Shakin' and bakin'

I solved the economy shoe concerns. I put my "try these sample" SofSole inner soles (Athletic) in the new Asics 2130 shoes and, voila, I am a happy camper with plenty of extra cushioning. My 5-miler yesterday was slow and deliberate but there was nothing going on in my shins or ankles that gained my attention.

Today I joined Finally Running Susan and hubby D for a 3-miler in the colony. Nothing hard or extraordinary about the run other than it was an official RBF meet-up run. More to the RBF, I am leaning heavily towards a race with the Running Chick with the Orange Cap in New London on Saturday morning at the Ocean Beach/Kelley 11.6 mile free run. I expect we'll run together for a quater mile before her instincts kick in and I see her waiting for me at the finish line.

The beach has been a bakefest the last several days. Perfect weather and lots of tan line development. Son C. has a tan that only the young can acquire and us old folks envy. Dark brown and deep.

The beach had some buzz this afternoon. Four lithe ladies set up next to us, one with a baby. They were sporting two-piece bathing suits with unusual tan lines. They had good tans but evidence of shorts and sports bras tan lines. Mrs. T. remarked that one gal had the most exquisite body she had ever see on a woman, with dramatically well-toned lower abdominal muscularature. Naturally that had my attention too.

One of our group, Tom, had the closest seat to the women and so when he looked distracted and detached I went over to ask him what was on his mind. He reported that he was eavesdropping on the conversation these women were having and he said he could listen to them all day. He reported they were all world-class, professional runners who were talking about Beijing, international races, contract race obligations in Germany and elsewhere, coaching conflicts, training regimens, the foolishness of vegetarian diets, etc.

We did not turn so crass as to ask for autographs but I have to admit I played the process-of-elimination exercise in the beach parking area to guess their vehicles. I plan to run tomorrow and see if I can find their cars and figure out where they're lodging. Tom said something about one of them staying at their parents' place here in the colony.


A busy week

I made it through the week without any major flare-ups and am now comfortably tucked away on the coast of Rhode Island. The weather was perfect for the beach on Saturday so that's is exactly where we went. Saw many old acquaintances including this young lady.

Before heading north I went and bought some new shoes and margarita bloks. I went economy on the shoes, buying some Asics 2130s instead of the usual high-cushion Kayanos. After two runs in them I had no issues but I am sensing some tenderness in my ankles and shins. Now that might just have something to do with the 18-miler yesterday - in the rain - on those unfamiliar to me (flat-lander) hills that jump up here and there.

The rain was probably a blessing to run in, insofar as blazing sun would be less suitable for the distance. It was a good enough run albeit quite slow; mostly around 11:30/mile pace. [I am so excited - two three-word words in one paragraph].

My mileage for the rest of the vacation is pretty strong (for me) with three 5-milers during this week and a 19-miler next Sunday and a 21-miler the following Sunday. I have a chance to run with the Running Chick (maybe) next weekend at a free 11.6 race in New London but I have not made any commitments. My brother is coming up next weekend and I haven't done enough homework on the race time. I'll do that next and post again. I have more time to do that now that it's vacation time.


Vacations: breaking down the mindset

The glow. When I get back from a relaxing vacation I usually have a sense of calm detachment from the day-to-day. I have a bigger picture of things. I latch onto sensations and visual memories of things enjoyed while on vacation. I try to hold that as long as I can. I coach myself to go back to that state after the glow wears off. I try to anticipate the glow as I prepare for the next vacation - this Friday.

I have been mentally preparing and anticipating the next glow. Obstacles do, however, get in the way. Tidying up the house and yard so it's not a total mess or jungle when we return. Navigating the land mine of last minute tasks at work that have to be done before I return. At this time, I love that I have a talented staff.

I also find I get more done in these couple of weeks before vacation. I have a to-do list that has more meaning than it usually does. The goal is to cross off all the tasks before Friday.

Then there are the benefits of planning what to pack and getting it done sooner than four hours before the flight. And making sure there's enough dog food for the canines and human provisions for the house sitter. Best to make another list.

Running. I put in a higher mileage week by getting back on schedule and adding more easy runs between hard runs. I did some 1600 repeats Tuesday, a 10K pace tempo run Friday, two easy runs on Wednesday and Saturday; and then the long grueling slog through the desert sun long run yesterday. I was so whipped I fell asleep on the couch after I cleaned up. The to-do list woke me up because I had to make room in the house for the return of NOS so it was off to the public storage facility to hide our out-of-commission stuff.

When you pay extra for a storage unit, you start to take inventory of the things that really are not worth keeping. I will do more of that after I return from vacation.


Drop and give me 15

Running resumed when I got back to Florida on Friday. I did a challenging 4-mile descending progression run Friday morning; six hot and humid miles yesterday after sleeping in and letting the temps rise.

Today I woke early and started on my 15 mile scheduled run at 6:20 a.m. I knocked off 3.5 miles before reaching downtown to run with the Sunday pack. Most of them were friskier than me because they were going shorter distances I succumbed to running a mile then walking a minute throughout.

Chris joined me on the latter half of the run when the shorties dropped off. We averaged 11 minute miles for the morning which suited me, just because I was able to get it done. As the training ramps up, I expect "today's" long run to get easier and the 20-plussers to be more of a pain.

Quality time with Jeanne

Jeanne and NOD and I sat in the drizzle waiting for the fireworks while sitting in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial over in Arlington Cemetery.
We were across the river from the big crowds but we could see it fine. The best part was the Metro wait was short - a relative term - afterwards.
On Tuesday night I took Jeanne to her first Washington Nationals game. They played the Arizona Diamondbacks. We saw some unusual plays including two balks followed by an argument and ejection. Neither team scored an earned run but the D-backs won 2-0.
It's a nice ballpark down by the Navy Pier in Washington. The street life outside is minimal and TV ratings are absolutely horrible. What is strange is that the Nats draw well at the gate and lots of folks where the gear: caps, shirts, etc.
Jeanne knows quite a bit about baseball for somebody who has been to very few games in her illustrious sporting life. She liked the seats and atmosphere so much that she stayed way past her bedtime.

Walter Street 4th Party

Welcome to the 9th Annual Walter Street Independence Day Street Party. The parade of athletes concluded with the lighting of the tiki torch. Then it was on to the events.
Jeanne, NOD and NOD's BF take in some of the spirited competition.

The limbo was popular. Even Jeanne tried one round through. Alas, she was smart enough to rule herself out early on.
The doggy events bordered on cruel and unusual. These poor pups were told to keep their heads out of the buckets (filled with cool drinking water) and then, after a time the whistle blew, and they were urged to bob for tennis balls. Most balls pulled out determined the winner. Most dogs just had a drink following the lead of the adults.


On the streets of Washington

It's been a whirlwind 48 hours in the nation's capitol. Friday I woke Jeanne up while waiting for my luggage (at 2 in the afternoon!) Two hours later she met me at my hotel and we were quickly on the Metro heading to Capitol Hill for the 9th annual Independence Day street party over on Walter Street, a short one block residential lane.

Jeanne wangled the invite from resident Anthony and he was kind enough to let us run wild - in a manner of speaking - for the afternoon as we waited for the say-can-you see fireworks spectacular at 9:10. There were neighbors manning two grills, a full blown sound system and music mix, plenty of food and drink, an interesting blend of residents. We donned name tags and mixed and mingled. Jeanne's NOD appeared with the SO and all was well.

Then we were treated to the parade of athletes for the Walter Street Olympics. Darn, I wish I had my camera cables because I'd show you the zaniness now. You'll have to wait until Thursday when I get home. Anyway, the parade and lighting of the olympic (tiki) torch was conducted by a man wearing a flamingo on his head and swimming flippers on his feet. Everything in between worked with that, believe me.

For the next three hours there were numerous game of skill and foolishness. Jeanne and I participated in the water balloon-tossing contest and lifesaver relay. We and our teammates in the relay (NOD, SO and a recruited ringer named Nicole) eaned silver medals for our efforts. We avoided the hula hoop spinning, egg on a spoon relay, limbo and numerous others that you will never see in Beijing.

The hilarity crested with the several canine competitor events. Jeanne has a few pics posted until mine go up. All in all it was the only way to do the 4th in DC.

Instead of fighting the Mall crowd and the impossible Metro traffic to follow, we trekked over to the Iwo Jima Memorial and watched the rockets' red glare from the embankments where the Marine Corps Marathon ended for me mercifully two years ago. [hey - had to get some running in here somehow].

After sitting in a drizzle for 20 minutes the fireworks exploded and the rain stopped. Everyone who had been huddling under umbrellas now stood up to watch. Everybody behind us screamed in perfect American holiday tradition, "Sit down! Down in front!" Didn't happen.

Saturday I made my presentation to the conference that brought me here and was surprisingly flattered by the spontaneous applause when I finished. Nobody else got that response. Yea me.

Runnign short. After the meetings I had to see if I could run any better than Friday morning in Orlando (That had been a pitiful 3 mile effort). I jogged over to the trail along the Potomac near National Airport and put in 4.4 miles at 10:35 pace. At least everything worked, although the spicy black bean soup from lunch was reminding me of Food Poisoning Monday.

Running long. Sunday morning Peter came by to pick me up at 7 a.m. We drove up to the Arlington Cemetery and set out on a 10+ mile run from the Iwo Jima Memorial across the bridge to DC and along the mall, up Capitol Hill, east to RFK Stadium and then back.

I started too quickly and it cost me later but I was not phased. I had good company and plenty of sites to see. We stopped at the Vietnam War Memorial, RFK Stadium, the Korean War Memorial, World War II Memorial and ... let's see did I miss any wars? Oh, and we ran by the "idiot's house" too.

Peter snapped a bunch of photos of me posing as the Runner Tourist. We hiked up to the Lincoln Memorial before finishing our run along the same dastardly half mile of that Marine Corps Marathon back in Arlington.

It's been a lot of fun so far. More to come. DC never gets old. Best of all, I am now an official member of the DC Runners Club thanks to Peter who knighted me and then gave me a club running shirt. Woo hoo.


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Ta ta. I am off to the nation's capitol today to find Jeanne on the Mall tonight for the fireworks show. I'm sure we'll meet up. Then again, maybe later in the weekend she'll finally check her answering machine and call me back and we might run.

Update 3:30 p.m. I woke Jeanne up from a nap and she's taking me to a DC street party behind Capitol Hill tonight and then to the Mall for fireworks; and DC Spinster Peter called and we're booked for a run Sunday morning. This is working out great. I have a Nationals game in mind for Tuesday night too. Anybody want to go?