31 runs in 31 days

Inspired by Ali’s Julyathon, I’m embarking on an Augustathon. The goal is not so much the mileage, but running every day for a month. The rules:

1. A “run” is minimum of 3 miles. Ali required nonstop; I’m waiving that to let me do track workouts.

That’s pretty much it.

You can sign up at Nike+ if you’re so inclined.

Now, to fix the calibration on my Nike+ sensor…

Blessing of the Fleet/Cursing of the Feet

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up in Narragansett with David, April Anne, and Michelle for the Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race. Nothing better at all than getting together with other RBF folks and cranking out a few miles on a Friday Afternoon. Melissa’s new running buddy, Chelsea was there in theory, but I didn’t spot her at the start in the thronging masses.

The scene reminded me of the words of the poet:

Here are ones who like to run
They run for fun in the hot, hot sun
Oh me, oh my, oh me, oh my
Oh what a lot of funny things run by

April and David were fit and ready – both have fall marathon plans. Michelle and I were there and willing. Michelle’d brought a bunch of other CT running chicks, a veritable Bondi posse, and caught David, April, and me about a quarter mile past the start, just after a guy in his yard promised beer when we passed on the way to the finish.

The race was great. Huge crowd for a road race in the middle of nowhere Rhode Island, especially for a Friday Evening. There’s something just phenomenal about a couple thousand people all planning to run 10 miles after work – maybe we won’t turn into a nation of lard-butts afterall. Hitting dips or rises was outstanding – look forwards or backwards and the small roads were shoulder to shoulder covered with runners shoulder to shoulder (read it again, I’m not repeating myself).

About mile 3, we were passing a spectacular beach that I’d never realized was a couple of miles off of my commute, and I started feeling pretty good. April and I had dropped (not in the harsh way, but in the “Hey, go run your race” way) David and Michelle and entourage a couple of minutes back, and I was feeling pretty good – no ill effects from Thursday’s tough lunchtime run. The breeze blew, the birds sung, and the sun beat down on my ears. I was hanging with AA, we were passing people, having started way at the back of the pack, and life was great.

Then, mile 4 – straight into the not-quite setting sun. Uphill (very slight, but still there). Out of the breeze.

In short, it sucked.

AA ditched me. HA. No, more like she zigged, I zagged and got caught behind someone, and then I decided I didn’t have the pop to keep up if I were going to do another 6 of these things.

I soldiered on until I hit mile 5, and took intermittent walk-breaks until mile 6. This stretch was on RI 108, pretty much completely exposed to the sun, slight uphill, and with the breeze – meaning plenty of heat and stagnant air.

Just after mile 6, the race headed into a blissfully wooded section – shade, breeze, and, as is my weakness, a wonderfully fit runner running about the pace I wanted to go who I could follow. So, I drafted off of her for most of the next four miles. There was one downhill section that threw me for a loop – dunno why, but I HATE running downhill.

So, turns out I can still run double digit miles. Not sure when the last time I did it was (Hey, looks like last year’s New Haven Road Race!)

Nike+ gypped me out of 0.15 miles, but overall I’m pretty pleased with the effort. I didn’t make my goal of 90 minutes, but it’s close enough, given the weather.

April found me before I’d caught my breath, and David was there soon after. We waited for Michele and company for a while. As we caught our breath, we figured she’d be where we should be – namely, at the “beverage” tent. She wasn’t, but beverages were.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t hungry. Dunno if was the heat and exertion killing my appetite, or if my body’s deciding to set a new weight threshold and I’m about to drop some weight, but I wasn’t nearly so tempted by the various foods-on-a-stick(and/or deep fried) on offer at the fair. Haven’t been overly hungry today, either.

We hung around and talked (Michele’s husband may be my new hero), and failed to dry off at all. My shorts were still literally dripping when I got to the car. Gnasty.

All in all, another great RBF outing.

Results

Well, that stank

Headed out at lunch – the plan was to do a quick 1.7 over to the track, do a mile on the track, and head back. The run out was great – sunshine, light breeze, light on the feet.

At the track, well, I suppose my heart wasn’t quite in it. I started off pretty well, but as I finished my second lap, I noticed that Nike+ didn’t say “Halfway point – .5 miles to go” until I was about another eighth of a lap past. On the third lap, the sun and the effort and the egg sandwich I had this morning really kicked in (and into the back of my throat). I crossed the line at 7:30, which is on par with my fastest mile for the year, but didn’t get Nike+ confirmation until 7:53.

The run back was really, really rough. So I walked. Easy enough.

Bleh.

I’m pretty pumped, though – a good meal this evening and plenty of hydration and the Blessing of the Fleet should end up being a good race.

Oh, and I am planning another Marathon – the Oklahoma City Marathon, on 28 April 2007. Cannot wait to run with my little brother again! (And a knock on wood for other stuff!)

Bad News Comes in Threes / Actually Running

The current Mellow Johnny, Rabobank’s Rasmussen, has been fired by his team and left the Tour due to missed doping controls in the off-season.

I’m happy, I think, but can really feel for Rasmussen, who hasn’t tested positive, and looks to be getting booted for being not properly anal about proving he’s clean. At the same time, it shows that there’s definitely a sea change afoot – what team doesn’t want to bring home yellow in Paris? Sure, there’s a hint of witch-hunt (Witches float, like a duck and very small rocks), but staying documentedly clean is going to play a big role in the future.

My dad raised a good point last night, though – If a team’s out when a rider pops positive, what’s to stop folks from bribing a rider on a favorite’s team to dope in a big race, kind of a cycling version of the Black Socks scandal in baseball?

———-

Ran last night – stopped on Jamestown, cranked out 4.6 or so, and went for a swim afterwards. What a day! About 80 and brilliant sunshine, tiny bit of a breeze, and just wow. I’m psyched.

I’m also psyched about the Narragansett Blessing of the Fleet 10 miler on Friday. David, April Anne, Michele, and others. I don’t know that I can go ten miles at this point, but I can’t wait to try.

——
Edit Frank Steele at the Tour de France for the Rest of Us has a brilliant, brilliant bit up today on the recovery and the silver lining. Go read it and tell him thanks.

Another one bites the dust

10 AM Eastern Today. The article’s from l’Equipe, and in French (English translation here), but from what I can gather, it means that there’s another 9 riders going home after Astana’s departure yesterday.

Read it in English here. The CyclingNews bit is nice, as it’s got plausible deniability from Vino – maybe someone else’s blood got into his legs in his earlier crash. Not beyond the realm of possibility, but ….

F$ck.

Update: We can name names now. It’s Cristian Moreni from the French Cofidis team.

Update 2: Another 8 innocent riders have left the tour, as Moreni’s team, Cofidis, withdraws. Neca, over at Weighty Words commented yesterday about how no-one was mentioning that Andreas Kloden, who had been sitting at 5th place in the General Classification got screwed when Astana pulled out after Vinokourov popped positive.

Say it ain’t so, Vino…

F$ck Vino busted for blood doping.

I was all set to, tonight, write about how I was hooked on the Tour again; how the race seemed human again, and about how it was amazing to have seen Vinokourov go down in a huge crash, fight back to form, win Saturday’s time trial, take a rest day on Sunday and concede over 30 minutes to the folks fighting for the yellow jersey, and then come back on Monday’s mountainous stage 14 to take a flier off the front and win the stage in great style.

I was ready to believe again, ready to love professional cycling again.

Now, I think I’m back to just loving my bike, and my bike only.

Dopers suck.

Shoes, it’s gotta be the shoes

In this case, I think it is.

I’ve got a piece on shoes (that, frankly, I’ve forgotten writing) going up on Complete Running in the next couple of days. I wrote it back in June when I was starting to worry that PF was going to end my running for a while again. The synopsis is that I went down to an actual running shop, and was told that my loved Gel Cumuluses weren’t the same shoe I’d fallen in love with, and got hooked up with a pair with slightly different support.

The view a month later? The new shoes work like a charm. Haven’t woken up with cramped feet once, no pain in the calves – perfect.

So, what I’m sayin’ is that the article’s a good one, as opposed to the fun and flippant stuff I usually write.

Illusion,

We’re still trying to dig out of the piles generated by letting the carpet folk in. The up-side? Looks like we’ll have a yard/garage/tag sale later this summer, and then a trip to GoodWill, and then a massive trip to the dump.

We had really, really cheap berber carpet up on the second floor – the guy who came to do the measurements said “I did a lot of this in kitchens in the 60’s”. We got pretty decent plush carpet, and a decent pad. So tonight, I had to take about a half inch off the bottom of all of the doors. Not so terrible – I just set up the sawhorses in the yard, walked the doors out the front door, trimmed, and popped them back in. There was one door that needed a second cut, but otherwise I surprised myself.

I ran at lunch again. If I’m going to be insanely busy, I’m going to take a half-hour in the middle of the day to blow all the ill humor that I could otherwise be hurling at (contracts, purchasing, legal, tech writers, junior engineers – take your pick) out of my legs. Tried to run with Jon Klink again today, but our schedules were off somehow.

The run was great again – probably 3.5 miles running, but with a trip to the Naval Academy Prep School track. There’s a nice new building right there that I can only hope is going to house Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS) when it moves up from Pensacola. I know I’m going to sit next to the 5AM PT with a lawn chair and a cooler – watching Marines yell at people is an art form.

Letting Go

Wow – cannot believe that I let such a good run fall off like I did.

On the way back from the UK, I sat through 9 hours of airport heck at Dulles. Bleh. Customs and immigration (with some new, 21st century name that doesn’t mean what you think it means, kind of like “Homeland Security”) was a zoo, and my first flight was cancelled. Luckily, I got home on Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday were both crazy at real work, and Saturday and Sunday were pretty busy at drill. THEN, the plot thickened – we had carpet installed today.

Sorry for griping about something that’s all-in-all good, but if moving is a pain, getting new carpet is doubly so – not only do you have to pack everything up, but you’ve got to put it in the rest of the house, with all the other stuff. If we ever redo the floors again, I’m just renting a dumpster, and doing this the easy way.

The short version is that I hadn’t run in 6 days, and was on the verge of not running today, when I realized I needed to prioritize, suck it up, and hit the road. I dragged J. Klink downstairs with me, and we banged out a quick 5K. No clue how long it took, but the run was great – just warm enough to work up a good sweat and get that “hot” feeling on the skin, but not anywhere near actually “hot”.

And, I did it despite not having my Nike+ chip for the iPod. Screw that – life’s too short to obsess.

Only one other bit – I registered for the New Haven Road Race. Time to get in the annual 20K on Labor Day – nothing finer.