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.