Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dodge-Ems

When I was a kid, Dodge-Ems was one of my favorite rides at Geauga Lake and at Cedar Point. Now I continue to enjoy them as an adult.

At Sunday's Double Trouble Race I had a near collision. I was running into the driveway near the store, whilst several runners were running out. With watching the traffic and following the instructions of the volunteer, I almost had a head-on with a guy. Luckily we both swerved out of the way at the last moment.

Similarly, at last night's speedwork, we had the usual large turnout, with several different groups doing different workouts. It's almost impossible to keep out of the way of other runners the entire time. So when we had near collisions, someone had to get out of the way quickly.

By the way, I felt lousy last night, and several folks were tapering for various events, so I almost talked myself out of running hard entirely. But while others did go off to do other things, I managed to run 4 x 1600 by myself. These averaged 6:44, so I still have a very long way to go. But at least I did something of substance.

Today I ran down Substation, starting my run at 5am. I usually enjoy this road because it's pretty and generally quiet at this hour. But not today. There was tons of traffic. And I figured out why: 42 is closed at Kingsbury. So now Substation will have all this traffic for another week or so.

Today's run was so-so. I got 13 in, but they were really slow miles. And they kept getting progressively slower.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Every Time I Think I Simply Cannot Run Any Slower

I do. Forty-Five (45) minutes for a 10k. And Double Trouble is a fast course at that. Last Year I ran this race full FOUR minutes faster! Woah.

Today I did 13 slow ones. My thighs felt like hamburger.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Rhapsody of Running in Romania


A Rhapsody of Running in Romania

Four twelves and a twenty-two. That’s the plan – for each of my two weeks here in Romania. The first week would start on Monday morning and I would do my four consecutive early morning 12-mile runs, take Friday off, and then do my 22-miler on Saturday morning. The second week would have to start with the 22-miler on Sunday morning, followed by an off-day on Monday, followed by the four twelves on Tuesday through Friday. How else to keep up with the 70-mile weeks and also accommodate my travel schedule? Of course the more important question is this: will my body be able to accommodate this schedule?

But whilst we’re discussing goals and objectives here, we should mention that there is one overriding goal: to return home as a better runner. This almost never happens because it’s so tough to control eating and training in general. But this time will be different.

Into the Early Morning Darkness
On Day 1 I woke up much earlier than the planned 3:30am. Did I mention the early hours? I have to be at the office at 7am each day. Working backwards, it’s about a ½ hour taxi ride from the Marriott to the office. I need 20 minutes to eat breakfast. I need 20 minutes to shower and dress after the run. And I need ½ hour or more to wake up before I get out the door. So that’s how I came up with the 3:30am wake-up idea.

I was out the door by four, just as planned. I started running around the Palace of Parliament in the early morning darkness. The Palace of Parliament is one of the world’s largest buildings – second only to the Pentagon, according to the Romanians. Whatever it’s rank, it *is* big. I remembered from my previous trips here that this is an easy and safe loop, but I couldn’t remember how far it was (maybe 3 or 4 miles?). My loop times were 18:00, 16:40 and 16:05, so it evidently was not as far as id’ thought. At least I was moving fairly fast, and getting faster. But I was also getting bored, so I did some smaller loops wound the adjacent park (Izvor Park).

My first day of running – about 12 miles in 1:41) is deemed (by me) a success. Now to keep the trend going.

Second Verse, Just Like the First
Day 2 was very similar to day 1. Once again I didn’t sleep enough, waking up before 2am. Once again I started slowly, but ran some decent middle miles. This time I did one loop in 14:52 – way faster than yesterday. Only one problem/caveat: I measured the course on mapmyrun.com and learned that it’s only 1.85 miles. So 14:52 is something like 7:45 pace, while yesterday’s 16:05 was about 8:30. I also looked at my times for these loops in 2008 and 2006. They were faster still, with some of the fastest under 14 minutes. Still, my 14:52 felt pretty decently fast. Some of the other back and forth to Piata Unirii (trying to find the best way to walk there to catch the metro) and Eroiler were also at a decent pace. So I’m calling this another 12 miles in about the same time as for Day 1.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen
The saying about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the mid-day sun almost applies. For one thing, there are plenty of wild dogs running around all over in Bucharest. It’s almost impossible to avoid them. And although I haven’t been running in the mid-day sun, it’s been getting hotter here in Bucharest. It was probably in the low 70s as I ventured out into the early morning darkness this day.

This time I ran on the bike path along the canal. I ran here last time – it’s an ok run, but it’s a bit scary in the dark, what with the dogs everywhere and the possibility of tripping over something unseen. It’s 3 miles to the place where the path splits just before the lake, and I did this in a slow due to the darkness 28 minutes. I got back much faster since it was getting just a bit light – 25. Then I did 3 laps around the Palace. The first was a minute faster than yesterday, which was a minute faster than the day before. The other two were a little slower, but still better than 8 minute pace. After a little more running I was able to call it 12 miles in 1:40. Still hanging in there.

Hot and Nasty
Each day in Bucharest has been hotter than the one before. That goes for the early mornings as well. It was probably well into the 70s when I started my Thursday morning run. At least it isn’t too humid. After sleeping well the night before, I had another night with only a couple good hours. That has nothing to do with the heat; it’s the “nasty” part.

I started with 3 slow but increasingly faster loops around Izvor Park. I like this the best for running whilst it’s still dark – there is some lighting, the footing is good, and there aren’t too many wild dogs. A few homeless people sleeping on benches, but they haven’t bitten or chased me yet. As it got lighter, I went back to the Palace Loop area across from the hotel to start my terrible tempo training run.

It had been a while since I’d done a tempo. At 1.85 miles, I’d have to break 13 minutes in order to call it sub-7 minute pace. This would be yet another minute faster than yesterday, which was a minute faster than the previous one, and so on. I think my PR on this course was 12 fifty-something from 2006 when I was in shape. Would I be able to do it now? The answer turns out to be yes, barely – I did loops of 12:58 and 12:53. Not bad.

I did yet another Izvor park loop and finished up, getting my 12 miles in at 96 minutes, and so far fulfilling my goals. Tomorrow I get a day off before Saturday’s long run.

Not According to Plan
Although those first four runs were exactly as I’d planned, Friday turned out differently. I really wanted to catch up on sleep, and to just rest my bones before running long for two consecutive days on Saturday and Sunday. Didn’t happen. I woke up at 2am as usual. Out of bed at 3:30. I have no idea how I’m surviving on 3 to 4 hours sleep per night, but I don’t nod off too much during the day. So since I was up, why not go for a little run? It would actually be helpful to not have to do a long run on a day when I also wanted to do something touristy, like riding a train to Transylvania.

Thought I’d saunter around town and explore a bit. I’ve seen nice-looking bike paths through parks at the north end of town (I’m on the south side), but the problem is always getting up there: I’d have to run straight through the city center. So north I went. And I didn’t get there. I was just too tired of fighting the busy city sidewalks, traffic, dogs, etc., etc. I turned back after Piata Romana, did some dipsy doodles on old cobblestone and brick streets, and wound up in the Botanical Garden. So running in the northern parks also didn’t go according to plan.

Once in the Botanical Garden, I started to really enjoy the run. That’s got to be the prettiest running in Bucharest. Too bad it’s such a small park. Despite its size, I still managed to get lost. This, when it was getting late. Once I found my way to the exit, I had to hoof it to get back. And this, of course, was not according to plan.

I’m calling it 14 miles in a little over 2 hours. Probably being generous with myself this time because it was really slow going.

I got out of work at a decent time on Friday, so I hopped onto the mill for more. Running outside when temps are in the mid-nineties was not an option. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a bad mill run. I got 8 in, to get up to 70 for the week, and I was even able to get my weekly 800s in as well. It was 8 x 800 in 3:11 (15Kph). Not bad.

A Long Hot Long Run
My Facebook entry for today: ran in the heat for 3 hours, 10 minutes and then walked for several more hours, mostly through many of the fine, but too small for much running mileage, Bucharest parks. Among them: Parcul Izvor (where Madonna will perform on her Sticky and Sweet tour a day after I leave), Gradina Cismigiu (the botanical gardens), Parcul Herastrau, Parcul Kiselef, and Parcul Carol (pictured).

Yes, it was hot. But I ran ok for the first half as I stayed close to home. I did about 5+ loops of Izvor park, along with a few other nearby dipsy doodles, then did one loop around the palace to get up to 10 miles. Now it was getting lighter (and hotter), and it was time to explore a bit more. That’s when I slowed down. Mostly because I didn’t know where I was going. I did make it to Parcul Carol, and then I ran around there for a half hour or so before heading back through Izvor park one more time. I did the whole thing in 3 hours, 9 minutes. Calling it 22 miles. That accounts for a couple slow miles at the beginning, some sub-8s as I got moving, and then some other slow ones finding my way to, and around, Parcul Carol. Not too bad for such a hot day. I would’ve preferred to finish at top speed though.

Side note that you may have noticed above: Madonna will perform on her Sticky and Sweet tour on the 26th of July – just after I leave. I’m actually happy that I won’t be around.

Time Constraint
I got out the door later than I wanted on Monday morning. The weekend, the running, walking and general traveling, had taken its toll. I’d have to do today’s twelve in a relatively fast 95 to 100 minutes in order to get to the office in time. Naturally this didn’t happen. After a slow start, I did get moving fairly fast for a few of the laps around Izvor park. But then I slowed again for the final four miles – two laps around the palace. So it was 1:41 and change – still not so bad. And I still made it to work on time. Barely. I may standardize this 12-mile course: “over to Izvor, around the outside, 5 inside laps, over to the palace course, and 2 times around the palace before going back across the street”

Tempo Training Attempt
I figured it’s something like just over .9 miles around Parcul Izvor. I figured that to get to tempo pace, I’d have to do 3-4 consecutive laps under 6:30. If it was going to be 4, I’d do a tiny bit more and call it a 4-mile tempo run. So after a warmup of a few miles, I started. 1st lap: 6:36. Hmmm – could I still call this a tempo? 2nd lap: 6:32. Still slow by 2 seconds. Then 6:26 and 6:16. So – is this tempo training? After figuring it out on mapmyrun, I now know sure that it’s .91 miles around. And now the math: I really had to do 6:22 per lap for sub-seven minute miles. I only did one lap as fast as I needed… and this means I can’t call it tempo. The last few miles, including a last loop around the palace were pretty slow. Altogether I did the 12 in 96 minutes. Not too bad, but I want to be faster!

Tineretului
The name says it all. It is actually a place fairly nearby, according to my client, Dan, that is a decent sized park and a good place to run. He was right, but I have a tough time saying it and remembering how it’s spelled, so I just like to call it, “Tiramisu park.”

To get there, I ran through Parcul Carol, past the meanest of the wild dogs (got to go around the right side next time), out the back entrance, turn left on the busy street, and half a mile down a hill. By this time I was over 2 ½ miles into an extremely slow run. The entrance way was huge, and there were some booths and stands in the process of waking up. I went to the paths on the right and wound up on a bike trail. Although there were many other paths going all sorts of directions, I stayed with that bike path so I wouldn’t get lost here in the dark. And it was very dark.

I felt like I was running around the perimeter, since there was a wall to my right. I was also up fairly high, as I could see down a bit in the just-barely getting light morning. There was a lake down there, and I could also make out some buildings in the distance, which may have been the city center. About 45 minutes into the run I came to a guarded gate that I ran through and came to something that looked like an opera house or something similar. I turned back, running out towards a different exit, but then back around on the bike path once again, and back through Carol and over to Izvor park where I did a bit more before calling it a day. My slowest 12-miler yet –I’m tired and my thighs feel like hamburger.

Tempo Training Attempt Two
Out the door and over to Izvor park. The plan was to try again for a tempo run now that I’m more sure of the distances and the times I need to do them in. This would be the last run I’d have to do to make reach my stated Bucharest running goal. Might as well make it a good one.

After one dog in the Marriott driveway scared the bejeebers out of me, I reached the start of my Izvor park course intact. Like usual, I did one big loop around the perimeter followed by one fairly easy inside loop, after which I’d start my tempo attempt. I was feeling fairly decent and confident. The tempo attempt was stopped dead in its tracks by the vicious dog attack yet. The dogs in Izvor are usually not so bad, but this morning they scared me more than any had yet in Bucharest, and that’s saying something.

That had shaken me up some. After only one Izvor lap, I ran back to the start of my palace loop, figuring I would do the tempo attempt there. I’ve noted before that this course is interesting and familiar, but the footing isn’t so good, especially the 25 to 30 percent that is uneven bricks instead of asphalt sidewalk. There are also several curbs around the driveways to negotiate. But I was in no way about to do any more running in Izvor today.

First loop: 12:54. Second loop: 12:48 (a PR!). Third loop: 12:58 (!!) That was 5.55 miles at tempo pace – much more than expected. I did some more at a fast pace, so I’m calling it six.

Turned out that my last planned run here was by far the best. Goals– including the one to return a better runner – met!

Who’d’ve Thunk It?
I thought I was done for the week. Had my 70 in, and everything was fine. Didn’t get any speedwork in, other than the tempo and near tempo runs, but that was ok. Then I got out of work a bit early on Friday, my last day. You guessed it: I hit the dreadmill and did 800s. Six of them – a couple less than last week, but I didn’t want to over do it. Now I’m really done.

For more on my travel adventures, check out the travel blog.

For more on running in Romania, along with other daily activities, check out a day in the life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Day in the Life


A Day in the Life

Need to clarify that title: “A Day in the Life of Dan.” No, that still doesn’t really cover it. How about: “A Day in the Life of Dan Whilst in Bucharest, Romania.” OK, that should do it.

Why a day in the life? Just thought it may be interesting to document such a thing. The events described here take place on Monday, July 20, 2009, but they aren’t at all dissimilar to those of my other days in Bucharest in 2009. And they aren’t that dissimilar to my days in Bucharest in 2008. And, come to think about it, they aren’t that terribly dissimilar to events I’ve encountered in other countries and clients.

3:20am: I am awake and out of bed. The alarm won’t go off for another 20 minutes, but waking up before that has been par for the course for this trip. One would think it would be difficult to wake up and that I would want to sleep longer due to the time change. But I’m somehow getting by on very little sleep, and waking up at an early hour (last week it was often earlier still – like 2am) is part of that. I think my body has been thinking that I’ve been taking afternoon naps, because that’s what time it is back home.

3:30am: I am dressed into my running clothes, eating an apple, and going to the Concierge Room for coffee. It is open 24 hours and there’s a machine that makes good cappuccinos. I’m also carrying a disposable cup that I’d squirreled away because I knew from experience that they are sometimes out of them in the Concierge Room. That’s not the only thing I had squirreled away. Other objects include the apple and several bottles of water, all available from this room. As I arrive, it turns out that one other cup is available this time. I make a cappuccino in one cup, then the other whilst I slurp down the first, then a third back into the first cup. I will take those two filled cups back to my room. But before I leave, I take a walk around this large room. I’m not sure why the previous night’s activities here interest me so much, but they do. Although the folks who work here make an effort to keep the room clean, there are almost always some areas of leftover food and other stuff from the late night people. You never know what it’ll be. The most interesting leftover find is an occasional amorous couple in some interesting state, who are surprised to see me coming in for my morning constitutional. They often look guilty and leave immediately. One reason for some of the late-nighters is the fact that this fancy-schmancy hotel includes a casino. Today the place is empty however.

3:40am: “You have very nice Moose-Clees”. A well-dressed but slightly mussed-up woman in the elevator lobby of my floor is addressing me as I am trying to get back to my room with a couple coffees. “Thanks” I say, trying not to make eye-contact. I scurry along. “Especially your legs”, I hear as I’m being followed down the hallway. I quicken my pace even more. Luckily there’s a guy coming the other way. I think she turned to follow that poor soul, wherever he may have thought he might be going. Jeepers, it’s not enough to be chased by dogs every day, now it’s crazed women too. Once safely back in my room, I reflect that the whole episode was unreal, but it really did happen.

4:00am: I turn on the TV to have something to watch whilst doing my push-ups. Sky News has a live broadcast of Neil Armstrong making a speech at the Smithsonian. Yes, today is July 20, the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Armstrong’s speech is, of course, the night before in Washington, but there would be other festivities later today. I am deeply moved by this hero’s wonderful speech.

4:40am: I head out for my run. This is the latest I’ve gotten out yet, and it places a real time constraint on the run itself, not to mention the rest of my morning routine, since I have to be at the office at 8am. Why did it take me an hour and twenty minutes from the time I awoke to the time I’m walking out the door? There was the attack-woman and the Armstrong speech, but the worst thing was: I checked facebook and email, which I simply shouldn’t do before running – it takes up too much time.

4:44am: Whilst exiting the posh Marriott I run past the hotel door man, the taxis and a few other folks and stray dogs milling about. The people who haven’t seen me running by during the other mornings give me strange looks. It’s a little cooler this morning than previous ones, but it’s still warm – probably middle or upper 60s. I do some quick calculations: let’s see: I have to be finished by 6:20am, so this means I have to run my planned 12 miles in something like 96 minutes. That’s 8 minutes per mile. This pace wouldn’t have been a problem for the Dan of Old – even the Dan of 2008. But for some reason it is so for the Dan of 2009. I have done one of my daily runs that fast, but I’m not sure I can do one today. I figure that I’ve got to try.

4:54am: I arrive at the southeast corner of Parcul Izvor, the place where I start my timed loops here. Parcul Izvor is the location of Madonna’s planned concert on July 26, the day after I leave. This morning it is dark and quiet like it is almost every other morning. I make one circuit on the perimeter of the park, followed by 5 loops on the paved trails on the inside. These inside ones are, I figure, just short of a mile, so I time each one and try hard to get them well under 8 minutes. No one is sleeping on park benches today as they have on previous days; maybe that is only a weekend thing. When they are there, I always try to run quietly when I pass by. Also today there are fewer dogs running around than usual. They’re there, but just not so many.

5:52am: I arrive back across from the Marriott. I’ve been successful at getting down to a good pace but have to run some more: 2 circuits of Palatul Parlamentului, the Palace of Parliament, are planned. These loops are always interesting, and I’d do more of them and less in Izvor Park except that: the footing is not as good as it includes some very uneven bricks, when its early, its darker in spots and hard to see where I’m stepping, and there are more dogs – some in and around the gates - who tend to chase me. Other than that it’s fine. By the way, the dog problem is seemingly worse everywhere else in Bucharest. This is why I run more and more of my miles in these areas.

6:27am: I have made my two circuits of the palace, jog back over to the Marriott and stopped running. Only one dog had seriously chased me today. And this time I had counted (because counting is what I do) the gates to the palace: there are twelve. About half have armed guards who are sometimes opening them as I run by. Those two loops were much slower than I had wanted; I guess yesterday’s long run and walk did indeed take its toll. As I go up to my room I do some more calculations: I am going to really need to hurry getting showered, dressed and eating in order to make it to work on time.

6:40am: I am in the Concierge Room, trying to ingest as many calories as humanly possible in an extremely short time. Some would say that this is an area in which I excel. Still not a good way to enjoy fine dining. I grab eggs, bread, peeled/sliced kiwi, yogurt, Dannon Actimel (which I’m not sure, but I think may be good for me) and my favorite: smoked whitefish. I often skip lunch, so I don’t worry too much about all this food. I’ve done worse on other trips.

6:56am: I am now walking to the metro station. I could take a taxi, but this will probably be quicker, and it will also keep me from running out of cash. I used to walk a mile and a half to the Piata Unirii station where I catch the M2, Linia 1 or whatever line to Pipera. I get really confused about the names of the lines and the M codes for the metro trains, but I have learnt which go where to get the correct ones. I say I used to walk to Unirii because I’ve also learned that there is a closer station called Eroilor, although it involves making a connection. It turns out that I can usually save several minutes by walking less. My walk to Eroilor is an interesting one, past the military compound, and through the mixed use neighborhood. The houses are strange to me: they appear to be made of concrete or maybe stucco. They are fairly big, usually with 3 floors or so, but there are no yards or anything. They may be multiple unit things, but I’m not sure. Besides the dwellings, there are occasional bars and restaurants, most of which don’t look so great. The other walkers and I have to squeeze by the cars parked on the sidewalk.

7:10am: I arrive at Eroilor station. It’s a relatively quiet one. In fact, it’s nothing compared to Unirii and Pipera. For some reason today’s walk took a minute or two longer than usual, so I hurry down the metro stairs and happily catch a train.

7:13am: The train takes off after sitting for several minutes. I’m not sure why. I have a seat as it isn’t too crowded. But for some reason the trains on this line are all very hot and stuffy. It may be because they are at a higher level than the other line. So now I’m sweating a lot, even though the walk over had been cooler this day. Other mornings saw me sweating profusely as I got into the train. I’m not too concerned about the heat here today because it’s only two stops before I get off for my connection at Piata Unirii.

7:20am: Piata Unirii station is as crowded and crazy as ever. And it’s a long, crowded walk from one line to the other. Did I mention that it was crowded? I walk past the newspaper and bakery vendors, through the long, crowded tunnel, past the McDonalds, past more vendors and down the stairs to the M1 Linia 2 line.

7:22am: I am lucky enough to catch the train bound for Pipera without much of a wait. It is hard to believe how many people are cramming themselves into the train. It occurs to me that they need crammers here like they have in Japan to push everyone into the cars. Somehow I get in, but only barely. Everyone in the entire train is touching several other persons. Since I’m near the door, I have nothing to hold onto. I put my hand up to the ceiling to keep from falling into someone else. At least I wouldn’t fall to the ground. Others are doing the same. As the train moves along, a few get off at some stops, more at others. There will be six stops before I get to Pipera.

7:36am: The train arrives at Pipera. It’s the final stop on the line. Although there are fewer people on the train, it’s a mad rush when the doors open.

7:38am: I’m now walking out of Pipera station, and this is the craziest place of all. People walking in every direction, but mostly out. Vendors are selling newspapers, magazines and bakery. There are cars, trucks, vans, buses and trams all over the place, headed in every and any direction, each following whatever set of traffic laws that they deem appropriate at the moment. I must look for the company bus or van of the client I’m working with. They run about every ten minutes at this time in the morning. It is provided for the employees, free of charge. The one I’m looking for will be one of several different vans or buses that have the company logo on a sign in the window. It may be across the busy street in a tiny parking lot, it may be turning around, it may be parked illegally on my side, or it may be traveling slowly back to the office, all the while trolling for more employees. What’s really confusing here is that there are so many other vehicles from other companies doing exactly the same thing. Heaven help me if I board the wrong one and end up at some other company.


7:42am: I spot Bogdan, one of my clients, who is also looking for the company vehicle. Working together, we spot it – it had turned and is stopping to pick us up. As I board, the atmosphere suddenly changes: it’s tranquil and reasonably cool. Aaah, the wonders of air conditioning. Let the driver worry about negotiating through all the traffic. Bogdan and I converse about Pipera. It is an extremely fast growing suburb north of Bucharest. Only a few years ago it was farmland and the Pipera station was nearly deserted. Now there are a great many new office buildings, many of which house multi-national corporations. There are also new residences. The only problem is the (lack of) planning. The infrastructure has not even remotely kept up with the development. This is obvious to anyone who checks out at the amount of traffic – the roads simply can’t handle it all. And that traffic includes an occasional horse-drawn cart. I’ve been told that some of the residences were built before the roads, and now with these big houses are placed at odd angles, the roads will never be able to get to and through them. It’s like the Wild West out here.

7:50am: I arrive at the office with minutes to spare. I go to today’s conference room and wait for my clients to show up.

8:05am: I meet with my clients and do my counting. Dan, Gloria and the rest of the bunch are wonderful folks to work with.

12:00noon: I skip lunch because I had enough calories for breakfast and the cafeteria isn’t so great. I just sit in the conference room and continue to work.

4:40pm: I’m finished with my meetings. I head outside and look for the company bus or van. You guessed it: I go through the entire morning commute in reverse. For some reason the trains and metro stations aren’t quite so crowded at this time in the afternoon. Perhaps it gets worse after 5 or 6pm.

5:20pm: The walk back to the Marriott is a hot one. The worst part is the last hill just before the hotel driveway because it’s also the place where the sun is the hottest. I also have to scoot around even more cars parked on the sidewalks prior to that hill.

5:35pm: Half-starving, I have gone directly to the Concierge Room. They put hors devours out, and sometimes I can get a salad or some veggies along with something hot. No salad today, so I get some carrot and zucchini sticks. The hot food is breaded/fried fish. Poor selection on the veggies, but the fish isn’t bad. I’ll give today’s food a C+. It’s never been above a B-.

5:55pm: I call Debbie using Skype.

6:15pm: Our call ends abruptly as Skype crashes. I don’t think this is Skype’s fault; the internet connection is flaky. The funny thing is that it was better here in years past. By an unspoken agreement, I don’t try to call Debbie again – we now expect to be cut off at any time and therefore discuss anything important first. Today as usual we had done so before getting cut off. Now it’s time to catch up on my work and email. This ends up taking up the rest of my evening.

9:00pm: I’m in bed, reading. I didn’t have time to turn the TV on, but that is a good thing. There is less stuff on here than home. Here there are only three or four English language channels, and those are pretty boring. Time to zonk out so that I’ll be able to run tomorrow, when the whole thing starts all over again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Still Waiting

The breakthrough definitely did not happen at the Muddy Paws 10-mile race. Not that I expected it to. I can't believe I did a 10-mile race in 93 minutes. That's a PW in spades. But then it *was* a tough one, being on the trails around the Kendall area. Really tough. And on top of that, Ladd said he believed each 5-mile loop was 5.3 miles.

The good news: I was 3rd in my age group and won the ability to pick from a box of stuff. I wound up with a pair of $50 Tevas. Not bad.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Waiting for the Breakthrough

Yes, I'm still waiting. Had a pretty good speedwork session Tuesday. 800s followed by 200s. Not bad, but not a breakthrough. Yesterday I got over to North Park and ran the trails. Today I did some speedwork-light - 3 x 1200 very easy. I'll probably run this Saturday's Muddy Paws race very slowly.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Long (the run, not the story)

Got a long run in today. Over to North Park and ten miles on the trails there (there's only about 2 miles of trails in the park, so I did the same loop 4 times and then some other trails for the other two miles), and then over to the track for 3 before heading home. I averaged 8 1/2 mpm. Not bad.

See? Told you it wouldn't be long. Now I've got to recover for tomorrow's speedwork.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

North Canton Y 5-Mile

Five pretty good strong miles today. Too bad they weren't all in the North Canton Y 5-Mile race. I started off by running the 2-mile as usual for a warmup. As usual, I did the first mile easy at just under 8 minutes and the second mile hard in 6:10 or so. Pretty decent, thought I. Bodes well for the 5-mile, thought I.

All of those thoughts were as usual too. I've never ever had a good 5-mile race here, but I continue to run it because it's in the race series. So with hopes of finally getting a breakthrough, I started well with a 6:30 mile. Needless to say, it went downhill from there. Even so, I hit mile 3 in just over 20 minutes and mile 4 in just over 27 minutes.

At that point I still had hopes of pulling off a semi-breakthrough. If I could manage a strong mile 5, I might be able to do something like 33 and a half. But it wasn't to be. Instead I fell apart completely. Yeah, there were some hills, but I still should've done better than 7:17 for a 34 and a half. Bad form. The breakthrough will have to wait for another week.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Twenty on Ten

That's 20 miles on 10 hours rest.

I did the usual speedwork thing with the gang on Tuesday. It went ok (I generally kept up with Ladd), but I'm a little discouraged that I'm not seeing any breakthroughs. The workout was 3 x 800 followed by 4 x 400. Maybe the breakthrough will occur next week.

I slept poorly that night and awoke a little after 3am. Got out the door a while later, and figured I was out doing the run on 10 or so hours rest. Did 10 fairly slow miles, although they felt fast. By then it was raining, and heaven knows it's not at all possible to run in the rain. So onto the treadmill I hopped, and then I did 10 more. These were fast mill miles, but they were still only mill miles.

Today I did 10 more. Made my way slowly to the track and then did 4 x 1200. These were about as slow as speedwork can be. Another slog to get home. All in all I got 10 in today. Turned out not so bad.

Race coming up this Saturday.

It was dark in the park

It was dark in the park, Goes the snark remark. Today’s runner tried to be quick off the mark, But with the dark so stark, H...