Miles of musings on the road to Marathon #8. Running, teaching, and bird sightings guaranteed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wall? What Wall?

Well I did the distance yesterday.
I put my sporadic training to the test choosing to post-enter a marathon. A crazy idea I had been toying with for weeks. Post entry would of course give me the opportunity to bail if the weather was lousy or I felt particularly unready.
Well at 5am I rolled out of bed and at 6:10AM I was registered for the 2007 Greater Hartford Marathon.
I was a little anxious before the start, my only 20 miler had been in July, my last long run was over 3 weeks before (but it was great!). I went through the pre-race rituals and motions I'd done 7 times before at other races. I was as ready as I was going to be.

The gun went off and I thought to myself, hey, I am running ANOTHER marathon. It wasn't the giant event with the buildup that I had had in the past. I didn't even try and think about the race yet to come just that the pace had to be easy.

I tried a new strategy, don't run fast. I was in it for survival, not land speed records.

The plan worked. By playing it really conservative in the early miles I held on for the later miles and didn't have the major mental crash and body wrecking issues I've had in past races.

I think it's the experience of having completed 7 before this one that carried me through. It's miles of long runs that got me to 18, tired but fine.
I was at 20 and realized I was in better shape than ever before and mentally still in it. My pace dropped after 16 or 17 but didn't crash, it just slowed some. I walked some short hills in the last 3 or 4 miles but at that point I knew I was well within my goal time of 4 hrs and had the time in the bank to walk a bit. I finished in 3:42, no pains, a bit sore of course and no mental crash.

Can I do it again? Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Recreation Enthusiasts Unite!

Ok folks, you know who you are. You love your run, your ride, your time outside recreating it's time to open your world up and share your enthusiasm!
Stop ignoring those who are recreating around you. Make some eye contact, a smile, a nod, there's no need to get excited and go so far as a "Hello" or anything crazy like that. We just need to stick together and support each other.

As you can see I'm getting a little tired of those high and mighty folks who are too good or too busy to be even a pinch friendly out on the road.

My miles are sporadic but still coming. It's looking like the marathon is pushed back to October.
I've started the coaching season again which always is encouraging. The young harriers are off to a good start this year. It's always interesting to see where they end up.

keep running!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

$3 a mile

There was a time when I chose my races based on the limit of $3 a mile.
This was a way to battle the ever rising cost of races locally. It seems like such a reasonable limit. Think about it, it's $10 for a 5k, it's $18 for a 10k and a marathon is a bargain at $78!
I ran my first 3 marathons under that limit but after that it's only through very early pre-registration that it's even possible to get that deal. Rates like that are like cheap seats on an airplane.

I think of this because a couple of local races are coming up and I think I'll be able to keep my $3 limit intact. It's pre-reg that will save me.

The rising cost of races has been a big factor in my opting out of as many in recent years. Oh well. Perhaps it will be fewer races run better instead of more races run cheaply.

Marathon training continues to soldier on, its not been easy but it's been good mostly. the heat of summer is upon us and that's slowed me substantially but while the total miles have not added up in any giant way the long runs are there, the middle distance mid-week runs are there and I feel ok about it right now. Talk to me after tomorrow's 20miler. (planned to be flat as much as possible!)

happy running!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My kind of long run.

15 miles, 1400 feet lost in elevation! Say all you want about running hills but to get a long run in with nary an uphill in it was wicked excellent. And on the plus side I think I could extend this run to make it more like a 20 or would that be cheating?

stay tuned.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Things to consider while running

here are the things that you should take notice of while you run. Perhaps to pass the time, perhaps to get the mind off uncooperative running legs.

1. How many swimming pools do you see? How many are empty most of the times you see them regardless of time of day?

2. How many people still use bug zappers? How many people are actually out in the yard appreciating all the work that the zapeprs are doing for them?

3. How many parents bicycling with their kids are not wearing bike helmets while the kids are? How many kids do you see with the bike helmet straps unbuckled (really helpful!)

Marathon training continues. Another 30-something mile week with a long run slightly less long than expected but that was the best loop and it was a good run. Legs are starting to think about speed but they're not 100% convinced it's a good idea yet.

stay tuned.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Shoes, New PR!

Why is it that when you get new shoes you get faster immediately? Happened to me just today. Beautiful run around Lake Wyola, a little over 100 runners and temps in the 70's. dee-lightful. And the new shoes performed wonderfully as well, no hot spots, no loose fit issues. And a nearly 2min PR for the distance (4.8miles)

I love summer running. The woods are absolutely alive and green and the smells of summer are everywhere. Gotta watch out though in the woods, rounding a corner in the woods last week, miles from anywhere what should I run into? A Black Bear!!
Not exactly the ideal sight. Fortunately for me it was walking perpendicular to me on the trail and crossed and went into the woods. I heard it crashing away as I made myself conspicuous. Phew!

1 week into marathon training. The total milage: Around 30, depending on how I count my long run lost in the woods. So I came in a little high from the estimate plan but took a few late week days off and the legs felt good racing today. Temps are expected to rise this week and the 90's will be upon me so we'll see what I can do with that.
Woods runs might have to happen, that or pool/swimming runs and late day evening runs.
It does feel good to be running as much as I am. The endurance is not quite there but it's coming, it's coming.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Old Dog, New Tricks

Ok, folks.
By popular demand, I have started a list.
So here for your enjoyment here it is. If you have a link I should have, Pass it On!

happy surfing!

Not back on it, Still on it

Well the miles are piling on and the weather continues to cooperate.
I feel like my legs are back from their hiatus. They're ready to run fast and furious again. The real test might be that first long-ish run coming later this week, and the killer hilly 4.5 miler on the schedule this weekend. I think it's a byproduct of being on vacation, all those brain cells previously dedicated solely to work have been liberated and can now work on running again.
I took the time to set up and plan a real schedule for the fall marathon. Here goes.
Week 1: 25 miles Long run: 11 miles
Week 2: 30 miles Long run: 15 miles
Week 3: 30 miles Long run: 18 miles
Week 4: 35 miles Long run: 15 miles
Week 5: 40 miles Long run: 16 miles
Week 6: 45 miles Long run: 18 miles
Week 7 : 50 miles Long run: 20 miles
Week 8: 45 miles Long run: 18 miles
Week 9: 50 miles Long run 20+ miles
Week 10: 45 miles Long run 18 miles
Week 11: 50 miles Long run 20 miles
Week 12: 40 miles Long run 16 miles
Week 13: 30 miles Long run 12 miles
Week 14: 10 miles Long run 10 miles

Off we go!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A new PR!

At long last with very little training, a new Personal Record. I believe I may have found a way to set a new PR in every race. The trick? My secret? I should charge money for this. I'd be rich.
Run a different distance race every time. Never go back. Every one is different, every one a PR for that distance! Is that genius or what!

Seriously I traveled to the Worcester Memorial Firefighters 6k. (6 after the 6 Firefighters who lost their lives in the Warehouse Fire 8 years ago).
It was a great, well run and well attended race. About 1000 runners and clear city streets to run on. No hills to speak of made it an easy not-really-racing-race for me. And there was family at the finish for me with snacks.

But I must say that a little racing did whet my appetite for more. I may train for that marathon after all...
stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Full Sense of Running

I think it's important to run with all your senses going full blast. It's cliche but you need to feel that ground underfoot, you need to sense how that trail is under your shoe. I thought about it tonight during the weekly 5k that I need to feel the branches whipping my legs and arms, need to feel that maple leaf on my face.
And the smells, don't get me started. We just went through Lilac and Honeysuckle season here and it's a wonderful time to be running. Next stop hot sweltery summer days, bring it on. I can just taste the humidity now rising off the pavement. The sticky thick air so moist you can hardly breathe.
Can you taste the run? Maybe, the taste of the sweat. The taste of the gatorade afterward.
Sights and sounds, those are easy. That bird on the roadside, the runner in front of you you're going to pass, the sight of the final turn toward home, the sight of the first mile under your feet in a run. Sounds? One of my favorites is the sound of footsteps at the start of a race. The trampling thudding sounds of dozens, hundreds of feet all ready to go.

Run with your senses open.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Seasonal Runner

I'm back on the roads. I just successfully strung together 5 days in a row of runs! For a grand total of nearly 30 miles. This isn't going to set any speed or distance records but it is a good start. I think I can carry this into next week. That'll be the kicker.
On a scale of 1 to 10 what is the likelyhood that you would be assasinated?

Fall marathon plans seem like they will work pretty well. I think that what will tell is how the next two or three weeks play out. And I've been saved from having to do the Disney Goofy Challenge by virtue that it's been sold out. Ah well. Only a marathon for me I suppose.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How wet could this wet pet get?

Dang that was wet! It poured as promised all night and into the morning of Marathon Monday in Hopkinton. The athletic fields used as 'athlete villages' were mud bogs, the lower field was almost unusable due to the depth of the puddles. But still the runners came by the busload, some 20,000 of them. (although the BAA states that 2000 numbers were not claimed before the race started, so some did stay home!)
They looked ridiculous, some wearing plastic bags on their shoes to keep them as dry as possible until race time. I saw a pair of women as I cheerily greeted the arriving buses, decked out in full makeup, like they were going out on the town, or to a fancy dinner. I suppose it's just for these (and other) women that they couldn't leave the house/hotel without it, but they stepped off the bus into rain showers and were about to trek 26.2 miles by foot into Boston, I'm not sure the fine morning makeup would last that long. As hard as I have strained to check the pictures from the race posted today, can't see them in the background. Bummer.

Other best question I was asked: "How far is the start from here"
"About 3/4 of a mile that way"
"You mean we gotta walk 3/4 of a mile to the start?"
"Yes, but remember, Boston is 27 miles that way from here"
Duh! You're here to run a friggin' marathon people !

Fun? Yep. Wet? Yep. Cold? Nah. Do it again? Yep.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Soggy Marathon

Well with just a few days to go before Boston (one word, capitalized), it looks like it's going to be a soggy one and chilly too! This time I'm really sure that I'm glad I'm volunteering. Sure I've got to stand out in the wet/cold for a little while but I'll get my free jacket and then I'll get in my warm dry car and be all done in no time!
I do feel that I'll be inspired to run again though, after the event. I'm getting there.
Jeremy's recent 17:48 is certainly a motivator! Can I get there? Probably not on these old parental legs but I can get down significantly from where I'm at now.
My running buddy is busy packing on the miles on trails. He's entering the Seven Sisters Trail run, a brutal and scenic roller coaster of a run covering the Holyoke Range. 6 out and 6 back with only about 100 feet of flat each way as you cross the porch of the Summit House on Mt. Holyoke.
Not for me this year thanks. Perhaps I'll join him for the return trip, we'll see.

I have settled, I think, on a Marathon plan which is attainable this time. Not a summer one, a fall one, early fall. Do the bulk of my training in the summer and taper when school starts in the fall for a late September run.
Stay tuned!

Monday, April 02, 2007

To run or not To run

that is the eternal question.
To run or to run from running. I can get out and run a few, I can even perform reasonably well at the local race on the weekend. But I still can't bring myself to string together more than a couple runs in a row. I'd love to stage some dramatic "I'm back" running thing. It happened maybe to my friend this weekend. He pulled away solidly this weekend, it was all I could do to keep him in sight for a while.
I recovered nicely for the last few miles and actually held steady in the race, not falling back too far and actually catching someone in the last mile and a half.
So I could run well again it would seem but when is the question.

So here's the choice.
Marathon A) The run around the lake. 8 loops of about 5k each. Repetitive? probably. Quirky? yep. A summer race which means training could be done in the summer too without work. And it's an evening run which means running in the dark.
Downside? It's a week before the Greenfield Tri, a race I always pretend I'm going to do well in and would like to be prepared for. So do I want a marathon so close before it? It could suck or help maybe?

Marathon B) The DeMar race. A point-to-point race at the end of September in NH. Small field, net downhill (they say). Summer training which could start in the summer and taper as the school year begins again. Downside? Dates might not be good with other fall events, have to check the schedule.

Votes? thoughts? Let me know.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Boston's coming!

Only runner's can speak of the Boston Marathon in one word, "Boston". It's the reverence given to the race by using the singular name that sets it apart. There's no other race with the cache, with the presence. Sure, other marathon's may be bigger in numbers but that's nothing.

I hope to be there at Boston this year, volunteering not running. I loved doing it last year and I can't wait to do it again. I have done 2 Boston's, both with BAA Charity club numbers. Those entries given to local running clubs that help put the event on. Our club sends some volunteers, it gets 10 bibs, we lottery them off, I won twice. Well never again with that I say. My 2 Boston's were in '01 and '03 so not that long ago. Well the first time the fee was $75 (at $3 a mile, a bargain!) the second time it was $95. Now it is $95 for qualified athletes and they upped the entry fee for club entries to $200!!! That's a) highway robbery, and b) Nearly $8 a mile!
( To be fair, the bulk of the $200 entries are not from running clubs but from charities and charity runners who have to raise some thousands of dollars for the chance to run boston)

Forget it, I'll wait to qualify to suffer thanks. In the meantime I'll volunteer and score one of the sweet volunteer jackets. (paid for with club numbers of course!)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

That kind of runner

I always used to pride myself on not being that kind of runner. The one that wears headphones and listens to music while running. Well times change. I think it's my overall attitude toward the miles I'm putting in. I'm not in any kind of planning or training mode, it's simply about running survival, putting in miles so I don't forget how. The ubiquitous ipod has got me in it's clutches. It's just so darn conveinient that I can't help myself, light distracting, friendly. Now keep in mind the volume is low enough to still allow for cars not to sneak up on me.
I'm hoping that as the weather continues to warm and the miles inevitably pile up that the 'pod can rest at home for a while. Especially as the birds return and can entertain me.
Spring marathon? Looking ever so unlikely as the season unfolds. Stay tuned. I may wing it anyway.