Thursday, December 29, 2005

Short run today

Woke up tired this morning... been going to bed about 11:00 or so while on vacation and I guess it is catching up finally... was going to go 5 or 6 miles but starting late, feeling tired, just stayed in the neighborhood for a little two miler that I have not done in a long time, probably over a year.

Warm today, in the mid forties, light ground fog as the snow we did have so much of is gradually disappearing. I did not expect to see our grass lawn until March but it is back....

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Glittens are back!

Yes, years ago I got a couple of pairs of glittens (a combination glove and mitten) and have used them regularly for running. I have three ways of wearing them. One, as a glove. Two, as a glitten (the warmest). And sometimes towards the end of a run when I have warmed up sufficiently, I'll take them off and roll them such that my fingers fit curled in the mitten cover with the remainder of the material rolled to hold in the hand.

Tried looking for some glittens last year and while Google turned up one catalog with them, when I went to order them the order could not be filled. There are a bunch of knitted versions and patterns available but this was the first glitten I found that matched waht I was looking for.

I found these glittens in a recent National Running Center catalog and ordered some online. They arrived in time for Christmas and I used them when I took a walk with my wife yesterday morning. I bought the mens L/XL. The material has some stretch and give in it but fit my long fingers very nicely. The actual coloring is off from what is pictured. The mitten part is black and the mitten part is more dark navy than the lighter blue shown. Oh no, mixing black and blue! Yes, it may be a social faux pax but I don't mind.

They are warm and functional and better yet, they fit.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Book Review: Once a Runner - John L Parker Jr

Just finished Once a Runner by John L Parker Jr today. A fairly quick read. I had started it a couple of weeks ago and almost completely finished it on two train rides (approx. 45 minutes of reading each ride). I got to the point where I knew the end was close and wanted to be able to enjoy it. So rather than take it to work again, I held off reading until this week, vacation week, where one can truly enjoy the time with a good book.

John clearly captures the feeling of running. The time in the locker rooms, on the track, out on the roads... he has this down. I was not in his (or Cassidy's) class of running but I did compete in high school and college and later coached high school. He knows the inside outs and crafts a good story.

Ultimately, I was left unsatisfied on two counts. One, in the climatic race, Cassidy gets entered in the name of another runner. This does not sit well with me. Track is still not well accepted in the USA. You really only hear of it during Olympic years. To have the hero stoop to this level to succeed runs counter to the ideals of the true Olympic sport, especially with drug enhanced performances still in the news. (Yes, I confess, I am an idealist!)

Two, you don't find out his time in this climatic race. I don't want to reveal any more than this to spoil it for anyone who has not yet read the book. I have my suspicions what his time was but since John did not reveal it, Cassidy's finishing time is left open to speculation.

From the opening chapter:
He was going to have to pick up the thread of a normal life again and although he did not know exactly why, he had to start by coming back here, back to the greenhouse warmth of the Panhandle, back to the very quarter mile oval that still held his long-dried sweat. Back to September, the month of promises. He put his bag down by the pole vault pit, looked uptrack to make sure no one was coming, and then walked up to the starting line. God, he thought, one more time on the line.

In lane one, he stood very still, looking down at his street shoes (joggers now going around him with curious glances) and tried to conjure up the feeling. After a moment a trace of it came to him and he knew that was all there would be. You can remember it, he told himself, but you can not experience it again this way. You have to be satisfied with the shadows. Then he thought of the second and third laps and decided with a little twist of a smile that the shadows were sometimes quite enough.
Yes, the shadows can be very good!

Updated 4/7/09 with new link to Amazon page with re-issue of hard cover copy of the book!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Jingle bells run

A good group of Pacers got together this morning for a run. About 8 of us did the "7 at 7" choice. Although I think it worked out to be more than 7 miles and we started about 10 minutes past 7, but hey, who will quibble on Christams Eve. Another 4 runners came along later to run 3 miles.

Most of us were dressed for the occasion. A good number had Santa caps to top off their red or green clothing. I choose to go the elf route with my yellow leggings, red shorts, and deep green t-shirt. I pinned a couple of pre-made ribbon bows on my shoulders to complete the "package".

There were some jingle bell ribbons to tie to our shoes before the run. Those that did ended up loosing most of the bells before they finished. We can certainly provide some feedback that they did not hold up to the miles.

We did the same run as Thursday but with the starting point at Panera's instead of the high school parking lot. While we took off the loop around Dean College, we added the distance from Panera's to and from there hence the conclusion that it was more like 8 or 9 than the 7 it was advertised as.

No problem, a good run, some good conversations around the table at Panera's. Not sure why they are getting this attention, the service is slow. It took us about 10 minutes in line to get inside the door and at least another 10 to get served.

But it is Christmas Eve and with the glow of a good run, we were all in good spirits as we warmed up and cooled down at the same time. Yes, only runners can do that in winter.

I hope your Christmas run is a good one!

I plan on doing an easy 3 tomorrow morning to close out the week and set up for an second helping on the pie after dinner.


Tags: +

Thursday, December 22, 2005

She had her Wheaties today!

The four standard bearers of the Pacers were on the Franklin roads tonight. Two women leading two men. One led because she was showing us the route; one of her regular routes. It was a good one. I would be hard pressed to repeat it as we ran it in the dark and the first part of it had multiple turns this way and that. But it was a good mix of side roads, infrequent traffic and a nice "little" hill in there just for good measure.

The last couple of miles were relatively straight forward and the other lady took over the lead and set the pace. She was cruising along at which point over the shoulder I heard:

She had her Wheaties today!

Did she ever! Nice running!
A good workout was had by all.


Tags: +

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Opted out of hills (again)

No hills again tonight, although since we started our run on the top and finished our running coming up the side, technically we did do the "hills" just not as much as we normally do.

We being the couple of Pacer buddies who joined me for a jaunt in the dark. Checking out this side road here, doing this loop here, and eventually it added up to about 5 miles.

One of my better runs. Just felt really good. So good that I don't want to think about what it would have felt like doing the hills. I can live happy with what I did and I will sleep well tonight.

It will be warmer under those covers than it was on the roads!


Tags: +

Sunday, December 18, 2005

RBF Button

Let see if I can do this properly.

Here is the button.

I already have the link.

Let's see if the two can go together....

Updated: - oh, not yet... if anyone has advice on how to insert the image and apply a link to the image in the column, please let me know. Thanks!

Updated: 12/24/05
A little time to think about this lead me to borrow from the "Sub with Bloglines" code sample and get this working. I am pleased it all worked out.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Run

First time running on a Saturday for a while. Missed Thursday with the Pacers as I went to my company holiday party. Didn't get to make it up last night as we took Allison out to dinner for her birthday. So before going to the Franklin Indoor Track meet today got up and out for an easy 3 miles.

I had a bunch of mental debate going on during the first mile. It was not easy starting for some reason and the slick roads didn't help any. I was watching my step all the time. Finally decided to do the Chestnut Ridge loop and took it easy.

I'll have the long run tomorrow to close out the week. Wondering who will be there to do three loops? Caught up with a Pacer in the check out line at the market and she'll be doing two loops.

One of these Sunday's I'll try four loops. I want to take the milage up slightly during this off season to prepare for next year. With the hills on Tuesday's, I can gradually work the interval times down. With the tempo run on Thursday's, I can go a minimum 5 or 6 depending upon who shows up. With Sunday's long run, the loop concept makes it easy to add another one of whatever distance I feel like doing to add the milage.

So with 5 on Tuesday, up to 8 on Tuesday, and 12 or 13 on Sunday, I can get 25 quality miles per week. That should help me attack my 5K goal next year.

The decision remains as to whether I'll try to go after the 400 time or not. This past summer told me I can't do both at the same time.

Plenty of time for that decision.

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Plano (TX) Pacers Running Club

Just happened to be cruising along the web tonight to find this similarly named running club based in Plano, TX.

I like their web site. It offers some good ideas for our Pacer web site.

One really slick item they have is a calculator that scores your race finish time factoring in distance, sex, and age on a 100 point scale. They use this to calculate the results for their Grand Prix results. Each person gets a score for the race and then the scores are averaged, minimum four races for the final results.

Cool stuff!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity

For Joan at Songs of Experience who posted her poem Edozien Grey, known simply as E. today.

During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
(Hollowed out
Fitted with straws
Crammed with tobacco
Stolen from butts
In family ashtrays)
Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
Of civilization;

During that summer--
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was--
Watermelons ruled.

Thick imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;

And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.

The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.

But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

John Tobias

From the book Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle by Stephen Dunning

Hot tempo on the cold roads

Yes, it was quite cold tonight. About 14 F with a wind chill into the low single digits. One Pacer buddy decided to brave the cold to keep me company. Thank you!

We decided not to do the hill work we normally are scheduled for on Tuesday. The wind on the corner as we would make the turn on the long hill was going to be a challenge. Stopping multiple times in this cold also did not seem like something we wanted to do. We opted instead for a good tempo run. Most of the beginning was at a "barely can keep a conversation" pace but the sidewalks also contributed to making conversation difficult.

I tried to stay on the road along the gutter while she tried to stay on the sidewalks. She ultimately came out into the road with me. It was safer that way. That is until we got back out onto the main road where the sidewalks were mostly clear so she jumped up to run there and I stayed in the gutter. It was good until one van came by too close for comfort. Fortunately it was near the end of our route. I had enough time to calm down and complete the run.

We did not linger long in the parking lot to chat after the run. It was much too cold for that.

A good run for this day with a good buddy to set/keep a good pace!

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Yes, the loops work. Adjusted the start time for the Pacers by 10 minutes for the second and third loops and it worked out very well today.

What are you talking about?
Okay, let me step back a bit. The Pacers routes on Sunday shifted from our fall location to our winter location for a variety of reasons (change, variety, convenient coffee shop, etc.). What had been successful about our fall routes was that there were two loops, a small one (3.4 miles) and then a longer one (7.1 miles). Both started and finished at the same location. We offered three runs; 10.5, 7.1 and 3.4. Hence those running 10.5 could start with the small loop and make it back to the start to pick up those starting the 7.1 loop. This provided additional folks to run with. Those who started later for the 3.4 miles could join the 7 and 10 miles for the last 1.5 miles depending upon the pace of each group.

So shifting to the new location, we wanted to try and continue this loop concept and see if we could improve on it. Hence, some craftiness might get me labeled as "loopy".

So how does it work?
We devised four loops; two each at 3 miles and 2 each at 3.5 miles. All loops start and end at the same point; the Franklin Village plaza which has a Panera Bread that happens to open at 7:00 AM on Sunday. So if you need to make a pit stop before starting, you have a good place to go. Beats the woods anytime!

The 10 milers start at 7:00 AM and do one of the 3.5 mile loops. Calculating a 10 minute mile pace (which also allows for a sometimes late start), the group should get back about 7:35 AM. Time to pick up the 6.5 milers and head out on one of the 3 mile loops (one hilly and one rolling). They should get back about 8:05 in time to pick up any 3.5 milers for the last loop (the other 3.5).

We made the "official" start for the 6.5 milers at 7:40 AM and 8:10 for the 3.5 milers.

So what happened today?
One other Pacer joined me for the 10 mile run. We left on schedule at 7:00 and came back at 7:37. A little slower due to the snow but otherwise well calculated. We picked up one other Pacer looking to do 6.5 and choose the rolling 3 mile loop. We headed out and got back at 8:04 in time to pick up one other Pacer for the final 3.5 miles for all us. We altered the third loop to be an out and back course instead of a loop to avoid going three times on the one final stretch. (Yes, if we had done the 3.0 mile hill loop this would not have been a problem, but...)

As a side bonus we saw two other Pacers out on their own. We had not expected to see them as both are recovering from injury so it was a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, the four of us made it back together to the finish having done our three loops successfully joined together completing 10 miles, 6.5 miles, and 3.5 miles respectively. Now, how cool is that?

Way cool!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tempo Thursday

I ran alone for the first time in a while. One good thing about running with a club, you generally have someone to run with. Unfortunately, other obligations kept the Pacers away from the time slot this Thursday evening.

This is not a bad thing, by any means.

Recall that I have run for 34 years, and other than when in high school (2), college (4), and then coaching (6) after that (12 years total, to help those who wanted to count), I have spent the remainder running alone (21 years, actually). It could have been 22 but I can't count this past year as I have been running with the Pacers since September 2004.

I did one of my favorite routes; the Chestnut-Pleasant loop. Starting from the Pacers starting point it is a half mile shorter than if I did it from home, but only a half mile. Doing it as night is also a little more challenging than during the day. Chestnut tends to have more traffic at this time (7:00 PM Eastern) and the road is fairly narrow in spots. I was well dressed for the cold (about 20 degrees F) and my reflective vest and luminous jacket were on. I also carried my little flash light but I need to change the batteries. It was getting weaker as I went and not much use by the end of the run.

The fun stretch is along Pleasant. And not just because the road is called Pleasant, it is pleasant. The side I run tends to have fewer houses, mostly woods, and more space to stay away from the traffic. By the light of the half moon, the trees were casting their shadows across the road. I played a game off not stepping on them for a bit, but then that got my tempo up and I held it for a good mile or so. See what playing can do for you! Even when running alone.

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Build a calendar for next year's races

Have you picked some races to run next year?
If you have, then you know already what the dates are.

How about getting a calendar with those dates printed on them to hang for a constant reminder?
That might be good!

And how about getting the calendar to help a good cause at the same time?
That would be doubly good!

Yes, you can do both.

Check out the posting on my other blog for details or follow the link in this posting's title to go directly to the web site to build you own calendar and contribute to a good cause.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cold (but good) night on the hills

A couple of Pacer buddies kept me company on the hills tonight. It was cold (high 20's). Clear, partial moon shining. And no breeze to speak of. Usually it is very noticeable, especially coming up the long side of the hill, as you turn the curve under the street light, the prevailing breeze or wind catches you there. But not tonight.

We did our full routine as this was our second time on the hills this time around. 1 mile warm up. 3 times up the long one hard, down the short one easy. 3 times back up the short one hard, down the long one easy. The last easy down leads us into our mile warm down to close out the workout for a total of 5 miles.

I concentrated on the long hill tonight. I felt pretty good and kept the pace consistent for all three.

Next week, I'll keep the long one steady and work to quicken the short hill pace.

The week after, I'll keep the short pace steady and quicken the long hill. Or at least try and see how it goes; to keep some steadiness in there but progressively work on quickening the pace one side of the hill at a time.

We'll keep you posted when you check back.

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Milestone 12/4/05

Milestone 12/4/05
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, 900 miles... at the beginning of the year, it did not seem likely. Now, it is a minor disappointment that I won't get to 1000 (forecasting to end up about 980-990). I could but don't want to risk the injury factor. The three day program has been doing very well. I want to keep with that and gradually modify the mileage rather than add another day or so to put in the other mileage to get to the 1000 mark.

Time enough for next year!

May the roads/trails be kind to you!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wreath 2005

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Sunny breezy day here in Franklin, MA.

The wreath is now mounted front and center to welcome those who chance to come by the home base.

I have posted this here as well to help welcome those who come by via the internet.

Thank you for visiting!

And special thanks to Connie for the wreath!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Good run tonight

A nice night to run.
Temp in the mid-30's.
Little or no breeze.
Just right for a good tempo run.

A couple of Pacer buddies kept company and conversation going for most of the run. That is until we got about a mile to the finish where we picked it up so that talking became second priority, concentrating on the traffic and maintaining the pace took over as the first priority.

Running at night like this, we tried to keep to well light roads and less traveled where possible. One stretch was through a development and we could spread out three across the road no problem. Coming back into Franklin, however we clung to the sidewalk or gutter and paid close attention to the cars coming from the driveways and side streets. They all behaved well tonight (thank you!). We should have been noticeable, all wearing our reflective vests. Creating something of a stir in this small town.

Who are these folks running at this time of night?
Just a few Pacers out for a good tempo run.

About 4.3 miles in 37 minutes and change.
A good night to you all!
I know I can sleep well after a good run.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Back to the hills

Yes, the Pacers went to the hills last night. Back to Tri County Regional VocTech. Had a good group of buddies to attack the hills. We did two sets as opposed to the normal three times up each side. Since it was the first time back on the hills, we did not want to rush it. There will be time enough next week for three times, and the week after, and...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

John Mortimer's 3 Words to Run With

John Mortimer, assistant track coach at Boston College, was the guest speaker at the Franklin High School Cross Country banquet. The banquet officially closed the 2005 season for both the boys and girls teams. The athletes families' coordinated a pot luck supper with plenty of good food for all.

John spoke reflecting back on his own running career to highlight the three keys for him: (1) motivation, (2) consistency, and (3) patience. He wove his own personal stories into the talk to reinforce these three points.

John has had a storied career with some highlights
  • competing for the US National Team (in the 1997 World University Games and the 1998 Goodwill Games, running the steeplechase in both events)
  • as the 1994 Footlocker Cross Country national runner-up, and a three-time National Scholastic Track and Field champion
  • a four-time academic All-American and academic All-Big Ten while running for Michigan
Hopefully, his words will resonate with the athletes who heard them Tuesday night.

With the right motivation, the proper consistency in training and lifestyle, and above all, patience to stick with the program, these keys will provide any runner a way to be successful.

Thanks for sharing, John!

Two day week

Only two days of running this week. Yes, the FIRST program is three days.

Monday was scheduled rest (needed to with the long run the day before).
Tuesday was my daughter's high school cross country banquet. (Priority)
Wednesday was scheduled rest (and race next day)
Thursday was race day.
Friday was scheduled rest.
Saturday was scheduled for a walk with my wife.
Sunday the scheduled long run.

So other than finding some other time on Tuesday (and I didn't) it was only two days this week.

The race was the 3rd best 5K this year, and two minutes faster on the course than last year. So all in all, two days is fine with me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I have so much to be thankful for

being able to run
being able to race
being part of the Norfolk County Pacers
being able to write

and just being able

thank you for reading!

More blogs about happy thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Songs of Experience - Joan Nesbit Mabe

Joan Nesbit Mabe, a quality runner, member of several US National teams also coaches seejanerun (a club for running mothers) and blogs about running. New Englander's may recall her first place finish at Falmouth but she lists as
Greatest lifetime achievements:
3 daughters … Sarah Jane (12), Rosie (8), and Lizzie (4)

There is some balance to this lady runner. You can learn a lot by reading her!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weekend Recap

Went to Franklin Park again this weekend but for the last time this season. The Franklin Girl's Cross Country team finished 11th in the All State Meet. A respectable showing. A lot of schools were sitting on the sidelines for this one.

We had a bunch of running buddies come out in the cold morning for the Pacers Sunday runs. Four of us headed out on the 10.5, doing the small loop first. Coming by the parking lot at the Big Apple we picked up the 7 milers and continued on our way for the longer second loop. If the timing works out just right, about 1.5 miles from the finish, the 3 milers can join us, or we may at least see them on the road.

Alas, that was not to be the case for me on Sunday. I fell back off the group I was with coming up the long hill at 8 miles and managed to stay ahead of the couple coming up behind me. Always torn between in that situation. Once you loose contact, you loose concentration as well (or at least I do) and it would be so much better to run with someone. So should I slow down and let the others catch me. I'll have someone to run with then. Or do I try to pick it up and either close the gap with the ones in front of me, or at least hold the ones behind me off.

I held them off this time. Next time, I would prefer not to let the gap occur at all.

The Cross Country (PDF) banquet is Tuesday night so I'll miss our track work out this week. The next time I run will be Thursday morning; the Best Buddies 5K in Brighton.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tempo run tonight

Two Pacer buddies joined for the run tonight. One gets extra credit for getting there. Her husband was going to be a few minutes late getting home, so she bundled up the kids, drove to the parking lot, husband (who also gets extra bonus points for doing this) meets her there, leaves his car there, takes the kids home, she comes running with us. Worked out nicely for all!

We did not waste any time getting a move on. It was cool (about 39 F) as we left heading into the breeze. At a little over a mile we turned so the breeze cut across us and almost immediately felt warmer. Another mile, another turn, and the breeze was now behind us, helping to push us along. By this point we were cruising along pretty well. This was the same route we did last week except we added another large couple of blocks to the run. I drove the route later to measure it and it came out about 4.3 miles.

Finished strong and easily. Felt very good.

May the roads be kind to you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Plan for that Thanksgiving Run

Dr. Susan has some good advice on how to eat well. This is always a critical component of a good exercise plan. Eat well, sleep well, and the body will be appropriately fueled for the exercise effort. There are no short cuts to success.

But you knew that!

That is part of the reason why you have picked out a good run for next Thursday. An official race is good even if you don't "race" it, you get timed mile marks, water stops, and emergency medical support for the length of the run you can handle.

If you don't go for a race, get a couple of buddies together. Company is always good on the run.

Worse case, get your own two feet out the door and moving.

The big dinner later will be a real reward for the effort you left on the roads that morning.

May the roads be kind to you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The State of Track & Field - Steve McGill

Steve McGill has written a good piece on the State of Track & Field in the USA.

I encourage you to follow the link to read the whole thing.

Of course, you are most welcome to return here and leave a comment on what you think about the article. That would be worth some bonus points for you.

The bonus points would be for the intense satisfaction of having contributed to a discussion on one of the most important athletic endeavors; track & field.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Willie McCool - 16 Minutes to Home

Runner's World has a good article written by Steve Friedman on Willie McCool who was the pilot of the shuttle Columbia.
"Most people know what happened. That piece of foam broke off Columbia's external fuel tank and hit the shuttle's left wing. That NASA officials on the ground gravely underestimated the severity of the damage. That, in fact, the damage caused the shuttle to burn and break into pieces in the skies over Texas, just 16 minutes before its scheduled landing on a clear, bright Saturday morning in February nearly three years ago. What everyone doesn't know is something NASA investigators learned when they sifted through and analyzed the wrecked vessel on the ground. Among the shuttle parts that investigators recovered was a damaged but intact piece of equipment called the R-2 instrument panel. When they unfolded it, they saw a series of switches that, according to NASA investigator Jon Clark, appeared to have been engaged and manipulated in the final minutes of the doomed astronauts' lives by the person in the shuttle's right seat -- the pilot. Although NASA's official report is inconclusive, one theory is that the pilot was making adjustments and maneuvers even as Columbia was pitching and spinning toward Earth. That even when death was certainly imminent and known to the crew, Willie McCool as still trying to save the shuttle. Clark, whose wife, Laurel, died along with McCool and five others in the crash, says that what McCool did in those final moments "was a big deal. A very big deal."

Willie McCool was 41 years old when he died that morning, and his singular achievements are what the obituaries and eulogies focused on: Eagle scout, exceptional runner, test pilot, astronaut. He died serving his country, was publicly mourned. Towns where he lived erected statues in his honor. He was a hero in every conventional sense of the word, pronounced at a memorial service by no less a person than the president of the United States. He lived a life deserving of the public recognition he has received."
The article goes on to tell a good deal about Willie's life before the shuttle ride. I do highly recommend picking up an issue while they are still available. I was not able to find it on the Runner's World web site but that is a story for another posting.

His coach at Annapolis, Al Cantello, is looking to put up a memorial on the cross country course. Carefully calculated to be at the spot where during the normal cross country race, Willie would have been 16 minutes from the finish line. (The shuttle broke up 16 minutes from its scheduled arrival.)

This seems like a fitting memorial for a great cause.

Al made his proposal in July 2003 and it is stuck in the bureaucratic approval process.
I would like to find out how we can help to move it along.

As I find out, I'll let you know.

If you know of any way, please let me know.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Franklin Moves on to the All State Meet

The Franklin High School Girl's Cross Country team finished 5th today in the MIAA Division II meet at Franklin Park in Boston and qualified for the All State meet to be held next week on the same course.

Congratulations girls!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tempo run

One Pacer buddy joined me for the tempo run tonight. I had one course in mind but as we were stretching waiting to see if anyone else would join us, the wind caught my attention. It was strong.

Originally the course I had planned on running would have had us coming back into the wind. Considering how strong it was, I thought it would be good to change the route to head out into the wind and return with it. Generally this makes for a much more pleasant run. When you are tired and returning, heading into the wind and will make it more tiring. For most runs, I like to finish strong. Finish with a positive feeling. Makes it all that much easier to get out the door the next time.

The course seemed to be just over four miles and while we had a brief stretch finishing into the wind, it was not as much as it could have been. Good choice!

May the roads be kind to you!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Under the lights

Yes, the lights at the track stayed on tonight for our Pacer workout. Only one buddy kept me company but it was good company as we cruised through 6 x 600 with our mile warm up and warm down.

The first three 600's I did in 2:20-2:22; the last three 2:17, 2:17, and 2:12.
The air was cool but the feet were hot on the track!

A real good workout... the best splits this year for this kind of running.

How did it happen?
May the roads be kind to you!

Monday, November 07, 2005

World Run Day

Unofficially part of World Run Day, many of the Pacers got together with runners from the Hopkinton Running Club and the Wampanoag RoadRunners for our Sunday runs. The first group covering the 10.5 mile route was about 25 strong. When I finished the 7 milers and 3 milers had completed and we were about 50-60 runners all together!

I had a mix of Pacer and new running buddies to be with sharing the road as we made our way along the hilly course.

The coffee, hot chocolate, gatorade, bagels, muffins, and orange slices at the finish helped to fuel plenty of conversations.

I look forward to doing this again.

What a good way to start the day!

PS - unofficially part of World Run Day as we found out too late to do anything official about it. But now it is on our radar for next year.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Imagine - yes, it's real

Earlier this week, I wrote about running in the dark. How with happy, quick, quiet feet I could run concentrating on form and feeling without the distractions of watching what was around me. It was all pitch black. I could not see anyway. I was able to follow the white lane markers on the track to run in a straight line. The workout was that night was good. 8 x 400. I felt good.

Last night, I only did three miles. Yes, there was just three for three. I like how things come together like that but my legs were also sore. Not in a major way but enough to back off. The tops of the thighs and backs of the calves. Reminders of the happy, quick, quiet feet I ran with Tuesday night.

Clearly need to do that again, and regularly, to increase that aspect of leg strength.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Three for three

A small group of Pacers this evening, just the three of us, took it easy through our favorite three mile route. Sidewalks on the main road, then wide roads and less traffic in the development makes this a good route for running, especially in the dark.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


John Bingham writes about sharing the speakers platform with Steve Jones of Britain, the great record holder from the 1980's, in this month's issue of Runner's World
Of all the seminars I've worked with Jonesy, there's one that stands out. He was asked to define the difference between winning a marathon and setting the world record. His answer was simple.

To win a marathon, Jonesy flatly stated, you only have to beat everyone who shows up that day. To set the world record, you have to beat everyone who has ever shown up.

The room went silent. None of us had ever thought of it that way. And no one, except a former world record holder, could have explained it as such.

John goes on to write:
It's hard for me to imagine the courage it takes to pursue such a dream. Yet, having stood next to Jonesy, I believe the rest of us just aren't asking enough of ourselves. We are limited most by our imaginations--or more precisely, our lack of imagination. We tend to see ourselves only as we are, not as we might be.
The bold is mine for emphasis.

The Pacers were running our track workout last night. Just as we were starting to warm up, the lights went off. Oh well, we could still run in the dark. My watch does not read well in the dark so I determined to just run on the feeling. To let my feet be quiet and happy. To concentrate on the form, the stride, the rhythm, the breathing, and just run. Not worrying about pace, or hitting the split.

Quiet feet are happy feet. They spend very little time on the ground. They touch and push off quickly. Heavy feet are noisy feet. Heel and toe. Heel strike, long roll forward along the lenght of the foot and rise to push off on the ball and toes. But your foot is on the ground a long time. It is slower this way. Keeping up on your toes is harder.

In the dark, it was so much easier. The eyes took awhile to adjust but the white lines on the track were all that I needed to guide me. I could tell I was going a pretty good pace due to my buddies falling behind me. It felt good to run fast. (It did not feel good to leave my buddies behind me.)

We need to do this more often.
Run as we feel.
Run without holding back.
To run as we might be able to run.

And after doing so in the dark,
it will be easier to do so in the light!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Two together

the melody that lingers on
lyrics straining to be remembered

the commercial jingle that jars

the trample of a cleated football
team boarding the school bus

I yearn to leave all these
yes, escape, run away
with just what I need to wear
out into this world
now dark, the day has gone

my shoes by the chair
resemble a giant cloven hoof
half left, half right
I shall put the two together
many times tonight

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Is the FIRST Plan working?

This question came up during the discussion amongst the Pacers as we gathered at the Big Apple after our run today.

The quick answer is yes, I believe it is. I am an experiment of one but when I look back at what I have accomplished, the answer is yes.

I ran a four day per week schedule, sometimes five, sometimes three but more often than not four days for most of the year. I already had incorporated the three major elements of the FIRST Plan in the our days: the long run, the tempo run, and track(pace) work. To drop from four to three days, I took out the other tempo run and used that day for walking.

I have been officially on the FIRST Plan since the beginning of September and have recorded two PR's in that time. The Crackerbarrel 5K at 22:13 and then last week's muddy Mayor's Cup (where in better conditions the Crackerbarrel 5K time would have been in jeopardy).

It has been only two months so it is still very early to attribute all the progress strictly to the FIRST Plan. But I think the rest portion is significant. For the Pacers, this would be one key element to help avoid the injuries that have put a few of them on the sidelines.

The key now will be accepting the plan.
Accepting that the 3 days will work.
And sticking too it.

So many folks feel the need for more days.

They do have younger legs than I do.
But they do get older each day.

Age does not discriminate in this matter.

Another milestone this year

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Just into today's 10.5 mile run, I crossed 800 miles for the year to date. As the chart depicts, the most in several years.

The legs feel tired but the good kind of tired. Nothing a nap or a good night's sleep wouldn't cure.

Don't know that I'll manage a nap today but will be looking forward to the pillow tonight.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

XC Pyramid

XC Pyramid
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

I think the girl's should stick to running... :-)

Franklin HS Girls Cross Country

Franklin HS Girls Cross Country
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The team was victorious today. The top 5 runners were bunched in the top 21 spots. They ran really well today. Congratulations ladies!

Way to go Carolyn! (Last week, she took over a minute off her time from last year, and this week dropped another 30 seconds.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lights and reflections

Good run tonight. Just one Pacer buddy with me (thank you!) for our almost 5 mile cruise through town, a small development, and back through town to the parking lot and our cars.

Lots of conversation going out as we took it slower to warm up but as we got warm, we gradually picked up the pace making the conversation stretch out longer, resulting in more gaps between talking to allow our breathe to catch up.

Black is the second best color to wear at night? I had not heard that one. I have had a rule about avoiding the blacker black. Especially where puddles are concerned.

I've been finding and reading some good runner blogs recently. The Hitchhiker's group found Through the Wall and Running Chick with the Orange Hat, this last one lead me to the Running Blog Family which I promptly joined. One of 447 blogs written on or about running.

That reminds me, I need to get the Running Blog Ramily (RBF) button to put on this site.

Thanks for listening, make it a great run!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Skipped a day

Yes, the weather was not so enticing. The major race is behind me. I can more than afford to take a day off.

Yes, I know I am only running three days a week. But I think I deserved a day off.

So I took one yesterday. Gave myself permission.

Then enjoyed listening to the winds howl and the rain pelt the windows while I sat in my cozy chair all nice and warm.

I'll be back on the roads on Thursday. One day is all I needed!

Make it a great run.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Is it really?

My blog is worth $3,387.24.
How much is your blog worth?

Some would say, not worth sweating for.

Not me, the fun is in the sweating!

What would you say?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mayor's Cup - PR

Yes, finally the Mayor's Cup cross country race was today. It had rained hard overnight and was still misty this morning. The rain pretty much left before the race started but the course was very wet.

After getting my number, chip, and t-shirt I returned to the car and changed for the warm up. I mixed some walking, stretching and light running to cover most of what I expected to be the critical sections of the course. Fortunately, I have raced this course at least twice previously and run part of it several other times watching high school meets.

I returned to the car to change into my racing shoes and make my final preparations as the first kid's race started. My race (the Open 5K) would start in about 40 minutes, time enough for stretching and strides.

I did well considering the slipperiness of the course. The first mile was 6:50, the second 7:35 (Bear Cage Hill), the third (including the Wilderness) was 7:30 to finish at 22:54. This was better than the two previous times I raced here (2003, and 2002). I feel with a more solid footing, I would have done better than 22 and may have gotten close to 21. But it was not to be today!

Still a good race. I felt good. I am in a good position to maintain this fitness level during the winter, cutting back on some of the speed work and building the mileage slightly. Come spring, I can adjust the mileage and drop into the speed work and be ready for another good year.

Border Land State Park, Easton MA

Spent a few hours here Saturday morning. Dolores and I took a walk around the park before watching the Franklin High School Cross Country teams compete in the Hockomock League Championships. The girls team ran well and took second.

They had already completed the dual meet season undefeated and the final race was close with Oliver Ames edging them out by 2 points!

Most of the team ran personal best times and that is all you can ask for.

Carolyn ran her best by over a minute! Way to go!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Simple and short today

Woke this morning with a sniffle or two, not usual for me so I wonder if this means something is coming. I would not want it timed now. But do we really have a choice?

So all the more reason for an easy three mile run today. Race day is approaching (Sunday). I want to stay fresh.

The forecast is for rain. Which, if it holds, would likely mean I won't be able to go for a personal best time as the conditions would be less than optimal.

I hope your run is a good one!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Through the Wall - Wil

Good quote from Wil's posting today:
And a year later, a half-Ironman and two marathons, a handful of triathlons, and a half-finished book later, I come back to the beginning of it to reassess. I still have it all, and I can be happy now because I believe more than ever that this quote sums up what drives me, what pushes me to keep going or to take a chance. It defines how I want to feel everyday about everything - writing, triathlon, whatever I do, I want to be the best because I know that I can be. That's the feeling that got loose in my gut that night, and started tracking up life to the point that I couldn’t take a step without seeing its footprints – still wet of my own ink.

Physical ability can be carved, mental toughness can be forged, but passion must be born – it takes flesh and blood and heart and guts. And that’s why you must bleed to be the best.
Go read the rest!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Know when to walk away, Know when to run

Continuing this golden oldie theme, Kenny Roger's The Gambler comes to mind tonight.

You got to learn to play it right
You got to know when to hold them
Know when to fold them
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sitting at the table
There'll be time enough for counting
When the dealing's done

At the track for the Pacers workout, we were scheduled to do 6 x 800 but we determined early on, that we would cut back to 4 x 800 instead. Last week I ran alone and struggled somewhat to maintain pace. The week before that, we were continually on pace. But tonight, even with company; we were off pace a little on the first, more on the second, more on the third. I recovered enough on the last to bring it in under the target but my partner was behind.

Actually, I think the lyrics popped into my head on the first recovery run. The tiredness from Sunday had not quite gone away. Pushing it tonight, with a race coming up this week, did not make sense. Hence the lyrics.

You need to have confidence to do this.

To "know when to walk away, know when to run".

The gremlin will arise and taunt you.

Be confident. Do what needs to be done.

"There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done."

We did stop at 4, took our mile warm down and called it for the day.

Have a good run!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A good day to run but not a good run today

There are those days and this was one of them. Probably set up by what transpired yesterday. Carolyn ran at Franklin Park in the Catholic Memorial invitational. It was raining hard, the course was puddly and as the races ran over it, it became progressively muddier and more slippery. I was going to take an easy run around the course to help prepare for next week's Mayors Cup but thought better of it in these conditions. Standing around for several hours in those conditions drained me. After coming home, doing the normal weekend shopping and errands, I snuck in a brief nap before heading out to the NE Revolution soccer game last night.

So while I was mentally prepared for running the 10.5 mile course today, and with my Pacer buddies, there was not enough gas in the tank for it.

Two of us started at 6:30 AM for the 10 mile run today. The course is two loops, the first section (3.4 miles) loops us back to the beginning were if we are fortunate, we can pick up the 7.1 mile runners who are heading out at 7:00 AM. There were four of them today and we stayed together for the next two miles before I started loosing contact with the pack. I managed to keep contact for another 1/2 mile but then they were gone and I continued to fall behind.

Times like this you concentrate on form, and stride, and focus, and keep going.
You don't worry about pace at that point.
You are not going to get any faster.
You just need to keep going to get to the finish.

The sun continued to rise, the wind seemed variable. Big gusts, then smaller but steady breezes. The second loop took us around and thereby the wind kept changing from side to directly head on, eventually to the other side and then head on into the finish, although the last stretch is tree lined and the wind is broken significantly by the wise farmers who put in the tree line many years ago.

Not a great run, slower by 12-14 minutes than last week. I'll sleep well tonight.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tufts 10K

I went over to the Boston Common today during lunch to cheer on the Pacers who were running today. It was raining as I left the office, stopped for a bit, then had started again as I was returning. The forecast for showers was correct. It was not great viewing weather but it should have been good running weather.

I was able to pick out a few of the Pacers as they went by.

Congratulations on a good run today!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The night before the night before

What's that again?

The night before the night before.

If we were playing Jeopardy, this would be the prompt to get the question "Before a race what nights sleep is most important?"

I hope Jeopardy is the right game, if not, I truly do not watch much TV so that will be my lame excuse.

With a race coming up for a number of the female Pacers, the Tufts 10K on Monday, the most important night for sleep will be Saturday.

Sunday night is the night before the race. Runners are normally in varying states of nervousness, which leads to restless sleep. This is not usually a problem for the race itself. The adrenaline that kicks in at the start is usually enough to compensate.

Usually that is, if you took the time to get a good nights sleep the night before the night before!

So sleep well Saturday, run well Monday!

Go Pacers!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Depending upon the senses

I ran alone tonight on one of my old routes, slightly modified but none-the-less, the first time I had been on it in a while. One of the benefits of running with the Pacers has been the companionship. One of the draw backs has been the "set" routine of the FIRST program.

Tuesday's track work is fine and necessary and we build variability into the workouts. One week we repeat an interval 400 or 800 recently. One week we do something on a ladder, stepping up from 400 to 800 to 1200 to 800 to 400, or 800-1200-1200-800, etc. We're gradually building to a mile on the track and three miles of intervals for each work out. With a mile warm up and warm down, that is a good five mile day.

Thursday is the tempo workout and with the group at different paces, we can start together but not always run all together. I knew tonight was going to be a "light" night for attendance so it suited me well to go it alone.

Starting at 6:30 I put my reflective vest on and carried my small flashlight. I alternate carrying it in my hands, shifting every half mile or so to help maintain the rhythm of my arm swing without tiring the arm with the flashlight.

Running in the dark is always a challenge. Recall the rules of running in the dark.

One of the benefits of running in the dark is that since you are not seeing much of the surroundings, most of the world is black, house lights, street lights, vehicle head lights are enough to help you see and make your way.

But in the dark, your other senses, hearing in particular take on more importance. You can hear what is moving in the dark sometimes before you see it.

You can run more by feel in the dark than I think you would allow yourself to do during the day. There are less distractions. You can thereby be more attuned to your body, its rhythm. Your breathing, your arm swing, your leg movement, foot placement... I find myself shifting from the heel-roll-to-the-toe to landing more on the toe and running silently. The less my feet touch the ground, the less I hear them, the better stride I have. Hard to do for long distances. That for me is the "work" part of the workout. Concentrating to keep my feet silent and my stride therefore optimized. I can do it longer in the dark than during the day.

In the dark, it is me and my shadow running along. In the daylight, there are all these other distractions. Oh look there, oh look at that.... You get the point.

And when you run on a moonlight night... then it draws up the sounds of Cat Stevens' Moon Shadow

I'm bein' followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow
moon shadow.
Leapin' and hoppin' on a moon shadow
moon shadow
moon shadow.

and running takes on a life of its own...

Happy running!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cruising along

Small group tonight for the Pacers FIRST plan track workout. One mile warm up and warm down with 6 x 800 at 3:20 (6:40 mile pace) for a total of 5 miles for the workout.

The track lights were on again. Thank you!

It was warmer than last week but the legs felt good and the pace was comfortable. We kept cruising along. Always started a little fast hitting 47 at the first 200, slowing to hit 1:38 at the 400 and bringing it in at 3:20 exactly for the half.

Except for the last one. A little extra inspiration came from the sidelines and we finished in 3:17.

Good workout, good steadiness. Got comfortable with the stride, the arm carry, maintain good breathing. We probably could have done at least two more at the same pace, but it was good to leave the track with something left. It was work but not overbearing.

A good confidence builder for the next race.
Go Pacers!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Think good ones

Yes, good ones. Those associated with good running, not THOSE!

To keep the gremlin away, you do need to think positive thoughts. The positive thoughts are powerful when they are feedback from someone else. Especially, if that someone else knows something about you and says it in the proper manner.

We used to call that our coach.

I subscribe to Kirk Weisler's Thought 4 the Day (T4D). It is an inspirational quote or set of quotes with commentary from Kirk. I met Kirk a few years ago and have been receiving his T4D for years. Kirk is the Chief Morale Officer for the support industry but what he says can be easily applied to life and running.

Now, there is another source for inspiration, TUT!

I have only received a couple of emails from the TUT Adventure Club but I like what I see. If they keep this up, the gremlins may not come around here for some time.

And that will be good news as far as I am concerned.

In the face of adversity, uncertainty and conflicting sensory information, I hereby pledge to remain ever mindful of the magical, infinite, loving reality I live in. A reality that conspires tirelessly in my favor.

I further recognize, that living within space and time, as a Creation amongst my Creations, is the ultimate Adventure, because thoughts become things, dreams come true, and all things remain forever possible.

As a Being of Light, I hereby resolve to live, love and be happy, at all costs, no matter what, with reverence and kindness for All. So be it!

Check it out! Do your due diligence.
But if you want help to keep the gremlins away, this might do the trick!

Thanks to Jodee Bock at You Already Know This Stuff for the link!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rest paid off - Ollie 5 Mile

A great weather day for running in Boston, well South Boston to be more accurate. As you may recall, while I had a good workout on Tuesday, I rested on Thursday to allow the soreness in my left leg to recover.

My leg felt fine today. I drove into Boston heading directly into the sun rising without a cloud to block or deflect it. The temperature was cool. It had dipped to about 45 overnight and was beginning to warm as the sun rose. The race was scheduled for a 9:00 AM start so it would not get too warm while we were on the course. It was only going up to mid-70's anyway.

Whether I had run Thursday or not, this was going to be my tempo run for the week according to the FIRST Plan. Shorter (5 miles) than I would normally do on a Sunday (10 miles) but it was also the last race of the Pacer's Grand Prix series so I had decided to register.

Pre-race advice cautioned to watch out for the mean hill at about 2.7 miles. Even Uta Pippig, a racer with a great reputation, said it was a hill to be feared. Now with the famous Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon course a good distance from here, I did not expect to find a mean hill in this neighborhood. But the cautions came from credible sources, so the race plan for the workout was to take it easy (about 8 minute mile pace) through the 3 mile mark (and the hill) and then see what I could bring in.

The race began and I found myself working my way through the crowd fairly easily. The first mile went by in 7:50 (not bad). The clock at the second mile marker read 15:30 (a 7:40 split). We turned some corners and each time we did I was expecting to see the hill. Eventually we turned right and looked up. It was a pretty good hill. Shorter and steeper than I have run at TriCounty High School with the Pacer hill workouts. Thankful for that practice, it was not bad. I made it to the 3 mile in 23:50, just under my target pace (an 8:20 split).

Now the fun part, coming down the other side, another corner and we're on the main road heading back. Not a lot of runners around me and I was able to start picking some folks off. Another turn and I realize we're up to the 4 mile clock which read 31:30 (a 7:40 split). I was holding my own and beginning to the sense the finish ahead.

I had my eye on a group I wanted to catch. A couple more corners and the finish appeared straight ahead. Cruising into another gear I made it past the pack I wanted and over the finish line with no one passing me. 39:09 (7:40 split for the last mile). A good timed workout.

I hooked up with a group of runners in the parking lot to do a warm down jog along the Boston waterfront and back before changing out of my wet shirt for the drive home.

The race was well executed. Plenty of volunteers. The police had the roads well controlled to limit the traffic. Water stops was properly staffed at the 1.5 Mile, 2.5 Mile and 4 Mile marks. There were a number of recreational runners and walkers so they would benefit from the three water stops. Times were provided at each mile. The only disappointment was I did not see a map of the course before hand but with all the support in place, it was not really a requirement. Even for my first time on the course, it was a good performance. Next time it may be a race instead of a workout. We'll see.

So only two runs this week. Mileage down but that is to be expected. One day on the track (Tue), one tempo run (today). A good week all things considered. Two more weeks of workouts before the Mayor's Cup race. The grand finale for my year of racing.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Haptic Garment

From David Pescovitz at BoingBoing comes word about this new haptic garment to help athletic performance being developed in the Netherlands:
Eventually, sensors in the garments will measure the speed at which the rower moves and how they coordinate their leg and body movements. If the rower deviates from the optimum speed or rhythm, pads worn at the ankle and waist start vibrating at the correct stroke intervals to help the rower recapture the
winning action.
I don't know abut you but this is starting to go too far for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rested today

Yes, keeping with what I decided to do. My leg felt mostly better but...

Stopped by to see the Pacers off for their workout tonight. One other who was having a probem with her foot when she pushed off on it the other night is resting as well. Better to do that now.

So no excuse not to write here now with more time (less running to do).

I am working on a series for beginning running or the stages of running. Still in draft/dream mode, if you will.

Stage one - walking for fitness
Stage two - jogging for fitness
Stage three - jogging/running for companionship
Stage four - the competitive urge kicks into gear
Stage five - running in cycles (building to a peak, then recovery)

Who knows where it will go?
Actually, stick around and you will be amongst the first to know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rest days coming

Not from blogging but from running. As well as I ran last night, I was feeling some strangeness in my left leg during the workout. A couple of times, the leg wanted to just collapse under me.

As I was running well, the night was great for running, I kept going.

This morning the leg was providing some more strangeness. Not pain but true discomfort. Especially going down stairs. In hind sight (isn't that always 20-20) I should have stopped last night. Oh well, now I need to take a few days off to let it recover.

I had been planning on running the Ollie 5 Mile race this Sunday as a good workout. That is very likely in jeopardy. My big race this month is the Mayor's Cup at Franklin Park in Boston, I do not want to miss that one.

So I will rest now and run later, when the body is ready.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Good things from field hockey

Field hockey? Yes, really. The Franklin High School team apparently is choosing to practice on Tuesday nights on the high school field. The football team has left the field for the day. The lights are on. The track is well lighted! How convenient!

It was also good weather. Clear blue skies, 70's and breezy. As the sun set, the temp started dropping but that helped us on the track.

We're continuing to run the FIRST program. Our run today was on the track. We were able to run 800-1200-1200-800 staying very close to pace (3:20 - 5:01 - 5:02 - 3:21).

These were really ideal conditions to run. Forget about the field hockey players, imagine the stands are full, under the lights, the big race is underway... Okay, we'll go there some other day.

It was a good run tonight. Nice work Pacers!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sub 40 morning

Yes, it was below 40 degrees (F) this morning here in Franklin. What gives? This is still September. It's bad enough that the darkness is rapidly upon us. Now the decision on how to dress for the cold is here too!

I opted for a long sleeve cotton top and a short sleeve t-shirt as well with my normal nylon shorts (really briefs as my wife would say!).

It was cold starting but by 1 1/2 miles we were warmed up. My hands felt normal. A little colder and I would have pulled out my glittens and considered tights. But it is too early for that!

There were four of us this morning tackling the Pacer 10 mile course. We started slow to help warm up and after reaching the half way point started picking up the pace. For clarification, slow was about 9 minute miles, and the pick-up went to about 8:30's.

The dew hanging over Beaver Pond was awesome.

The sun peaking above the trees on Washington St was almost blinding for the minute or so we headed into it before turning into the shade on Jefferson St.

It felt good to run without dripping sweat.

I felt good overall finishing the 10 miles in a minute better time than last week.

It was a nice run.

Thanks for the conversation and inspiration buddies!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crackerbarrel 5K

Average Mile Progress YTD 2005
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Ran the Crackerbarrel 5K yesterday and ran well, recording a personal record (PR) for the distance. I had previously done 22:24 at the Hollis 5K (if you recall that was advertised as the fast 5K as it had an elevation drop of 200 Feet over the length of the course). I ran 22:13 yesterday with mile splits of 7:00, 7:15, and 7:20. Not bad for consistency.

So what was the difference yesterday?
(1) The three day FIRST program; I ran Tuesday and rested until the race.

(2) The weather cooperated, it was a cool 60's and overcast.

(3) I wore my racing flats for the first time. I normally only wear them for the track work. I figured I'd try them for a real race on the roads to help me think about staying on my toes (rather than dropping back to run heal-toe). My calves were more sore than usual today but I did feel the need to stay on my toes and it seemed to have helped.

Certainly, the race time speaks well for the total progress I have made. Much of the year was spent in an average mile range of 7:20-7:30. Getting down to 7:10 is real good. Especially because I feel I have more to do. As I continue to "peak" for some key races in October, I want this pace to finally drop below 7:00 per mile.

Then next year we can work on taking it down further from 7:00 minutes per mile.

New Milestone Reached

New Mile Stone Reached
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

With the miles this week, I am now over 700 for the year. I am still on pace to record about 1000 for the year.

I am feeling good about this. Some soreness after the 10 miles today but nothing unusual. The 10 today was one of the better runs.

The weather cooperated and my Pacer buddy kept a good talking pace until the 6 Mile group caught us about a mile from the end. I stayed with them for about 1/2 mile but they were cooking about an 8 minute pace and I let them go. I was confortable having gotten that far at the 9 minute pace I was running.

The distance today was more important than the pace at the finish.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ready for darkness, not

I almost ran tonight. I say almost because it was just that. Actually had my shoes on and was heading out the door. The knee tweaked oddly as I went down the steps inside the garage and then a rush of thoughts came and reversed the decision to run.

Why push it two days before a race?
If you want to run Sunday, then that would be four days this week, not three!
If the knee is bothersome, take care.

But it really came down to the fact that it was dark out.
Yes, and I frankly am just not ready for it.

I was okay running Tuesday and all the other nights recently as I had already started and it got darker as the sun set and the work out continued. But tonight, I would have started to run in the dark. I wimped out. Okay, that's one way of putting it.

The other way is that it would be four days this week... yes, that's better... the three day plan rules...

If you need a refresher on the rules for running in the dark, you can follow this link.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Running with the FIRST Plan

Yes, a small group came out tonight for our track workout. We start at 7:00 PM Eastern but it is getting dark so early now, we may have to start earlier next week and then decide what to do beyond that. So we'll leave that topic for another time.

As mentioned here, the FIRST plan has three days of running; one day running intervals on the track, one with a tempo run, and one distance run. They also recommend two days of cross training (but emphasize not to run on those days).

We did a ladder today; running 400, 800, 1200, 800, and 400 meters with a half lap walk and half lap easy jog recovery between intervals. The idea is to be consistent with the pace on the intervals and for the most part we were. It got difficult in that without a light on my watch I had trouble reading it in the dark but otherwise we had a fairly tight range for our pace on each lap of the intervals.

A mile warm up, another mile warm down and we called it a day, logging 4 miles for the book and getting some good pace work in.

Nice work Pacers!

Monday, September 12, 2005

CVS Results

Race day came with good weather. Sunny, clear skies, cool (50's) in the morning with a forecasted high in the 80's. The race was scheduled to start at 11:15 so I was hoping it would not heat up too much.

Drove down to Providence and found a parking spot in one of the state office lots near the Capitol building. The Capitol is always impressive up close. It's white marble dome weathered and towering with the Minute Man on top.

Found the big white tent well organized for a quick in and out with number, chip and goody bag courtesy of CVS.

Back to the car to pin the number on, drop the goody bag, and find a spot to rest for a bit. Two hours to the race. Time to meditate and watch the crowd start gathering. Maybe stretch a little before warming up with about 30 minutes before the race.

Found a spot on the Capitol lawn and settled in. No camera with me to take any pictures so they are all mental snapshots.

Sun rising higher now, the tree shadows shrinking slowly. I'll need to move to stay in the shade eventually.

A band is doing its sound check in the tent beyond the row of trees where I am. I hear them but can't see them. Testing, drums, saxaphone...

Small groups of runners all around on the lawn. This one some sort of exercise group. A few of them are running their first race and full of questions. The experts share willingly. A couple get up and go for a jog to warm up.

This group to the left is active. Two or three there. Others stop by coming down from the Capitol heading for the registration tent. Chat a bit, move on. Some return to the tree and the group gradually grows.

This group to the right is similar. Definitely a company team. More t-shirts all the same. Ah, a banner has arrived and is now being hung from a couple of the branches to tell the world who they are. I am behind and can't read it until later.

Party tables are being set up for the post chute refreshments. You'd recognize them. There standard folding tables. No fancy cloth covering here though. A fork lift brings over pallets of Poland Spring water. The volunteers are busy taking the water and spreading it out for an easy grab when the runners come through. The tables also had some fruit (apples and bananas), and fruit juice. Some white bags with the CVS logo were also ready, these had a couple of fruit, an energy bar, and a bottle of water.

Over on the starting line, the kids races are being held. Each age group has two races with the boys and girls running separately. The top five names are announced for each race. Nice touch for the young ones. I hope they enjoy the run.

A high school team comes in and overwhelms some folks sitting to my left. They get up and move. The team stays, gathers around the coach, listens to their instructions and begins to settle in. There are two racers specifically for high school teams after the major 5K race is run today. This will be a full day of running for those willing to watch.

Getting on 30 mintues to race time so I get up and start my warm up. A good run around the Capitol follwed by some strides along the grassy edge of the sidewalk. Almost ready to sweat but not quite. That will be good enough for today.

I stop for more stretching as I make my way closer to the starting line. The parade lead by a bag piper band is finishing. The National Anthem is song. And then the welcome speeches, not too many today just the mayor, short and to the point.

It is good to see so many people doing so much healthy activity today. The announcer says about 7000 folks are running today. When I checked the results later there were 2800 in the open 5K so the remainder must have been all the kids races? Possible I guess.

The elite runners are being introduced. I hear Adam Goucher is here. Adam played a lead role in the book "Running with the Buffalos" by Chris Lear.

The wheel chair competitors are sent off, soon it will be our turn. Last minute stretching. Small talk with the runners around about the weather, the course, the crowd. We make room for the Worcester Fire Dept Bag Piper Band to go by. They had lead the parade. Go Worcester!

And the race is underway. The first mile felt good in 7:10, the second felt the same but I'd slipped off to 7:30. I need to hold the pace now, can't slip any more. Why do they put the finish on top of this hill? Oh well, it is less than at TriCounty. Up and over we go to the finish. The third mile mark (on the hill) was 22:40, so I had slipped further to 8:00 for that mile. Oh well, I finished in 22:58 chip time, 23:04 elapsed time. Not bad, but I should have done better.

Through the chute, take off the chip, grab some refreshments (added some fruit and water to the CVS bag), stood for a bit checking out the crowd, drinking some water. Another Pacer was supposed to run today but try as I might could not find her anywhere. When I checked the results later, she did run and ran well finishing well ahead of me. Good running!

Another race coming up this Saturday, at the Crackerbarrel Classic.

Hapy running!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Race day today

Heading to Providence for the CVS 5K.
Will be back later to let you know how it went.
Should be a glorious day to run!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Warm down

With the absolutely gorgeous running weather we have been experiencing here in New England this week, cool nights (50's) and nice days (70's), this is the time of year to run.

But no matter what time of year, the first mile is always the toughest. If you have been active duing the day before running, you at least have gotten the body moving. If you have the typical office job, much of the time is spent sitting so you do need to go slower in that first mile to allow the body to start shifting gears.

With the humidity we had this summer, the warm down was more of a cool down. Moving directly to cool refreshing drinks, pool, lawn sprinkler or shower, whatever was available. Now that the weather is perfect for running, you should not neglect the warm down. Neglecting this part of the workout will make the first mile the next time even harder than it should be,

So what should you do during a warm down?

Run slowly - or jog a 1/2 mile to mile at a slower pace. This should be an easy "talk pace". You can run with your partners and talk comfortably. Review the workout, how it went, what is coming up over the next day or week.

Walk - yes, runners can and should walk. If in the warm down you only jogged 1/2 mile, do the other 1/2 mile walking. During the workout, your heart rate was elevated. The warm down will allow the heart to recover, to return to its normal rate, for oxygen to continue to flow throughout your body replenishing the supply in your muscles.
Stretch - lightly stretch to ensure that you have your full range of motion. You body should be at its most flexible now having completed your workout. It may also have started tightening up again depending upon the type and effort of your workout. Hence, the need for a light stretch to ensure that the muscles are limber and loose.

Fluids - take a drink. Water is best but any of the sport drinks will work to help replenish your body fluids.

Dry clothes - Your body compensated for the heat of the workout by generating sweat. This will feel cooler now that you have stopped. As much as this is a "nice" feeling, get out of your wet clothes and put some dry clothes on. Depending upon how much you do sweat, the second set may not stay dry too long but it will be better for you, and your partners, as you hang around for the post run chatter.

Did I forget something? Is there something you do for you warm down that you would like to share? Let me know.

A good warm down is crucial to having a good run the next time!

FIRST Plan Underway

A group of the Pacers have started training according to the FIRST Plan as mentioned here previously.

This is an easy conversion for me, I just drop one day of running. I now join my wife for a walk on Saturday mornings. I also add a set of weight bar exercises two days a week to help tone the upper body.

Time will tell what our results will be with this plan. I expect we will see better running and less injuries.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Taming That Gremlin

John Bingham writes well about listening to and ultimately dealing with the little voice runner's always hear. The voice that sometimes is helpful but sometimes is that of the gremlin.
I'm talking about that little voice that whispers what it thinks you should be doing. Sometimes the voice is called your conscience, when it thinks what you're doing isn't right. But there's another voice that many of us hear. I know I do, or at least I used to. This is the voice of the Gremlin. This is the voice that tells you whatever you're doing isn't good enough, that you should be able to run faster or farther, and that simply enjoying yourself is no reason to keep running. The Gremlin tells you that no matter how much you've improved your life or your running, you still have a long way to go.
The next time you hear yourself thinking that a run isn't good enough, far enough, or fast enough, listen carefully to that voice. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Listen to it, thank it for its opinion, and then forget it.

Good advice for all runners. The gremlin is there. Recognize it and forget it!

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Falmouth 2005

Yes, it was hot and humid. But you know, for a run under those circumstances, I would not hesitate to do it again there. The organization/coordination of the volunteers to fill the water stops, the Falmouth residents (summer or permanent) who had their hoses out, who had orange slices out, who were clapping and cheering you on was just wonderful. It is truly an experience!

I know of one runner who hesitated to take a break and walk because there were some many people watching, she felt embarrassed. Walking at a water stop is okay though. You want to make sure that you get a good portion of the water inside and dump the remainder on the head and back of the neck.

Remember being told to always where a hat in winter time? That 90% of your heat escapes through your head? Well, it is true and that same heat will try to escape in summer also. Hence, the importance of hats. Hence, putting some water on your head to help cool it off. Putting some water on the back of your neck to help cool off that critical junction point.

With the heat and humidity, the race became a workout. I dropped my target pace down and ran comfortably to finish. There were about 1800 folks in front of me and another 5700 behind me so it was a decent performance for a good workout in these conditions.

To race this course would be a challenge. The crowd and staggered start would provide some real tactical opportunities. One would need to be in the front of their color's corral. One would need navigate carefully through the crowd to gain some running room and then be careful to maintain the pace. Fortunately, the mile markers are well done. There are big clocks running the elapsed time (for the first seeded starters). Assuming you have your own watch, you can check your splits against the official clock. I was fortunate to have my watch be only one second off the official time taken by the chip.

The course itself is challenging but not overly so. The first 2.5 miles or so are rolling through wooded country roads, fairly narrow that twist and bend this way and that. This stretch goes by very quickly. Then you break out into the open running parallel to the beach. The sun was hidden by the overcast on this day. There was something of a breeze coming over our shoulders. At least, it was not against us. At about 4.5 miles, the course turned into the final portion more like city streets, buildings on both sides, some turns but more spread apart, left then right, then right again and soon you are at the 6 mile, then the 10K markers before you make the final turn, climb the final hill ( a respectable one coming at this point but not a real elevation), top out and then cover the last .5 mile down gradually into the finish.

My thanks to all those who helped to make the Falmouth Road Race a great event!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Falmouth Hotspot

Found an internet hotspot, Coffee Obsession, conveniently located near where we are staying here in Falmouth. The Palmer House Inn is a wonderful B&B. I highly recommend it.

Falmouth is itself a hotspot, with temps in the 80's and high humidity. This is not good for running fast or long, both of which I was planning to do on Sunday. Sounds like it will be long and slow.

Drove the course twice yesterday when we arrived. The first time I guessed wrong on the turn coming out of Woods Hole and found the 2 mile marker but not the 1 mile. The second time around found the 1 mile marker.

This is a challenging course. The first 2 and half or so miles are rolling, mostly tree shaded roads but fairly narrow so it will be tight running in the crowd. The course then flattens for the stretch along the beach. This section is wide open to sun and breeze. Hopefully they will be kind to us tomorrow.

After the 4 mile mark, we get back into turns and sections in the residential sections before heading up a hill after the 10K mark. This hill, not a really big one, comes down gradually to the finish.

Weather and crowd will be factors. I will go slower (because of the weather) and look to talk more with my compatriots in the crowd. This should help the time go by quick enough.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a good run!