More of the Same. Just Faster.

This morning I ran four miles at tempo pace. It was the same as last Thursday except I did it at four seconds a mile faster. That's progress.
When I left work today I still had a little buzz going in my legs and I sensed my form is returning with some good muscle tone down there to be happy about.
My weight has been funny. All year - since January - it was below 150. Since June 1 I have been averaging about three pounds heavier. That may not seem like much but I have to tell you I wasn't seeing any numbers above 150 for five months or more and now I don't see any below 150. It's strange.
Vacation (sort of) starts a week from Friday. I go to a professional conference in Chicago for five days then to the beloved Rhode Island shore for 12 days. I am working my contacts up that way for a huge RBF Summer Run Festival. More on that as it develops.
I am not certain if I'll run the New Haven 20K this year over Labor Day. If I told you how much money I've had to spend on non-recurring expenses you'd understand. Then again, once I get in the literal clutches of some of those CT Running Chicks, I could be pursuaded.


Feel the Rush

Five hours later and my legs are still buzzing from the speed work this morning. I was not setting any land records but the gradual increase in aggregate distance from one week to the next is making me feel the rush. I am adding all of 400m per week but it shows. Today I did 5x800 repeats with 100m recovery for 2 minutes between segments. The times ranged from 4:00 to 3:50 averaging a 7:50/mile pace. I will be racing next Tuesday and hope to be faster than that over the 5K distance.


So Sweaty

I ran nine miles yesterday morning at 7 am. It was already in the low 80s and the humidity was 100%. There was nothing easy about the run even though I fixed a bowl of oatmeal beforehand and had a lemon lime Gu 45 minutes into the run. I ran alone since none of my peeps showed up. There were plenty of other runners out there but it was a day to go alone and feel it. Maybe I would have done better with the distraction of a runmate.
My back was sore all day afterwards from the pounding. I think I need to go back to my Asics Gel Kuyanos. I wear them on my speed days and they feel great. My other Asics feel like clown shoes - big and clunky. I have a couple hundred more miles to go with them but I know I have to go back to the Kuyanos to get the cushioning.


Thanks for the fillings Ray

I sat in the same church this afternoon that hosted a memorial service for my former boss a month ago. This time it was because my dentist of 36 years died in his sleep quite suddenly earlier this week. The church was packed to the rafters with friends and patients. I felt like I should be wearing a button with the number of years he kept my teeth in great condition. It was another occasion to reflect on the quickness of life. I sat there with my wife and a neighbor who also have had Ray as their dentist.
I sat in silence most of the time reflecting and observing. When the occasion came to sing a hymn I was surprised how good it felt. Otherwise I was still and solitary. Ray was the most positive and happy person I ever knew. He was a specialist at asking personal questions while sitting in a dentist chair. The questions were always easy to answer with one grunt or two. He kept up with everybody. At the service I also learned he went on many missions to Caribbean islands to provide free dental care to those who rarely get it.
I thought about the life I have led and the people I have loved and those who have loved me. I had one welling moment or two while I pondered these things. What it all did for me was remind me to not be idle and live life fully. You never know when it - life, as we know it - will end.

I think of memorial services as curious events. Whether I feel compelled to attend is a measure of how much I respect the former acquaintance. I would be there for a friend automatically. Others, maybe not. The special people with gifts and grace earn my respect and sympathy for their family and friends. I will attend those memorials even if I do not know the family and friends. After all, a memorial service is for the living, right? They need to know how much their loved one mattered to others.

Supplements. It struck me as I commented on Jeanne's blog about using Vitamin E to help her blisters (who knows if it will help?) that I should write about suppelements. It struck me that somebody might benefit to know how I have battled against high cholesterol without taking those prescription drugs that made me feel like crap when I took them.
I was already a steady runner but had a cholesterol count of 240 two years ago. Now it's 167. I had a prescription for "L" and took it as prescribed but I felt lousy and achy so I quit. I felt better fairly soon. I also figured I ought to try some home remedies. So here's what I take to win the war on high cholesterol:
  1. Policosanol with coenzyme Q10 (interesting to note that One-A-Day now has it as an additive in one of its products)
  2. Garlic tabs
  3. Fish Oil gels
I also take calcium and a multi-vitamin. How about you?


Day of Despair. Not Really.

I took Thursday morning off from work.
Why? To sleep in an extra hour, run my 4-mile tempo run, stretch at my leisure, walk the dogs and get over to the pub to watch the USA-Ghana and Italy-Czech Republic soccer matches.
Mind you, I had no beers. After the way the USA played/got hosed by the ref, I should have had a beer.
The tempo run was decent. It went by at an 8:37 pace. It was not easy, given the mid 70s temps, but I kept up a good head of steam throughout.
After the soccer matches I went to work for three hours where I behaved quite badly. I was despondent over the USA loss and became snappy to my charges. Plus I wanted to get an enewsletter out before I left to go so Sherlene.
Sweet Sherlene. I arrived five minutes late but tried not to go in all stressed about it. I lay on the table and listened to the background music and then lay there as she worked me over. I asked her to guage my muscle tone to the last time I'd seen her (March?) and she found my muscles to be quite grainy, the sockets popping, hamstrings and ITB tight, etc., etc. She said it was good to come in before I got worse. So I was happy for that. I even booked my next appointment instead of waiting for the painful urge/need to call her: when I get back from vacation in late July.
The day finished with a haircut. I left it long for my vacation. I equate vacation and wind whipping my hair around in the boats and at the beach. Special.


Slow down. You're moving too fast.

Well that just wasn't fast enough.
I went to the track today to do my speed work. The prescribed repeats for 3x1200s (3 laps) were at a pace somewhere in the range of 7:25-7:30/mile. At least that's what I calculated off the Less is More training plan. I am supposed to run 40 to 45 seconds faster on a 1200 than in my most recent 10K race. That was at an 8:05 pace, meaning I needed to drop it down pretty good.
I was feeling okay when I went out the door. The lingering exhaustion of Sunday's long run was gone and I had had a decent amount of sleep, despite a lot of sleep-working, as I call it. I warmed up for 3/4 of a mile running over to the track where the marathon training group was winding up their workout. It was 0600. I asked two trainer ladies who were cleaning up what time they started, while telling them I'd almost signed up for the training. 0500 they started. I told them that extra hour will do me more good than the comradery and technical support the group and leaders could give me. I'll run bandit if I ever get up that early.
Nevertheless you can see I am procrastinating about how slow I ran. I hadn't run a 1200 in awhile and I didn't set the right pace going out. I was too cautious - or not fully loose. I clocked #1 in 6:11. #2 felt better in 5:54; and #3 was 5:56. I was pleased with the equality of the effort on the last two laps. I didn't calculate how fast it was until I came home and realized it was a 8:00/mile pace. I should have been at least 10 seconds per lap faster on the repeats. Damn, I have some work to do.
The July 4 Watermelon 5K is coming up. That will be a good test for this speed work. I know it helps. I just wonder if I can get back to my 7:30/mile PR pace that I set last August. Much to learn as I rebound from a grueling first marathon, a six week illness layoff and another year of age.
For good measure I'm going to see my LMT on Thursday after my tempo run. My left side is a lot tighter than my right side. It takes much longer to reach my toes on the left leg crossover toe touches. Sherlene can beat the knots out of me.


One Week Down

I did a week of fast training: 400 repeats Wednesday, a swifty 3-mile tempo run Friday and a long run today that was unusual in that my normal running group did not show up this morning and a nice guy named Dan dropped in with me as I headed up Park Avenue. Dan is tall, thin, younger and fast. He trains every day and makes me look like I am standing still. So he kindly slowed down to run with me but I, instinctively ran faster than normal for a long run. Mind you, that was my plan - to run a little faster than normal as prescribed - but Dan had me panting by the half mile mark.
By the time we reached the 4-mile mark I was looking for a port-a-potty for a nature call. Thankfully there was one right there in front of me and I bid Dan adieu and took a breather. Once I got going again I was going more slowly. At mile-5.5 (45 minutes) I was dying and decided to try some Gu and see if I could carry on. As usual, it worked nicely and I made it through to finish 8.7 miles in 1:23:25, a 9:35 pace. I forgot to stop my watch at the potty stop so I might have done a little better under normal circumstances.
When I finished it started raining. I might have liked that on the road but not when I was trying to warm down and stretch. I found an awning and got loosened up again.
At home I fell asleep for a half hour then watched more World Cup. Oh, and it was Fathers Day.



I missed my workout Tuesday but made it up Wednesday with a TRACK workout. Yay!
I only did 6 x 400 with 2 minutes between repeats. I averaged 7:14 mile pace which is about a dime over what I am targeting for my normal track workout pace under the FIRST training plan.
The workout was a good tension breaker prior to hearing the results of school grades issued by the state. They were overall a little better for our 157 schools but the worst one still failed despite raising its scores. It was a hard day of press coordination. The coverage was not very considerate unfortunately.
Today is another day.
Tomorrow I'll run three miles at a 10K tempo pace. Saturday I think I'll wander over to the first day of the MarathonFest runners' long run site at 545 and see if I can run bandit with a 4:00 pace group for 10 miles or so. I don't know if I can go that far but I'll give it a try.


Veil lifts

Mrs. Trade left town Thursday morning leaving the three boys at home to fend for themselves until Monday. In that time, we've had some good bonding moments, eating out a few times, watching World Cup matches, etc.
Yesterday, we went over to the college and worked out in the weight room. I've been meaning to go over and check the place out. It could be the perfect cross training resource for me besides the bike I rarely ride.
I did some back and arm machine reps and it made me feel like I'd found a solution to my funk. I could feel the tightness in my chest open up; my biceps and rotator cuff stabilization muscles responding. This could be the perfect complement to my new 3-day running training plan. That is exciting. [I took the suggestion from 21st Century Mom to try the FIRST program which offers harder less frequent workouts. Comments welcome.]
Oh, we played basketball after the weight room workout with the younger brother beating his older brother and dad in a game of H-O-R-S-E. The Trade family is not known for being able to sink a basket and it showed.
Last night T and I went to the home of some friends. The dad sets me up with NBA tickets and the son is one of T's high school buds who just finished at Georgia. We had a great grilled steak dinner then went out to the local Irish pub for some refreshments.
Wouldn't you know it: I walked in and this woman sitting at the bar asked me if I worked at the district office. I did not recognize her but she told me she now works for me.
Oh my; "Well, Hello. Nice to meet you."
I just had a department assigned to me last week and I had not been down to see them yet.

This morning I vowed to get up and do my long run with the Sunday bunch. I felt sore from the weight machines yesterday but it was a good sore. I set my mind to run a little harder than usual since the training plan says to. I pushed it and my legs responded. I could breathe fine. My stamina never waned, despite the 77 degree temps. I even did a few pick-up tempo stretches about five miles in and it felt superb.
I had planned to go six miles but the dad who cooked the steaks last night came up beside me out of nowhere just before I would have turned in so I (a) extended the run another mile and (b) picked up the pace even more to stay with him. Boy, was that a satisfying finish. I couldn't believe how good I felt.
I stretched thoroughly, went home for a nice breakfast, then got back in bed. I was asleep within three minutes and took an hour nap.
The veil lifted this weekend. Do not tell Mrs. Trade. She might think it's her.

First of the Season

I haven't run since Wednesday but I will tomorrow. This post is to advise you all that we're shaking in our water socks down here as the first tropical depression has taken shape and is heading towards Florida.
I've lived here 35 years and this stuff never happend until 2004. Did Pat Robertson start this crap?


Back on schedule

Goodbye Galloway. Hello Hal.
While I was toying with the Galloway training regimen available for free off the MCM site, with (things I liked) daily email reminders, four days/week running plan, long runs of 26 miles, an online log and calendar, I was not hitting the groove. I prefer to run long on Sundays not Saturdays. I hate to run on Mondays (who does?). I will not walk. The online log and calendar did not have functionality to suit me.
So Jeanne referred me to Higdon's site and I felt at home. The intermediate plans are more like what I followed for my first marathon training and maybe not quite so harrowing. The long runs are not one steady climb from 10 to 20 miles. I look forward to the rollback weekend runs of lesser miles than the week before which precede the next ascent. I can deal with three 20s and maybe cheat them up if I feel good enough. I can cut and paste the plans into my Dead Runners Society spreadsheet.
So I ran three easy miles Tuesday and have five today and three tomorrow. Those are on the David training plan because Hal's doesn't start for a few more weeks and I can build up to that in the meantime. So we're back on a schedule.


Trailer Mash

This morning I acted on an invitation from a Boston Marathon veteran to join him and anyone on his distribution e-list at a local park in the next county for a trail run. I asked cadet son T if he would go with me and he was all over it.
At 815 we were on our way to the park where there is a natural underground spring that pumps 84F water 24/7 into a delightful swimming hole, popular with the nearby residents. We found my friend and it turned out that only he, one other fast guy (7:20 miler) and a girls cross country team came besides us. We considered the pace and distance plans of everybody and split up to head into the woods.
T and I went on the orange-blazed trail with the XC team. They started after us so we were the first into the woods. No more than five minutes in and we came across a deer along the trail. There were lots of roots, footing changes and climate adjustments, depending on the tree cover as we wound our way through the underbrush.
It was late. In the nine o'clock hour the temps were already in the 80s. We covered 5.3 miles and I was plenty winded by the time we were done. T left me when the XC team caught us (I told him to go) and so I was running by myself in the woods for awhile. I preferred that solitude. I could go as fast or slow as I wanted and even walk to look at scenery.
Back at the springs we took off our shoes and relaxed in the pool. It felt so refreshing!
We had protein bars and water, changed and headed out to buy some new performance tires for my car. What a great father/son thing to do, huh? While we waited we had lunch at a real Mexican restaurant across the street (Real=run by, patronized by Mexicans with Univision playing on the TV). I had a shrimp burrito and it was delicious.
Then we went shopping for new running shoes for him. We made no purchase because he couldn't find what he needs (all terrain shoes) that'll serve him during Cadet Basic Training this summer at West Point.
That was a full morning!

P.S. I did run for 45 minutes Friday morning on the streets with so many names. T says I have better form than he remembers so that's a good sign. I guess it's the lung capacity I need to build up again.


Slept on it

If I had posted yesterday to write about my latest run it would have read simply:

Ran this morning. 4 miles. It was okay. I did not clock it.


It was that kind of day. It has been that kind of week. I really did not want to write about it. I needed some relief, some pity, someone to talk to, some time to run and more time to sleep. I am making headway and the weekend is not far off.

The little trouble at work on Monday managed to make it onto CNN and the Chicago Tribune. Best news? Nobody died ... that we know about.

Today is officially the start of hurricane season. I thought you should know. It is headline material in Florida.

Oh. A realtor driving his Porsche convertible with his business partner was shot in the stomach by a masked man about a mile from here last night. That's bright news. He survived. There was no clear motive; just carjacking speculation.

Let's see. What else is going on? Ah, that's enough. Tomorrow I run for 45 minutes.