Run On

I slept through my alarm this morning, and finally had to give Christian “the call” –

“Hey, man”
“Hey, Bill, you almost here?”
“Uhhh, no.”
“Yeah. Um, I don’t think I’m going to make it today.”
“Uh, yeah. I kind of completely slept through my alarm.”

Chris saves the day, though:

“Wow. Hey, that’s great, though. I was really kind of wanting to blow off today.”
“Yeah. We’ll pick it up next week.”
“Ok. Great. Bye.”

Then I get to work and read Dianna’s post about running in the rain (which I blew off on Wednesday) and felt like a complete and total slug.

Luckily, I ran into no snags at the office, and was wrapping things up (at least enough to go work on them at home) this afternoon, and realized I had enough time to sneak in a pretty decent run and still make it home in time for supper with the wife and boys.

So I set the Foreruner for 45 minutes, and a 8:30 pace (based on prior results), and set out from the office. It’s a pretty flat stretch (maybe 40-50′ elevation change 3 or 4 times), so I was pretty confidient I could stay in front of the pace guy, or at least hold constant.

As I’m getting onto the larger road that runs between NUWC and the Navy Base, then turns north along the coast, I glance down and am already 100′ or so ahead of the partner. Hmm. Didn’t feel like I was pushing, but let’s slow down the RPE a little bit. Mile 1/7:28. Wow. But there’s a little bit of a downhill, so whatever. Mile 2 clocks in at 7:52 – it’s on the flat, wind at my back, but I don’t quite realize how much of a tail wind I’ve got. I decide to press on to about 21:30 remaining from the 45 minutes, and then bust tail to get back with a negative split.

OK, we’ve got a plan – run the next mile in 8:00, flat.

Turn around and – HOLY CRAP! – man, that’s a headwind. Plus, the sun picks this moment to duck behind the clouds, and the bay suddenly turns from a pleasant blue to a sickly grey. Uh-Oh.

Mile 4/8:01. Not bad. But it is starting to hurt. I seriously contemplate stopping for a walk break, but I’m making great time, IMO. Can’t give up now. If I give up now, the fat boy inside wins. Mile 5/7:57 – Wow, maybe, I can lick this thing after

Uh, no. The last .65 on the way back to the office (stopped at .65 and walked the other .35 since I’d hit the 45 minutes, which was my original goal), hmm, how can I put this gently – well, it sucked great monkey balls. It was the steep, steep hill up from the shore to the back gate to the base, and I was sucking severe wind. Average pace of 8:46/mile reflects about a 10 minute pace while climbing the hill, and about an 8:30 pace while I
-tried to catch my breath at the top of the hill
-tried hard not to puke
-begged and pleaded with myself not to stop running until I hit 45 minutes.

Obviously, I survived. And I’m thrilled, in hindsight. First, it was another good, long (again, for me – I’ve still got to break double digits again) run – 5.65 miles in 45 minutes. Second, it was FAST (again, for me). It may be my first greater than 5 miler run at less than an 8 minute pace (7:58 overall, but hey – it’s still technically less than 8 minutes). Third, I successfully avoided two days widening my rump; though after the strong performance today, I may have to reconsider my 5 day/2 rest day training program. Although I’m still planning to wait until some weight comes off (and it might be – after dinner today, I peed clear [sorry, may be too personal] and still weighed in at 181).

Mmmmm, Donuts

First time in a while I’ve wished I was back in Houston: The Tour de Donut may be even cooler than the Shiner Bash.

(If only for the 5 min/donut time bonus. 28 miles? My guess is that I could finish with a negative time. The upside is that a friend of mine is getting married that weekend, so I’ll be in town. The downside is that a) I don’t think I’ll have my bike, and b) I’ll likely be way hung over on Sunday. Although, I could just pay the entry fee and get the t-shirt. Although free donuts would rock, too.)

Back in the Saddle

Again, sorry for the gap – Life and work have both been slightly more pressing than being one hand clapping. But the running’s been good.

Christian and I picked up where we left off way back in August this morning. It was humid, humid, this morning in downtown Newport, but the run was pretty good. Chris had taken most of September off while I was gone, but we managed the first mile in 8 minutes. I did the last two miles by myself at 8:26 and 8:10. The hill on Memorial is starting to get easier. It’s still an effort, but it’s not the wall that it was a couple of months ago.

I talked with Christian as we were cooling down – he’s going to try starting out more slowly when we run on Thursday. The Forerunner comes in really handy here – I usually set the “virtual partner” for 9 minute miles then work out exactly how fast I’m running in my head by the distance gap I’ve opened on the partner. Keeps my mind working on something other than “Dear god, are my lungs really trying to climb out my throat?” What I’d really like, though, would be the option to start the partner say half a mile ahead of me and then try to catch it. In any case, Thursday I’ll try to stay with the virtual partner to see if we can drag Chris any further.

Monday’s run made me proud. Stopped on Jamestown on the way home from work, set the virtual partner for 8:40 pace for 40 minutes, and tried to see if I could actually open a gap on it. I was skeptical – for whatever reason, I was feeling a bit beaten down. I was also upping the time I was going to run – I’ve been doing a half hour most days, but think I need to up the effort to keep getting results. The day was incredible – right around 70, blue skies, light breeze.

Left the park and started running towards the south end of the island. First mile crested a decent hill – 8:14. Second mile was almost all downhill, but I was conservative since I knew I was going to have to press back uphill. 8:22. Third mile I got to the turnaround, sprinted a little bit on the beach thinking thoughts of getting chased along the beach at NAS Pensacola by Drill Instructor Staff Sergant Hyler, United States Marine Corps. Good stuff. Then started heading back up the hill I’d been running down. Mile 3 – 8:49 (Yep, the partner gained 100′ or so on me).

The fourth mile was really tough. As I went past the half hour mark, I guess psychologically my mind started wondering “Hey, WTF? I cooperated, it’s time to stop.” Sorry, I thought back, but we’ve got improvement to do. The last tenth of the fourth mile was steep, steep, steep, and I broke down and walked about 20 yards. Mile 4 – 8:37, which suprised me – I though I would have lost a lot more time.

Buoyed by the good results from the fourth mile, despite a little cheating, I really opened it up for the remainder of the time. I had just under 6 minutes left to go, and wanted to see if I could really blow it out. My lungs were burning, legs aching, and I was sweating like a pig, but somehow the endorphins kept me going to the end. last lap was 0.81 miles in 6 minutes, a 7:26 pace.


8 September – Kind of a non-descript run – one lap around Mosvagen, the lake outside the hotel. 2.42 miles, splits at 7:48/7:49/8:25 pace. Last pace is suspect; my guess is it was due to not counting a corner due to trees.

10 September – First real epic in a long while. 7.74 miles in 1:09:46. Mile 1/9:15 – Left the hotel, not quite sure how to find the big lake. Mile 2/8:39 – Found the lake, found the trail, had a decent downhill. Finding my legs, so to speak. Lap 3 (0.27 miles at 9:55/mile) – Ummm – kind of a wrong turn. I ended up on a point in the middle of the lake, and just kind of ran out of running trail. Stopped running and walked back to the last time I had good trail, and figured out where I’d missed the sign. The absolute only time in Norway that I was on a trail that was less than impeccably marked. Mile 3(not including the detour)/8:46 – OK, I’m back on the trail. But I don’t think I’m quite half way around. Start really worrying that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Mile 5/8:49 – I’m nothing if not consistient. Mile 6/9:08 – Couple of decent hills. OK, not really, but I’m really starting to worry that I’ve picked off more of a task than I can accomplish. Mile 6/8:40 – back to normal pace, and there is a glimmer of hope – if I scale out the map display, I can see where I got onto the trail around the lake. I have a goal. Plus, I’m running across a pretty nice golf course. I’m not sure why, but the grass in Norway was unusually plush. Mile 7/9:39 – Wicked hill getting up out of the basin around the lake. Plus, I can’t remember the last time I’ve run this far. So, I’m slow, but I’m happy as a clam. Last lap (.47 miles at 8:47 pace) – Never have I been so happy to see the hotel; never have I been so upset that it didn’t have a hot tub or a bath tub (though the bathroom and shower had heated floors. Can’t tell you how nice that was).

Sep 15 – So sue me, I took off 5 days after the last epic. But work was pretty demanding, and we took one night to go out steaming in downtown Stavanger. We were planning on going out again tonight, so I figured I needed to get in another epic. Plus, it’s been raining for the last five days – that really cold, cold rain that you can only get near the coast. I’ve somehow gotten it into my head that the rain is somehow hanging on until I pay the rain gods some penance and have just a miserable run in the rain. The trail around the big lake was just that pretty. This time, I ran it clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. Mile 1/8:53 – Leaving the hotel, through the neighborhood, taking it easy since this time I am fully aware of exactly how ungodly far this run is. Mists the whole way. I start to wish I’d put on wind pants. Mile 2/8:24 – On the trail, in a groove. Plus, I’m running just after working hours, so there are tons of other people out running, so the “small dog” syndrome really strikes hard. Mile 3/8:33. Not much to ponder. Feeling good as I approach half-way. Lose signal pretty frequently in thick pines. Mile 4/8:33. Nothing if not consistient. At the halfway point, I start feeling pretty excited since I’m keeping pretty close to an 8:30 pace. Lap 5/8:41 – Reality starts to set in. 7 miles is a long, long way. What was I thinking?. Lap 6/8:45 – Decent hill coming out of the lake basin again. Lap 7/8:33 – Just kind of loping back to the hotel. I stop at 7 miles and walk the extra quarter mile. The receptionist has been giving me dirty looks when I drag through the lobby panting, sweating, stinky, and dirty.

19 September – 3.35 miles from the house. Up the big, evil hill, with a detour on the way home. Average of 8:26/mile.

20 September – lapped Newport Navy Base – 3.42 miles, which was disappointing. I thought it was over 3.5. 8:43/mile average.


Sorry for the lack of posts recently. The trip to Norway was good, both professionally and from a running/hiking standpoint. Being home has been great, too.

The blogging got dropped in favor of doing actual work, running, and sleeping. I’ll try to recreate what I can from the forerunner.

In the mean time, it’s good to be home, and I can’t wait to catch up on my running blog reading.

6 Sep run

A good one. We worked late tonight, so I did not get a chance to go around the lake until well after dark. The path was well lit, and there were a ton of locals running late. I really like the vibe here.

Turns out that the clouds did affect me – a whole lap was 2.2 miles, not just under 2. Splits today: 8:41/8:08 and a pace for 8:28 on the last 2/10. I walked a bit exploring the neighborhood, and decided to run on the way back (Thanks, iPod) – .64 in 5:04 (8 minute pace). It felt good.

Run 5 September

OK, so I’ve been completely a slug since getting over here, and haven’t run since Monday back in the states. So sue me. I’ve been jet lagged, trying to learn the basics of a language, currency, I’ve been driving in Scandanavia (which is really nice, since everyone follows the traffic laws, and there are roundabouts instead of traffic lights or stop signs at most intersections, so you’re rarely waiting for a light). Plus, we’ve been walking absolutely everywhere (except work, which has been about 10 miles from the town centers both here in Stavanger and in Bergen).

Bergen was extremely nice – the town center had everything – good clubs, nice people, all the conveniences of home (I don’t travel with razors any more, plus I needed to pick up a pair of pants), and a 500+ meter mountain on the east side of town. Yep, from my hotel I was able to start walking and be on the Scandinavian plateau about 2 hours later. Make fun of me and call me a peakbagger, but once I came over the first hill and saw the treeline, I had to make it over it.

Norwegians love the outdoors, and have an exceptional system of trails all over the country. And if they’re in a couple of miles of a population center, they’re lit, too, I imagine to support folks who want to go cross-country skiing after work in the winter, since even below the Arctic Circle, there’s about 2-3 hours of daylight during December. But they’re all graded and “paved” with crushed rock.

The picture is from my hotel in Stavanger, and the lake is part of the town’s parks systems (~100K folks live here). There’s a trail around it that connects to downtown and the rest of the country’s trails network. The lake in the next picture is part of the trails, too.

I lapped the closer, smaller lake this morning – 8:34/8:32 (got to love consistency). I was feeling kind of tight, but it was nice to really stretch out the lungs. I may need to go again this evening just to convince my body I’m really getting back into this.

The 101 is working almost like a champ. Except (And this is for you, Running Chick) the combination of overcast and trees over parts of the trail meant that I’d lose signal for between .05 and.1 miles at times. Whenever the trees would even thin, it’d pick up the signal and update the mileage from the last fix, but it uses a straight line interpretation (not a bad fix from a technical standpoint, but a bear if you’ve just run a 200 yard loop in heavy trees). The timer keeps running, so you can kind of tell which miles you didn’t get full credit for (in my case, I’m pretty sure I had a positive split instead of a negative, and most of the heavy woods were on the first mile, so my guess is that there’s a missing .1 on the first lap). YMMV. I still like it, but I do most of my running on roads.