Speed Work

Wow – running fast is fun.

So, I’m probably going to go with the “Run Less, Run Faster” school for the OKC Marathon in April. (Against the advice of some). My initial observation on reading the book is that it’s not really a lesser time commitment – the plan relies on three structured runs (speed work, tempo, and long run) two intense cross training days a week, and a easy run/cross-train day. The running mileage is down, but the time really isn’t.

So, tonite I headed over to the track to do some speedwork. Warmed up with a mile from the gym to the track, and did 4×800 repeats, with about a quarter mile of jog/walk between each of the repeats. Repeat splits were 3:44/3:54/3:50/3:39. I walked between the second/third and third/fourth repeats, and jogged/ran the mile back to the gym after the last.

And it felt good. I completely need to recalibrate my Nike+ – it gave me an average pace of 7:33 for the evening, which is Boooooo-gus, based on the 800 splits I recorded.

But, still – running fast is fun.

So, the disaster that was last week…

…appears to be over.

So, here’s the scenario: For about a month, I’d been planning a one-day trip to the DC area to iron out an agreement with a client and a supplier. Easy stuff – we’d been negotiating for a couple of months, and this was basically just to finalize a bunch of email and phone calls. That, and their caterer has great cookies. The plan was to leave Wednesday, spend all-day Thursday there, and fly back on the mid-evening flight. Plenty of time on either side of the meeting, plenty of time to do some of the planning I’ve been meaning to do.

Here’s what actually happened: Friday, we got the go-ahead to go pitch a project out in Colorado on Wednesday. So, there’s the flop-and-twitch to get last-minute travel arranged, AND, of course, I cannot drop my existing meeting to make flying 2/3 of the way across the country less painful, as we’ve been working towards this agreement for months.

So, we fly out on Tuesday after half a day in the office finalizing the pitch. Delayed an hour coming out of Dulles, so it’s 10 PM before we get checked in Tuesday night. Did a mile on the dreadmill that morning, but the ‘mill was a crappy one. On site at 8 AM, leave at about 4, and fight to get to DIA (DEN? Not sure which is the right one) in time to catch the red-eye back to the East Coast.

The flight’s delayed an hour, so I call the travel service to make sure my rental car company has been notified. They check the reservation, and say “Hey, that company’s closed after midnight”. Which is interesting, as my original flight was supposed to arrive at half past midnight, even without the delay… Got to the hotel in Maryland about 2AM. Not tragic, as I was meeting my client in the lobby at 9 to travel over to the supplier’s site. Decent sleep, but no running – rainy and tired.

The other opportunity that presented itself was to get a briefing on a R&D project that had direct application to some other stuff I’d been working on. I’ve been trying to meet a researcher for a couple of months – her schedule opened up the week before for the Friday of last week. So, I’d changed plans to fly back Friday afternoon. The wrinkle? My hotel of Wednesday night (the one I spent a grand total of 7 hours in) was all full up for Thursday night. So, I booked one inside the Beltway to be close to Friday’s meeting.

And got creamed by Thursday afternoon traffic.

Bleh. Checked in about 7:30 PM, logged into the VPN to clear the inbox, and jumped on the Metro. Rode down a couple of stops, got off, and walked back to the hotel, stopping to get some Mexican food and Shiner Bock just off of Capitol hill. Didn’t see anyone worth seeing making out with interns, though.

Friday’s meeting was great – good info, but another 8AM start, which meant that, after staying up to watch the Sox somehow not choke (Heh, have I dated myself?), I didn’t run.

Made it back to Mystic in time for supper AND to head down to my bi-monthly meeting with a needle before a lovely supper. Interesting bit of Jank trivia: My hematocrit was 47. I’m kind of bummed that they don’t use the Cu(2)SO4 test anymore (I dug the blue test tube and the little donuts of blood), but it’s kind of cool to get the number. No EPO for me – no wiggle room at all.

The irony? My bit on traveling and running ran on Wednesday. Not that I’m complaining – the week was phenomenal professionally. No major disasters traveling, just a string of minor inconveniences. And it wasn’t a disaster training-wise, not once I got home.

This weekend I ran.

Saturday, we slept in, took the kids to swimming lessons (Nate passed Pike, Jake’s getting to continue working on Pollywog). I went over to the church to help clean up after the White Elephant sale while Nate napped. When I got back, Missy headed out for a quick run (pun intended). She got back, and insisted that I go. A good 4 miles later, I was back. There was a hill about mile 2.5 where i felt really winded. Kind of depressing, ‘cept as I was heading back down, I felt the band-aid on my arm, and remembered I’d given blood (Yep, that kind of week).

Sunday, we left Melissa’s car at church when we headed out for lunch. After we got home, Jake hopped on his bike, I strapped on my sneakers, and we headed down to retrieve the car. Jake was a trooper – wouldn’t let me push his bike up the killer hill on the way, and we made the 3.5 miles at better than an 8 minute pace. The kid rocks.

Swam tonite – I could really, really feel the lack of blood. Can’t breathe more rapidly with your face under water… Will start Run Less, Run Faster-style speedwork on Tuesday.

So, I’m salvaging.

Deene – wish that I’d had more time in Colorado. Maybe I’ll get asked back…

Congrats to the folks from Grand Rapids and Marine Corps. Checked the results – an OCS buddy of mine almost broke 3:20, and to April-Anne.

In Rainbows

Man, life has been hectic. Found out on Friday I’m flying most of the way across the country on Tuesday for a meeting Wednesday, then having to be at another meeting Thursday back on the East Coast that was already scheduled. The meeting Wednesday is a HUGE deal, and I’m kind of surprised that they’re letting me take it. But not really ’cause I’m that good. (yipes). There would be details passed, but there is NO time available. Sorry.

So, I’ve got it back into my head that I need to do this running thing RIGHT. Melissa rocking her debut at Hartford (and she has, indeed, uttered the “So, I’m wondering when I should run again…” phrase, not in reference to like running – she cranked out 6 on Saturday, but in reference to another M) has got me thinking. Thinking that

  • I’ve got to get my weight down. 170 is not heinous, but 160 would be within weight for BMI, and 155 would be almost 10% less than I am now…
  • Running is phenomenal right now. Wx is great, healthy, etc.
  • I need to do it more
  • Last week was kind of a disaster. Ran Monday, ran Thursday, ran Sunday (more on that later). But not nearly so bad as the week before, where I DID NOT RUN, ‘cept for the PRT.

    So, determined to salvage this week, I did my favorite run – otherwise known as Family Swim at the Y, and run home. And Run I did. I felt sooooo good, when I hit the south side of Old Mystic, I turned south to run down to Mystic proper, and add another 4 miles to the run.

    Life is good.

    Cow Hill kicked my butt again, Warren, but it’s good to have the challenge immediately between you and the house, instead of in somewhere bypassable.


It’s kind of nuts – I think I’m seriously looking forward to winter.

The fog is back. This afternoon, I ran from the gym over to the track to calibrate Nike+ for a new pair of sneakers. The fog had set in – traffic was backed up due to slowness on the bridge.

(Truncated due to loss of train of thought)

New England has Ghosts

And they are vicious.

The title of this post was going to be “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, and to rock out on my iPod when I ran

I had a meeting today just north of Walden Pond. Yeah, that Walden. So, I figured after it was over that I’d head out and sneak in a quick run and commune with nature. And, as mentioned above, rock out on the iPod.

When I mentioned my plan to Missy last night, she said “You can’t be serious.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Isn’t that like, sacrilege, or something?”
“Whatever,” I said.

It should have been a perfect run – 60 and sunny, dry trails. My plan was to run the ridge trail on the northeast side of the pond, connect to the fire road, run up Emerson’s ridge, connect to the shoreline trail back at the beach, and then circle the pond along the shore. Quick 4 or 5 miles, no problem.

And the walk in the woods ended up being wonderful.

The ghosts struck early. The trails are well defined, but I left my map at the car, and rapidly realized I wasn’t where I thought I was. I finally found the fire road, but rolled my ankle while heading up Emerson’s ridge. I walked it off a bit, and ran down the other side.

Only to get completely and totally lost, and end up spit out on Mass 126. I found my way back to Walden Woods. While I was heading down to the beach, I REALLY rolled my ankle. Figured it was HDT’s way of telling me my mind wasn’t in the right spot to run and rock out to the iPod.

All in all it was a good run – 4 miles or so, though Nike+ is giving me funny readings with a new pair of shoes. But it was an even better day to spend some time in the woods. I’ll be back to Walden, but not in running shoes.

PRT Fall 2007

Another NAVRES Physical Readiness Test. Another run just under 10:30. I sucked at pushups and situps this time- can tell I haven’t been swimming over the summer, and haven’t been doing them regularly enough.

The run felt good, and I could have come in closer to 10 minutes (10:10 or so), but when I hit the lap and a half to go time check (The course is odd, but after the first lap, it should be about 2 minutes per lap to hit 10 minutes for the run) at like 7:05, I knew that I didn’t have it in me to break 10 this cycle. So, I checked 6, and the two guys I use as run gauges were still far behind me.

And I let up and cruised in at 10:29. Closest I’ve come to 10:30 in about two years.

I’m slacking.


Missy crushed the Jankowski Family Record (by which I mean me and my little bro) today at Hartford. Conditions were near perfect, and a great time was had by all. The photoset is at Flickr. But, I’ll post most of it here.

Before the race

It was kind of chilly this morning – perfect marathon weather. Dry, little to no wind, and a madhouse in Bushnell Park.


The start was a riot – tons of people just hanging around, waiting for the race to start. I jockeyed for a position near the starting line, and loved seeing the elites start. Coolest thing? They all clicked their watches at the start, just like the rest of us.

Race Start

I was a bit curious about some of the runners who were seeded.

Ronald as an Elite

As I was leaving the start, a guy named Brian flagged me down to see if I knew where to ride along the course. Said his wife, Sara, was running her third. I said I had no clue where I was going (absolutely true), but that he could feel free to try to keep me straightened out. We stopped at the hotel to pick up his bike, and Brian ran into a guy named Nick in the garage, as well. We didn’t know each other from Adam. Nick had run the race a couple of years prior, but was injured this year, and was here to support his Sara.

We caught up with our runners about Mile 6 – We were there about 20 minutes before them. Fate was on our side – our wives were all within about 4-5 minutes of each other. Missy looked good, but as anyone who has run a marathon knows, after months of training, 6 miles is a warmup.


Mile 8 and smiling. I had on my “Cookie Monster” shirt – bright blue, with eyes, nose, and mouth from the monster with the sweet tooth. I kept getting “yeah, Cookie Monster” shouts from the runners, which was encouraging.


The course is kind of an out-and-back to South Windsor. Brian, Nick, and I paralleled the race along CT 5. Nick’s an Ironman, Brian’s a runner, and the day – man, what a treat. Perfect weather, and good runs by everyone. The ride was awesome; so good that I kind of felt guilty. Here’s the turnaround at 11.something.

Turnaround (11.something)

And just past halfway:

Mile 14

We caught them at mile 16 and 20. Mile 20 was great – there was a band there, though the band was way far away in a parking lot. I don’t think many of the runners noticed it, especially as life had to really suck for them by that time. I mentioned that I kind of wished I were running on a day like today, and Nick shook his head, saying that just watching was bringing back every ounce of body-ripping pain and effort. And as soon as he mentioned it, I started having flashbacks.

Completely lucked out on where we caught them at mile 20-ish. I hadn’t realized there was a pedestrian bridge on the south side of IH-84. So, we were able to meet up with them again at between mile 22 and 23. Brian’s Sara had been FLYING after the halfway point, and, leaving just after Melissa passed us at 20-ish, we just barely caught Sara(Brian) on Main Street. Missy came by looking strong (I am so dead for posting the pic with the tongue hanging out).


Brian, Nick, and I ditched the bikes at the Hilton, shook hands on not getting lost, wished each other’s SO’s best and passed congratulations, and split. Always great to have good folks to ride or run with.

My ma had flown up for the race, and brought Jake and Nate to the finish line. The kids were having a riot on the playground and carousel, and we headed down to the finish line to wait for Missy with a little bit of chocolate milk (to make up for having to leave the playground).

Waiting for Missy at the finish

We saw the two Saras finish, but didn’t see Brian or Nick again. And soon enough, Melissa came charging up the hill, looking as fresh as I’d seen her at the start.

Almost Finished!

We caught up with her as she came out of the finisher’s area, and headed for the food. A little bit of nourishment, some re-hydration, and everyone was right as rain. One thing I love about finishers – the cool sweat buildup.


So, that’s pretty much it. We went back to the hotel, cleaned up. Missy headed back to Mystic (where, amazingly enough she managed to stay up past 9). Ma, me, and the kids headed over to the Wadsworth Atheneum, where the kids were remarkably well behaved. Especially considering Jake REALLY wanted to go to the Air Museum. You can check out pictures here. The museum was great – it’s the oldest public art museum in America, and had an amazing collection. Hartford continues to surprise me.

A couple of other observations – It would have been wicked tough to keep up with the elite runners, even on bikes. Even following 4-hour-ish runners, we were pedaling pretty good to get from spot to spot. Granted, we didn’t break much of a sweat on the bikes, but anything quicker and we would have been pushing to get from spot to spot.

Also, I don’t think that I would have appreciated watching the race as much if I hadn’t run one before. Like Nick said, the hurt just keeps coming back over and over again.

Huge thanks to Brian and Nick, and congratulations to their wives (both of whom were named Sara[h?]).

And the biggest congrats of all go to Melissa, the Fastest Jankowski on two legs!

Johan Bruyneel to Astana Pro Cycling

Interesting. Johan Bruyneel is heading from Disco (After their dissolution) to the Kazakh team, Astana. Astana, as you may recall, was withdrawn from le Tour after their leader popped positive. Optimists will say that this is a sign that Astana wants to run a clean program. Pessimists will say that they want the best doper in the business heading their show – after all, how could Lance have won 7 in a row straight, and haven’t a string of Disco alumni popped positive once they’ve gone on to other teams?

Anyway, here’s the press release:

New management structure to usher team into 2008.

Astana, Kazakhstan. – Today, the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KCF) in cooperation with Johan Bruyneel, officially announced a partnership which results in the continued support and commitment to the Astana Pro Cycling Team. The KCF is steadfast in its support of the Astana Team as a part of its global strategy to promote cycling in Kazakhstan.

The KCF sought out Johan Bruyneel, arguably the most accomplished Sports Director in the history of cycling. Bruyneel who has eight Tour de France titles to his name will take on the role as Astana Pro Cycling team General Manager beginning in 2008. “It was not an easy decision to return to cycling after my recent announcement in August, however, in my new role with Astana I have found new challenges and I am excited to help the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation grow the sport in the country”, stated Johan Bruyneel. “After the 2007 season, this team had no choice but to make big changes if it wanted to continue on, and I am proud to be the person they have chosen to lead this program”.

As we recall this year some of team’s riders were linked to using performance enhancing drugs. In spite of these issues the KCF firmly decided to move forward, having conducted large-scale changes in its activity management.

Besides the KCF has stated that the Astana Pro Cycling Team will have no connection at all to any of the implicated team members (Kessler, Mazzoleni, Vinokorouv, Kaschechkin) either directly or indirectly.

Under Bruyneel’s guidance, the Team will strictly abide by the UCI Pro Team Code of Conduct as well as any and all anti-doping measures agreed to by the UCI or the Team’s Union.

Additionally, the Astana Team has taken further measures by prescribing to the anti-doping program developed by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard and utilized by Team CSC in 2007. The Damsgaard anti-doping system is currently the most effective and comprehensive program available.

KCF’s Chairman Danial Akhmetov noted that “Astana Pro Cycling Team is a national project. And we will by all means help it on to become one of the best professional cycling teams. I am fully convinced that our riders will occupy a worthy place in world’s elite”.

Although the 2008 Astana Cycling roster has not yet been finalized, the composition will include a mix of Kazakh and other world-class riders from around the globe.

Hartford Marathon

We’re excited. To help Missy visualize, I put the route into Google Earth. You can check it out at the Google Earth Community.

We’re heading up Friday Night, and staying downtown. My mom may bring up the kids for the finish. I’m going to take the bike and try to see Missy more than a couple of times, carrying supplies, etc, for her. If anyone’s got advice on watching, let me know!

Blog Devices that never get old

I hit the pool tonight for the first time in a while. The pool was good – I think, after three years of attempting self drowning, that I’m finally developing a little bit of muscle memory. No attempted drowning at this return. Bilateral breathing was working well, and while I was painfully slow, at least I didn’t feel like I was drowning. 25 laps or so – just over 1K. Nothing earthshattering, but nothing to shake a stick at.

Jake got his first book report back from second grade. His teacher gigged him for leaving out a comma in a sentence that doesn’t need a comma. I’m pretty spun up about it – dangling prepositions aside, I care greatly about grammar and good writing. Even the greats who took liberties with the English language knew how to write properly before they bent it. Missy’s not so worked up about it, though she agrees the teacher’s wrong. In her defense, the rest of the comments on the paper were ones that Missy and I made to jake when he was writing, so the teacher’s up overall in our book. The comma, I think, was added just ’cause second graders generally don’t think about things like that.

My kid’s the exception. He’s smarter.

(Just like yours are).

((And, for the record, almost all of my parenting decisions are made out of a pathological fear of being “that parent”))

Anyway, I finally came up with an idea for a blog meme. I haven’t googled it, so I’m sure that it already exists, but for a brief moment let me think that i had an actual original thought, instead of reprocessing things that I read half awake and forget that I read. The theme is:

Literary Devices that you use in your blog. Here’s my favorite five:

  1. Run as a song. Pick your current favorite song. Dissect your run as an embodiment of the song. My favorite use of this personally was when I used jazz as a metaphor for trail running.
  2. Invoke old girlfriends. This one is more dangerous than I give it credit for. Luckily for me (a) None of my old girlfriends read my stuff; and (b) Missy didn’t go to high school with me
  3. Stuff as a solution. We know it’s not really. But stuff gives us something to blame for our failures besides ourself
  4. Dialogue. It’s as old as people trying to fill pages – enlisting someone as a literary foil to make the protagonist (and, in a blog it’s always one’s self) look handsome, erudite, and sexy.
  5. and finally The list of 5 things. Pick a topic. Make a list.

So, what did I leave out?