Category Archives: Run

run, run, run, run, run

Looks to have paid off, baby. This weekend was drill again, and the bi-annual (semi-annual, I always get those confused; it’s the one that’s twice a year) PRT. Pushups and Situps were an improvement over last time, but nothing really worth writing home about.

The mile and a half run, however, was good. 10:30 – like I said, good, not great. 7 minute miles, which is not so bad. The part that shocked me, though, was that I finished fastest of the other guys running, two of whom are pretty quick. We were on the indoor track, so it was 11 and a half laps (12 times over the finish line). I did the first 9 with my iPod, which in hindsight may have been a mistake – think I could have broken 10 minutes if I were working both arms. Oh, and the bruised heel was acting up this morning, but it was pretty much minor. I think not running this week was actually a good thing…

Regardless, this was a better time than I’ve gotten in a long while. This running stuff might be working.

Blah.

Seriously, though – the super cross effort I’ve been doing for the last three weeks hasn’t been doing it for me, so I think I’m revising – I’m going back to the 20 miles/week base for a while, with random cycling/swimming thrown in. Need to focus, and bouncing around isn’t doing it for me.

So, the last three weeks didn’t happen. Or, they did, but they’re a lesson learned.

Chris’ challenge? I’ve been playing hoops again.

Good Friday

Great Friday, actually, after my earlier rant…

I’m doing taxes this week, so will not be commenting much. I will still be reading y’all’s stuff – it keeps me going.

Anyhoo, after griping here Friday morning, and raining on Chris’ parade, I got off my butt and decided to talke a long lunch Friday, said “Snot be darned”, and hied hither to the pool. 1700 meters, felt great.

Then, I drove over to the Copp Family Property town park, parked the car, and hopped on the bike. 14 miles @ 15 MPH average, 56 minutes. THEN I strapped on the sneakers and ran a quick three miles. OK, ran a quick first mile, then slogged through two more.

I dunno, I guess spring was in the air…

The swim was great. I have no idea what my swimming pace is. As far as how have I been working on form – I’ve been using two guiding principles: First, if you look at critters that swim, usually they do it without making much of a rucus at the air-water interface. I suppose there’s some stealth involved, but my biggest guess is that splashing is pretty darn inefficient. Some energy that could go to pushing a body through water must go to making sound and displacing water vigorously enough to break surface tension and arc the water through the air. The second is that the motion needs to feel, well, fluid. I’ve scanned a couple books on swimming, and those two principles seem to bear out.

The bike ride: 15 MPH – Honestly, I’m a little disappointed. I thought I could push out at least a 16 MPH ride. BUT, I was holding back a bit since I wanted to at least run a little bit, and I intentionally hit a couple of pretty long climbs. For a first real ride of the season, I’m not entirely upset.

The run was much better than I’d expected after swimming and cycling. Other than your core, the three sports do work drastically different muscle groups. First mile was in the 7:30 range, second in the 8:30, and last in the 9:30 range, so I was clearly fading fast.

Saturday and Sunday were both yard work and family days. I’d been late at the office a couple of nights last week, so rather than carving time for working out, the boys and I spent a bunch of time in the yard, on the swingset, laying down lime and fertilizer, and clearing brush.

So Close

Today was supposed to be a swim day. But, the base pool was closed, and I missed the morning session at the Y. Flexibility being the name of the game, I went and ran Bluff Point on my way home from work. And it was almost, but not quite, a good run. Which has me completely pumped for my next running day (Thursday – it’s a dual sport day, so I fully expect to die.). I have so missed the fabled runner’s high during the last couple weeks of difficulty.

There were moments during the run when I felt as if I could potentially nudge over the edge and into endorphin fueled-bliss, but I just couldn’t quite get there. My guess is that it’s the pseudo cold I’ve had since Sunday (probably because I didn’t wear a hat on Saturday’s ride) holding me back. The run in and of itself was pretty decent. The paths were all solid but not frozen hard, the temperature was tolerable without a jacket, and it wasn’t raining, though it was threatening.

While I haven’t investigated any of the funky running methods other than the bit I heard on NPR about Chi Running, I have been working a bunch more on smoothing out my form. Dianna talked about sucking in one’s butt today, and Mark’s going crazy with the stuff, but I’ve got the old trial and error (mostly error) working for me.

On Saturday while riding, I noticed that my pedaling style had completely and totally gone to crap over the winter. I was stomping each pedal stroke down into the bottom of the crank arc and jerking each one up into the top rather than pushing down, scraping the mud off at the bottom, pulling up, and kicking forward like I do when I’ve been riding for a while. While running today, I realized that I’d been doing much the same thing running lately – kicking out the front foot, striking with my heel and knee locked, then lurching up as my extended leg scribed an arc under my hips lifting a (decreasing but) sizeable mass up about 4 inches, then pushing off a little bit so I could get the next leg extended in front of me.

After one of my walk breaks today, I concentrated on smoothing out my stride. Rather than waiting for my foot to strike earth, I kept each stride consistent, pulling my foot back at the same point in each step regardless of the ground condition. I would then count on the earth reaching up to catch my foot and allow me to extend behind me and push off, at the same time I was beginning my stride, sure that the earth would catch my stride.

The other observation I had today came from watching a rabbit I’d scared (tell me you wouldn’t run, too, if you had a red-faced, puffing, semi-overweight white boy bearing down on you) take off into the bushes. Once she’d come up to speed, her “cruising” pace looked completely relaxed. Sure, there was extreme effort and power when her furry feet contacted the ground, but while she was airborne mid-stride, she was relaxed. Confident, I’m sure, that the ground would rise up to meet her feet.

By the last mile, I’d gotten closer to that spot at which running approximates flying. Like I said, I didn’t quite get there, but I was close.

There’s always next time.

New place to trail run

Since I’m working on salvaging the week, much like David insisted, I got my butt out of bed this morning and went to check out the Copp Family Property, a new-ish Town of Groton park. And I liked it.

From the street, it doesn’t look like much, just a 20 car gravel parking lot and a pretty nice wooden and gilt sign. But as a place to run, it is pretty good. I didn’t map it with the forerunner, but I was out for about 40 minutes and didn’t overlap much, and don’t think I took all the branches. The trails weren’t smooth or well graded, but they weren’t completely full of ruts either. I was happy.

Tomorrow’s the boy’s fifth birthday – my lovely wife is kind of worked up about having the party at our house. But I think it’ll be all right. We’re also going to my company’s annual party that evening, so sneaking out for a run or bike will be tough. But I will do it.

Speaking of the bike – I dropped my Ultegra wheels and my lovely wife’s hybrid wheels off at the shop to get trued. On the way back, I saw the sweeper trucks out beginning to pull the sand off of the road for the summer. I cannot wait to get back on the bike…

Finish strong

Sometimes, at least.

It’s beginning to look like this year’s first training cycle is going to finish on schedule, on track. Which is an accomplishment, in and of itself. I’ll be honest, it’s the first program I’ve finished. While I stuck with Galloway’s 26 week marathon prep longer pre-kid, I didn’t come close to finishing it. So I’ve got that going for me.

The last two days have kicked my butt mentally and physically. Mentally – yesterday, my mother-in-law was flying up to spend her spring break playing with her grandkids. Yippee. It was going to work out gang-busters: I’d be able to pick her up at the airport on my way home from work, no problem. So I had been planning on finishing up kind of early and getting in an afternoon run. Yep, I knew that there was a cold front expected to blow through, but how bad could it be?

Well, y’know on those bags of frozen veggies, how they’re always bragging about “flash-freezing”? Rhode Island did that Tuesday afternoon. It’d been high 30’s and rainy all day, but right about 4:15, the temperature dropped straight through to like 15 in the space of minutes. The roads were quite literally sheets of ice, and the wind picked up to well over 30 knots (and that’s being extremely conservative). So I bagged on runnning and had supper with a friend while waiting for news from Missy’s mom. Eventually her flight got through, and we left TF Green about midnight, and were home well after 1 AM.

This morning – slept in a bit, worked about a half day, and knocked out six, yep 6 miles on the trails in Arcadia State Park. Great run, but I’m beat. We left the kids with my wonderful mother-in-law (honestly, she’s great) and headed down to the monthly trivia night at the Harp and Hound, a 19th century pub downtown. Our team came in a strong second out of about 15 teams on the strength of a round of baby animal names (Guess there weren’t a whole lot of other folks in the place with small kids at home), but ended up getting screwed by a lack of knowledge of Oscar trivia.

The other demon I’ve been fighting is my iBook. It got bit by the dreaded logic board bug. Apple’s going to fix it, but I’ve been struggling to back up pictures, etc. I think it’s done, but the lesson learned is that if you’re going to encrypt everything on your hard drive, back it up in the clear. Stupid paranoia…

So sorry I haven’t made the rounds today. Might not until Friday or Saturday.

Back on track

No bonus mileage this week, but I’m back on track running wise. No really noteworthy runs, but somehow I’m pleased with muddling through.

The sun may be a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is made into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees, but it didn’t make much of a difference today. Plus, it was thinking about snowing all day, so the air was heavy with humidity. Yep, cold and humid, so I banged out my three miles for the end of the week on the treadmill. 9 minute pace. Dunno why, but lately I’ve felt a lot slower on the ‘mill than on the roads. But it’s all good. Hopefully, I can get the runner’s high kicking again, soon.

First day of Paris-Nice was just a 4 Km time-trial prologue. Frankly, (and I say this as a cycling fan) individual time trials bore the snot out of me. Yes, there’s the race against the clock, and the thrill of watching finely tuned athletes on the verge of greatness, but time trial stages always leave me cold. There was Bobbke’s kid though. And it was actual cycling on US TV, so I’m there.

Next weekend? Selection Sunday…

Five Miles

Did it today. Didn’t feel great, didn’t feel bad. Average pace was 8:14. Last mile was 7:33.

So a large part of the good but not great run may have been that I was pushing myself pretty hard for the first time in a couple of weeks. We’ll see how the legs feel during tomorrow’s three miles.

The forerunner came in great today. I was able to do side streets and such and end up with exactly the mileage I was shooting for.

It’s baaack…

The iPod, that is. Turns out there was nothing to lick. Things learned in the repair:

1. The LCD is pretty well self contained.
2. The Battery is taped to the front shell, which will make replacing it a bear.
3. The printed circuit board (PCB) is darn flimsy, unlike one of the boards you Windows types must add to make your computers useable.
4. A guitar pick makes a fine tool for opening the case.
5. To loosten the ribbon cable connecting the screen to the PCB, you lift up on the black tab at the back, the pull gently on the cable to remove. Likewise for the ribbon cable connecting the click-wheel ™ to the PCB.
6. Apple must use child labor in Thailand to put these puppies together. Criminey. Seriously – the innards are tiny.
7. The one tool that you need but might not have is a frickin’ miniscule Torx head driver. I think it’s like a T-6 or something. Ridiculous.

In any case, the iPod is functional again. It didn’t look like it’d been damaged beyond the screen. Will post inside pictures later. Many thanks to Jon and his brother for the cautionary words.

Miscellany:
– Tim Horton’s – There was a family donut chain up here, Bess Eaton, that went bankrupt about the same time Wendy’s bought the rights to Tim’s here in the States (not sure if they own it up in the land of the ice and snow from where the midnight howls and the north wind blows, and blows, and blows). Wendy’s saw an opportunity and snatched up a bunch of property and pretty well trained workforce for a song. And I finally found a donut shop I like. (One way I know I’ll never really be a Yankee is that I think Dunkin Donuts coffee is about the nastiest swill I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve drank cajun chicory coffee, Navy coffee, etc). Tim’s coffee is the bomb. And their donuts and baked goods are great. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think the secret is that they don’t use quite so much sugar in their recipes. They don’t skimp by a long shot, but it’s not oppressively sweet.

2. Tim Horton’s Chocolate Cake Donuts are surpassed only by their chocolate old-fashioned glazed donuts.

3. I’m all up on dislikin’ wind again after yesterday’s attempt at reconciliation.

Work went long again today, so I missed running outside, but even worse I missed bedtime by about 10 minutes. For the baby, that’s the same as missing it by hours, but the boy was still singing softly to himself. Grrr. It’s drill weekend, too, so I miss out on cooking Saturday and Sunday breakfast. We do get to have pizza night, though.

4 miles on the treadmill, 9 minute average pace. The first three miles stank, but something clicked for the last mile, and my legs finally realized I wasn’t giving up after this illness. I’m looking forward to 6 miles tomorrow. Unless it’s only 5 on the schedule.

21 April 2004

Dragged myself out of bed early enough this morning to hit the road at about 0540. Made it to Newport in time to hit the road for about a 4 miler. If I’m going to get serious about running again, I need to start timing and measuring the runs, but for this summer, I think I may just take it as it comes.

That is, of course, if my application to run in the NYC Marathon gets declined. If it’s approved – well, then I’m in a world of hurt.