Back to Back

Running. Well I'm feeling much better. The back is good. The shoulders work. The legs are just fine. So I eased back into running yesterday with an eaaaaaasy 3-miler and followed that with a swifter 3.2 miler this morning. It's been months since I did a back to back run. As eaaaaasy as yesterday was I hardly felt tired from the mild exercise. In fact, since I fell behind my goal for mileage this month I think i'll lace 'em up again tomorrow to finish the month.
Racing. My next race could be Sunday morning. It'll be right across the street so if I really feel like it I'll do the last minute thing. Training and anticipation-wise I am going to race around the lake trail of Windermere on the 16th. It's just a 5K but that's okay. The race season is winding down here. The heat starts drivng us north with the birds. I really need to look for some races. I'll be in New England the first two weeks of July. Anybody know a good 10K to run? I like scenery and well organized races. If it's far enough (but still close) to Rhode Island I would overnight it just for fun.
Sports. USA 2, Guatemala 0, tonight in World Cup qualifier action down in Birmingham. 38,000+ on hand. That's pretty good. I saw USA beat them in DC at RFK four Septembers ago. It was awesome.
Weather. I ask this only to share with Rachel: Is this weather awesome for running and sunning right now? Wow.
Food. Okay. I finished the mint chocolate chip off and am back on the good eatin' wagon. I still kept my thin trade weight down despite the fatty content.


Tuesday Afternoon

It was a moody kind of week and I only managed to run on Tuesday afternoon after work. I ran okay but had a sense that something wasn't right; and, in fact, it wasn't. The excess of the weekend had taken some sort of toll on me and I was dehydrated and unable to run much less walk and do anything strenuous. What's that about?
So I've been following Susan's example and eating ice cream. I feel great now. Maybe even put a pound or two on and I couldn't care less. What I would care for is some sunshine. That's what Florida is supposed to have, right? I haven't seen it since last weekend. So dreary. I might as well live in Connecticut for all the good this is.
Well just in case it really is Florida I went out and bought a new 6-seat patio furniture set with umbrella. I'll be firing up the grill sometime really soon. I can just feel it.
Running? Oh. Well, I saw one of my running pals at the bar last night. Does that count? Maybe I'll be a good boy and go out tomorrow for an Easter egg hunt.


Baseball Doubleheader

I hate it when I write a masterpiece entry for the blog and then, when posting, I get a disconnect message. Horse feathers!
Baseball. I took West Point boy to the airport to end his spring break and my foray into mandatory public transportation. I motored on to St. Petersburg to visit my college roommate of X0+ years ago. We slipped down to Al Lang Field, spring home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, to see them beat the Phillies. We walked up 45 minutes before the game, asked for the 2 best seats they had and, voila, we were sitting in the box seats, 2nd row, right behind home plate. Now spring training is known for being a little relaxed, which explains why the coaches like to sit in white plastic lawn chairs outside the dugout behind home plate. That's so they can watch the pitchers more closey. So B. and I were sitting there fully able to chat with Don Zimmer and Lou Piniella right in front of us. With the Rays doing so well, we had little to criticize. It was a good game and good day. We consumed the requisite beer, hot dog, peanuts and ice cream. The only drawback was the sun was too far to our right and my tan was uneven.
Sunday we ventured up to Dunedin, one of the top 5 spring training sites in baseball, according to The Sporting News, to watch the Reds and Blue Jays. We concur. Very intimate stadium right in the middle of a slow sleepy (by current standards) Florida coast town. We washed down perfectly grilled bratwursts with Labatt's Blue while being entertained by the sining beer vendor who repeatedly led an "Eh!" cheer over on first base (it must be a Canadian thing!). The Jays beat the Reds in short order while the sun evened up my tan.
Running. Oh yeah. I slipped in a 5.5 mile run on Sunday morning after a late night of playing Strat-o-Matic Baseball with the original and vintage player cards for the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and 1975 Boston Red Sox (Hey! I'm a collector with an old habit.). We hadn't played in 30 years.
The run was special. I ran around the golf course of the historic Vinoy Hotel in downtown St. Pete. I ran slowly but not as slowly as I expected. I usually go at a 10 minute pace on long runs but this day was at 9:30. I credit it to all the Vitamin D and the new Saucony's. It's amazing what new tires will do for you. Just ask Dale Earnhart Jr.
Well, I'm exhausted from the stressful weekend. Time to hit the hay. Night y'all.


A Drizzly Run

Running. I can't remember the last time I ran in "precipitation". It's just not in my nature to put up with that but I felt compelled to keep up with training so that I don't have a really bad month of mileage. It wasn't that bad out. A misty drizzle. 70 degrees. 400% humidity. I ran at an increasingly higher heart rate through the course of the 4 mile run. I could tell the difference in my legs that comes from taking a 2 day break between runs vs. the usual every other day break. The legs and everything else are just a tad stronger. I use the same strategy before races and I guess there's some validity to it. I ran a quick 32.35 pace and felt fantasic afterwards.
Busing. I don't know about you guys but I love public transportation. It's cheaper than a limo driver and I can get so much done when some else is driving. While West Point boy is off with the car somewhere on spring break I have to resort to bumming rides or taking the bus. I like mixing in with that crowd. While waiting for the bus the other night a 9th grader was sitting on a bench with me and asked me what I do. I told him I worked for the school system and the next thing I know he's giving me all the details about his school history and telling me how he wants to get back in school even though he hasn't been in school since December. I took all his info and will try to bring another lost lamb back into the flock.
PT. My physical therapy with Tracey ended today. She went on vacation and my shoulders feel much better for all she did over the last four weeks. I have pretty good range of motion and can almost sleep on my left side again. The pain has subsided and I have a healthier respect for what needs to be done on my off-running days. Gosh, I think I have a daily routine to worry about now: one day run; next day stretch and stength train. Wow. I'll be like the rest of you soon.
Baseball. Spring training fest is teed up for me this weekend. I'll be going to St Pete for my choice of games with the Yankees, Reds, Pirates, Blue Jays, Devil Rays and Phillies. The PGA Bay Hill Classic is in town but I'd rather head closer to the beach.


Glory Day

I went for an easy run in the sunshine yesterday to break in my new Hurricanes. It's strange how my right knee reacted. After alternating two pairs of shoes that each had over 250 miles on them, I was now clunking along with new tires that had much more tread and stiffness to them. My right knee noticed and started to twang a little. I also noticed that my left foot tends to twist inwards at the toe after each stride and occasionally nips my right foot as they cross. So now you know why I made it an easy run. I have to get these puppies warmed up and broken in.
Baseball. The West Point boy is home for spring break and we're going out for a family outing. A spring training game sounds good. Options include: Mets @ Tigers, Orioles @ Nationals and Yankees @ Astros. Tough decisions all but I'm guessing the Yankee game is sold out; plus I am a Red Sox fan and would not do well among the Bomber faithful. All that really matters is the weather: today will be 82 and sunny with a slight breeze. Ahhhh. Eat your heart out.
P.S. The red breasted robins are here making their way north. It won't be long now my northern brethren and sistas.


Cross Train Shopping

Running. Wednesday I woke up and went out to run. From the first step I was moving better than usual with no slow build up. It was cool out (low 50s) and I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts. Moving was the way to stay warm. I went on my 4-mile jaunt and came home with a splendid sub 33-minute time that was the best of the year on that route.
Therapy. After work I went for my 7th visit to my physical therapist - Tracey - a former Olympic swimmer who nows relishes the opportunity to smirk and bend the crap out of my arms and shoulders in an effort to loosen up the horrid things. Just let me remind everyone that the merits of upper body strength training are not to be overooked. If I had paid better attention I'd not be in such distortion. Tracey is doing a fine job of getting my skinny weak upper body sculpted into a strong lean running machine. It just takes a little pain to get there.
Shopping. Key to the day was that I left work early for PT and planned to go down to the Track Shack for the annual red dot sale where most shoes are 50% off and all the winter gear is at giveaway prices. I got in touch with my feminine side and had a blast doing my shopping. Being friends with the store manager didn't hurt either. We'd been consulting each other for a few weeks about what I could buy and how much he had in stock. Shoes was at the top of my list. Like Pamalamadingdong I am an avid Saucony Hurricane fan. First Jerry brought out two pairs in my size. One was the old model in blue and one in the newer style with orange trim. I tried them on and went Ahhhhhhh! (2 for the price of 1) Then we spoke about my penchant for cross shoeing in different brands and he introduced me to an Asics shoe, the Gel Kayano XI. Let me just say that it was like putting your hand in a bowl of hot parrafin (Never done that, huh? Try it. You'll love it). So the Kayano is a perfect fit and a noticeably lighter shoe. I was sold. Of course the Kayano was not available at 50% off but he did give it to me for 20% off the $135 price tag (Yow). So I took the shoes, picked up a few race shirts (sleeveless) so Rachel would not gag at the next warm Florida race and headed out the door. Tomorrow I'm going to be bouncing along in my new shoes. Which one will be a spur of the moment thing; kinda like the shopping trip. Look Honey; at how much money I saved!!


On the Road Again

Running. It had been a week. No thought of running other than the thought that I didn't have to think about it. Now it was time to return. I found my sneakers and everything else I needed to go running. It was a glorious Florida March morning with temps in the high 50s and the sun out. Oak trees are nearing their time to shed and burst forth with annoying pollen and new lush green growth. I took off running very slowly so to remind myself what it was all about. I cruised along feeling very comfortable and aware of the beautiful day out. I made good time despite some high heart rates, finishing my "short" 4-miler in 34.5 minutes. I might have gone longer but felt just right to end when I did. Keeps me wanting more.
Official Tan Season. Once back in the barn I had some oatmeal and went out back to read the Sunday paper. It was warm enough now to shed the shirt and soak up some rays. I dozed off in the middle of reading and ended up getting a little sun burn on my chest. Oh well. I had to start burning sooner or later. Might as well be now. I look forward to that sun starched sleep tonight.
Yard work. Not that my day was a total sensory indulgence I made some serious headway performing some spring pruning of the palm trees. The place is looking pretty good as the nice weather kicks in. It's the best of times to be in Florida. Come on down folks!


Postcard from Guiltless Land

Let me just say that if you really want to enjoy life for a week tell yourself to take it off. Don't run. Don't work out. Eat what you want (in moderation). Don't cross train. Don't worry. Be happy.
It used to be that I'd wake up in the morning and have that dreaded feeling that it might be a running morning - not that all mornings were that way - but I haven't had to even think about it. It's so peaceful. I still eat like a good boy but allow for anything. For instance, this morning the breakfast options were very thin around the house so I opted for the 7-11 fresh mountain roast coffee with hazelnut cream and ... and .... and a doughnut. My gawd, it's been a long time since I had one of those! It was divine.
So if you're feeling over worked and can justify a break, then write yourself a prescription to take a week off and let the body mend and mind bend. It's very invigorating. I might want to go for a realllllly long run on Sunday just for grins.


Guilt Free Zone

I have officially shut it down for the next week. No running. No guilt. No worries. I set myself the goal of training and running three "winter" races. 5K-15K-12K. I did it. I'm finished. I am resting.
So while I'm sitting here resting let me look at this race calendar.....what to do, what to do? I like the sound of the Windermere race: "5K Run Among the Lakes following the shoreline of the beautiful Butler Chain of Lakes." April 16. Okay.
"de-feet diabetes 5K walk/run" right across the street in Baldwin Park. Close. April 3. Maybe.
"Run for the Trees" 5K through the peacock preserve and "wilderness" of Genius Drive, opened only once a year. Last time it rained like the dickens and the wilderness was more like prime Florida swamp land. April 30. Possible.
Maybe it's time to go to Tampa Bay again. They have a nice Bay to Bay run. I'll have to do some homework. That's why I have the whole week off from running.
March is for baseball spring training, hotdogs and cold beer. The perfect training table for a hard core runner.