I woke up too early to have an excuse for not running; so I ran. I slipped on the new Asics Gel Evolutions and went outside. Very nice. I started out thinking four miles then thought I should really test these new babies. Unlike the Kuyanos, the Evolution is not as cushioned yet it is slightly more supportive. Not too much , just fine. The wide width is something to get more accustomed to but if my foot stops hurting then it's good for me. At Quail Hollow I turned in and went on my five mile route which includes a lot more brick streets and "Florida hills," as in sink hole embankments.
I spun it around in 45:30 which was pretty good for not trying. I guess I'm still capable of improving some more and setting some 2006 PRs, despite my advancing age.

ALERT: Day Light Savings Weekend Ahead. Darker morning runs for you early birds.


Nothing here. Nope.

I raced and shopped Saturday and have done nothing since. I am one big ol' lazy dog. I've been waiting for it to warm up. It has now so I guess I'll go out tomorrow morning.



Mrs. T was in a less than pleasant mood yesterday when I came home from my race so I did the best possible thing after writing up my race recap. I went shopping. It was the last day of the 20+% off sale at Track Shack and I had a buzz from the race and wanted some new stuff. I'd been to the shop twice last week but hadn't bought a thing.

I spent 2-1/2 hours at the store and had such a good time. The place was packed too. I found a sleeveless top in navy and white. Then I tried on about eight pairs of shoes and went for a run in six of them. I tried the old Saucony Hurricanes, the new ones, the Asics Kuyano 11s and 12s, a New Balance shoe and, on the advice of Momma Hughes, I tried a stability shoe: the Asics Evolution II, in a wide. It was fine. I had it on one foot and the Kayano 12 (and its $40 higher price) on the other and settled on the new Evolution. Given my recent bout with the left ankle soreness (now relatively gone) I'll give these a 400 mile test drive.

Then I went back to the clothes racks and picked out a whole lot of stuff to try on. I monopolized the changing room for about 25 minutes before picking a khaki/black/white top and khaki bottom that went together and another sleeveless Asics top in dusty red that will go with the set bottom. Some Gu and I was ready to check out.

Retail therapy. Maybe that's what Mrs. T needed. It suited me just fine. When quizzed on the subject she declared it came down to a lack of sleep and getting unfinished frustrating work done. I know from personal experience the two are related. Today she accomplished a little bit of both.


Now We're Talking

Winter Park Road Race Report (10K)
The conditions were perfect this morning for a jog, a run or a race. I chose race. The sun was out and it was 49F with a slight breeze. 2,300 runners came for the 10K and 2M races in downtown Winter Park. I arrived early and found a nice parking place, pulled on my Army warm-ups and jogged proudly to the check-in to pick up my race packet. I visited with a handful of familiar people. I could feel the electricity that permeates a pre-race crowd. I was glad to be back. I crossed paths with a principal from one of our schools. He had his two daughters with him and "a friend" from the gym. He had a heart attack last summer and decided to get his body in better health so took on a fitness program that only an addict could love. He did a triathlon in California earlier this year and preaches exercise to everybody he meets.

I sauntered back to my car to pin on my number and shed the warm-ups. Back near the start I stood in a sunny spot to stay warm and visited with a county commissioner and then two young school age daughters of an old acquaintance who were about to run their first 10K. They asked me a few questions about running and I shared some advice on how to approach the race. While talking I looked down and saw two pennies on the road right in front of our feet. I pointed to them and said to the younger girl that they'd bring good luck. She picked them up and gave me one instead of sharing with her sister.

The start was a little crowded thanks to somebody's Lexus being on the street despite the temporary no parking signs. It wasn't a runner's car, I expect. A short block after the race start the course took a left turn that slowed everybody down. After that, getting around runners was relatively easy, thank goodness. I concentrated on short strides with moderately rapid turnover.
We made it out of the downtown area and into the ritzy residential streets within the first mile. At the marker, I was clocked at 8:24. I could live with that, I thought. I hadn't even bothered to review what my PR was, calculate a target pace or anything else. I just sorta showed up with low expectations. Not low in the sense of slow but more with a mindset that this was a recovery race.
I just stayed in my adopted pace zone through mile 2. I passed a number of rabbits who went out too fast and felt a thorough comfort with course. It happens to include a sizeable portion of my Sunday morning route. At mile 2 my watch said 8:07. Ooh. I had advised the young girls to divide the race into three two mile runs and sprint the last two-tenths; and not to go out too fast. Well, with 8:07 I realized I was about :30 off my 5K PR pace. I knew that number from memory. Was I ready for this kind of pace? I listened to my breathing. I flipped a mental switch to keep it even and below maximum.

The Mile 3 timer came up abruptly as we rounded a blind curve. I was cruising along with good leg turnover, finding that I did better to concentrate on using my left leg more forcefully as compared to dragging it along (as in Miami, miles 20-26). That worked. At Mile 3 the split was 8:04. Well. That was not too difficult. Could I do that again? I am halfway through, I thought. Caution, I remembered: Calm breathing. Rapid leg turnover. Use the left. Short stride.
We had a few short hills along the route. The ups were easier than the downs - after each one. After an up the next flat was a breeze. After a down the stride had to be readjusted and breathing re-regulated. We ran on a lot of brick streets too which I never mind but, in the race, I relished the streets that were asphalt. At Mile 4 the timekeeper yelled out the time and my split said 8:05. Woo hoo. Sweet.

Two miles to go and I fell in with a news anchor and her friend who were bopping along chatting a lot, talking about the hills of the Boston Marathon. I kept up with them through Mile 5 because it's a vulnerable mile in racing a 10K for me. I knew they'd keep me up. At the split I had covered the mile in 7:59.5. Now we're talking!

The news anchor's friend then spotted a turquoise shirt about 40 yards ahead of us and said to Wendy, "There's our target. We need to catch and pass her in the next mile." They gradually pulled away from me but I managed to draft along long enough to hold a decent pace, checking on my breathing, leg turnover and left leg contribution again. With less than a mile to go I let the rates go up a little. At Mile 6 my split read 8:05.

The last .2 down the main drag with music blaring, fans cheering and a few challengers nipping at my heels pushed me to close at an 8:00 pace.

Final time was 50:20 (8:06 pace)

I was very pleased with the effort. I though it might be a PR but couldn't remember. I grabbed a bottle of water, went to my car for a windbreaker and came back for the afterparty. I had a blast in Central Park snacking on bananas and bagels plus seeing my city commissioner neighbor, his associate (who tells me J. is a stalking reader of this blog. Hey J. how ya doing?); various runner pals I've known over the years; and two more principals* in the district who I did not know were runners. It is very heartening to now know four principals (out of 167) who are runners. Judging by the body types that work in my district building I was feeling like a freak of nature in that I am a runner. Finding more and more of them running out there around the county is exciting.
I came home after the race and looked up my PR. Dang. Last November when I was in peak peak condition I ran a 10K and 5K on the same day and the 10K time was a 49:47 PR. Oh well; this was the second best yet. I'm glad for that and for having felt the thrill of racing again. Now I need to get on the internet and find my next race.

* One of the two principals happens to be named Susan and she is very pretty like two RBF Susans I know. She even had her pet pekingese dog with her named Martini. Martini had on a pink sweater and green painted toe nails left over from St. Patrick's Day. Rowdy would have been hitting on her I think.


Where was I?

It has been the kind of week at work that can drive you nuts. Everybody else came back from Spring Break all fired up and rarin' to do things. I didn't take off as many days as I wanted/should have so it's been a tough week. I'm introducing training on some new spanking school-to-home telecommunications system all week, three times a day. At least I don't have to do all the training. Rollout is next week.
What did I do this week?
I ran on Tuesday morning doing some short track distances. When I added them all up, for the distance, it was at a 6:33 mile pace. With that I am amazed! In light of that success I signed up for the Winter Park Road Race (10K) on Saturday morning. It'll be my first race since the 1.29 marathon. I think I'm ready now.
I went to my second NBA game in a week, taking my telcom trainer with me. We had a good time watching the Knicks play some of the worst basketball against the hometown Magic.
I agreed to let Mark the Painter do his Michaelangelo work on my house exterior which has been sorely overdo for a few years. Now maybe the neighbors walking their dogs won't let them poop in my yard anymore. Hey, I can only hope. My dogs do it in theirs.
It's cooling off here in the Sunshine State. Highs in the upper 80s have slipped to mid 70s. Cry me a river. We may have lows in the 40s again this weekend. Brrr. Get out the woolies.


Longest run since marathon week

Training for a race can keep you regular; as in regular appearances on the road of running. After Thursday's speed work I experienced pain in my left foot all day Friday. I evaluated the conditions that led me to hurt and the suspect is my 350 mile old Asics. I hesitated to register for the race next weekend, having planned to do so yesterday. I opted to wait for the result of today's long run.
I ran 8.7 miles in my younger Asics and at a 9:26 pace with tempo being my emphasis on the last three miles. It felt outstanding, and, as of three hours after the run (and reading the Sunday paper on the sundeck), I am still feeling the runner high with no foot pain.
I think it is time for another pair of shoes to replace the older Asics. The "dot" sale starts tomorrow at the Track Shack so I expect I'll be down there tomorrow evening looking for a bargain that fits and feels right. I wish Runner Susan was with me because she loves to shop.
Son T. left this morning to return to West Point. He comes home again in about 11 weeks, at the end of May. He'll be home for about a month before returning to West Point for summer detail at Camp Buckner. He'll enjoy the outdoors/military training.


Two good outings

Tuesday I went out for a tempo run. I know; I said it was a speed workout but I was wrong. I did a two mile warm up, three 10-minute tempo segments and a two minute cool down. It was a decent 7.6 miles from which I have no physical ailments and covered it in 1:11.
Today I went out a little late for my speed workout at the track. It had not been since early fall that I had done so many short distance repeats. I went 1x800, 4x400, 4x200, 1x800 and 4x100 strides. I managed to average a 7:33 pace over the course of the actual repeats which is something I can be very happy with. My stamina was there. My lungs hung in. It felt outright great; and greatly needed after a stress filled spring break week. I didn't get the day off today like I planned. I am hopeful that tomorrow and the weekend will be relaxing.
Painters showed up today to do the job that's been long overdue - the exterior. If they spend five days caulking I'll be happy.
Oh yeah ... the Army moved out. They all went to their respective northern homes for a few days before returning to the Point. In a last blast cookout, we ate well. The boys did the cooking.


Cadet p0rn

Army formations. When I left this morning the cadets were sleeping. When I came home 12 hours later they were sleeping again. I didn't hear what happened today but they rallied by 830 and were dressed and hungry, heading out the door for chow and another night out. I didn't have a chance to take any pictures this morning but here's another from the post-run yesterday ... for those of you running up my site visit meter. :)
Running. I picked a 10K race for which to train. It's in two weeks so I'm on the accelerated training program with some speed work tomorrow. YEAH! I can't wait to see how it goes. I spoke to a running pal who ran Miami with me and we talked about his 15K he ran on Saturday. We observed that 15K is not very far in relation to marathons. His most poignant comment was, "When I finished I realized I had at least two more hours to run if I was in a marathon." I thought about that and was nodding my head.



Dancing - I went to the ballet last night. They presented six superb segments with some very talented dancers. While watching them perform I had this revelation about how difficult it must be to train to be a ballet dancer. Just think how amazingly strong their foot, ankle and calf muscles have to be, not to mention the rest of their bodies. That is some hard work. I though to compare it to marathon training and a race. Somehow the ballet training doesn't seem to be quite as satisfactory as breezing along on the open streets of our passion.

Running - If you read the entry before this one where I lamented my lack of speed, let me tell you about today. I overslept on the Sunday morning running gang so went out from my house in the reverse direction of the gang's route. I figured I'd at least wave to them as we passed each other. My plan developed in the first half mile: slow warm up, quick middle and cool down the last mile.
My first two miles passed at a 9:30 pace. Then I started to pick it up. M3 went by in 8:30. Then Mile 4 took only 8:05. That was fresh! Mile 5 slid back to 9:00 and the last mile was 9:15. Total time: 53:49.2, a seventh best time for me on that route. I never imagined I'd score today. I was very happy. Now I have to pick a race to train for so there is a real plan on my Dead Runners Society spreadsheet.

Army Movements - The cadets have been nothing but a pleasure. They do their own laundry, clear the table, wash the dishes and are responsible men. Well most of them are. Son T decided to sleep in today while his four guests were up at 830 looking to go for a run. I had the blueberry pancake breakfast all ready to go but held off so younger son C, who ran a track meet on Friday, could be their navigator through the unfamiliar neighborhoods. He blew off a day at the beach so he - the 18-year old - could lead a quartet of bona fide West Point cadets on a training run. He was the officer in charge, so to speak, so he was pretty darned pleased with himself. He pushed their pace too.
One of the cadets had to stop to use facilities about two miles out from the house. I am surprised they left him but they did. When they got back to the house they kept looking down the street (right) for Jae to appear but he was lost somewhere. I drove off to find him and he was on a road heading away from the house just motoring along. When he saw me he said, "Thank you, sir. Am I going the right way?" I told him no and got him turned around.
Once they were home and cooled down with a mass jump in the pool I served up the pancakes and everybody was very happy. They went off to Busch Gardens-Tampa today to ride rollercoasters.
I went to a spring training game at Disney (Braves v. Cardinals). The game was sold out but I walked up to the window in the top of the 2nd inning and asked if they had a single seat in the stands. Lo and behold they sold me a 2nd row seat behind home plate. It had to be one of the best seats in the house. It was definitely a 99% weekend.


Running - Yesterday morning I went out for a three mile run. I covered it in a very pedestrian 9:20 pace. When I consider my 5K PR pace I realize I am still a long way from racing form. Time is a-wasting. I need to try some tempo and track workouts and see if speed is still in my game.
I have observed that a marathon can really take you down in physical condition. I can remember last September saying to myself that I was in the best shape of my life. Now I'm creaking, slow and sore where I never was before. I hope it gets better rather than just plain old.
Army - Only five West Point cadets arrived at the airport yesterday. All are prior service soldiers working extra hard to become officers. They are just way too polite, well mannered and disciplined compared to most college students. Even their partying is tame by comparison. They got up this morning and started swimming laps because they are in a swim/drown-proofing class this semester and practice makes perfect. Nicky the fox terrier is a first class coach around the pool as you can see in the accompanying photo. They rented an SUV to get around and are off to the beach today. I should have gone with them.


Runway shut down

Well now that Bravo's Project Runway is over I do not have any more excuses about being too tired to run on Thursday mornings. It was a great reality series. I agreed with the judges final decision.
The Army arrives today. Transportation could be an issue. Six guys. Luggage. One dad. A 4-seater. Okay, fellas; who's renting a car?


The One. The Proud.

Be proud of me if you want. I am.
(1) I came to the RBF tonight before succumbing to my baseball addiction; and (2) I went for a run this evening, just two days after my last run. Now that's commitment all over again.
What I am most proud about is my left side. No twinges, no aches, no pains, nothing to bother me. Still a little tight in general but definitely feeling more normal. It's like, ya know, that slight discomfort you have at the end of an injury just before you forget that you were hurting. That's a good place.
Not much more to report. Son T comes home this Friday with five fellow cadets from West Point. Thank goodness he has a high school friend who has her parents house to herself. She can put them up; maybe even entertain them. What would you do if you were 22 and had three to four prior service Army cadets on spring break coming over? one of them a Purple Heart recipient? That's what I thought.
Pass the salt and lemon.


Everything but running

The Coldplay concert was entertaining. In the warm up act Fiona Apple was a head shaker. That woman has issues.
I could not believe I did not detect the first whiff of weed. The arena was a hard sell out and I've never been there for a concert and not been exposed to some second hand wack. The seats were exceptional - four rows above the floor less than half way back from the stage. Chris Martin is bendy alright. My favorite songs/performances were "Talk" and "Fix You" which was the encore closer. I listened to the X/Y CD today while driving. It sounds different now that I've seen them in concert. I'll enjoy that for awhile. I had never seen a 24-ounce Corona beer bottle before but that's what they were serving for beverages. $8.50 each. Yow.
I was in bed by 1130 and up making blueberry pancakes at 830. After a quick read of the paper, the bright sunshine urged us outside and we (Sis and I) jumped in the car and drove 75 minutes to Viera, FL t0 watch a spring training baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. We walked up and were lucky to buy front row seats down the third base line. I almost got hit by/caught a foul ball. By the time the Nats had the game in hand, on a bunch of homeruns, we decided we had seen enough and drove over to the Patrick Air Force Base Beach. The sun was still out and I always have beach sheets, a towel and sunscreen in my trunk so we spent another 90 minutes lying on the sandy beach listening to the waves roll in. When I looked in either direction up and down the beach I could see for miles but only counted 30 people. It was a great day. I actually relished the thought of going for a barefoot run on the shore sometime soon. Oh; and just to be a total jerk I called Susie to let her know I was lying on the beach. She was smart enough not to answer the phone, so I left a message. :)
Dang, if I don't have to go back to work tomorrow. Fortunately it's the last week before school's out for spring break in our county and I'll slip in a few off days with them. It's a grand time to be in Florida. We pay for a gorgeous winter with scorching summers. Northerners pay for brilliant summers with nasty winters. I prefer my deal.


Twice Again

I went for a midweek run on Wednesday, toodling around the four mile loop at tempo pace and my hip hurt and ankle was tight. Today I went six miles around the lake at super slow motion speed and nothing hurt enough to remember. What was different? I stretched extra special after the run this morning doing a few more stretches than usual to make sure all the tightness was worked out.

After my run today I went to see son C run a 1600 race at a track meet, then to some high school and collegiate crew races on the other side of town and back for son C's two mile race. He PRed that one.

Now it's off to see Coldplay. Let's hope I do not suffer the same fate as Runner Susan and have to have someone else file the show review.



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