Three consecutive days this week, with more of a focus on picking up my pace.
Friday morning June 21 I did an even three and, inspired by my 7:53 first mile – which felt really good – I decided to push for sub-eights the whole way, and managed to get faster as I went: 7:51 and 7:50 in miles two and three. First time I’ve done three miles in under 24 minutes in quite awhile.
Saturday, I felt like continuing the speed work, so my brother and I did some .29-mile “dashes” with 90-second breaks in between. I was working on these a few summers back, and had gotten to the point, I think, where I could do 7 or 8 of them and keep my time in the 1:30 to 1:45 range.
We did a 1:40, a 1:37, a 1:43, and a 1:45. And I was really, really hitting the wall on that last one, so that was it for the day. (I had serious numbjelly legs – we were going to do an easy mile cool-down jog, but I got about a dozen steps in and said, “Nope.”)
For perspective compared with my usual pace, those times equate to a per-mile range of 5:43 to 6:08. Much faster than I typically run any distance. It’s certainly not a pace I expect to sustain, but I do remember that working these into my running schedule really made an impact in terms of how I felt during longer runs.
So: 1.16 miles, and not much time spent on the clock, but whew – that was a workout.
Sunday morning was muggy and 70 degrees before 7 a.m. I did the 3.15-mile loop solo, and really just wanted to keep myself moving, so I took it easy to the tune of an 8:44 overall pace, although I needed a push at the end, since I was averaging just over nine minutes with a half-mile to go.
178.17 miles on the year, and Sunday was Day 174, so my “speed day” added a mile to my cushion distance.
You know what? I don’t have the energy to do the Turtle Sport screen caps right now, but the long story short is that as of today – the 168th day of 2013 – I’ve put in 170.86 miles, so I’m still just a shade under three miles ahead of my goal to average seven miles a week.
A quick breakdown of weeks 22-24:
May 31 – 3.16 miles, 8:25 average. Pretty steady the whole way.
June 2 – 4 miles, 8:35 average. Again, fairly casual, although the final mile was my fastest, at 8:17.
June 8 – 4 miles, 8:10 average. There we go: Best 4-miler of the year so far. Managed an 8:03 in both of the first two miles, and finished strong with a 7:55 final mile which includes a good climb. Mile three was where I caught my breath and slowed up to 8:42.
June 9 – 3 miles, 7:59 average. First sub-eight 3-miler of the year, going 7:54, 8:15, and 7:51.
June 14 – 3.5 miles, 8:32 average. Ran with my brother, and we talked the whole way, not even going full-out during the long downhill at the end of mile one. Mile two was – oddly – our fastest, at 8:12.
June 17 – 3.27 miles, 7:58 average. Yes, I pulled up about a quarter-mile short on this one. Having not run last Saturday when it was cool and dry and gorgeous, I instead waited until tonight after work, when it was warm and sticky. Still, when I saw that I’d done a 7:47 first mile, I decided to see if I could keep the sub-eight pace going. I did – barely. Mile two was a 7:59, and mile three was an 8:09. I managed to get another quarter mile still keeping my overall pace below the eight-minute mark, so I decided to call that fair progress from eight days prior.
How great were our seats at last night’s Indians/Nationals game? We sat next to this guy. I remember going to games at Old Municipal Stadium as a kid, seeing John Adams out in the bleachers – so far off that the sound of his drumbeats reaching our ears was out of sync with his rising and falling mallets.
So not only were our seats amazing, but we got a flat-out gorgeous Ohio summer night, one dollar hot dogs, and a bottom-of-the-ninth beat-the-throw-to-the-plate Indians win.
WarGames came out just a few weeks after Return of the Jedi, yet the films seem to embody two such different personal eras for me. One marked the close of the most influential storytelling in my childhood, the other feels very much tied to my early teenage years.
Not quite five years ago, Adam and I went to the WarGames 25th Anniversary theatrical showing. Here’s part of what I wrote the next day:
WarGames starts, and sonofabitch, I’m so far back in time I’m stunned. Not just drawn into the movie itself, but shocked at the deep nerves it’s hitting: God, I can actually remember what it was like lying awake late on summer nights like this, hearing the wind in the cornfield behind our house and wondering what the hell WOULD happen if there was a nuclear war. And it wasn’t sci-fi cool post-apocalypse stuff, it was scary and sad and lonely.
David Lightman’s onscreen obsession with video games – and how sad is it that I think I caught a flaw in his Galaga game during the movie? – and computers was echoed in my real-life addiction to our Atari and later the Timex Sinclair 1000 that I bought for ten bucks, and then the Commodore 64 I finally talked dad into. I wanted so much to program a BASIC “Joshua” that I could pretend to play WarGames with, and I still love the sound of computer keys that clack and aren’t velvet-wrapped tickings. And has there ever been a computer voice better than Joshua’s?
Plus, you know, David Lightman the DORK, hooked up with Jennifer the BABE, and being a guy right on the edge of teenagerdom and still wearing thick plastic glasses and sporting brown corduroys regularly, I took this as was a sign of hope, just like when Billy Joel married Christy Brinkley.
And the last 20 minutes or so were as tense as they ever were. I couldn’t blink when those white glowing dots and their cold static hum explosions started mushrooming over the world map one by one, then in clusters, then in hyperspeed fireworks followed by those amazingly perfect final few lines from Joshua echoing through a NORAD movie set in the 1980s and reaching to a theater two and a half decades later.
Now, I could be wrong on the timing, but it seems very likely that the summer of 1983 was also when my friend Mike and I took a kids’ introduction to computer programming class at the Stark County campus of Kent State University, working on Timex Sinclairs. While I can’t say for certain it was that year, I do have a vivid memory of our instructor challenging Mike and me with a problem one day, offering a pad of graph paper as a reward because he knew we loved using the stuff for Dungeons & Dragons.
I probably didn’t see WarGames more than once in the theater, but it was one of those movies we recorded onto VHS and watched over and over again. And as I wrote for GeekDad, it holds up.