Mid-Winter Thaw

Thursday – Headed out to do the intervals I skipped on Tuesday due to the gift I’d gotten from my littlest disease vector. There was snow underfoot, and a breeze coming from the south off of the Gulf Stream. The intervals, as expected, sucked. I cannot decide if it was just leftover crud in my lungs, or if there was something more sinister, such as being wickedly out of shape. I’m hoping it was crud.

Anyway, the intervals just straight up sucked. I could maintain for about the first quarter mile, and then I completely faded, back to about jogging pace, and still had to walk to recover after the 800 m. But, I gutted it out, and overcame, and made my 4×800.

Today? Well, it dawned warm and rainy. Warm being relative, and needing a New England-tuned sense of weather to appreciate. Warm being anywhere north of 40 degrees latitude or Fahrenheit. I threw the bag in the car, thinking that it was imperative that I go run if the weather held out.

The weather held out, and despite my working through lunch hoping that I’d be able to live another day as a slacker, I was at a stopping point, with just enough time to squeeze in 5 miles. So, even though the run I needed to make up was 7, I figured that it would be better to take what I could get.

Man, did I take it. The rain had gotten rid of what little snow was sticking to the gravel path along the cove, and the warm weather felt good. I ran without pants, and loved the feeling of wind against my pasty skin. The run did me good – there was a pretty brisk wind coming off of the bay, so running downhill, I was running into the wind, and running uphill I had the wind at my back.

At the end of the day, I was pretty happy – my second 5 mile day, and an average pace of 8:40 (though I think I got cheated out of about a quarter-mile based on having run the course many other times. I’m not complaining, though.

Oh, and I’ve got to throw another thanks to my lvoely wife. One of the many things that she’s reminded me of since I realized that she’s become quite the running guru is to take smaller strides going uphill. Speed may suffer, but effort will stay constant, making it tougher to get pushed into the red. Which ties into one of the RLRF keystones, which is constant effort, and constant splits. Much like ship or airplane design, going faster requires exponentially more power. So, stepping up from 10 minute miles to 8 minute miles is as difficult as stepping from 8 minute miles to 6:30 miles.

That’s pretty much it. I’m going to cross train on Saturday, and do my 10 miler on Sunday.


How did I miss the UFO’s down in Texas? I live for this sort of stuff…

Run Less (often), Run Faster – Week 16

So, I’ve survived week 16 (first out of 16 – this is a countdown, people) of Run Less, Run Faster. Which, as the title suggests, should be “Run Less Often, Run Faster”, ’cause mileage really is on par with most other mid-pack marathon programs.

I like it.

It’s nice having a purpose for every workout, and having the day of cross training/rest in between. I feel like my runnin’ muscles recover better between the runs, and just generally feel better, though some of that is probably WWME.

I headed out to swim tonite – it kicked my butt, as I haven’t done it in over a month, but it kicked my butt in a good way. My youngest kid has something fierce – he was good and quiet tonight when I got home, but hot and sweaty when I picked him up, despite us keeping the heat about 63 in the house. But, being the good dad that I am, I still hugged him and squeezed him and called him George, and we read a story, and I’m sure I’m gonna have the Vulcan Death Flu by the end of this week.

But that’s why we love ’em. Happy little disease vectors. God Bless Public School Teachers.

Tomorrow’s intervals. Need to break out the book to make sure I’ve got the right set. I’m doing kind of a modified RLRF program – the beginner one on the Runner’s World web site doesn’t have enough mileage on the weekends for what I think I can do, but the standard plan in the book has too much (starts out with 13 miles and includes three – Frackin’ 3! – 20 milers). So, being the engineer that I am, I’m doing the during the week workouts from the book, and averaging the long run mileage between the beginner plan and the experienced marathoner plan. I’ll pick one of the timed plans for the fall marathon.

Oh, and we’ve made reservations to be in Burlington for the Vermont City Marathon. Melissa’s looking forward to the race, and the boys and I are looking forward to some dry fly fishing that weekend. All I need now is to convince her that we really need a canoe.

Off Into the Sunset

If you’re my lovely wife, I’m working terribly, terribly hard. Life stinks. I cannot wait to see you and the boys again. I cannot believe that I get stuck traveling so much.

Now that that’s out of the way…

So, I’ve got a meeting down in Key West. We got in about 10 last night, checked in at about 11, were on the way to breakfast at 6, and had to be at the meeting by 7 this morning. We had discussions until 4 this afternoon, and then I had to go visit a site until a little after 5. So, yeah, there was a legitimate long day.

But, let’s face it – it’s January and I’m in Key West – how bad could life be?

After we finally made it back to the hotel, I strapped on the sneakers, and started running west. Down the seawall, past the southernmost point in the continental United States, and on to the basin at the Port of Key West. Just as I got to the basin, the sun hit the water. I waited, caught my breath for a couple of minutes, and waited until the sun finished sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.

Who am I kidding? Life is good.

Back to the hotel, past mile 0 of US Highway 1. It’s amazing to me that it’s the same road that passes through downtown Mystic. I suppose, somehow, that I’m bound to head north to the other end in Maine, now. That’s one of those Epic’s that I’d love to do someday – all the way down US 1. Maybe then back up the Appalachian Trail…

The run back? Exquisite. Negative splits, 8:40 miles average for the whole thing.

Life is good.

Interesting Thoughts

So, I got back from work this afternoon, and an interesting thought occurred to me: “Man, I’m really, really looking forward to running.”

Funny thing, though – I was.

My lovely wife’s gonna blush, but one of my New Year’s resolutions has been to ask “What Would Missy Eat” (WWME) before I put anything in my mouth. I’ve talked about it in the past, but running with her over Christmas really made it stick for me. Here’s the diet program:

  • Lotsa veggies
  • Nothing but whole wheat
  • A little bit of lean meat
  • Never skip dessert.
  • Next to no fast food

I’m not religious about it, but I’m feeling better after a week of it. Haven’t had a chance to hit the scale, but I think it’ll be a pound or so.

And the run? Well, it was the first “Run Less, Run Faster” workout in preparation for the Oklahoma City marathon. Mile repeats – 10 minutes warmup, 3×1600 repeats with 1 minute rest, and 10 minutes cooldown. I did it, more or less, but it was probably closer to being 3×1400 repeats with about 3 minutes recovery between them.

But the run felt good, and I man, I’ve had some endorphins working at the end. Yeah, this running and eating well is good stuff.

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let your Kids Do

I caught this on TED Talks (a feed to which to subscribe if there ever was one). It’s 10 minutes, but it’s completely worth watching. (After you read the post)

The 5 things?

  1. Play with fire
  2. Play with knives/Own a pocket knife
  3. Throw a spear
  4. Deconstruct Appliances
  5. Break the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
  6. Drive a Car

“But, you know, they’re young, they heal fast”

I would (and intend to) add

  • Ride a bike in traffic
  • Sail a boat/paddle a canoe
  • Kill, clean, and eat an animal (or a fish)

What would you add?


Dave, from EagerFeet points out that getting lost is a wonderful life skill, too. The lesson to be taken from getting lost being: “(H)onestly, how lost could we be?”

So Many Answers

David over at “Adventures in the Thin Trade” has some interesting questions:

1. So if you are someone who likes to run with headphones/earbuds, do you like to race with them too?

Yes – helps me focus, helps me concentrate, and gives me somewhere to go when I’m pushing hard other than that dark “Man, this really sucks” place.

2. If you like to race with headphones and had a free entry into the Minneapolis Twin Cities Marathon would you race? Headphones are forbidden on the course and those confirmed to have used them (photos/videos) will be disqualified.

Not just yes, but heck yes. I’m actually tempted to see exactly how many races I can register for and get disqualified from for wearing headphones. The rule they use to ban headphones (USATF Rule 144.3.(b)) should also disqualify folks for things like GPS and heart rate monitors, but I don’t hear people getting kicked out for them. The rule used isn’t a safety rule.

3. Do you think wearing headphones is a safety hazard?

4. Do you think headphones are less of a hazard in a controlled route race?

On a closed course? Probably less of a safety hazard than a live band or a water stop.

On an open road? It depends. I try to keep the volume low enough that I can hear most traffic over whatever I’m listening to.

5. Do you find those who wear headphones to be a hazard to you on the course/road?

Nope. No more than folks who walk through water stops, or stop to tie shoes, or who fumble around with those freaky looking gel belts, etc…

6. Spirit of the Marathon is screening in theatres all over America on January 24. Are you planning to go? Is it sold out yet where you are?

7. Have you ever heard of a one-time-only screening of a film before? Unusual to me.

No, dunno, no.

8. Have you ever seen a running watch that gives you an air temperature reading? That would be cool

.Or hot, depending on what kind of a day it was.

Oh, and I gotta brag on my Alma Mater again – we just got mentioned during the National Championships, something that’s never happened before, and not likely to happen again, due to our being DIII:

RBF Upgrade

Hey, boys and girls – I’m rarely a shill, but I’ll be one for Mark Iocelli, as he’s the hippest guy ever to wear a skirt. So, help a brother out, and check out the updated CompleteRunning. I cannot say enough about how much Mark’s inspired me to keep running since I started this blog way back in 2004.

Most people around here know about the Running Blog Family Directory (RBF) – the web’s most ginormous list of running blogs. Until yesterday, the RBF was a one trick pony – it was just a big ol’ list. Well, the RBF just went through a huge upgrade. It’s now search-able in a big, big way. You can now search for blogs by:

  • Location (city/town/province/state/country)
  • Gender
  • Favorite Distance to Race
  • Ability
  • Tags/Key Words

And, much more! But, we need your help to realize the RBFs full potential. Why? Because, right now, we have over 1600 links in the RBF that don’t contain things like:

  • Location (city/town/province/state/country)
  • Gender
  • Favorite Distance to Race
  • Ability
  • Tags/Key Words

So we’re asking every blogger (you!) to submit a new listing for their blog. Don’t worry about the old duplicate – we’ll remove that. By signing up again, you’ll make it easier for people to find you. That’s when the RBF will really rock! So get on the RBF train and sign up (again!) today!

So, go check it out!

8 for ’08

Missy and I started off the year right – 8 miles on New Year’s morning. She took it easy on me, and we both finished together. Even though she has to sandbag for me now, I still LOVE running with my blushing bride.

Sunday was 4 miles – early. Believe it or not, I made it out of bed to enjoy some “warm” weather. Funny how high 30’s can make everything better after some single-digits.

Lastly, I’m still on the Nike+ bandwagon, and am using the “resolutions” for this year. I’m targeting 700 miles for the year, with 70 miles for January.

Races? I’m running the OK City Marathon at the end of April, and registering for the NYC Lottery. My fall fall-back is going to be the Hartford Marathon. And, as always, the highlight of my year will be the New Haven 20K on Labor Day.

Missy’s targeting the RunVermont Marathon, and the boys and I are looking forward to Memorial Day in the mountains. She’s also looking at the San Antonio Marathon,

So, life is good, hope everyone’s on track for ’08, and keeping warm.