Saturday by the numbers

Lost Seven. I'm not where I should be in my training. Vacation put me behind when I skipped the long run last weekend. Then I skipped my Thursday run (seven miles) and only did the speedwork. It's payback time.
Long 16-18. The Marathonfesters sent me their training schedule, trying to coax me out with them. Today they were down for 16-18 miles. I'll save you the trouble of looking back to see when I last did 16 miles, much less 13 miles. It was January.
Fat 156. I have been carrying a lot more weight than I am used to. My average for the year had been below 150 until early June. It has risen steadily to 156 and, after today, is finally turning back down. It was bloody hot out there. About 75F at 6 a.m. and 82F when I finished.
Ten at Six. Jason and I convened on Dave's house at 6. We hadn't trained together since December, I reckon. Jason had the plan and took the lead. We were going ten down into Orlando around two lakes and home. It was great to see them again and to catch up on all the in-school stuff I never hear about. With opening day just nine days away, there is much going on to hear about.
Buck thirty six. To use descriptions of us as runners, there is the rabbit, the tortoise and the geezer. The tortoise classifies himself as a Clydesdale and is wont to ask if the pace is too high many times. The rabbit says it gets high because of the geezer. The geezer says he's just trying to keep up. Thererfore there is much checking and rechecking the pace. It's an ongoing comic routine. We covered what Jason said was ten mles in 1:36:33 which is a respectable 9:39 pace. I downed a Gatorade and stretched.
We saw quite a few other runners out. It is a brutal time in Florida to be training for fall marathons but it is better than a treadmill or sleeping in. Well, not sleeping in but then where would we be on race day?
Three more. Dave and Jason are running Chicago the week before my Marine Corps. We're off a week on the training plans so when I returned home I argued with myself about going out for the other three on my schedule. I did it. It wasn't too nasty until the third mile when I resorted to jogs and walks. I logged it as a recovery run with 12 minute pacing.
Napping 90. When I got home I cleaned up, had a second breakfast and started to read the paper. I fell asleep for 90 minutes. I was whipped. And now I have lots of catch-up in the home repair department after being away for three weekends. The pool pump quit among other things.
So see you later. Let's all tune in to see how 21st Century Mom did in San Francisco.


Down South again

Vacation ended way too soon but that is probably good news for my running. I ate way too much, ran less and less and developed a "who cares?" attitude. So it was with much self-pushing that I went out for a track workout yesterday.
The plan called for 6x800. I did four, surprisingly at the same pace as the last time I did 800s. Then the humidity chewed at my thighs and I compromised to do a pair of 400s to see how I felt after that. They were okay but you could see the entrails of my energy dragging behind me. So I finished with a 200 and walked home. So much for sustained stamina.
I did agree to go for a 10-miler Saturday morning with two of my principal running pals who are training for Chicago. I think we're using the same training plan so they're always a week ahead of me. I'm supposed to go 13 this weekend, them 10. If I feel fine after the 10 I'll challenge myself for more.
Vacation was very relaxing. I got to see Susie a few times, plus Jank and April Anne. My staff was ecstatic that I did not email them all week. They think now there is hope for me. I kinda agree. Last night I booked flights back to New England for Labor Day Weekend. Is anybody going to New Haven?


Beach Pond

We left Watch Hill early, at 345; just before it started to sprinkle. We made it home and changed for our appointed run.
An hour drive to somewhere never seen. In the rain. On winding two lane roads into the uplands of Connecticut. Crossing the state line twice.
Hot dogs and buns in the cooler. Rain slicker on the seat. Mrs. T and son C in the car, game for an adventure - even if it fizzled.
East on Ten Rod Road (named for the width of the road) from SR49, past the Pizza Inn Restaurant in Voluntown down a sharp hill, across the causeway, back into Rhode Island and over the water of Beach Pond.
Pulled in and waited. Bill called. He's stuck behind an accident. It is still drizzling. We agree to meet back at the restaurant.
Things get better. A small cheese pizza for an appetizer substitutes for hot dog grilling in the rain. The rain stops. Bill joins us. We drive back to Beach Pond just as April Anne arrives.
We say hello. Take proof of attendance pictures (which will appear here when Blogger cooperates) and Bill lays out the run. 20 minutes out one trail - mostly uphill, along a ridge, beyond the pond - then back. Mrs. T takes out a beach chair and settles in to read her book.
Off we go. Up an embankment right at the start that reminded me of trying to run up Turn 2 at the Daytona International Speedway. Quad-burning breath-stealing agony. And April Anne is trying to make small talk. I'm gassed just at the start.
I finally warmed up and caught my breath as we ambled through the woods, following the white blazed trees, skipping over roots, rocks and puddles in the cloudy canopied cover of the Arcadia Preserve. I was finally able to chat back with April Anne. Bill too.
Then the trail blazes turned yellow. Bill?
We crossed a highway and Bill said he knew where we were but not where we expected to be. Okay. I'm with him. More hills. Up. Down. Rocks. Is this Rhode Island or Rock Island? Son C is the smart one now, not allowing himself to train wreck down a hill full of tripware.
After 40 minutes we reach the road again and son C and I take the easy path back to Beach Pond. AA and Bill ramble through the woods some more, then go another 10 minutes back to Connecticut on the road just to put in a good hard 50 minutes.
The men swim. AA smiles. Mrs. T finishes a chapter and we have enjoyed our visit. The raindrops start again and it is time to go.
Since we left so quickly we did not share April Anne's strawberry, cakes and whipped cream dessert. She caught up to us at the Pizza Restaurant and turned it over to us on the grounds that it was too much for her to eat alone. Well I can assure you, it was eaten completely tonight at our house. Thanks AA!!!!
The restaurant was incredible. They had a full menu of exceptional food besides the pizza. I had baked scrod. Mrs. T had fried batterless scallops. So succulent. It was delicious.
Drove home in the dark having completed another successful RBF Run with two great people.


Walk it off

It is broiling hot here in New England (like it isn't most everywhere else??) so after yesterday's three mile out and back walk along the sliver of Napatree Point beach to see the WWI fort remains I was not in a hurry to run today. I walked instead.
The fort was very cool and just slightly more overgrown than the last time I was there - 40 years ago (maybe less). I have been reading a book, Sudden Sea, which is a recounting of the 1938 New England hurricane that did more damage in America than any natural disaster in the 20th century. It bounced off Florida, zipped up the Atlantic coast in 24 hours, pummelled Long Island without a weather forecast warning of any hurricane and essentially wiped out the state of Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut. Of the hundred of homes lost along the coast, my grandparent's home where I am right now was one of the few to survive. Holy smokes.
Anyway, after the long beach walk, the social event of the summer last night (nothing to get jealous about) and the arrival of Susie, I took the next morning as an occasion to walk with Susie and see how life is treating her. We went 3 miles, caught up on things and then visited her parents.
The afternoon was spent soaking in the ocean to stay cool or sitting under the umbrella on our beach. Sure beats a day at the office. I finally took my watch off so I officially do not care what time it is.



I set out at 700 this morning in a heavy shroud of fog. It sat on the pond and rolled up the roads too. The morning was quiet but for a few cars out and about. They came up quickly to my eye though I could hear them far sooner.
My run took me along A1A for five miles. We know it as the Shore Road though it doesn't touch the ocean, only the pond shores. There are swales, as best I can describe them, along the route which made for some good work on my quads.
At Winnapaug Road I headed south to the ocean and tried my first Cliff Block (in some berry flavor). It was okay but I did not have any water other than the fog misting on my tongue. Once I reached the ocean the cars were lining up to pull into the state beach park when it opened. I was there at 800 and they hadn't swung open the gates. What were they waiting for?
I took the opportunity to run through the parking lot and drop into one of the restrooms to pull some water from the sink. That helped clear the Cliff Block. I continued along Atlantic Avenue all the way to the breach way and found a convenience store open. A young lady gave me a plastic bowl of water like one would give a small dog. She could not surrender any inventoried cups. I had no money. I got what I wanted. It was cool.
I worked my way back inland and east to home. The last 3/4 mile was great as it was all downhill. 11.5 miles. 10:00 pace. Book it. Felt good.
The rest of the day was spent at the beach. Ahhhhh.

Note: ankles are tender this evening, especially the left one.


Unhealthy Indulgence I Could Not Resist

There is no doubt in my mind that the best cheeseburger after a hot morning on the beach is served at St. Clair's in Watch Hill: a decent sized patty with a tasty portion of beef fat, grilled just right, with the buns toasting close by on the grill top. Add some hot oversized french fries with ketchup and a frosty root beer and you have the makings of my lunch today. While the rest of the family wandered off to look in shoppes I hung around to indulge my wayward health conscious self in a black cherry chocolate chip ice cream sugar cone for dessert. Oh yeah. I'm bad.

So what are you going to do about it? Sorry to annoy those of you working so hard to eat right. I have no qualms sometimes.

For dinner I had a chicken pasta dinner with water. Tomorrow I will go out for 11 miles or so on the "hills" of coastal Rhode Island. I plan to stick as close to the coast as I can to minimize those changes in grade.


Rhode Island

The Eagle has landed, so to speak. While the space shuttle heads back home to Florida I have gone home to my world in RI. The rain greeted me yesterday; and today it stayed overcast so I mowed my folk's three acres that have so many rocks to avoid.
Then Jank stopped by on his way home and we rocked out for a 6.8 mile frothy run in the high humidity, from my house to the ocean/beach and back. It took me awhile to regulate my breathing but I finally settled down.
It was great to see Bill again; our first meet up since the New Haven 20K last Labor Day. He filled me in on all the great things going on his life and I made a point of having him chat briefly with my college bound 18 year old so somebody else could tell him the value of a science major, which he is inclined to pursue. In fact he'll be taking physics, biology and chemistry all in the first semester. Personally, that would kill me.

Picture of me and Bill J down on the terrace after our run.



I arrived Friday and have been having a valuable and enjoyable time meeting colleagues and acquaintances. I will say this about Chicago: they are inclined to overload the food servings in restaurants. I have had to resort to my mantra: "eat what's right; not what's left." No wonder Americans are overweight.
I ran 10.5 miles Sunday morning, starting at my hotel and east to the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. From there I headed north along the Lakeshore route and up into Lincoln Park. The further north I ran the nicer the scenery and the more plentiful the runners. I was fortunate to be able to stop at two runner community Gatorade/water stops for refreshment. Thank you Chicago.
This morning, in a drizzle, I headed south across the Chicago River, then east to Grant Park. I went all the way down to the Museum Campus and back up the lakeside path and back across the river and home. It was about 4.5 miles and a few too many stop lights so the time was long.
Next running stop will be in Rhode Island where I intend to hook up with Jank on Thursday and crank out a quick set of miles. Woo hoo!


Forever run

I did my Thursday 4-mile tempo run in 34 minutes which felt like hell uphill. The only solace was that I realized my next run, a long run of 10 miles this weekend, will be along the lakeshore of Lake Michigan in Chicago in low 70 degree temps and low humidity. Then it'll be as good or cooler in Rhode Island next week. Ahhhhh.
Then I remembered the inclines of RI and felt the false flat of Florida under my feet and realized I will struggle with that for a few days too. (False flat is a Jank term I will never forget.)
This is the least prepared I have been for a summer vacation in four years. I have made no plans, done no googling for things to do, and have not even begun to pack. I leave tomorrow midday. I have contacted the Running Chicks et al but made no firm date to meet up. I have made a packing list but cannot remember what it was today I meant to add to the list.
Oh; and today there was a hastily called press conference in front of our building by a disgruntled former employee who was making complaints of racial discrimination. That took up four hours of my day in research, prep, coaching and follow through to give the other side of the story to our hoards of media with no car crashes or hurricanes to cover.
I am happy to be home and have no appointments until dinner tomorrow night. Ahhhhh.


5K to start the day

I can hardly believe it's July 4th already. I always race on the 4th. Last year was in Rhode Island under very different circumstances. Today it was in the Watermelon 5K with 1,200 of my sweatiest friends and neighbors. The start was at 7:30 but it should have been at 5:30 for as hot and humid as it was. 79F and 95% humidity is not PR conditions.
I had a nice oatmeal breakfast before heading out. Parking is always a bear at the botanical gardens where they start so I used my local knowledge and parked in a very nice neighborhood that has a back entrance into the gardens. I was one of three people with that strategy. We smiled at each other as we prepped for the race.
The path from my car led right up to the packet pick up area. I saw a few neighbors and other runners then went off for a warm up mile.
As the national anthem played I felt sweat dripping down my back. It was incredibly humid and everybody was moaning. I saw my fasty neighbor Kelly jump in at the front just before the horn. I figured she would place high.
I went out a little fast while jockeying in foot traffic. I covered mile 1 in 7:52 and realized that this was not going to be a good day. If I felt as tired as I did then with that time, there was no chance of breaking 24:00.
Mile 2 came later than I expected and the clock read wrong too. My watch said 8:13.
I had enough stamina to push hard to the finish line but my leg turnover was not high enough to my liking. The third mile was 8:23 with :49 over the last one-tenth.
Final time 25:17.2.
Of the 30 5Ks I have run since 1999 when I began this amateur racing career, it ranks 11th but not close to any of my more recent 5K races. What's it mean? Who knows. I will have to train harder and faster. Race a little smarter too maybe.
Independence Day Observance. Tonight I'll be a guest on the 15th floor of a condo with a balcony overlooking Lake Eola in downtown with a picture perfect view of the annual fireworks extravaganza; mixing with the beautiful people. The invitation came this morning as a result of seeing someone at the race who mentioned our meeting to the condo host who picked up the phone and called to have us over. See. Running has its extra benefits.
Have a hotdog and a beer today. It's patriotic.


How's this MB?

Friday night I went out for some heavy duty calzones with my campaign strategist pal, her husband and our teenagers. It was great. I was banking on those carbs to tide me over on my 9+ mile which I faced yesterday morning.
Running. I have to tell you about the running because this is, after all, a running blog. I went a different route than usual, hoping to run into my two principal friends who ran long with me a few times in April before I was sick. I ran the reverse course they led me on but did not see them. Apparently thry had other plans for that morning.
And so I ran alone for six miles before running into gangs of marathonfesters on their second long run weekend. There are several hundred that run Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. from Cady Way, at different paces; and they run all over the city. It's impossible to not run into some.
I had some Gu with me (orange) and did not tire like last week. I made three water stops on my run and was thinking I had run too short a route when I stopped my watch at 1:22:50.
I came in and used the sueandpaul pedometer to measure my run. I had to do it twice because the pace seemed so fast. It was 9.2 miles and it worked out to a 9:00/mile pace - flat. I was shocked. It didn't feel that fast. But it was what it is and it's in the book.
Other. SOMEbody was complaining that my entries have been boring lately. Well, she didn't say that exactly but I have to agree with her. My days have become so routine and tiresome that it is not surprising. A day in the life:
  • Wake up at 530
  • Check fantasy baseball stats and email
  • Run or eat breakfast and read paper
  • Dress and drive to work
  • Work like a dog for 10 hours
  • Drive home and grab cashews and adult beverage
  • Read and write emails and blogs while eating late dinner
  • Go to bed

Pretty exciting, huh? A 5-day conference in Chicago starts Friday. That should be different. From there I hit the beaches of South County in Rhode Island for 12 days. I should be seeing all my summer pals including that rebel retread, Susie, the CT Running Chicks, Jank and who knows who else. Anything to get out of Dodge, (FL) works for me.