Monday, December 29, 2008

Running throught the Holidays

The holidays always present challenges to my running plans. Winter weather, travel, eating and drinking, family fun, etc., conspire to undermine both my motivation to run and my time for running. And rightly so. It is Christmas! As usual, Sue and I drove to visit my sister Georgeann, bro-in-law Phil, and niece Kathryn, in Millburn, New Jersey. My brother Brian and his wife Jo joined us, so Phil and Georgeann had a house full. We had a great time. Phil and Sue, the chefs of the family) prepared some wonderful food (lobster, prime rib, steak, etc.), and we ate way too much every day.
Here I am with my two of my new friends, shortly before...

...they used their Lobster Mind Control to make me attack Sue! We discovered that the only defense is boiling them in water, then cracking them open and dipping them in butter.

Despite all of the fun and food, I did get my running done. After a tough 20 miles in the slush on Sunday the 21st, Monday was a recovery day, with a 6 miler in the morning and a 4 miler in the afternoon. The weather was much better, but there was still patches of ice on the roads to provide that occasional 'Oops!' moment.
Tuesday, still not ideal conditions, I did my tempo run which consisted of four warm-up miles at roughly 8:00/mile pace, followed by 5 miles at roughly 6:40, followed by another slower mile. On Christmas Eve, all I could manage was a very slow (8:30 pace) 11.3 miles on a particularly hilly route. This was not one of my better efforts, and I was not satisfied with it. So, on Christmas day, I tried to make up for it with 16.43 miles, also very hilly, averaging a 7:53 pace. Running on Christmas was eerie. Suddenly, after dodging all the traffic and hubbub of the pre-holiday frenzy, the streets were empty. The stores closed and dark. Even the gas stations were closed. I ran 16 miles through usually busy residential and shopping districts, and saw almost no one. There were a few people walking their dogs, and I did pass another runner,...that's about all. Friday was a simply 7.5 miler, again mostly hilly, but at a moderate pace. My legs were feeling the effects of all the miles and hills.
We drove back to Cleveland on Saturday. When we arrived and I opened the garage door, I noticed some things out of place. I went in the house, and there were shoes that did not belong to Sue and I, on the floor by the door. We heard noise from upstairs and went up to find that my son Alex and his girlfriend Kalena had flown in from Seattle to surprise us. My sister-in-law Sharon had sent them tickets as a Christmas present, and they all kept it a big secret from us. We are very happy to have them staying with us through New Years day. Once we got unloaded and settled in, I did sneak in a 7 mile run before the day was done.
On Sunday, I was targeting twenty miles. I was going to run an early 7 miles, then join the SERC group at 8:00 AM for another 12 miles, then tag on a last mile alone, but a freaky rain storm with 30 mile per hour winds blew through. I ended up waiting it out and only got in 5 miles before meeting up with the SERC group. I did a little over 18 for the day, and kept the pace under 8:00/min so I didn't feel too bad about the missing mile or so. My total for the week was just over 80 miles.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter = Cold, Dark Training Runs

It seems that the weather, my work schedule, and the short days of winter have conspired to try my dedication to my training plan. I am having to run most of my miles in the dark, and in the snow, or sleet, or rain. I did manage 78 miles this week, but I did not hit the 82 miles in the plan. Further, I have consistently failed to hit my target paces. I 'll keep slogging through it and hope that I can turn that around. How long until Spring?

Monday: My first double, with 6 miles in the dark early morning followed by 4 miles after work. Running twice a day is difficult, considering how early I start work. There are more of these in the plan. My life gets better and better.

Tuesday: Ten miles at the track in the snow in the dark, with 10 x 100 sprints. Once again, I couldn't see the lane lines. To run the 100's, I ran onto the football field where I could at least estimate 100 yards. Total fun. Please sir, may I have another.

Wednesday: 14 miles after work in the dark, on the roads in Solon and North Chagrin Reservation.

Thursday: 7 miles around Independence at lunch, noteworthy in that this run was not in the dark.

Friday: 10 miles, mostly on the tow path in the rain. My allegedly 'weather tight' Nike Trail Pegasus GTX completely filled with water after two miles. Pleasant sensation.

Saturday: 7 miles around Solon in the very early (do I need to mention 'dark'?) morning before driving to New Jersey.

Sunday: 20 very early, dark, wet, sloggy, slushy, slow miles on the roads of Short Hills, New Jersey. I was not surprised when I checked my Garmin to find that my average pace was 8:50. I admit it was not my best effort for a long run, but I don't take all of the blame. My shoes were filled with water and felt like they weighed a couple of pounds each. The roads were sloppy with slush and snow and ice.

Total Miles: 78 miles


Nike Pegasus Trail GTX Review Update: Despite the GoreTex uppers and sealed tongues, these shoes were ineffective at keeping my feet dry in bad conditions. Remarkably, they are very effective at collecting and holding ice water. Maybe a mistake was made and they sent me the Nike Pegasus Waterbuckets. Within the first mile, they became waterlogged and heavy...picture running with little aquariums filled with ice water strapped to your feet. I am disappointed, because I was counting on them to get me through the bad weather. I guess I should have spent the additional money and bought another pair of Pearl Izumi GTX. They were not great road shoes, and they wore-out quickly, but they were much more effective at keeping my feet dry.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Making Pfitzinger Pfitz My Schedule

Although I have not been pfaithfully pfollowing Pfitzinger, I have adapted the plan to pfitz my schedule. I am into the 7th week of the plan, and the mileage is ramping up. This week was the highest total so far, 77 miles, and I made it with a whopping 1/4 of a mile to spare. From here through mid-March, the plan averages 84 miles per week, with some 90+ mile weeks. Those weeks would be, of course, right through the heart of the winter here in the snow belt of northeast Ohio. Right through the shortest days of the year, meaning many long runs in the dark, in the snow, in the frigid cold. Yeah. That'll be nice. Maybe I can carry a backpack full of paving stones and wear my bedrom slippers, so that it will be more challenging.

The Training Week In Review
Monday and Wednesday were not noteworthy, just moderately paced, hilly, 8 mile runs. Tuesday was supposed to be track day, but my schedule would not allow it, so I did a lunch intervals session on the streets of Independence. The first two miles were hilly, mostly of the 'up' variety, and my 6:17 and 6:19 times reflect that. My last mile was over rolling hills, but with a nice flat to slight downhill over the last half, which allowed me a time of 5:59. With warm-up and recovery, and cool-down, the total was 7 miles.
I had planned to run at lunch on Thursday, but a meeting prevented that. I got home from work, changed and hit the road in Solon. I ran our usual Sunday long run route, but ran it in the opposite direction. I finished with 13.47 miles at a 7:53 pace. (I want to digress momentarily on the topic of safety when running at night on the street. I wear very bright LED headlamp, a very bright flashing LED red light on my back, a reflective vest, a neon green hat...oh, and a pair of neon pink gloves. Further, unlike the group runs where we literally are running on the streets, I try to use the sidewalks where ever they actually exist and are passable, that is, not covered with snow and/or ice. When running on the street, I stay as far to the edge as possible, and always watch oncoming traffic for inattentive or obnoxious drivers who run me off the road. There are a few on every run.)
Saturday was a fun romp through the woods, as usual, but with the bonus of trying out a new pair of shoes. I purchased a pair of Nike Air Pegasus +25 GTX trail shoes. They are based on the classic Pegasus model, with a couple of enhancements. They have GorTex uppers and sealed tongues to keep out some of the moisture. Also, the soles are slightly heavier and more rigid that the standard Pegasus, but not nearly as heavy and rigid as most other trail shoes. I've never owned true trail shoes, preferring to keep the light weight and flexibility of my road shoes and give up the extra protection trail shoes provide. My poor feet finally convinced my brain that they were getting too cold and wet and beat-up, so I compromised and bought trail shoes that were born as road shoes, and retain their road shoe soles [sic]. The shoes were everything I had hoped they would be...not too heavy or clunky, but still true trail shoes so my ten toes were safe and dry, and happy.

Sunday, I put in an early 6 miles before catching the group in Solon just as they were ready to start at 8:00 AM. I ran 12 miles with the group, spending varying amounts of time running with Dave, Paul, Jeff T., Steve Hawthorne (Doesn't Steve look remarkably like one of those toes?), Jeff U., Mark G., Tim H., and Steve G. I added another 1.5 miles running home, then showered, changed, and rejoined the group for breakfast at the bagel shop in Solon. A local chiropractor/orthopedic specialist arranged to meet with us there to give free massages. Of course, he was also pitching his services and a line of nutritional supplements, but he was mostly low-key about it all. I didn't bother with him, but it was funny to see the looks on the faces of runners who sat in the massage chair while he worked them over. Here is Mark, looking like he's enjoying this device in a way that should have been reserved for a very private session.

Friday, December 5, 2008

World's Biggest Runners Mag Takes Second Me

It was just a few week ago that I posted a detailed photo instructional on how to 'winterize' a pair of shoes for $1.29. (Spin the mouse wheel a few times and you'll see it further down on this page.) I stated explicitly that the idea for these shoe modification had been around for a while; I did not invent the 'screw shoe'. I simply wrote and illustrated a simply tutorial based on my experience in making these modifications and running in the modified shoes.
Soooo...Mailman Mike's sub (Mike broke his leg) delivered my January 2009 edition of Runner's World yesterday. While eating dinner, I paged through it. I reached page 50, and there it was. A full page photo of a 'screw shoe' and a little 'How To' article.
My initial reaction was a blend of "I scooped RW. Go me!" and " everyone will think I stole the idea for my blog entry from them."
After reading the article, I had a different reaction. In my best attempt to objectively compare the article to my blog entry, I have to say...I kicked RW's ass with my screw shoe story. Better photos, more informative instructions, actual recommendations about when and where to run in this shoe based on personal experience, and here's the kicker,... I actually bothered to make it amusing.
I recognize that I cannot be totally objective about this, so I would like your help. Please read my article, and the one in Runner's World. You can click on the image to the left for an larger version which you can read. If you think RW's article is better(it's not), please leave a comment and tell me so (don't). If you think my witty and informative article is superior in every way (it is), please leave a comment and tell me so (use lots of superlatives.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Week Stuff

Last week was another good one for running, despite the wintry weather. Monday's recovery run was at a 8:30 pace, which felt great after lots of miles over the weekend. I decided to do 7 mile at a moderate pace on Tuesday instead of the usual track workout, saving the speed work for the Thursday Turkey Trot. I took the day off work on Wednesday, so I did a loop around Solon for a change of pace. On Thursday, my neighbor John and I went downtown and met up with my sister-in-law Lisa for the Turkey Trot. It was the first race ever for both of them, and they did remarkably well (full race report to follow.) On Friday, a small group of us from SERC met at Mark G.'s house and round 8.5 miles around Aurora. We had a large group at Lock 29 on Saturday, approximately a dozen runners. We went north on the tow path to Highland Road, then followed the Buckeye Trail back. On Sunday, I put in a few early miles, then 12 with the group, then another mile back home. For an allegedly long-slow run , I kept a brisk 7:50 pace. Total miles for the week: 60.35

John "Gobbler' Malloy, Lisa 'Turkey Legs' Mikol, and Frank 'Wing Man' Duchossois

Thursday as we drove to the Convention Center downtown, the temperature was 30 degrees F, there was blue in the sky, and it looked to be a great morning for a race. John and I had not preregistered, so we got there a bit early to leave time to register, and to be sure we got our shirts. John started running just a few months ago, and this would be his first race ever. Sis-in-law Lisa met us there and we mulled around, stretched, and talked until they announced it was time to head out to the start. I wished good luck to John and Lisa, and weaseled my way to the front of the line. My plan was to try to maintain a steady 6:15 pace. I was very careful to keep myself in check for the first mile, or so I thought, until I hit the mile marker at 6:05. I was surprised, as I thought I was running a comfortable pace. I knew the second mile was the easiest of the race, with a gentle downhill for the first half. I really backed off, or so I thought, until I hit the 2 mile mark at 12:10. The third mile was flat and fast, and once again I tried to slow up a little. I did manage to slow down to 6:10, hitting the 3 mile marker at 18:20. I tried to hold that pace for mile four, figuring the little uphill at the end would help slow me down, but I crossed the 4 mile marker at 24:25, back down to my 6:05 pace. Well, that did not bode well for the fifth mile, which was the toughest, with a good half mile of it being uphill. I decided that if I could just manage to hold it together and manage a 6:30 for the last mile, I would still be ahead of my goal. Within three seconds of deciding that, I forgot about it and just ran hard. I passed a half-dozen people on the hill, turned onto Lakeside, and sprinted into the gate as the sign clicked 30:37. I remember my thought as I crossed the line. "That better f*cking be the fastest time in my age group."
I grabbed a water and thanked the volunteers, jogged to my car to get my camera and warm-up jacket, then headed back to the finish line to try to get photos of Lisa and John. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I missed John when he crossed with a remarkable time of 42:34. I think I was distracted by the three running Elvises. I also missed Lisa who finished at 63:17, quite impressive for her first race. I checked the Results the next day, and found that John was 47th of 118 in the age group, and Lisa finished ahead of 10 women in her age group. And I was relieved to find that, in fact, I did have the 'fastest f*cking time in my age group."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Week Full of Good Runs

Here are my training miles, totaling 68.5 for the week. Again this week, for Tuesday's intervals I did 6 x 100 stride-outs followed by 6 x 800's with 200 recoveries. And once again, it was a very cold and dark, with no one around. This time there was the bonus of a fresh snow cover on the track to slow down my turn-over and conceal the lane lines. My 800 times were about where I wanted them to be (2:57, 3:00, 3:00, 3:00, 3:03, 2:53), but it took more effort than those numbers indicate. For the tempo run on Thursday, I followed the same hilly route as I ran last Thursday. Down into the valley, along the canal tow path, then up Rockside Road and up Brecksville Road. That's 2.5 miles of steep uphill grade.

Saturday was fun. We ran the Turkey Trail (that's what Steve G. called it), going southwest from Lock 29. There was about six inches of snow covering the ground, hiding the stumps, branches, rocks, etc. We had a few runners stumble and tumble. Luckily, and I mean that, I managed to stay upright for the entire run. I felt good enough to add a little kick at the end and run the last mile in 6:30. An image of our route is shown below. For anyone interested, I post the satellite images and stats for the Lock 29 runs on the SERC website every week.
The temperature on Sunday when I left the house was 10 degrees F. Despite that, it was a gorgeous morning. I watched the orange sun rise in a cloudless blue sky over the snow-covered landscape. It was a beautiful scene. I ran the first hour alone, then joined the SERC group for another 12 miles. When I got home, Sue made a stack of sour milk pancakes which I topped with maple syrup (real maple syrup, not the corn syrup imitation maple Mrs. Butterwothless stuff.) After that, I watched West Ham take all three points from Sunderland, then switched to the Browns v. Houston American-style football game. As most hardened Browns fans, I expect a loss until the game starts, then for reasons I cannot explain, I begin to believe we can win. Of course, that seldom happens, but that's the mysterious paradox of Browns fandom.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Studded Winter Shoes for $1.29

Winter has arrived in northeast Ohio, and looks to be settling in comfortably for a long visit. Weeks ago, I broke out of storage all of my winter gear: gloves, knit hats, balaclavas, thermal tights, wicking under layers, weatherproof shells, etc. I checked my 'winterized' running shoes and decided they had seen their last good miles. Time to select another pair to 'winterize' from among the shoes in the current rotation.

When hard-packed snow makes roads icy and dangerous, even trail shoes will not give you good traction. If you want to run safely under those conditions, you can buy a pair of spiked winter shoes like the New Balance 921, which cost about $150. They work well, and I would never discourage you from buying a pair if that price doesn't bother you. At about $20 a pair, you could opt for slip on traction contraptions like YakTrax. I've tried these, and they provide excellent traction, but they are a bit bulky and add a lot of weight to your running shoes. Also, they are prone to wear out under the mileage distance runners put on them. The last pair I bought didn't make it through February.

There is another alternative that adds little weight and no bulk to your shoes, and costs only about a dollar.

If you're a typically obsessive/compulsive runner like me (don't deny it), you have a few dozen pairs of shoes that are not in your current rotation, but which you cannot bring yourself discard or recycle. So, select the best pair from among these, chase out any critters that may be nesting in them, knock the clumps of dirt and stones from them, and take them down to the workbench.

Get out the variable speed drill. Don't even try to tell me you don't have one of these. (If you don't, you can use a screw-driver, but you will have taken all of the fun out of this little project and you will feel very lame.) Go to the cabinet and get a couple dozen hex washer head #6 or #8 x 3/8 inch zinc plated sheet metal screws (not the ones with the self-tapping points.) If you don't have these either, stop by the local hardware, say 'Hi' to Frank in the fasteners aisle, and ask for his help. You may want to buy a few extra. That way, when you drop one or two on the floor and they roll under the workbench, you don't have to crawl on the floor and move out all the paint cans and scraps of wood to find them.

You are going to drive about a dozen screws into each shoe, but let's start with just one. Don't worry about the pattern just yet, but be careful to drive each screw into the tread, not the space between the tread. They will be more effective in giving you traction that way. Another reason is so the points don't come through the bottom of the shoe and into your foot. If you do this, the blood will stain your socks, and also wolves will be able to follow the trail of blood.

When driving the screws into the shoe, use the lowest speed and watch carefully. Stop as soon as the screw head shoulders up to the bottom of the shoe. If you continue to drive the screw beyond this point, the screw will spin and remove material from the shoe, drilling a nice little hole from which the screw will fall after you take three steps. Then you will have just a hole. This hole won't help your traction, now will it? it won't.

Usually, I drive four screws into the heal. If you are a mid-foot striker (shame on you if you're not), you'll find these come into play mostly on the downhills. You can scatter the rest of the screws randomly, or in whatever pattern you find aesthetically pleasing.

There. That's it. How long did that take...maybe ten minutes? Keep in mind that these shoes are to be reserved for running on snow-covered or icy roads, otherwise you will quickly wear down the screw heads, and you will sound tap-dancing troupe out for a run.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recapping Monday through Sunday

This is a brief blog, not particularly entertaining, more of a simple review of my training for the week past with minimal commentary. (If you'd prefer something more lively, filled with photos, videos, and funny dialogue, you could try this one.)

The numbers are as shown to the right, totaling 67 miles for the week.
The intervals were 6 x 100 stride-out followed by 6 x 800's at around 2:55 to 3:00 pace, with 200 recovery. Note the absences of a tempo run, which should have been on Thursday. I forgot my Garmin and didn't have any way of timing the run, so I am reluctant to call it a 'tempo', but it was a good run. I've been trying to mix up my running routine, try different routes and explore new areas to keep it interesting. I've already added a few new wrinkles, heading due west on Pleasant Valley to Broadview and back. Also, Mark G. said there is a route leading down into the valley from the cemetery at Rockside and Brecksville, so I'll try to find it this week.
Nothing else significant to report. No injuries, only the usual areas of pain here and there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Muddy 14.3, Snowy 16.3, Grungy 26.2

Nearly every Saturday morning, usually around 8:00, you can find a group of mostly SERC runners at Lock 29 in Peninsula, gathering for our run through the woods. These are consistently my favorite runs of the week. Although we always start and end at the same point, each run is unique. We following different paths, or at times we seem to lose the path entirely. The weather and seasons change. The flora and fauna follow those cycles. For example, as the trees lose their leaves, the views change, the horizon opens up and the sky gets bigger. This Saturday, thanks to rain that fell overnight, the ground was covered with wet leaves, making for slippery footing and concealing rocks, stumps, and branches. There were a few close calls, and Steve Hawthorne took a nasty fall. His knee was bloody, but otherwise he was OK. Where it wasn't slippery, it was mucky. I nearly lost a shoe at one point. Still, it was a fun run. As usual, I wore my Garmin 305, and was able to download a satellite image of the route, with the time distance, and elevation stats as shown below.
From August through April, I usually skip the post run brunch with the group so I can get home in time for the football (soccer here in the USA) broadcasts from England. This week, I was so hungry after the run, I decided to stay. We went to Fishers Cafe, an institution in Peninsula. Since some of the usuals were away for the weekend at various races, there were only five of us: Dave K,. Dave P., Connie G. and her young friend Patrick, and me. I'm glad I stayed, because I rarely get to talk with Connie. She is among the best ultra runners in the USA, and she has lots of great stories, including her recent trip to Italy for an international ultra competition.

On Sunday, I ran with a sparse SERC group in Solon. I put in a few early miles in the snow, and tagged on a few after to get to 16.3 miles. I am trying to follow (loosely) Pfitzinger's plan, and he recommends that I run my long runs slower than I have been, so I tried to stay around the 8:00 to 8:10 mile/hr pace. I ended up with an average of 8:09 minute miles. After I got home, I had big bowl of delicious French onion soup, and a muffin with currant jelly, and a cup of coffee.

I gave more thought to my plans for 2009. I have been looking for other races, before and after Boston, that I would like to run. I decided I'll run the Youngstown Mill Creek Half-Marathon as a Boston tune-up in March. It's a good race at the right time, with lots of hills, perfect for a Boston prep race. Still, I wanted to decide on a late spring or early summer marathon. I did Cleveland last year, and I might still do it this year, but it falls only a month after Boston, and I don't think I can give it my best. Besides, I don't want to get into a groove (or rut) of running Boston then Cleveland every year. So, I decided to sign-up for the Seattle Marathon on June 27th. Sue and I want to see our son Alex and his girlfriend Kalena, so this will be more of a vacation that a marathon trip. And I am already excited about running in Seattle; It'll be a new adventure. The route takes us from downtown, across the floating bridge to Mercer Island and back. This should be a great run. Anyone else want to go?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wasteland of Novempril

I need to get out of the wasteland of Novempril (November to April) where no races happen, the weather turns uglier and uglier, and training miles seem to have no point. Even finding a reason to blog is difficult. Its been a week since I last wrote, and I'll warn you now that I don't have much to say in this one, so I'll probably babble on about something trivial and uninteresting. In case I do, I have included possibly the cutest 'kitten playing' type video on the web ever, which you should feel free to view rather than actually reading my blog.

Are you back with me yet? (That kitten is so cute.) Here's what I 've run in the week since I last posted. We did a slightly mucky group run from Lock 29 on Saturday, 12 miles through the woods. It was a fun morning. The next day, I did what I thought was 12 miles in Solon with the SERC group, but it turned out to be only 11.5. Slacker. I'll make up for it thie weekend. Monday was my recovery run, althought I don't feel like I did enough over the weekend to actually need a recovery. Tuesday at the track was very bleak. It is now dark when I arrive. There was only one other runner there, Tim C., and although he had been there for a while, he stayed and ran 3.5 warm-up miles with me before departing. So there I was, all alone on a cold, dark track, wondering why I was about to put myself through another interval session. I could have blown it off, this being Novpril, and no one would know or care. Then I remembered some advice I had given to someone, years ago. Work hard when no one is watching. It was just enough motivation to get my head back into the speed work. I did 6 x 100 stride outs, followed by 6 x 800 intervals. In rereading Pfitzinger, I noticed that I had been running my intervals faster than he recommended. Based on my target marathon, I should probably be running at about a 6:05 to 6:10 minute mile pace, but I have been in the 5:50's, even 5:40's. So, I tried to rein it in just a little on these 800. My times were as follow: 2:55, 2:55, 2.59, 2:53, 3:03, 2:54. I did not back off as much as I should have, but I will keep at it. (If you have not dozed off yet, this might be a good time to replay the kitten video.)
On Wednesday at lunch I ran a familiar loop, going east down into the valley, then north on the towpath, then west on Hillside up out of the valley, then south on Brecksville Road, and east on Pleasant Valley. On Thursday, I started out the same way, but instead of turning at Hillside, I continued on the towpath to Rockside, then out of the valley and back, making for another 2.25 miles. It's a good run, one that I might be doing more often in the coming months.


Good luck to the SERC's running the Richmond Marathon on Saturday: e-speed, Eileen M., Paul R., and Barb B.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chilling Thoughts of Long Cold Winter Runs

I received a lovely postcard from my friends at the Boston Athletic Association. Just friendly note from them to say, 'Hello', 'How've you been?', 'We'd love to have you join us again for that little marathon-thingy we do every April.' Of course, I paraphrase. Here are their actual words.

I hate to disappoint...they're such nice people...and it was such fun last year, so I guess I'll do it again.

The search for a room in the back bay area is not going well. I've tried all of the guest houses in the area, and all are fully booked for marathon weekend. A few of the area hotels have rooms available, but the rates are crazy, $279 to $600 a night. I'm going to have to look for a place further from town, as close as possible to public transportation.


An painful dental issue cut into my mileage this week. Sunday afternoon, one of my wisdom teeth began aching. By Sunday night, it was too painful to allow me to sleep. On Monday, my dentist was able to squeeze me in during my lunch hour. He determined that we should yank that sucker out. So, he gave me a shot of Novocaine, clamped down on it and gave it a big tug. POP! Really, it wasn't too bad. Later that afternoon, the Novacaine wore off and I was having trouble concentrating. By the time I left work around five o'clock, the hole in my jaw did not feel too good. I was in no condition to go for a run, and in fact, I had to skip my Tuesday run as well. I felt bad about that since Tuesday is speed-work day, so on Wednesday, when I was feeling a bit better, I did the hilliest 8.5 mile tempo run I have ever done, and managed to average a 7:10 pace. On Thursday, I backed off a bit and did 5.5 miles at a moderate pace.

By the way, I still haven't decided what I am going to do with the five and a half months between now and Boston. I did begin rereading my copy of "Advanced Marathoning", and I am seriously considering making a commitment to the 'More than 70 Miles per Week' schedule. It is a 24 week program (so I am already behind schedule), and would require a ridiculous amount of training through the fabulous northeast Ohio winter. Makes me giddy to think of it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Well...Now What?

Without another major race on the horizon until the Boston Marathon

I'm confronted with a training dilemma. I don't want to lose the fitness I've worked so hard to develop, but I don't want to push too hard without a break and risk injury or burn-out. I think I need to do some research and find out what the experts recommend.
I'll start by reread my copy of Pfitzinger's "Advanced Marathoning". This is my primary reference for advice on nutrition, training, pacing, etc. I will also review the information on the Hal Higdon marathon training website. I was very happy to meet and talk with Hal at the Chicago marathon expo, and I told him thanks for all the free advice on his website. He, of course, reminded me that I could subscribe to the interactive training coach for a small monthly fee. I don't blame him for trying to sell, after all very few marathon runners actually get to make a living at it. Somehow, over then next few days, I'll need to decide on a training plan and get back on track.
It's time to say 'good-bye' to Halloween and all things Octoberish, and say 'Come on in and pull up a chair' to November's turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Here are my mileage totals for October. Nothing particularly noteworthy about any of the numbers, except that I did not take any time off after Chicago. I felt very comfortable doing 48 miles the week after the marathon, then 58 miles the following week. It seems that the more marathons you run, and the more quality training miles you do in preparation, the better you will feel after the race. Ill try to keep my mileage up through the winter, even if I cannot find another marathon before Boston. The October totals do not show my biking miles because they were insignificant. I think I rode my bike only twice last month, for about 30 miles total. The colder weather and shorter days have contributed by making it very difficult to ride to work. I did go for a nice ride on Saturday, about 25 miles, but beautiful days like that are going to be very rare for here until Spring.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's the New Shoe Review, Comin' at You

It's the New Shoe Review...comin' at you.
It's the New Shoe Reee-view, comin' right at you.
If you remember the New Zoo Review, a children's tv show from the seventies, you'll get the reference. If not, so sorry, but the theme song is in my head and will not leave.

About three weeks ago, I promised I would provide a review of the Nike LunaRacer. At that time, I had only worn them a few times, and I wasn't even sure if I would wear them in Chicago. Well, as I mentioned last week, I did wear them and the results were...well..the results were pretty freckin' good.
These are by far the lightest racing shoes I have ever worn. When I take them off, I tie the laces to my wrist and they float in the air like helium balloons. Ummm...OK, they really don't float in the air, but Nike's press release says they weight only 5.5ounces. I verified the weight on a recently calibrated and certified component scale at work, and it came out to exactly 5.5 ounces.
You might think that to get that light weight, you pay a heavy price in terms of lost support. You might want to stop thinking that now. The innovative construction of these shoes, particularly the uppers, and the remarkable properties of the Lunarlite foam, provide more than adequate support. After 26.2 miles on the concrete streets of Chicago, I felt no pain or discomfort in my feet, nor in my ankles or knees for that matter. Now, I should add that I do most of my training miles in Nike Free 5.0 and 3.0, which are very neutral, minimalist shoes, so my feet have been strengthened and prepared for these light-weight, low-heeled, very flexible racers. Further, I have worked on my stide to become a mid-foot striker, with a sufficient knee bend to allow me to let the natural mechanics of my ankles and knees to absorb the impact. (If you want to know more about this, just leave a comment and I'll happily blather on for hours until you are very sorry indeed that you ever asked about this topic.)
I have a moderate arch, neither low nor high. Much of the LunaRacers arch support is provided by the Flywire which are tiny filaments embedded in the mesh of the upper, and attached at the laces. See the image below. They are super-light and strong, providing support for your arch in a way similar to the cables of a suspension bridge.
In summary, they are incredibly light (you have to hold them in your hand to appreciate how light 5.5 ounces feels). They provide excellent support. There construction quality is good, with no irritating seams or abrasion point to irritate your feet. They are highly flexible, and give you a Nike Free-like feel. They may not be a good choice for runners who prefer traditional, highly constructed road running shoes. If you are among them, but are still intrigued by the LunaRacers, I'd recommend first doing some training in a flatter, less rigid shoe to see how your feet react. Or you might want to try the Lunar Trainer, although I have not tried this (yet) so I cannot recommend it.


What a nice running week I've had! I'm feeling good, no injuries to deal with, so I'm enjoying the runs, watching the leaves fall. And since I have no races planned until Boston in April, I am not putting in big miles. Here are the training totals.

Total Miles for the week 58.7

On Saturday, I got to Lock 29 about a half-hour early, intending to do a couple of early miles before the group arrived. Another one of the regulars, Tom, was there, and he asked if I want to do our early miles together. Well, one thing led to another, we lost track of the time, and did five miles. When we got back to Lock 29, the group had left. It all worked out anyway, because as Tom and I were returning, we spotted E-speed approaching. She turned and ran back with us. When we found that the group had left, E-speed asked if we would run on the roads with her, as she needed to do some road work to perp for the Richmond Marathon. Tom declined, but I said 'Sure', and we took off. We ran south on Riverview, then cut across on Bolanz to Akron-Peninsula Road for a six mile out and back. Added to my five early miles, that gave me 11 for the day. E-speed kept going as she was doing her long run on Saturday so she could work an aid station at the Running With Scissors ultra on Sunday.

The Sunday long run was remarkable good. I did an early mile or so before the group started, then ran a very good pace for a long, training run, especially when I'm not actually training for anything right now. I averaged 7:40 pace, and that was only because I really backed off (to about an 8:40 pace) for the last mile and a half.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Five Minute Blog

The clock is started. Its 8:38PM and I will finish this by 8:43 PM. The World Series is on, game 1 from Tampa Bay, and I want to see a little of it before I fall asleep. GO Phillies!

Since Chicago, I've felt very aches or pains at all, which is remarkable considering how bad I felt after Cleveland and Boston earlier this year. I basically got right back into my normal training routine, with the exception of skipping the mile intervals at the track last Tuesday, just 2 days after the race. I thought it wouldn't be wise to do speed work without a little recovery time. Well, this week, I went to the track on Tuesday with the intention of doing my usual 3 x 1 mile intervals, but I screwed up. It was a very cold evening, and very windy, and even though I ran two warm-up miles and did some 100 yard stride-outs, I still didn't feel loose. So, what do you do when you're not feeling loose, on a cold and windy night? You go out and run the first mile at 5:40. You do that if you're stupid. I am stupid. So when the time came to do my second mile, I managed one and a half laps before my right hamstring told me it would be better to just slow down. I pulled off into the infield and did as I was told. I ran another two slow miles than left.

So...if you know me reasonably well, you might guess that I was bothered by not putting in my full speed work. The next night, I got home at 6:00 PM, ran upstairs (hi Sue), changed and went out to make up for the lost speed work. My hamstring turned out to be just a little twinge, it felt fine all next day, so I knew I could try again. This time, instead of mile intervals, I did a 7.1 mile tempo run. Here is how the pace for the 7 full miles broke down. This was a hilly course with miles 1 and 2 being downhill, and 3 through 5.5 being uphill.


More later. I know Graham, I promised to talk about those fantastic, magical Nike LunaRacer too. I will, but I am at five minutes right now

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicago Race Report

We left Cleveland on Friday morning, before dawn. After a bit less than 6 hours, we arrived at McCormick Place for the pre-race expo. I picked-up my packet, and started wondering the floor. I love the expos, and Chicago's was huge...lots of vendors giving away samples of various runner-specific types of foods and drinks, lots of running gear companies pushing the latest tech clothes and shoes, lots of representatives of other marathons trying to entice you to come to San Antonio, or Rome, or Dublin, or Memphis, flashing their shiny finishers medals in front of you like giant fishing lures. Really, the only disappointing thing about the expo was the Nike official Chicago Marathon gear. The graphics were retro 70's looking, just not very interesting stuff, so I didn't buy anything. We hung out with Wayne and Kam who arrived a few hours after us. We had some food and saw some of the elite athletes. When there was nothing left to see, we left and drove to the home of Sue's sister Sandy and her husband Jeff. We stayed at their place for the weekend, which was great. (Thanks Sandy and Jeff!), and Sue's sisters Lisa and Sharon also drove up from Cleveland to watch the race.

On Saturday morning, we met-up with my friends
Sarah and Riel, who came in form England to run the marathon. We went to Ginger's Ale House to watch the England v. Kazakhstan match, a World Cup qualifier. We had a great time (England 4 - 1 Kazakhstan). Despite all the great beer on tap at Ginger's, I was a very good boy and had only a half glass of Boddington. After the match, we went back to Sandy and Jeff's and relaxed for the rest of the day. I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible.

I was up before five on Sunday morning, had a light breakfast and a little coffee. I put on my navy-blue SERC singlet and shorts, and my Nike Lunaracers. I pinned a couple of Powerbar Gel packs to the waist of my shorts. In my pocket, I had two Vivarin (to be taken at 16 and 21 miles). I also had a small plastic bag with 8 Endurolyte capsules. These are essential for preventing cramping when running in warm weather, or at least that's what I thought. More on this later.)

At this point I should say that the weather forecast for Sunday in Chicago had been getting hotter all week. On Monday, they predicted low seventies, with cloud cover. Unseasonably warm, but not too bad. By Wednesday, they were saying mid to upper seventies, and maybe not so cloudy. On Friday, this had changed to a high in the low eighties, and sunny. It was starting to look like a potential repeat of last year's disaster.

Sue and Sandy dropped me off at Grant Park. I wondered around for a while, taking in the excitement of the morning. It was still dark, but the city was lit-up and the park was full of runners and volunteers. Eventually, I found a comfortable spot and sat for a while, just to get off my feet. At about 7:30, I made my way to Gate A. I found the 3:10 pacer and talked to him for a few minutes. I told him I would try to stay with him for a long as I could, but I was thinking, "Who am I kidding? I've never run faster than 3:15." I was surrounded by exceptionally good runners, and I was doubting that I belonged there.

I thought through my plan one more time. Water at every other aid station, skipping the first two and starting after mile five, Endurolyte capsule every half-hour, Vivarin and gel pack at mile 15 and mile 21. It was already getting warm, so I knew I would need to stay on schedule with the Endurolytes to prevent leg cramps late in the race.

When the horn went off, we started shuffling slowly, en masse, toward the starting line. By the time I crossed the line and started my Garmin, 5 minutes and 21 seconds had passed. At that point, we were actually running, but it was very crowded. Within only a minute, were were in a tunnel that seemed to go on for a half mile. We were heading north, then looped back and headed south, then turned again and headed north, serpentine through the heart of the city. The streets were lined with loud, enthusiastic supporters. I checked my pace after three miles, 7 minutes 32 seconds. Not too bad considering the conditions and the crowd of runners I was weaving through, but not nearly good enough for a 3 hour 10 minute marathon. I picked up the pace from that point, and as it turned out, those would be the slowest three miles of my day.

At around five miles, we reached the south entrance of Lincoln Park. An aid station was just ahead, so I reached into my pocket for my bag of Endurolytes. The plan was to take one here, with a water, then one every half hour thereafter. And I think it would have been a good plan, if the bag didn't have a tear in the side, dropping the capsules all over the street. I managed to grab one before it fell. After a few seconds of total frustration, I refocused and developed an alternate plan. I put the lone Endurolyte back in my pocket, saving it for mile 20. I decided I would switch from water to Gatorade. I remembered that they were using the Endurance formula, which provides more salts and electrolytes. Since it also provided more calories than water (obviously), I also decided to cut back to one gel pack.

I put the whole stupid incident behind me after that. At about the 7 mile mark, I checked my Garmin and my average pace to that point was 7:10. That was the pace I needed to finish to get my 3:10, but seven miles is not 26 miles. At 7.5 miles, we turned south and headed back into town. The neighborhoods were beautiful, especially Old Towne, and we could see the Sears Tower looming on the horizon. We crossed the river at about mile 12, and shortly after than, we turned west on Adams Street. By now the temperature was getting near 80 degrees, and I noticed some runners backing off, walking, even stopping. I cannot explain why, but I was still feeling good. At the half way point, 13.1 miles, my time was 1 hour 33 minutes 57 seconds, which is exactly 7 minute 10 second pace. I felt good, not great, but good.

I knew Sue and everyone would be waiting for me somewhere on this westward stretch, but I didn't know where exactly. I ran the 2.5 miles west on Adams, and never saw them. I turned south on Damen, and then I saw them, shouting and cheering on the west side of the street. I ran over to them, gave Sue a hug and kiss, did the big Ohio State "O - H' and Lisa replied with a big 'I - O'. Here's a brief video which Sandy shot. Note the lovely neon green Nike Lunaracers as I run off.

The next five miles were not as scenic as the area north of the city, but running through Pilsen was a blast. The crowds were huge and noisy. They were shouting, singing, playing drums, and generally having a good time. And since the streets were narrow, the effect was like your were running through a party. There was an aid station just before mile 21, and it was there that I took my lone Endurolyte. I knew with the rising temperatures, cramps were a serious risk. We zigzagged through Pilsen, and then went south on Wentworth, right through Chinatown. Again, great crowd support, including dancing dragons and the smell of great food.

Just past mile 23, we turned and started north, back toward the city. I had been warned that this would be the worst part of the race, and it was. The area is not scenic, unless you are a student of aging urban industrial zones. It was hot, there was no shade, and we were running on broad, flat concrete that reflected the heat. There were lots of runners not doing well, many falling into the 'marathon shuffle', just managing to keep their legs moving. I checked my pace, and I knew I was just three miles away from not only a 3:10, but possibly 3:09 or even 3:08, if I could just settle in, and keep the cramps away. I kept focused on my stride and pace, and ignored the surroundings. I chewed up the last three miles. Then two funny things happened, almost simultaneously.

I felt the first twinge of a cramp in my left calf at around 25.5 miles. I ran through it. Then I noticed a guy running a couple hundred yards ahead of me. From the back, from that distance, I doubted that it was him, but he sure did look like Mike Boyer, a renowned veteran Cleveland runner who has won more races than I have run. Odds were it was not him, but...what if it was? Just the thought that I might be within striking distance of him at the end of the marathon was all I needed. I fought through several more cramp onsets, and passed him with a few hundred yards of the finish line. I never looked back to see if it was Mike, I just kept my focus on the finish.

I finished with a time of 3 hours 7 minutes and 58 seconds, 9 minutes faster than Boston. I grabbed a water, a banana, an apple, and oh yeah, my medal, and walked north toward the park for the after-party. I talked with a few of the other runners who I had seen on the course, and we agreed that we felt bad for the rest of the runners who were still out there were , some of them had two or three more hours to go. I got my free beer, and it went down very quickly. I got a second, and after drinking half, I decided that I should eat something before I had any more beer.

Sue, Sandy, Jeff, Lisa, and Sharon all met me at the park. They were more excited than I was. We walked around for a little while, got some food. I got a call from Jeff U., a running buddy from Cleveland, congratulating me on my new marathon PR (personal record). He had been tracking the Cleveland area runners on line. He asked me if I knew I had passed Mike Boyer at the end of the race. Ha! I knew that was Mike! A little icing on the cake.

Later on Sunday, I checked the website. According to the official results, there were 45,000 registered runners, but only 33, 033 started the race. I think the heat scared quite a few off. 1,679 dropped over the course of the race, so there were 31, 404 finishers. I finished 667th. In my age group, there were 2100 finishers, and I was #20. I guess the top 15 isn't too bad. ;-) Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Sun Times, Monday October 13th.

The heat was on Sunday, but that didn't stop thousands of long-distance runners from crossing the finish line at the 31st Chicago Marathon. With temperatures in the mid-80s, organizers elevated a race-day alert system to "Red/High," meaning potentially dangerous conditions, three hours into the race. Despite the heat, Carey Pinkowski, executive race director, said it was "an extremely good day" and that the 20 aid stations along the course kept up with the demand for fluids. Still, there were 110 calls for medical transport, and 61 runners were taken to area hospitals, said Dr. George Chiampas, marathon medical director. Sunday's heat combined with memories from last year may have kept some runners from the starting line. Of the 45,000 registered, 33,033 started the race. And 31,401 runners crossed the finish line.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicago Marathon Race Report

My race report is still in process, but I posted a nice photo and my split times as a teaser.

Mile Pace Time
1 0:07:16 0:07:16
2 0:07:43 0:14:59
3 0:07:54 0:22:53
4 0:06:58 0:29:51
5 0:06:56 0:36:47
6 0:07:01 0:43:48
7 0:07:00 0:50:48
8 0:07:04 0:57:52
9 0:07:09 1:05:01
10 0:07:07 1:12:08
11 0:07:09 1:19:17
12 0:07:06 1:26:23
13 0:07:03 1:33:26
14 0:07:22 1:40:48
15 0:06:51 1:47:39
16 0:07:00 1:54:39
17 0:07:09 2:01:48
18 0:07:00 2:08:48
19 0:06:51 2:15:39
20 0:07:02 2:22:41
21 0:07:07 2:29:48
22 0:06:53 2:36:41
23 0:07:13 2:43:54
24 0:07:07 2:51:01
25 0:07:05 2:58:06
26 0:07:06 3:05:12
26.2 0:07:06 3:07:58

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chicago on the Horizion

I guess you could say I feel good going into Chicago. The litany of injuries I suffered through at Boston and Cleveland are gone. I got all of my training mile in with nothing more than minor dings and aches. The taper is going well. I ran 12 miles of trails with the Lock 29 group on Saturday, and 12 miles on the road on Sunday with the SERC group. The next six days will be very low mileage, with a bit of light speed work.

I'll write more about the race weekend schedule later this week, but I do want to give you the runner tracking link now. Just follow the instructions, and you'll be sent e-mails or text messages as I pass each of four points on the course.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention some very cool news. I know I said I would was going to run Chicago in my Nike Free's, but that plan might be changing. For a few months, I have been looking at the new Nike Lunaracer, and on Thursday I made the purchase. They are super light-weight, (5.5 ounces per shoe) and the construction is unique. They use thin filaments (flywire) which provide super-light support and allow Nike to remove most of the weight from the upper. Also, they use a new foam cushion which they call Lunarfoam, which is lighter yet provides better protection. After much research and consideration, I purchased a pair of Lunaracers.

Here is a brief review from Hyperbeast:
Nike's insatiable appetite for making things faster and lighter has seen them push the performance envelope time and time again. New for this year was the creation of Lunarfoam, a space age material which offers uncompromising weight and responsiveness relative to Nike's previous most lightweight material, Phylon. Coupled with the weight reducing Flywire material, the Lunaracer has the makings of an incredibly featherweight but highly supportive piece of footwear engineering.

Needless to say, I would like to run Chicago in these. I am concerned that new shoes typically gnaw at different abrasion points on your feet, and need to be broken in over a few weeks before you can trust them in a marathon. I have run twice in the Lunaracers, an 8 mile tempo run and 12 miles on Sunday. Although I have not had any problems so far, that is hardly conclusive. Still, with only a week left, and a low-mileage taper week at that, it will not be possible to do this by the book. I'll bring my back-up shoes and make a decision later...probably on race morning.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chicago Marathon Taper Time

This morning, I ran my last longish (19 miles) run before the Chicago Marathon, and so begins the pre-marathon taper time. If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that means only one's time for our official taper mascot, Tippie Tapir. For those unfamiliar with the term 'taper' in the context of running, it is the period, usually two weeks, prior to a race, in which you gradually reduce your mileage. For those unfamiliar with the animal 'tapir', here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.
Tapir: (pronounced as "taper") A large browsing mammal, roughly pig-like in shape, with short, prehensile snout. Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Their closest relatives are the other odd-toed ungulate mamals, including horses, rhinoceroses, and marathon runners.

I have given some thought to a target time for Chicago, but am not ready to commit to one yet. I think I'll try to run smarter than I did in Cleveland. If you remember, in Cleveland I tried running with the 3:10 pacer for as long as I could. I did end up with a 3:15 marathon, a couple of minutes faster than Boston, but I paid a price. The last six miles of that race were the worst I have ever experienced. I was very close to hitting the wall in that race. It might be smarter to try to keep a 3:15 pace, and if I have anything left in the last few miles, try to pick up a minute or two.

On Saturday, I ran 13.15 miles on the trails with the Lock29 group. Again this week, the group was sparse as many area distance runners were participating in the Akron Marathon. Congratulations to all of our SERC runners who ran Akron, but I have to make special mention of Barb Broad. She won the women 55-59 age group with a 3 hour 33 minute time, twelve minutes faster than the second place women in her age group. She is phenomenal...dedicated, hard working, disciplined, and flat-out fast. She is also warm, kind, and always positive and supportive. She is one of the reasons I am proud and happy to be a member of Cleveland Southeast Runners Club.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chicago Build Up

This will be a brief update. Everything is fine. Eighteen days until Chicago and all systems are 'Go'. My training summary for the last seven days is shown to the right...75 miles for the week. The weekend was tough, with a 14.5 mile trail run on Saturday and a 22 miler on Sunday. It was an odd day on the trails, with both Godales missing. (Mark is in Greece for the Spartathon and Steve couldn't get a ride. ) Paul R. led the way and we kept a good but not crazy pace.
Sunday, I was back on the road in Solon with the SERC group. I kept about an 8 min pace for the 22 miles. Not fast, but it's not supposed to be. I worm my fuel belt, with water bottles filled with Heed. I did take one Vivarin at 16 miles, and I took some electrolyte pills, getting my body accustom to what I'll be taking in Chaiago. I wore my Nike Free's, because I've decided that these will be my shoes for Chicago.
As you might know, this is a more unstructured, very flexible and light-weight shoe. Some people warn that it provides little cushioning and will lead to injuries, but I've found that overly padded shoes with traditional heels interfere with my mid-foot strike, and cause me to heel strike. I think the Free's help me keep maintain my form and stride, which is probably more important in prevent injuries than having extra padding.

Monday was a light recovery day. Intervals on Tuesday went very well. My miles times were 5:46, 5:59, 5:53. Thanks to Tim Hackett for pushing me to run that 5:46 mile.

I said this would be brief.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Midweek update: Free Shoes (Yea!) and Speed Work

Last night, I reviewed the trail shoes on the Montrail website, and read reviews on various trail shoe websites. I selected the Montrail Streak. It is their lightest weight trail shoe, which works best for me, yet it still has all the traction control and additional protection of a traditional trail runner.Thank you Montrail, for sponsoring the Punxsutawney 50k and awarding free shoes to the winning team. I cannot wait to give these a tryout on the local trails. I already have a pair of Nike Humara trail shoes, but since Humaras are almost as unstructured as the Free (think bedroom slippers with a swoosh logo), they are not idea for the more rocky and rough trails, and they are very poor if your run happens to include some roads. I am hopeful that the Streaks will give me a good option in those conditions.


In my previous post, I described our trail run Saturday, a mudfest with lots of hills to complete the package. Sunday morning, my legs were telling me to give them a rest already, but with Chicago looming n the 3 week horizon, I needed to do a minimum of 20 miles. I got out early and put in 7 miles before the SERC group started, then ran 12 with the group, and tagged on the last mile alone. I arrived back at home at about 5 minutes before 10:00 AM, which put the pressure on since I had to be showered and ready to leave the house by 10:00. (Sue and I drove to The Pub to watch a rare match televised on Setanta featuring the mighty Queens Park Rangers. The match was live from Loftus Road stadium in Sheperds Bush. It was great to see the place again. Of course, we dismantled the befuddled Saints, 4-1. We are now 5th in the table and looking very promising for promotion.)

On Monday, I did a 6 mile recovery run, and felt much better for it. Tuesday at the Track was back on track after a few weeks off. I warmed-up for 2.5 miles at a slow pace, did some stride-outs to prepare, and then ran three intervals of one mile each with a 400 yard recovery between. The first was 5 minutes 49 seconds, and the second and third were both 5 minutes 55 seconds. It felt good to get below 5:50, and I thank Steve Hawthorne who ran that first mile with me.