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!