No weekday runs this week, and I spent most of Saturday’s prime running hours enjoying International TableTop Day with friends, so…
Sunday I decided to go for my first non-stop seven-mile run in I don’t know how long. Since I was planning on going past five miles, I put on my running belt and took some water along. And not stopping to walk was my only goal: This one was all about the legs, not the lungs, so I deliberately kept my pace slow from the start.
I was a bit concerned about a mile-and-three-quarters in, when my ankles and calves started to hurt. They’ve never caused me trouble before, and I figure this was my reminder that even short runs during the week really do wonders for keeping my legs and lungs in shape. I definitely felt the six days off. The pain subsided for the next few miles, and didn’t return until miles 4-7, which I had pretty much expected anyway.
It was overcast and about 50 degrees, with a bit of a breeze that I really didn’t notice until it became a headwind for most of the homeward-bound part of the loop, and in miles 4-6, between that and my now-for-real-sore legs, my pace climbed past the 10-minute mark. Like I said, though: I was keeping my lungs comfortable, and breathing-wise, I felt really good.
I got things back down to 9:23 for the final mile, which includes a tough climb, and managed a decent push over the final half mile to finish with an overall pace of 9:43. An ugly time, sure, but that wasn’t my goal today. Today, it was enough just to keep running.
92.8 miles for the year, 90 days in.
My daughter is 16 today, and I’m incredibly proud of the person she has become.
I asked her if she would mind me posting a baby picture, and without hesitation, she said, “That one,” pointing to the framed version of the picture above.
The stuffed dog is Ralphie. He belonged to my Dad, and to me, and to my younger brothers, and to Kelsey, and has since gone on to my nephews.
Changed things up a bit this week.
I took a work trip to Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show, and since I didn’t have to work a morning commute into my schedule, I decided to use the hotel’s workout room to put in a couple treadmill miles.
Yes, as a rule, I dislike treadmill running, and if I’d packed more than shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for running, or if it had been warmer than sub-freezing, I would have given more consideration to going outside. At any rate, the hotel’s equipment and exercise room were nice, and I was the only one in there, so after warming up for one mile, I bumped up the speed on the second mile and finished in 16:30 for a pace of 8:15.
Saturday afternoon, back at home, I did my 3.5-mile loop:
It was sunny and above freezing, but still windy and on the chilly side, and that third mile wore on me a bit, but sticking to a sub-nine-minute average didn’t feel like too much effort.
Sunday was gray and cold, and I didn’t feel much like running, but thanks to my treadmill miles, I only needed to do 1.5 more to reach my seven-mile goal for the week. I decided to do two and push my pace:
I don’t think I’ve run consecutive sub-eight minute miles since my last training day before the Canton Marathon, and although I don’t feel like I could have done another mile at that speed, I felt really good about the run and recovered pretty quickly.
Total days/miles for the year: 84 days, 85.8 miles.
A weekend like this one is exactly why I’ve been trying to bank a few extra miles here and there. Between medical appointments and a multi-person family birthday celebration on Saturday, I couldn’t find the time to run.
Not too bad: It’s the old four-mile loop with a second-half detour thrown in, and miles two and three were the most difficult, as they always are on this particular run. Because I was adding distance, I wasn’t really pushing for time until the last mile, so I was happy to see that even my worst mile was still less than 9:30. And since I did walk-run training for the Canton Marathon (90-second walk breaks every five miles), it had been even longer since I’d run five miles and pushed full-bore over the last half-mile, which I did this week. Finished with an 8:52 overall pace, and felt good about it.
I’m traveling this week for work, and I’m throwing in my running shoes. It may only be treadmill time, since my days will be packed, but it would be nice to get in a few weekday miles during the downtime.
So, year-to-date, I’m at 78.5 miles, 77 days in. Still on target.
This letter is 30 years old today:
I had Bee Fever, man. And the only prescription? More Bee.
The year before, I had won the Lake Elementary fifth grade spelling bee, earning me a spot in the Lake Local bee and planting the seeds of my obsession with reaching the national bee in Washington, D.C. My teachers gave me a slim, stapled Official Spelling Bee Study Guide booklet, and every night after dinner, I’d spend time studying and having my mom and dad quiz me.
I remember the nighttime competition in the Lake Middle School cafeteria, feeling strange in this bigger, newer building, and going up against the older kids in grades six, seven and eight on their home turf. I seem to think I made it several rounds in, and that a place in the Stark County bee was within my grasp, since the school sent the top five or six kids, as I recall.
And then: agate.
Which I spelled “a-g-g-o-t,” since that’s exactly what it sounded like when the teacher read the word to me.
Agate had been in the study guide, but the booklet didn’t include pronunciations, and my parents and I, not being familiar with the word (to be fair, there were a lot of words in there we didn’t know), had thought it rhymed with “inflate.” I even checked the dictionary when I got home just to make sure it didn’t have an alternate pronunciation.
So: One year later. Late winter, 1983. I don’t remember how the sixth grade representatives to the Lake Middle School bee were chosen, and I don’t recall much of that bee other than it was in the cafeteria again – which was now my home turf – and how it felt when there were just the county qualifiers remaining, and I was sitting among them.
The Stark County Bee was Saturday, March 12, in one of the larger local school districts – I’m thinking it was Perry Local, down between Canton and Massillon, but it could have been in Jackson. And it was even weirder being on someone else’s school auditorium stage than it had been competing against the older kids the previous year.
There were 65 of us there. I don’t remember a single word I had to spell, but I also don’t remember worrying about any of them or feeling like I had to guess.
Regional qualifier, baby! One step from the Big Bee itself! I’m the skinny, thick-rimmed-glasses blur wearing the plaid shirt in the front row. And I’m holding a dictionary, because that’s what they always gave the winners at these bees. I think I had one from the Lake Middle School bee already.
Another girl from my school, who was a year older than me, also qualified.
As the letter up there indicates, I had a little less than a month to study for the regional at the old East Campus of GlenOak High School – directions to which were indicated with this wonderfully simplified map:
It was time to buckle down and keep on spelling.
What a fantastic weekend for running. Saturday – first run of the year without a sweatshirt. Sunny and 60F:
That spike about halfway through? I slowed down to drop letters at the post office.
Sunday – more overcast, but pushing 70F! – first run of the year in shorts:
Really happy with the way this one turned out, with no miles above the nine-minute mark.
The no-extra-charge life lesson with today’s run came when the warm breeze from the southwest – which I ran against on the outbound leg, figuring I’d have it at my back for the home stretch – shifted just enough that I was running into it again during my last eastbound mile. Lesson: No matter how much route planning you do, you can’t keep the wind from changing direction.
So 69 days into the year, I’m actually more ahead of my mileage goal than I thought: I just realized that my YTD mileage as tracked by Turtle Sport is going to be just over 1.8 miles short, because my Garmin battery died less just over a mile into the March 1 In Like A Lion Run. Correct total for the year: 73.5 miles.
Hey, look – I’m at StarWars.com:
It’s a piece I wrote about visiting Kinsman, Ohio, where Empire Strikes Back first draft screenwriter Leigh Brackett lived.
Broke the Saturday/Sunday pattern this week, and had a blast doing it.
Thursday night after work, I headed to Sagamore Hills for my fifth “In Like a Lion” run. When it came time to opt for a name on my racing number, I opted for “Dillweed.” And it made me (and others who are similarly amused) laugh. Again.
This year? An amazing and inspiring TWENTY-FIVE person field! So big that Keith arranged for us all to meet up at Namaste Yoga Studio beforehand for pre-run organization. Jolynn, the owner, guided everyone through some runner’s yoga stretches and put on a nice selection of 80’s hair metal. (Yeah, that’s right: It’s closing on midnight, and we had Bon Jovi, yoga, and a cooler full of two dozen McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes. So cool.)
It was 20 degrees and snowing lightly when we got to the starting/finishing point, dark and quiet out in the valley. We did a 5k, out and back along the path.
I don’t push too hard during ILaL – it’s a run, not a race – but I do like to work a bit, so I settled in to a pace of around 9 minutes a mile. On the way back, there was a mini snow squall that actually cut visibility to probably 20-30 feet for a few moments.
I finished up at 27:45, but that’s as precise as I can get, because my Garmin hadn’t fully charged, and it conked out just over a mile in.
By the time we all got back to the finish line, our shakes were approaching frozen solid. They were still delicious.
When the weekend arrived, I thought about sticking with my Saturday/Sunday afternoon schedule to get a few extra miles in this week, but Saturday turned out to be too busy. I got up Sunday morning and did a four-mile out-and-back in a light wind and pleasant, big-flake snow.
Pretty steady pacing. I did it slower than last week, but still kept things under the nine-minute mark, and it was an enjoyable run.
So, March begins, and 62 days into 2013, I’m still a couple miles ahead of my goal: