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.


Graham said...

Nice mileage there with the holidays and all and sounds like it was a great Christmas spent with loved ones!

Thanks for the nice comments on my blog. Here's with wishes for a zippy 2009 for you!

Have a safe and happy New Years Eve.


EbethS said...

Happy New Year Frank, wishing you the very best in 2009.