Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What a winning hand

Hey man, I am busy at work and with other things.  The running has been burning up time.  I did decide on a cut back week of 80-90 miles.  Best to heal up a bit and absorb a bit of the effort put in.  I just told myself yesterday this true statement.  You are going to be 60 next year.  Flintstones, meet the Flintstones.  And butterflies are free to fly.  He used to love that Econoline.  Forget it Jake...

Last week 120 miles.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hand me down my walkin' cane

I got around to piling up miles during the week.  Actually, they are starting to come normally.  During the beginning of the work week I primarily run.  As I tire mid-week I begin to work the run 4 minutes and walk 2.5 minutes for some of the miles.  One can easily average 13 minutes a mile with this, in the dark, with some questionable running surfaces, and while under load.  It does help with recovery.  I covered 86 miles over the 5 days before Saturday.  Saturday is a freezing rain day and I wanted to get 20 in with about half of it running only and the other half with the run/walk effort.  I managed to accomplish this in my own particular way.

Here are a few things I am beginning to find out.  You can cover many miles in a week when trying to stay slow.  You also become slow.  I'm at the point where there is no more time to train in a day.  Part of the idea was to get tired enough so you could replicate what it would be like to do 4.167 miles in an hour when dead dog tired.  For me, at least so far this isn't happening.  Even today in crappy conditions I'm doing these in 53-54 minutes.  Which is where i want to be anyway, but I really can't add more miles during the week.  I suppose this should be a good thing.  Part of the goal is to get to the point where loops don't feel difficult day after day.  Well they don't.  You can't replicate what is going to happen in a last man standing event in day to day running.  Not even close, so I guess there will be 1-2 trials necessary.  I am thinking at least one at 40-50 miles, but we shall see.

My energy levels feel decent.  I should target a recovery week, but I'm somewhat determined to aim at getting in 500 miles this month.  This is as close as I'll ever get.  Certainly it means squat, but that's how some brains work.  I'll admit my achilles in both feet are starting to wonder if we are ever getting off the island, but I keep reminding them that Gilligan says we are close.  With travel coming up it is going to be extremely difficult to find the time to accomplish this.  Outside of this venue and a few close friends, I don't tell anyone how much time I spend out there.  It is certainly not healthy.  Now that winter is here you can be sure the blue skies and tuna fish sandwiches for everyone attitude is under attack.  Let's see how this plays out.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

I’m no fun anymore

I’ve stayed the course with my plan to learn to go slow and build up miles.  Once I get up to the higher weekly mile range the goal is to figure stuff out as it comes.  So you do get tired at times.  It is then when one gets to practice how they can devise strategies on the move to maintain goal pace.  Even tired, averaging 13 minute pace is plenty doable.  It makes me wonder how many miles a week would one have to cover to truly mimic that in a last man standing event.  Now I get it.  There is the idea of arranging the schedule to key in on doing precisely that with say a 40-50 mile practice run, but I’m also trying to pound the body to find and overcome my deficiencies.  My back/hip has not been an issue.  I have increased the elevation in one of my shoes to even out the leg length discrepancy.  As odd as it may sound, I’m not willing to skip around potential body issues on lower miles.  I have to survive the training and for me that is finding a way to get it done daily.  Off course I have other niggles, but it is amazing to me so far that they come and go.  Trust me some days I go to bed and wonder what tomorrow will feel like.  Surprisingly I generally am ready to go and the mild January weather has helped.

Not sure what the end game is here.  As of today I have a few concerns on a couple aches and pains, but it seems the easy pace does not draw them out like intense marathon training would.  The event is April 3rd.  Currently I think I will still chase miles and peak out around mid February because past that it won’t be beneficial.  Talking to Grub we both have experienced in the past that once you get past a certain point piling up mileage seems easier mentally.  I’d like to say that’s where I’m getting to.  Off course getting up at 4am and showering a lot is tiresome at times.  The reward is getting out there and then after awhile you don’t want to come back.  Not many people get to experience the feeling of time standing still.  Pure darkness and beard covered in a glaze of ice.  Running down the middle of the road seeing a car once a mile.  Good times.

Last week 110 miles.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Giants win the pennant

The year 2019 is in the books.  It is funny how over time one begins to look at how the way things are, were, and could be and discovers much of what goes down can be farcical.  I primarily keep to running because this is a blog about running.  Stay with me for a second as I just make a personal observation.  Is it because I'm actually older that about everything I am exposed to I'm finding a huge amount of bias being weaved in?  I process the info, pull out what my responsibility may be and move on.  I'm talking about everything from TV, work, community, running, interpersonal, sports, etc.  Hey I had a really enjoyable 2019 and I'm not trying to be negative at all.  I'm just now learning to listen and keep my thoughts in most cases to myself.  I find these three things the most challenging.

I've been a field guy at all levels for 35 years.  How about a few of you actually read or research what has been given to you, or is it "funner" to pull me off the road to point out were it is in the email.

How a simple request to grab your dog becomes a lecture on how Albert Schweitzer like your dog is.

Professional sports are almost a complete waste of time and serve no real purpose to me.

Okay that's not the big three I could really share, but these are good enough for this blog.

I ran 2,658.0 miles in 2019 and December was my biggest month at 404.7 miles.  I think I had one bigger month in 1978.  Nothing sticks out in terms of performance other than I ran Al's Run 8k in the mid 33's.  That's good for me.  We had a shake up in who I ran with the most this year.  Dewey has been the number one wing man for about 5 straight years, but getting a hip replaced knocked him all the way down to second banana.

1. Tim = 43 (state champ)
2.  Dewey = 34 (crew of the decade)
3.  Robert = 16 (up and comer...primary nemesis)
4.  Andrea = 5 (legendary polar plunger)
4.  Tim L. = 5 (the flying Dutchman)
6.  Crawford = 4 (Ginger Rockstar...goal crusher)
7.  Arena = 3 (Ice Age master)
7.  Clem = 3 (Ice Age royalty of the first degree)
7.  Blanchard = 3 (running and car guru)
7.  Steve HK = 3 (speed demon...talent to spare)

Tim, Dewey, Robert, and Tim L all runs primarily at Menomonee Park.  I did not list the dog.  Of which I must sign off as it is time to get her out.

Last week was 100.4 miles.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Mr. Heat Miser

I marshaled through 14 miles Christmas morning.  At first it was to be 10 and get 4 in later, but with the busyness of the day I just knocked it out.  Towards the end there is a local ballpark I tend to run around the perimeter on.  There is a little trail that does not look like much, but this time I ran it.  To my surprise it actually leads somewhere.  The one branch goes about a half mile to the Oconomowoc River.  The other branch after a half mile I had to turn back.  I’m hoping to explore this.  It has signs set up for snowmobiles so I’m hoping I can find a tie into the Ice Age.  It would be a cool find to cut out road sections.

The evening was gorgeous.  While everyone played cards I took Cookie for a walk.  Hardly any wind.  Very few vehicles.  Mid 50s.  As the sun was setting a farmer showed up to gather what was left of a big field of soybeans.  We watched the big equipment work for a bit.  It felt great to be outside again.  Some mornings throughout the year as I am taking advantage of getting out exploring, often I’m baffled at the lack of others not getting out.  I can’t tell you how many splendid days you can be tooling along and see no one.  Days like today...yes there are people out.  On a crisp 20 degree day with low wind...virtually zero people.

The Bugline trail runs near our place.  It is a 16 mile paved trail that is not plowed in the winter.  The snowmobiles get it then.  Now if your dog makes deposits wouldn’t you at least kick it to the side?  What’s the thought process here?  Also is it mandatory for bikers to drop the banana peels on the trail?  Dole sticker included?  And when I run down this fabulous road they put in by the house that looks like a speedway, what’s the deal with people chucking their garbage out?  Paint cans, beverage containers, fast food bags, etc.  It is a rural road about 2.5 miles long that curves through some decent looking area.  Not much traffic outside of those who live there.  Plenty of locals walking, taking out the dog, or bicycling.  Why are you throwing out your trash and destroying the new shoulders with the big truck tires?  I know this is everywhere, but give me a break.  Do I sound like an old man now?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Magic carpets made of steel

Somewhere in that first season at our home course about 25-30 of us took off across the golf course.  We wore sprinters spikes back in the day for stuff like this.  Those fairways were crisp and clean.  By now we had literally ran against a couple of the best teams in the state.  I say this because we still had no idea what each new team we faced had for runners.  On this little adventure not too many were ahead of me after the first half mile.  Another mile goes by and it is basically 2 of us and 2 of them spread out by maybe 40 yards.  I don't recall anything suddenly changing, but by 2 miles I found myself in the lead for the first time in my life.  Thoughts of securing a win for the first time ever entered my mind, but at the same time I was fearful it would suddenly be snatched away.  This was all new to me and I ran on in fear.  At each turn I was looking back to see what the lay of the land was.  On our course after the final turn you ran 400 yards straight to the finish.  It was slightly uphill the whole way and I felt if I had the lead by then I would win.  Nothing dramatic to report.  I continued on without a challenge and won the race.  Even better for us is we secured our second victory of the year.  Maybe we could be better than we thought with a little work.  It never entered my mind before the season that I would enjoy this as much as I did. 

Fast forward to today and I can say that getting out multiple times a day is hard on me.  The easy nature of the pace and workout is not difficult, but the oldness of the body is apparent.  Still hoping to get slower and eventually cover more weekly miles at a pace I feel I need to zero in on the day.  Some days I get stiff and it is uncomfortable.  Perhaps the body can adjust.  I understand there are several better ways to train than this.  If I stepped out of my body and looked at me I would advise me totally different.  I also can't step out of my body because if I could I would step into someone else's and run the crap out of it.  Kind of like the Vulcan mind meld.  Not sure what the end game is other than I have stated before.  Pile up miles when I can and a big taper.  Life doesn't stop for stuff like this.  Every day can be a kaleidoscope of work and events that others deem more important than climbing into your brain and leaning into the bitter cold dark mornings.  Playing Green Grass and High Tides on memory only helps for tiny amounts of the continuum.  At some point there has to be satisfaction in touching the orange sign way up through the woods at the top of the hill 4 miles away and then turning for home.  Your worst enemy then becomes yourself as you think up another mini adventure you can add to this run.  In the end it is best to get back.  Not because it is the healthiest or best idea, but because in my little piece of America I have a job.  Besides I need to save a piece of myself for the evening if possible.  That's the joy of dog ownership. 

82.5 miles for the week.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Road to perdition

Last night I could feel it.  Sha-Sha-dubbie I was in tatters.  But I laid low and didn't want to mentally handicap myself for the following day.  It was really feeling necessary to have a day off, but that is the bane of high mileage weeks.  A freakin' scourge to the whole operation.  When you go to the biggest dance of the year you dance with the one who brung ya.  Fortunately Monday was an off work day so I had plenty of time to grab 14 cups of coffee and get my mind right.  Come to think of it this would be perfect training.  Part of the idea is to see how to get stuff done.  I ventured out on the first effort and it went well.  The second effort of the day went well also so I feel like Dick's hat band already.  Three more hours I'll take Cookie out for a power jog.

Then there is the dog.  She's pretty use to the idea of not getting involved early.  Any time after that she's does that stare at you deal and follow you around at the slightest movement.  Remember the movie Animal House when Belusi gives that big speech about the German's bombing Pearl Harbor?
Then everyone's a dead man and he gets up having thought he rallied the troops and heads out all fired up...but no one comes.  The dog does this all the time.  Jump up and down and look excited and then get in front of you and run to the door.  It's annoying.  Does the same thing when she thinks it is time to eat.