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Blog Entries posted by Dave

  1. Dave

    A couple of weeks in now after taking a couple of weeks off, I think I can confirm my previous diagnosis of tendonitis.
    This is actually from an old basketball injury. In fact, my last basketball injury and the reason I retired from the sport altogether. I was semi-retired at the time and let some guys talk me into coming for a night because they needed a player to round out the team and avoid a forfeit. Took a fall and landed on my knee and was in pain for a while. Some months later I went in for an MRI and the doc called it a tendonosis. Been there ever since, although it's mostly better when I run more. Wednesday this week I finally had a run (4 miles) where it didn't hurt at all.
    It wasn't really a great run, though. I was probably trying to go faster than I ought because Dave. And it was 80o, which I remember the weatherman saying a couple of weeks ago that we were done with 80o temps. So I'll blame it on the heat. Heart rate got sort of high for the second half. Suppose I could have slowed down, but where's the fun in that?
    Anyway, one more day with summer weather and then it's supposed to be fall for real. We'll see about that.
    In the meantime, not going to run every day for a few weeks at least to make sure the knee stays quiet. Not running everyday makes me think maybe I should do some XT on the off days, which I know is crazy. It's taken a few weeks of thinking but yesterday I went downstairs and did some. A little with the weights. Some weighted stair climbs. Some ab stuff. Bleh.
    It'll be better when I run more.
    Guess that's it for today.
  2. Dave

    With T-Rex getting a little more independent at school and Mrs. Dave working full time, I find myself with more free time than I've been used to over the years. Not running a ton adds even more. So I decided a couple of weeks ago to do some deep cleaning around the house, starting with the bedrooms. I imagined that I would whip through one per day after work and be done in less than a week (4 BRs). You can already see where this is going.
    The first room when just as planned. Removed all the furniture and wall decor, gave the carpet a good vacuum and shampoo, then put it all back. Only took a few hours, including drying time from the shampoo. I got this.
    Room #2, which has belonged to T-Rex since 2002, started the same. As I was clearing the walls, a number of white patches reminded me that she had once had a ring of sea animals (dolphins & fish all around the room. I'd taken those down when she outgrew the motif, but it had left some damage to the paint. It was a quick fix back when I did it, not doubt thinking I would finish it off with new paint some day soon thereafter. "Soon thereafter" had become "someday" apparently. And now was the time. Of course, after close to 20 years there was no sign of the original paint among the various cans I keep in the basement for various touchup projects. There was a half gallon of the Blue Bird Day we'd used for the master bedroom, but it wasn't close enough to match, nor was there enough to paint the entire room. So there was a lengthy pause in the operation while Mrs. Dave and I went to Home Depot.
    You know, the fastest part of painting is the painting. Most of the rest - removing things from the walls, window treatments - was already done as part of my cleaning project. Then there's the repairing of holes and masking of all the trim and ceiling. I know people who can paint without masking off that stuff, but I'm just a little too messy a painter for that. Tape is my secret weapon. But it takes a long time and it was another full day before I finished and put everything back in. Everything except a big tub of junk sweet memories from T-Rex's childhood. Those have been stored away for her to sift through at a later date.
    And today, after almost another full week, I'm in the middle of room #3. This was initially the oldest's crib, then belonged to Big Mac. It has a desert oasis look to it, with two colors and a wallpaper strip with palm trees all around and matching bed set. To my chagrin, it also has several bits of damage to the paint and wall. The good news is that I do have a fair amount of the original paint to refurbish the top portion. The bad news is I don't have any for the bottom and that has the most nicks and scrapes. So another trip for paint is coming up. At least this will be a little less expensive.
    Started running again this week after two weeks off (if anyone's counting). The knee isn't 100% but seems to continue improving. Did 3 miles on Monday and 4 on Wednesday, both at a decent pace (8:30s) and it felt better in the middle of the runs than the beginning. No swelling.
    I figure if I'm this old, I can either be running a little bit hurt, or I can not be running and a little bit hurt. So I'll run as long as I'm not a lot hurt. That's normal, isn't it?
  3. Dave
    Not much running going on over here. I've decided this knee thing is tendonitis. Of course I'm no doctor, but I've seen this before. I suspect that my efforts to keep the mileage up after I tweaked the quad last month led to me favoring the left leg and putting more stress on the right. This knee actually has a tendinosis (longer term injury) from an old basketball injury. In the past, more mileage has been good for it, but not this time I guess. Did a test run a week ago and failed. Jogged about a half mile and it was nasty. So nothing since, and it's finally feeling better. I'll probably give it the rest of this week before trying again. Maybe Saturday.
    So, what to do when one isn't running in the world of covid-19. Puzzles, TV, sudoku, landscaping and home projects.
    Last year when we had new siding installed we noticed that our south facing wall had a pronounced outward bow to it. Our newest next door neighbor (not the psychos who think Tempo the invisible wonder dog poops on their lawn) happens to work for the local bricklayers union. He gave us a couple of contacts and we had one of them do so work while we were in Idaho. The wall, both chimneys and the porch all needed repair. He did awesome. Here are the before and afters.
    With those done, I had to do something with the landscaping by the wall. There use to be four big arbor vitae, but they were old and nasty as well (no before pic), so I didn't lose any sleep when the brick guy asked if we could take them down so he could work build his scaffolding for the wall work. Still need to find some green but happy with how this turned out.
    Don't know if I mentioned the box I made for the peonies on the north side of the house. Had tons of partial pickets from when T-Rex and I built the fence, so I set up a mini fence with them to rein in the unruly mass that always seemed to look sickly as soon as the bulbs came on in the spring. I used to just tie it up with string, but have felt that was sort of trashy looking. This is better, as soon as I can get the grass to grow back around it.
    Yesterday, after I put out the flag for the holiday, I took on my next project, which was replacing the water spigot in the back yard. I had intended to just repair it, since it has been leaking for some time. There are two washers inside that like all rubber seals deteriorate over time. Frustratingly, at Home Depot there were no replacement washers, and no replacement valves, either. I sort of expected the latter, since everything is throwaway now, but I did think I'd be able to find washers. Being stubborn, I left HD and drove to one of the local ACE hardware stores. Surely the little guy would have them. Didn't find out because they were closed, even though the store hours sign said they should be open, including on Labor Day. So I drove to another one a couple of miles away, where I discovered that they only had the complete spigot replacement just like HD.
    So, I figured for the $10 they wanted, I could buy a new one, then steal the valve from it and use it to replace my old leaky one. Except when I got home I discovered that my old valve was not the same size. They make them smaller now. Old houses. This is when I realized my next challenge, which was that instead of having the spigot screw onto the end of the water pipe, it was soldered because that's how they did it back in the day. The new plan included, two and a half feet of copper pipe and an elbow connector. And some cutting. And some soldering. I've done all sorts of work, but soldering water pipes isn't one of them, although I've seen it done many times. But, since I had all day and an ace in the hole (which I'll talk about in a minute), I thought it was as good a time as any to try my hand at it.
    The cutting was easy, despite having limited space to work in between two floor joists in the basement. I soldered the new spigot to it's pipe extension at the workbench, and that went well. Then I made what turned out to be a rookie mistake and soldered the elbow into the existing pipe, thinking that I'd then insert the extension and solder that afterwards. The space and lighting weren't ideal, but I thought I'd gotten it done OK. But when I turned on the water, there was a tiny pinpoint of water spraying out from that last joint. Spent the next 4 hours trying to get that fixed. Finally, I gave up and used my ace. Bob was my ace. He's one of those older (older than me) guys who, like my dad, really knows his way around repairs of all kinds. Fortunately, he had no plans for the day and was over in 20 minutes. And that's just about how long it took him to undo my error and put it all together with no leaks. Turns out that heating the elbow once and then trying to heat it again is not a good strategy. reheating makes it much harder to get the soldering to take the second time.
    Here's the old spigot with it's soldered extension, the double 90 that takes water from the main to the outside, and the new spigot installed.

    I'm a little disappointed with Amazon for not giving us the entire season 2 of The Boys, which is my current guilty pleasure. It's so violent as to be nearly disgusting, but like a train wreck, I can't not watch.
    I'll leave you with some pics from the hike Mrs. Dave and I took for our anniversary to Mesa Falls. This place is just outside Yellowstone and is pretty spectacular.

  4. Dave
    Haven't any pictures of this adventure yet. One reason is that the scenery has been much less interesting than you might expect, due to the California wild fires. That's just crazy. But I big high pressure centered over Nevada/Utah has all the smoke swirling north and then east and it's all around us here, just west of the Tetons. Nasty stuff. Combine that with the altitude (4700 ft) and the issues I've got with both legs the last couple of weeks, this hasn't been a great stretch of training or sight-seeing.
    I'll go ahead with the documentation though. Feel free to go to sleep.
    The point of this trip is multi-fold. Foremost is getting T-Rex out for the start of her MA program. This entailed moving into a new apartment, buying books, touring the teeny tiny campus that is the College of Eastern Idaho, and trying to keep her anxiety at a manageable level until she gets settled in.
    Before we do that, let's talk about getting here. 
    Wait. First is running. Most of the week after the Run Thru Hell was good. Bumped the daily mileage to 5 with 10 planned for Saturday. Easy runs, because I'm trying to be careful. Did a strong progressive tempo on Tuesday - 8:02, 7:45, 7:38. A warmish and humid morning that, so I was pleased with the effort. Sadly, on Friday I tweaked my left quad at the end of the run. A couple of hours later it was sore and tight. And guess what? It's still bothering me. Didn't miss any runs until today, but I think I must have been favoring it because now my right knee has been acting up. Not happy about that.
    Did a decent 10 that Saturday, and keeping the pace easy helped the quad stay quiet. I hoped that Sunday plus two days of driving on I-70 would be enough rest for it. (spoiler: it wasn't)
    Sunday evening as we loaded the car T-Rex asked me if her front tire was flat. It looked a little low, so I figured we'd just drive over to a station and top it off and check the other three as well. Except when I got closer, I saw a nail sticking in the tread. Uh-oh. And it's been so long since I've fixed any tires that I had no supplies in the shop. Two options: 1) try to fix it, if I could find what I needed, or B) wait until the tire store opened on Monday and delay our start. So we made a dash to Meijer (few places with tire repair at 8:00 pm on a Sunday). $6 and an hour later, the tire was ready to roll and we were back on schedule.
    Think I've mentioned that in addition to T-Rex's anxiety issues, she also has suffered from increasingly frequent and painful migraines. By this time she was on day 3 of one of her worst. She's got a few different meds that most of the time help, but this time they were just barely taking the edge off. Obviously there had been a lot of stress getting ready for the move, so we hoped that it would begin to settle down while we traveled west.
    We left at 4:00 am on Monday, as scheduled. The plan was to get to Laramie, WY but late afternoon. Traffic is much better now mid-Covid, even around Chicago, so we made excellent time until we got to Altoona, IA. That's when Dave locked the keys in the car in the parking lot of McDonald's where we'd stopped for lunch. When you buy cars now they have electronic systems to keep that from happening, but Cosmo is a 2001 Civic, so no such preventive. I was able to find an old wire hanger at the hotel next door and Mrs. Dave bought a screwdriver at a gas station. I've re-entered more than one old vehicle with those tools, but it's been many years since this has happened. I gave it a good hour's worth of effort and then we called our roadside assistance. I was going to call them right away, but Mrs. Dave, remembering my past exploits, I think, insisted I give it a try. Anyway, the guy showed up 15 minutes later with the right tools and we were going again, having lost just the one hour. Yes, there was a spare key as well, but it was in T's backpack, which was in the trunk.
    And of course that minor disaster didn't help her migraine, either. By the time we got to Kearney, NE, we decided that enough was enough. After a short text exchange with her neurologist's office, we decided to stop in North Platte for some professional help. The urgent care was supposed to be open until 8:00 pm, but when we got there, they were already closed. So we drove another block to the hospital and took her into the ER. Because it was the middle of Nebraska and because it was 8:00 pm and because Covid-19, there was no one there and they got her back pretty quickly. While that was happening, I checked us into a hotel since we were definitely not going to make it to Laramie. By the time I'd driven the two miles there and back, they'd given her an IV "migraine cocktail" and she was sleeping better than she had in almost a week
    The second day went much smoother, across Wyoming, north at Rock Springs, through Hoback Junction (just south of Jackson), then west across the border and Ammon (Idaho Falls) to my dad's house. No migraine!
    Got a few decent runs in last week, sixes on Wed-Thu-Fri, and 10 on Sat. Didn't feel too much of the altitude. Going slow helps with that as well as the quad, which was not getting any better like I'd hoped. It would loosen up and be OK for most of the runs, but then would get sore again for the rest of the day. And then the knee, just below the patella, started. Dag-nabbit. The shorter runs I went east, toward the hills, just going out and back. Saturday I went west through Idaho Falls to the Snake River downtown.
    Stayed short on Monday (4 miles) to make sure I was around for T-Rex to get off to school. Did 8 yesterday to make up for it, since I'm in ramp up mode, but it was ugly. Slower than even my long runs lately and harder than any in recent memory. When I finished, I saw that my average heart rate had been 163. Not terrible, but I'm mostly in the mid-140's on an easy run. And the knee was screaming.
    So, I guess I better hit the couch for a few days before I try again. I'll take the rest of this week off and hope the knee and the quad settle down with a short break.
    On the plus side, we've got T-Rex going. She's nervous, but not panicked. Her apartment is an upgrade from her previous one and includes covered parking (big plus for eastern Idaho winters). She had to get uniform scrubs for her program and of course they were all too large, but one of my SILs is an accomplished seamstress and had both tops and bottoms tailored to fit in about 15 minutes, after Mrs. Dave had declared them impossible. Fingers crossed and prayers ongoing that she'll be able to manage her migraines and anxiety enough to get through the next two semesters. Plan B has me coming back out for support since I can work 100% remotely. Hoping it doesn't come to that.
    I notice I've used the word "hope" more in this post than usual. Hope I don't have to do that again.
  5. Dave
    I first heard about the Run Thru Hell sometime in the 90's. At the time I wasn't running enough to think I should do such a crazy thing as ten hilly miles in the middle of August in Michigan. Granted, it's not Florida or Arizona, but average morning conditions include both temps and dew points in the 70s. Icky, soupy stuff for running.
    Anyway, I finally got up the mileage and the courage to go to Hell in 2011, the summer I was training for marathon #5 (Philly). Finished that day in what I think was a comfortable 1:26. In 2013 I ran 1:23 and then last year a 1:33 (started OK but really crapped out at about mile 7). Every other year they have both a 10 and a 5 mile race. This year, they only had the 5 (4.93 to be exact). Suppose that gives me a PR for the distance. 
    It's a great race, though. Mostly dirt roads (7 of the 10), plenty of shade, almost none of it flat. And they hand out a ton of hardware. Trophies for the top 5 in every 5-year AG. Last year I was 5th. Another difference from the normal race was no hydration on the course. Good thing it was only 5 miles.
    The weather this year was about as perfect as possible. About 60o at the 8:00 AM start time. They had a fully open start - any time you wanted to leave until 10:00 AM. Takes all the nervous starting atmosphere out of waiting for the gun or horn or countdown or however a race normally starts, but there was also no weaving in and out of slower runners/walkers in the first 400-800 yards. A fair trade as far as I'm concerned. Take all the time you want getting ready, make sure there's nothing left in the gut that might want to come out during the race, stroll over to the start and get moving. It was OK.
    Had to beat off the paparazzi during my warm up.

    Once I was running, it didn't matter. I still checked my pace, checked my effort, checked the runners around me, checked the grade of the next hill, tried to run smart. There were a few masked runners, but for the most part we trusted all the extra room on the quiet country dirt road and the fresh air, of which there was plenty. Most of the anxious starters had gone a few minutes before me, so I mostly passed people the whole way. There were maybe a half dozen or so who came up behind me and blew past - young whipper-snappers showing off, no doubt. One tall guy in a University of Illinois singlet, a set of shirtless HS kids (sweet memories, I have to admit), both pounding up the inclines and thundering the down slopes. I remember one guy with a Jamaican accent who had been talking to a woman at the start. He came up slowly on my left at about mile 1. I thought I might try to go after him later if he was still in sight after another mile.

    That first mile is probably the toughest one of the 5 mile course. In the 10-miler, there are three that are steeper and longer. The 5-miler has a couple of hard climbs in Mile 1 and another in Mile 4, along with the rolling profile of the rest of it. I've only had a few short tempo runs, so didn't have much of an idea of how to pace this thing. Started conservatively, knowing that pushing up the first hills could have me walking before half way. Used it as a warm up (8:56) and then went to a tempo effort, about how I felt the previous Tuesday, hoping for something close to 8 minutes. Mile 2 - 7:50.
    Jamaica was still in sight. He probably went out a little fast because he was fading over the course of Mile 3, which was predominantly uphill. I thought about encouraging him to stay with me, but didn't know how that fit in with the socially distance rules. Plus, I'd decided I wanted to beat him, so why would I help him? I stayed focused up one particularly nasty hill and left him behind. Didn't see him again. Mile 3 - 7:52.
    Mile 4 turns onto the main road through the actual town of Hell. There's one mile of blacktop in the whole course and it's from 3-1/2 to 4-1/2. It also had the least amount of shade. So life was kind of rough through there. 8:08. But it was pretty great to be racing again and I could almost smell the finish. Had a few speedsters go by me but for the most part I was passing people and figured on a strong finish if I didn't lose it on one of the last hills.

    The start and finish were in the same place, but I couldn't tell that from where I saw the flags earlier, so I thought I had another 50 yards and a steep section when I crossed the line. Could have taken a few seconds off if I'd been paying more attention. Still, 6:47 (7:27 pace) for the last partial mile and a good day being on the road, pushing hard and being with other runners.
    Post race face FTW!

    Official time 39:37. 8:03 average. 3rd place out of 18 in the 60-64 AG. Good enough for a bigger trophy than last year's 5th place.
    Thoughts on a fall marathon coming up next time. Looks like there are a few that may happen this year.
  6. Dave
    Not being much of a racer back when we could race all the time when we wanted, I surprised myself this week by signing up for a race.
    It's not really a race because I'm not in shape to do any racing racing. And it's not really a race because it has an open start, with no more than 5 people allowed to begin the course at the same time. But there's a course. There's an entry fee. There are timing chips and times recorded and awards to be given out. So, it's a race.
    It's the annual Run Thru Hell. I've done it a few times. It was cancelled once, the year the AD's wife died. Funny, I had it on my calendar at the beginning of the year, then forgot about it, assuming that it would be cancelled like every other race on the planet. Mrs. Dave and I even had a conversation about it a couple of weeks ago when she saw it on the google calendar.
    "I don't imagine it's going to happen. Just delete it."
    And then, Tuesday this week I got an email from them. There's going to be a race. Normally they do both a 10 and a 5 miler, but this year only the 5. Please come. Though about it for a couple of days and decided to sign up.
    Not really a race, but close enough.
    Apparently, I have an itch.
  7. Dave
    Over two weeks since my last entry. No excuses.
    I at first supposed that my mind was simply on other things, but if I'm being honest, I think it's because my personal motivation just isn't here right now. I never raced much, but for the last ten years I've at least had a marathon or two out there that I was working on. Truth is, as the audience here has dwindled and the interaction with it, I miss the buss of having people comment and ask questions and voice opinions on what I've written. Having someone tell me it's OK when I struggle through a bad run helped me get out on the road again the next day. Multiply that by what used to be several - sometimes dozens - back in the Loop's heyday, and I was constantly lifted up. It's harder when you feel alone.
    Still out there, though, regardless. It's what I do. What I am. Not going to lie, though - I miss the kudos.
    I'm at the stage of my post-covid comeback where it feels like things aren't happening the way I want. Just impatience, I'm sure, like it usually is. Tinkbot posted during the week that she ran the same number of miles that she got sleep the night before. She's got two littles now and sleep is a precious and rare commodity for a young mother. The 4.5 miles pushing the stroller were no doubt tougher for her than the 7.5 I struggled with yesterday in my effort to matched her sleep/miles adventure.
    I've done a couple of Saturdays in a row at 6 miles and was thinking 7 or 8 this week anyway, which is about what I sleep every night, so it wasn't going to be any extra effort, really. I have developed the nasty habit of needing to take a dump sometime during what seems like every single one of my morning runs. So I woke up, took my time eating breakfast, visiting the bathroom a few times (with mostly disappointing results), and finally left when it felt like nothing was going to happen again.
    First miles lately have been extra slow. Part of it's normal for mile 1 to warm up, part of it's the morning which my right knee doesn't seem to like anymore for about a quarter mile. But after that things loosen up and it's just a matter of getting where I plan to go that day. Even though Michigan is mostly opened up, traffic remains lighter than in the past, and even if I miss a light I can often go through on the red, since there aren't any cars, especially at 7 am on a Saturday morning. When I was young and fast I'd think nothing of darting in and out of traffic whenever. Now I'm a much more sane, relaxed, conscientious and law-abiding runner. And slower, don't forget slower.
    There was a woman I passed in mile 1 that I passed in the other direction coming back in mile 6. That doesn't happen every day. No telling how far she went in the one direction before coming south to the street I was returning on. Waved both times, which was nice.
    Of course I had a Code Abby about half way. Lucky for me, there was a park, not much used now because, you know. And there was a honey bucket shack put there by the city every summer. Suppose it's cheaper than building and maintaining an actual bathroom. Despite the fact that it's not guaranteed to be sanitized, I used it. I know the science isn't complete about how much immunity I might have at this point, I feel pretty good about my chances since I had no plans to be licking my butt afterwards, and there was little contact with my hands that would have been able to travel to my mouth/nose. The danger from e-coli is likely much greater from a POP than covid. Anyway, so much for the extra time I spent at home before running.
    Ran out of gas somewhere in mile 5 and struggled the rest of the way in. It was warm and humid like it's been all summer, but I had hoped to be able to push just one more measly mile than I did the previous two Saturdays. So kind of disappointed.
    Both the girls were working yesterday, so I spent my time cleaning windows and toilets, and watching some movies on Amazon, since the Tigers-Reds game was rained out.
    Today we're going to church for the first time in 4 months. Only 25 people will be there, as the congregation rotates through the alphabet with groups of 25 attending one of four services held every week. At that rate, we'll be there once a month. The other times, they have a Zoom broadcast of one of them that we can call in for. Hardly the same, but better than nothing, although we try to have a weekly family devotional scheduled around work schedules.
    Crazy all the things we used to take for granted as normal until a few months ago. Reminds me that we're not really in charge of things on this tiny little planet like we often think we are. Man has done some amazing things, but we're actually a pretty fragile species. Life is fragile.
    So many things we think are so very important aren't so much, really. Seems to me we'd be better off if we remembered that.
  8. Dave
    And I didn't even get out to see most of it. Just the views from Denver and Franktown.
    But it was a great long weekend anyway. T-Rex got to see her boy, we met his parents, and we spent a little time with some old friends. Not working for 5 days was good, too.
    Got a couple of runs in on Friday and Saturday.
    Friday was in Franktown. That's a half hour south of Denver, if you were wondering. There's not much there, which is fine. Lots of big houses, spread out over lots of area. Our friends live at the top of a hill with spectacular views both near and far. I was going to keep it short on Friday since we'd traveled the day before, not to mention that I haven't done any hills in forever and it was at 6,500 feet above sea level. Not what I'm used to. Fortunately, the first day or two the blood still has oxygen from where you came from, so the only thing that kicked my butt was the actual climbing. I've run here once before and remember how steep that last mile-long hill back to the house is. Yikes! Anyways, I eyeballed the map on my phone and figured I could do a loop out to the highway, then down to the turn off where we drove up the night before. I knew that last piece was a mile, and it sort of looked like a mile to the highway, then another to the turn off. 3 miles. They told me they've had a couple of cougar sightings in the area but I wasn't worried about that. There's also a bear that's been rummaging through people's garbage cans. Wasn't too excited about that prospect, although it didn't seem like a good idea to discuss that with Mrs. Dave until maybe after we got home. Saw four deer at the first intersection, then another two just before the highway. My plan was to cross and run on the south side of the road against traffic, but noticed a single track that paralleled the highway about 15 yards from the traffic (what traffic there was, which wasn't much), so I ran on that. This is also about where I began to see that my 3 miles was actually going to be more like 4. But this was mostly downhill, so I felt OK and was in no hurry. Turns out it was 4 miles to the turn off, so this was a 5-miler. That was fine with me, but I wondered if Mrs. Dave would be worried when I was 15 minutes later than I told her I was going to be. She slept through most of it, so it was fine. As expected, that last climb was a killer, but I only walked at little for the steepest part.

    Saturday's run was a 3 mile out and back from a hotel. We figured to save the drive time that day so didn't go back to Franktown that night. The hotel was just a mile or so from the first house we had in Denver back in 1987, so it was a little nostalgia tour. Ran past a golf course where I'd lost a pitching wedge one day. A mile and a half out comes really quickly. I felt like going farther, but this wasn't a run-cation, so I headed back.
    Most of our time was spent getting to know this kid that T-Rex is all gaga over. We went to a couple of escape rooms and decided we really like them, even though we felt pretty stupid most of the time. Denver has some really nice min-golf courses and we played a couple of those, too. It was at or near 100o the whole weekend, but 100o in Denver feels like 80o in Detroit, so we didn't mind so much. And we ate too much.
    Never had any trouble with the altitude until the airport on the way home yesterday, when I had to navigate a broken escalator carrying our one checked bag that only weighed 35 pounds. Holy moly, I was sucking serious wind before getting to the top. Good thing I didn't run that day.
    Back at home and nothing's changed here. Still working at the dining room table and expect to be here for the rest of the year. Sometime soon they'll approve a date for me to go to the office and clear out whatever person stuff I left there. I may never go back at least for my current client/contract.
    I last filled my gas tank in mid-March. After the drive to and from the airport, I still have a quarter of a tank.
    Crazy world.
  9. Dave
    Slowly adding miles in. 5 yesterday that went pretty well. Switched to morning runs because it's been in the 90s. The catch with morning runs for me is the bowel processes that never seem to decide what they're going to do until half way through my runs. Code Abby!
    But, I'm running and except for the first mile that seems to take more of to get into the flow than it does in the afternoon, my normal paces have returned. Was even flirting with sub-8 yesterday before I had to stop abruptly to make sure there wasn't a mess to leave on the sidewalk. Ew.
    For the present, I'm content with just building up until I can do some double digits again. After that, we'll see what the landscape looks like for the new racing normal. I got an email for an Independence Day 5K that had a wide start window for everyone to distance. It was only $20, too. But it was also over an hour's drive and I'm not feeling up to racing yet anyway. I didn't feel the need for the admittedly minimal expense or the 2-plus hours in a car on Saturday morning.
    Instead, I decided (after my 5) to touch up the fence. There are a few pickets that could be replaced and maybe some fresh paint. Sadly, Home Depot had different sized pickets than they did when I built the fence. Hoping they were just out of them. So, I've been meaning to put something permanent around the peonies on the north side of the house. Peonies seem to have bloom too heavy for their stalks, so once they get near the flower stage, they fall over and look sickly. Every year I've just wrapped some twine around them and anchored it to the fence and that holds them up reasonably well. I had several pieces of the old pickets in the garage left over from original fence building (10 years ago). I cut a bunch of them down to 12 inches and made a matching mini fence for the flowers. This will both square off the area and support the plants. Since I used the same material as the main fence, from the street it will look like the flowers are sort of popping up from the middle of the fence. And when there flowers are gone, it will look like part of the fence.
    Cut the rest of the dead branches from the cherry tree in the back. I do this all by hand with a bow saw. It's basically the only cross training I ever do. Works up quite a sweat and my arms get really tired. I cut the larger pieces into firewood for an emergency. Normally, we never use our fireplace because I hate cleaning up after. But you never know when the power might go out some cold winter. Anyway, I was down to the last few pieces - the largest - when my neighbor asked if I wanted to borrow his sawzall. At first I begged off because of my cross training regimen, then accepted and turned what was going to be another hour of sweat into 5 minutes of noise.
    Headed to Denver this coming weekend for a mini vaca. T-Rex wants to see her BF and we just want to get away. The kids haven't seen each other in person since Christmas because school's been closed. I'll try to get a couple of runs in.
  10. Dave
    I could also title this "I seem so slow."
    Coming back from a layoff is painfully slow. On the plus side, this is not an injury layoff, so there are no phantom pains and the ever present fear of re-injury that comes with those. My hip - was that a twinge in my hip? Did my hamstring just pull again? I could keep this list going for a while.
    Happily, nope. None of that. Just slow, plodding, one foot in front of the other re-building the old leg and heart and lung muscles so I can call myself a runner again. So I can leave the thoughts of how to turn in my IRUN26.2 vanity license plate since I can't run marathons anymore. Double digits seem like a long ways out from where I sit today.
    And where do I sit today? At the dining room table, which is my office since the middle of March. My latest puzzle, a 2,000 piece of Van Gogh's Starry Night lays on the other side of my TV screen/computer monitor. I'll leave it there for a couple of days as a tribute to the 49 hours I spent putting it together over the last two weeks.

    Officially started running again two weeks ago, on the 12th of June. That was a 2-1/4 mile, 9 and a half minute pace struggle. But better than the run before that, when I was still a walking covid-19 case. (2 miles at 10 and a half). Nice to breathe normally for the first time in a couple of months. Since then, I've kept it to 2 miles except for last Saturday and Monday, when I did 3. Have to remember how long it takes to get back everything I've lost. I'm encouraged by how the paces are improving, getting back into the neighborhood where 9 minutes is an easy run. Monday's 3 featured two good splits - 8:40 and 8:30.
    I've done a few morning runs, thanks to the short mileage and my old man's inability to sleep much past 5:00 am, in addition to my daily work commute being the 12 feet from the kitchen to the dining room. More than enough time to do a couple of miles, cool off and shower before heading to the office.
    The advice to new runners is always to expect 6-8 weeks before you feel the benefits of running and things start to feel good. Same with runners who are just out of shape. I've done this many, many times and will likely do so again.
    I'm also fortunate that I hadn't signed up or even planned on any races this year, except the one marathon in May. The way things look around the country, fall will probably be a zero in the race calendar and next spring isn't a sure bet, either. I expect that virtual racing will be the norm for some time to come. What will that do for my 50-state quest?
    If all races become virtual, do I register for one in each of my states and run from home? I think I need to actually run IN the state for it to count. So then do I register, travel to anywhere in that state and count it? For example, would I sign up for Chicago and run a virtual marathon in Joliet?
    I imagine someone (several someone's) will find a way to survive and thrive in the marathon making business even with the realities of the post-covid world.
    Stay healthy, my friends.
  11. Dave
    Sort of a magic trick, I guess.
    Last blog post was April 28, reporting on Dave's Double Dog Dare Distance Covid-19.3 Challenge. That was a tough couple of races. Hamstring in the early miles of the 10K, then a wall smack late in the pikermi the next day.
    I took three days off, then figured to run another month of good miles before doing a triple for the May Covid-19 races. On Wednesday, I ran tried to run an easy 4 miles up to the Home Depot. It was a pretty crappy run, despite the near perfect weather. Normally on the back half of the HD route I run 30-60 seconds faster than the first part. That day it was barely even and I felt AWFUL.
    So, I supposed the weekend took more out of me than I thought. This made no sense to me, because through April I'd kept up pretty close to my original marathon training plan, thinking at the time that my late May race might still happen. But, fine, I'll take another couple of days and then do some easy runs.
    Saturday, I got a mile out at 10:30 pace and walked home.
    Rested Sunday, then went for a couple on Monday. Better, finishing over 2 miles at 9-ish, but this was not what I was used to, even on a bad day. More rest? I ran another few days, a couple of miles each at the same pace. And felt no better. Took a week and a half off.
    For the May Covid-19 races, I did a 5K and felt pretty accomplished to finish under 30 (28:47). This included a MONSTER kick at 8:50 pace.
    Of course you're thinking the same thing I'd been thinking for most of this time. Did I have Covid-19? Mrs. Dave had tested positive for C-19 antibodies, so she had had it at one point (her only symptom was loss of taste and smell). Obviously, she had brought some of the little menaces home from the hospital at least once since the whole mess started back in March. Surely I'd been exposed. But testing was still on a "need to know" basis, and my symptoms were pretty mild compared to many. Mild headache all day, every single day, and I rarely have headaches. A little tightness in the chest. I wouldn't say I had breathing difficulty, but my short little runs would have me sucking wind more than normal, despite the slow pace. And there was this lethargy, a deadness in my legs (only) when I tried to run. No fever. I FaceTimed with my doc after those first two weeks, asking if I should get tested. He said it was up to me, but he didn't think so. I had something, but it probably wasn't C-19. I'd be fine in a couple of weeks.
    So, I stayed home even more than the Governor (and my new girlfriend), Big Gretch, advised. And waited for the 2-3 weeks that this thing (if that's what it was) was supposed to need to take its course when I'd be as good as new, well-rested and ready to start putting in some miles again.
    Except 2-3 weeks stretched into 4, then 5. They finally extended testing to anyone who wanted, and I went last Sunday. Just in case, I isolated from the girls until the results came in, which they did last night. Negative. Did I have it early and now it's no longer active? Possible, but why then am I still having these symptoms? My last run was on the 30th. A slow, difficult 2 miles. Still the headache. Still the tightness in my chest.
    Planning to go for serology this afternoon to see if I have developed antibodies. Between that and my upcoming doc visit, I'm 2 weeks out from knowing anything more.
    EDIT - Visit to urgent care yesterday for serology. So that's in process. But, as I was reviewing my symptoms (granted, I was playing it up a little bit to make sure they approved my request for serology), the "tightness in my chest" phrase was a trigger. The NP immediately ordered a chest x-ray while she asked me a bunch more questions that pointed to heart trouble. The heart attack line didn't go anywhere, but the x-ray showed the real problem (still to be confirmed by a radiologist) - pneumonia. Well, well, well. Light at the end of the tunnel now, anyway.
    In the past I've always kept writing even when I wasn't running, but this time I haven't felt like it much.
    Fixed the kitchen and dining room chairs. Most of them had legs or spindles that had loosened or broken over time.
    I have done some good puzzles in the last few weeks. I like a challenge, so I do 2000 piece ones. That's about as large as my dining room table has space for and takes 40+ hours of work to complete. Lately, that's only about a week's worth, since I'm not running or going anywhere. Good hobby for the Time of Covid.

  12. Dave
    It’s been two weeks since my last entry. That’s longer than normal for me. One would think with the lockdown since mid-March, I’d have more time to be writing. Although, if I’m not doing anything, there’s not much to write about. I’m not a deep thinker.
    But I did run a 10K yesterday, as part of the Loop’s Covid-19 series of virtual races, so I should put that down.
    Last month I ran a half marathon, since I was about half way through my training for what was going to be the Sugarloaf Marathon in May. Lost my mojo for marathon training after that, so I haven’t been putting in the mileage for more than a half, but I’ve kept up speed work for the most part and I wanted to do something a little more exciting for April, so I proposed Dave’s Double Dog Dare Distance Covid-19.3 Challenge, with a 10K and a half marathon on back to back days (the “.3” was added by my friend, Bangle – get it?). Haven’t doubled up on races since college, so this was new.
    Did something else I haven’t done in I don’t know how long, and that’s taper for a race that wasn’t a marathon. I ran 6 miles on Monday, with 4 tempo (7:30-7:54 – not super happy with the slower last mile). Tuesday was an easy 6, running past a local middle school. The parking lot was packed! No idea where all those cars came from or what so many people were doing at the same place. Had to have been 50+ cars. Wednesday was my first farlek in I don’t know how long, either. A real fartlek. No plan, no specific distances or times; just running fast or slow for however long I felt like for 5 miles. Then I rested on Thursday.
    So, the 10K.
    Wasn’t particularly interested in getting any hills or not. Just stayed in my traditional directional rotation and headed up to the north and west for 3.1, then back. There’s no loop that would give me 6.2 miles in this direction. There was 126 feet of elevation on the way out, all slow and steady, which I got back on the way home.
    Jogged out a half mile to the park entrance and started from there.
    The first mile felt a little ragged, and it took my a little to get the pace where I wanted (just under 8:00). My plan was to stay there for the out and see if the gradual descent on the way back would give me some juice to finish strong. It was a nicer day than most of this week has been. Temps in the mid-50s but finally a day with not much wind. It’s been 15-25 mph the last couple of weeks.
    Just past mile 1 (looking back at the Garmin data), I felt Sammy the Hammy making a little tug. Are you kidding me? I hitched for a few strides, then jogged for about a 10th of a mile, deciding whether I was going to even be able to do the full 6.2, albeit at a decidedly slower pace, or if Sammy was going to shut up and let me race. I slowly built back up to 8:00 pace for about a quarter before dropping off again. There were two young women on the other side of the street who had started a run from the rec center when I made my first turn onto Eight Mile; of course I wanted to look impressive on my side, but Sammy wasn’t having much of that. I did manage to regain my 8:00-ish pace over the next half mile. Maybe. Mile 2 was 8:23 (paces ranged from 8:00 to 9:15).
    Maybe not. Sammy and I made another half mile before he gave me more trouble. Slowed from 8:00 to almost 10:00, and it wasn’t getting any better. So I stopped for a minute, and gave him a long, slow stretch. Technically illegal to pause the Garmin, but, as the RD, I gave myself a pass (feel free to give yourself one if you need it). After that he seemed to settle down enough for me to finish getting to the turnaround, which was also the top of the climb, where I hoped gravity would help me out at least a little. Mile 3 – 9:03.
    126 feet over 3 miles isn’t very steep, but it was just what Sammy needed apparently. He didn’t shut up completely, but he also didn’t scream all the way home. Once I got back into a rhythm, I was able to get back to and under 8:00, then hold it. Mile 4-6 – 7:57, 7:44, 7:47.
    And the final push (although it wasn’t much of a push, really) at 7:25, for a final time of 50:26.
    That’s an average of 8:07. Not quite what I was going for, but decent. Assuming I’d have been able to run the whole way without the hamstring issue, I estimate I could have finished sub-49:00. Perhaps another day, when I don’t run with a whiney hamstring. Also, there’s a new blister on my toe, which I haven’t had issues with the Hokas before. That’s annoying.
    Anyway, some ice for the evening and some heat Saturday morning, hoping to have a go at 13.1 that afternoon.
    I felt better on Saturday than I expected. As for Sammy, it was behind the opposite knee that was bothering me. Just another of those old guy aches and pains, I figured. If the hamstring was good, then I figured the rest of me would be.
    So, about 2:30 PM I suited up and ran a half marathon.
    I was disappointed in the first mile, which was 9:16, but only because I really thought I was moving better than that. Since the goal was 8:30s, I spent the next half mile trying to calculate how much faster than 8:30 I needed to go the rest of the way to get there. 4-5 seconds per mile was what I thought, to make up for the 45 seconds I’d lost. And, since I’d decided to run the Meadowbrook Hobo Camp route, I was going to need to do it on a net uphill in the first 7 miles.
    Miles 2 & 3 were both 8:28. Not quite but close enough, given the elevation, getting behind Target and then the hill between Eight and Nine Mile on the bike path. I rarely see anyone on the bike path when I run on it, but today there was about a dozen riders on the nine miles I was there (miles 1-1/2 to 11-1/2). Some were friendly, some not. No other runners, though. The weather was about perfect. 53o and a moderate, cool wind from the NE.
    Mile 4 had a steepest, longest hill of the day. 8:41. Like Friday, I wasn’t feeling great, but good enough to at least give it a solid effort. I was still somewhat confident I could go faster on the second half. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t).
    From 5 to the half way point, it was either flat or only slightly uphill, so I kept the pressure on and did OK, running 8:23 and 8:25 before losing some steam right before the turnaround. The few times I come up this way I still expect to see signs of someone camping out beside the trail but it’s pretty abandoned now. Guess the local sheriff keeps a close eye on the area. The old Garmin sight used to let me see my cumulative time anywhere along a run. Sad it doesn’t anymore. I couldn’t tell you where I was exactly when I turned around. I do know it was almost a half mile later when I remembered that I had a Hammer gel in my pocket.
    I certainly needed it, because I was starting to flag. Not a good sign for just over half way. But it was going to be mostly downhill, right? Mile 7 was 9:15. More time to make up.
    So, I pushed the next mile (8:20), but it was a losing battle. Miles 9 and 10 were 8:30 and 8:31.
    And the tank was pretty much empty at that point. Mile 11 was 9:20. It included the last hill – the only significant one of the second half and I was completely toasted. 8:52 and 9:04, with a :51 second finish (8:19 pace).
    Kind of disappointed.
    But, you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about Sammy the Hammy or his whiney little brother, Louie. I thought there was going to be a problem at 11, after a quick stop at a traffic light, but I guess I was going slow enough by that point it was not a trigger for either one.
    Final time – 1:54:24. 8:44 average pace per mile. Two minutes slower than March’s Covid-19 half, which had just a little less elevation to the Phoenix Lake route. Granted, there wasn’t a hard 10K the day before and Sammy was on vacation in the Bahamas.
    Bangle said I could use an age calculator for our head to head match up. Plugging my geezer-age into the boxes gives me a 1:32:44 (RW & USATF), or a 1:31:41 (mastersathletics.net). Either of those sound a lot better.
    I’m going to need a day or two or five to recover from this weekend. I seem to recall mentioning that I just haven’t been feeling 100% this spring. Not too much, though, because it only seems logical that the next step for May’s Covid-19 races is to do a triple. 5K-10K-HM over Memorial Day weekend.
  13. Dave
    Some other virus?
    Mental fatigue?
    Disappointment at my race being cancelled?
    Whatever it was, my last good run was on April 1. Since then, I've run 8 times. 7 of them were awful. Slow. Tired legs. Gasping for air. Listless. Dragging.
    The day after doing 6 x miles (total 11.5), I was scheduled for 10. That was the morning I got the email cancelling Sugarloaf. So I did 7 instead. It wasn't great, like normal. It was slower than most runs lately. But the 6 x 1 was my hardest so far, so I gave myself all the slack for going slow.
    But the next day was supposed to be 6 and I'm usually much better two days after intervals. Nope. I did 5 and just didn't care.
    I'm not one to judge, but the parking lot at Home Depot seemed awfully busy for "essential, life-saving" traffic.
    Saturday was going to be to be first 16 miler of 3 I had planned. Instead, it was another 5. I was dragging. No way could I have run 16 miles that day.
    Why though?
    Sunday rest.
    Monday, 4 replaced 9 (w/ 7 tempo), and wasn't any better. The tiniest bit faster, but no more energy and no more mojo. Every single step I had this thought: Maybe I should just take the rest of the spring off and put on 10 quarantine pounds. There's something wrong with me.
    Of course I decided to keep going, because I'm stubborn like that. I also hate to change things and running is what I do. I'll just keep going slow and either get sick if I'm going to be sick from Mrs. Dave bringing home a dose of C-19 from the hospital, or I recover from overdoing it the last two weeks of training. 10K. Just as slow as before. Just as tired as before.
    Since the 16th of March, I've been able to work from home. A huge blessing that I know not everyone has. But this week my client had declared a mandatory shutdown - all employees required to take a week's vacation. My company helped us out with 3 days of training and workshops, leaving me with just 2 days to cover with PTO. Those were Monday and Tuesday. I finally dismantled the old swing set in the back yard. Fixed T-Rex's bicycle (with a tire tube at curbside pickup at Target - felt a little guilty about that, since it wasn't really "essential"). T-Rex and I watched all the Harry Potter movies.
    Last week I finished the last crossword puzzle in my 200 puzzle NYTimes Sunday crosswords book. Cold turkey is hard.
    Wednesday was almost 70 degrees. First time it's been that warm this spring and the 4 miles that day were especially sucky. Still no change in my mojo.
    Mother nature pulled a 180 on Thursday. 30 mph winds. 30 degree temps. Snow flurries. I told Mrs. Dave that I was going either 4 or 10 or something else. No idea. I think it speaks to her current level of stress that she didn't care. Not only how far I was going, but where. How long I'd be gone, was I bringing my phone. Nothing. See you whenever you get back. Ran 8, and it was not quite as bad as before, except for being blown nearly to a standstill when I was going west and the fact that somehow the wind was from the SW when I started and the NW when I finished, so I pretty much had it in my face 3/4's of the time.
    I just took Friday off. No reason. The training I was in went long and I just wasn't feeling like a run afterwards.
    Maybe it was a bit of inspiration. Maybe I needed that day, along with the other recent days of easy slow running.
    The first mile came in under 9:00 - the first time in a long time that mile 1 has been there. That was followed by a bunch of 8:30s that felt buttery smooth. About 4 miles in I passed three people doing yard work. As I approached, one of them - older, looked like one of the others' dad - said, "Good Lord!" That confused me since I didn't know this guy and it wasn't like I'm famous or was running 5 minute miles. "You run right by my house on Levan." Levan is a street in my neighborhood. I guess it would have been the neighborly thing to do to stop and chat a little, but how do you stop when you're in the middle of the first good run you've had in almost two weeks and the sun is out and it's 53 glorious degrees? I waved and said something short and friendly that I can't even remember now and kept running.
    Ran on the street where we had our first house when we moved to Michigan 25 years ago. There used to be a kid at church who got married and moved a few houses down from there. Hadn't seen or heard from him in probably ten years. There he was, in his driveway, working on the suspension of a BMW. I had to stop then. Hated to break my stride, but this was pretty extraordinary. That was a couple of minutes. To my surprise, when I started up again, I still felt great. In fact, I felt great the whole way back home. Did have to stop at a traffic light once for a few seconds. There was no cross traffic and normally I'd go before the light changed, but there was a cop car sitting there as well and I didn't know how understanding he'd be. 10 miles @ 8:30 pace (8:31 to be precise), with the last mile at 7:59. Such a good, good run.
    Feels good to be back.
    Especially since I've decided to do a double in a couple of weeks for the April Covid-19 Race event. Going to do a 10K on Friday or Saturday, then a half marathon on Saturday or Monday. I'm calling it Dave's Double Dog Dare Distance Challenge. Let me know if you want in. Maybe we should age grade it to make it a real race.
  14. Dave
    My notice came in an email yesterday afternoon. Sugarloaf is cancelled. If you remember, for a week or so I'd been congratulating myself for picking a marathon in May instead of April. Turns out Mother Nature doesn't like to be upstaged.
    On Wednesday I'd run one of my hardest workouts - 6 x mile repeats at 5K pace. If that workout was any indication, well ... let's just say my 5K pace isn't what it used to be. And it was harder than I wanted to get what I got. The last one was the slowest, and not for lack of trying.
    So then I spent Thursday morning contemplating how excruciating the 10 mile recovery run that day was going to be. When the email from Sugarloaf came, even though it was hafl-expected, it was still a shock. Sent a FB message to ocrunnergirl, since I figured she'd have the same notice. Is it bad to think I was looking forward to meeting up with another Loopster as much as I was for the race? Her email had gone to her hub's account, so she hadn't seen it yet, making me the bearer of the bad news. I hate bearing bad news.
    The rest of the afternoon I couldn't decide if I should finish out the week at my full training schedule, or immediately cut back, take a few days to process things and come up with a new strategy for the rest of spring and summer. Thought about how tired I was and that the only thing that's kept me going the last few weeks was the carrot of that marathon at the end of the stick. About this time in training that's normal. In the end, I decided that 7 was enough miles. By the end of those 7, I decided that I was right.
    Today I'll do 5 and decide about tomorrow's long run later. Maybe I'll do the full 16, because being out for that long with no doubt be therapeutic and I could use some therapy now.
    On a brighter note, the first weekend of the Loop's Covid-19 Races Series was successful. We had 34 entrants. 12 in the 5K, 10 in the 10K and 8 ran pikermis. There were a couple who did 8K and one was a 10-miler. There were a bunch of selfies, empty roads and neighborhoods, a couple of pets, and some adorable kids.
    Here are the results, which I also posted in Loopville.

    Place Loopster Time Distance Bonus Points 1 Peg Erb 0:22:30 3.1 Selfie & Tucker 2 Brian Vaughan 0:25:41 3.1   3 Ken Stawowy 0:27:03 3.1   4 George Grennick 0:27:20 3.1 Selfie, cardboard box & an empty road 5 Becky Young 0:28:49 3.1 Selfie 6 Mark Hermacinski 0:33:49 3.1   7 Maxwell Melvin 0:41:32 3.1 PSycho shoes 8 Edward Burgoyne 0:46:59 3.1 Spooky tree 9 Reed 0:59:31 3.1 Kite and a tree 10 Erin Mahr 1:00:17 3.1   11 Dave DeCoursey idk 3.1   12 Jessica Schultz oops 3.1 Selfie w/ cute daughter 1 Heidi Murray kids 4 2 strollers, 2 bikes, 3 beautiful little girls 1 Emma Jane Allen 0:50:31 5   2 Debby Klinect 0:58:32 5   1 Susan Cornelius 0:59:02 6.2   2 Deirdre Hinkle Reyna 0:59:29 6.2   3 Scott Bader 0:59:33 6.2 Seahorse shaped route, Georgia flowers 4 Angela Brinker 1:05:17 6.2 Bloop and a cat. 5 Barbara Cumming 1:05:21 6.2   6 Greg Holness 1:05:29 6.2 Selfie and rain 7 John Paniccia 1:05:54 6.2   8 Brenda Haskill 1:11:22 6.2 Empty bike path, Elite runner, and a bloop! 1 Gwen Stark 1:00:22 7   1 Jennifer Ralston 1:44:45 10   1 Shanda Warren 1:44:56 13.1 Hot Selfie 2 Dave 1:52:27 13.1 Empty street, flooded river 3 Tim Emmett 1:55:02 13.1 Socially distant running buddy 4 Brad Angle 1:56:03 13.1   5 John Nguyen 2:00:15 13.1   6 Tim Pierce 2:08:19 13.1 Empty road to Navarino 7 Laura Hein McElduff 2:09:21 13.1 2 Ferraris 8 Holly Reichard 2:18:35 13.1 empty SoCal countryside 9 Emily Reed 2:13::44 13.1   The next race weekend is April 24-27, so gear up and make your plans. There's talk of a multiple distance challenge.
    For now, all our Loopmeets, Loopfests, races and even training runs are destined to be solo or virtual affairs. It's an interesting time. Better than more people dying, though.
    Hang in there, kids. It won't last forever, and we'll be here when it's done. Still running. Still racing. Still supporting each other.
  15. Dave
    Early last month when I was laying out my training plan for Sugarloaf (at the time it was either that or Salisbury, MD the first week of April), I put a half marathon down for the last weekend of March anyway. As it happened, there weren't any races nearby and I wasn't in a position to travel then. So, I was going to do a solo run.
    Then all this really weird stuff happened and now over half the country is on lockdown. Everyone's races everywhere are cancelled. Well, thought I, why not invite Loopsters all over the world to join me in my virtual race? So I posted the idea in Loopville and asked if anyone was interested. And here we are. Typically human, we've found a way around this disaster. Typically runner, we've found a way to run in the middle of it. 
    In my AG, I'm solidly in one of the "at risk" populations. Not like the immuno-suppressed or otherwise physically compromised (thank goodness for that), but as an old guy I'm supposed to be more careful. I also thank goodness that my job can be done remotely and I'm not financially affected, either (so far, anyway - no one knows the future).
    But back to the virtual racing, treegirl, Northern Lass, NavEng, and cummingsb all volunteered to help with ideas and acting as RDs for what's turned into a monthly series (seems to me Eliz was the first to suggest that - she's so cool) of virtual races. We plan to go on as long as the normal races are verboten.
    Before I get to my race yesterday, I want to quickly recap the week leading up. Since this was part of my as-of-today-still-scheduled marathon in Maine training plan, I did not put any time for tapering, meaning I was not going to be fresh on Saturday for this 13.1. I think if I'd have had a "real" race that I paid money for I would have taken at least Friday off, but I didn't, so...
    Friday 3/20 - 6 slow miles, 9:06 pace. Felt sort of so-so, but better than on Thursday.
    Saturday 3/21 - 15 miles, 9:10 pace. Had a serious Code Abby just about half way. I was in a wooded area that was way too small and way too open for the sort of stop that can be done in the woods. Made one stop to will things to stop, then gingerly started again through a neighborhood I'd never run through before. Then I saw a Road Construction sign and hoped against hope that the construction was significant enough that there'd be a port-o-place set up for the workers. THERE WAS!!! Made my business and made it home clean.
    Monday 3/23 - 8 miles with 6 tempo @ 8:01 pace. Still feeling more tired than I think I ought to, but I keep telling myself that it's the right kind of tired and not being too old or getting sick. We'll see.
    Tuesday 3/24 - 7 miles, 9:09 pace. Nothing to write home about.
    Wednesday 3/25 - 11 miles with 4 x 2400. I finished this one averaging about 7:50 pace compared to my hope of 7:30-40s, and never really feeling very good. (see the note about Monday)  About a mile into the second 2400, I approached an intersection as the light was changing. The traffic is pretty light almost everywhere because of Covid, and there was a one woman in a car waiting. After the light changed, she continued to sit there, no doubt texting (maybe just day dreaming, I don't know). Anyway, I decided at the last minute to go ahead and slip in front of her. That turned out to be the same time she noticed that her light was green and decided to go. She saw me in time to not run me over, but she wasn't happy and let me know. The words were lost in my running and her car's engine noise, but I'm pretty sure I got the gist. No doubt I was in the wrong and had a couple of other choices I could have made that would have been safer. My bad.
    Thursday 3/26 - 8 miles, 9:29 pace. Pretty hilly but this was more slow from Wednesday.
    Friday 3/27 - 5 miles, 8:57. Much better.
    Although this was virtual, so more of a time trial, this was my first race since last October in New Hampshire. Like I've mentioned before (and a coupe of times here already - sorry) I've been feeling kind of tired. I didn't really know what to expect out of myself. I've had some decent tempos and some good long runs, but running GMP for 13.1? Mostly I didn't want to die and have to Galloway my way back home like last spring, when I totally crapped out at Mile 10. At least the weather was going to be better. Cool and breezy, maybe some rain although it looked like there was a several hour window between storms that I could my miles squeeze into.
    Also, I noticed that my supply of Hammer Gel was gone. Ordered more but it won't get here for a week or so. Did you know you can't get it on Amazon? Anyway, I dropped three Starbursts into my shorts pocket and hoped the sugar would be enough. And Starbursts are practically the same as Sport Beans, right? Besides, it was only a half.
    I started with about 400 yards of easy jogging to get the legs loose and stretch the old diaphragm, the set off at what I thought/hoped was a pace I could do for a couple of hours. I was also hoping that it would be around 8:15 per mile, and hoping that if it wasn't I wouldn't panic.
    Mile 1 - 8:27 - Not bad. First mile doesn't really count and I felt less than terrible, so that was encouraging.
    Mile 2 - 8:36 - This gained slightly more elevation than Mile 1, so call it even.
    Mile 3 - 8:44 - More climbing but also some down, so I was a little bummed to have dropped off. Passed four guys out running on the bike path and greeted them. They were appropriately distanced, so I didn't curse them silently, which is what I do now (despite my best efforts not to) when I see runners being Covid-irresponsible.
    Miles 4 - 8:29 - Felt like I was getting into a flow, so I guessed that 8:30-ish was going to be the pace for the day if I didn't die. My dream had been 8:00s but there was no way for that. Ate a Starburst.
    Mile 5 - 8:37 - Kind of disappointing since this one was all down, if only a little. But I was getting almost half way, which was encouraging about being able to finish.
    Mile 6 - 8:31 - The route I run through this area picks up on a bike path through the metropark that parallels a small tributary of the Rouge River. It gets pretty full when there's a good rain and we'd had a good rain the night and morning before. At about 5-1/2 miles when I'm supposed to pick up the trail, there is a small bridge over the stream. And yesterday it looked like this:

    Most of the year there's lots of space between the water and the bridge bottom.  And on the other side...

    So I had to back track and take to the side of the road for the three miles I was on the park, as there were a few more places where the river had overflowed its banks and covered the bike path. Fortunately, it has a very wide shoulder and of course next to no traffic these days. Passed a few more runners, walkers and riders, all keeping good personal spaces.
    Mile 7 - 8:35 - I don't know if anyone remembers from a few years ago, but during that one bad winter I ran on this road regularly for my Saturday long runs because of the wide shoulder and the fact that they keep it well plowed, no matter how much snow there is. There's that one hill that I hate so much and it was about half way through this mile. Maybe because I was on the road instead of the path, it didn't seem to terrible. Of course the ride down the other side was lovely. I glanced at the watch to see where I was half way through and was just over 56 minutes. 1:52-ish if I can hold this.
    Mile 8 - 8:40 - Only mile of the day that was totally flat and it didn't do me any favors. Physically, anyway. I was happy to be only 5 miles from the finish. I wouldn't say I was confident just yet, but I had hopes of holding my pace another 5. Then I forgot that I'd missed my second Starburst. Sugar! Sugar!
    Mile 9 - 9:10 - This one hurt. There's a little climb to get out of the park and back to the neighborhoods. Not big, but enough to remind me that I hadn't rested at all this week. I think the sugar rush hit me after I got out of the park, so the second half of this mile, which had a slow descent was decent (see what I did there?).
    Mile 10 - 8:23 - There's that point in a longer race when you feel tired like your feel when you're doing a lot of weekly miles and you still have to run 8-10 on a weekday, so you just go out and run and the pace is sort of automatic. I lost myself in this mile and my legs were surprised to find a gentle downslope. And they liked it.
    Mile 11 - 8:45 - Or maybe not. But surely I could do 2 more miles. Last Starburst.
    Mile 12 - 8:36 - A little better. And I was on the home stretch, over the freeway and around the mall. 
    Mile 13 - 8:09 - Like a horse getting close to water. This was the only time I really pushed it. After the miles piling up lately, it was nice to have something to give at the end.
    .1 - 0:45

    Not a dream race, but solid pacing and just about what I was ready for I guess.
    Things are awfully quiet out on the street now.

    So, there's my entry to the March Covid-19 Races Series. How was your weekend?

  16. Dave
    Deciding to run Sugarloaf instead of trying to get ready for that Maryland race sure turned out to be brilliant, didn't it? Not that Sugarloaf is a safe bet either, but at least there's still a chance that mid-May might still have a small race in a small town in a less-populated state. Granted, the drive will be longer since I can't go through Canada right now. But maybe by May.
    If I'm being perfectly honest, I'm starting to feel ambivalent about running a marathon this spring at all now. Does this affect my daily running? Not yet. I've just added another reason that getting out for an hour or two, shuffling along in the sun (or clouds) on the (quieter than normal) streets is therapeutic. And we all need therapeutic now as ever. 
    The thing about marathon training, though, is that I have a goal that keeps me going on those in between days that are supposed to be slow - I know they're supposed to be slow - but they feel like they're slow because I just can't go any faster, not because I'm trying to go slow. That's when the voice in my head says I really don't have what it takes to run marathons anymore. Forget that I just did one a few months ago. I must have crossed an invisible age line between then and now and I'm done. Then I read about a dozen or so guys in their late 50s and early 60s who are still running sub-3 marathons. What? I guess I can keep shuffling along for now.
    Working from home this week. Other than no talking to anyone, which I didn't do much of before anyway, the biggest change is that I'm saving tons of gas and an hour or so on the roads commuting. Selfishly, I've taken all of that extra time and put it into my sleep schedule. I used to get up at 5:30, ate, did some reading and left the house at 6:20. Now I sleep until 6:20, snooze the alarm once, eat and read a little, then go to the dining room and turn on my laptop. I thought I'd have an extra half hour in the afternoon as well with no drive home, but that's been eaten up by a couple of late Webex meetings and my dad, who called on Monday, 5 minutes before I was going to wrap things up and go for my first work from home run. He was trying to get some pictures my cousin sent him off of Google Photos onto his hard drive. An hour and a half later (he's 87), I'm pretty sure I got him settled and the pics removed from GP, although he then asked me how he could show me the pictures. "If they were still on GP, you could just share the folder with me. Let's wait until I come out there next month."
    Of course, now it looks as though I'm not coming out next month. Have to wait to see those pictures.
    Runs in the last week:
    Thursday - 0 miles. Dental implant that morning.
    Friday - 8 miles. 48o and WINDY (24, with gusts to 40?). 9:09 average pace, because the last 3 were into the wind. Momma! Out near the far corner, a woman came onto Eight Mile from a side street in front of me. Then she turned south on the street where I was going to turn south. I caught up to her a quarter mile later and ran for about that far with her before she turned again. That was long enough to talk about the craziness and cancelled races. Hope she didn't think I was creepy or infected. Definitely sped up; that was the faster mile of the day.
    Saturday - 10 miles. 36o but no wind, which is always nice. 8:48 average pace. Over the Power Road footbridge and around Shiawassee Park. Couple of short but very steep hills around the midpoint of this route, then a nice gentle slope home. Doing just 10 miles on a Saturday almost feels like cheating, doesn't it?
    Monday - 0 miles. It was one of my Sunday School kid's birthday. so I had set up to drop off some ice cream for him (a birthday tradition I started last year). Since I'd made arrangements with his folks and my co-teacher, I didn't feel like I could bail, so when Dad took all my canceled commuting time with his Google photos issue, I didn't have enough time for the workout I had planned. By the time I was ready to run, it was starting to rain and I just wasn't into it. Slacker.
    Tuesday - 8 miles. 52o and sunny. Don't know why but I felt like total crap this run. I'd pushed out Monday's tempo to Tuesday and I'd imagined that the extra rest day would make it better. Instead, there were stomach issues and I felt like I weighed an extra 10 pounds and life just sucked. Had to stop at Ollie's Discount store for a pit stop. The old cashier was all worried that I was sweaty and it was cold and I was going to die. I promised her I was plenty warm. Despite how lousy I felt, 3 of the tempo miles were under 8:00, and the worst (8:22) was into the teeth of a 15 mph wind, so that's a miracle win, really.
    Wednesday - 6+ miles. 46o, overcast. Meh. I'm seeing so many more people outside on my afternoon runs than I'm used to. Walking their dogs. Walking with their kids. Walking with someone else. Walking along. Sometimes just standing on the sidewalk talking to their neighbors. One good thing coming out of this whole mess.
    Thursday - 10 miles. 9:05 average. Same as Wednesday, except threatening rain. Decided to skip intervals this week and just get back on the schedule. Going north I get some hills, so that's a reasonable trade for intervals. Started sprinkling in the last mile so I sped up (8:24) before I got drenched.
    Decent response to my query about some virtual races in Loopville. Thinking maybe one every month for a few months. Different distances. Something to rally folks since there are no races anywhere. Details coming. Let me know if you have any ideas.
  17. Dave
    So, this COVID19 thing has really gotten out of hand. I'm a simple man, so the subtleties that make this particular new strain of virus such a panic-inducing event. As usual, the extremes of both sides make it hard for someone like me to figure out what to do and what to say to everyone. Fortunately, I don't talk to that many people, so I view myself as relatively safe.
    Except for my mouth that's a little sore from having the implant attached yesterday morning, I'm in pretty fair shape. I also wash my hands.
    I'm hoping that since my own targeted race is in the middle of May, things will have blown over and I won't have to change my plans. I feel pretty awful for everyone who's having their plans - training, trips, competitions, celebrations, in many cases the dreams of months, years or even lifetimes - trashed in one fell swoop by the "over abundance of caution." And let's not forget the people who would be at risk if the world decided that the measures we're taking were a joke. My 87 year old dad, my 80 year old mother-in-law come to mind quickly. Mrs. Dave, who will be on the front lines every day caring for the infected as well as the regular load of patients she has at the hospital. She doesn't get the luxury (and make no mistake, it's a luxury) of working virtually like I have starting Monday (not to mention that most of my building is empty today).
    It doesn't seem like this thing is on a par with ebola or the bubonic plague as far as its mortality rate, but it's able to spread very quickly and make a ton of people sick. Suppose the next one is a real killer. Wouldn't it be nice if we learned some things about isolating contagion and protecting ourselves by trying what we can to halt this one? We might learn some other things as well that could make our lives better, healthier and more productive. Who knows?
    Taking advantage of this early spring, I've been hitting the bricks pretty hard, at full training mileage and incorporating both my speed work sessions every week now. And starting to see some progress already. With some good weather in the mountains of western Maine in May, this could be my best spring marathon yet. Of course, that's still nine weeks away, so I'll knock on wood.
    Saturday's long run was 14 miles. Just a touch too cold for comfort, but still a shorts and LS shirt day. The wind was chilly and at one point I thought about calling Mrs. Dave for my gloves and headband, but I decided to suck it up and eventually the route took me out of the worst of it and I finished OK.
    Tempos and intervals are what really tell me how things are going, training wise. The first two weeks of tempo runs went OK, at about 8:12 pace for 5 and 6 miles. Last week's 5 were under 8:00 and more consistent than the previous two. This week it was warmer. 62o. I remember last year having serious acclimating issues in the spring, so this first run in the 60s was a question mark. 8:02, 8:02, 8:01, 8:07, 8:17, 7:58. Blaming the wind for #5.
    On Tuesday I happened on the girls' distance group, doing some sprint work. I stopped to say hi to the coach. One of them asked if I was going to run with them. I'd have thought about it if they weren't doing 200s. Sammy doesn't like 200s. So I ran 7 by myself.
    4 x miles on Wednesday with 600m recovery. It was cold again, with a chilly wind, so I was in tights. Tights normally slow me down a little. I figured to be happy with anything under 7:45, since my tempo run was at 8:00. Most important of course is to be able to finish the last one without dying. 7:21, 7:22, 7:30, 7:31. I'm going to call those all even, with a slight elevation factor on the second pair. Also, kudos to the guy at the gas station where I had to stop half way. There was a sign on the door that said the facilities were out of order, but he told me it was OK. And it was EXCEPT that he was almost out of TP. And I needed almost all of it to clean up. Whew.
    Yesterday was an extra rest day with the surgery. 8 today and 10 tomorrow.
    Following the worldwide cancellations of everything. I mentioned in one comment that we should think virtually, so the training everyone's been putting in might not go to waste. I wasn't planning on a Snowbuster this year because last year had such low participation, but Treegirl wondered if this would be a good thing. I think I agree and am willing to organize a virtual race festival if there's enough interest. I'm shooting for a half marathon on the 28th myself, but am willing to do the math if folks want to run more or less than that. Sort of late to call it a Snowbuster, so maybe a Virus-buster?
  18. Dave
    Welp, my spring marathon plans are officially settled. Sugarloaf. It's in Maine. Close to nowhere, unless you live in Maine and like to ski.
    In October, when we were in New Hampshire, there were a couple of folks running that Saturday who were traveling to Maine the next day to run in Portland, Maine. I've never been one for back to back marathons, but I will admit I was tempted at the time. If our schedules/life/finances had allowed, I might have done it. Maybe I will someday. Also, that would have saved me a crazy trip to the middle of nowhere this spring. Not that I'm opposed to crazy trips anywhere.
    So, Mrs. Dave and I will drive out late Friday after work, stop somewhere in Canada for the night and then get to the scenic Carrabassett Valley Saturday afternoon. That's the plan.
    I picked Sugarloaf for it's schedule mainly, the weekend fitting in after I take T-Rex out to school in April and the week after we have a visit to Dallas for granddaughter #s' baptism. The first week of April was really the only option, but it was going to be a struggle for me to be ready by then. Someday I'll run another marathon with less than a full training cycle, but not this year.
    Actually I've been tracking two different plans over the past 4 weeks, one with a race the first week of April and another in mid-May. Plan A was pretty ugly, although I was getting reasonably close on the weekly mileage. And I was on track to have at least one 16 miler and a couple of 14s. That would have been so-so.
    The new plan, pushing out the May 17, puts me right on schedule for a full training schedule, including 3 16s as well as 3 60 mile weeks. And even with the slow start (thanks to Sammy the Hammy) in January, I've been at full mileage for the last 5 weeks, so it's all good.
    Sugarloaf has a very different elevation profile compared to New Hampshire, or any of my previous marathons, as it happens. Mostly flat for 5 miles, then 5 miles of climbing followed by 16 miles of downhill. Should be interesting, and hopefully fast. I like fast.
    So, over the last week, I've felt good enough to try mixing in the full set of speed work.
    Thursday - That was a dreadmill run. 7 miles watching the news.
    Friday - 28o and very windy. 20 mph sustained winds with 40 mph gusts. Fortunately, it was a west wind and I ran a north-south out and back, so I just leaned to the right on the way out and to the left on the way back.
    Saturday - 33o and sunny. Not much sun in SEM during the winter so this was a treat. T-Rex dissected the fetal pig for her anatomy class, went to Costco and then I watched the Olympic Trials. I assume everyone was as annoyed as I was when NBC interrupted coverage for the announcement of the Afghanistan treaty and coronavirus task force. That definitely could have waited another hour, especially considering the priorities of anyone watching the trials. Tell me I'm wrong. Then I went out for 10 miles at almost GMP because the Olympic Trials.
    Monday - 52o, cloudy. Wait - 52o? You read that correctly. Shorts weather on March 2. Wahoo. Tried to do better pacing than last week, where I crapped out at four miles. This was better in all respects. Felt better. More even pacing. The last two of the 5 tempo miles were tough, but I pushed through well enough. 7:59, 7:53, 7:56, 8:05, 8:00. Good.
    Tuesday - 48o and overcast. 6 miles of recovery.
    Wednesday - 46o and overcast. 9 miles with 8 x 800 repeats, averaging 7:40 pace, 7:29-7:50. The last one wasn't so great but I didn't want to push any harder. Hardest workout in a while.
    Thursday - 48o and sunny. 8 miles of recovery. BTW, this whole week has been run in shorts and one LS shirt. Glorious spring!
    This morning in the community facebook group, someone mentioned a guy running on a certain street and a large raccoon. I was on that street running in the direction she said, but I didn't see any raccoon. Based on some of the comments, it must have been another runner, because the animal in question was a couple of miles farther east than where I was. I never saw one anyway. Apparently it's mating season.
    "Only" 6 miles today and 14 tomorrow. 
  19. Dave
    Think everyone knows I get the flu shot every year. I haven't gotten the flu for a couple of decades at least, but started getting the shot anyway when Mrs. Dave decided it was important for me. People should also know that it's not 100% effective, based on a few things, like the exact strain that's going around each season and how virulent it happens to be. Mrs. Dave had the flu last week. She went to the doctor and was tested. It was negative, which also happens - medicine, like life, isn't perfect. But the symptoms were 100% there. She had the flu.
    I do not have the flu. I think. None of the symptoms except for just not feeling right. I mentioned this last week, although then I was pretty sure it was just feeling the miles pile up. This week I'm not so sure about that. Not only have the runs been sort of a struggle, but the legs are feeling downright weak - almost wobbly - especially at the start of my runs.
    The good news was that last week was all outside. Cold and windy, but not frigid. A couple of days I even wore shorts. That included Saturday's long run of 14 miles. Long sleeves and gloves, and at the end I almost wished for another layer, but close enough. Had to detour for a bathroom stop at McDonald's and that changed my route enough I had to make a couple of adjustments on the fly. 
    This actually begs a question: Do you do pre-planned routes or do you wing it and end up where you end up? I consider myself semi-rigid. I have my counterclockwise starting direction rotation, and cycle through clockwise loops, out-and-backs, and counter-clockwise loops along that main rotation. I have my mileage planned out for every day of a training period, but don't decide on an exact route until that day. Not so much a decision as figuring out what's next based on my rotations. Once I start a loop or an out-and-back, I almost always do what I start.
    Anyways, changing up in the middle of a run means (of course) that I have to recalculate on the fly so I finish with the same mileage. The potty stop put me on a road I hadn't planned, but knew I could meet back up later on the bike path next to the freeway. I know there's an open gate somewhere. I turned into a park area where there are a couple of soccer fields that I can see from the trail, thinking I'd cut through and join it in the back. Sadly, there was no way through so I had to follow the trail in the park around and into an adjoining neighborhood. Not knowing exactly where the streets laid out back there didn't concern me, but I missed a turn that would have given me access to the gate I was looking for to the bike path, so had to adjust again. That put my route off by a half mile. Since I had nothing else to think about and because runner I spent the next 5 miles calculating and deciding where to cut and add to the run to make it 14 instead of 14-1/2 (or even worse, 13-1/2). In the end, it was exactly 14 miles, although in mile 11 I had to do one of the tougher hills in the area which I hadn't planned on when I started, and given the state of my legs they weren't too happy about it. But it was OK, and good to be out for a couple of hours on the roads.
    Since I added tempo runs back in last week, I had another on Monday. Here's where I mention again about this wobbly legged weakness I'd been feeling for a couple of days, even when I wasn't running. But I could always bail if I started to get faint, right? 7:47, 7:53, 8:15, 8:18. I hadn't been looking at the watch (why have I not named this one?), so the gradual slowdown was inevitable. And the 8:18 felt WAY harder than the 7:47. Walked for a tenth of a mile to regroup, then went easy for the rest of that mile, wondering if I was going to have to sit down. Pulled it together for one more (8:20) and did a final cool down. Happy enough with the overall pace, but still felt like doodoo.
    Tuesday I did 7 slow. The first 5 were OK and I took the struggle bus on the last two. Ran :30 slower per mile and felt 100% crappier.
    Yesterday it snowed and blew all day and I didn't run.
    Need to decided about this weekend. I'm due for a cutback week, but was hoping to get one more longer (16) run in first. Maybe I'll decide based on what we decide about marathon weekend, which is still up in the air today. Sometime between March 22 and May 17.
  20. Dave
    Not feeling fast or particularly good, but I'm grinding along, putting in the time. 6-7 miles a day, mostly moderate paces. 40 miles each of the last two weeks and 50-ish this. Pretty much on schedule for an early April marathon if it comes to that. Of course, now Mrs. Dave is asking about something in March.
    Although, I decided the legs were ready for a tempo run and did 5 pushing it during Monday's 7. Between a potty stop at the gas station and traffic lights it was almost more an interval workout than a tempo, but I'm calling it anyway. There was a little stretch in Sammy the Hammy, but wasn't too bad. 8:16, 8:19, 7:59, 8:24, 7:55. Works out to 8:11 average, which is actually about where I want to be, although keep in mind that was only 5 miles.
    Saturday's long run was a dreadmill torture session. I broke it up into 3-4 sections because it was just too awful. Watched a couple of weird movies on Prime. The first one was called Scorched Earth. Post-apocalyptic bounty hunter thing with guns, explosions and stuff. Then there was Dark Valley, an English-dubbed Swiss film. It was basically a western set in the Alps. Horses, guns, a Clint Eastwood character out for revenge on the bad guys who terrorized the small town. Obviously, I had finished The Man in the High Castle earlier in the week.
    This week's weather has been much better. Cold, but the sun is out and the roads are clear, so I've been outside every day.
    T-Rex is obsessed with the Masked Singer. It's completely ridiculous, but I am interested in who they have on. And I wonder how in the world the audience votes off Chaka Khan before Gronkowski.
    This list started going around facebook this week.
    * Favorite pie? apple (duh)
    * How old are you? 61
    * How many tattoos: 0
    * Ever hit a deer? two - once in Provo Canyon, once somewhere in Wyoming
    * Rode in an ambulance? does life flight helicopter count? (funny story)
    * Ice skated: yes
    * Rode a motorcycle: yes
    * Stayed in hospital: a few times
    * Last cell phone call: Mrs. Dave
    * Last text from: Mrs. Dave
    * Watched someone die: no
    * Pepsi or Coke: if I had to choose, Pepsi
    * Favorite season: Fall - best running weather
    * Broken bones: ankle, thumb, finger
    * Favorite color: green
    * Sunrise or Sunset: Sunrise
    * Ocean or Mountains: Mountains
  21. Dave
    Every day it seems there's something that reminds me that I'm past the stage of "getting older." I'm the old guy. I've been with my company longer than most of the newer employees have been alive. 3 of my 4 children are older than many of the people I work with.
    There's sadness but no longer shock when someone from my high school class shows up in a death notice. Young to be dying, but also not so out of the ordinary. Heart attacks, cancer. People should die when they're 80 or 90, not 60, but better than 20-30-40, or even younger. We've had a life, married, raised children, seen a few grandchildren even. While it's a little early to be jumping off the merry-go-round, at least we had several turns. Grabbed at that brass ring a few times. Sadness, sure. But not the sense of tragedy and outrage of the young losing all their opportunities to learn and grow and experience this life and all its beauty.
    I miss feeling light and fast and strong. I miss pushing my body and mind to its limits, wondering where those limits were. I miss the feeling of invincibility. Never thinking that I was one step away from something breaking, stretching, tearing.
    It's winter. It's cold. It's overcast. There is snow and ice everywhere. The wind bites. The uneven, slippery ground makes that one step away from injury that much closer and more likely.
    And yet...
    I ran 40 miles last week. Sure, 16 of those were on the dreadmill - the instrument of torture that now sits in the corner of the family room, taunting and beckoning me at the same time. It's safe and warm. It's mind-numbing and painful. How many runs - days, weeks, months - does it take to like this? Ever? Is there a way to begin to embrace it? As a young man whenever I complained of something being too hard or boring, my dad would remind me that it "builds character." I feel like my character is built by now, so what can I tell myself now to get through these mechanical sessions? Running in my 60s is hard enough. What happens when I've finished the final season of The Man in the High Castle? (5 episodes to go).
    Outside for the first 3 days this week. Still at 6 miles and no speedwork, although I did go after the nominal hills on Wednesday a little bit, but the distance finally seems reasonable and the pace is starting to improve.
    Holding off mortality just a bit longer.
  22. Dave
    For one day, at least. That's apparently all winter had to offer.
    It was on Monday, I think. And it was 50o. I ran in shorts. I'm in the grind it out, put in the miles phase of training so I won't say it was glorious and left me feeling amazing. But it was certainly a high point of 2020 so far.
    Then it was cold and overcast again, and yesterday we got a couple of inches of snow. The heavier stuff went to the north and we ended up with not much.
    Dreadmilled for an hour yesterday to another episode of Castle. Wanted to stop at almost every step. I've been trying to embrace the whole idea, psyching myself up all day that it's better than slip-sliding away in a snowstorm, not to mention safer, but... TV helped a little. Today's run (in or out) is up in the air. Don't know if I can do two of those in a row.
    Should be at 40 miles this week, which is where I'd hoped to be after getting Sammy fixed. Behind for an early April race, but good enough to finish. And almost on schedule if we decide to wait until mid-May.
    That's running.
    Not much happening around the house. Put in some stair treads going down to the basement. They've been bare since I tore out the old icky carpet that was there when we moved in 22 years ago. Mrs. Dave decided on the color for the new curtains on the family room to go with the new furniture. Need to raise the bar since they are a couple of inches longer than the old ones. Decided to go ahead with the remodel of the powder room. Small job. Mostly just picking tile and a new vanity. And a door.
  23. Dave
    I'd sure like to see the sun.
    The other day I saw two friends while I was out for 5.
    The first was Janet (not her real name), walking her dog. I was surprised because it was in front of the high school, almost two miles from her house. I didn't think she exercised at all and her dog has been sick so going that far was quite a feat, seemed to me.
    Then going by a little strip mall with a jewelry store, takeout Chinese and a Papa John's, Mary (not her real name), was walking across the parking lot. I actually stopped and talked for a few minutes with her. She and her husband are runners. He's getting over hernia surgery and just got cleared to run again. I had the same back in '01 and it was probably a good thing I wasn't really running back then. I'd have likely done too much too soon and done some damage.
    Three weeks of solid training now. Most of the time it feels like Sammy the Hammy is fine, but every once in a while if I try to push things he whines a little. So, we'll stay slow for now. 30 miles last week and on track for 35. No speed.
    I was pretty upset when Amazon Prime lost (free) Doctor Who. I bought one season and T-Rex gave me one for my birthday. She also found a way to stream the current season, so she's my favorite. 
    Anyone watch Man in the High Castle? Started out as an interesting view of the world if Germany/Japan had won WWII, but has gotten weird after the first season. I can't stop watching it, though.
  24. Dave
    I'd have to race first.
    Unless anyone's interested in that one I did in 2004.
    Did my longest run in over a month, since the hamstring thing. That was Friday, out to the Chili's on Eight Mile and back. Nothing to be especially proud of, but just running is good. Since it was my 61st birthday, I ran ... wait for it! ... 6.1 miles. You heard about the guy who ran 70 miles for his 70th birthday? Yeah, I'm not doing that. Call me lazy if you want.
    Missed Saturday, also because I'm lazy. Mrs. Dave and I met some friends for lunch at a dinner theater (they have a matinee on Saturdays). It had snowed 6 inches the night before, then started raining about noon. I thought several times throughout the day about treadmilling it, but just couldn't get there. I did shovel snow twice, so there's that.
    Even so, it was 22 miles for the week, running 5 days in a row with no complaints from Sammy. Planning 30-ish this week.
    Since the rain on Saturday, it's been in the teens and 20s. Everything is ice. Good news it that when there's a good storm in winter, most folks get out and clear the walks. Especially if it's a weekend. So I have been outside both days this weeks so far. There are hazards of course, and the overall pace is awfully slow, what with nearly walking over the stretches that didn't get proper attention, mostly businesses. I could feel some soreness in different spots the day after, a sign that I'd worked different muscles climbing over and around the icy patches. Took a better route yesterday that had less ice and more running. Today it's supposed to get above freezing for an hour or so.
    What else?
    Got two puzzles for Christmas. Did the easy one last week in two evenings. It was a 500 piece round one of a Thomas Kinkaid work. Some old church building in the woods with a stream and a bridge. Now I'm working on a much harder, 1000 piece that Big Mac brought back from Amsterdam. MC Escher's "Balcony." This one is taking a might longer.

  25. Dave
    You know how you have a pain that's real and feels likely to put you on IR for a long time and really mess up your training plans?
    I never worried about this before I started running marathons. Running for fun means you can just stop whenever you want or whenever you don't feel like it or whenever something hurts. Then you can start again a week or two or ten later after you're all healed up.
    Of course, planning the months long investment into marathon training sort of makes me antsy now about missing more than a day or two.
    After that test run on Sammy went so poorly (20-30 yards?), I was afraid he was going to send me to another 2016 Rehoboth - under trained and in pain. I gave him another little test last Thursday and he did OK while we shuffled along at 10 minutes per mile. A day off was followed by 40 minutes on the dreadmill that was slower but also good.
    This week he seems to be 100%, although I've yet to do anything fast that might stress him at all. But I have run every day this week. 4, 3, 5, and 4 miles at my normal easy 9 minute pace. All signs point to him being good to go.
    Being as far behind schedule as I am, the new plan is to slowly but steadily ramp up the mileage until I'm about even with the training calendar. Once I get there, I'll add back in the speed work and we'll see what happens as we move towards April (or May, which is plan B).
    Bought new family room furniture. We'd gone out looking for a sofa for the living room, but sort of got side tracked. Married 37 years and this is the first time we've bought a set of furniture from a furniture store. That stuff is crazy expensive. We bought stuff from the outlet area, so better than it could have been. Not to mention, everything else was twice as big as would fit in our house and it's all powered now with USB and whatever else they can thing of. Signs of age, right? I'm not interested in my chair giving me a massage or plugging my laptop into it. Just give me a place to sit and watch TV, OK?
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