Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blackstrap Hell II - Race Report

If you can find a tougher, gnarlier, nastier 10k out there, I'll give you a dollar. I doubt you'll find one that's more fun either.

First of all, many thanks to Jeff for putting on one HELL of a race. He did a great job organizing it, and coming up with the timing system. It's a reverse pursuit race. Jeff puts his PhD to good use and determines projected finish times for each runner. The slower your projected time, the earlier you start. The hope is that the faster runners catch the less fast runners, and everyone finishes around the same time. And, amazingly enough, it ended up pretty close to that.

My start time was pretty close to the middle of the pack of 35 or so runners. I was pretty comfortable with this, but I was less comfortable with my starting companions—Ian and Chuck. Nothing personal, but I know they are both much faster than I am...especially over the type of terrain Blackstrap Hell throws at you. At the "gun," Chuck took off fast, and Ian was hot on his heels. I wanted to run my own race, but I also knew it would be good to try to stay with these guys as long as possible. Within the first 1/4 mile I almost fell twice since I was paying more attention to them than my own race. I consciously backed off to really run my own race, and I actually stayed moderately close to them until I saw them turn off the powerline trail. That was the end of them. And, they indeed both run great races and crushed me.

I passed Ryan, Lily and another runner shortly after I made the turn onto the singletrack that follows the powerlines, and I finally started to feel good. I didn't feel great for the first mile or so, which I attribute to lack of warm up. But once I felt good, I felt like I was rolling. You can never really open it up on this course because you're either climbing a nasty hill, climbing a slippery muddy hill, tip-toeing over leave-covered trails that hide ankle breaking roots and rocks, splashing through calf deep puddles, trying to stay on the trail...well, you get the's nasty. But, when I could run "normally" I felt good and really pushed it. It was clear, though, that I've been running road 5ks and nothing really hard, but I wasn't surprised by that.

Last year, I fell three times during the race, so I knew I would go down at some point. Today, I only fell once, but I did manage to pop right back up. At the bottom of the hill following the turn off the gas line, it was really squishy, and I went down on my right side. I whacked my hip and outside of my calf pretty good, but I was glad to get the fall out of the way.

Eventually, I reached the never ending hill that leads back to the powerlines. It takes about a month to run this hill, but I finally had people to chase. I'd been running for a long time alone, but the eventual fastest male, Peter, passed me just at the bottom. I could only stay with him for about a half a step as he is one fast dude. He was closely followed another fast dude, Floyd, and I dug down and stayed with him as long as I could—maybe 3 steps. OK, it was better than that, and I appreciated getting pulled up the hill.

Once the month I was over, I reached the powerlines and really tried to open it up. I knew that I had somewhere in the neighborhood of a mile to go, so it was time to finish it up. I had motivation as I spotted someone in front of me and quickly realized it was Jamie. My first thought was "I hope he's OK." He had started before me, and I never expected to catch him. But, I now had my motivation and went for it. I was closing on him until the new section of singletrack that made up the final portion of the course. I'm pretty certain that the trail designers were hammered when they put this piece together. It was amazingly twisty and turny. It was fun to run, but it wasn't necessarily fun to try to run it fast after running the rest of the Hell course. Around one of the corners, I ran into a tree and scratched my left arm pretty good. So, only one fall, but I did get bloodied. At one of the many hairpins, Jamie and I exchanged pleasantries, and I knew then that I probably wasn't going to catch him. The element of surprise was gone, and I figured he would do everything in his power to stay ahead of me—I was right. I'm not sure how close I got to him, but he ended up putting about 30 seconds on me by the end. In other words, I died and he smoked me. I did actually die on one particular uphill in the singletrack section, and I was just hoping to get to the finish. Just before the finish the trail opened up, and you could actually run. It was nice to feel like I was running fast at the end.

I finished 14th overall with the 9th fastest time: 1:00:05. (Results) That's a long 10k, and, in reality, the course is somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.5, even though it feels much longer than that. And, overall, I'm pleased with my race. I certainly haven't been training for anything like this, and it's also the longest distance I've run in weeks. Best of all, I won the "guess your time" prize. My guess for my time was 59:59, so I only missed by 6 seconds. The prize? Beer.

All in all, it was a great day. In addition, D hung out with the Little Lady the whole time, and she even was good during the post-race pizza and beer. (If you're wondering, she's been an absolute terror since we got home.) A great day in the mud with friends!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Maine Running Company Turkey Trot 5k - Race Report

"OH CRAP!" (Or something to that effect) was how the day the day started at 6:45am. We had failed to set our alarm, since the Little Lady usually wakes up a little earlier. After seriously debating getting out of bed or not, I knew that I'd be mad at 8:00, when I was wide awake, if I didn't go for it. And, with the late start, it looked extremely unlikely that we'd be able to get the Little Lady fed and packed up so we could all go together. But, miraculously, we made it work, and I was at race registration shortly after 8:00am—an hour before the race start.

I hadn't decided to run this race until Friday, when I mentioned it to D, and she said that she thought I could run and she could hang with the Little Lady. And, in truth, I'm not really sure I knew this race was happening until I read about on Maine Running Company's Facebook page on Tuesday. So, I hadn't pre-registered, and I wasn't exactly mentally focused. But, I hoped it would be "fun," and based on last week's result, hoped I could run OK.

I got in a decent warm up and realized that the return trip on this almost all out and back course was going to be rough—the entire last mile was into the wind and boasted a couple toothy uphills. Of course, that meant the first mile was mostly downhill. In other words, this course, while seeming benign could really bring the hurt—especially if you went out too fast.

I made my way to the starting line and felt like the only guy who didn't know anyone. Road races are weird. I was also a little uncomfortable because I felt like I was too far towards the front of the pack. I was leery of getting pulled out too fast, so I backed up a bit. But when I backed up, the second tier was full of walkers and strollers and people with walkers pushing strollers. Again, road races are weird. So, I moved back up a touch with some trepidation. Then suddenly, the air horn sounded, and we were off. I hugged the left hand side of the road, and watched the masses sprint away. I settled into a comfortable pace and slowly passed a number people through the first half mile. I just kept thinking, "Easy, easy, easy," as the course went downhill.

The course turned into a neighborhood just before the 1 mile mark, and I had a moment of panic. I could see the clock at the 1-mile mark in front of me, and it read, "6:58." "No wonder this felt so easy. CRAP! I'm going waaaayyy too slowly." As I got closer, I realized that it had actually read, "5:58," and I went through the first mile in 6:16. "Well, that was a touch frisky," I thought. So, I consciously dialed it back a notch and hoped that it was the downhill that caused the fast pace and that I wouldn't pay for it later.

I stayed relaxed throughout the next mile dropping back a touch from the 4 guys that passed me shortly after the mile mark. The wind was at my back here, so that was no problem, until we entered the second neighborhood loop. This loops begins the turnaround back to the finish, and this is where the wind started to be a factor. Luckily, two guys passed me just near the turnaround, and I was able to use them as a bit of a wind break coming into the 2-mile mark—13:00. "OK, that was a 6:45 mile. Time to do a little work."

Pre-race, I had hoped in a best case scenario to go through 2 miles around 13 minutes, so I was right on target and feeling pretty comfortable. Good signs. I passed one of my wind breaks on the short uphill just after the 2-mile mark, and set my sights on "Anti-Tangent Man." He was one of the runners that passed me before the 2-mile mark, and I had noticed that he wasn't really running the tangents. It was particularly obvious as we wove through the final neighborhood section: we were on completely opposite sides of the road. His hatred of tangents allowed me to move right up behind him as we turned back onto the main road. I stayed behind him to help break the wind, and we closed in on some runners in front of us.

The last mile was hard. The wind was dead in our faces. At the bottom of a short and the only downhill on the way back, I passed Anti-Tangent Man, and was poised to pass another runner—Blue Shirt Guy. Just at that moment, Blue Shirt Guy saw his wife?, girlfriend?, mistress?, sister?, cousin?—who knows, but she was definitely a woman and she gave him a temporary boost. He zipped away for a few strides until the course went uphill. I passed him on the uphill and set my sights on the group of three ahead. Somewhat to my surprise, I was reeling them in.

During my warm up, I had picked a point on the final hill that was my "all out" point. I was so focused on the group, I missed it. I really wanted to get those three guys and had really started digging before that point. The head was down, and I didn't even realize I had passed it. No matter, as I passed two of them on the hill and the third just past the top. I made the final turn into the school driveway towards the finish and saw the 3-mile mark and clock. It read 19: something. I couldn't really see too well at this point and was just hoping my arms would keep pumping. The legs were good, but the upper body was giving out. Cheers from D and her sister certainly helped keep me going—can't get passed in the homestretch in front of the fans!

That last .1 was the longest .1 E.V.E.R. I could not get to the finish soon enough. In fact, I'm going to go back and measure it—I think it's closer to a half mile. Felt like it anyway. Once I saw I wasn't going to break 20 minutes, I backed off for half a step, but quickly realized that was lame. I pushed through the finish in 20:19. To my surprise, that was good enough for 25th overall (out of 453) and 2nd in my age group. (Results) The age group place is a bit suspect because they used 5 year increments, e.g. 30-34, but I'll take it. I'll also take the $10 Hannaford Gift Card I won. As it turns out, the guy I passed at the very end was also in my age group. Admittedly, I was shocked to beat that guy because I noticed him at the start, and he I chatted with him briefly at the end, and all we could talk about was the wind. It blew.

Overall, I'm very pleased. I had dreams of breaking 20, but not with the wind today. I ran the out-and-back portion of the course on the main road for my cool down, and I couldn't believe I did that. Running in that wind was no fun. I'd say that this race was a good barometer for my fitness. It's clear that the strength is there based on my performance on the final, hilly mile, but I'd really like to crank up the speed a bit. Perhaps doing some type of speed work would help... To this point, I've done a couple "up tempo" short runs and 5x strides two or three times a week. So, there's no reason I should expect to be fast. And, as I've typed a bajillion times here: upper body work is in order. But, really, this is a good start.

Thanks to D's sister for coming out to cheer. And, of course, huge thanks to D for not only allowing me to get out to race, but also for coming along and watching the Little Lady while I was racing. And, thanks to everyone for hanging out afterward, so I could pick up my $10 Hannaford Gift Card—the prize for second in my age group. And, thanks to Tim Hortons for being a tremendous post-race stop—so delicious! Although road races really aren't my thing (my shins are not pleased this evening), this particular one was very well organized all the way around, and I wouldn't mind returning. Well, only if they turn off the wind.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Familiar Territory

Despite the lack of posting, I have been running this week. I did not actually crumble into pieces after the Wolfe's Neck Trek 5k. I've been feeling pretty good, and have enjoyed the locations of my runs. Two out of the three runs this week, I got back to places I haven't run in a while. Not quite the walk down memory lane that Wolfe's Neck was, but it was nice to get back to some familiar ground. Let's go for a stroll, shall we?

On Tuesday, I was able to get back to the carriage roads at Great Glen Trails. I hadn't been out on the trail system in a while, and while I wanted to run longer—I was feeling good—I really only had time for 3 miles. I can for certain report that I saw more than a handful of moose tracks and one big ol' pile of moose poop. I can with much less certainly report that I may have seen an owl. At one point, a very large bird took off to my right. I could only see it as it flew away, and it was only briefly, but I'm not sure what else it could have been. I felt good and finished comfortably in 26:43, which is quite a bit faster than I normally run the same loop. I closed the run out with strides as the sun was setting behind the Presidentials. Not bad.

Thursday I had to hit the road to Boston for work, but I did squeeze in a 3 miler on the powerlines from home. It was icy! Quite a bit of hoar frost—my personal favorite ground condition. I was a bit sluggish and tight out of the gate but felt fine by the time I finished.

After driving to Boston and back yesterday, I was a bit tight today. Really tight: calves, hamstrings and most troublesome, my left knee—just below and to the inside of the kneecap. It just kind of appeared after driving and then standing around yesterday. It didn't bother me on my run, so other than extra stretching, I'm not going to worry about it. I wanted to get in 5 miles today, but I needed a break from the powerlines. Plus, the powerlines are a bit rugged in places, and I was hoping for a more mellow route. I hadn't run in the Commons at all since D and I ran together shortly before the Little Lady arrived, and I hadn't run the full 5-mile loop since the end of August. Between working, watching the Little Lady while D was at a doctor's appointment and being completely covered in spit up (not mine), I didn't get out until late. It was getting dark as I started, and it was really dark by the end. Normally, I'd begin the run with a loop on the trails that surround the Bowdoin fields, but I wanted to make sure I could see while out on the rest of the trails so I opted to save it for the end. This was a wise decision because I could barely see by the end and actually had to walk some of the rootier, tricky sections. Upon returning to the fields, I ran around the perimeter of the fields on the grass. It was dark, but at least I didn't have to worry about roots. The quarter moon, while beautiful over the fields, wasn't quite throwing enough light. And, even though I've done about eleventy billion runs through the Commons, it's always enjoyable.

Looking ahead, I might do another 5k on Sunday...this one all on the road...cue evil music.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wolfe's Neck Trek 5k - Race Report

Headed to Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport yesterday for the Wolfe's Neck Trek 5k to test the waters, so to speak. And, while it went well, I'm not really sure I learned what I wanted. I was hoping to use this race as a measuring stick to see just exactly where I am. Unfortunately, the course had other ideas. I knew from running at Wolfe's Neck a lot in college, that the terrain was going to be primarily dirt road, but we ran on more of the campground roads than I expected and the singletrack was much more rugged than I remembered. I was really looking forward to racing here, 1.) because I was actually able to get my sleep deprived butt to the starting line and 2.) Wolfe's Neck is the site of my "8k" PR. 8k is in quotes because the course we ran that day was definitely short, and it was the first race of my junior year in a dual meet. That should give you an idea of the success I had during my college career...but I digress.

Once I realized that the course was two loops, not one (Thanks, Val!), I went out for my warm up on the course. Pre-race I was debating road shoes vs. trail shoes. I went with my trail shoes, and that was definitely the right call. The main dirt road in front of the farm was plenty firm enough and close to pavement, but the roads through the campground were a lot softer. The singletrack section, while short—quarter of a mile maybe, was rugged: lots of roots, steep up and downs and two slippery bridges. Additionally, the campground roads are very twisty and had quite a lot of leaf cover. In short, that all added up to a lot of fun, but not particularly fast, even though it's fairly flat. Subconsciously, I realized this on my warm up, but didn't think much of it on my easy one lap tour.

As the race started, I settled into a comfortable pace after weaving through the usual cast of characters that sprint for the first 50 yards. I was in about 12th, and feeling very relaxed. I tucked in behind a couple guys through on windy spot, and stayed behind them as we reached the singletrack. Even though there were only a handful of people in front of me, we still bottlenecked. I was clearly more comfortable on this section than everyone around me, but I had no reason to not play nice. Plus, it was such a short section I just hung tight and stayed relaxed. Once back on the campground road, it started to feel like a race, but I was still focused on staying relaxed. I went through the first lap, 2.5k, in 11:04. This split was a shock. I was running way too hard for it to be that slow.

The second lap hurt. Shortly into the lap, one guy passed me, but I was able to stick with him into the singletrack. I closed the gap in the singletrack, but once back on the road he started to pull away. My upper body was starting to tighten up: back, shoulders, arms. Not good times. As the road through the campground makes it way back up to the farm, there is a slight uphill. It was slight, but it hurt. At one point the road takes a sharp left, then right. I ran hard through these corners in the hopes of putting some distance between me and my closest pursuer, even just for a psychological edge. It didn't work. In the last 400 meters, a small child blew past me. OK, he was fourteen, and I tried hard not to laugh. I definitely laughed on the inside. His head was titled way back, and it was clear he had spent all fall running high school cross country. The last time I ran 400-meter repeats he was probably just learning to walk, so I knew I couldn't hang with him. I heard a loud, "Go Snowman!!!" (Thanks again, Val!) and tried to stay strong through the finish.

I finished in 11th place out of 106, 3rd in my age group, in 22:47—results here. (That's an impressive positive split.) Post-race, everyone was astonished at their times. No one could believe how slow they were. One guy I spoke with after the race had raced the 10k in Freeport last weekend, and he noted that his 5k split from the 10k was faster. So, I wasn't alone. Looking at the results, my per mile pace is listed as 6:54. A 22:47 5k works out to 7:20 per mile, but 6:54 pace is correct if the race is 3.3 miles. So, my guess is that the course was not only slow, but also long. Either way, the course was fun and the race was well organized. And, the setting us beautiful—you run right along the ocean. I hope it fits into my schedule next year.

It was also great to see Trail Monster Linda as well. She ran great and had a really strong finish. And, once again, thanks to Val for cheering.

As far as using this race at a litmus test, I'm not sure I got what I wanted. The vagaries of the course make it tough to have any definitive conclusions. That being said, overall, I'm pleased. Aside from strides following 2 of my last 3 runs, I've done nothing to help myself run fast. (No surprise I got outkicked.) With some creative math, I can probably come up with some numbers for workouts and goals, etc. But, not quite yet. I should have a better idea after the Feaster Five. I'm just not sure if I'm going to run the 5-mile or the 5k. We'll see.

Today, I did an easy 3-mile recovery run. Aside from a little extra tightness in my hamstrings, no complaints. I felt better with each step. Onward.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Plan

I've alluded to it here, but I've come up with a rough plan for my running. I'm in the getting my feet wet stage of that plan, and I'm already psyched about it. Hopefully, it will lead to good things.

Here are the basics:
1. Taking a break from marathons/ultras
2. Race more
3. Have fun

Let's look at each of those separately, even though they're intertwined:
#1: Through extensive scientific analysis, I've determined that my strength may lie in the shorter races. Additionally, in my return to running, I think I did it backwards: dove right into the longer races skipping right over the shorter ones. More importantly, I really dove in and tried to just run too much, too long, too soon. So, I'm going to break from those for a bit. It's not a divorce. We're just going to spend a little time apart. Once I feel like I've finished what I need to in the shorter races, I'll let the marathon move back in. In fact, the last run I've done of double digit mileage was the Bruiser, and in my recent runs, I'm already feeling much snappier. It's a good feeling.

#2: With that snappiness in mind, I'm going to try to convert that snappiness into racing more. Now, there's a difference between snappy and fast. I'm not fast. I don't expect to get to fast. I would like to get to kinda quick, though. But, the real reason to race more is simple: I like racing. I love atmosphere. I love the energy. I love competing. When I'm training for a marathon, I can't race too much. It's a long training cycle that builds up to the "big day." I feel like I've been missing out on what I love most about running. So, my focus will be on getting faster, but really...

#3. focus will be on having fun. Now, I definitely not saying that I haven't been having fun. But, I was crushed this summer, and racing wasn't fun. (Do I really need to link to my Bruiser race report again?) Also, I don't want to imply that marathons/ultras aren't fun. No way. They can be super awesome. And, when I think they'll be fun, I'll be right back to them. Just not right now. So, here's what I'm thinking will be fun: snowshoe racing.

This winter, I'm going to give snowshoe racing a try. Never done it, but I'm looking forward to it. If I'm going to race more, I see no reason to do a bunch of "Frigid Fivers" on the roads all winter. Sounds like shin splints to me! No thanks. If anyone has snowshoe advice, I'll take it. It's going to involve a fair amount of driving, but I think it will be worth it. I'll no doubt do a couple road races here and there, too, including the most hated race on earth.

In the short term, I'm racing this weekend! On Saturday, I'm heading to the Wolfe's Neck Trek 5k. Wolfe's Neck is beautiful, and we used to run there once a week or so in college—I'll be fueled by nostalgia. My only goal for this race is to establish a baseline. I haven't been doing any real speed work, so I really need to find out where I am. Once I know what my current 5k race pace is, I'll now how to structure future workouts. And, I'll know just how far I have to go. I'm, most likely, also going to run the Feaster Five again this year (FREE PIE!), so that will also give me more data.

So that's the plan for this fall and winter. Looking way ahead, I think I'm going to give the New England Mountain Running Series a try. I guess I have a really twisted sense of fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not Fast

Couple good runs the last few days.

Felt quite good on Friday on my Tour de Mt. Ararat. I have a "loop" I've created that includes a bit of pavement, some dirt road, some single track, some soft sand and some steep ups and downs. It's a lot to cram into a loop that's only 3.25 miles long. And, really, it's not even a loop. Loop implies a circle. This route looks more like a crazy straw. I like it. I call it my "Half Hour Loop." On Friday, it took me just a touch over 28 minutes. Not bad.

I had a really busy weekend, so I wasn't able to run. But yesterday I did the more than 5 mile out and back on the powerlines. I was tight, but it was a great day to be out and a good run overall. One of the houses that backs up to the powerlines is home to a cadre of pugs and bulldogs. They're behind a fence and never pleased to see me run past. However, watching bulldogs run is hilarious.

Today, as part of the plan I've yet to announce, I wanted to pick up the pace a little bit. The Suck Loop has been my drug of choice for these runs. No warm up, just go. I did best my time from the other day, but it wasn't what I was looking for. My plan was to run the first two miles comfortably quick, then let it all hang out on the final mile. Mission accomplished in the first two miles: 14:38, but the final mile was a disappointment: 6:49. Total time: 21:27. That's not really gonna get it done. Not terrible, but I was hoping for a little more. Granted, I haven't been doing any speed work at all, but I was hoping to go a little lower. Oh well. I will say, I was quite stiff in my upper body. I felt positively robotic.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Three in a Row

That's three runs, three days in a row. But, more about that in a second. Allow me to wax political for a moment.

So, Maine got it wrong. I'm embarrassed and angry that Maine chose ignorance and intolerance over...well...over people. For me, it's not about rights or equality, it's about people. Real people are affected by this. Real people who love each other. It's sad that Maine said, "No," to love.

And for that they cheered...

To me, that looks like a cheer for hatred.

Now that I'm a parent I have a different perspective on this. Would these people feel the same way if their son, daughter or grandchild was gay? My daughter is only 4 weeks old, and I have no idea what she is going to become. All I know is that I'm going to love her no matter what. I hope I can teach her the same. I hope she can grow up in world with more love.

I know I don't normally touch on such serious topics here, but this has been troubling me all day. Let's move on.

I meant to mention this the other day, but I sincerely hope everyone had a chance to watch the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Meb's performance was amazing and inspiring. Hopefully, Universal Sports will have a replay. One of the most exciting races I've ever watched. It's even more amazing when you read this terrific recap from All this crap about him no being American is ridiculous. I've already been serious enough in this post, so I'll just say this: Meb is more American than many of us born into our citizenship who, myself included, take it for granted all too often.

With all this on my mind, I did a run along the powerlines today—the three-mile out and back. It was a milestone run in that it was the first time since the Little Lady arrived that I've run three days in a row. It was a cool, but beautiful, afternoon, and I just took it easy. Aside from some tightness in my right calf, which I iced afterward, I'd say it went pretty well: 24:57. I'll take it. And, those winter berries sure are pretty.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Quite Five

After much internal debate, I headed out for a run this afternoon while D was taking the Little Lady for a walk. When you have a newborn, stuff gets missed, forgotten, lost. Today, we forgot to make coffee. Not sure how it happened. It just did. And, we both were feeling the effects. I was tired this afternoon, and not really feeling like running. In fact, I was downright ornery. But, as it so often is once you get moving the run heals all. And, such was the case today.

It was surprisingly cool as I headed out. The breeze was downright cold. I warmed up eventually, but it took a while. It was appropriate that I finally noticed the winter berries D wrote about. Very pretty. And, in order to see those, I was out along the powerlines, but just on a short stretch as I decided to do a slightly longer loop through Highland Green. I figured I was less likely to get shot by a hunter in a 55-plus housing community vs. the more remote sections of the powerlines. I was definitely tight from yesterday's effort, but things soon worked themselves out. Overall, an uneventful run, but a good one. The best part was the view of the sunset on my way towards home. Beautiful reds, oranges and pinks.

I thought the loop was 5, but when I finished, I was stunned. My watch read 39:20. Hmmm...I felt good, but no that good. (It's not uncommon for me to not look at my watch at all on my runs, and today was no different.) D confirmed that the loop is closer to 4.75, so that makes more sense...sort of. That works out to 8:17 per mile. So, that's about 45 seconds per mile slower than yesterday's run over an additional 1.75 miles. It doesn't seem like that equates to how much easier today felt. I know a lot of factors go into "feel," but this seems odd. Could it be that I have a very specific pace threshold? Interesting.

Planning another run tomorrow. That will be three days in a row, which will be a first since the new sleep schedule. Hopefully, we have another good night. And, if you're curious about how we're feeling about all this, D summed it up beautifully.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog Guilt?

It's taken me a while to notice that my blog is all about runs without any real details. By contrast, in her blog, D does a great job of painting a picture. She writes about the weather, the colors, the flora, the fauna, and the smells if she's with me. First of all, I probably only notice about half of the sights and sounds she does. But, secondly, I'm more focused on the task at hand. Even though I'm old, slow and fat, I'm still focused on the numbers and the end result. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but then in my posts, I'm leaving out a lot of details. No real numbers and no real descriptions. And, on my run today, I figured out why.

Taking the narcissism of a blog a step further, I realized I've left out the details because I subconsciously want to keep them a secret. I'm worried that someone I know from olden days will realize just how old, slow and fat, I've really become. I don't want to be embarrassed for being so relatively slow. Then, in a really strange twist of psychology, I want to keep the numbers a secret so if, by chance, a potential "opponent" is reading this blog, they won't know the details of my workouts. This way, I maintain an advantage over them in an upcoming race. Damn, I'm messed up. Well, I'm going to put an end to that. Because, really, who cares?

With that in mind, today I ran the 3-mile Suck Loop in 22:33. Until today, the fastest I'd run this loop was 24:01. So, today was a big step up. In my plan that I've yet to fully lay out here, I've decided that I need to pick up the pace from time to time, and today was definitely one of those days. (It helps that I got a pretty decent night of sleep last night. Not uninterrupted, but I'll take it.) That being said, today's run wasn't easy. It wasn't hard, but I was working. I'm also working on lifting my legs. Sounds simple, but I really need to stretch it out. I've developed a pretty solid marathon shuffle, but I need to find some speed of days gone by. The 7:30 per mile pace was a good test, and I think I passed. Most of the time I'm running 8:30-9:00 per mile, which is great for my easy runs, but from time to time, I need to add a little zip.

Oh yeah, there were a bunch of different colored leaves on the ground at one point. And, I saw a squirrel.

In other news, we've moved into cloth diapers for the Little Lady. Thank God we just bought a new washer and dryer.