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Everything posted by Dave

  1. This many races would make my head spin.
  2. The highlight of this trip of course was the wedding, but since there ended up being some interesting adventures besides that, it seems a shame to ignore all of it. There’s a ton of stuff from the last two weeks and just a little running. Feel free to skip whatever you like. A few weeks ago I had nearly reached my limit with Mrs. Dave’s mother of the bride crises. No way could I tell her to just chill the heck out, whether I agreed with her or not. Nor could I bring myself to give Big Mac a stern lecture about doing things her mom’s way. So, I was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. In desperation, I called out the big guns - a couple of very close, very dear friends who I knew would be able to talk her down from the edge of the cliff - and asked them to weigh in on the wisdom of battling over things like the wording of invitations, and also giving assurance, that everything would work out in the end and it would be a lovely, beautiful wedding and everyone who attended would only remember how beautiful the bride was. They came through with flying colors, despite dealing with their own issues because they’re awesome like that. There was still concern over T-Rex’s dress, but that resolved itself with a week to go, so it seemed that we’d survived the worst. Unfortunately, my father-in-law (who was 88 and hadn’t been doing well for several years) took a downturn the week before the wedding, throwing another little monkey wrench into the works. I don’t mean to make light of his condition, but he had developed a pattern of falling into a health crisis for most of the grandchildren’s weddings. One time he tore a muscle trying to unclog the toilet and missed one. That story will live on forever. This time, he experienced severe pain and spent 3 days in the hospital, coming home just a few days before on home hospice. They had found a spot of cancer last year and because of his age and other issues had decided not to treat at the time. This time tests showed it had spread significantly (as expected), and it seemed the end was near. How near, no one could say - days, weeks, months. But, the family soldiered on, caring for him while preparations continued. FIL was not expected to attend, and we had a home nurse called in to be with him, with prayers that he would last at least through the day. True to my word, I did not run from Thursday when we left until Monday following the wedding. I thought about it every day, but never out loud. So proud. One of the early dates the Mac and Ben had was at a tiny hole-in-the-wall Italian place called Zouave near the University of Washington campus. They were walking past it and looked in the door, more out of curiosity than anything. It appeared to be closed, but the owner/chef saw them, asked them in and served them himself. Who does that? Anyway, the night before the wedding they took his parents and us there. It was pretty amazing food. The owner was overjoyed to see them and, after a round of hugs, gave them free dessert and a bottle of wine (which they don’t drink, but it seemed a shame to refuse - they’ll find it an appropriate gift someday I’m sure). Ben pointed out the place on the other side of the restaurant where they’d sat that first time and informed us that it was there when he’d known he was going to marry her. Wedding day came and almost everything went perfectly. Mac left her earrings at her apartment, but the brothers were staying there and brought them in plenty of time. In our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - we’ve been encouraged to use that whole, awkward mouthful - most are more familiar with the term “Mormon” of course), the preferred marriage is performed in our temples. We believe it gives a more permanent (eternal) stamp of divine approval. They’re generally small affairs with 20-40 close family and friends. We were on the high side of that. It was quiet and spiritual, just the way we like it. For the record, I did not cry (much). It had been a rainy morning - normal for April in the PNW - but by the time we went outside, it had stopped and stayed dry the rest of the day. Another little wedding weekend miracle. After a few pictures, the party moved to Anthony’s Pier 66. This place was as ostentatious as Zouave’s was understated. The food was just as good. Instead of a big reception, they had chosen to host a luncheon for the wedding party plus another 30 or so. (The real beauty of this arrangement was the zero amount of responsibility for setup and clean up for the family.) Despite the clouds that were still around, the view of Puget Sound was gorgeous. There was music, childhood slides of the bride and groom. Very relaxed, very casual. We toasted the new Mr. and Mrs. I danced with the bride. I may have cried a little. And then they were gone. They stopped on their way out of town and spent a few minutes with her grandfather, who was still alert enough to say “hello” and wish them a wonderful life. The wedding business properly disposed of, we took Sunday to recoup, look after FIL, and get ready for phase two of this trip. Also, I went for a run. Was going to go for 10, but sort of wanted to get as far as Green Lake. That ended up being an extra mile one way, so it was 12 miles. Missing half of the previous week and expecting to miss at least a couple of days that week, I decided it was fine. The first ten were pretty nice, especially when I picked up a running buddy at about mile 3. We ran to the lake at about 8 minute pace (dropping 100 feet per mile), talking about racing and training and stuff (he’s a tri-athlete but is doing more trail ultras lately). He broke off after that to go home and I climbed the 100 feet per mile back. The last two miles were a challenge. I also fixed the gutters on their house. While on the roof, I saw that the gutters needed a good cleaning. How does one live in Seattle and not take care of your gutters? There was an inch or more of leaves and gunk all the way around. What I’d figured to be a half hour of repair turned into 3 hours of sliding along on my touche, reaching in and tossing handfuls of the stuff onto the ground. There was 40 feet or so of TV cable running along the gutter. I kept wondering why they’d put it there since there wasn’t a TV on that side of the house. When I reached the end of the cable I discovered where they’d previously had an antenna attached to the roof. They had just left the cables there, through at least three changes of cable and satellite dish providers - who knows how many years? I took it down. Phase 2 was a short hop to Boise (uber-cheap tickets on Alaska Airlines) and a rental car to Idaho Falls to visit my dad. He’s 86. Considerable slower than he used to be, but still mentally sharp and as ornery as ever. Originally, this was also for T-Rex to visit with a “friend”. That plan had a hiccup when he announced that he had a serious girlfriend, but the tickets were already bought, so we just shifted the focus to grandpa. She’d also left most of her summer clothing at school before we decided that she needed to stay home this until fall. I had another run the next morning (Wednesday). Nine miles. I considered making it a tempo, but I wasn’t sure about how I’d do at 4,700 feet above sea level, and a couple of miles out it was hilly, so I just ran. It was chilly but with no humidity, shorts and double shirts with gloves was plenty warm. Had some stomach issues in mile 5, desperately enough that I tried stopping at a farm house. I figured at 8:00 am, someone would be up. I guess they much have been already out working because no one answered the door. Tried a couple more over the next mile (houses were all about ¼ mile apart, btw) with no success. No POP, no gas station, no forest, no hotel - literally, no place to go. Luckily, the urge subsided and I was able to make it back unsullied. 8:30-8:45 pace for most of it, despite the door knocking and the wind in my face on the way back. A little slower than most of my runs lately. Not bad. Here’s a thing about small town Idaho. Half of T’s clothes were in storage at her dorm, the other half was at my brother’s house. I called him on our way (about a half hour from Dad’s) to make sure someone would be home. “Um, no. we’re in Utah this week.” I asked him if there was a way to get into the house to get the clothes. “Just open the door. It’s open.” 250 miles away. For a week. “It’s open.” Anyway, about halfway between Dad’s and Rexburg, Mrs. Dave’s phone rang. Her dad had passed away just then. It was not a shock, like I mentioned before. His illness and dementia had been difficult for the family for several years, as it was for him. There was sadness of course, but also relief, and peace. Ever practical, Mrs. Dave took a few minutes to discuss and arrange with her mother and sister, then urged us to keep going with our plans. There was much more than I’ve put down here, but this is enough for now. T-Rex had done a great job putting her things together and it was a piece of cake getting what we wanted out and into our extra suitcase. We bought a few things for dinner later (Dad doesn’t cook much) and dropped her off to visit with the boy (the same one - officially now “just a friend”). We grabbed a sandwich while Mrs. Dave continued her discussions with her family about arrangements for their dad. The funeral wouldn’t be until the 27th, so we would finish our trip, go home to Michigan and then return for it. Next morning (Thursday) I went into town. I’ve always headed west and up into the hills before from Dad’s house, but I was still worried about the altitude and since I’d spent the previous morning climbing wanted to have a break. Was hoping to get to the downtown are, but by five miles I wasn’t quite there. Next trip to Idaho maybe. The advantage of running through miles of retail is plenty of opportunity to stop and evacuate, which I needed at mile 4. Having to pit stop on what seems like every single run is annoying. 8:20-8:35. Last year Dad bought a 1986 Olds 442. He’s pretty proud of it. As far as I’m concerned, the 80s-90s muscle cars are overrated, but we all went for a ride a spent an hour at the Idaho Potato Museum. Did you know the average American eats 120 pounds of potatoes a year? Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers in her hair? Neither did I. Another thing about small town Idaho is that airlines aren’t very keen on flying there. Hence the Seattle-Boise and rental car arrangement. Flying directly to IF would have been crazy expensive. Our other reasonable option was flying to SLC and renting the car from there - about the same distance from IF as Boise. Anyway, the flight home from Boise was at 6:00 AM, so we drove the four hours that night, snoozed at a rest stop outside of town and got to the airport just after they opened for the day (BOI is not a 24 hour operation). Fun times with a 3 hour layover in Denver, getting into Detroit at 5:00 PM. Skipped the Friday run after traveling all day, and got up on Saturday to an all day rain forecast. This was technically a cutback week, but after missing my long run on the wedding day I wanted to get 16. But I didn’t want to run in the rain. Airplanes are germ carriers as well as people carriers and I’d just spent a long day in two that were half full of crying babies and toddlers traveling to grandma’s house for Easter. Plus remember I’ve decided not to run in bad weather this year. But it wasn’t raining yet, so I decided to break the 16 into 3 legs from the house like I used to do when I wasn’t sure I could run 16 miles all at once. 5-5-6 was the plan. Once I got going, though, 5 seemed a little short, so I went 6. Started slow, stopped (of course!) at a gas station at mile 3, finished the first leg in 52 minutes (8:40 avg). Windy, but no rain yet. Grabbed a Hammer Gel and a couple of swallows of G at the house. Those first 6 went so well I decided to do 6 for the second leg as well, thinking that if it started raining, I’d have at least 12 miles instead of 10-11. Leg 2 was 51:22 (8:34 avg). Still no rain. Felt a little creaky starting the last leg but worked it out in the first half mile and felt pretty good until the final mile, which sort of sucked. 34:12 (8:33 avg). So, the total for the 16 miles was 2:17:34, an average of 8:36 per mile. I’ve had 3:45-ish in my head lately as my target for Vermont, and this is easily in line with that. 3:45 is a 8:35 pace. Makes me wonder if I should shave another 5-10 minutes or so from that. Didn’t do much the rest of the day. Or the next. Got away with that because it was Easter Sunday. Work had a community service activity scheduled Monday, which was better than actually working. I helped assemble some new shelving for their records storage room. Destroying the old shelves was the more fun part. After that we reorganized another storage room and took a crap-ton of stuff to the dumpster. 6 easy miles in the afternoon (8:29 avg). Felt tired. Then Tempo Tuesday. This was 9 miles total with 7 at tempo pace, whatever that is. I like to think it’s near 7:30, but realistically I’m happy with 7:45. I also picked one of the more difficult routes, west into the wind and a steady climb on the way out, which would leave me gassed for the second half. I was actually kind of worried about it. 7:48, 8:11, 7:56, 8:01, 7:34, 7:43, 7:40. So, 7 miles at 7:50. Not stellar, but all things considered, close enough for this week. I’m OK with it. Today Garmin has my V02 Max at 50 and the race predictor has me with a 20:50 5K, 43:12 10K, 1:35:40 half and a 3:19 marathon. Haha. OK, time for some pics. First, the wedding. My 100% unbiased opinion is that Mac is the most adorable bride in history. These are just a few that I took with my old iPhone5. Sisters! Oh, and then there’s this from the Potato Museum. The story goes that a Hollywood columnist once said that Marilyn Monroe would look sexy even dressed in a potato sack. So her publicist had the brilliant idea to prove it. Sixty years later, I think they were right.
  3. Dave

    Last Squatch Standing

    If you're going to run in the woods, you might as well get muddy.
  4. I'm old, so maybe it just seemed fast to me. IDK if 4.5 months from injury to knocking on the OTQ door again is a long time anyway.
  5. Dave

    And Vacation Starts in 3...2...1!

    Big Mac says thanks and congrats right back at you, bride-to-be.
  6. I like that Tiger owned his mistakes. And back surgery isn’t something people normally come back from. The Masters win is as amazing as the young Tiger who won every tourney he entered. And isn’t late 30’s prime age for marathoners? You have plenty of time before you’re even close. In the meantime, you’re still pretty awesome.
  7. Your pics always look so conservative. You need to find a way to show more ponytail.
  8. All that injury period XT has really helped you come back quickly. Amazing race!
  9. Dave

    Boston 2019

    The marathon is so much a microcosm of life. Even if things aren’t going to plan, you can (and should) still enjoy the heck out of it.
  10. I'll admit to a little clock watching today, ahead of the next great western adventure. This time tomorrow I'll be on a plane, heading for Seattle to see Big Mac get married. Unlike myself, who's enjoyed watching this beautiful young woman grow up and fill the world with her music and joy, Mrs. Dave has worried and fretted that the day would never come. That may be the biggest difference between the two of us, and maybe why we've stayed together so long. Her believing that I need her to worry about all the details, and me knowing that she's probably right and that there's not likely to be anyone else on the planet willing to do it. But it's happening. Not exactly the way Mrs. Dave would like. She's always had in her mind a hundred things that are important about two people getting married and adjusting those ideas to the ones Mac and her guy have about it. Let's just say there's been some stress while the compromises were reached. But I think we're going to make it. Four more days. Several years ago I was warned that when this day came I was not allowed to even discuss running at the peril of permanent separation. So, my current plans are to take the rest of the week off. This is not ideal for my training schedule, since this is supposed to be the heart of Monster Month, but I figure since I haven't had any injuries/illnesses, I can count this as the unexpected interruption that would normally happen sometime during training. And who knows? Maybe I'll get to sneak in a run or two anyway. Next week will be more travel - sneaking over to see Dad in Idaho - but I ought to be able to put some miles in, if not a full schedule. Plus Idaho Falls is at 4,700 feet, so altitude training! So, two weeks ago things were pretty up and down. Some good runs and some not so good. A couple that started out well and finished poorly. Last week was much better. All good runs. With the sfx scare behind me and the weather getting better and better, I thought about running and not if. Except Wednesday I guess. Chilly and Windy. Like, 30 mph windy. The smart thing to do I've (finally) learned is to go easier against the wind. Besides, a long weekday run is supposed to be at an easy pace., right? Anyway, with the wind I was cruising at 8:15-ish, and 8:45-9:00 against it. No pressure. I could have stayed in the hot shower after for hours. Eight on Thursday wasn't nearly as blustery. 8:30 pace. Friday was the same pretty much, except I found myself accidentally closing in on 8:00 miles in the middle. Had to put the brakes on, since I was either going hard on Saturday or extra long. I didn't really decide that until the next morning when I left. I just wasn't feeling a pikermi effort that day. Instead, I went north, climbed some hills, found some trails and generally had an amazing 14 miles of fun, including a progressively fast three to finish - 8:37, 8:26, 7:48. Yesterday would have been six, but since I'm losing days this week I went 8. Easy out (8:30-40), fun speed coming back (8:06-23). 74 degrees. By far the warmest day this year, but didn't seem to slow me down any. Feeling fit and ready for a good Tempo Tuesday this afternoon. Have yourselves a good week, Loopsters. I know I will.
  11. Dave

    Running Is Hard

    I've pretty much given up on 5Ks.
  12. That's a whole lot of creativity. Glad to see you back. Now, let me get this straight - 10 5Ks at once - like, a 50K? Intriguing.
  13. Dave

    This is NOT a Stress Fracture!

    Here's a teaser.
  14. Last week was up and down some. After the good/bad Tempo Tuesday, I had a decent Wednesday (7), then a really good 6 miles on Thursday. There was trouble Thursday, though, because I wasn't running six miles - I was running ten. Just after six I turned into the wind for the ride home and ... BAM! Hit me like a ton of bricks. Back in mile 5 I'd passed a woman on the sidewalk, we waved and smiled. After a quarter mile or so of the struggle bus, she came past me from the other direction. She smiled and waved again, but I think my return was more of a #everythinghurtsandimdying grimace. Yeah, those last four miles sucked the big one. I thought I'd swing past and see how the new train through the woods was going. Turns out they've run a dozer through the woods but haven't made any other progress on creating a path, so it was a total mess from the recent rains. I had to walk for a quarter mile-ish, then finally abandoned the trail for a side road. My white shoes are still white, but they don't look new anymore. Then of course any bad run (even if it's only partly bad) sets the mind up for more bad things. Stepping out of the shower I felt pain along the inside of my left leg. Farther in than where I'd expect shins splints. And I haven't had shin splints since high school. So obviously it had to be a stress fracture, or at least a stress reaction. I googled a couple of things and asked Loopville. I was not encouraged. Mrs. Dave poo-poo-ed my theory. This was actually on Tuesday before the ten miler, and didn't seem to bother me when I was running or walking. In true runner fashion I decided to ignore it and hope it went away. If my Friday (6) and Saturday (15) runs were OK, I was prepared to take it seriously and count myself lucky I hadn't yet registered for Vermont. Getting ready for the six, I took a more careful look at the area and noticed some bruising. When I moved it away from the bone, the flashy part still hurt, but the bone didn't. Not sure if that's an actual medical test, but it made me think this was not a bone issue. The six went well. Fifteen on Saturday gave me 52 for the week and 167 for the month of March. That's the most in almost two years. That Saturday run was decent. I got rained on from miles 5-10, which was also when the wind was in my face and that kind of sucked. This was also opposite of my fourteen miler from two weekends before, when I started slow and finished faster. Partly because of the rain wind in the middle, and partly because the route had more elevation gain on the back half, until the last two miles. But I never felt as dead as I did on Thursday. This was just a good, long run. And with seven weeks to go, I'm feeling pretty confident. If the north Vermont weather at the end of May cooperates, I think I'll be set up for a good marathon in the 3:40-50 range. That's 2020 BQ territory and I'd be pretty happy with that (duh!). 56 miles this week, beginning with five yesterday. Felt tired, from last week I assume. No problem with the leg and the discoloration is fading, so I guess that means no sfx. This weekend was originally going to be my Pikermi tune-up race, but I couldn't find one. Now I'm debating whether to run a hard 13.1 or just have another long run - perhaps a MP test. Next week I'll be losing the back half of the week to the wedding, including a Saturday 16 miler.
  15. But how deep did you dig?
  16. Spring! Spring! Spring! I've only read The Lovely Bones from this list. Really enjoyed it. That's a ton of books for one month.
  17. Dave


    T-Rex's is not 100% settled, but Momma's OK now.
  18. Dave


    ...there will be more epic bloops. Today, though, there's an encouraging update on marathon training and that's good enough for me. For the first time in 2019, I've been able to run every single workout on every single day that I planned. Running the stairs and the band/weight workouts were OK, but ... running! Running is so, so much better. I know - I'm preaching to the choir here. Anyway, 45 miles planned, 45 miles completed. The only small compromise was the abbreviated Tuesday Tempo - 4 miles @ pace instead of 5. Wednesday through Friday were 7 - 8 - 6, all good runs. There was rain on Wednesday and driving home I was going to bail, but it had almost stopped by the time I got there, so I grabbed a hat and soldiered out. Not cold enough to make it miserable, nor warm enough to make it fun. Friday's run was interrupted with a potty stop with about 1-1/2 to go. Which reminds me that I discovered a new pitstop during that 14 miler from the weekend. There's a trio of big office buildings next to a nice restaurant (one of those with a menu I can't afford). I tried the door on the one closest to the bike path, and it was open. And so was the bathroom. On a Saturday morning! There were only two cars in the lot, so it looks like this is a place I can count on most days. A few more cars in the lot on a Friday afternoon, but I was still able to waltz right in and do my business. With the late winter weather, last week was my highest mileage week in over a year, even though on paper it was a cutback week. Long run was 10 miles. JFR'd it, and since I felt pretty OSOM that meant the last few miles were fast-ish. 7-9 were all under 8 minutes. If I can string a few more of those together at the end of a long long run, Vermont could be a good day. There isn't too much around here in the trails department, but I stumbled into one on Monday. It goes between a couple of neighborhoods a couple of miles from here. Before I've cut out and gone to some more streets, but this time I kept going and ended up with almost a mile of trail out and back. Fun. This brings me to Tempo Tuesday again. 8 total with 6 @ pace. Since the longest I've gone this fast was 4 miles, I wasn't sold on running 7:30 for these. Turned out to be less than stellar - 7:34, 7:39, 7:50 (freeway overpass), 7:32, 7:43, 7:47. So, I ran out of gas on those last two. Would have served me better to have chilled the pace just a tad there at the beginning. Close enough, I guess, with 7-1/2 weeks still to go. Cold rain all day for Saturday. May have to switch the long run to Friday.
  19. What a great race, Sara! Having support through training and on race day is so helpful. Hope you stay healthy and kill it at Grandma's.
  20. My son's girls call me Grampa Grave.
  21. Dave

    Look! I'm Running!

    Mostly true. except we have fireflies.
  22. Dave

    Look! I'm Running!

    A year ago I was a week out from my first round of PT since Blue Cross didn't want to approve the MRI my doctor wanted to confirm my meniscus tear. Of course, since I have such a fragile psyche I spent most of my days trying to wrap my head around a life without running. Turn in my "IRUN262" license plate, take the 2016 Boston magnet off Abby, throw away the 20 or so white tech shirts with stains on the armpits that I couldn't wear in public, toss the running shorts and tights, donate my NYCM jacket (not Marshall or Boston, though) to Goodwill, dismantle the marathon shrine and map, box up the medals and race photos. It was a dark time. Yesterday the wind was pretty strong, but the sun was out and it was warm enough for a run in short sleeves. It was also the third week of Vermont City training. And it was Tempo Tuesday! Let me back up a couple of weeks. Week one was a bust, with snow and ickiness. There was no Tempo Tuesday for week 1. There was, in fact, no running at all the first half of the week. One day on the stairs and another with the bands/weights, and one resting. Thursday-Friday-Saturday were as per the plan, though, and the easy weekend ten was nice. Ended up with half the mileage I wanted to start, but the runs were good anyway. Week 2 (last week) was closer to the schedule. Missed two days instead of three (one with a family thing and the other with rain that I could have run after but I'd already decided to skip and ate dinner and ... stuff. But, even though I'd thought I should not start Tempo Tuesdays until I was at full mileage, of course I couldn't resist doing it early. Added 3 at tempo effort in the middle of 7 that day. Averaged a little over 7:30 and was sufficiently gassed at the end. No extra aches or pains afterward. Win. Saturday was another good test. 14 miles - the most since the 2017 Rehoboth Marathon. I'll admit to some trepidation after the cold mess that was my Snowbuster a couple of weeks ago. I remember back when I started this marathoning thing what a scary thing 14 miles was. Not gonna lie - images of me walking most of the last 2-4 flashed through my head more than once during the week. So I was really careful on the front half, keeping the pace at or just over 9:00 pace. Had to stop twice (at mile 3 and at mile 12) for bathroom breaks, which was annoying, and one short stretch for my second Hammer Gel (mile 10). Other than that, it was an excellent long run. Finished up with a few 8:40-ish miles. Felt fine the rest of the day, which I did not expect. Figured I'd be on the couch. With the missing days (16 miles worth), 35 for the week. Monday was an easy 7. Ran up the Target bike path, then west on Eight Mile to the country club. Stopped at the light I caught a movement at the corner of my eye. There was a guy running up the path crossing mine. I said hello, but he didn't acknowledge my existence. He had earbuds, but still. It's one thing to be passing along the road or trail and be lost in your head, but standing next to another runner for 60 full seconds and not even making eye contact? Weird. When the light changed, he followed me for about a hundred yards, then turned off somewhere behind me - I never saw when or where, but he was gone. Normally, my tempo runs start and end with a mile warm up and cool down. Since I'm not up to full mileage yet and am being careful not to add speed and distance at the same time (see how smart I am now?), I'm not doing that exactly yet. Last week I made it 2-1/2 w/u and 1-1/2 c/d (it fit the traffic lights better than 2 & 2). This week I went for 1-1/2 and 1-1/2, with 4 at tempo. Had a couple of stoplight breaks, but no bathroom stops. 7:37 average. Another win. Big rain coming in this afternoon and evening, so I make take today as a rest day. Or maybe it's a band/weight night. See what I feel like when I get home.
  23. Nice shirt. And nice race for some sketchy training, which seems to be what you're good at. And I give three cheers for DD who saved the day in several ways.
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