Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lost in Gaithersburg

Part 1

Danny Boy is hopelessly lost, but that's not his primary concern. His primary concern is that he's running so stupidly slow. How slow, you ask? So slow that he once again may not get enough miles in to call it a long run before the clock runs out.

He has run these roads before, and he's likely been lost here before; 18 years before. Last time, he was here for a consulting engagement that went on for months. He got to know the roads quite well then. This time, here for the People's Climate March (for which he has to be concerned about getting back), he's doing some measure of re-learning.

Learning can be a slow process, however, and such is most definitely the case for Danny Boy today. Another old adage comes to his mind: the faster you run, the more lost you can get. He slows down even more whilst pondering this bit of wisdom, and that only makes things worse. Good thing he's only half-way through his long run. He can always speed up for the second half, can't he?

Danny Boy manages to find his way back to the Marriott by mile ten. He still has eight to go before he can call this run long, and this is important. It's only important because he's tried and failed so much in recent weeks. But now that he's not lost, he had better get moving faster.

Somehow, he does. The gel, sport beans and water probably helps. It's warm and humid - unusual for April. But it's also ironic that the People's Climate March should occur on a record-setting day; the temperature, in the seventies now, would reach 91 later on.

Oh yes, the run. Danny Boy begins doing 1.5-mile loops around the pretty little lake and surrounding shopping area. Each one gets a little faster. Danny Boy successfully runs 18 miles. Hooray for Danny Boy!

Part 2

The good news is that Danny Boy is rich! He has found 2 dimes and 2 pennies. Together with the penny he found yesterday, that makes.... he's trying to add it up.... a lot of money! The not so good news is that he's lost again. The worst news is that he's running even slower than during his lost miles of the previous day.

This day is warm and oppressively humid. Danny Boy, still recovering from yesterday's long run and hot march, is having a difficult go. But he wants to get ten in, and by Jove, he's going to do it. He has now determined how he's been managing to get so lost, and how he managed to get even more lost during his runs of 18 years ago:

1) The roads to not go straight. Yes, there are hills to get around, but it appears that the roads mostly make dramatically strange angled turns, just because they can.
2) The road names change. And this too is for no reason at all; it's also probably just because they can.
3) Road names sometimes take the name of a perpendicular road, whilst the one going straight takes on a different name.
4) Road names at intersections are either not stated, or are just plain wrong.

Danny Boy makes it back in ten excruciatingly slow miles. But he does make it back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ouch II: Danny Boy Falls for Nothing

Danny Boy is awake at 3:30 AM, which is a little earlier than planned. Good, he thinks; he may be able to get an extra mile or so in. Eleven would be really nice, but he will still settle for ten as he'd planned.

Danny Boy is out the door and on the street at 4:39 AM, which is a little later than planned. He should never, never, never check Facebook before a run. Just a quick minute, he'd thought. Enough time for the coffee to kick in, he'd thought. It never works out as planned. Now he may have to settle for even less than ten miles. What will this do to his weekly total?

There is still a glimmer of hope, he thinks. If he can only run really fast, he might still be able to get his miles in, and still get back in time to get off to work.

Danny Boy is running as fast as he can go, and that isn't so fast. But it's still early in the run. Maybe he can still do it.

Early miles give way to middle miles, and Danny Boy is still not running very fast. It's not for lack of trying. Maybe he's still recovering from Sunday's almost longish run. The one where he had intended to run more, but ran out of time. Yeah, that one.

On one of the deep, dark side-streets near home, Danny Boy approaches a pile of branches and other debris that someone had thoughtfully placed in the road. He easily scoots around the pile, but as he returns to his running lane, he finds himself falling. The fall took several steps and at least one very bad word. He has time to break the fall with his hands and right leg. Once on the ground, he looks over and determines that he had tripped over one tiny stick that had escaped from the nearby pile.

Danny Boy often makes fun of his running partners who fall. But who is laughing now?

Danny Boy also looks around to make sure no one saw him. And also to make sure no one heard his expletive. Danny Boy is not known for using bad words. At least not very often. At least not by people other than his wife. At least not when he's not engaged in some wayward home improvement activity.

Danny Boy finishes his run with nine miles. He's not in any more pain than usual. Maybe he can over, rather than under-achieve tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tales of Danny Boy: Ouch

We here at Blog Central made a sincere promise a while back. We agreed to never again post stories of The Kid. We still plan to stick to our solemn oath; the Kid Chronicles are no more. However, in the spirit of Great Third-Person Literature, we now introduce the Tales of Danny Boy.

“Ouch!” Danny Boy says out loud. It’s 9.3 miles into his 10-mile run. He thinks he may have once again done something pretty darn stupid.

The thing is, running had been improving once again for Danny Boy. To review, a couple months ago, he was ramping up his mileage and his intensity in anticipation of running two and a half marathons this Spring. Then he had his SETBACK. In the ensuing weeks, besides dealing with the intensified Achilles pain, he lost gobs of fitness. Due to that lost fitness, Danny Boy decided to opt-out of Marathon Number One, the Canton Hall of Fame Marathon. But now, over the last couple weeks, he was beginning to feel better again, and was clawing his way back up to 50 miles per week.

Until today.

He hits the road at 4:25 AM, and immediately runs into Neighbor Runner Rita, who is running with her dog. Kind of weird talking with a neighbor at that early hour, but after a few nice words, they each run their separate ways. Danny Boy runs over to the track at his usual easy, slow, loping pace. Once under the fence, however, he lowers the hammer.


It turns out that that hammer is not of the sledge variety, but more like a 6-ounce ball pin type. Having run 10-minute miles to get here, he’s now doing four miles at 8:20 or so pace. He supposes that this fast-feeling is sort of like a tempo run, such as it is. This poor excuse for Something of Substance will have to do today. Danny Boy only wants to survive the run without re-injury. He had been thinking that the soft track surface would be good for him. The constant turning may be stressful, but at this extra-slow pace, there shouldn’t be much torque, he thinks.


Towards the end of the track run, Danny Boy’s Achilles begins talking to him. “I’m here,” it says. It talks more during the run home, until Danny Boy makes his “Ouch!” exclamation. Danny Boy feels stupid.


Maybe it’s not totally dumb. Maybe Danny Boy will easily recover.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

More or Less

I've lost my base, and don't know where to find it.


It's Saturday, and it's the usual gang, more or less: Debbie Scheel, Theresa Wright, Harold Dravenstott, Michelle Wolff, and, somewhat surprisingly, myself. My Achilles injury got so bad a couple weeks ago, that I've done almost no running at all of late. Even though I was beginning to feel better, I had informed the group that although double digits would be nice, anything at all would be better than nothing.

Fast forward an hour and a half, more or less. The others want to do more, but I ~~wisely for once~~ decide to quit early. I got ten and change in, and I am feeling pretty darn good, relatively speaking. In fact, I could do more. I've just chosen not to. I feel so darn smart.


It's Sunday, and it's the usual gang, more or less: actually the same as yesterday, minus Harold and Michelle, but plus Frank Dwyer. I got through the rest of yesterday without major mishap, and as we begin today, I am still feeling pretty okay.

But today is Sunday, and so this must be Hinckley. Hinckley, as in hills. Hills that we did not have yesterday. I fall behind right away on Bellus Hill. It gets worse. Even as I battle back, the others get far ahead of me again on other hills, but stop and wait for me at times. Sympathy for the old man, you know; he lost his base, more or less, and can't seem to find it.

Then comes Effie. I'm behind again, except more than ever now. It occurs to me that this day, I could have done less.

I do manage to complete this, and get another double digit run under my belt. The base will come back, won't it? In the last couple downhill miles, Debbie scoots up ahead, and I mention to Theresa that she (Debbie) was doing the right thing for her upcoming Boston run. Theresa, who is going to Beantown as well, sprints hard to catch and even pass Debbie. Never, ever challenge Theresa, or even kid her to say that someone else is doing some training that's 'good'.

But now I'm really tired. And my Achilles hurts more than yesterday. I feel so darn dumb.

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