2005 Recap

I finished the year with a routine 4-miler. I start the new year tomorrow with the longest run of my life. That kind of recaps the year for me. Routine and life changing.

The 2005 Categories:
New Running Pals: 7, Dianna, Billy J., Sarah, Tim, Chris, Mark, Jack
Mileage: 1,057
Highest Mileage Month: 167 December
Average Month: 88
Highest Mileage Week: 46 51st week
Average Week: 20.3
Lifetime: 3,513
Races run: 14, 7-5Ks, 1-5M, 2-10Ks, 1-12K, 1-15K, 1-20K, 1-HM
Race PRs set: 6, all but the 12K


Running with the Army

I am back on plan. I am eating well (Liar! You are not!) and running the schedule (minus the 13 miler I skipped) that I revised last week. Today I slept in too late to do my 90 minute run in the morning so came home after work (yes, I made it in finally; but have tomorrow off) to run with my older son. He's the former cross country star with all the military training but he hasn't run 9-10 miles at one time in years. Bless his kick-ass heart, he stayed with me the whole way.

I found myself running fast, sensing him wanting to rev it up. The 10 miles we did I would normally do at a 9:30 pace and we covered it at an 8:49 pace. Talk about a workout! That's the fastest pace I've done at a long distance since the half marathon on December 3 (8:26 pace). It tells me the sub 4-hour marathon is definitely achievable.

Now if I can just eat less chocolate and more fruit I'll be better fueled.


Playin' Hooky

Unlike so many of you, I did not go to work today. I played hooky. Being in education, that is the proper terminology although nobody knew I was missing because NOBODY ELSE is at work in the district office during the winter holidays. And I find that weird, having come from a non-education field. I mean, what 22,000 employee company do you know of that veritably shuts down for two weeks and barely answers the phone? Technically we are open but it's idiots like me who choose not to take annual leave through these quiet times. Maybe next year I'll take advantage of it better. I do plan to go to work tomorrow, unless I develop a "cough" again ;).

I skipped today because I got home so late from the All Academy Ball where the cadets and midshipmen from all the military academies come together for a holiday gathering in all their formal finest uniforms. Doting parents take a zillion pictures and retired military types strut around in their formal dress too. It's a scene. The program ran on forever as every student was introduced, toasts were given to all the branches and support services, etc. The food was great. The table company was excellent - mainly because two of the parenst are serious runners so I had lots to talk about - never mind the military boys and girls. The cadets and midshipmen were a curious bunch, ranging in age, experience and outlook. They are definitely not your traditional college student, given their purpose and training. The academies are a good thing for developing leaders.

Meanwhile I adjusted to my new schedule of running. I recovered yesterday and waited until late in the afternoon today to put in four miles. The schedule said three but I skipped 13 yesterday so I felt obliged. I have no more mid-week 13s to worry about although I continue tomorrow with a 90-minute run presumably with 10 minutes of hill work. Ha! Find me 10 minutes of hills here in Central Florida. Not likely. ... and not likely in Miami either so I'm not worried too much about that. What hills there are I run every day anyway.

I strapped on the heart monitor for the first time in a while. I wanted to see if all this marathon training might have lowered my at-rest HR. Well, sitting still I got it down to 55 but when I laid down, not having to hold my head up, it dropped all the way to 46. My previous low rate was 53. I ran the four miles in a pedestrian 35:48.1 with an avg. HR of 126. Not a lot of effort there. I peaked at only 141.

I am very excited about the weather forecast for this weekend: sunny skies and temps in the high 70s, maybe 80. I could be working on my tan for New Year's! That's something to look forward to. If you hurry and book now, you can be here with me.


Long, Injury Free and on Pace

I waited until 1030 to start my long run this morning which gave me lots of leisurly time to eat breakfast and psych up for the 3.25 hours of sunny running I had planned. I chose to do three laps around Lake Virginia so that I could stop at the house every time for refueling. I really didn't feel like running but I went out anyway knowing it would be a test, coming off the draining runs of last week.
I started out all creaky. Calves were baying, ankle was making some noise and heels were pinging me too. I ignored them all and got up to pace within two miles and felt better.
The first lap was 1:01:00 so I varied the route the next two times around so to add another 15 minutes. I hit the Gu every 45 minutes or shorter, depending on how much I took and had a total of 40 ounces of Gatorade between laps and afterwards. I came in at 3:16:00, right about my target. I didn't hit a wall although I was definitely tired. The pedometer said it was 20.5 miles which worked out to a 9:34 pace, right about what I want in training.
The shin didn't hurt. The calves didn't cramp. I felt good when all was said and done.
I stretched, took a hot shower, ate a Snicker's energy bar, a banana and more Gatorade and water before hopping (well, not hopping; more like staggering) into the car and drove out to have a massage. I thought it worth a test to see how a massage felt after 20 miles. It was excellent except for the severe cramps I developed while laying on the table. Lara just turned my foot a certain way and BAM I was curling up in a nasty twitch. It happened three times before she decided to go at it a little more strategically on my feet. She found a knot that took 10 minutes to work out on each foot and then I was relaxed. I was dehydrated so kept drinking water. She said the tendons in my calf were quivering like a hard rock guitar right after the cramp passed. Most amusing for her.
I hope your holiday week keeps looking good for everybody. 2006 is almost here.


Christmas Eve

Observations on my marathon training:
The miles are starting to take a toll.
I did five miles this evening in 46 minutes. I used to be able to do it in 45 or less. My weekly mileage hit a personal lifetime high of 46 today which was without a 3-mile run I skipped on Wednesday. The 13 on Tuesday was challenging. The 10 on Thursday was painful.
The pain in my left ankle is on the top front side of the bone and actually runs up my shin which is an early sign of shin splints (Jon! Help!). I soak my legs in the cold outdoor pool water after I run. I give the ankle/shin an ice massage twice a day.
I borrowed a "stick" from Track Shack to work out kinks in my calves before running. It is somewhat helpful. I stretch.
I have decided to be prudent and push my Sunday/Christmas Day long run to Monday, skip Tuesday's 13 miler and pick it up again Wednesday. I feel like I need to baby my legs along here. Speeding through the marathon is not my goal. Finishing in one piece is. I have to make it to Miami in one piece too.

I am enjoying my roll as cruise director for the Miami Marathon. Brent and Rae, Noames and four runners from Orlando are on my list of passengers to corral for a night-before carbo load and day-of-race meet-up and photo op. I am checking out Rosinella’s on Lincoln Road a couple of blocks from the beach in Miami Beach - a well regarded Italian place. Mmmm.


13 Tough Ones

Who ever heard of running a half marathon before work on a Tuesday? That's what I had to do this morning with eight of the miles on the track at tempo pace. 32 "glorious" monotonous laps. I guess it was better than a treadmill. There was a cyclist in Lane 1 throughout my running which helped me stay awake so not to get run over. I averaged about 9:04 miles in four 2-mile repeats.
On either side of the track workout I did two miles and three miles of marathon race pace (9:30). I took Gatorade and Gu to help me through but my left ankle and right calf got nasty on me. I am counting on the taper in three weeks to give me relief. That and a massage next week.
. . . . . . . . . .

In honor of my first anniversary on the RBF blog I bring you excerpts from many of my favorite people and what they were doing a year ago. I would not be here if not for Susie who has constantly enlightened me in the ways of the world she knows better than I.

Susie 12.19.04
I'm lying here balancing my laptop in my lap with a bag of frozen peas on my ankle/shin. Uh huh. Where the heck did this pain come from?
I'm trying to analyze this. This morning, there was a slight twinge when I woke up. Ok, think--yesterday I ran four miles on new ground...some hills...not too long, though. Did I stretch? No. Was I running faster? A little, to keep up with Jennifer. Hmmm. Then, because it was just a little twinge, I walked 4 miles with Nancy today. Now it really hurts. Both legs hurt!!

Dianna 12.18.04
Somewhere around mile 6 my knee started to get that familiar pain that occurs when I run without a brace. I grit my teeth and just kept going, promising myself that if it got really bad, I would walk and ask Michelle to come pick me up when she got back to her car. Fortunately, the pain lessened and became a dull ache, enough to be bearable. About a mile later it all but disappeared.

Lara 12.17.04
I started to imagine what I would do if I came across a bear (or it came across me) during one of my runs. From what I understand, the last thing you’re supposed to do if you meet a bear is run away - you can’t out run them, you can’t out climb them, and you probably can’t out swim them (well maybe Annalisa could). If I remember right (not something I’ve read up on recently) you firstly have to be sure you are not facing the bear directly but rather in a side standing position, and do not look the bear directly in the eye.

Bill 12.28.04
The upside is that I haven’t completely taken off from running, and I’ve swum basically once a week since I posted last. So progress hasn’t stopped, even though posting has.
In the new year, I’m planning on trying to race a little bit. Race being a relative term for paying money to run with people faster than I am. But my major goal is the Hartford Marathon in October, and the NYC Marathon if I get selected.

Jon 12.21.04
I ran my three stupid miles on the gerbil-o-matic tonight. 9:14 pace. Then I (FINALLY) did my upper body weight training. I think its been months since I did that. Oddly enough, things went ok and I didn’t have to drop the weights by much. Of course, tomorrow (or likely the next day) I will be paying with maximum pectoral pain. It always seems to hit me there. You’ll recognize me because I’ll be the one clutching my chest when I walk down the stairs.

Mia 12.20.04
I've been pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've NOT been unbearably sore today. In fact, except for a wee stiffness when I'm first getting up from inactivity, it's been a perfectly normal day. And with all that stretching, I think I'm in the best place I've ever been for a 4 mile recovery run tomorrow.There was an older guy in class, right behind me. And I mean seventies-ish. And he was farting the whole class, ....

Jeff 12.20.04
we headed out along the san diego river trail, heading toward the beach, the same trail that the oc marathon covered. we set out at a very comfortable 9:30 pace for the first 5 miles out and then dropped down to closer to 9 for the next 5 back. the last 5 miles were down around 8:30 - 8:45 and felt pretty good. my legs were getting tired by mile 13, but i could tell that i could have added another 3 at the end to make it to 18. that was a very re-assuring feeling. i think i'll go ahead with my planned 18 on christmas morning then.

Mark 12.20.04
Well, a lot has been going on lately but not a lot of running has been going on - nope, not much running at all.
I was pretty woozy all the way up to last Wednesday so Thursday’s spin class was a no-go since I’m pretty sure I’d have barfed. Instead I planned on a very light run but that didn’t happen due to a workshop going overschedule. Yup, that’s right - work got in the way of my running. Damn work.

David 12.22.04
I went out for a run in the perfect low 50s conditions. I was surprised to see so many other runners out at 600 because they're either earlier on the roads or running in numbers on running club weekend long runs. I was passed or caught up to no less than 4 other folks this morning and I could feel my race tempo kicking in. Fortunately for me it wasn't a race because I had very little to give and my left foot toes were hurting. I trace the cause of the pain back to walking around so much last night at the bowl game in town. Anyway, it was a sloppy 3 .2 mile jog.


That Was Easy - and the Envelope, please

A few interesting revelations came out today. I had today and three more long runs before my taper for the January 29 Miami Tropical Marathon. My schedule said go 17. My intention was to go 18. Then I remembered something that gave me great comfort. I listened to Jeff Galloway speak here a few years ago and got in a discussion with him about long run training. He said it's about the time spent running, not the distance. So in that I am aiming for a 4:00 marathon time I need to get up to that amount of time in training runs, no matter the distance. Hence, today I ran three hours and I'll add 15 minutes to the next three to be at 3:45 before I taper. That'll be close enough.
I ran 18.7 miles this morning in 64 degree overcast skies with a brief misting period. It was pretty darned nice except for the humidity. When I finished nothing hurt. Not the ankle, calf, knee or hip.
Which led to the revelation that fueling really really matters. I stashed Gatorade along the route and packed two Gus. I spread them out over the three hours and never felt dead tired or sore. That was very rewarding. It gave me a sense that "this" can be done.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Three are true. Two are false.
1. My dad is a priest. True - My dad is an Episcopalian priest which makes me a PK which I used liberally as my excuse for rebel behaviour in my youth; which is not to say my youth is over or that I am not still rebellious.
2. I immigrated with my family from Ireland. False - My dad immigrated from Wales at the age of 25.
3. I skipped fifth grade, with an IQ of 140. False - I skipped kindergarten, not fifth grade which always made me the baby of my class until high school when future actor Treat Williams was the only person younger than I was. The IQ still stands.
4. I can wiggle my ears. True - and, for some reason, I can wiggle the right one by itself but not the left.
5. I attended seminary in Berkeley, Calif. True - The Pacific School of Religion held my attention for one semester back in the early 70s. Actually the San Francisco Giants held my attention more and I chose a career in sports instead. Hey; sports is a religion, sort of. Look at us devoted runners.

Winter Break

The weather sucks. The most poignant comment anybody has written lately - that penetrated my head - is what Runner Susan wrote Friday, "Summer tan: Faded." You got that right. I haven't even seen the sun and this is Florida! Plus it's been rainy, dreary and way too much like Connecticut (plus 30 degrees). I kept an eye on Super Doppler 2 before I went out Saturday, to see if I could find a dry patch. Alas, it lasted about 5 minutes.I ran five miles in what was a steady drizzle. Managed 9:00 miles. I still have an issue with my left ankle. I am hopeful Sunday's 18 miler will not be complicated.

I went to watch Syriana Saturday afternoon. Good grief. I am sure there's a grain of reality in there about the corruption of power at the highest levels. Makes me want to crawl under a rock - or go run. I'll try B for now.

The "kid" I write about in my profile on the right comes home Sunday. He's been at West Point since June. He looks good in pictures. I just hope he'll allow me to drive my car once in awhile while he's home. The man will have some "appointments," you know.

Three are true. Two are false.
1. My dad is a priest. True - My dad is an Episcopalian priest which makes me a PK which I used liberally as my excuse for rebel behaviour in my youth; which is not to say my youth is over or that I am not still rebellious.
2. I immigrated with my family from Ireland. False - My dad immigrated from Wales at the age of 25.
3. I skipped fifth grade, with an IQ of 140.
4. I can wiggle my ears.
5. I attended seminary in Berkeley, Calif. True - The Pacific School of Religion held my attention for one semester back in the early 70s. Actually the San Francisco Giants held my attention more and I chose a career in sports instead. Hey; sports is a religion, sort of. Look at us devoted runners.


On Task for Miami

Thursday I went up to the track for a 4 x 1 mile workout. Last week I was all souped up and did my repeats at an 8:00/M pace. This week, with a niggling pain high on the inside of my left ankle, I only managed to do 8:30/M repeats. I thought I'd done well and was taken aback when I went to record my times and saw how I had blistered it last week. Hey, it's only training. I'll live with it.
. . . . . . . . .
And for those having to endure winter cloud cover let me tell you that the full moon is up there; which always reminds me of Grove Dock in the summertime.
. . . . . . . . .
Three are true. Two are false.
1. My dad is a priest. True - My dad is an Episcopalian priest which makes me a PK which I used liberally as my excuse for rebel behaviour in my youth; which is not to say my youth is over or that I am not still rebellious.
2. I immigrated with my family from Ireland. False - My dad immigrated from Wales at the age of 25.
3. I skipped fifth grade, with an IQ of 140.
4. I can wiggle my ears.
5. I attended seminary in Berkeley, Calif.


Where Were We

I ran Tuesday and Wednesday. Temps in the low 50s and mid 40s. 11 miles Tuesday and 3 today. I never knew how easy three miles could be until I'd done 17 and then 11 on the prior run days. I hardly broke a sweat. I thought back to a year ago and how a normal run was 3 miles, 4 miles was a push and 6 miles around the lake was a looong run. It's amazing what training can do for you.
I wrote a month or so ago how I was busting through my annual mileage goal of 600. Well I'm at 963 and should be past 1,000 by next Tuesday.

Now as for Mia's personal info request, I'll answer but not tag anybody because I'm not inclined to let the string fester. Five things about me (3 are true; I'll reveal truth later):

1. My dad is a priest.
2. I immigrated with my family from Ireland.
3. I skipped fifth grade, with an IQ of 140.
4. I can wiggle my ears.
5. I attended seminary in Berkeley, Calif.


17.1 Miles

Rain dripped off my visor as I pounded out 17.1 miles this morning. By myself. I survived.

I almost did not go because it started to drizzle and I calculated I could go later in the day when the forecast was for clearing. That sounded to me like the genesis of a poor excuse not to run at all. I HAD to go long today. It was vital after slacking a couple weeks. My mileage slipped from 42 miles the week of Thanksgiving to 31 including the half marathon and then just 27 last week.
I was dressed to go and fueled up. I sat at my laptop and plotted a double route run. The first lap was tight around the lake for six miles and then a scenic diversion route of 11.1 on the second lap, my usual Sunday run.
The first six miles were easy for me. I was thinking I'd try to keep it slow for the first 14 miles. I stole the idea out of January's Runners World to go slow, then lower the pace by 10 seconds each of the last three miles. I stopped at M6 for some Gatorade. At M10 I had half a pack of some tasty orange Gu and water. It may not have been enough fluid. From M12-14 I was cramping in my right calf a lot and showing poor form. Then the rain started coming down too. I told myself this was good; that I needed some adversity to prepare for the full marathon.
At M14 I stopped at a park, with a steady drizzle, and found somebody's cooler with an ample supply of Gatorade so I had a good 10 ounces with the rest of my Gu. It didn't take long for the glycogens to restock and keep me moving, cramp free. I covered the last three miles at an increased pace, although I didn't mark time to measure my splits.
As soon as I got home I grabbed a Gatorade, peeled off the wet shirt and everything else and jumped in the shower. I couldn't wait. My hands were so cold the water felt like it was burning them. I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and got back into bed, under the covers with my knees elevated. I fell right to sleep for 30 minutes.
Stretching was easy except for my right calf and Achilles. Even my back felt good. I did concentrate on good running form many times out there today.
A PB&J sandwich with water and some yogurt revived me. I have to say it was a sneak peak at what 26.1 may feel like. I covered the 17.1 today in 2:43:38 which is a 9:34 pace (which included a couple stops). That's my goal pace. I was supposed to run slower than that today but didn't. Oh well.


Track Love

If it'd been 40 degrees cooler on Thursday we'd have at least a foot of snow on the ground. Today I stepped outside. The morning air was heavy with moisture. The temps had risen overnight. It was actually warm, around 70. No wind at first. I made everything start moving, slowly, jogging lightly, working out the creaks that consume my body at night. Was it going to be a good run? Hard to tell at first. I knew one thing: I was going to the track. Ah, the track. Marathon training does not favor the track very often. It's not so useful and difficult to remember when you're in the 3rd lap of the 11th mile; or was it the 7th lap of the 2-mile tempo repeat. See what I mean?

In the half mile between the front door and the eighth lane I could not get loose so I did a slow lap to see if I could be inspired. It started to work for me but I needed more. Strides. Four strides at gradual acceleration to maybe 80% all out. That got me loose. Now we can begin.

Mission: 4 x 1 mile repeats with one lap jogs between; repeats at whatever speed I could maintain. I took off. Felt fast. Concentrated on minimum hip movement. Mid foot landing with a push off. Planting the foot flat and not on its side. Efficiency. Relaxed shoulders. Straight wrists. Run upright and leaning forward. Glasses are sliding too much. Off after the first mile. Sweat is too profuse. Lose the shirt. Hey, this is like running on the beach, near naked. Good. Good.
First Mile - 7:47; 2nd - 7:58; 3rd - 8:01; and 4th - 7:56.
In the third I was dragging and counting down the laps to go until it was over. I thought of Jeff's tenacity and kept going back to "finish," "strong." In the last mile I had three laps complete and the watch said 6:03. I feared a second 8:00+ time and decided I had to do better. I worked my muscle memory to its limit with extra concentration and put down the last 400m in 1:53. That was very satisfying.

All day I could feel a tingling in my legs. They had been pushed and challenged. They had responded. My legs felt so happy. My legs love the track.


Bonk Day

I bonked today. I skipped the run because (a) it was raining, (b) I was sleeping, (c) I had an early meeting and (d) I stayed up too late watching my new favorite TV show, Runway, on Bravo. What a riot. It's a cross between Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, MTV's Real World and The Weakest Link. Show hostess is preggo Heidi who bids losers goodbye with some German brush off. I must say it is comical to see a pregnant woman being a hard ass heartless critic. And the designs were a curious mix of styles that even had my 17-year old son glued to the tube (Well. he did get the second most votes for Mr. Stylin' 2005 at school).

So tomorrow I'll run instead of rest. The skies have cleared and I will get more sleep tonight.


Return to Regulary Scheduled Running

Regular is the key word I guess; not that I wasn't yesterday before the run. So as to not confuse anyone with a popular topic on R. Susan's site, we'll move on now.

Today was to be a light run of three miles. I added an extra mile and did it as a tempo run. I was laying some tracks pretty well out there in 10K pace time. It went by so quickly.

What I think I spent more time on today was stretching. I have been experiencing increased pain in my lower back when I stand up straight, first thing in the morning and after my runs. I used to get away with minimal-to-no stretching before I ran (based on something I read somewhere that said it wasn't quite so vital). I always stretch afterwards. With all the miles I am doing now I thought it wise to stretch beforehand all the time. It seems to help so far although it pinches on my waking hours before work.

More strict attention to doing upper body work in the garage on Monday and Friday are important too. I just hope the unheated garage holds enough daytime warmth to get me through the winter months.

Here are some survey questions: Who has put up their Christmas tree (assuming you are going to put one up)? Is it real or fake? Who decorates it in your house? Who takes down the decorations?


Excuse me. I have to go.

In seven years of running I have never quite had the experience I did this morning. I was eager to do two laps around the lake for 12 miles including some 2-mile tempo pace repeats. I had done the warm up and the first two of three tempo segments when I found myself back at the head of my neighborhood ready to begin lap two. All of a sudden there wasn't a bathroom close enough for my comfort and the possible revulsion of my neighbors. I stopped immediately and walked in a tempo of a completely different variety back to the house where utter embarrassment was avoided. I felt absolutely great except for that undeniable need.
I am suspicous of the yogurt I ate for breakfast. What do you think?
I quit running at six miles, knowing I could do a bunch more. Maybe I'll add a few extra miles tomorrow.


Half Headline Report

So what did I do last week? I did no training. Why? Didn't feel like it. Couldn't fit it in. Okay. I did go for 20 minutes Thursday night in the hotel parking garage.
So what would you expect then from my half marathon effort? Maybe just a respectable training run time to support the marathon training plan? HA!
Well I PRed again. This is getting to be routine this year. What is bizarre is that I PRed by almost 12 minutes. Old PR 2:02.17. New PR 1:50.24. Unbelievable.
I'll write more later because I have to get to an Army-Navy Game viewing party.

P.S. The beer garden afterwards was well worth the effort. I believe I was among the few who closed it down.

. . . . . . .

Okay. Army's defense stunk today. Enough about that until Billy J. weighs in.

I wandered around the start area about 45 minutes prior to the race seeing many acquaintances and friends. In fact, before the day was done, I saw Jack, Chris, Tim, Mark and Brett from my Sunday running group. Lots of good socializing in the chilly morning air. I wore my Army warm up to stay toasty.
I jogged back to my car to strip down to what I'd race in. I chose just a long sleeve shirt which would have been better sleeveless by the end of the race. I jogged/walked back to the start and thought, with 4 minutes to go, I should go. The port-a-potties, amazingly, had short lines. In a minute I was in, and right after I came out and moseyed over to the back of the start area a horn went off. At first I thought it was wheelchairs but, no, it was the real deal.
I fell in and it took a minute to reach the timing mat.
The first mile around the iconic lake and fountain was slow and heavy with slow runner traffic. I didn't make any effort to weave or pass until it was clear for me. The second mile was a little looser and I passed a lot of people and acquaintances. As M2 approached there was a U.S. Marine out for a 13.1 mile rucksack run in full battle dress uniform and 35 pounds on his back. Hoo-ahh. In M3 I came up on Mark and Brett, the 30-something Marine Corp Marathoners I met last weekend. As I passed, Brett asked me why I wouldn't slow a little to chat like last Sunday. I thought of the Days of Thunder line and told him, "'Cuz we're racin'."
M1 9:26
M2 8:41
M3 8:41
So I picked up the pace and the fourth mile zoomed by. When I passed the unattended mile marker I said to my neighbor after looking at my watch, "That was a short mile or I'm going too fast." I go with B. Mile 5 was the second half of a long two mile boring road that crossed many an intersection with traffic backed up and few spectators. The FoxSports water stop was a highlight. I took three swigs of Gatorade at each of the water stops in the first half of the race. At M6 Bruce Springsteen was playing Born to Run out of the back of his convertible. I liked that. In fact Bruce reappeared to play a same song encore at Mile 9 too.
M4 8:16
M5 8:27
M6 8:22
As I reviewed my splits in the seventh mile I was thinking this was doing wonders for my overall time after the slow start. Mile 7 came up on me so quickly, I was questioning myself about what I had been doing for the last eight minutes because it was a blur. Nothing was really hurting although my left calf started to whisper. I had a Gu and then a voice behind me asked if I could feel it yet. Whatever "it" was I wasn't going to admit to anything. It was Mark who had just finished a 7:56 mile. I told him I'd just done an 8:20 mile and the guy I was passing said, "What are you doing way back here? I'm going to die if I'm running 8:20s." I told him I had a minute late start and he was good with that. I ran with Mark through Ms8&9, clocking fast paced miles. At the M9 waterstop where an enthusiastic law firm was playing it up like Margaritaville I slowed for more Gatorade. I kept up with Mark for 20 yards then stopped when it went up my nose. That was the last I saw of Mark. He cruised on.
M7 8:21
M8 8:12
M9 8:13
Starting at the M9 marker the roads turn to brick - old lumpy pavers - through an oak lined upscale neighborhood I used to live in 15 years ago. I remember starting to fade here last year. It must have been the one and only "hill," which was no trouble this year. I was still clicking away and passing people constantly. M11 was more of the same although there was a brass pep band out to play for us. They were good. M12 took us off the bricks finally and heading back downtown. My calves were starting to yack but I ignored them. The last full mile back around the lake and fountain was flat, paved and lined with people. I just kicked it in trying to not be passed myself by those Johnny Come Up On You Lasties. I sprinted the last stretch towards the finish line, tucking my shirt in and smiling for the cameras (so they'd see my number). I finished and grabbed a water, my medal and bent over briefly to catch my breath. Ta da. I'd PRed.
The rest was all about bananas, water, a dry shirt, beer, beer, beer, beer and lots of chatting with beer buddies. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I couldn't have felt any better.

Well now my calves could feel better but they have a hot bath in store for them tonight.
M10 8:14
M11 8:22
M12 8:17
M13 8:05
M .1 0:48
PR 1:50:24

Race Morning

Half Marathon today.
The water's on for my morning coffee. I'm dressed for arctic conditions. It's the coldest day in Florida this fall - 43. Stop laughing everybody. It's all relative.
The dogs are fed. I am fed. My bag is packed with all the essentials. Susie wished me good luck last night.
I had a weird dream again, of being very late to the race. Somehow I parked near downtown; but the start is uptown. I had to jog the length of the city to reach the start. They were taking up the timing mats when I arrived. I decided to bag the race. Strange.
So, since I do not really want to be late, I will grab the coffee and skeedaddle (sp?).


A Break in Training

For the first time in seven weeks I did not follow plan. I did not sleep well last night. I woke up in a sweat at one point then later to contemplative thoughts that led to other thoughts that kept me up too long. When my body woke up at 455 I rolled over and the next thing I knew I did not have time for my one hour run. So I wrote down some notes and went to the garage to do some upper body work.
Now I have to pack and leave early tomorrow for Tampa. I will have to fit a run in tomorrow evening. It'll be almost three days between runs. I am not concerned but feel like I skipped school. There is the half marathon this weekend and the opportunity to run a bunch of miles Sunday too.
Last tidbit from my Sunday running pals: the marathon "wall" can be calculated by dividing your highest training mileage week by seven and multiplying by three. So if you peak at say 50 miles, that's 50/7 = 7.1 x 3 = 21.3. I have to get to 60 (60/7=8.6x3=25.8).


Younger Pace

It was with great pleasure that the faces changed a little this morning at the Sunday Run. Jack (71) was home sick (he's not fast). Marty was only going six and Chris, who usually goes the distance with me, did 16 yesterday and was only going eight today. Tim overslept until daylight and was a no-show at the start. That left me alone to go 17 - except for new youngbloods Mark and Brett; 30-somethings who just did their first marathons at Marine Corps in DC, showed up this morning and fell in with us [Actually Mark sells pharmaceuticals to Chris' company].
Mark and Brett are childhood buds who played football all their lives. Now they complain they suffer more injuries from running than in 13 years of football.
Mark is married with his first kid due in February. Brett has two boys (2 & 5), is married and can't wait for Mark to have his first baby so the "bubble of ignorance that prevails over all men until they have kids" blows up in Mark's face, so he can get back at him for the five years of abuse he's taken since his first kid.
Mark did Marine Corps in 4:15 or so. Brett was a little slower. 4:15 is the pace group time I picked for the Miami race so these guys seemed perfect to run with. Sure enough. Everybody ran at a 9:00 pace for the first four miles. Chris dropped off. At M6 Marty dropped and the three of us pushed on talking marathon experiences and other get to know you stuff.
Tim caught up to us at the M7 Gatorade stop. We did the 10-mile loop together in 1:30, a 9:00/M pace and I was quite pleased with that. Now I had to go another six by myself. [Note to self: next time pre-determine what is the 10-mile route and 11-mile route. I only did 16.]
What worked out great today, besides a good hard pace - was my fueling stops. Gatorade at M7, Gu at M10, Gatorade again in M14. I stretched extra long when I was done, enjoying the warm sunny weather (76 degrees) at the end. I debated whether to find a scone with lemon butter and Americano coffee. I checked two places and neither had scones so I opted to go home and fix a proper full breakfast: turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, raisin bagel, Quonnie blend coffee and the morning paper. What a great day.
Oh - and nothing hurts. Go figure. Must be the new Asics Gel Kayano 11s!

Secrets of marathon running learned today: drink a lot; at every stop. Long runs aren't as vital as total miles per week in training. Eat during the race whenever you can (I'm not sure about that). Eat in training what you'll eat in the race.


Marathon Training Hurts

I have begun to feel the difference between the miles I used to run and the miles I am running now - marathon training miles. I am not accustomed to it. It is more difficult; more up and down. Some days I feel good and others I feel stressed. Thankfully the weather is still sunny and encouraging.
I notice more pains from greater wear and tear: left adductor, right calf, occasionally an ankle. The pains dissapear when I warm up but it now takes about two miles to get to that point. My times are slowing over the shorter distances.
I have been putting so many miles on my shoes that I attribute some on my problems there. My #2 shoes now have 414 miles - they have gone to the lawn only shelf. My #1s have 242 miles. Today, finally, after a two week wait my new shoes came in and I can look forward to some better cushioning. Thank goodness. Tomorrow will be 17 testing miles.
I can imagine a day sometime soon when I will not look forward to the scheduled run. I look forward to tomorrow's 17 if not for just the new shoes. The 5-day/week intermediate regimen is hard. I just completed my first 42 mile week. Next week will be about the same with a few twists.
I go out of town Wednesday for two nights which will make the training more creative. When I return I'll be running a half marathon race on Saturday.
Meanwhile the house screams for maintenance as do other people and things. There's only so much that can be done. Right now I made a commitment to the marathon and I have another two months of training to go.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for ...
Susie, my life long friend, who introduced me to the RBF last December and who has been my partner in so many memorable adventures;
Rachel, the first RBF member I ever met in person, for being willing to chat with me at a race (always a little awkward);
Bill, for giving me one of his techno terms that pops into my head every time I run on a "false flat" and who introduced me to Bluff Point;
Dianna, for being such a great organizer of the New Haven 20K RBF Extravaganza and giving me more than a few race time goals to strive for;
Lara, for being a quiet but well written inspiration who made New Haven a fun time;
Sarah, for making me smirk and smile at Bluff Point and New Haven, for delicious cookies and for giving me reason to care all fall while she struggled to find her happy place;
Jon, for being the best blogger ever, running the most active complaint department (his own) , for truffles and much more;
Mia, for being funny and entertaining even if she proclaims to be a shy person (hah!);
Susan, for designing my own personal blog header and having a sense of humor we enjoy every day;
and to whoever they were (I can't remember) who introduced me to Sue and Paul's pedometer and the Dead Runner Society's running log spreadsheet.


Nice conditions

I rolled out of a perfectly good warm bed at 0500 this morning. I put on my shoes, shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt (after body gliding); downed a banana and water while checking the online weather (53 degrees); then stepped outside into the brisk morning air with a gusty wind out of the northwest.
I moved out gingerly but steeled to the whipping wind on my first tack of a 9.1 mile run. In the dark I stepped quickly over dark shadows trying to remember where the speed bumps were and avoiding downed branches and wind whipped garbage littering the streets.
I had instances of pain behind my left knee and in my right ankle. By the end, nothing hurt and I was home in 1 hr. 24 min. I never stopped for water or anything other than what it took to spare my life from onrushing rush hour traffic coursing along the main drag. It was a refreshing run and put me at 128 miles for the month, a new monthly record, with 7 days to go.


Call me what you will

Okay. I'm spoiled. This is Florida. It is "summer" from April to December, yet tomorrow has caught my attention. The forecast for 500-700 tomorrow is 52 degrees with winds of 12 mph with a "feels like" temperature of 49 degrees. That's the kind of temp that gets my attention (and to think I ran topless yesterday!).
Now I have to dig into my winter drawers and find my long sleeve shirts and running hat. Advisories encourage us to run with an expectation that it'll feel 20 degrees warmer when our bodies warm up. That'll be the equivalent of 70 degrees then, for me. It's just going to be a little nippy over those first couple of miles, hopefully not with too much wind in my face.

I spoke with one of my veteran runner friends this morning about the "recovery" period that follows a massage. I had only had two before the last one and I was wondering whether I should feel so creaky. He said it takes about three days to get over the lactid acid hangover that comes from a massage (I think a martini hangover is shorter). Sure as shootin', this morning I felt normal - no pains or creaks. I had to go from Wednesday to Sunday (4 days) but now I know more about scheduling a massage.


Ramping Up

I ran five miles Saturday and felt stiff, slow, awkward and sore. It turned out to be at an 8:32 per mile pace which surprised me. It was slightly slower than my other two efforts at this particular route but not by much. Chalk it up as miles done. Next.
The training schedule I'm using has me peaking at 20 miles on my long run three weeks before the race. I want to peak at 22 so I'm cheating my long runs up a little each week so I can do that without too much trouble. Today called for 15 miles so I did 16.2 (gosh, only 10 miles to go).
My scheme was like two weeks ago - run three miles to warm up by myself before meeting the guys downtown, then fall in with them for as long as they go. The three mile loop up by Kraft Azalea Gardens was quiet, dark, cool and pleasant. Did it at a 9:00 pace. When I returned downtown there were four guys ready to go.
Chris, my usual sidekick; Tim, a regular who is now running farther and faster than usual because he's prepping for the OUC Half Marathon in two weeks; Marty, the doc who used to be a swifty but is now recovering from some horrid injury and taking it slow; and Bob, a new guy who is 71 and a former fasty getting over prostate cancer who kept up with us pretty darned well.
I ran with Tim through miles 4-9. We talked about employers who cheat on healthcare coverage, FEMA, the federal welfare provider for contractors and vagabonds, good looking female runners we saw and the upcoming race. He was cruising like never before so I was happy to push it with him. We stopped for water and a vanilla Gu. It was my first non-regular flavor Gu and I found it went down easier without water. I had water as a chaser but it wasn't so thick by itself.
I ran with Bob for miles 10-11 and marvelled at his running history. His fastest marathon (3:37) was done when he was 55 years old. COOL! My peak years are still in front of me.
Chris and I ran miles 12-13 before I veered off and went on an outer loop through a distant lakefront neighborhood to add more miles to the run. Running by yourself is when the tricks and nicks start playing with your brain. I had occasional cramps in my calf and other sundry devils asking me whether I would go the full distance. I blanked my brain from running and thought about my sweety instead. That got me safely back downtown where there were lots of churchgoers and other audiences.
Having spectators can distract your brain from the pain. I hope there will be lots of them over the last 10 miles of the marathon because I was a sore puppy when my run ended after 2:36.23.
I was hobbling and unsteady. The breathing was okay but the legs were tired. I stretched and drove home for a full (second) breakfast of french toast, banana yogurt, sausage and coffee.
The rain never materialized; the cold didn't set in (it was 68-70 during the run); and the sun is out so I can lie out and warm up and maybe doze off too. That sounds like a good idea.

My mileage for the year is now approaching 900 miles. My goal back in January was 600. My previous record was 625 miles two years ago. I am 225 miles above my record with 45 days to go. Yea me. I shock myself that the parts keep working and don't break down. The secret: stretching, but, of course, you knew that, right?



After Tuesday's massage I was tender on Wednesday. I ran a slow three miles. That was a good thing.
Thursday I went back out and ran 8.6 miles in the early morning darkness turning to light. It took me exactly 1:19.59 (corrected). I went at a race pace of 9:20 or so throughout and felt looser as the run went on.
I looked forward to today: Friday. Weekend. No scheduled run. Sleep in. Yeah, well s--- happens. The teenager went to see the Harry Potter movie last night at midnight. He announced his return at 2:37 a.m. I know that to be exact because it's what I saw when my eyes opened to start my day. I didn't get back to sleep. Work was work.
I had plans to go to the big basketball game tonight, talk to some RBFers on the phone who were having a drink somewhere, etc. Well I was recruited to help a kindly neighbor lady unload a 500 pound (not really) TV from her car. It fell but was not damaged. She can get some brute strength guys tomorrow to pick it up and put it where she wants it. Now my back hurts.
A VIP I need to take care of called me to see if I can score her a pair of sideline tickets to tomorrow afternoon's sold out football game. I had just given my last two away yesterday!
There's another friggin' tropical storm heading our way (wake up Oldman!) which could be on us by Monday afternoon so the weekend could be consumed with developing and putting out communications to all the parents, media and staff about school on Monday.
I have no Thanksgiving plans.
It's supposed to rain this weekend and I really don't look forward to a 15 mile long run in the rain - or at least I don't think I do. Blisters, bleeding, soggy socks, damp through and through - yuk.

Have I complained enough yet?

No I don't feel better. Maybe I'll go to sleep now and dream of someplace far far away that is quiet, peaceful and warm; a place with my favorite people and fondest memories. Where the coffee is strong, the air clear and the water lively.

How can I be a wine I rarely drink?

You're a Riesling!You're a refreshing white wine. Hailing from
Germany, your high acidity balances out your
sugars and act as a preservative. In fact the
oldest tasted wine was a Riesling from 1540,
tasted in 1961 and still in drinkable
condition. You're floral and fruity and are
perfect for sipping on a summer's day. You're a
real sweetie and go well with rich foods.

What Type of Wine Are You?
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Full Moon Fever

A Grove Dock Kind of Night.
I ran nine miles this morning. On a Tuesday. Before work. That amazes me. That's 27.6 miles over four days. That's not so amazing when I realize I'll have to go almost that far in about four hours time, 2.5 months from now.
When I read about Susie's hips hurting I thought to try loosening up my hips when I run - shaking a little booty actually. I'm not sure it was efficient or good for the hip muscles but my massage therapist told me a little variation would not hurt and could be good for stretching muscles in different directions. Sherlene also said Susie might benefit from a really good massage to get her tight muscles to release and relax. Personally, I am a believer. I used to swear by chiropractics but there is something much more satisfying about feeling the soreness snap, crackle and pop out of my muscles with the methodical work of expert hands; which compares much more favorably to the C-R-A-C-K of the chiropractor. Different sensations and both effective.
Running is the best thing I have going on these days. Work is never done. Home is work. I need a mental health day. Or a day of doing something for somebody else who has no expectations.


Pancakes for Breakfast Dessert

I was forced to stay out too late last night at a dinner party and only got 6+ hours of sleep before getting up at 545. I had a breakfast of yogurt with sliced strawberries and half a bagel. I took my time getting to the race site 30 minutes from home. It was a beautiful cool morning with light traffic on the interstate.
At the race site I looked for a few familiar faces before the start; chatting up a few pals but not seeing someone I expected to see who told me a week ago she'd be there. We had determined we ran the same pace, her perhaps a little faster, so I was looking forward to a pace partner.
I hardly warmed up because my legs felt heavy. The little jogging I did was worthwhile because it told me just how tired they were.
At the horn I started running and knew quickly that I wasn't blazing by any means. I was chugging at an 8:22 pace for the first mile. I figured it must have been from the 9+ miles yesterday stealing my race strength. I was 30 seconds slower than my 10K PR time in M1 and seven seconds off my 5-mile race pace too. I resolved to just keep going and see what happened.
In the second mile we got into the closer quarters of Celebration, FL neighborhoods, cutting street corners and racing. I brought the pace down to 8:09. If I was going to break 50 minutes for the race I knew I needed to average 8:00 miles. With one-third of it gone I was 31 seconds heavy. I skipped the water stop.
In M3 I felt looser. My quads tightness abated and I was passing people with regularity. I figured they just went out too fast as always happens. The split was 7:52. Hey Hey! I was even cutting people off at every street corner. Sorry folks. It's racing!
The fourth mile felt as good as the third. People kept dropping off and I kept picking them off. Occasionally I drafted up behind somebody and eased off a little to relax and regain form; take a short breather. Then at a corner or cutting an angle I passed them. M4 was a 7:44. Negative splitting! Now I had 2.2 miles to go and I was only off the 8:00 average pace by seven seconds. I stopped at the water stop for some sports drink figuring it would help.
The fifth mile is usually my toughest and we were out of the neighborhoods and back on the through roads that led back to the office park start area. The sun was hotter and my shirt was glued to my chest. With my recent "problems" I was thinking great things about the Body Glide under my shirt. My legs kept moving and I was no longer tired. I thought about my long runs on Sundays and how I always had a kick over the last mile or so. I had two to go. The fifth mile was 8:07, slower because of the water stop stop.
Coming into the homestretch I was chasing some little kid who was just pounding away. He was on an elementary school cross country team according to his shirt. I was impressed that he was holding his own so far along the race route. Usually I see the little guys go out too fast and fade. He was pacing me in M6. We turned into the alley that led to the finish. At the six mile pole I clicked in at a 7:57 mile. Oh yeah.
I sprinted the last two tenths, reminiscing about a hot lap around the track, crossing the line in 49:46.5, a new personal record in the 10K. It felt great; much better than my PR at Disney last month where I went out so fast in 7:50 and 8:00 the first two miles. This time I raced the right way - or at least the way I should approach the marathon.

Feeling so good, I waited around 45 minutes cheering in other runners and talking to people I knew then jumped in to run the 5K race. I took my ChampionChip off and got up front so the clock time would be accurate. I didn't expect much. Having stood around for 45 minutes, I was stiff and sore again. I hadn't stretched either. Whatever. I looked at it as a cool down run. Well, I did it in 25:15 which was an 8:08 pace, just a little slower than the 10K pace. It ranked 10th among my 29 5K race times so I was satisfied.

After the 5K I went to the hospitality tent (thinking of Jon) and dug into a platter of fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes, courtesy of the local Rotary Club. With a cup of coffee, it was delicious. If you ever see a race offering pancakes in addition to the bananas, bagels, water, orange slices, etc., I highly recommend it.
Later in the day I went to Costco for one of their super duper vanilla ice cream bars dipped in chocolate and then nuts. Mmmm. Good. And just $1.50!


Training Detour

My 10K race is Sunday morning which did not synch with my training plan. The plan figured for a Saturday race and a long run Sunday. So I had to make decisions. The city's Veterans Day Parade was downtown at 1000 this morning. After Friday's fill of vet events I decided a little more wouldn't hurt, so I ran down to the parade route, 4.65 miles from the house. Then when it was over I ran home for 9.3 total miles at an 8:47 pace.
The crowd was thinner than I expected. The parade took two hours and I didn't get bored. I spent most of the time chatting with a TV reporter who usually hounds me for stories I'd rather not give up at work. Since we had so much time while her cameraman shot footage we got to know each other. My previous impression of her changed quite a bit after she gave me insight into her background. I guess it's just the stupidity of the TV news focus that made her seem less than she really is.
Oh well.
Tomorrow is race day. Rumor is that a lot of runners do the 10K then jump in and do the 5K right afterwards. I might try that and do the double.

Salute to Veterans

Friday was Veterans Day. I attended my first elemetary school dedication and got all choked up. It was a replacement school for an older one called McCoy Elem. McCoy was an Air Force colonel who did big things in his career. The school's nickname is the Jets. The nearby high school wind ensemble played patrotic numbers. The K-5 kids all wore red, white or blue shirts. The choral group kids sang patriotic songs and the 75-year old daughter of Col. McCoy was there with her family. She capped the ceremony by donating her dad's collection of military medals to the principal for permanent display in the main office.
After that I went as someone's guest to a Republican Women's Club luncheon where they were honoring vets (I will refrain from commenting on how I fit in with that crowd). There was an 82 year old who jumped on D-Day, a colonel who set the free fall record of 4 minutes and something and who broke the speed of sound before popping his chute, a major general, assorted others and an Army major who just came back from Iraq. He was asked to give a report on how things are over there. I couldn't believe he kept the appointment because his wife was in the delivery room across town waiting for him.
I also called my son who is sitting in his barracks at West Point and thanked him for his service in Iraq two years ago. He said, " Yeah. Sure. Did you see how Army beat Air Force in football last week?" With that I knew the Black Knights will beat Navy this year and that all will be right with the world.

Retail Therapy

At Dr. Bex's direction I took yesterday off from running however I did not need any ice. At Susan's encouragement I pursued retail therapy. Ahhh; it does a body good.
I currently run in three pairs of shoes (no Jon, not at the same time): Saucony Hurricane 5s with 429 miles on them, Saucony Hurricane 6s with 380 miles and some Asic Kayano XIs with 200 miles.
Here's my new plan: The 5s are beat. They are why my joints hurt. I've dropped them from service. I'm taking the new approach of rotating the oldest pair up to a retirement mileage of 400 miles, the second oldest up to 300 miles and the youngest up to 150 miles. I'll try to hit those targets all at the same time so that it triggers "Retail Therapy" and I'll have some fresh tread to run on in my races.
Sadly, they didn't have the regular width Kayano XIs in my size yesterday so they're on back order for a week. I tried the Hurricane 7s but wasn't tempted. Other than the great heel support I didn't feel like the parts were all in the right place for my foot.
I told them about my hot spot burning sensation just below my right middle toes which I suspected was too tight a shoe and they said the same thing; so I tried on the wider version of the XIs and they were okay yet, without immediately comparing them to new regular widths, I decided to wait the week.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the comradery of the Track Shack and kibitzed with the owner and general manager about a dozen different things, looked at running kits and gave free advice to other customers. I left at closing time with two packs of Gu.


Alarm Alarm Alarm

Alarms are going off in my joints. After Sunday's long run my left ankle was a little swollen. That disappeared but then I ran Tuesday (Back on the Track!) with some 2x1200 and 2x400 at an 8:04 pace plus five miles of road work. I was okay but felt some twinging in both ankles and knees. The knee pain hung around in the right one when I ran yesterday for four miles and again today in some more track work (4x800 & 4x100). [I missed the track. It's been three weeks since I was on one.] The guilty suspects are fatigue/high mileage or trying to squeeze a few too many miles out of some Sauconys with 430 miles on them. Because of heel wear I notice on my step that I tend to roll to the outside of my foot if the shoe lets me. I think the rolling caused some tenderness. What started as an inside knee pain has now migrated to the outside near ITB World. Fortunately I am off running tomorrow and have an easy weekend with just a 10K race to put down. Naturally, I will be pursuing another PR in that category but will remember that there's a whale out there I mean to harpoon in January off the coast of Miami Beach and the little ol' 10K is no more than a swordfish. Mmmm. Swordfish. I want some. I also believe I have just talked myself into going shopping for a new pair of shoes. Come on Baby; Poppa wants a new pair of shoes! Give me a 7! Actually a 10 and a half. Thank you.


Back to Running

Since the fun and games ended last week, running has resumed in healthy doses. Thursday I managed a 70 minute easy run in the morning at an 8:41 pace. I figured I covered 7.3 miles on a variation course - something I just pieced together out of a number of regular routes near the house.
Friday I slipped a birthday party in for an acquaintance who liked to serve single malt scotch. I couldn't resist a little of that to go with the Jimi Hendrix vinyl LP album he spun up on the Victrola (turntable for you young 'uns).
Saturday I woke up tired and stayed that way all day. The first order of business was the high school regional cross country meet at which the boys toiled fruitlessly to advance. They finished ninth and coach made them stand up front to watch the winners get their awards. After four years (back-to-back-to-back-to-back) of state championships, not getting to the state meet was a major letdown.
When we got home I laced up for a five mile tempo run in the 82 degree sunshine. 8:26 pace.
Still tired I went to the office for some leftover work then went to the stadium to watch a 6pm football game between UCF and Houston. I ran into my former compatriots who were kind enough to give me a skybox to sit in with a dinner, bottle of wine and assorted nuts and popcorn to tide me over. When I tired of the sterile luxury environs by halftime I went down to the seats in the stands to be with the people. Ah yes; I love that spilled beer smell. I left halfway through the fourth quarter to beat the traffic and get myself in bed by 1000. I pulled into the driveway just as the game was ending on the radio. Perfect timing.
I was asleep in 15 minutes.
Sunday morning was a moment in history. The first of several ahead of me. My training schedule wanted 14 miles. The most I had ever done before in one session was a half marathon so this was uncharted territory as will the next eight weeks or more as I ramp up the long runs.
I went to Park Avenue early to put in 3.1 by myself. I returned to Start just in time to join my running buds for their weekend run. Chris and I hung back with Jack and Marty for five miles or so then took off to work at my pace. We stopped for Gatorade at the cooler I stashed near my house. The run was effortless in the grand scheme of things. I put in 14.1 miles at a 9:35 pace which is a little slow but about what I expect for the marathon.
Monday - I sensed some swelling in my left foot where my laces tie. I suspect they may have been too tight. Tonight it seems fine. Tomorrow is a 60 minute run with some 5K pacing in there with it. I'd do well to go to bed about now.
See you good folks later.


Nice Ass Ma'am

I went for a four mile run this morning. Okay, enough about running.
This afternoon I was coerced with very little effort to drive the "accessory cart" at a women-only "Throw Your Balls Golf Tournament." It was nine holes of hilarity. The ladies played best ball golf without using golf clubs. The objective was for the ladies to drive around like guys in golf carts, drink beer and throw the balls down the fairways, onto the green and into the hole. Four holes had special effects. The Two Little Pigs (well paid teenagers in pig costumes) were on hole 3 with an oversized slingshot that the ladies used to project their balls. Another was a longest drive hole with a man sitting in the middle of the fairway on a beach chair with an umbrella to judge, assist and flatter the "golfers." The Walk of Shame Hole allowed each woman to take one giant step closer to the green before throwing her ball for every lover in her life that she could name by his full name, out loud (the winner was quite a surprise in my judgment). The last hole provided tennis rackets to launch the balls from the tee box.
Now no self conscious woman can play silly games without being silly, so enter the accessory cart driven by Dietrich, the northeastern European cart driver who only knows three words in English. He wore snug blue jeans, a blue striped shirt, black tie and red beret in the home country tradition of Cassanovas. Dietrich's cart was laden with gobs of beads, tiaras, boas, bangle bracelets and magic wands which he graciously awarded each lady for doing anything he thought deserved his attention. Dietrich received a lot of attention of his own because whenever he was asked a question by the ladies he could only answer with the three words he knew, "Nice ass Ma'am." It was astounding how many questions the ladies had after a few beers.
After decking the entire field of golfers out in diva accessories Dietrich grabbed the video camera and went back around to capture the subtle and not so subtle adventures on the course, around the refreshment cart and special effect holes. It will make for a great home movie and ransom DVD.
So what did you do today for fun?



The quilt went on the bed two nights ago and I have had weird dreams both nights. I start out too hot and wake up chilled. Stupid weather.
Well, the cool morning air is a nice change although I foolishly wore a heavy cotton shirt (Lucy Vincent Beach, MV) to run 8.7 tempo miles this morning and I was drenched with the shirt pasted to my chilled chest by the time I got home. My pacing was good at 9:00 miles on the first two and last three. In between I ratcheted it up to 7:50/8:15 paces and felt extremely competent. I keep having these fits of wanting to run fast when I should be practicing/memorizing my race pace.
I have also succumbed to a variety of dark chocolate temptations. You know, the neighborhood kids came around weeks ago selling stuff for school and I, of course, ordered a few items that have been delivered in the last week. Plus all the gals at work have loaded up their desks with Halloween snacks. I am controlling myself as much as I can but I can only blame myself for buying the 55 gallon drum of chocolate covered raisins at Costco on Sunday. Some things I cannot resist.


Silence. Cool running.

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


My how things change

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

P.S. Dianna is a potato chip addict.


More PR for Thin Traders

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


Where're Fred and Barney?

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

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


Reset for the M

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


Weekend Recap

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


Heads Up

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

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


23rd Blog Entry. 5th Sentence.

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

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


Running Again

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


Disney Stats

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


10K PR at Disney

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

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


I Feel Badly

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

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

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


This is Training?

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

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


Taper Week

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


Running. Dogs.

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


U.S. Government Property. No Trespassing.

Sunday morning I showed my picture ID to the MPs at Stoney Lonesome gate for the n-teenth time, popped the trunk and eventually proceeded onto the base at West Point. T. was waiting for me at the McArthur Hall barracks in his regulation PT uniform. We headed back out Washington gate towards Camp Buckner. That's where the cadets and other Army types do a lot of their training. You know: artillery range, firing range, mortar range, rapelling cliffs, obstacle courses, etc. Well he takes me to where he'll spend eight weeks next summer in advanced military training (not that he'll need it, having been to Iraq and back). We started our run through the bayonet course area, then by the obstacle course, the summer barracks, the "line of life" (tall tower with a cable running across the water; hook on and sliiiiide, falling into the water), parade grounds, etc. We ran up and down the roads only occasionally being passed by MPs on patrol and a truck full of cadets involved in a paintball exercise. For the most part it was all quiet and ours to run on and talk. Through Camp Buckner we passed the encampment of last summer's instructors for the new cadets (82nd Airborne, Parachute squadron) . Nobody was there. Onward to the next training ground.
Bull Pond. Okay. He said it had great fishing. Swell. No pole or bait. Where is it? Up that HILL. That's not a hill. It's a mountain. He was kind enough to keep moving up the hill at as slow a pace as I was "running". Holy macaroni. It had to have been no less than a 15 degree incline in some spots. 500 meters up the HILL, we leveled off at Bull Pond. I looked back down the hill for my breath. Yeah; there it was. Leaf colors hadn't turned much but many leaves were already on the ground.
Bull Pond. Very scenic but now T. wanted to keep going to find some fire breaks so we could run some true trails along the ridge, back to where we started. Alas, we ran even higher up the mountain but no fire breaks were as clear as they were to him last summer, so we turned around at 40 minutes out and retraced our tracks down the hill, along gravel roads, through woods and the training camps.
At one point he told me about this past summer when he and his fellow plebes were out for a ruck march and a squad of active duty troops had taken up tactical positions along the road they were marching. They were fully armed and had the camo paint on. They popped out of the tree line and scared the bejeebies out of the cadets while a troop transport Chinook helicopter appeared out of nowhere from just over the tree line (fwop-fwop-fwop) and set down in a clearing just behind the road. The squad of men retreated to the helo, jumped on board and were evac-ed in a matter of 3 minutes. Very impressive I thought. I'd PR after that kind of stimulation ... right after a short visit to the port-a-potty.
We kept on and saw some other cadets out for runs like us. I loved every minute of it. It was not a run I would imagine I'd have many chances at so this one was special. We finished what I guess was 9 miles in 1:21. When I stopped I noticed blood on my shirt. I thought: dang; was I a target on the bayonet course? No. It was the bloody nipple thing again. They were so tender. What is up with that all of a sudden? Somebody give me some nipple advice. Thank you.