessly. I had a mental moment of realizing I was still 54 when I was out there because my birth time was 1115.

Friday, after work, I went for an eye exam. Sort of a spur of the moment, feeling old kind of thing. My numbers came up in need of a minor adjustment but not so vital that I need to do something right now. I'll wait until I hit a tree before paying the ransom prices for high end eye glasses again. My veins and arteries were pulsating in an excellent fashion according to the doc. "Retinas of a 25-year old," he said. I might have slipped him a ten spot for that but wasn't clear on tipping rules for opthamologists. He went without.

With eyes nicely dilated, I drove home seeing the oncoming cars as incredibly bright fractured lights. My pupils were tested hard but fortunately I only had two miles to drive.

Mrs. T and I went to a nice seafood restaurant for birthday dinner. I ordered way more than I needed (crab cakes, wedge salad and broiled grouper with mashed potatoes). The wine was the most memorable item I remember. The place was busy and noisy with a sax player setting a mood, if you could hear him. I thought the joint was too noisy but we had a good time.

Saturday was all about me and Mrs. T played along:
  • Take Christmas suit to be fitted
  • Buy two pairs of casual shoes at Marshall's (I've never owned so many shoes in my life. Of course four of them are runnning shoes that are in my rotation)
  • Lunch at Greens and Grille (excellent farmers salad with broiled shrimp and five toppings)
  • Shop Bloomingdale's for new blue jeans (NOT buying here. Every jean option is no less than $150)
  • Skip Nordstrom's to avoid credit card catastrophe
  • Shop Macy's and find some Calvin Ks for the slim fit (yes)
  • In a moment of weakness I allowed Mrs. T to lead us towards the cosmetic counters where she showed me the moisturizer she believes in and there, right in front of me, was the men's version (Shiseido). Clerk: "We're giving free facials today. Would you like to have one?" Mrs. T says, "I think the birthday boy should have one!" 20 minutes later I'm taking my shirt off for Gloria who gave me a quicky facial. That was a first. Don't know that it even comes close to the benefits of a massage but I'll do just about anything once. I left with some moisturizer. After the sun damage Susie made me endure the last five summers I've got to do something to fix it. Benign neglect doesn't seem to work.
  • Redeem $300 store credit for a new piece of luggage (Georgia Marathon, friends)
  • Go for a glass of wine which led to a white pizza at Brio's, a quiet, peaceful, busy and elegant Italian restaurant.
  • Catch a movie that Susie, Mia, April Anne nor any woman teacher ought to see: "Notes on a Scandal;" however any guy who ever had fantasies about a good looking teacher will enjoy it.

Today, I made it to Park Avenue in 63F temps and the threat of rain. If it had been raining when I got up I might not have done the 14.5 miles that I did. I was plenty wet, endured a bloody nipple that made my white shirt oh so pleasant to look at; so I left it in my cooler and ran shirtless after the 6.5 mile mark. Covered the distance in 2:20, 9:40/mile pace.

The sun is out. I've got a pool to clean. See you next time.


Since last time ....

I ate a Krispy Kreme glazed donut, a KK Boston Creme chocolate covered donut, a bunch of Chips Ahoys, dark chocolate bars, a delicious Philly Cheesesteak and assorted other more nutritional items since I pondered the mystery of the universe.

Oh yeah. And I busted two top-3 1600 meter PRs Tuesday morning at 7:35.7 and 7:42.8.

The scale isn't tilting so I am carrying on.

Tomorrow is flip day. Another year closer to retirement.

P.S. The migrating shoe tongue is unique to this one pair of shoes.


Mystery of the universe #8403750

So please, all those of sound mind and strong opinion, tell me why, after a nice long run of no specific distance, the tongue of my left running shoe migrates to the full outboard side of that space between the lace holes and the right one stays perfectly straight?

The left shoe is laced identically to the right shoe and the lace is threaded through the tongue slot that is supposed to hold it in place. The laces are tied with the same tension, best as I can tell.

Is this a problem? Not necessarily although only a specialist might know if some aggregate aggravation is going on there with that.


Making do

I forgot to go to the store yesterday and buy more Bloks and Gatorade for today's 18.5 mile run. I didn't realize it until I went to bed and thought about prepping for the run. How was I going to cover that distance with no fuels? I couldn't think of anything in the house to help me.

I considered a 24-hour drugstore to be my only hope but after I woke up and dressed I found a box of golden raisins. I checked the box for their carb content and decided I'd try them. I stuffed a baggy full of them. I put a bottle of vitamin water in my cooler for liquid assistance.

Nine people showed up on Park Avenue for the Sunday run. They peeled off at 4, 6, 7, 9 and 12 miles leaving me alone for the last 6.5. I managed very well with raisins. They gave me a discernable boost every time I ate them although, at one point, I thought they might generate the same effect as their cousins, the prunes. Alas, nothing went awry.

I was tired afterwards. That was a long haul. From a low of 54F when I started, it was low 70s by the time I finished three hours later.

After I stretched I headed on down to Starbucks for an Americano, scone and the paper. The sun was warm and welcome. At home later, I put my legs in the cold pool water. Wow. Was that a wake-up but it felt good too.


Double make up and rant

Thursday I decided I needed to find some hills and run the eight miles expected of me. I used the Google pedometer mapping to figure out that my neighorhood and the one nearby (Virginia Heights) could dish out four miles of up and down parallel roads. I did two laps for my eight miles in 1:13:17, a 9:10 pace. Good enough for me. I need to do more hills.

Today was race day. It was perfect for good times with temps in the mid-50s. It was all good except that 3,300 people signed up (none of them named Jason I might add). That was a record. The narrow lane roads were swollen in spots where masses of runners played bumper cars with each other ("Sorry.")

My good friend who ran my campaign for city commission four years ago decided to come out of the political closet herself and run for election. For all the traipsing around town she did for me, the least I could do was race wearing her campaign T-shirt (so whispered my conscience of fairness and guilt). For three miles, I figured I could live without a tech shirt even though I abhor campaigning now. Fortunately the shirt was a good color, went with my shorts and the design was tasteful. I ran with it.

As people mingled around before the race I heard the announcer bragging about the number of registrations. I reconnoitered the start area and decided I would be smart to stay near the front if I had any interest in a good time. A guy from Boston wearing a Dunkin Donut Cape Cod Marathon T-Shirt and I chatted about New England races for awhile; then the horn sounded.

I took off with a spurt. Fortunately there were not too many race walkers, slowpokes and pedestrian entrants in my way through the first mile. The last two miles were a breeze and I was never winded, despite a brisk pace. I did negative splits of 7:50, 7:32 and 7:30 to finish in 23:36.

That was my second best PR time among the 31 5Ks I have done since 1999. I was 22nd out of 110 in my age group. and would have been 12th in the next age group up that I join in six days. I beat all the ladies in my current age group for a change too.

Where's Susie when I need her? In the middle of the race I checked to feel for my keyless entry remote to the car. It was not in my waistband pocket where it was supposed to be. I had recollections of maybe putting it down in the trunk pre-race when I changed into the campaign shirt. (I told you I hate campaigning). So I ran the race distracted about how to deal with my brilliance. In the end, I ran home the two miles to get my spare keys.

Mrs. T dropped me off back at my car where, yes indeed, I found my remote in the trunk. I put it in my waist pocket again and headed off to the farmer's market to see the beautiful people that come out on Saturday mornings. After awhile I felt my waistband pocket. No remote. And the spare was locked in my car now too! Oh sh_t.

I started retracing my steps and after about 20 minutes someone I know asked me what I was doing and I explained it. He laughed. I showed him the pocket the remote had been in. Then ... as if deja vu could happen all over again, Susie popped into my head and a memory of a similar experience in New London, CT when I accompanied her in the Sailfest 5K race. I lost her car key that time and we did the same retracing thing. Where was that key? Excuse me Susie, while I check the bottom of my shorts liner. Ah ha!

Where was that key remote today? Same place. Oh happy day. Sounds like something Jeanne would do, huh? She cracks me up too.

Internet Exploder did it in the hard drive with the seven version. You may recall I mentioned my laptop died. Lost configuration/operating system problems .... The same messages popped up on my back-up laptop yesterday and I was out to solve the puzzle. What did they have in common? I had downloaded the latest version of Internet Explorer 7 to both of them recently.

The security guard at the college art museum (hey; he's a geek in his off hours) told me the new Internet Explorer 7 program has some effect on operating systems that does just what mine had done. So I have removed IE and am now running on Firefox. I still need to find the system discs for the old laptop; unless somebody is smarter than me and has a suggestion. It does not boot up.



I had a very therapuetic massage on Monday and when I went out to run on Tuesday morning I was feeling too loose. Laps around the track were just not so strong. I did manage to put down one fast lap at 800m but the other six times were all over the place. I was both tired, stressing over the days work ahead and wholly undisciplined.

I am not surprised. I have felt this way before.

The house has emptied. Both boys are back in the custody residence of their respective institutions of higher learning. Let us dance a moment in observation of this hallowed condition. God love 'em; they'll be back in eight weeks for spring break.

My laptop officially choked down its last triple cheeseburger and isn't getting up again. Some system discs need to be found in order to reload the operating system. Now where did I put those dang things?

More from "Lore of Running" which you'll want to file away for your next overheated run (spring time?) --- sponging off with cool water stimulates collected blood in extremities to find their way back into circulation.


A beautiful people morning

Last night's dinner party went well but there was the matter of going to sleep a little late. I rely on my body and mind to wake me up. I avoid alarms. So when I woke at 625 I thought I might be late for the Sunday run.

I made it.

It was a damp morning with overcast skies. Rain had fallen sometime earlier. At least it wasn't as nasty as Dallas had it (freezing rain in the low 30s). It was a balmy mid 60s out. The sun eventually came out.

I sensed myself in a communication-less bubble. Last night at dinner I was sitting there with one of my guests and I felt some awkwardness because we had nothing to talk about. This morning, on the first two miles of our run when all the gabbing goes on, I was running by myself while everybody else was matched up talking about something. I was aware of it but it didn't bother me. When the run boiled down to me, Chris and Bob going long, we did manage to connect and talk a little. I came to find that Chris spent many summers of his youth in a beach house in Quonochantaug, RI, just miles away from me and Susie doing the same thing.

You may remember me bemoaning one of my Christmas gifts: a tome on running about 1,000 pages long. It goes so deep into analysis of biological and chemical factors that it brought back flashes of the many times I changed majors in college.

Yet, I still was sucked in by some passages yesterday afternoon about fueling while running, to maintain necessary glycogenic levels. So today I practiced my new plan. First of all, I have forgone Gu and adopted Cliff Blocks as my in-flight fuel. I cut them in half for convenience and carry them in a baggy. Works better than Gu for me.

I drank a bottle of water just before I started and popped a half-Block every 30 minutes. I found my stamina was consistent throughout the run, minimizing the pits of fatigue. Towards the end of my 16.5-miler I went with a block at 20 minute intervals as I sensed a sapped strength creeping in. It all worked today. We'll try it some more next week.

I covered the distance in 2:39:35, a 9:43 pace which beats last week at a mile shorter distance (by six seconds/mile).

After I stretched I changed clothes in the car trying not to offend the eyes of Sunday morning's beautiful people out for a stroll. I took a two block walk down to Starbuck's and used a gift card to buy a scone and tall Americano. I grabbed some newspaper and caught a prime seat outside on the sidewalk to people-watch while I refueled and read. I had finally gotten my act together to join the beautiful people on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in Florida.

Thank you. Thank you. Life is good. Especially Sunday mornings with long runs and the beautiful people. (Track workouts come in a close second).


I swear I saw ...


I went to see Lion King with Mrs. T here in town and, in the second act, I was watching attentively when the grown up Nala, lioness heroine of the pride, came bounding across the stage and I immediately had this image of Bex running. Lord knows why but it sure had me thinking.

The show was excellent. The seats were center balcony which was fine. What was not fine was the sicko next to me who kept sneezing, blowing his nose and coughing. I confined myself to the eastern half of my seat which Mrs. T tolerated. Perhaps she thought I was trying to nuzzle up to her.

Today I went for four miles very easy. I made it so. Then I was a good doo-bee to my car by going to have the tires rotated.

Dinner party here at the house tonight. Loooong run tomorrow morning. Massage with Sherlene on Monday.


Issues and back ups

I have been having a few appliance issues. The dishwasher decided to leak while running. I couldn't turn it off without turning off the power at the breaker. Did that. Dishwasher power = laptop power meaning I switched plugs. Repairman came, turned off dishwasher and restored power. A week later we still wait on new motors and wash by hand.

Meanwhile, somebody moved my laptop plug back and, ever since, I've been having hard drive and configuration problems. I could go blank at any moment with another SERIOUS HARD DRIVE ERROR. I've cleaned disks, defragged, restored and rebooted with last known working config and I still get slow processing and occasional messeages like the one above.

So my message for the day to all of you is "Back up your data and picture files today!" You'll thank me later.

So out on the streets of Winter Park I took a little run around my favorite 5-mile loop yesterday morning. It was a tempo run. I gave it a valiant effort and was rewarded with a PR time for the distance: 42:26.5. I am loving this training. I'm going long Sunday for 15 + 10% miles.

In the world of education, one of our charter schools decided to send one of their classes on a march and sit-in to the district office to "commemorate MLK Jr. I always associate marches and sit-ins with protests so I was not so crazy about them showing up and plopping down in the district office lobby. They were good though; reading MLK Jr and civil rights books silently, with signs that had his picture and initials. They essentially immersed themselves physically in the benign act of marching, sitting and standing out in a crowd.


Chilly speed work

Winter seriously interrupted my January summer Tuesday. After what seemed like weeks of balmy weather near or in the 80s the thermometer took a dive and it was a chilly 49 degrees outside.

"Ha!" you say. "Wimp," you think.

"Come and suffer with me," I say. I was liking that nice weather. I actually had some sunburn.

So now that we've re-established that it's winter I can use the hibernation excuse to explain my lingering weight gain. I've been carrying for almost eight weeks now. I really should go back to my deprived nutritional plan and drop this depraved one.

So I did 5x1200s at the track Tuesday. One of the five was my second best all-time time at the distance. Weight=speed? Not possible. It was windy, cool and sunrise was a feast of colors.

The track was empty until a nice old guy came by who is always there on Tuesdays. We slowed down about the same time and exchanged pleasantries for the very first time. He's 64 and walks 2 laps, runs 4, walks 2 and runs 4 to get his fitness up. He sounded Jamaican, or at least Caribbean. Big toothy grin and very friendly.

Gator fan afterglow from the BCS Bowl will last at least three years; that's my prediction. They will be impossible to live with if past history is a good barometer. I enjoyed the home state team winning but my allegience ends with the game. Sadly, Gators will sing the refrain of victory over and over.

Son C took Mrs. T's car to Gainesville on Monday to watch the game with high school pals who go there. It was his first college "road trip." Blessings were countedwhen he returned home in one piece the next afternoon (and so did the car).


Go Gators

Bowl Championship Game
Florida 34, Ohio State 14

Go Gators!


Wrung out

First let me tip my cap (which I did not wear today with the high 70s temps) to all the "Goofy" runners out at Disney who actually completed and survived the double run of yesterday's half marathon and today's full marathon. It's bloody hot here. Those that do them both are called Goofys. This was not the year to enjoy a Goofy.

I went to the Track Shack yesterday to register for a 5K in two weeks. The place was packed. They had some shoes on sale too. What!? My Kayanos $40 off? I bought a pair and took them out for a four mile run to break them in. It was 80 degrees. Phew. I just went really slowly.

Last night I ate way too well. A dozen mussels and a salmon dinner at the Key West-themed restaurant down at the Gaylord Palms Resort where Mrs. T's brother is attending the NCAA meetings. I had some high octane liquour after dinner with my key lime pie. Those last two stuck with me overnight.

Overnight was too short. I got up at 600 so to be at Park Avenue at 700. There was a crowd today. Six runners showed up. It was, again, hot - in the 70s. I managed to persevere and cover 15.3 miles in 2:30 but when I got home I was both sleepy and cramping slightly in my calves. I haven't quite recovered. I am wrung out.

For those of you that follow college football, the buzz in these parts is all about tomorrow night's national championship game and the Florida Gators. All the experts say they have no chance. I say, "Don't be surprised when the Gators make it interesting."


Pity this

You won't. You shouldn't.

I ran five miles this morning pretty fast in high 60s temps. 43:39 for a near record time over the course. I came home totally covered in perspiration from the humidity. I had to strip down in the garage to leave my kit near the washing machine. As I stretched, the doggies had a lick festival.

Poor Runner Susan sure got a dose of love and affection after her self flaggelating diet-ribe. We should all be so frank to release our demons, if we have them ... and they need to get out. I'm so glad she layed it out there. All good wishes and a secret wish that she recovers soon enough to come run Atlanta (either the full or half).


What a change

I spent 10 days at home. Went nowhere except the movies and a football game. Stayed in town. Ate, drank, slept, read a book, blogged daily and ran on plan.

I had trouble finding my parking space and office at work today. It was such a strange place to be. And that tie thing around my neck kept choking me. Dang.

Not to be overindulgent, I left work early.

I did 10x400s this morning while son T headed to the airport on his way back to West Point. The workout was good in that all the repeats came in under 1:50. Six were under 1:45 and the best was 1:42.0, a second best time at the distance. I may actually be getting faster with this training plan.

5K race in two weeks. Maybe I can PR it.