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BANGLE

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BANGLE last won the day on June 15

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About BANGLE

  • Birthday 04/10/1962

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  1. BANGLE

    Devil on the Divide

    Wow! Way to conquer that beast. Winner!
  2. BANGLE

    Last Covid Era Entry

    Tomorrow California opens up. I'm calling it VC day (Victory over Covid). It's been 15 months where our lives changed in many, many ways. But this is a running blog, so I'll just focus on that. The biggest change was the loss of in-person racing. I still ran. Even more than normal, actually. Last year was a record high for mileage. With no vacations, no work (I quit uber driving), no going out anywhere, the highlight of my calendar was my running schedule. So I stepped up to 5 days a week and maintained it for most of the last year. There were a few virtual races, but those were really just fast workouts. Without races to look forward to, training got a little bit monotonous. I was avoiding the beach paths because of crowds, and because I didn't want to run with a mask, so the alternate routes on streets were, shall we say, less inspiring. My running group stopped all regular workouts for about a year. Finally, some of us started regrouping on Saturdays for long runs a few months ago. Official group runs just started in May with Long run Saturdays and Monday tempos. The track is still closed but we hope to be back to real speedwork in the next few weeks, now that school is over. It was great to get back to running with friends in the last month. I don't mind running alone, but the group runs are a lot easier to get excited about. And now racing is coming back! The July 4th 5K is on with no restrictions, so I will be out there suffering with a few thousand others just like normal. Later this year I'm excited to do the Chicago marathon in October, a local half marathon in November, and another half in Rehoboth in December. So it feels like a new day is dawning. I'm happy to be healthy and running well (although not as fast as I used to be - damn aging). But I do have one more story to tell from the past year. In February I got a message from a running friend that there was a group she knew looking for volunteer coach/runners. The group is called Strides In Recovery, and they work with recovery centers for people getting over addictions. They set up regular runs to motivate people to stay healthy, set goals, etc. I got set up with a place called Beacon House that has maybe 60 men in various stages of recovery. The running group was 5-10 guys (it varied) and I ran with them every Tuesday. We were training for a half marathon in May. Most of these guys were not athletes and had never run except maybe for other sports or military. They were coming from poverty, from prison, from heroin addictions, you name it - lots of sad stories. But most were dedicated and so, so positive and grateful. We would run 3-4 miles. Some guys would walk about half of it. Some were faster than me, most were slower. But they kept at it and started improving. The runs got longer. They were running 3 days a week and for the last six weeks I joined them on their Saturday long runs as well. Those built up to 12 miles. It was impressive to watch them keep gutting through those long ones. Many were doing 10-12 minute miles but they kept plugging. Sometimes I would hear a little of a life story, like "I used to have a big house like that and a family. Before I drank it all away...". Or The guy who said he was 50, but really only 33 because the 17 years in prison don't count. But usually we just ran or talked running. So we made it to race day. Due to Covid it was just a private unofficial race, 13.1 miles measured by MapMyRun that ran along the Palos Verdes coast and finished at Beacon House. The guys got vanned over to the start, and I met them there along with my fabulous support crew. We were also joined by the Skid Row Marathon group of about 30 runners and a few other friends, so there were maybe 60 runners altogether. Skid Row Marathon is a movie you should watch on Amazon Prime. It is led by a running judge who trains with actual skid row residents in downtown LA. I was pleased and excited to meet the judge and we chatted before the race. My running buddy Bart also joined so I had someone to run with (and race!). I planned to go out conservatively, but I still wanted to throw down a decent time on this hilly course. I also hoped to "inspire" my guys by catching and passing the fast ones. So after a few little speeches, we just started heading on to the course. No start line, no gun, not even a "Go!". Of course I used my Garmin, but there was no official times or places. As expected, most of the guys went out too fast, so I spent the first few miles catching the slower ones and encouraging them as Bart and I went by. "Long way to go! Relax and just run." DW took lots of pictures which we later sent to Beacon House and they printed them out for the guys. Here are Bart and I in mile 3. . I eventually did manage to catch all my guys, the last in mile ten. Forty years of race experience counts for something. I also pulled away from Bart at about mile 9 on a big downhill and managed to beat him by a minute. It was a good hard run. My time was 1:46:27, but it was a little short (I had 12.96 miles). No matter. It was all about seeing all the other guys finish their first half marathon (See photos) We hung around the finish for an hour as everyone got to the finish. It was joyous and inspiring and heart-warming. Three months ago these guys probably couldn't imagine doing 13 miles. But hard work, commitment and dedication got them there. Good lessons for guys going through recovery, and something positive to hang on to. Since then we have restarted the weekly runs and added 6-8 new guys starting from scratch, as well as retaining some of the "veterans". It's a great program that I am proud to be part of.
  3. Must have been nice to get out there, despite the rain! Still no races at all around here for the foreseeable future. Congrats! Love the medal.
  4. BANGLE

    Confident

    I'm confident you will have an excellent race.
  5. BANGLE

    Homesick

    Well I got fired.
  6. BANGLE

    St. Patrick's Day 5k RR

    Trailing that bike sounds fun! Reminds me of the tiny race I ran where I was leading and the bike took a wrong turn and I followed and ended up running a 1.6 mile 5k...
  7. That's pretty amazing all around! Congrats!
  8. BANGLE

    There's always more to come.

    I always wonder how much to blame on just aging. But with your Covid history, that certainly adds something to think about. These long hauler cases are sad and very strange. Keep at it.
  9. BANGLE

    Virtually the Same

    Hey there. It's been over six months since I've felt like I had anything good to write about. But I'm back. Still running. More than ever actually. Last year I ran 1,647 miles which is a 40-year high. That was made possible by the lack of any significant injuries, as well as the lack of tapering or downtime for racing! I spent the summer thinking (foolishly) I was training for a Fall marathon, but when that went away I just kept putting in miles at a slightly lower rate. So it turned out to be a good year despite the lack of races and race road trips (after Atlanta anyway). I did manage to add a few rows to my racing tab on the spreadsheet; Four "virtual" races which were really just glorified time trials, but I'm counting them. They were all my local traditional races that I do every year. I ran them all on the traditional start date and time and on the actual course. And I pushed as hard as I could manage without any one to chase or any results to motivate me. July 4th I did a 5K in 22:23 which was a minute slower than last year but a solid effort. There were a handful of others on the course at about the same time doing the same thing. In October I did the local 10K, and about a dozen people were there at the start and even more hanging at the finish after maneuvering the course.48:46 was a good 3-4 minutes slower than I figured to be capable of. It was more of a tempo run than a race. But fun to see some other runners. Thanksgiving I did the Turkey Trot 3 mile in 22:20 and again there were a few others walking and jogging the course. None of these had official timers, but they all had virtual race options. I refuse to pay $30 just for a t-shirt so I was a virtual bandit, guilt-free because I wasn't using up any race resources like water or or food or police, because there were none of those things. The fourth race actually had results. It was a new idea. A course was mapped out on the beach bike path and added to Strava. To race, one just had to do that course (marked on the path as well) any time in a 7-day window, and then upload your results to Strava. I did pay for that one, because it supported the high school cross country program, and they had come cool Covid medals. It was a 5K in 22:14 which got me 32nd place. So that brings me to this week, when I virtually bandited our Super Bowl 10K, the race which I have run more than any other. This would be the 25th time over the past 36 years. It figured to be like the others but I invited my friend and rival to join and he surprised me by accepting on Saturday night. So now it was a real race! No more being happy running sub-8 miles and giving an "honest" effort. No, I would need to try and beat this guy. He usually beats me by very small margins but we are about even, and I think I am in better shape at the moment. He also brought his 19-year old daughter who I have ran with before and is about the same speed. I jogged down to the start and found some other runners from our club who had started earlier and were just finishing. Got to chat a little. It was all the fast old guys that would have beat me anyway so I'm glad I wasn't aware of their race. I would have been dead last. So anyway, we waited for a green light at one of the few intersections at the start and off we went. My rival, B, went out fast, as expected. He always goes out fast and tries to hang on. I usually catch up to him in the second half. He mocks my negative splits like they are a bad thing - silly man. So when my pace showed 7:02 in the first 100 yards I had to let him slip ahead and I eased back. Young C stayed with me and we ran side-by-side almost the whole race. She runs track and CC and sensibly understands the whole negative split concept. My A goal (besides beating B) was sub 7:30 pace and sub-47. But I wasn't sure I was capable as I haven't run that fast for that long in 18 months. My "plan" was maybe 7:50 first mile and work it down to sub 7:30 by mile 3. So B is pulling away from us and we are trucking along at a hard pace just to stay close. We hit mile 1 in 7:24 (with uphill) and B is maybe 40 yards ahead. At this point he looks back, unsure of a turn. Ha! He has only run this race once or twice and doesn't know the course! Advantage me. I shout some directions to him, but it costs him a few seconds anyway on about four turns. Mile two we are maintaining pace and he isn't getting too far ahead. Mile two is 7:30 with more hill and he is 50-60 yards ahead. Mile three is straight and slightly down and usually where I start to pick it up. Sure enough, he starts to come back to us. I am working pretty damn hard though. Feels pretty much like a normal race; Locked in on someone to catch. On the edge of my body's limits. (My HR averaged 178 for the race and was about 180 or more the last 4 miles) Mile 3 is 7:20 and he is 20 yards ahead. One last confusing turn that he misses by a few steps and we catch him on the corner. My racer instinct keeps the foot on the gas to keep him from hanging on. Sure enough, he has dropped back and a block later I turn to look and he is a good 20 yards back. Beaten. I know that it is virtually impossible to come back from that but I need to keep the pressure on anyway. I don't want a last mile surprise. But the adrenaline of the chase is gone and that little voice in my head says "It's OK to slow down now, the race is won". But I tell him to shut up. Mile 4 is 7:11, but now there are more hills ahead. Still I feel pretty good and I have C with me which helps. We keep pushing and mile 5 is 7:23. One more look and B is out of sight. So I just need to get to the finish and post a good time. I am breathing pretty hard by now and Mile 6 has the nasty steep hill which always crushes me. I slow to a crawl (9 min pace?) to get over it and C pulls ahead with her young lungs and legs, damn her. But I don't care if she beats me. I get to the final half mile downhill and regain life and crank it up. I get mile 6 down to 7:27, and cover the last .21 at 6:24 pace, nearly catching the whippersnapper. I'm in at 45:38, and only 3 seconds off my time from two years ago. Phew! Quite happy with that. We wait and wait and finally C calls her Dad. Apparently his calf was cramping so he walked it in. But he acknowledged that I had him beat well before that. Victory is sweet. All day long I felt good - not just the endorphins, but just that great feeling of racing again, putting it all out there and reaching a goal and exceeding expectations. It's Monday night and I'm still smiling. Life is good.
  10. Nice work! I had my own rust buster yesterday and know what you mean about feeling good to get out there again. No mention of masks or distancing protocol. Was there any? It's a bit shocking to see that picture now with so many so close together.
  11. BANGLE

    not running & being

    My first race was also a 5 miler in 34 and change. 1977. Heavy and sad thoughts. Surely there are other things worth breathing for. Like writing, which certainly seems to be a passion for you. I'm in the watch football and eat ice cream camp. Or maybe cookies or pizza. Been thinking about when I'll stop running. Or if. I imagine even walking a 5K at 95 might still be bliss-inducing. We'll see.
  12. BANGLE

    2021

    Root canals are no problem. My three were easy. Good luck and happy new year!
  13. It has been dying for years although there are certainly more readers than writers. Covid definitely hurt because races are the reason for a great many posts. Without races, I find little to write about. Once races return though, I fear we will still only have a handful of people posting. Many writers post elsewhere and the rest of us can certainly set up another location to write on and share that on Loopville for the interested readers. So I vote to kill it. It is depressing to check it (and I still check it almost daily) and find nothing new. Merry Christmas! Ebenezer
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