No shame continues

For the year, I hit a high for miles run this week - 36; and I hit a high for miles run this month - 135. And I feel good today.

Tuesday I did four mediocre but steady 1600 repeats.

Friday I attacked hills and ran 7 miles of them. Then I pondered the weekend runs.

The Miracle Miles 15K and 5K was Saturday. Susan was committed to running it with a friend of hers. I was in the mood to race too but I had to do 20 long miles this weekend. I opted to use the 5K as a speed workout and covered it in 25:00 (8:03 pace) which is top third among my history of 5Ks but nowhere near as good as my dead-of-winter 5K records of earlier this year.

Susan ran the 15K with a former football defensive back who still looks like an athlete. He beat Susan to the finish while she came in at 1:20 (8:35 pace). I told her to call me later about running this morning.

We spoke at midday and I gave her a plan to do 20 miles with a 5:15 start. It was a beautiful morning to run with temps down to 72F, low/no humidity and a refreshing breeze. Unlike last week when my shoes felt like foundering rowboats with leaky hulls, today was an evaporating kind of day.

Susan and I did a 10-mile loop to Park Avenue in time to meet up with my usual suspects. I was feeling very good to that point but she was whipped. Even with some coaxing she headed for the barn. Between yesterday and today she'd logged 19 miles which would have been easy enough for me to rationalize into an excuse to go home. I know Jeanne could use the same deductive logic in a pinch.

I turned away and headed off with my Sunday bunch. There were about seven there this morning and only stately old Jack was going a full 10 miles which was highly unusual for the others. A few niggling injuries and overloaded mileage from the last two days had beat them down.

So I was running 10 at a slow pace on my own. I bumped into Jack a few times but it was pretty much a solo effort. With the day as nice as it was I was feeling no urge to slow to a walk. I let my hips work more regularly - loose and fluid. I relaxed my feet and worked efficiently to put one foot in front of the other.

I did the 20 in 3:19 which gave me a rush. That was under 10 minute mile pace. To celebrate I went over to the outdoor bistro to sit in the sun with the breeze blowing, and watched a steady flow of beautiful people out early. I devoured some buttermilk pancakes, bacon, cranberry juice and coffee. Mmmmmm. It was outstanding. Back home, I stretched and I am not feeling anywhere near as bad as I did over shorter distances in recent weeks. Maybe I am rounding into marathon shape. Who knew it would work again?


No shame

There's no shame in following a pretty girl for 15 miles who runs faster than you, is there? That was my calling this morning as I met up with Susan on Park Avenue at 6 a.m.

I planned our morning together so that we could knock off five miles, end up back on Park Avenue at 7 a.m., and run with my usual Sunday morning crowd. If my pace was too slow for her she could run with others over the 10 mile loop.

Prelude. Susan liked my plan and we headed out right at 6. We spent a lot of time talking shop, my kids, running, travelling, etc. We moved at a brisk pace and I felt fine. Over the last mile I told her the story of Helga and Ingrid Swenson that had been such a big yuck back in June. She found it amusing.

Jack, this is Ingrid from Stockholm. We arrived back at Park Avenue to find Chris, Charline, and Marty. Soon after Jack arrived and, with Susan playing along, I introduced her to Jack as Ingrid, the bikini designer from Sweden. His jaw dropped once, before suspecting me of pulling his leg again. We all got a good laugh before setting off.

The regulars complained right away that Susan's and my pace was higher than the norm for their start-up. That didn't slow us down. I was feeling good.

Everybody enjoyed running with Susan, especially Chris. We left Jack early with our pace. Charline and Marty cut out at six miles, leaving me and Chris with Susan to make the full loop. When I fell off the pace around mile 11 Chris and Susan kept it going. I tried my darndest to keep up but it was a push. They waited for me now and then and even walked when I had to walk.

When we got back to Park Avenue Susan checked her Garmin and it told her we did exactly 15 miles and at a 9:30ish pace. That's booking it for me. I was exhausted. I walked her home and headed back to the house to visit with my sister, in from RI.

Movie reviews. Went with Mrs. T to see Jodie Foster's new flick "Brave One" last night. It was riveting and tempered my easy approach to the NYC Marathon. I will be inside after dark. Today Sis and I went to see "In the Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones. Having had a son go to and return from Iraq, I found the movie to be very personal and left me extremely grateful that my guy came home with a pretty straight head on his shoulders. Sad account of what war does to young men. View with caution.


Once upon a time

I got fired a week ago.

As you may recall the pool has been green all summer. Mrs. T has been belly-aching about not getting to float aimlessly in a clean pool so she hired a bonded licensed pool guy who does a neighbor's pool. I got my walking papers. In a week's time Jose has shown us that there is a bottom to our pool and reminded us that pool water can be blue if you throw enough chemicals in it.

So today it's cloudy. Not much of a pool day.

I went to see a high school cross country meet this morning. Our Winter Park state champs were to face some stiff competition. The meet director is an old former West Point grad with ties to the Hudson Valley area. He invited Warwick Valley HS down last year and they came again this year. They were incredible. Their boys finished 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7th to win the meet. Columbus high came up from Miami and finished a strong second. Winter Park had to contend with another local high school for third and fell short. Not a good day for The Park. I wouldn't want to be at practice on Monday.

Practice. I have been practicing too. I did 8x800s on Tuesday. I should have stuck to 10K pace but did the first two at 5K pace. The last six repeats deteriorated over time to a just a bit slower than 10K pace. I finished and felt good.

Thursday I went out for five miles of hill work. I like hill work like some people hate speed work but I felt better for it. Hill work does a body good to build strength and stamina. I could feel it in my legs today mowing the yard. Is that possible after one hill workout? Don't tell me. Let me believe it is so.

Tomorrow. I have a run date with one of our principals tomorrow. Susan cannot stand to run alone for long distances, her usual run mate has schedule problems, and she asked if I was available this weekend. Of course, I said yes :). We're going 15 starting at 600. Susan's running the Nike Marathon out west. I forget when it is but that's her race.


When will fall get here?

I saw it was in mid-60s at Fenway Park yesterday. What I'd give for some of that in the morning.

Today I left the house at 600 to do six before reaching Park Avenue at 700. It was already 78F and would be 85F before I finished. I tried a new circuit which may work out quite nicely in the future. A new asphalt trail has been poured around Lake Baldwin, part of a mega-development on a former Naval Training Center property across the street from us. It runs all along the shore and it adds about three miles to the 10 mile Sunday loop, if needed. It was dark when I was there so I can't speak for much of it other than I kept wondering if any gators were up early.

My warm-up along Lake Baldwin and the run to downtown got me one-third of the way along my planned run for the morning. I reached the meet-up point in plenty of time and was dripping wet from the heat and humidity. I had some water and my first pretzel.

Pretzel. Yes. I forgot to go to the Track Shack yesterday for Margarita Blox so had to improvise this morning. Fine time to have to do that with 18 on the dance card. I stuffed one pocket with six pretzels in a baggy and the other with golden raisins in a baggy. Both served me well.

From Park Ave. I headed out ahead of the group. I seem to train harder when being chased than when in the group. I find I am not much of a chatter. I reflect internally on what my body is doing. That's hard to maintain for 18 miles.

I was evenutally passed within three miles and ended up running the 18 pretty much solo. I fought off impulses to walk more often than not. I pushed up hills because I read that that is really a good source of strength and stamina. I plan to do my tempo runs on hills for the next seven weeks leading up to NYC for just that reason.

I averaged 11 minute miles for the 18 total. It is not very good by my standards but it is what it is in this weather. Give me some of that Boston weather and I'll knock down some 10 minute miles.


Sore points

That blister on my foot? I waited an extra day for it to subside before running the dozen 400s. By Wednesday morning I couldn't feel it so - off to the track.

I left the track with a degree of satisfaction. The last time I did 12x400, in February, it was 44F and took me an aggregate 21:22. Yesterday it was 75F and the loops added up to 21:01. The intervals ranged from 1:41 to 1:50, only four of them over 1:46.

That was encouraging.

Last night I let Hank crank on my muscles for 90 minutes. Hank is not Sherlene. You remember sweet Sherlene? She had such a gentle way of rubbing out all the knots and wrinkles. She never missed one and you could feel them release one by one under her hand.

Hank? Thumbs of pneumatic steel. The man can make you wince and oftentimes levitate you off the table with one stroke. If he weren't holding me down so hard with those thumbs I'd be lying on the ceiling. Whatever knots I had are gone. Of that I am sure. But I feel like I went through a brawl this morning. I may need an IV to flush out all that he broke off the muscle fibers.

I immediately booked another session in a few weeks. Did I mention I enjoy going to the dentist too?


Try this at home but not at the beach

My Sunday worked out just perfectly but for one foolish oversight.

Saturday night I drank some leftover Zipfizz, the immensely satisfying and energizing drink I like during runs. It gave me a buzz that made my sleep restless, so I got up at 5-ish which was not entirely necessary but, hey, I was up. I had some breakfast and planned my 14-mile morning run.

I was out the door with my cooler to stash down behind the wall and down the street. I jogged on over to Park Avenue in the crisp cool morning air (yeah, I'm trying to fool you and me) with a few minutes to spare - this weekend. A small gathering headed out for the run.

I immediately fell behind. Then when I heard Kim and an insanely attractive new running mate coming up behind me I found my stride and quickened my pace in multiple ways. With the new surge I found myself catching up to my group and leaving them behind for a mile. Then they caught and passed me.

It was that kind of run. I will call it a fartlek. I kept going end-of-marathon slow (including walks) for a spell and then pushing a pace with long strides, quick turnovers, fluid form and all other natural ingredients. I finished on the quick pace side which gave me great satisfaction. I also found my Zipfizz doses gave me extra oomph that was noticeable. It has become repeatedly noticeable over the last several weekends. I might have something to work with now.

Once home, I walked the dogs and jumped in the car to go to the beach. Unlike last weekend with Mrs. T I caught every red light out of town. Nevertheless I got lucky at the beach and got the last parking spot in my targeted beach area.

It was then that I made a crucial error in judgment. I left the car with chair, umbrella, cooler and beach bag. What's missing? Sandals. The sand from the parking area to the boardwalk was worse than hot coals (It must be. Anybody want to challenge me on that?). Naturally, with 50 some odd days of NYC Marathon training left, I now have big red blisters on my soles. Can't wait to try those 12x400s tomorrow.

The beach was wonderful with a cool breeze. I read the paper and did Sudoku puzzles, ate my lunch, had a big Fosters 32 oz. can of beer and did a fair amount of people watching. The water ocean was a little robust but it made for a good soaking.

Mrs. T came home late last night while I was asleep. Small blessings can be yours when your son has a drivers license and a nocturnal lifestyle. It was nice to see her again in the morning.


What's that I feel?

I do believe .... yes. Neighbor P. said it too: there's a nip in the air. It's actually a degree cooler than it's been and pleasant weather is accompanied by a soft breeze. How wonderful. Mind you; most folks think I am crazy when I say it. They still think it's stifling. But they don't run like I do so can't tell those infinitely little details that a runner can feel.

I had an odd week. Labor Day Monday was nice to have off. I liked the three day weekend so much I took Friday off too. It was even better because Mrs. T went to New Jersey for her sister's surprise birthday party. It is such a surprise that they're celebrating her actual birthday a month early.

I like the quiet time. And it is quiet.

I skipped my 10-mile run on Thursday but with that cool nip in the air (74F) I elected to do it this morning; and plan to go out again tomorrow for the 13 on the plan. I expect the legs will not be very fresh but it'll be a nice test to put in 23 miles for the weekend.

Chances are high that I'll finish the run and head to the beach again. I left the chair and umbrella in the car from last weekend ... just in case.



My good ol' buddy Principal Jason wrote yesterday. He is a sometimes lurker, sometimes jogging pal and one time race buddy in Miami. Anyway he read the last post about my 17 mile ordeal.

He mentioned how he's training for Chicago. Okay; that's a month sooner than New York. He just did a 20 miler. That makes sense too. And yesterday he knocked out 3x1600 in 7:43 times ... or was it 7:23. Whatever it was, it was not a pace I would expect this former Clydesdale to be putting up.

I was green with envy.

And cussing him all the way home from the track this morning. I had 3x1600s to do too. It was your typical balmy 79 degrees this morning at O-dark hundred. I tried. I really did. I knew I could beat Jason two years ago. Did I still have it?

I have been relegated to the second division. 8:20, 8:27 and 8:38. I am nowhere close to that horse now.

Nay is me.


Thoughts on a 17 mile 3:20 excursion

I am not as fast as I once was. Everybody else seems to be going much faster.

Running alone for 17 miles can be a revealing episode.

I calculated it costs me about $.25 per mile to run just to pay for my shoes.

Stretching is a good thing to take your time at after a run.

Walking might well be the only solution for my marathon condition. I walk very well.

I'll never run a fall marathon again as long as I live and train in Florida during the summer.

If I make it home by 10:15 I want to try and eat, shower, pack and turn myself around to be on the beach by 1:00.

Ibuprofin is a good thing. Keep it handy.

After the run. I made it to the beach by 12:45. I caught every light right. I had everything I needed to keep me occupied when I got there. Mrs. T was good to go and in synch with my plan. The line for subs at Publix was empty when we got to Titusville. The line at Canaveral seashore was empty. Everything worked out fine.

I sat on the beach for four hours and took a nap, took a swim and ate like there was no tomorrow. I drank a big beer and lots of water. Somehow it all worked out fine.

And tomorrow is another day ... off!


on the brink

I ran okay Thursday. I got out early enough. It wasn't too hot. I plotted what I thought was eight miles and got around in about 1:15. I found later it was just 7.5 miles and my time was slow so I chalked it up as an easy run instead of the tempo it should have been.

I did lots of yard work today. I can feel all kinds of aches and pains developing in familiar places. I am stiff and sore.

So to celebrate, I'll go out early tomorrow for my 17.