My last two weekends of running have been all over the map, literally and figuratively: I’ve been struggling with my lung power, and having trouble tackling runs in more than relatively short bursts. I don’t know if it’s been the cold weather or what, but I have really felt winded.
So: Saturday, Nov. 16 – Four trail miles at Quail Hollow, mid-30s, temperature wise. Just before the mile-and-a-half mark, I found myself in unmarked territory and had to stop and get my bearings – and wound up doubling back anyway. (I hadn’t actually left park territory, but I was out on the fringes near one of the bordering roads.) I’d done a 9:05 first mile, which is pretty quick for my trail runs, and it hit me hard enough that I needed to take a break after mile two. Things didn’t get easier: I needed two more breaks over the last two miles and never regained any speed.
Sunday the 17th – my 43rd birthday – I thought I’d better try to address this whole breathing thing and do some speedwork: Four decent quarter-mile runs, where my per-mile pace worked out to 5:52, 5:55, 6:15, and 7:00. My total running time was something around 6:20, with about a 2-minute break between each run. Then I did a 2.6-mile jog (10:02 pace). The extra tenth of a mile was because I remembered my last mileage total ended in a .9.
Monday, Nov. 18, I registered for the Dec. 7 Ohio Outdoor Series Trail Run.
Saturday, Nov. 23: Temperatures in the high 20s. Sunny and windy. I hit the roads near the house for what turned out to be another stuttering sort of morning, but I probably set myself up for that by pushing myself to a 7:39 first mile. A two-minute rest, and then I jogged two more 1.5-mile stretches (9:26 and 10:22) with another brief rest in the middle.
And then I missed Sunday the 24th – I wimped out, because it was below 20 degrees and windy, and while I have the gear for cold-weather running, I just couldn’t bring myself to go out there and put my lungs through it.
Which means my mileage total is now 331.5 – and today is the 330th day of the year.
I’m hopeful that the weather – and my lungs – will cooperate enough that I can get in some good extra miles over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and get back into some decent long stretches without feeling so beat.
Thirty years ago, I became a teenager.
I wasn’t a huge fan of cake, so mom made me these amazing frozen mint pies with Oreo cookie crusts.
I also received a speedometer for my bike:
Three decades later, I spent a good chunk of my birthday playing a 1980s-era video game (Gauntlet) with my brothers, and the evening with my immediate family – having pie.
It was sunny and in the mid-30s on Sunday, Nov. 3. I had skipped the cold and wet day before, knowing this was going to be a decent day. I plotted a new loop – 7.25 miles, out onto some new roads.
A really hilly stretch in miles 4-6 took a toll, and I slowed up pretty significantly in the last half, but let myself focus on enjoying the run and taking in the distance. Average pace: 9:43.
Saturday, Nov. 9, another gray and mid-30s day. Four pretty steady road miles: 8:46; 8:50; 9:06; and 8:39.
Sunday the 10th, was gray and cold again, but much, much windier – which made it a great day to be in the Quail Hollow woods. 3.5 miles, 9:36 pace.
On the year: 319.9 (know, I know – I’d have added another tenth if I’d realized that was going to happen). Today is the 316th day of the year, so I’m right where I need to be.
Three-and-a-half trail miles on Saturday, Oct. 26, and four road miles on Sunday the 27th.
Cold enough both days to warrant long pants, a sweatshirt, hat and gloves, but not nearly enough to get out the long-sleeved Under Armour shirt.
I ran in the woods on Saturday because even though it was 37 and sunny, it was really windy. Being in the trees made a huge difference. I pushed through two decent miles, just over nine minutes each, but really hit a wall toward the end of mile three, so even though I had been wanting to bank some extra distance, I settled for 3.5.
Sunday was similar, temperature- and sky-wise, but with very little breeze, so I did a casual four-mile loop, during which I spent a good amount of time juggling some writing ideas, getting super-excited about them, and trying to run faster while speaking the ideas out loud to myself so I wouldn’t forget them when I got home.
Miles on the year: 305.15. Today (10/30) is Day 303.
This may be my favorite picture of me and my dad:
I had placed this sometime around 1973, but thanks to the incredible archive at Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site, I’ve discovered it’s got to be at least early 1975 which would make me 4 years old. I’m reading the March issue, Dad’s got Super Special #14, and the December ’74 issue is there in the foreground.
I can remember that bedspread and its texture; and the feel and weight of those dark yellow plastic plates that appear to have some bologna sandwiches on them; and the brown plastic bowl, too.
It looks like I’ve got a kids’ book at lower right, but I’d bet I’ve set it aside in favor of Spy vs. Spy.
Inspired by that source material, I cobbled together my own fantasy adventurer’s costume for Halloween:
No parental assistance required: Sweat pants and a sweatshirt that looks like I removed the collar for that deep-V look that’s all the rage among dragon-slayers; cape from an old…bedspread, maybe? I can remember the material was heavy, but also kind of clingy and stretchy; tunic-vest-thing that I cut and stitched together myself out of some burlap-type cloth mom had around; and a belt that I probably wore every other day of the year, too.
The sword? A yardstick covered in aluminum foil, of course. Which means it stands to reason – as if it’s not completely clear already – that yes, I am in fact wearing a foil hat. (Technically, my helm was a white knit hat covered in foil. Still: FOIL HAT.)
And now that “foil” sounds funny, I’ll move on.
If I remember correctly, my fellow D&D wannabe Mike S. wore a pretty slick elf ranger costume he and his mom had made.
More than once, I think, Mike and I took advantage of the trick-or-treat scheduling differences between the village of Hartville itself – where he lived – and Lake Township: One usually scheduled it on Halloween proper, while the other set it on the closest preceding weekend night, or something like that, making it possible for us to hit both of our neighborhoods. I seem to think we also really liked going out in the early hours of trick-or-treat, dropping off our candy haul at home, and then going back out after dark to roam the neighborhood and try to scare the kids we knew.
Other bits and pieces nicely caught up in this photo: The Halloween decorations – store-bought and handmade alike – that my mom put out every year; the long-gone brick fireplace and wood paneling of our family room; the wooden set of coasters in their little boxy holder up there on the mantle (these go back practically to the beginning of my memory).
For all the dorkiness captured in this picture – of me, that is; nothing against our family decor - I remain oddly proud of this costume, since I made the whole thing myself.
Plus: Foil hat.
Yet again, I found myself needing to tackle a week in a day, which didn’t go so well for me in Week 41.
This time, I decided I’d rather try my longest trail run by far and not worry about my time, so long as I just kept moving above a walk.
Gorgeous, sunny morning it was, and just below 50F, so I wore my shorts and a long-sleeved shirt.
I covered 7.5 miles – all but a quarter-mile of it off-pavement – and experienced pretty much all the environments of Quail Hollow State Park, finding myself taking a few new paths and way out in suprising parts of the park I hadn’t really come near before. The fastest mile I did was my first – 9:03 – and my slowest was Mile 7, at 11:48 (which included a lot of climbing). I only paused twice – once to get my bearings, and once to figure out how to get across a rain-swollen creek.
For the first time in awhile, I got post-run soreness in my legs the next day, but it was well worth it.
Miles on the year: 297.65. Monday (the close of my running week) was day 294, so I’m right in the zone.
Released October 7, 1983, Never Say Never Again was the first James Bond movie I remember seeing.
I suppose it’s possible I saw bits and pieces of the classics prior to that, and although I remember the theatrical releases of both Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only, I didn’t see them.
I do remember my parents being excited about this guy Sean Connery, and that because of their enthusiasm, I had decided that he was my favorite James Bond – despite having not seen a single 007 movie.
Mom dropped off me and friend – I seem to think it was my Dungeons & Dragons partner, Mike S. – at the Gold Circle Cinemas for a Never Say Never Again matinee, and we were entertained as hell by the movie. (Of course, we were 12 years old: “James Bond – Urine Specimen! Hi-LARIOUS!” “That world domination video game was AWESOME!“
Post-’83, it was another few years before I really developed a fandom for the character, sparked by a kid I had met at the North Canton Playhouse during my sophomore year of high school. He loaned me an old Signet copy of Thunderball, which launched me into a rabid pursuit of All Things Bond for a couple years.
My friend Aaron shared the interest, and one of our ongoing jokes was a “serious” debate over which yacht had the better name: The Disco Volante from Thunderball, (Aaron’s pick) or the Flying Saucer from Never Say Never Again. (You see it coming, don’t you?) This debate ended the day I encountered a paragraph in my Spanish class referring to someone spotting “discos volantes” in the sky. Oh. Well. There you go.
I wrote a little bit about the memory trips of my October 6 run, but didn’t address any of the details as far as my running record goes, so…
Saturday Oct. 5 was really busy, and I didn’t get a chance to run, so I figured I’d go out and do a seven-miler on Sunday the 6th and not worry about pacing.
I don’t know whether it was because it was warm for October (around 70F), or the hills in the first few miles, or the fact that it had been almost two months since I’d gone any distance longer than 4.5 miles, but it was a real struggle, and I actually stopped to walk for two minutes, just past the halfway point. (I didn’t count the distance walked toward my to3.5tal.) Knowing that I was going for a longer run, I deliberately kept things easy to start, running an 8:42 pace for the first two-and-a-half miles, which took me out into some rural territory. Then a series of hills hit me. I still managed an 8:50 for mile three, but next six tenths of a mile took me 5:52, and that’s when I realized I was going to need a break.
It helped, but the next 3.4 were a real slog, and my slowest stretch in a long, long time, averaging 10:04.
3.5 uneventful road miles on Friday, Oct. 11: 8:35, 8:20, 8:45, and a 3:53 push the last half mile that got my average pace down to 8:25.
Saturday I hit Quail Hollow for a trail run. I really enjoyed it, but I want to do another post about some of the thoughts on it, and keep this one just to the data points: I averaged 9:26 – which is ballpark for what I manage on the trails – and wrapped it up at 3.25 miles for a couple reasons. First: It was a good stopping point, and I was fairly bushed. Second, I figured that if I left myself a quarter-mile short for the week, it would motivate me to go out the next day, resulting in extra mileage, since I’m never going out for a quarter-miler. If I put the shoes on, I’m always doing at least two miles.
Sunday the 12th: Four miles on the pavement. Perfect overcast morning for it, and I felt really good: 8:32, 8:37, 8:29 for miles 1-3, and a 7:42 for mile four. Average pace was 8:19.
Total miles on the year: 290.15. Monday the 14th is day 287, so I’m back on track!
Earlier this year, a friend asked if I’d be interested in his 1980s Dungeons & Dragons stuff. He’d played a lot back when we were kids – I wish I’d known that at the time – but hadn’t touched the game in years, and thought I’d enjoy having the classic material on hand, since I now play regularly.
So we struck a deal, and I’ve spent a good amount of time revisiting the books and box sets and modules that I either never had or never fully appreciated as a kid. (Bonus: His collection included a Fiend Folio that even has the remnants of a Kay-Bee toy store price sticker, just like mine did!)
Inside the Basic Set was a sandwich bag containing seven dice. The brown 10- 12- and 20-siders look like they came from the same original set. The light blue d4 and d6 are identical to the ones I got in my own red box Basic Set. The two d8s are each a little different.
I was surprised to see how small those three older brown dice looked, sitting next to dice from my current collection -
- but they felt familiar between my fingertips. And the d4 is numbered the way I remember from middle school, with the digits on the edges rather than the corners.
Thing is, it was only last weekend that I had the realization that These Dice Should Be Rolling! I retrieved them from the Basic box and tumbled them into my dice bag.
Tuesday night’s D&D session was entirely role-playing, but toward the end of the night, we rolled for a bit o’ treasure.
Here’s the result of the d12′s first in-game cast in close to three decades:
This One Goes To Eleven. (And landed Culhwch Keepson a Ring of Climbing.)