Spring training/break/reunion over ... finally

I am looking forward to tomorrow night. The last of the spring break visitors will have left and I will be back to the peace and pace that may allow me to return to better training, running, eating, racing, drinking, sleeping and blogging.

It's been a long two weeks.

Our last houseguest is the young Frenchman who is son T's age. He is the son of Mrs. T's pen pal from 9th grade French class. Mrs. T and her pen pal visited each other over the years and in 1983 sent each other letters at the same time declaring their recent pregnancies. G and T were born within a month of each other and have been friends a long time.

I have spent the last week explaining the stupidity of adults and students who did crazy things in the week before public school spring break (this coming week). Likewise, I entertained G at an NBA game (Magic-Spurs) and a college tennis match between nationally ranked #3 Lynn and #7 Rollins and a college spring exhibition soccer match. I also took him as my sidekick to the college reunion events. Mrs. T had to manage the busy museum most of the weekend but we ran into her a few times.

For my 35th reunion nobody from my class showed up! The college was not officially observing it but I saw plenty of people I know.

Then there was the birthday party for a good friend I've known for 20 years; and the online drafts for my fantasy baseball teams (three of them).

The 10K Race. I missed five training runs while spring break was going on. Too many distractions. I slipped in a few speed work sessions to keep the speed up plus one long run last Sunday but otherwise, I lost my mojo. I also put on some weight with all the eating and drinking that accompanied the breaker activities.

It was about 63 degrees at the start. I was in the 8-minute pace zone with a few pals I knew. The start was clean. The jockeying required in the first mile was not too bad. I put forth a pace of 8:05-8:10 through the first three miles. I kept up the 8-ish pace through miles 4 and 5 but stopped for water in both miles which cost me about 15-20 seconds. By the sixth mile the sun was rising and I was overheating so stripped off my shirt.

I slowed down too much, coming to the 6-mile clock in about 8:30 and then kicked it in at a decent pace to finish in 52:11.

The Bad - I did not break my 50-minute goal. I lost my stamina.
The Good - It was my fourth best 10K. I was 17th out of 66 in my age group. I saw Maddy plus a lot of my Central Florida running pals and acquaintances.
The Most Fun - watching the Kids Runs: 3 and unders, 5-8 year olds and 9-12 year olds. Cute.

After the race I weighed myself and was four pounds heavier than I expected to be after the effort. That's probably why I didn't have the speed. Too much partying in this boy.


Sunday's run was just right

It was good to go out running this morning and actually feel good about it. All week (since Tuesday) I have been off my feed, so to speak. I didn't want to run. I skipped two runs. I dragged dead legs on a five mile run with two walk breaks. It was all pitiful.

I blame it on spring break. To get in the mood I played hooky on Friday.

The house has been a whirlwind since Wednesday when son T came home. We had one cadet already here (since last Friday). T came in with another on Wedenesday. A former Army (now Blackwater) pal came by with his girlfriend. A West Point softball player on a Central Florida tournament swing was here twice. The lovely young blonds in the photos yesterday dropped in from Gainesville for the day on Friday. A French friend of T's came to town to stay with us for a week. An 18-year old girl who somehow got T's phone number late one night called several times and came by. A former girl friend of T's spent a few hours. Son C came over from the college.

The street was busy. Motorcycle. BMWs. Spec V Sentra. Jeep. Audi A4 (yeah, baby). SUVs. Who knows what else. The tattoo guy is not our son. He knows if he ever gets one he'll never see a home-cooked meal from his mother.

I am whipped. A five day spring break extravaganza. I guess living it close, on the periphery of all the action, is as good as it gets these days. Much more and I'd be toast.

We had a big dinner today -sort of a last supper - before the cadets all go back to the academy tomorrow morning. Before dinner I tried to find a semblance of normal by going out to run with the Sunday bunch at 7 a.m. It was overcast and cool enough to run without panting. I started slowly but gradually shook off the tiredness. I spent a lot of time talking and telling tales with Chris which (a) made the time go faster and (b) made the pace go harder.

My last mile I finished at a good 90 seconds a minute faster pace than the first mile. I felt redeemed from the drudgery of the past four running days. Next weekend is the 10K, my first in two years. Next weekend is also my college reunion. Here we go again.


Where did that week go?

It was spring break for son C last week. He took Mrs. T's old car to southwest Florida beaches for the week. Said something about staying at some frat brother's grandmother's house who had a chef to fix their meals. Beach clubs. Parties. Sounds like what a spring break should be.

The cost of him taking the car was I had to drive the stick Nissan and Mrs. T drove the Audi all week. She never put the top up nor did she stop smiling.

Meanwhile I worked like a dog and ran every day. I haven't done that in a long time. Shorter distances and lots of fast running. Thursday was less than two miles and comprised more of those run-for-one-minute-at full-speed-or-until-your-lungs burst. I did five really well. The sixth was just red-line material in the last fifty meters.

The annual sidewalk art festival was this weekend. It consumes the park were my Sunday morning group runs from at the start. I arrived a little early and parked a block east of Park Avenue. Any art festival goer would pay large sums to park that close. The crowd that showed up to run was mostly fasties but it was a big crowd. I ended up running with Chris, the stalwart. His hammies were hurting but we took our time. It was near 80 degrees and 100% humid.

After the 10-mile run I took in the art festival. Crowds were thin and they kept their distance from this frothy wet runner, until I cooled down.

WARNING: Cadet porn could return this week. West Point is off and three of them are due in here by Wednesday.


Two years since

It's been two years since I ran a 10K. I am looking to set a NEW PERSONAL RECORD. That would mean going under 50:00 by better than 15 seconds; better than 8:00 pace. Let it be cool out.

I woke at 5:20 this morning for my Sunday run. Trouble was it is now 6:20 which means I had to hustle to be on time. My hurry up offense worked as I got to run with a guest runner from Virginia. She worked for FEMA during Katrina - her insights were interesting - and now trains FEMA workers under a contract. We hit it off since we both have boys who are (near) officers in the Army. On top of that her hubby is a Major General. She gave me his card and said I should call him if I or T ever needed some help/advice. That was a worthwhile run.

I have a hankering for a special future post. I think some of you will like it. I just need to do a little research.

Baseball season has begun. I participated in my first online draft of the season last night which will result in a summer of fantasy.


Like a speeding bullet

I am using a new training plan for the March 29 10K race. It has lots of track workouts. Mmmmm.

Thursday I did something I've never done before and my legs felt "different" all day. An okay different too. I ran 4x200 at 0:50-0:52 then 4x1 minute "as fast as I could." That was different.

I started about 20 yards behind the 200m start line and aired it out. At the finish line I was wheezing and had only run 50 seconds. On the next three I kept moving back another 5 yards or so and I kept coming up short of a minute (52:20, 52:87, 55:05). So I was getting faster over longer distances.

The rest of the session was another 4x200 which I did in a pace I now thought was lazy and they were right there at 0:48-0:52. I finished with 6x100 strides which just felt super. I loved the stretch I put on my effort.

The best pace of the bunch was 5:47. I can hardly believe my Garmin but it's true. Wow.


Gorgeous day

It was ideal running weather this morning. Low 50s. Sun shining. Runners everywhere. Big crowd in my group.

My Garmin took forever to sync with the birds in the sky so the group got a half mile ahead of me right at the start. I short-cutted them at the two mile mark and caught up at the 2.75 mark. We did a perky 10-mile run at 9:16 pace.

Al this was on the heels of adopting the 10K training plan that had me go 4, 5, 6, and 6 miles over the course of the week. More run days at lower distances. Some of it was still easy recovery paces but I have the strength again to push hard. I like my resiliency after the marathon two weeks ago.

Mrs. T and I went car shopping today. We shopped the country on the Carmax site and found what we (she!) wants right here in Central Florida. A 2004 Audi A4 convertible. If they can fix the slight shimmy and the spot of sheet metal lacking paint I think it'll be mine tomorrow. West Point Cadet T is coming home for spring break in a few weeks and will be taking my (his) car back with him, now that he is finally allowed a vehicle. We may ship his motorcycle north too. That'll be one less item filling up my garage.