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.


Forgetful and Forget It

Thursday was my speedwork day and it was .... speedy. It was meant to be faster than my goal pace for the upcoming race with the following targets/results: 1200m-5:38/5:33, 800m-3:45/3:38. 400m-1:53/1:44, 200m-:50/:49. Some fast strides followed and my legs, hams, quads and hips felt as loose could be; very challenged by the effort. My attention was not exactly all there though - for non-running related reasons - and I somehow skipped my second 400m repeat. I could not believe it when I checked the watch later but, for sure, I forgot.

Friday was a travel day. This weekend I am in Lara Country - New York State - although nowhere near her on her mountain retreat. I am in West Point for a football game and visit with son T. who is doing quite well at the academy. I sure fed him well today (Saturday).

The game was excellent even though Iowa State pulled it out in the fourth quarter. I retreated to the hotel so late that I slept in; something so foreign to me that I forgot what it felt like. In fact I said forget it when I asked myself to figure in time for a 5-mile run. Instead I spent more time with T. We made plans for tomorrow though. We're going to Camp Buckner to run the tow trails that he and the cadets train on during the summer.

And did I say there are hills in Florida? Forget it. They're speed bumps in comparison to what I will put myself through tomorrow. I can't wait to see how I come back to this forum to describe what I go through.

So despite all the forgetting, I am still on track and training. I hope yours is going well too.


Two Good Days of Running

Tuesday asked for a seven mile run with at least one mile of hill repeats. Sure. I welcomed the privilege. Never mind that the night before I went out to dinner with 100 of my best friends from a former life and ate a huge slab of beef and helped polish off two bottles of chilled labeless house red table wine. Can you say dry mouth in the morning?
I decided to run my six mile route around the lake at a nice tempo pace; something a little slower than I might race on October 9 (10K race). Finish up by doing "the block." The block which passes my house is very popular with many many running groups/teams because, in Florida, you can't find many inclines like on my block, so a couple of laps around would finish my run.
The Lake run was effortless. It was also at tempo pace. I was thirsty but not too challenged. I've run the route for five years and, without really thinking about it, I PRed the course with a 52:58. Unbelievable. The hills were a breeze too.

Today was supposed to be an easy four miles. I met a marathon running friend at the dinner Monday night. She's prepping for the Columbus (OH) marathon October 16 (Boston qualifier) and I knew she would be doing speed work at the track just up the street. So I did a "jog by" to say hi at 530 in the morning. She was pushing hard to do 8x800s at 8:30 pace with her group. I was impressed. I'll have to try that sometime soon.
I did my four miles through the neighborhood and came home for another day of the working man's world while thinking of things that might have been. Fortunately we have avoided threatening hurricanes and just catching a few feeder bands of Rita the last few days. Hunker Down Texas!


Runners' Weekend

Saturday started all wrong. Son C. had to be delivered to a cross country meet by 6:20 a.m. Normally - no problem: I drive. I run before the races. I watch the races.
Well, last week he complained that Mrs. T. never came to see him run so we had to factor her schedule into the morning. She was not going to go anywhere at 6:20 a.m. so I had to take him to the meet and come back. My cool morning window for running slammed shut. We arrived at the meet (with 1700 runners!) just as the varisty boys were on the course. Parking was a nightmare at the high school where the cross country meet, a volleyball tournament and softball tournament were all being held at the same time. Talk about overbooked!
We watched the finish. Our 4-time defending state champions finished 5th. Ouch. #1 was out with an achilles injury so the result was predictable. The team goal is another state championship and that's a ways off. Next week the varsity goes to the Great American, an elite team and individual meet in North Carolina.
So it's 9:00 a.m. and we have to wait until 10:30 for the JV boys to race. Mrs. T. is hot. She's complaining. It IS hot so we hole up in the shade to read the paper. I'd have been running around watching the other races but .....
At 10:00 we went back out to the course to wait and then watch the JV race at 10:30. Son C. did well. No PR but he said he felt a "runner's high" shortly after the race. That was the first time he'd ever said that so there is hope. I took a picture of him with his mom so she could point it out to him in the future that she did, in fact, attend one of his races this year.

We're home at 12:30. It's blazing hot, hazy and humid. I've got to make a decision. I wanted to do five miles today before my longer outing Sunday morning at 7:00. Go now in the brutal heat of the day or run in the evening with little recovery time before the next run?
I ran in the heat. I just took it reallllly slow like the Kenyans do. I felt fine. I felt better for having run. It ended my funk. I was going through withdrawal being off schedule. Argh.

Sunday. Back to normal. I was up at 5:30 having breakfast. Made it to Park Avenue by 6:55 and was off and running with a slew of runners today. Where'd they all come from? At the mile 4 water stop I switched groups and enjoyed a different pace and new company. All is well. I put in 7.25 miles at a good 9:10 pace.
I kept thinking about all the marathon and half-marathon runners I know who are peaking in their training as they focus on the Oct. 8-9 weekend. Hartford and Chicago come to mind. I'll be at Disney that day doing a little ol' 10K but it's all good. I hope your runs were not too hard this weekend.
Now I better go do my homework or I'll be one cranky overworked unheard from blogger this week.


Hard and Hot

That describes my run and the weather today. I went over to the track to run at 10K race pace for three long intervals and then at 5K pace for six short intervals. I shock myself. I am conscious of sometimes running "too fast" at my speed work and today was a day when I thought I was running at the right pace. Everything was smooth. I was not gasping. I was not losing speed on the repeats. I felt looser as each repeat went by. It was sweet.

Well the 800s were at a 7:35/mile pace and the 1200 was a 7:45 pace. The faster 200s were at a 6:26-6:42/mile pace and the 400s were 6:54 & 6:58/miles. So every one of those was at least :30/mile faster than I was aiming for. I have definitely gotten myself in a condition that amazes me. I've been running "again" for six years. I can't say I was a serious trainer although I set a few developmental PRs in 5Ks and stuff. Now that I am following a routine and a training program with an emphasis on speed work, I am just beside myself with the results. My ultimate goal is to catch Sarah in "real time" instead of in age adjusted time which just might actually happen someday. After all, she's getting older and slower :).

Oh. Yes, it is hotter than blazes (95) and the forecast is more dry weather and possible record highs. The weekend is screaming beach! I should go drown my sorrow over the cancellation of the Coldplay concert last night. I had to settle with listening to my CDs on the laptop as I blogged. That's not all a bad thing.


Rest Days. Cold Plays.

I can't remember a rest day I didn't enjoy but I had one Monday. I felt lethargic all day despite some strong Weekapaug Blend coffee from Dave's. I spent most of the afternoon anticipating Tuesday's run. In the evening I went online and registered for the Disney 10K that starts at the Sports Complex, runs through MGM Studios and ends at EPCOT where they're having the Taste of Nations food and wine expo. Runners get free samples.
Following my 10K training plan I had a great run Tuesday. It asked for two miles easy then two 8-10 minute almost race pace miles followed by two easy miles. The middle two went like a 5K for me. I couldn't hold back enough to be at the right pace. Now maybe I should reconsider what my race pace can be, as fast it was. From the way my legs felt later I can describe it as having been a "hard effort" and it felt great. I loved that taut feeling in my quads that comes from pushing hard.
This morning I'll put in four easy miles, drink lots of coffee from a short night's sleep (thank you School Board!) and psych up for the concert tonight in Tampa: Coldplay. I am anticipating an emotional experience that concerts tend to stimulate in me. My ticket connections got me into the twelfth row so I am ready to really enjoy some music. The Hardest Part will be not having my best Coldplay friends with me. They are otherwise engaged.
Let's see next time if I make it back, get enough sleep and go out to do speed work Thursday morning. I think Friday's rest day will be a welcome day off.



My name is David and I am a runner.

There. I admitted it. I am hopelessly dependent. I don't know what the creed is to come to grips with the reality that my life is different that it used to be but it struck me like a pink slip last night.

We hosted Supper Club, a traditional gathering of former neighbors (once nine couples, last night just five) that rotate the hosting duties every other month and rotate the libation and course responsibilities too. I know supper clubs are not uncommon. It surprises me that we have continued so long since only two couples remain in the old neighborhood. We've been assembling ever since the mid 1980s and it has been an interesting evolution. Children are born, grow up and leave. Couples break up. Jobs change. Personalities develop. Old age creeps in. One constant: the food is always good.

Last night, once all the folks had arrived and the first round was served, the guys asked me to turn on the TV so they could watch college football. That's not entirely uncommon but it was strange for me as they began regaling each other with all the minutia of games played earlier in the day. To me it was a familair but forgotten language. For 30 years I worked in college football and could talk my way through any conversation with some forbearance of knowledge. On this occasion, I was clueless. I didn't even realize the season had started a week ago. I could not care less about who was playing. Where did that old passion go?

To running.

As the evening went on I answered questions about how I was and what I had been doing since we had met last. All I could talk about was my training regimen, how I've never felt better in my life, the New Haven 20K, my RBF friends and a few easy to cover accounts of my son at West Point. For the most part I got blank stares back. One guy runs a little but none of the other guys or their wives run. One couple that was not here do run but they were out of town - running probably.

The guests were drinking. I was thinking about my long run Sunday morning. They shoveled in the chow. I took modest portions. They talked. I thought about seeing my running pals at 700 today. Finally, I went outside on the pool deck and stared in through the windows at the party going on. I was not a part of it or them. It hit me hard. I have become someone else.

I am a runner. I live to run.

I went back in to say goodnight to some who were leaving. Others stayed on to some later hour. I snuck into my room, brushed my teeth and slipped into bed. I had to sleep. I had a date in the morning.

I am a runner.

I woke up at 545 with the eagerness that consumes me. I laced up and ate a banana; drank a tall glass of filtered water and grabbed a towel and water bottle on the way to the car. Driving to Park Avenue, I snapped a picture of Lake Virginia in the early morning light. At 700 I was running and talking with Chris, Tim and Jack; hailing Kim and Mary as they surged past us; and saluting someone else doing a tempo run with a "Great pace!" I was where I wanted to be. I love the morning light and empty streets of a Sunday long run. It is so dramatic. It is the time for runners.

My name is David and I am a runner. See you at the next meeting.


Speedy Thursday

I worked out a plan to transition from half marathon (20K) training to 10K training to half marathon training again, through early December. The 10K race is October 9 and the OUC Half is December 3.
Thursdays are my new speed work days so yesterday, after only an easy four mile recovery run on Wednesday, I took to the track. My goal is to get my 10K pace down to 8:00 miles so that meant some hard running. I pretty much pulled it off. 1x1200 (6:00), 2x800 (4:05), 4x400 (:56) and 4x400 faster (:52).
Best of all, every part of my body feels good about the running load. I just passed my annual mileage total from last year and have four months to go! Last year was a goofy one because August and September were near busts because of Charlie, Francis and Jeanne. Now we have Ophelia dancing off my favorite beach, eroding the sand I am sure, and threatening to grow stronger. Maybe I should move to Chicago to get away from all the hurricanes.

New Haven extra time memories:
-Sarah asking the policemen whether to put money in the meters on race morning (No).
-Jon losing his cheesecake dessert and having to ask for more (I think it was the culprit was that man in the background of the picture Susan posted).
-Realizing after the race that I was on the verge of a bloody left nipple. I've never had that before. Ouch.


New Haven 2006

New Haven 2006. If my reads are accurate the 2006 New Haven 20K will feature 16 RBFers based on the commitments made in comments around the family table. Here's who's wanting more or a first taste (of Dianna's cheese cake and the rest of the delicacies):
April Anne, Susan, Sarah, Dianna, David, Jon, Michelle, Lara and Bill return. Uptown Girl (NYC) ran this year but we didn't know it.
Danny (NY), Jack (Germany), Jeff (CA), Richard (TX), Rachel (TN) and Beth (CT) want in.
We'll take over the Modern Apizza for our pre-race carbo load! Jon - start on those truffles now!

Age Has its Privileges. Thanks to Susan who sent me a link to a time adjusting calculator based on age I determined I won the RBF race with an adjusted time of 1:31:24. Better than Sarah even!

Running Again. I couldn't help myself this morning. Despite the tropical storm feel in the air I went out for a 4-mile jog to see how the legs were faring. I took it easy and felt stupid-smile happy to be running again. When I stopped, the legs did feel pretty heavy and tired but the best sensation came about two hours later and lasted all morning. I felt so absolutely fine tuned and healthy with a spring in my step and a desire to sprint down hallways at work. It was a delayed runners high that I've had before and relish at times like this .. or any time actually.

My next race is a 10K at Disney on October 9. It's in EPCOT and concludes with a "taste of the world", international cuisine from all the pavillions. So long as the English pub is pouring pints I'll be especially happy. Tomorrow starts the speed training for the 10K distance. I can't wait.


Musings from New Haven and Race Stats

Things I can't forget about New Haven and the RBF-fest:

-My ears popping as I drove from the highlands of Hartford down to the coast of New Haven.
-Scanning the street outside City Hall trying to pick Jon out among the crowd. When we saw the cooler hanging by his side we knew it was him and his truffles. The ladies were aflutter.
-Dianna telling me there were only two hills on the course; studying the race map to confirm my race strategy and making Sarah even more nervous.
-Eggplant pizza among others followed by the most incredible desserts I've ever consumed. Dianna's cheesecake was to die for.
-Sarah spilling water all over my shorts at the restaurant and uttering, "Please don't let it look like he peed himself."
-Slipping a door prize ticket in Sarah's pocket.
-Doing math in my head the night before the race to calculate what my pace would have to be over the first 9.5 miles before kicking it up in the last three. Sleep? Not really.
-Rudely awakening Susan and Lara with flashing overhead lights instead of a soft hair stroke and softly spoken words telling them the time.
-The wide open highway from Hartford to New Haven on race morning.
-Lacing up my Asics on the back of Susie's car before the race.
-58 degree temperatures with blue skies and sunshine.
-Helping Sarah fold and pin her race number before the race.
-Briefly chatting with Michelle about her husband in Iraq and my son's time there in 2003.
-April Anne, distressed about not finding Dianna, her running pace partner, in the pre-race mass of humanity.
-Giving Sarah a good luck hug just before the gun.
-Running with Jon for the first mile, then briefly losing touch and watching him fade away in front of me, he thinking I was in front of him.
-My first split which I expected to be in the low 9:00s.
-The first five miles of just gliding along effortlessly and loving the morning and streetside residential spectators.
-Having the urge to pee after the first mile but never needing to go so badly like the many men along the wood line in the second and third mile.
-Seeing Dianna pass me in the fifth mile, paced by a tall handsome man in blue from Wisconsin.
- The headwind along the waterfront in bright sunshine that was tougher than the hills.
-Oh, Dianna, there were five hills. Florida boys can remember them all.
-Crossing the split mat and believing I could make it in 1:45:00.
-Seeing boarded up storefronts near an overpass; a former sign shop called Charrette.
-Playing pace tag with "Eh", "Fries" and the red shirted man with a crimped left leg gait between miles 6-9.
-Running through the municipal park with ballfields and soccer fields and hills and trees, just before the race photographers.
-Kicking my pace down by 40 seconds to 8:08/mile in mile 11 and feeling strong yet concerned about my stamina.
-Thinking that I was in mile 12 when it was mile 11.
-The loooong run down wide Whitney towards the finish line.
-Susan and Lara cheering for me a quarter mile from the finish.
-The crowds cheering. The announcer calling off names of finishers and me wondering if he'd call my name.
-The long quiet unperturbed and satisfying walk over to the toilets to relieve myself.
-The woman who gave me one of her two bottles of cold water when I asked her where I could find some for myself.
-Blueberry yogurt, beer and Sarah's cookies for our post race banquet.
-The post-race jog to the car to change a shirt and retrieve the camera. I actually felt like I could keep running.
-Taking pictures of the RBF team; Sarah's cheesing for the camera.
-Susan, all the way home to the beach.

My intent was to run the first 9.5 miles at a comfortable pace then run the last 2.9 miles as if it were a 5K race, all with the goal of making it in in 1:45:00-1:46:00, right around a 8:30 pace.
Here are the splits:
M1 8:43
M2 8:28
M3 8:20
M4 8:19
M5 8:28 (Gu and water slowdown)
M6 8:53
M7 8:41
M8 8:49
M9 8:40
M10 8:48 (More Gu and water)
M11 8:09
M12 8:27
.4 3.26

My time on the Polar was 1:46:09 as was the chip time so everything is right on. Next year I'll try and do better but I cannot imagine a better race than the one I just shared with some wonderful people. The Runners' Blog is a lot more familiar and homey place than it was last week. I love it.

New Haven Heroes

Team RBF took New Haven by storm (of the non-hurricane variety ... unless you wear Saucony's. I digress.)
I have returned to Florida from the perfect Connecticut running climate with all good feelings about an incredible weekend. My race performance was only off my goal time by six seconds over the 12.4 mile distance. I haphazardly decided I should run it in 1:46.0. I came across in 1:46.6. That was amazing in and of itself.
Much more to write about but it's late and I need to go to bed after a long day. Since my camera was one of only two operating on race morning (Lara's was the other) I felt obliged to post a pic or two.

L-R above: Lara, Jon, Sarah, Bill, Dianna, April Anne, Susan, David (not pictured Michelle)

Bill and Cruise Director Dianna feeling pretty darned good after the race.


Carbo Loading Redefined

We are in New Haven. Lara, Sarah, Susie and I drove down a little early Sunday. We practiced the best route into the city for tomorrow morning. We found the best parking places. We know where to meet in the morning and where to slug down beers after the race. We registered. We (Susie) shopped. And we ate. Oh, did we eat. Modern Apizza was a hot spot for pasta hounds tonight. Little did anyone else know what was on the dessert menu. Sarah's mom's famous recipe cookies, Jon's never ending truffles and Dianna's amazing awesome cheesecake. I'm glad I saved room for all that (ha!). I am now 10 pounds heavier than I was after my last long run. It better disappear over night or I'll be dragging in the morning.
It was great to see "old friends" (Sarah and Dianna) and meet friends (Jon and Lara) that now have real 3-D faces besides all their great compositions. It was definitely worth the trip north and even beat out another day at the beach in Rhode Island. I mean, how often can something as sweet as this happen?

Bring It On

‘T was the day before Race Day and all through New England, there were butterflies aflutter as the RBF converged on New Haven. Cruise Director Dianna has it all planned out. Jon’s in the east and his family is encamped in September’s perfect coastal weather. Lara’s on her way from the Empire State to meet Susie and David in middle Nutmeg. Sarah will join them hours from now for the drive to the Green. The expo awaits with goody bags, race numbers and thousand of thin trade believers. Michelle, April Anne and Bill will be among them. Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on.
Pizza and pictures will be gobbled and snapped in the waning light. Great stories and laughter will unfurl in the night. Nervous chatter about breakfast, what to wear and race strategy will dominate last words.
It’s time to get ready. The Race is about to begin. Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on.

Susie cools down before the race.


Here's the wind up...

And the pitch.
Today was gorgeous after a quick flight up from Florida yesterday. I've been carbo loading with pasta for dinner five nights in a row and there's the Team RBF Pizzafest tomorrow in New Haven.
I started the day with an easy easy three mile run with son T., up from West Point. It was over before I really noticed. It's amazing how short a run it was. I must be very ready for Monday's race.
We met with Susan's family before heading to the beach so that one West Pointer could meet an old time West Pointer (S's dad). The beach was as wonderful as any I can remember. The water was refreshing. The sun sparkled on the water. Fellowship with all the Rhode Island gang was as refreshing as anything I could imagine. All intelligent and humorous people who don't take themselves too seriously at all.
A pot luck dinner tonight was the icing on the cake as we all descended on the home of one friend's elderly mother's house for the party. She joined right in and everybody pigged out on clams, lobster, smoked turkey, burgers, wieners, sweet corn on the cob, salad, raspberry pie, layer cake, etc.
Now it's time to go into race prep mode. Have to pack as Lara described and be ready for anything. On the other hand friends here said don't leave anything in your car in New Haven. I will study my maps and directions and focus on the race. Sleep is the first thing to pack so I'll turn it in here and say to you that you can tune in Monday for a race update.