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Everything posted by Dave

  1. Philly is certainly a good one (depending, of course, on the weather). That marathon can be such a merciless beast, and you never really know until it's over. Even the good ones hurt. We must be some special kind of crazy to do this time after time.
  2. Way to rock the AC, OCRG. Just imagine if you actually trained. Now, based on the weather history, I take it you're not recommending this as a good fall marathon?
  3. Dave

    Anatomy of a 100 Mile Week

    The century is a very cool milestone. I've tried for 100 once - in high school. A few of us had a plan. I pulled up with some tendonitis about Thursday and couldn't finish.
  4. Dave

    Alone on a crowded street

    I always run alone. I like it that way. I'm weird.
  5. Dave

    Once in a Lifetime

    That almost sounds like a lot of fun. Almost.
  6. That's very nice of you. That's why you're my favorite.
  7. Dave

    Sweet 17: Panther Run 5K

    It still amazes me how much easier it is to run when the temps and humidity drop.
  8. Dave

    September Recap

    Mrs. Dave is all about the podcasts. She likes Undisclosed, Criminal and Sawbones. I'm more of a book guy. Jo Nesbo is my current favorite author in audio, but I'm doing some Agatha Christie reading on the side between NYT Sunday crosswords. Running for fun is just so much fun, isn't it?
  9. Dave

    Grand Circle Trailfest 2019

    Here's a shocker. I lived in UT for 8 years and NEVER ONCE went to any of these places.
  10. Still deciding which was harder. Didn't do the Baconator Awards last winter. I suppose they'd run their course and it was time to move on. As for myself, I wasn't anxious to repeat the previous winter's torn meniscus so I skipped doing any runs that might have been bacon-worthy. I'll probably do the same this year. Since I bought that dreadmill for Mrs. Dave, she hasn't used it, despite getting all the way through a Couch-to-5-K program over the summer. Not that there was any "anti-D" pressure from me. Really. With the New Hampshire Marathon on Saturday, our travel plans had us leaving Thursday afternoon, as soon as I could get home from a half day at work. So, Wednesday's intervals would be my last before race day. It was wet. Rain. Cool. Not "almost snowing and totally miserable" rain and cool, but you know what? I don't have anything to prove. I can run whenever, wherever and however I want. I've run in all kinds of conditions and will do so again, when I feel like it. This week, I didn't. That's how Wednesday's intervals also became my very first treadmill intervals. As part of the family room decor, it sits in a corner facing a blank wall. Not much of a view. But I can mount an iPad if I want to watch something. I've been listening to a Daniel Silva book, so I blue toothed my phone to a speaker and listened while I ran. Not sure I trust this thing 100%, either, but I used the numbers that were there. Easy jog for 1.5, then 2 x 1.5 @ 7:30 pace. The run was good. The book (House of Spies) is excellent. We drove through Ontario and stopped for the night in Syracuse at a Tru hotel. I'd only seen a couple of things about this place, but they're by Hilton, and new, so we figured it'd at least be clean. I walked in the front door and my first thought was, "Disney!" They were missing Mickey and all the other characters, but the layout and color scheme was exactly what I'd expect to see in the Magic Kingdom. Mrs. Dave had gone ahead while I parked the car, and when I opened the door to the room, she said, "Disney!" But, it was new, clean, nice and had the normal sort of hotel breakfast in the morning. We'd stay there again. It was five and a half more hours to our hotel for the next night, in Tilton, NH, about 20 miles south of Bristol. Once you get to Albany, you leave the interstate and it's smaller roads most of the rest of the way. Driving through the Green Mountain National Forest was fun. The colors at the higher altitude were amazing. I'd have taken pictures but I was driving. We listened to the new Malcolm Gladwell book, Talking to Strangers. Highly recommend all of his stuff. Makes you think differently about your whole life and the world we live in. After we checked into the hotel (Super 8 - quite a bit older than the Tru, but good enough and the most reasonable place within 50 miles) we drove the 20 miles to check out the course, pick up my bib and eat. If you're into big city marathons, this isn't for you. There were 160 finishers this year. The "expo" is in the basement of the local middle school and isn't an expo at all. They have registration tables, shirts and generic bibs from RoadID (not even the name of the race on them). That's it. But the volunteers are all friendly and know what they're doing. There were some travel mugs fr swag, but I don't need a travel mug. We drove the course, which reminded me of how tough things were going to be. This is not an easy marathon (if any of them are easy). The elevation change from the start to the highest point is only 286 feet, but almost none of it is flat. 1,100 feet total, some of it really steep. I'd looked at a pacing plan from findmymarathon.com, but it was too complicated. On top of that, I've made no secret of the fact that this summer has really messed with my head as far as training goes. The early October race date meant no 3-4 weeks of cooler fall weather to give me confidence at then end of all the miles. Race day weather was going to be perfect - 40o at the 9:00 AM start and 60o at the finish, with lots of shade. I had no idea what kind of effort I could sustain over 26 miles. I'd 2, maybe 3 runs in decent conditions. So, I decided to run on effort - I've done a few marathons before, so I think I know what "too fast" is by now, since I most often start out exactly like that - and see what happened when I got to the top of the hill at the half. A good plan if I could execute it. I will also say that if you're looking for a beautiful time and place to run a marathon, Bristol, NH in early October should be near the top of your list. We paid the $8 each for the pasta dinner, sponsored by the local Masons. I'm not one myself, but despite all the conspiracy theory based books I've read and History Channel specials, I have no issues with them. This group seemed pretty harmless and they put together a nice spread of spaghetti and 15-20 different sauces, plus bread and salad, with cookies and cake for dessert. We talked to a few of the other runners and then went back to Tilton for the night. Tried to go to bed early, but couldn't sleep. So I did an extra crossword and finally turned off the lights at 11:00. Then I spent the next four hours tossing and turning - I assume from nerves, no matter how I tried to convinced myself that I've done this too many times to be anxious about running a marathon, I couldn't get more than a few minutes of dozing at a time. Seriously, what was wrong with me? I did manage to stay in bed until 6:30, so even though it wasn't a good night's sleep, I was at least physically rested. I hoped, anyway. Bagel with PB and a banana for breakfast, then off to Bristol. As forecast, the sky was clear, there was a gentle breeze and it was just under 40 degrees. Cool. With Mrs. Dave as my private gear checker, I stripped down to just my shorts and t-shirt and waited for the nation anthem to finish. There was one guy in a catsup bottle costume. I hate costumed runners because they always seem to beat me. There was a banana guy at New York and for the first 8 miles all I heard was, "Go, Banana!" Then he dropped me and I felt annoyed for 18 miles. They had B-tags for timing, but no starting map, so timing was based on the starting gun. Not really an issue with 160 marathoners. There was also a 10K that started with us, but there was no crowding and I never had to weave around anyone. And the 10Kers turned around at 3.1, so things got really spread out after that. Mile by mile: Mile 1. 76 feet of climb. 8:48. Running through a small New England town for a half mile and then you're pretty much in the country. No pressure. Easy to start. Don't get excited. Don't work. Also, no cheering crowds except for the few volunteers at the two intersections we passed. Mile 2. 87 feet of climb. 8:44. What looked like a 10 year old brother and sister pair about 30-40 yards ahead made me think for a second I should be going faster, but then I remembered my normal crash and burn marathons and stayed with the easy effort. We hadn't gotten to the hard part yet. The first few miles are supposed to be easy. Mile 3. 51 feet down followed by 81 up, then 50 more down. 9:00. This was a pattern I'd see a lot. 7:30 pace on the down, but close to 10:00 going up. Newfound Lake to my left was beautiful in the morning sun. The wind from it was pretty chilly, but not enough to make me regret leaving the gloves with Mrs. Dave. The 10K leaders were heading back our way. They were pretty spread out, too (only 99 runners). The first woman was in 3rd place overall (she ended up 5th OA). Impressive. Mile 4. 89 feet up. 9:15. I was pretty glad to see the end of that first 4 mile long sustained climb. I had my eye on a couple of guys in front of me, but it was too hard and way too early to try catching them. Maybe I'd have something left in the tank for the second half. Mile 5. 90 feet down. 8:24. Hammer Gel #1. There must have been someone behind me also named Dave, because there was a SUV with 3-4 people all shouting, "Go, Dave!" I didn't have my name on my bib or my shirt and I didn't recognize any of them. They leap-frogged around the whole course, yelling for Dave. Eventually, I'd still see them but they were waiting instead of cheering, so I must have left the other Dave behind. Mile 6. 8 up, zero down. 8:51. I think I was a little disappointed with that. I knew I hadn't done nearly enough hill work over the summer, since hills are sort of hard to come by in L-town, but I had hoped to get farther than Mile 5 before I felt it in my quads this much. But I also remembered that my plan was ultra conservative on the front end, so this mile was really still a recovery from the first 4. I've learned that this is WAY too early for me to push the pace, even if I don't like it. Mile 7. Up 12 and down 9. 8:40. Did I mention that the road was open? Not much traffic and not many runners. No need, really. One of the two guys I'd been following had come back to me. He walked through the water table at Mile 6 and stayed with me for just the next half mile or so. Mile 8. Up 21, no down. 9:08. The other guy I'd been following made a pit stop in Mile 8 and I went past him. I knew there was a big hill coming near the end of this mile. Mile 9. 110 feet climbing, 122 feet falling. 9:23. The hill at the end of Mile 8 and the beginning of 9 was pretty nasty, but Mrs. Dave had driven around and was cheering there. She'd also apparently recruited the course volunteers to cheer with her, because the whole group was yelling for me. One of those downs that doesn't feel good, either. One where you have to spend more energy trying to slow down and not fall flat on your face. Pit stop guy caught back up to me as we made a sharp left and fell off the edge of the cliff. We ran together for just a little bit. Enough to find out he was there with his wife and they were from Florida. He was having as much trouble with the hills as I was. He thought maybe he'd have to drop back and run with his wife later. I lost him on the next big hill, which came immediately after reached the bottom of that one. He was about 6'3-4" with really long legs. When I slowed to maintain my effort level (that turned out to be barely a fast walk by the top), I lost him. Mile 10. 129 up and 119 down. 10:27. I've run 10 and a half minutes miles in marathons before, usually most of the last 6-10 miles because I've gone out faster than I should have. Mile 10 was a new thing. Made me reconsider my life choices. There's always some point in a race where I wonder if I'm really cut out for this marathon thing. At least this time I had a legitimate outside reason for it. This was the steepest and highest climb of the day. I ran until it didn't seem wise to do that, then I speed walked until that was too much, then had a final stretch of power walking to the crest. Holy moly, I was so happy to have that done. Mile 11. 25 up, 31 down. 8:45. This restored my self esteem. 8:45 was pretty close to what I had wanted to do for the first half of the race anyway, and being able to do this after the first 10 was reassuring. If we thought Bristol was small, Mile 11 ended in the town of Hebron (pop. 602 if you include East Hebron). Mrs. Dave had made it there and I got another little boost. She's an incredibly enthusiastic cheerleader. Mile 12. Up 46, down 49. 8:47. With a pair of reasonably flat miles together, it seemed like I might finally get into a little groove. Mile 11 started a 6 mile out and back section that included the half way point. Saw the leaders start coming back, so they were about 5 miles ahead of me. There were a few quiet shouts of encouragement back and forth along this part, but most people seemed to be feeling like I was - not much energy to make any noise. A slight nod, a barely audible, "Good job," was the most we could manage. Mile 13. Up 30, down 12. 8:43. Groove gotten into. I mis-remembered where the turnaround was, though. I thought it was right after the half (no mat or sign or anything, btw), but it wasn't. This was good news and bad news. Good news in that after I got to the final climb at the turnaround, there would only be 12 miles to go instead of 13 and also that I had 3 solid miles of not climbing very much. The bad news was that I had another 100+ foot climb before I could turn around for those last 12. Mile 14. 19 feet descending, 112 feet ascending. 9:41. With no marker for the half, I glanced at my watch (I really need a name for this thing) and saw I was at just a few seconds over 1:58. Not exactly on target, but if I could make it through this last pull, I had an outside chance at my A goal (BQ of course), and a solid shot at B (sub-4). So I worked a little more than on some of the others, although there was a short section near the top where I had to go to the speed walk. I was still feeling pretty good, and figured if the worst I did was 9:41 the rest of the way, it would be a good day. I was not going to do the math, though. Mile 15. 18 up and 107 down. 8:08. If only I could do that for the next 12 miles. Sadly, while the bulk of the ups were over, there were still a few nasty little climbs to go, and no more triple digit descents. Maybe one day I'll do one of those Revel runs that drop a few thousand feet from start to finish. It was also nice to see that there were people behind me. I wasn't DFL! Just kidding. I was working hard enough, but really felt pretty good for 15 miles into a marathon. And I was running downhill mostly and that was awesome. Mile 16. 13 up and 42 down. 8:34. I will admit I was a little disappointed that this mile wasn't closer to 8:00, but that was just the mileage talking. While the weather was perfect for a marathon (still sunny and beautiful and in the 40's at that point) and I'd had a good summer of work, I wasn't ready for all those hills. Even if it was downhill the rest of the way, the next 10 miles were going to take all I had. Mile 17. 58 feet climbing, 46 falling. 9:00. Those 58 feet came all in a really, really short distance and took all the wind I'd gathered in the previous 2 miles out of my sails. Still, it could have been worse. And 9:00 miles were certain to keep me under 4 hours. Came back through Hebron and got more cheers from Mrs. Dave, et. al. I'd been thinking about making a pit stop for a few miles, but it hadn't reached the point of urgency (all gas), so I kept skipping the POPs, including this one. But I did have to think about where the next one might be, and that was distracting. Mile 18. 74 feet climbing, 49 going down. 10:02. This was a stretch of 2 miles with the hardest hills since the half. And Mile 18 is a terrible time for a serious climb. I seem to remember the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon having it's most serious climb at about Mile 18. That was an awful race. I hadn't planned on needing to drop to the walk strategy up this one, but it was a lot steeper than I'd expected. A woman who'd been in my running neighborhood for a fair amount of the race came up behind me going up one of the hills. I'd catcher her going down, but when I slowed on the next one, she'd power up and pass me again. Mile 19. 51 feet up, 36 down. 9:32. One. More. Hill. That wasn't entirely the case but there was a drop down to the lake shore and things were pretty flat for the next four miles. Running right next to the lake I spent most of my time looking at the water - so clear and clean - and wondering if it was too cold for me to swim. At least, plunge my head in it fr a few seconds. It wasn't hot at all, but who's brain is coherent at Mile 19? Not this guy. Interesting about this small race, the water/Gatorade cups weren't all the same. Some of them were styrofoam, which you don't see a lot anymore. Of course the problem with styrofoam cups is that they don't smash like you need them to in order to drink while running without it all going up your nose and over your face. So I walked for a few steps to get some G into me and dowse my head with water. Mile 20. 11 up, 61 down. 9:11. This was also about where the Wall was. I didn't hit it too hard, but things were becoming a real struggle and would be for the next few miles. Normal. Mrs. Dave had started passing me on the road and stopping to give me some more cheer and takes pics. It was more than awesome to have her there every few miles with a smile and a yell. I'd brought my phone in my SPIBelt since they didn't have tracking and we weren't sure about vehicle access to the course, and here I decided it was bothering me, so I tossed it in the car. Mile 21. 2 up, 10 down. 9:53. Those are Marshall elevation numbers. This would have been a sub-9, but the urge pee I'd had for most of the race had finally reached the don't-ignore-me-anymore stage, so I grabbed the water/Gatorade combo like at the last table then ducked into the genteelly labeled "Marathon Restroom." LOL. So I lost a minute there, and when I came out I found my long legged pit stop friend from Miles 8-9. He was solo, so I guess he was still feeling OK. I pulled up even with him but he dropped off again pretty quickly. I saw my other friend from Mile 18 ahead, but I couldn't close the gap on her. Mile 22. 0 and 4! 😯 9:04. This may have been the toughest mile of the day. Totally flat for once and I just couldn't make my legs go any faster. They let runners who didn't think they could meet the 5-1/2 hour cutoff start early and there was a girl with two guys I'd seen coming back ahead of me on the out and back section who were obviously part of that crowd. They were having a great time, though - walking and running whenever they felt like one or the other. Who knows what they had in their "hydration flasks". Mile 23. 41 up and 29 down. 9:31. Another stupid hill. Passed another guy from earlier in the race with about 5K to go. I offered to have home come in with me but he was hurting too much. There were a few more ahead of me and if I could stay with it, I thought I had a chance to catch a couple. That's always good motivation when your legs are dead and everything hurts. The watch had me at 3:29. Not enough time for that BQ (unless I could run 3 miles at 7:00 pace - ha!), but sub-4 was pretty secure. Mile 24. No climbs and 10 feet of drop. 8:40. The drop came right at the end of the mile and just before the start of the (finally!) last hill. Mile 25. 39 for the final climb and 73 down into town. 8:48. This thing was pretty mild compared to the rest of the day's work, but it was another of those short and steep ones that had me speed walking the last bit. This time, though it wasn't as part of my strategy. I just couldn't keep a running pace. But I did manage to pass a woman with pigtails right at the top of it. There were two more ahead I could see. One was the woman who dropped me up the hills earlier (I recognized her red backpack in the distance) and another in black who'd passed me up one of the steep hills in Mile 9 or 10. Maybe. Remember the first few miles that were all uphill? We were back on that same road going the other way, so the course really gave it back when we needed it. Mile 26. No up. 88 down. 8:10. That "no up" is according to the Garmin numbers, but I'll tell you the truth that there was a little bump right at 26 - maybe 30 feet? We went up a cross street to finish in the school's athletic field. That final little insult let me pass that one more woman. Mile 26.2. 20 feet, all down, including a crazyass drop from the street into the parking lot. 7:02 pace. I could hear Mrs. Dave well before I could see her. Have I mentioned how awesome she is? The clock still had "3" at the beginning. Forgot about pictures and was totally looking down at my watch (need a name!) when I crossed the line in 3:56:40. Mrs. Dave reminded me that I haven't broken 4 hours since Marshall. FIVE YEARS AGO! And there's no comparison between the two courses. If I'd chosen a different course, the 2021 BQ ticket would have no doubt been punched. So I'll take the sub-4 and the moral victory, and plan another assault for next autumn. This was a fine marathon. Small of course, and all the things that come (and don't come) with that. Lots of elevation changes, so don't come here if you're looking for an easy race. Accommodations might be an issue, but that can be worked around with a little creativity and flexibility. It's a summer tourist area just a couple of hours north of Boston, so there are plenty of options, especially since the summer is over. Now for some pics. Flat Dave ready. It was pretty chilly at the starting line. There's pigtail woman. Didn't know I'd be seeing her again at the end. There's tall pitstop guy. Cruising and feeling pretty good. That lake was gorgeous. Did I mention my 2nd Place in the 60-69 AG? Guy in the yellow hat was 1st in 3:42.
  11. What an awesome race. The humidity would have killed me.
  12. Dave

    A September to Remember

    So, where's the kitten now?
  13. Sitting here, wondering how this past summer managed to seem so, so long. Common wisdom and my own experience says that time goes by faster the older you get. But, I have to say that it sure seems like it has literally crawled since the end of May. Looking back, I can see that it was as full as ever with trips, challenges, running (of course), work and all the other things that make life what it is. Vermont was only four months ago? Feels like four years. Over 750 miles run on the plan, most of it in pretty uncomfortable heat and humidity. I will never move to Texas or Florida. In fact, anything south of Toledo is probably off my list of retirement communities, unless there's enough altitude or an ocean breeze to counter the heat. This is obvious to anyone who runs, but it's harder to run. I'm willing to slog through it - also obviously. The worst part is how much it messes with my head. So many questions that the training can't answer this time. So many tempo runs when I couldn't hold the pace for the whole run. Legs so tired on the easy runs that none of them were easy. And then let's talk about race day. What's a manageable pace for 26 miles? Is another BQ in reach? Am I even in shape for a marathon? I don't even know. Last week I thought the tide had turned in favor of autumn. Had some encouraging runs and solid workouts. Maybe now I could get an idea of where I really am for this weekend. Oops. The first two days of this week summer was back and my head plunged right back into the toilet. Now, it's too late to make up any shortfalls. Too late to try a few long runs and test out the pace. All I can do is remember that I've worked really, really hard for four months and cross my fingers that my muscles will respond to all that work. Last week: Wednesday - 2 x 3200 w/ 800 recovery, 1-1/2 w/u & c/d. 75o with a stiff, 20 mph wind. Most of the intervals were north/south on the bike path which also is on the lee side of the slope and behind buildings and trees, so the wind didn't play too much into it. Climbs about 90 feet in mile 2 of interval #1. 7:57 and 7:46. Interval #2 (back the other way) was 7:25 and 7:31. Guess it'll do. Thursday - 8 miles @ 9:00 minute pace. That's 9:00+ going out (and up 200 ft) and 8:10-50 coming back. Few degrees cooler than Wednesday, which was nice. Friday - 8 more @ 8:50. Heading west on Seven Mile I watched a big mess of clouds coming in, wandered through a neighborhood on the north side, then came back and was looping up around the shopping center where the LRS is when it started to sprinkle. Then to drizzle. Then to pour. I ducked into the store. I like being in a running store, but I don't shop too often, and I'd feel bad about just dropping by very much without buying something. Anyway, the two kids working there were very nice. Gave me a small bottle of water and some paper towels while we chatted about running and their school. The guy runs at a local university where a friend is the XC coach (he worked with my boys back in the 00's). The girl is two years out of college with an exercise science BS, getting some retail experience while she tries to get on with a shoe company. As it happens, an old Loopster works for Brooks in Seattle. Like a lot of the old crew, he's not active here and only occasionally on fb, but I sent her info on to him. If he contacts her and she ends up working for Brooks like her dream is, it'd be nice to be part of that success story. The rain finally let up enough for me to venture out and finish my run. Saturday - 10 miles. 65o, 1B% humidity. I wanted to get in some miles at GMP, but the legs weren't really on board with it. So this was just a run. The last couple were quick enough I guess. Went in the morning, but the humidity still kicked my tail. Drove down to Toledo to watch the BYU Cougars play the Rockets. Fun, exciting game, but the home team won, so that was disappointing. Connor had driven up for the weekend so it was nice to spend time with him. He's still looking for work in Public Health with his shiny new Masters degree. Monday - The final tempo run. Summer came back, apparently believing that it was still August. 77o. Sunny. Oppressive. Supposed to be 8 with 6 at tempo pace. The pace was pretty good (7:51, 8:09, 8:02, 8:01, 8:01, 7:54), but it was a 2 x 3 interval run instead of a 6 mile tempo. Had to stop at the top to catch my breath for a few minutes before I felt like struggling back. Mis-timed stop lights made most of the 6 miles sort of messy on top of that, so this wasn't my best run. Not that this has been my best summer to begin with. But, it's done. Tuesday - 3 miles. 88o. At least it was cloudy. If there was ever a sucky 3 miles run, this was it. Felt like 10 hard ones, and not in a good way. For this afternoon, there's a little 2 x 2400 waiting as the last interval set. It's cool and raining, so maybe I'll do it on Mrs. Dave's new treadmill, which she still hasn't ever used. Then we're on the road to Bristol (NH) for Saturday's marathon #20. Sometimes I think I'm out of my mind. Sometimes I know.
  14. Dave

    A letter to calm race nerves

    Nice. I'll just add one piece of practical advice for your friend/self. The shorter the race, the more important the warm up. There's no time in a 5K to spend any of it getting into race mode. Make sure your heart, legs and lungs are ready to run hard when the gun goes off.
  15. Don't ask me why I go through the same cycle of mind games every summer, where I figure I've suddenly reached the end of my running career because I can't finish a run or my pace is just so slow it's not even worth the trouble to get out the door. I have no answer. Then, fall comes along, the temps drop, the humidity plummets, the wind freshens, and all is right in my running world. When I go back and look at the numbers, they really don't look that terrible anyway, so what was I even worried about? Of course I'm 60 and it's bound to be all downhill from here. But it doesn't seem so long ago that this was all so effortless. Or I just have a short memory. That last statement is absolutely true, which explains everything. So, last week and the start of this were perfect examples of what I mean. Tuesday - I'd read that the trail through the woods behind the high school had been finished (paved) and decided to check it out. I'd thought about going the week before, but that was the week I had early runs and the trip. Didn't feel like fighting what might have been spider webs or brave an encounter with a skunk or other varmint in the dark, so I waited. Tuesday afternoon I went. They did a very nice job clearing things out and laying a smooth later of asphalt. This day was warm. And sunny. And humid. Just like summer. Late summer, but definitely summer. The day before I'd had a failed tempo run (remember? 5 miles of a planned 8 and 5 miles of 400 jogs with extended walking to get home), and still felt lousy. The trail is all shaded, which helped. After a mile on the street I went into a park and ran a mile around the dirt trails there in the shade. This was supposed to be 6 miles but when I left the park I was ready to be done, so I just went straight home the way I came. 5 ugly miles. Slow. Wednesday - Intervals. Yassos with the Marshall Twist. 12 x 800, or 3 sets of 4, with the fourth one faster than the other 3, 400 recovery in 3:00+/-. Brought some G and a towel for a quick swig and wipe in between sets. Ran shirtless, which I never do. But it was almost 80o and I wasn't in the mood to carry the extra weight in sweat around the oval. Plus, after Monday and Tuesday I expected to need all the help I could get. After a mile warm up, I sucked it up and gave it my best shot. 3:36, 3:41, 3:43, 3:35 - Goal for NH is 3:45, so I tried to stay at 3:40-45 for the first 3. Could I do 12 of these? 3:44, 3:41, 3:43, 3:32 - Just what I'd hoped for, AND I knew I had 4 more in me. I was reasonably confident, anyway. 3:37, 3:42, 3:42, 3:33 - There you go. Never felt like I was flying, but I didn't die (always a goal). Left thigh was getting pretty tight, so I couldn't put on any more gas for the last one like I normally would. But this is the biggest interval test I do and it went well. Better than I feared and as good as I could expect. There were a few other people that came to use the track while I was circling for those couple hours. One time around I guess I startled the one woman doing C25K or whatever, maybe some intervals, too, but I couldn't get a sense of the pattern she was doing except 200/200s at the end. Thursday - Supposed to be 10 miles - the last weekday double digit run. Almost as warm as Wednesday, so expectations were low. Went through the new trail again and a route that would give me as much shade as possible. Finished through the new trail again. Amazingly, there was a young deer standing next to the trail just inside the trees at the east end. At 5:00 in the afternoon. He watched me run by and didn't seem at all surprised or concerned. It was slow. Good thing it was supposed to be slow. Felt worse. Just too tired. I should remember that's normal, but I'm always disappointed when it's hard. I swear when I was 22 I could crank out a dozen miles and be as fresh as a spring morning when I finished. That's probably not true, but that's the way I remember it. Anyway, only did 9 and the last one was nasty. Friday - Marginally better. 82o. Went slower on purpose and I think it helped. Only going 6 miles probably helped more. Saturday - At least my long run would be in the morning. That should be way easier. Maybe I could even do it as a pace run. Haven't had one in ... since July, I guess, and that was only 4 miles. Anyway, bailed on that idea early in the first mile because it was humid like the jungle. 16 slow miles, walk through Hammer Gels at 5 and 10, sips of G every 2 miles. Time on the feet. Things were acceptable until about mile 10. That's when I noticed a couple of hot spots - one on the left Achilles and the other on my right foot at the ball. Rats. Stopped to tighten the laces, which helped a little. So much sweat had soaked my socks and shoes, loosening everything down there. Of course the rest of me was drenched, too. A mile later I decided to try a Hail Mary and called Mrs. Dave for a change of socks. We met up at mile 12 and I tried switching the new socks, hoping for at least a shuffle home the remaining 4. Just a few steps convinced me that it wasn't going to do the trick and the best thing would be to cash in my chips. 12 miles in warm and humid conditions was worth 18 in Dave's Book of Running, so this long run was good enough for summer. I have had two decent LRs with fast finishes in the last month, so I'm calling it good. Checked the feet back at the house and I think I made the right call. The Achilles had a little blister just beginning and the right foot was just a red spot, but wasn't far behind. I'd hate to have had serious blisters just in time for my taper. Monday - That's right! It's taper time! But it's early in the taper, so I still had 10 miles for Tempo Monday (8 @ 8:20-30). The good news was that fall arrived over the weekend and the humidity left. Monday afternoon was 73o and felt much cooler. A sturdy 21 mph wind made it feel even cooler. Not marathon cool, but good enough for a nice, hard tempo. Please! Let me get a good long tempo for once. 8:32, 8:21, 8:26, 8:16, 8:24, 8:07, 8:21, and (what for it!) 7:40. If I'd held the pace down instead of going all crazy at the end, I expect I could have gone several more miles at that pace. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! As it happens, I actually had chicken for dinner. Really. I've had chicken for dinner every night since Sunday, in fact. Leftovers. With only Mrs. Dave and I at home, that Costco rotisserie lasts quite a while. Back to the tempo run - it felt amazing. Glad I didn't give up after Saturday. No issues with the almost blisters. Better socks. Tuesday - A touch warmer, but not as windy or as humid. With a good workout behind me (for once), I also wasn't worried how slow it was going to be. 7 easy miles that were actually easy. Yay. 9:00 pace. Felt a sort of pain under the ball of my second toe (the one that gets pushed on top of #3 because of my bunion). Hope that turns out to be nothing. Watching the forecast for Bristol, NH now. A couple of days ago it looked like a good chance of showers on the 5th, but cool. Today looks even better. If it stays, I'm calling this perfect weather for running a marathon, even if it's a stoopid-ass hilly marathon.
  16. Dave

    Well, that was interesting.

    It's been summer all this week, with the worst day expected tomorrow for my last LR. I'm dying over here!
  17. Dave

    Running ahead

    I've had a lot of those feelings the last few weeks, but that's normal in weeks 12-15 of training. And in summer! Don't even get me started on the heat/humidity. Then, there are other times when I realize that sometimes running is all I have, so I better hang onto it like grim death. Athletic Liz vs. Insomniac Smoker Liz - this is really a no-brainer. 😘
  18. Dave

    Well, that was interesting.

    Didn't even look, although I used the men's room, which was helpful.
  19. Dave

    Well, that was interesting.

    T-Rex and I left at 3:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday last, hoping to get as far as Peru, and maybe Moline before we stopped for the night. This was a cutback week for me, but I still had a bunch of miles to run. My plan was to try to make it to Cheyenne early enough to find a place where I could do Interval Wednesday that night, then a recovery run Thursday before driving out for the third leg of the trip. I might miss Friday with everything we needed to do moving into the apartment, but an early flight on Saturday would have me home in time for a short long run (10 miles), so I'd get all (or almost all) of the cutback week's mileage done. If you didn't know, any trip in that direction really depends on Chicago area traffic. Ever since we started making these drives to the mountains in 2002, there's been construction in one place or another (usually several places) on I-90/94/80 from Michigan City to Joliet. This time, it looked like clear sailing for once. Just as we were getting confident of a once in a lifetime pass to the prairie, a wave of brake lights appeared. After a mile or so of super slow and go, and looking at the traffic on T's phone, we took an exit and tried for a bypass. It worked! We were able to re-enter I-80 just a couple of miles later beyond the construction zone, and get back on schedule. I remember the early 70s when there was a national speed limit - 55 mph. Not much difference driving across town, but it sure adds up over 1,800 miles. Past Peru, Lasalle, Princeton, Geneseo, Moline. It was still early, so we booked a Clarion in Iowa City for the night and drove on. I love technology. Except when it doesn't work. Despite the confirmation in the app AND the email from Clarion, our reservation wasn't in the system. Not a huge deal, since they had plenty of vacancies, but not at the price I'd gotten, by $50 or so. Not cool, Clarion. Taurus, the desk guy offered to let me have the senior discount (turns out I'm old enough to get it anyway, which was only $5 more, but there was a principle involved, so I called the 800 number and asked what happened to my reservation. He didn't know, either, but it was shown as "cancelled" on his screen (somewhere in India, of course). He agreed to re-book us at my original price and we were set. So, humanity wins this one. Not only did we get to Cheyenne, we went all the way to Laramie before stopping the next day at 5:00. That gave me enough time to run. I swear the Indians are taking over this country. I have four of them on my work team right now. Of course 90% of any Help Line is based there. The guy at the Fairfeild Inn was Indian. Raj. He was extremely pleasant, capable and was excited to tell me a good place to run. Turned out there was a greenbelt just across the highway from the hotel. Her recommended driving there, since the overpass had narrow shoulders and no sidewalks (thanks for nothing, Laramie), but I had a driver with me so it worked out fine. The Laramie River Greenbelt is a great place to run. It's about 5k from end to end, almost completely flat, right next to the river almost the entire way. There's one park about halfway through with picnic tables, play equipment and (fortunately for me because I always need one nowadays), a couple of POPs. I had 5 x 1.5 miles scheduled for this week. The park ended up being a mile into my first interval, so that broke it up a little. I intended to be flexible for this because - I forgot to mention - Laramie is at 7200 feet above sea level. Lack of oxygen does weird things to your brain. My watch beeped at a mile, but I thought it was beeping for the first interval (1.5), so I slowed down to jog for a half. When it beeped again, I took off and it wasn't until it beeped again much sooner than I expected that I realized I'd rested during the last .5 of the first 1.5. Interval #1 had only been 1 mile. I adjusted by extending Interval #2 to 2 miles. Altitude does fun things to your legs, too, btw. That first mile had been 7:49 and felt harder. The next two were 8:02 and felt the same. #3 was a little better at 7:51, but I could tell the last two were going to be a struggle. Despite that, it was cool and the wind was almost cold. And I was hardly sweating at all. Normally, I'd have been soaked by 4 miles out. The greenbelt seemed pretty popular, too, for a Wednesday evening. I probably passed a dozen or more people out walking, biking or walking their dogs during the hour and a half I was out there. The trail was a little more open on the south end, where there's a big loop that's about a mile and a quarter. I ran around it three times and then headed back to the hotel. #4 was 8:06 pace and #5 was 8:00. Not as fast as I'd run this at home, but 7200 feet. Satisfied. Siri directed us to a local Mexican place for dinner, but it was closed when we got there at 8:00, so we drove around and ate at Qdoba. Next morning I got up early enough to be running at sunrise. Mrs. Dave thought it was a little "extreme" that I was running again, since I'd just run the night before. She thought we should have been driving already. I figured I'd want to spend the evening with my Dad when we got to Idaho. Plus, since we'd made it all the way to Laramie, Thursday's drive was a "short" one - 7 hours. Stopped in Pocatello to get toilet paper at Costco for the apartment. Mrs. Dave is convinced that was worth it. I'm not, but I try to keep harmony as best I can. We did dinner with Dad and called it an early night. Next morning we met with the adviser at CEI (College of Eastern Idaho) about T's status getting into their MA(Medical Assisting) program next fall and then drove the last few miles to Rexburg. Took most of the day to get her settled in, groceries bought, roommates met. Had dinner with my two brothers and their wives, along with Dad who drove up. He took me back to his place after we said goodbye to T-Rex, fingers crossed and prayers said that she'll make it through better than the last time she was here. My flight on Saturday was supposed to leave at 8:30 am. The IF airport isn't usually busy on a Saturday morning, and even when it is, it isn't. Let me back up to 4:15 am, when I was awakened by a text from Mrs. Dave, telling me that my flight was delayed an hour, I was going to miss my connection in Denver and I should try to catch the 5:30 flight. Get up, get dressed, packed, wake up my 86 year old dad and drive across town to the airport in an hour and 15 minutes to "maybe" get on an earlier flight? I didn't think so. This would have been helpful information the night before. I was set up to get texts and app alerts from United, but nothing had come about the delay. It wasn't until I was sitting in the gate area, having been re-booked on a flight out of Denver SIX HOURS later than my original ticket, that I received the messages from the airline. Thanks, United. Maybe they'd figure something out and still get me to Denver in time. That almost happened. We touched down in Denver at 11:35, but the gates were two far away and after taxi-ing the hundred miles between the runway and the terminal, it was almost 11:00 before I watched them pushing the plane - MY PLANE! - away from the gate. So much for getting home early. As it happened, T-Rex's roommate had been delayed out of Detroit and was also stuck in Denver. So we had lunch together and hung out until her flight to IF. Mine left at 5:30 and landed at 10:20. Long day in the airport. Good thing the next day was Sunday, so I took it easy and tried to recover. Because this is the last big week (60 miles!) and then it's taper time. I'm ready for that. And, of course summer decided to come back for an encore this week, making a disaster of a tempo run yesterday. I actually had low expectations. Just was feeling drained, I guess from the travel of last week, but started out decently, with 8-ish miles. But by mile 3 I could tell it wasn't going to happen. Made it through 5 and that was all she wrote. Could barely muster a slow jog for more than a quarter before I'd have to walk. Fall is going to feel SO good, assuming it gets here in time for the race. Someone tell me it's going to be cool in New Hampshire on the 5th. This has been quite the roller coaster of a training schedule.
  20. You're getting pretty good at this racing thing. 🤣
  21. Tuesday - Myrna Trail. 6 miles. 77o. 17 mph. Cloudy. Out of the six miles there's about a half mile that follows a little trail through a couple of small nature areas. It ends (or starts, depending on which way I'm running) where Myrna Street ends, so I call it the Myrna Trail. Not really a trail, but it's more of a trail than anything else I get to see. Even picked up a spider web, so that's pretty nature-ish, right? Wednesday - Phoenix Lake. 3 x 3200 intervals. Total 11 miles. 70o. 3 mph. Mostly cloudy. I consider this the day the summer weather lost the war with fall. There may be some more hot days, but the trend is most definitely improving. This brings me to my "duh!" moment. I remember being so amazed in week 10 of training for Marshall how my speed jumped dramatically. Until this week, I'd always attributed it to some magical point in my schedule - so many hard runs and a threshold of mileage somehow. Nope. Just the early fall cool down. Five years I've been waiting for that magical return. And it came this week. Don't get me wrong. I've been working very hard and running plenty of miles. If it were 80+ outside this would still have been a sucky, struggling run. But this was a fun and fast, 100% in control, workout. #1 - 7:25 (flat) & 7:33 (28 ft up), #2 - 7:24 (20 ft up) & 7:25 (flat), #3 - 7:19 (30 ft down) & 7:27 (52 ft down, but 3 stops in the last half mile for traffic - grr). Encouraging. The last pair I ran into one of the local running groups. Probably 20-25 of them coming at me up the bike path. Running past a group like that during a fast interval never happens. It's always during a slow recovery so I look like a sloth, so it was nice to think I appeared like a fast old guy instead of a slow one. Thursday - Schoolcraft to Haggerty. 10 miles. 73o. 5 mph. Cloudy. Usually I'm pretty meticulous about my running routes. Lately, I've been less so. Just start out in the next direction counterclockwise from the last run, go as far as I think I need to to get the miles on the calendar and loop back (or run an out and back). This one gave me a couple of miles on a part of Schoolcraft I've never run on before. It's double-laned and separated by a big median, but the traffic is very light, even in late afternoon. Still probably should have crossed all the way over to run against the traffic on the other side, but I was feeling extra lazy and stayed where I was. I guess I was hoping for some more sidewalk than I ended up getting. There was an extra wide shoulder, so that helped. Still, every time a car came past in the outside lane, I got a little nervous. Not recommended. But it was a nice run, mostly at 8:30-ish pace, except for a couple in the middle where I had some climbing. Decided to duck into one of the community college buildings for a drink at their fountain at mile 8. Friday - Madonna. 6 miles. 70o. 8 mph. Cloudy. Interesting thing on this run was the guy cleaning out the bed of his pickup. He had a big shop vac and was grabbing one piece of whatever was in the bed at a time and taking it by hand from the end of the hose (it was too large to actually vacuum) and put it in a trash bag on the ground next to him. And that wasn't the weird part. Inside his open garage was a naked female mannequin. Don't see that everyday in a suburban garage. So many questions. Saturday - McKenna's Bridge. 16 miles. 63o. 7 mph. Cloudy. The sun did come out for the second half, but it was awfully nice for a long run this morning. Since I'd missed my first 16 miler, I was really looking forward to this one. Brought the Fuel Belt and two Hammer Gels (G every 2 miles and HG at 5-1/2 and 11). Picked up the bike path at Five Mile then followed it all the way to Hines Drive. Easy paces. Then there's the hill on Five Mile up to Sheldon Road. It's at about mile 7, and climbs 105 feet in the last 400m. There was a cyclist heading down, then up again while I was working it. He came down again before I reached the top. Getting his hill work in, too. Another runner passed in front of me as I entered Northville. I was slowly gaining on him until we got to the steepest part of the climb to downtown. I still had 6 miles to go and he looked to be finishing up, so I let him go, saving myself for the last few climbs I had and my plan for a fast finish in miles 12-16. Mile 12 is where the highest point of the run is, so I would cruise in from there. Miles 1-12 were all 8:40-9:00. 13-16 were 8:04 (-82 ft), 8:12 (-26 ft), 8:14 (-28 ft) and 7:53 (-37 ft). Monday - Lyndon & Merriman. 10 miles. 58o. 7 mph. Cloudy. In fairness, I ran yesterday and today in the morning, so it was dark and clouds had nothing to do with anything. Guess it would have been nice to see the moon and stars. This is my first of 3 longest tempo runs (8 @ tempo pace). Wasn't quite as fast as last week, but after the long week last week (58 miles), I'm happy with the effort, especially since I'm trying to work on pacing, and the pacing was better than last time. Plus, dark runs tend to be a tad slower since I have to concentrate on my footing more. 8:11, 8:10, 8:08, 8:07, 8:11, 8:06, 8:12, 8:04. Tuesday - Bates Burger Loop. 7 miles. 63o. 3 mph. Cloudy. This dark run was smooth from start to finish. About 9:00 pace until the last few that crept down to 8:50. I saw the other day that they finished the trail through the woods from Wayne to Gill Roads. I've decided not to run there in the dark because of the possibility of skunks crossing my path, or getting gored by a deer. When did I become such a scaredy cat? I was actually thinking about not seeing any wildlife in these two early morning runs as I bypassed the path for the quiet street when I saw a deer feeding on someone's flower bed. He/she watched me until I got 20-30 yards away before bolting off and into the woods behind the house across the street. Anyway, feeling good. Loving the almost fall weather. My only concern about NH is the hills since I don't have enough of those in my schedule. Hopefully if I take it really easy up them, they won't eat me up and ruin the second half. Lesson from San Francisco. As a youngster, I chipped one of my two front teeth a couple of times. It's been repaired a few times since then, covered with caps, had infections that may or may not have affected my life and running. Last winter I had a guy in there again to clean out an infection and he discovered a large crack in the root. Too big to repair or grind away the damage. It had to be removed and replaced with a permanent implant or a bridge. Being one of the fronts, it's a bad spot for a bridge, aesthetically anyway. Trouble is, with all the previous work up there, most of the bone in that tooth socket is gone, scraped away. So, now they have to try grafting in bone from a cadaver and hope it takes sufficiently to allow an implant attachment. Did the first part yesterday morning (hence the early run). Now I'm toothless for 4-6 months with my fingers crossed for the graft to work. I have an appliance as a temporary replacement but I have a bit of a lisp now to go with it. Finally, this afternoon T-Rex and I are driving back West for her return to school. Glad it's a cutback week. That's the reason for this morning's dark run. Hoping to make it to Cheyenne tomorrow early enough to get in the 12 miles I need for Wednesday. The other days I'll be at Dad's place, then flying home on Saturday. Most of all, hoping she keeps her anxiety under control and can stay get through the whole semester. Her and her mother, who worries even more than she does most of the time. Me, I just run. And, it's two and a half weeks to taper. How did that happen?
  22. Dave

    trail walking

    The slower you go, the longer you get to appreciate those views.
  23. Dave

    Vine to Wine Half RR and more

    Great weather for a nice, relaxed half. Time to hit the books.
  24. Dave

    August Recap

    You are coming on really strong now at the end of summer. Excellent. My favorite lately was last week's 3 x 3200 with mile recoveries Nailed the paced and felt strong at the end. Second place goes to my 16 miler on Saturday (which I expect to bloop tomorrow) with 4 fast finish miles. Slightly cooler temps are coming at just the right time to make me feel good about New Hampshire. BTW, impressive new truck.
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