Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cold and windy

i got up this morning and looked at the weatherlab online. it was 29 degrees and the wind was howling along at 24mph. when i saw a gust of 27mph, i'll admit i almost went back to bed. i knew the pain i would endure. riding in the cold with that kind of wind is not fun.

well, i didn't have fun, but i rode. i got dressed as quickly as i could and headed out on the highway. i crept along, pushing against a wind bent on the complete devastation of my will. i was barely hanging onto sub-10mph speeds at times. i growled and the wind growled back.

i made it out to the base of l'alpe d'anville and turned around. the wind was not as helpful as it could have been, but at least i got a bit of a break. i wobbled home, ending my first 14 miles with a 13.5mph average speed.

after breakfast i headed out for another 10 miles. the story was much the same except the sun was out and it was a little colder - 25 degrees. i fought the wind out to the top of drouhard hill, turned around and rode back. my average climbed to 14.3mph.

the only good thing about riding today was what it did for my mileage. i only need 750.9 miles to reach my goal of 8040 miles and tomorrow the wind is predicted to be 2-3mph. i'll believe that when i see it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

efficient, not obsessive

my wife occasionally (nearly every day) suggests (tells me in no uncertain terms) that i am a little bit (completely) obsessed with meeting my mileage goal. i don't know what she's talking about. i had almost an hour from when she left for wichita and when my EMS meeting started tonight. i took less than 10 minutes getting dressed to go out. it was 33 degrees. the wind had died down a bit. i road 10.36 miles. i was only on my bike for 36 minutes and 21 seconds. that left me more than 10 minutes to shower, post my workout to DM and get to my meeting. i have four minutes to spare. i'm not obsessive. i'm efficient! (10.36 miles @ 17.1mph)

a pilgrimage cut short

i had two goals for my ride this morning. the first, to #zapthezero, was easy. i rode down my driveway and it was done. the second, to get my miles needed to reach my goal for the year under 800 miles, was just a little harder. i nailed it too. i needed 19 miles. i got 34. another good ride or two today and tomorrow and i'll not have too much trouble reaching 8040 miles. i still have to beat Steve S. there, but that's another issue altogether.

my miles came in two out-and-back rides this morning. the first 20.05 miles were in the dark. i was blown this way and that by the atrocious wind. it was crazy slow going on the way out and not all that fast coming home.

i shed a tear or two at fisher's corner. two skunks and a possum died there. it appeared the possum was guiding his smelly companions northeastward toward sedgwick county park where the striped ones hoped to catch a glimpse of the skunk whisperer, @winston k. it's a shame their pilgrimage was cut short by a speeding semi.

this first ride ended at 6:30. my average speed was a measly 14.8mph.

the second "half" of the morning's mileage came after breakfast. another out-and-back gave me 14.02 more miles. my speed was a bit better. perhaps the sun helped warm my legs so they functioned better. i don't know.

i saw an additional road kill victim, a raccoon smashed on the side of the chicaskia river bridge. perhaps he was a scout for the skunk pilgrims. perhaps a raider seeking to do them harm. either way, he died in his prime. a critter full of vim and vigor. weep for his children, his wife, his other wife, his other children, his bowling buddies. he is no more.

i made it out and back with no problems and no surprises. my average speed gained a half mile per hour reaching a"lofty" 15.3mph. not bad for a windy winter day. (34.07 miles @ 15.3mph)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

plans that go awry

i didn't wake up until almost 6:00 this morning. it took me forever to get bundled up for the cold, so i didn't have as much time as i would have liked to ride. by the time i rolled down the driveway it was nearly 6:30.

since my parents live near the top of a little hill, i decided to coast as far as i could. i made it to the other end of the housing development before i took my first pedal stroke.

leaving town, i went south today. i rode down to county road 458 and then headed west again. i had a few hills that i'd missed yesterday that i wanted to take in before we head home later today.

the greatest hill - if you're going down it - is just to the west of 1400 road on 1100 road. i flew down it, getting just over 32mph.

from there the plan was to ride in to lawrence and loop back to the house on old highway 10. my plans went awry.

when i got to 1200 road i couldn't help myself. i turned to the west and headed out to the dam. i had noticed the outlet park yesterday and wanted to see what it would be like to go that way without having to be frozen by the wind off the lake.

the trip through the park was awesome. no wind. a gradual incline. much better than the evil hill that i'd have had to climb if i went up and over the dam. i'm storing this route for future reference.

when i got through the park, i headed north toward the clinton parkway. i was going to ride it back through town and then take old highway 10 back to eudora. my plans changed again.

when i saw the bike path at the base of the hill, i decided to turn and take it back into town. i cruised along the 12" wide path, passing an occasional runner along the way. the path wound around and got me back to the hollywood theaters and highway 59. a quick cross-country maneuver and i was out on the highway and with a quick left back on the route i rode yesterday.

i shot through the baker wetlands and then across to haskell where i headed north rather than south. i climbed the hill back up to 23rd and took it east till i reached the turn off for old highway 10. from there it was a straight shot back to eudora.

i turned at the base of the hill back into eudora and rode to 14th street which i thought went all the way through to 2200. it didn't. i ended up having to zig zag my way back to 2200 using cedar, 12th, elm and 14th.

i turned south onto 2200 and a couple miles later i was back in my parents' driveway. i rolled to a stop a few minutes later than i planned, but none the worse for the wear. the extra miles will help me in my battle against Steve S. (38.16 miles @ 15.6mph)

Friday, November 26, 2010

6.25 miles in 55'13"

everyone was fixated on the non-game (at the time) between auburn and alabama. i was tired of reading "major" by todd balf, a fascinating book about major taylor's cycling exploits in the late 1800s and early 1900s. what a great narrative. an african-american athlete ignores the racist whites of the south and breaks world record after world record. amazing story! still, i can only take so much sitting around. i had to get out and do something.

i announced my intentions to run a 10K (6.25 miles actually) and be back by 5:00. with the women away, no one batted an eye. so i pulled on a long sleeve base layer and shrugged into my GoRun wichita shirt, slipped on my shorts and shoes and headed out the door.

the first mile was a real grind. i was stiff and didn't feel all that great, but i kept going and eventually i started feeling a bit better and got my legs under me. i entered eudora from the south and turned off the main road, a busy two-lane street, onto side streets at the first opportunity.

running west past the 2-mile mark (i was at an 8:20 pace then) i turned north and then west and then north again and made my way to a final westward turn and dove down the hill on 10th street to the 3-mile mark just before turning south on 2100 road.

2100 began with a fairly steep climb back up to the west side of eudora. i ran it at a decent clip and then dealt with the rolleurs that followed. a run up and over highway 10 brought me to the 4-mile mark. i was somewhere around 35 minutes at that point. the pavement ended shortly after that and i was running on gravel.

i crossed 1300 road and continued on toward 1200. the hills started coming thick and fast and at the bottom of nearly every one of them there was a driveway that looked like a road. i'd fly to the bottom of the hill eagerly anticipating my final turn only to be disappointed. i'm serious! it happened three or four times before 1200 finally appeared out of no where.

i turned east knowing that i was on pace to finish with a time close to the PR i established in haviland at the end of october. i was pleased to be doing so well and feeling so well considering the addition of this route's hills. there were no hills in haviland!

i continued down the road at high alert. before i left the house, my dad had warned me about a couple of dogs and i didn't want to be caught by them unaware. they never materialized.

i turned north into my parents' housing development and headed up the hill to the north end of it. i was pretty sure i wasn't going to land a new PR at this point, but i figured there was no reason not to try for one. i felt strong as i climbed. i made it to the top and turned east. a little down and up and i was at the corner just north of the finish line.

i turned south and ran hard to the end. i stopped my watch at 55'13" giving me an 8'50" per mile pace. not bad. on the flats i'm sure i would have PRed had i run as strong. be that as it may be, i loved the hills that challenged. they added interest and excitement to the race against the clock.

i walked a block or two to cool down, then walked in the door a few minutes before 5:00. "you're back!" my dad said. "it's not even 5:00." gotta love that!

black friday

i woke up just before 5:00 this morning and realized it was black friday, the day people get up at ungodly hours to fight with other people for a tickle me elmo or a beanie baby or a care bear or whatever happens to be the "kill for" item that year. since no one else was going to do anything sensible, i decided it was up to me to balance things out a bit. the world needed a hero on a bike doing good to counteract all the evil being perpetrated at the malls of america. to quote a somewhat famous cucumber: "i am that hero!"

by the time i found all my gear and had my bike ready to go, it was about 5:10. i rolled down elm street and turned left to head toward eudora. i cruised up and over highway 10 and pulled in at the kwik shop for some gatorade and a powerbar.

my purchases secured, i headed back out on the road. i went south to eudora's main east-west road and turned west to go to lawrence on old highway 10. this highway is flat as anything between eudora and lawrence, but there are steep hills on both ends of it. i had to climb up to the top of the hill in eudora before plunging down to the flats and then i had to climb up into lawrence on 15th street. i crossed the railroad tracks just before a train came roaring through. the crossing guards came down before i reached the crest of the hill.

it was much warmer in lawrence. the buildings blocked the wind some making the "feels like" temperature a bit more bearable. i didn't know what the actual temperature was at this point, but i knew i was glad for the respite.

when i reached haskell, i turned north and rode up to 11th street before turning west again. i rode up 11th to new hampshire and turned north again. new hampshire took me to 7th which took me to kentucky which took me to 6th.

heading west on 6th i encountered what may be the longest hill i've ever climbed. it wasn't terribly steep, but it just kept going and going. i was blessed by green lights almost all the way up. there was one red light at a three-way intersection. i didn't stop. it was dark. no one was coming from any direction and the side of the intersection without a road was my side. i'm sorry beccie. i couldn't help myself. i slowed a bit if that makes it any better. i took the gutter and kept rolling upwards.

the hill ended eventually and i enjoyed a brief downhill. i was tempted by breakfast at burger king and mcdonald's, but that would mean participating in the evil of black friday. i wasn't about to spend money unnecessarily before 9:00.

i followed 6th until i reached kasold and then headed south. there was a great hill that i'd never managed to hit going down. riding up that hill is painful, so i figured down would be better than a snot-free nose on a chilly day.

before i got to the hill, i passed tam o' shanter street. from that point on all my inner conversation was spoken with a scottish accent. i said, "top o' the morning to ye," to everyone i met. that's probably poor scottish, but it's all i know so give me a wee break if ye please.

riding down the hill was marvelous. actually, marvelous hardly describes it. i sped down, down, down and banked hard into the parking lot at hyvee. i spun this way and that dodging parked cars and ended up out on highway 10 again.

following 10 took me up another nasty long hill and then i got to plunge down one again. wheeee! it was even more fun than the kasold hill and i'm really glad i decided not to ride on the bike path. about halfway down i went streaking past a runner out with his (or her) two black dogs. i'm not sure i would've seen them fast enough to avoid them had i been on the same strip of asphalt. thank God for small favors!

when i hit the bottom of the hill, i did a quick right-left and hopped on the bike path for the equal and opposite uphill. to say it was awful would be an understatement. it wasn't as long as the hill i climbed on 6th, but it was steeper. i growled and dug deep and made it up and over the top.

i spun around the traffic circle at the top and then rode up to the clinton lake state park road. since my road teed there, i turned south and headed down toward the dam. i'd ridden across the dam earlier in the year while scouting the kansas ironman 70.3 bike route for my dailymile friends and i wanted to do it again.

turns out that was one of my less fortunate decisions. the wind off the lac (i'm still thinking scottish here) was cold! the wind was from the west and as it crossed the water it picked up speed and dropped a degree or two. brrrrr! my fingers which had been fine to this point started to ache a bit. i had to flex them over and over to keep the blood flowing.

as soon as i was across the wind and out of the wind, i had to climb the stupid hill that leaves that dam and climbs up and around a bend before diving back down to the land beneath the lake. the climb was not fun. the dive was a blast.

i got to the bottom of the hill and turned right. before i'd ridden a mile, i realized i'd turned the wrong way. i recognized the wakarusa school on the east side of the road - that's where i dropped a water bottle at full speed on a group ride last spring - so i turned around in the parking lot and headed back toward lawrence.

i was thankful for the break from hills that the road i was on gave me. it was mostly flat back to highway 59.

reaching the highway, i decided to turn north toward town and then sneak around the south side of town past the baker wetlands. i zigged and zagged and then turned south on what would have been haskell had i gone north. this road is one of my favorites. it passes along the river's wetlands and then passes through a series of rolleurs before reaching county road 458, my route back to eudora.

i sped across the flats and took the rolleurs in stride. i rolled on to 458 and then turned east. there were a few long, fairly shallow hills on the county's thuroughfare and a short steep hill or two and then nothing. a short flat section and then a left turn onto church street and a couple of miles back into eudora.

when i reached my parents' housing development, i spun around the outside edges completing my loop without using the same section of road twice. the thermometer read 20 degrees! no wonder my fingers and toes were numb.

the world is back in balance now. it is after 9:00. i shall shower and then - *gulp* - shop. grrrr! (43.60 miles @ 14.9mph)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksgiving day 5K results

it took all day, but the results for the lawrence thanksgiving day 5K race were finally posted online.

i ended up 14th out of 32 men in my age group with an official time of 24:12.5. the fastest of the 40-44 males came in at 18:28.3. my wife's official time was 35:10.9 which was right at what we saw when she passed under the timing arch. that means they went on gun time rather than chip time. she was 31st out of 36 in her group.

since they didn't post results in a way that was easy to figure out where i placed overall, i tried to figure it out on the photographer's site but lost track. then i went back to the results page and counted all the people who finished with a better time. there were 25 females ahead of me and 108 males. that puts me in 134th place out of 733. not bad, but there's room for improvement.

thanksgiving day 5K

i had just started the race at this point. i was feeling good, stretching it out a bit. i finished my first mile in 7:20.

susan was cold when she started, but she warmed up later on. my huge gloves didn't fit very well anyway.

at this point i knew that i was going to end with a new PR. the only question was how many seconds i'd take off.

after i finished, i went back and helped susan run in to the finish. she wasn't feeling all that great.

3.10 miles in 24'11"

my wife and i got up early so we'd have plenty of time to drive to lawrence from my parents' house in eudora. we donned our race gear and left the house around 7:20. after a quick stop for gatorade at a convenience store on highway 10, we continued on to massachusetts and turned north. we drove through downtown and over the kansas river. across the bridge we made an immediate right into the parking lot at the visitors center, grabbed our gear and headed toward the school where the race was to start in a little less than an hour.

finding the school was a piece of cake. there were people walking or jogging there everywhere we looked. we arrived at the school and made our way to the gym. we found a spot to put our stuff down and started putting on our race gear. we'd worn winter coats in the car and we needed to lighten the load a bit. at 8:00 we were ready to go, our race numbers in place.

around 8:20 we headed out the door to line up for the race. my wife walked a little way toward the back and i found a spot about four rows back from the starting line. that's where Laurie E. found me. she stepped up beside me and said, "are you mike?" another dailymile meet up!

at 8:30 the starter counted down to the start and sent us on our way. i took off at a pretty good pace weaving my way in and out of those around me. when i felt like i had a bit of space, i settled into what felt like a reasonable pace and ignored those who passed me. my goal was a PR and i knew i could easily blow my chances by overdoing it in the first mile.

i followed the crowd around the first corner and headed south toward the river. the road curved around back to the east as the field spread out a bit. i hugged the edge of the road trying to make sure i didn't unnecessarily add distance to my run. i ran the two blocks east and then headed north again on 6th street. the course did a quick zig zag and then we ran a bit longer eastward stretch till we turned north again. every time i turned north i was thankful (it is thanksgiving you know) that the predicted high winds had not materialized. it was 21 degrees, yes, but not 21 with a windchill of 9. i don't know exactly where on the course i passed the 1-mile mark, but i looked at my watch when i passed the marker. i'd run that first mile in 7:20 and i didn't feel miserable! so far so good.

after another eastbound block or two on maple and we headed south toward the river. there was a bit of a downhill there. that's not saying much. this course was F-L-A-T! flatter even than any of my routes at home!

just before passing the 2-mile mark a bunch of friendly volunteers were handing out cold water. cold water! are you crazy! it's 21 degrees out! i passed them up and hit 2 miles at 15:20, an 8:00 second mile!

the 2-mile mark was right at the turn back to the west along the river. i talked briefly with a guy who was running near me. he felt awful. i urged him on. "come on! less than a mile to go!" he decided he could outrun me and took off. grrrr!

a few turns later, i thought i had five and a half blocks, but i was wrong! i turned again and realized i was less than two blocks from the finish line! i picked up my pace and turned south onto 5th street. i saw the timing clock. it was still under 24 minutes! i pushed as hard as i could and crossed the line at 24:11, my best time at 5K by 39 seconds! my final pace was 7:47 per mile, 12 seconds per mile faster than my 5K just two days ago. i must be a cold weather runner.

after a short rest to get the nausea under control and to remind my heart and lungs what they were supposed to do, i started walking back along the course to find my wife. i found her about a block and half from the finish line and jumped out on the course to run her in. she picked up her pace a bit and passed a number of runners including one she pipped at the line. the timing clock read somewhere around 35 minutes, but we don't know how long into the timing she was before she crossed the starting line. we're still waiting for the results to be posted www.runlawrence.org.

we walked around a bit to cool down and then headed back into the gym to change into the extra clothes we'd brought. there's something special about warm, dry gear after a hard run.

we hung around long enough to see the first few pages of results posted. we weren't on them, so we headed to starbucks. i'd bribed my wife with good coffee to get her to run this morning.

we got our drinks then drove back to eudora where we were greeted by the rest of our just-getting-up clan.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

chips!

my dad picked up my wife's and my race packets since we were running behind today. our timing chips are in place ready for the 8:30 start!

foggy went a ridin'

i didn't get quite as many miles in this morning as i had hoped. i had to take care of a few things around the house so we'll be ready to leave for my parents' house later today. i did the next step on the cresent rolls. i changed laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and started another load. i put away the clean dishes and cleaned up the kitchen counters and then, after a brief talk with my wife, i went for a ride.

it was a balmy 47 degrees at 5:15, so i didn't have to wear as many layers. that meant less dressing time and more time on the bike.

i headed out just before 5:30 and met up with a little unexpected fog. it wasn't terribly dense most of the time and there isn't much traffic on the highway early in the morning, so i just kept riding. there were a few times that in the darkness i wasn't sure how far i could see, but most of the time i was confident i could see at least a half mile.

when i got to the top of nine-mile hill, the fog started to clear a bit. i rode on past chicaskia road, past the county salt shelter and mayfield to anson road where i turned around. i had planned to ride at least two miles further out, but decided i needed more time to get everything ready at home. no sense in getting in trouble when i don't have to.

the ride home was basically fog-free. visibility increased as the sunlight grew. i felt great and my legs felt super-good as i pedaled along, not really pushing it, but not just spinning either.

i rode back onto pine street at about 7:15 and hit my driveway a minute or two later. i logged everything, came inside and started in on the remaining work. another load of laundry changed over and another started. a shower taken and a face shaved. doors unlocked and dailymile post posted.

ready for the day! (26.26 miles @ 15.4mph)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3.11 miles in 24'50"

running is so weird! i wasn't even trying hard today. i didn't want to toast my legs before thursday's race in lawrence (and the virtual one here). i felt absolutely pokey the whole time i was running today. i had a bit of discomfort in my GI tract. i felt like i was going to have to stop, but somehow i kept running. i even passed my house without turning in. i wanted 5K, not three miles! all that and i ended with a new PR, my first sub-8 minute paced run at this distance. weird!

creative riding

i thought i would use kurt vonneygut's rules for creative writing to share with you the mayhem that was my ride today. (i found his rules at melanconent.com/lib/rev/bagombosnuffbox/creativewriting.html)

1. use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

reading this report of my morning cylcing workout will take you much less time than it took me to ride it. i was on the road for 2:26'07" beginning at 4:50. i rode to mayfield and back before stopping for breakfast. i went out again post-meal and did an out and back to milan. my breakfast fueled 12 miles brought my average speed up to 15.6mph. oops! time's awasting. i'd better move on.

2. give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

i hope you will root for me and not for the cold temps or the wind. it was 29 degrees when i first went out and 27 when i got back from that first trip out and back. by the time my second ride was finished it was back up to 29 and i was sweating. the wind was a decent chap and didn't fight me too much this morning and only brought the "feels like" temperature down five or six degrees, but don't cheer for him or hill blow me off the road tomorrow.

3. every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

i wanted warmth. i dressed in as many layers as i could put on without having to creep back into my bedroom and raid the closet there. i also wanted to get more miles than steve s., my mileage goal throwdown nemesis. he got a flat at just under 15 miles this morning. i tried to cry. really i did.

4. every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.

steve is a whiner. his character is revealed in the way he complains about having to call the "team car" to get him when his tire flats and he has failed to carry a spare tube or patch kit. poor steve!

5. start as close to the end as possible.

since my route was a simple out and back today, i started exactly where i ended. how's that for creative riding!

6. be a sadist. no matter [how] sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

an evil gnome attacked me at mile sixteen. a dog bit my leg at mile twenty-one. i nearly feel through the grates on the bridge at mile thirty-four. i made all that up, of course. now you see what i'm made of - crazy stuff!

7. write to please just one person. if you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

cough, cough! i think i'm coming down with something. hope i'm not catching. hate to spread a virus all over dailymile!

8. give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. to heck with suspense. readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

so finish it yourself! (37.98miles @ 15.6mph)

Monday, November 22, 2010

t-k-o!

most people look at the red glow of their alarm clock at 4:30 in the morning and roll over. not me. i jump out of bed! "more miles!" i exclaim excitedly. that is, of course, an internal shout of joy. if i yelled out loud, my pleasure would be dampened by my wife's cross words. "michael!" i'm in trouble when she calls me that. "i'm trying to sleep!" since i prefer sleeping in my own bed even if i only get about 1/8th of the space, i do not even whisper a word until after the sun comes up. life is better that way.

so quietly, with delight in my soul, i slipped out of bed and went to look at the outdoor temperature. when i saw 56 degrees, i nearly squealed. this would be my warmest ride in weeks!

i dressed much more quickly than what had become the norm recently and was out the door just before 5:00. i rolled easily up pine street and turned west on the highway. that's when the wind hit me full in the face. it actually blew the air i was trying to exhale back into my lungs! i dipped my head so i could get the CO2 out. that task accomplished, i punched back. the power of my God-given quads versus the resistance of a God-created gale.

the wind had the upper hand for the first thirteen miles or so. it battered my body and got into my head. "you can't make it!" it howled. "turn back! give up!"

with a low growl, i gave my reply, "never!" i pushed back even harder, staying low to avoid a roundhouse to the head.

then i turned around and round one ended. the wind let out a sigh and backed into its corner of the ring. i'd won round one with 26.09 miles. not quite a knock out, but my nemesis was reeling.

round two began after breakfast. i had enough time to ride out six or seven miles and make it back before work. once again, my foe fought me tooth and nail. once again i found the energy to fight back and not give up. i made it out to the base of l'alpe d'anville and then turned around. the battle was over - a technical knock out in less than 30 miles. my hand raised in victory, i rode home. my final tally - 40.19 miles. (40.19 miles @ 15.9mph)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

it's on, steve!

yesterday, i caught steve s. whining on dailymile about how many miles he had left to reach his 10,000 cycling miles goal for the year. since i hate a whiner, i taunted him, egging him on toward the finish line. "i've got just over 1000 miles left," i said. "race you!" a few minutes later i get an invitation to a "mileage goal throwdown". steve s. was throwing down the gauntlet. i picked it up and pulled it on. (you can never have too many gloves when when you're going to be riding hundreds of miles in the cold.)

so this morning the race was on. i didn't wake up until after 6:00, so i'd wasted an hour i could've been riding. i'm not complaining. just stating the facts. i dressed quickly and hit the road.

i pushed it pretty hard this morning. nothing like a little competition to motivate! my first race was against the sunrise. i wanted to see how many miles i could cover before the glowing orb broke the horizon. i smiled when i hit the 11-mile mark just as the slow poke got out of bed.

i pushed on from there. at just under an hour out, i was averaging 15.8mph. i hit the 15-mile mark and though, "i should turn around." cars were coming from behind me and in front of me. i hesitated. could i make the u-turn? not being much of a risk taker when it comes to playing dodge-car, i made a split second decision. i'd ride another mile out.

when i got to 16 miles, i turned for the race home. the grudge match was now against the clock. i'd promised my wife i'd be home at 8:30 to run with her. i had 50 minutes to cover the same distance that had just taken me 62 minutes to complete.

i was grateful for the wind's help as i accelerated up to speed. my daily nemisis was now my friend, urging me on, telling me i could do it. i wasn't so sure, but i was going to give it the old college try.

as the miles flew by, i began to have doubts. i don't have mad math skillz like kris r. but i knew enough to know that i had to ride faster than i was going at the moment. i gritted my teeth and accelerated.

at 8:00 i hit the 9-miles-to-go mark. thirty minutes left. if i averaged 18mph i could do it. my overall average at that point was just under 17mph. i put on my "i'm determined" mask and rode for all i was worth. every time i dipped under 18mph, i growled and pushed the cranks harder.

it wasn't until i hit the 2-miles-to-go that i was confident i had victory in hand. i had eight minutes left. i can cover 2 miles in 8 minutes on all but my very worst wind-fighting days. i relaxed just a bit, but kept things over 17mph.

i arrived home at 6:28. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! (32.52 miles @ 17.4mph)

3.76 miles in 37'32"

i rested for about fifteen minutes after my bike ride while my wife got ready to run. at 6:45 we were out the door and walking a couple of blocks to warm up. we got to the corner of pine and allen and decided to try my "northside zig zag out and back route" in reverse.

it was slow going this morning. not sure what was going on, but my wife wasn't "feeling" it. we stopped and walked a bit even before we'd completed the first mile. we walked a little more before we hit a mile and a half. it was at that point that she said, "i think i want to go home," and turned east while i continued on south.

i ran a little faster for awhile, but then i started to feel not so great. i trudged along until about five blocks short of completing the route. i felt so awful at that point that i just stopped. i haven't done that in ages, but i didn't have anything in the tank and nothing was at stake so why push it? i walked the three blocks home and called it a day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

back in kansas!

it could have been sleep deprivation or the bitter cold messing with my imagination, but i'm almost sure that at one point in my ride this morning i overheard that most famous of dorothys shouting to her canine pal, "toto, i think we're back in kansas again!" there was certainly enough force behind the wind to blow the pair and a half dozen flying monkeys back from oz. wow! it is windy. i've lived in kansas for almost twelve and a half years so that means something. put bricks in your small children's pockets before you send them out the door to school, because it's predicted to get worse as the day goes on.

i started out riding south, straight into the wind. i crept along at 10-11mph with bursts of 12-14mph for three plus miles before i got wise and turned around. it was just too much to ask of my legs to fight against such a gale.

with my back to the gale, i sailed back to town and turned west on the highway. i almost immediately knew this was the wrong direction to go. the speed i was getting was coming too easily, so i turned around and headed east.

the going was rough for the next four miles as i tried desperately to stay on the shoulder and off the road. the wind kept pushing me across the white line. i don't know if there's such a thing, but i'd say this might have been what you call a homicidal wind. i'll have to look it up on google later.

after four miles of buffeting, i'd had enough. i turned around and headed back to the house. the cold started getting to me about this time too. 32 degrees with a strong wind is not warm. i pedaled on and somehow reached pine street where i had no choice but to turn south and face the wind again. three blocks of torture, wobbling this way and that, and i was home. i'm not going out on my bike again today. no way! i'll just follow the yellow brick road on foot. (15.59 miles @ 14.0mph)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2.86 miles in 31'19"

had a great run with my wife this evening. she was a little nervous about the outdoor temps since it was a little on the chilly side at 43 degrees. fortunately, with basically no wind, it wasn't unbearably cold. by the end of the run, my skull cap was almost too much and my wife's hands had gotten toasty.

at the beginning of our workout, we walked two blocks north to warm up. we then started running a zig zag pattern on the north-south streets all the way across town. it was an interesting new route, great for keeping monotony at bay. it also avoided the worst of the flooded intersections left over after the rain earlier this week. we walked one block on vine about halfway through this workout, but that was all. the rest was steady, "not going to give up" running.

one week till our thanksgiving day 5K. i checked the site earlier today. there were 558 people signed up! my biggest race to date. it will be interesting to see how my speed stacks up against the 18 or so other runners in my men's 40-44 age group.

two-goal lunch ride

i had two goals for this lunch time ride: 1) get more miles. it's obvious that i accomplished that one. 2) keep my total miles for the day over the average temp on my rides. this puts me over 35 miles on the day and the average temp on my rides is only 34. score! (6.94 miles @ 17.3mph)

brrrrrrrrrrr!

one word describes this morning's ride better than any other word could. that one word is brrrrrrrr! when i woke up at 5:30, it was 26 degrees outside. i took 15 minutes to dress for the occasion. double and triple layers take time to pull on. i'm so thankful for thermal tights, balaclavas, skull caps, windproof gloves, shoe covers and warm socks. there's no way i could get out during the winter without them.

after i was finally decked out in my warm apparel, i clicked into my pedals and headed out. i wanted to ride at least 18 miles today to get me up to the 50 mile mark for the week. my day off put me behind, so i had miles to make up.

on the first go round, i only picked up 16 miles. push as hard as i could, i could not gain speed. i ended my first hour of riding at 14.8mph. amazing how slow cold can make me go. at least my fingers and toes didn't fall off.

my second go round - the one that came after breakfast - was a bit better. i still wasn't breaking any land speed records, but my spinning got me up and over drouhard hill a bit quicker than the first time. i covered just over 12 miles, bringing my total mileage up to 28.22. my miles matched the average temperature! i was also able to add a tenth or two to my overall average, ending the ride at 15.1mph.

now to warm up. brrrrrrrrrr! (28.22 miles @ 15.1mph)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4.51 miles in 45'00"

i thought about running outside. really i did. it was 33 degrees with a strong north wind and a smattering of precipitation. still i wanted to go out for a run. my legs said, "yes!" my brain said, "no!" my brain won.

i popped a veggietales video in the dvd player. i set the incline at 2% and started running at 5mph to warm up. i wasn't feeling much like running hard, so i just added a tenth of a mile per hour every two minutes. i did this for 42 minutes reaching 7mph. then i dropped the incline to 1.5% and decreased my speed every 30 seconds till the video was done. in hit the stop button at 45 minutes and stepped off the nasty thing, dripping wet and wishing i was frozen and wind blown. grrrrr!

at least the video was fun!

speed or hills?

i walked up to the high school for some speed work on the track. when i got there, this is what i found. i stared at the mess for a little while and then went home. i just couldn't decide whether i wanted to do hill repeats or not.

the cycling symphony

this morning's ride was a symphony of cycling in three movements.

the first movement was slow and somber. the rhythmic spinning of the cranks took the rider into the dark. the clash of wind against cyclist, the clicking of the gears, the bump-bump of the seems in the road created a sense of suspense. the clouds overheaded hinted at a brewing storm which never fully developed. this movement, the longest of the three, covered 18.15 miles and lasted 1:12:10.

movement two had a lighter feel too it, a hint of hope. you could almost sun rising over the horizon as the rider tapped out the beat. the feeling was still a bit cold and the wind continued its assault, but even the least astute observer could sense the difference. this movement covered 6.35 miles and lasted 23:54.

the third and final movement was full of brightness and light. it was a swirling dervish. the rider danced on the pedals in the warmth of a brand new day. the speed of the spinning wheels created a sense of anticipation, of accomplishment, of victory. the brooding beginning of the symphony was forgotten as the wind was conquered and the miles engulfed. this final movement covered 8.34 miles in 30:52. the symphony in its entirety spanned 32.84 miles and was completed in 2:06:56. (32.84 miles @ 15.5mph)

Monday, November 15, 2010

3.14 miles in 24'54"

i woke up before my alarm went off at 5:50 this morning. i laid in bed enjoying the extra sleep i'd gotten. being 100 miles away from normal responsibilities does wonders for the mind and body.

i dressed and then headed down to the park to meet up with ryan k for a quick 5K. i arrived a few minutes early, so i cranked up the heat and listened the radio. ryan showed up a short time later and i pulled on my gloves and skull cap. it was 39 out and i knew i'd need them for at least the first few blocks.

we took off at a pretty good clip. for a little while it was hard to talk much, but i got everything under control before the first half lap was completed and settled into a really nice rhythm. my legs and lungs felt great and my lower abs, which had been sore after my half mary on saturday, were no problem.

we finished the first lap in just over twelve minutes and continued on. as we turned north in front of the grade school, i pulled off my gloves and skull cap and tried picking up the pace. after a block or two i was still feeling good, so i stayed at that pace until we reached the barclay college gym. there i picked things up again.

as we cleared the top of the hill by the college apartments, i realized it was all down hill back to the finish, so i pushed the pace one last time. i figured i could run close to "puke pace" for six blocks. i was mostly right. only problem was it was seven blocks.

about three blocks from the end of our second loop, i started feeling more woozy than i like to feel. i backed off the speed just a tad to keep the bile at bay, but when we rounded the final corner a block from the finish and i ramped it back up for a strong finish. both ryan's and my watch read 24'54" when we stopped. i was pleased. a great run with a great friend. i drove back to the house where i was staying. i showered, dressed and headed for breakfast with my daughter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

3.12 miles in 33'12"

with a little prodding from me, my wife (sort of) wanted to run tonight. she put on her old c25k workout podcast and away we went.

we walked up to allen street and over one block and then started running a 5K route she'd done a couple of times before. i couldn't remember all the twists and turns, so i let her lead. my legs were still sore from this morning's half mary, so her pace was pushing me a bit.

about half way through our run, she asked me, "are we running slow?" i told her i had no idea. i was struggling a bit to keep moving, so i was not the person to ask.

we looped down around the south and then headed north on main street. it was there that i realized my wife was headed for a personal best time. she picked up the pace when we neared the railroad tracks. we could hear a train in the distance and didn't want to be stopped by the signals.

up and over the tracks, we turned east. two blocks to go and we were at 32 minutes. her best 5K to date was 34'01" in haviland at the end of october. i urged her on and we ran the last block at a much higher pace. we hit garfield and i stopped the clock. her new best time: 33'12"! woohoo! that's 49 seconds faster than her previous PR. she's amazing!

13.45 miles in 2:18'43"

at 5:30 this morning, my dailymile friend bryan j. picked me up and together we headed to gorun wichita for an early morning run. i was a bit nervous since my intention was to run a half marathon distance, something i'd never done before. earlier in the week tony b. and i had planned to meet up in wellington to do this distance, but it worked out better for both of us to meet up at gorun wichita instead. (a great store run by dailymiler kevin s. by the way.)

around thirty people showed up to run a brand new course created by patrick g. i believe it was the zigzaggiest route i've ever done. i couldn't map it if i tried. i just know we went way south and then at the end of the official course continued on central back to maize and ran north back to the store.

early in the run i felt great. we ran around a 9-minute pace which was what i dreamed earlier in the week i could do the whole way.

around mile three i woke up from that dream. i started feeling nauseous, so we slowed a bit and a group that included dailymiler blaine v. and three women caught up with us. the six of us ran together for a short time and then two of the women turned around. their plan was to run eight miles and we had just passed the 4 mile mark. a mile or so later, we lost mandy (i think) and then at five and a half we lost blaine.

that was when i started feeling a bit better, so we picked up the pace again. around mile six and a half, we started encountering runners who were turning around and running back up the course. the lead pack looked strong as they flew north. oh to be fast. later! right now i just need to get used to longer distances.

a short time later, we turned into a beautiful housing development. the streets were tree lined and aflame with the colors of fall. even in the summer months this will be a nice place to run with all the shade. around seven and a half miles we passed bryan j. and mark on their way back. we kept going up what i think they called heartburn hill. not quite as bad as heartbreak i guess, but a hill nonetheless.

we wandered around some more and eventually ended up at 119th and central, the end of the official route. that gave us 10 miles, a half mile longer than my longest run to date. (i'm not counting the accidental 50K.) from 119th and central we continued on to maize road and then headed north to the store. that added almost another three and a half miles. i now have the official map made up on dailymile and i was only 2/100ths of a mile off in my original calculation. i ended with 13.45 miles instead of 13.43 miles.

thanks go to patrick g. for developing this route.

so i've done a half marathon now without really training for it. i'll keep working on that distance and maybe a few longer runs so that in 2011 i can have a faster official half.

speaking of that goal, does anyone know of a good half near wichita that i can run in in april or may that's not on a sunday? (a long shot, i know.) being a pastor makes sunday morning races a bit difficult. saturday would be perfect. please help.

Friday, November 12, 2010

1.63 miles in 14'43"

i ran this morning just to keep my legs from tightening up. i ran from the school out to main street and then ran south on main. everything felt great as i took it easy. even the climb up and over railroad hill didn't seem like much as i kept things smooth.

when i got to the south end of my trek, i had to leap a gutter full of water to continue on my way. no problem. my leaping legs were up to the task.

running north, i ran past a couple of yipping mutts behind bars. they struck no fear in my heart. i turned eastward away from them and ran home.

waz that ever a wild ride

i woke just before 5:00. a glance at the radar and i almost went back to bed. the voices said it would be okay. "jusssst thissss once. Karla G. thinks you're too wacko for the west side wackosssss. prove her wrong. go back to sssssleeeeep."

i jumped up and shouted, "get thee behind me, radar! you do not have in mind the things of fitness, but the things of repose!" i growled and got dressed for a wet ride.

honestly, when i stepped out the door with my bike, i almost went back in. it was wazzing - thanks Kevin M. for that word - and it was cold. i forced myself onto the seat and clicked into the pedals as i rolled out. no turning back!

when i reached the highway, i turned east. the weather lab had said the wind was out of the east-northeast, so that was the logical direction to go. fight the headwind on the way out. let the tailwind push you back.

the first two or three miles were miserable. between the rain falling from the sky and the spray off the vehicles passing me, i got pretty wet. my glasses were spotted and the glare from the undimmed bright headlights of oncoming cars made it difficult to know where i was. i put my head down and watched the white line. to pass the time, i imagined what the drivers of these cars were saying about me, what names they were bestowing upon me. "lucky" was my favorite driver-given moniker. i knew they were jealous.

when i passed the three-mile mark and headed down mock hill, the rain kind of petered out. i tried to spy the flag flying at the mock's house, but it was too dark and the tree in front of it hasn't lost enough leaves yet to give me a clear view. just as i turned my head back to the road, i saw something move on my left in the middle of the road. i looked quickly and my heart jumped. i couldn't tell what it was, but it looked like a giant anaconda! either that or a really big piece of plastic. i put the hammer down and fled the scene terrified. i had to come back the same way. what if the ssssserpent was waiting when i returned?

i rode out to milan road and turned around without further incident. my trip back wasn't all that much better than the way out. the wind was much more north than east or west, so sometimes i was still dealing with a headwind. grrrrr!

when i returned to the valley of the anaconda, i kept my eyes peeled for the beast. was it lurking in the ditch waiting? i will never know because as i neared the snakes lair three cars that would not dim their brights approached from the other direction. try as i might, i could not see a thing. for all i know i rode right past the anaconda of doom while he was blinded as well. lucky me.

i made it up and over mock hill and back to town. since i still had time to ride, i continued on through town and out into the countryside to the west. i rounded the correction curve with every intention of turning around at blackstone road. the voices said it would be okay. "you don't have to ride anymore. you can go home and be dry." grrrrr! i rode on up the the next road.

i turned around and headed back to town. when i reached pine street, i again had more time so i rolled past my turn off and continued on to eden road. eden? serpent? hmmm. this ride was getting more interesting by the mile. i turned around at eden road and headed back home. turning south onto pine, i quit pedaling. the strong north wind blew me all the way back to pine and vine without another turn of the cranks. i spun them around again only when i reached my driveway to go inside. it was beginning to waz again and i didn't want to get wet. (16.26 miles @ 14.0mph)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

3.45 miles in 34'44"

my wife came home from school and we went out for a run. we warmed up by walking to main street and then headed south toward the river park. we were planning to run past the park to 30th street, but when we neared the river park my wife wasn't so sure. i offered a solution.

"you run to the end of the trail and i'll run to 30th and back and catch up with you." she agreed and i started running harder.

i ran over the river and up the hill to 30th and turned around. i ran back to the park and jumped on the trail. just as i was rounding the corner on the back side of the trees, i spotted my wife turning to go back toward main street. i had a lot of catching up to do. i kept my pace steady, but fast as i tried to eat into her lead.

when i emerged at the other end of the trail, i finally spotted my wife again. she was probably five or six blocks ahead of me. i began to suspect foul play. she was running harder than she had been in an attempt to beat me back to our starting point. grrrr!

i ran faster for a little bit, but started to feel a little nauseus. i backed off the accelerator a bit until i recovered my equilibrium and then put in another push.

when i climbed up and over the railroad tracks, my deficit had dropped to less than two blocks, but my wife was still running away from me. i dug deep and ran hard for the last three blocks.

she beat me by 20 seconds. she was smiling as she watched me run in. she was amused. i will be amused later. i'm too tired right now.

2.16 miles in 16'41"

i looked outside and saw the rain. "at last!" i shouted. "i can use kevin mcd's word!" what is this word i have longed to use? waz (or perhaps wazz) is the word! now the rain that's falling here is a gentle sprinkle so it probably doesn't qualify as a true waz, but i'm going to say it anyway. "it was wazzing when i went out to run at noon!" that felt good.

the run felt good too. i walked down my driveway and started running and my legs responded amazingly. they just did what i told them to do, so this workout was fast. (it even made my top five fastest workouts on dailymile!)

you can't tell it by the route map, but this was a bunch of loops that got smaller and smaller as the run went on. i ran a block north from my house and then headed west to the farthest paved street and turned south. i ran two blocks south and then turned east again. when i got a block from home, i turned north two blocks then west to the next closest street, two block south, etc., etc. etc. i did this until the final loop was just a block west to main and back south two blocks. from there i ran back home.

sure wish every run felt like this. it was awesome!

evil east wind

"...and leave us not out in precipitation, but deliver us from the evil wind."

rain was predicted for this morning. it was highly likely - 46% chance. when i woke up it was not raining. the radar showed the beginnings of a storm 30 or 40 miles to the south headed north toward argonia, but it was slow moving. i had time to ride.

i dressed in layers before heading out. it was 39 degrees out with an evil east wind at around 10mph. i checked my clothing against bicycling.com's "what to wear" tool and i had it spot on - base layer, long sleeve jersey, light jacket, skull cap, tights over shorts, socks, shoes, shoe covers, gloves and a helmet. more than seven years of riding in all kinds of conditions is as good as an online fashion consultant!

i took my time riding north on pine street. it was cold and i didn't want to strain any cold muscles. i turned east at the highway and headed toward my goal - mayfield. i worked pretty hard today, pushing it up and over the hills as they rolled toward me. on nine mile hill, i had to shift down, but all the rest i took in the big ring.

when i arrived at mayfield road, a car was coming from the other direction. it slowed and turned on its turn signal. it wanted to go south to mayfield. i had decided a few minutes earlier that i didn't have time to ride into mayfield proper, so i wanted to turn around here. the car sat there, waiting on me. normally, i'd be pleased - it's not every day a motorist is that kind - but today i wanted to turn around and i didn't like him sitting there. i tried waving him on. he didn't budge. finally, i took the plunge and u-turned right in front of him. he turned only when my back was to him.

the ride home was a breeze, literally. the evil wind which had been fighting me was not my ally. i sped up and over rises. i dropped quickly into the valleys. what took me nearly an hour going out took around 40 minutes coming back. i ended this first leg of my journey - 24.11 miles - in 1:33'13".

after breakfast was done and the table cleared off, i checked the radar again. the rain was still headed our way, but it was still 15-20 miles to the south. i got on my bike again. my goal was to get in 14 more miles putting me at 100 miles for the week.

i rode a little harder this time. i had barely enough time to get in my workout and get cleaned up. on the way out, my average speed dropped only a tenth of a mile per hour to 15.4mph.

i turned around at conway springs road and flew back. i hit 20mph on every hill, up or down. i maintained 17-20mph for most of the time. it was a blast! the clouds thickened as i neared argonia, but they didn't drop anything on me. i leaned hard into the corner as i turned south onto pine street. i hit 20mph, the limit in the school zone, then backed off a bit. my cool down consisted of two blocks of easy spin back to the garage.

when i pulled to a stop, the clock stopped and i had 38.38 miles on the day. that put me just over 100 miles - 100.31 miles to be exact. it also put me a couple of miles over 6900 for the year. i'm really trying to get in some decent miles this month so i don't have to ride 50 miles a day in december to reach my 8040 goal. today was a good mileage gobbler. hopefully, tomorrow's predicted rain will be like today's...late in coming, so i can ride. (38.38 miles @ 16.1mph)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4.59 miles in 41'15"

when i started running this morning my plan was to run a loop around town. i ran up and around the grade school and on north past the "free land" sign and on through the new housing division.

as i neared argonia road, i made a last second decision to run north out of town. i figured i could run up to the corner and then run back and get in about three miles. i ran past the danville co-op's north elevator and up to 20th avenue.

at 20th i made another split second decision and turned east instead of making a u-turn back toward town. i was now entering territory i'd never run on before. i ran with an eye for stray dogs and mass murderers. i saw one dog, but he was fenced in so he's no worry.

i ran the mile on top of the square and then turned south on eden road just as a pickup was approaching the same intersection. thankfully we both saw each other at the same time and avoided a head on collision.

running south down this tree lined road was a great experience. i thought of what eric liddel told his sister jenny. "God made me fast and when i run i feel his pleasure." well, i definitely wasn't fast today, but i felt God's pleasure and i ran steadily toward the highway listening to tobymac's "get back up!" it was great!

when i reached the highway i glanced at my stopwatch. i'd been running just over 30 minutes. it was time to pick up the pace a bit. i ran along the highway paying careful attention to the approaching cars. people give me a wide berth on my bike, but they don't move over much for me when i'm running. one truck passed me and my hat flew off backwards. i jerked my hand back and caught it just before it flew away.

since the highway was proving to be a less than ideal place to run, i got off of it as soon as i could. i took a left hand turn at the road (or street) created when the mcdaniel's built their new house a few years ago. i ran south on it until it curved west and became allen street. allen took me back to pine where i turned south and ran the last two blocks to home. i stopped the clock at 41'15" giving me a slightly better pace than yesterday's morning run.

a good workout overall, if just a bit cold and windy out. thankfully, i'd checked runner's world's what to wear website and dressed almost perfectly for the conditions. i think i'll say i like it cool next time. maybe i won't get so warm toward the end of my run.

wicked west wind

something wicked this way comes. it's the west wind.

when i left the house this morning it was 52 degrees. the wind out of the west was a bit of a nuisance, pushing back every time i pushed forward. i was only able to eek out speeds of 13-15mph most of the way.

about six miles from home i passed that house. i call it that house because on more than one occasion i have passed it and been greeted on the other side of it's tree line with gale force winds. it happened again today. i nearly got knocked over by the force of what hit me just past that house. i lowered my body as low as it could go, my head down, my hands in the drops. i pedaled harder and i somehow managed to maintain 8-10mph for the next mile and half. the summit of l'alpe d'anville was awful. the western slope offered only a little reprieve from the hurculean effort required to stay upright and keep moving.

then i turned around. to say that the journey home was pure bliss might be a bit of an overstatement, but it was pretty nice. there were a few moments when the wind swirled around to the southeast, but mostly i was pushed along by the best tailwind i've had in a long time. i was able to recover after my hard effort. i cruised along at 18-20mph with much less effort than it had taken to go 10mph earlier.

i got back to town earlier than expected, so i rode out to eden road east of town and turned around to come back. the wicked wind did not disappoint. it was in my face again. i fought to maintain 12mph, barely hanging on. i was so glad when i got to pine street and turned south. i rolled home with the wind off my right shoulder at my back. i had fought against and overcome the wicked west wind.

i walked inside and checked the thermometer again. 42! in 1:03'49" the temperature had dropped 10 degrees. the cold front has arrived. (17.61 miles @ 16.5mph)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3.13 miles in 34'42"

my wife and i started out to run to the river and back, but the strong southerly headwind dissuaded us from continuing on any further south than the edge of town. instead of a down and back, we turned our jaunt into an afternoon 5K.

my wife kept saying we were running fast, but i kept convincing her that we weren't pushing it that hard. she wanted to walk (and did a couple of times), but i kept urging her on.

when we circled back around to the north side of town and neared home, i smiled and said, "we're going to finish close to your time in haviland," referring to her best 5K time ever. she responded as i expected. "i told you we were going fast."

i laughed and we finished in 34'42" with 3/100th extra.

behind the 8 ball

i had a lovely birthday this week. i’m in as good shape as i have been for many years. but i am at an age group disadvantage. my age now ends with an 8. the 8’s are the wasteland of age for the amateur endurance athlete.

for the 8-challenged athlete the next age group is at least one more hard season away. for the 8-challenged athlete the competition may very well be 8 years their junior.

the qualifying standards for many major events come in blocks of 10 years. this puts the Crazy-8 age grouper in the worst stages of decrepitude to try to qualify. this is the point on the curve where the vicissitudes of age peak against the requirements for qualification. if you struggled at 36 or 46 you have a big hill to climb at 38 or 48.

what to do? we just keep training and don’t worry about the numbers. we take it as a challenge. another in a long series of challenges that distance running brings us through the years. as our abilities potentially decline the next rung on the ladder doesn’t come down to meet us.

one could argue that we are just getting our come-uppance for enjoying those easy years at the beginning of the age group. for everything there is a season, right?

then there is the challenge for the 8-challenged age grouper in the local road race. most races have 10-year age groups. 30 – 40, 40-50, etc. when i compete this fall i am in an age group with runners almost 10 years my junior.

in many places a fast age grouper might stand a chance of getting a 3rd place finish. here in massachusetts that’s a stretch. there is such a prevalence of fast age groupers here that the stars really have to align for me to have a chance. having an 8-year youth disadvantage really puts it out of reach.

for example; last year i ran my local thanksgiving 5K, like i always do. i had a pretty good race. i averaged 6:23 per mile pace. there were around 600 runners. 327 of them were in my age group! come on! really? with that time i came in 39th overall and…wait for it…35th in my age group!

the consolation prize, if there was one, is that i was the 2nd 47 or older male. this year – while i suppose there’s a chance of a couple really fast 49 year-olds rolling into the next age group – i’ve got a whole new crop of fresh-as-a-daisy 40 year-olds to compete against.

even if you find one of those special races that offers 5-year age groups the 8’s are still the worst place to be, (along with the 3’s).

my plan is to not worry about any of this age related stress. my plan is to keep smiling and to keep training hard so that, in a couple years, i can kick some 58 year-old’s wrinkly old arse.

i’ll see you out there!

- chris russell on runrunlive.com

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a training plan for spectators

okay, the new york city marathon is behind us. some 45,000 runners finished the race - thanks, no doubt, to months of rigorous training.

training plans are such an ingrained part of marathon running, most of us barely give them a second thought. we decide to run a marathon; we seek a training plan; we follow the plan, for 14 or 16 or 20 weeks or whatever; we run the marathon. simple.

but what about the estimated 2 million (give or take) folks who rolled out of bed to watch the marathon in new york on sunday morning? for that matter, what about any of the gazillion spectators who line the roads to cheer us on during any of the gazillion marathons that take place each year?

Where is their training plan?

this question occurred to me over the weekend, as all those folks lined the streets of new york, hooting and hollering and standing and clapping. watching them, i thought to myself:

you know what? those are the real champs. the runners have been training for this day for months now. these poor schmucks on the sidewalks, though…they didn't train one lick. yet there they stand, shouting and applauding and "raising the roof" for hours on end. they're the ones who are gonna be sore tomorrow.

well, spectators, help is here. you never have to go into a race unprepared, ever again.

below you'll find what I believe to be the first training plan ever devised for marathon spectators. it's a four-week program; feel free to tailor it to suit your needs and level of spectating fitness.

week 1: base building. especially if you're starting from zero - i.e. you haven't done any real spectating since, say, your college years - it's important to start out slow.

mon: 15 minutes standing around
tue: 5 mins standing around; 5 mins clapping; 5 mins standing around
wed: rest
thu: posterboard sign drills - lift and lower a handmade sign 50 times; warm up and cool down with 5 mins easy cheering
fri: rest
sat: 15 mins standing around
sun: 30 mins spectating fartlek - freestyle blend of standing around, cheering, clapping, and/or raising arms, as you feel

week 2: this week we'll add some "quality" workouts to the mix.

mon: 20 mins standing around; optional: sip coffee for duration
tue: rest
wed: cowbell repeats - ring a cowbell for 90 seconds, recover with 30 seconds easy "woo-hoo-ing" repeat 8 times ; warm up and cool down with 5 mins easy cheering
thu: 20 mins standing around
fri: street-crossing sprints - stand around for 5 mins on sidewalk; wait for break in traffic; sprint across to opposite sidewalk; repeat 10 times
sat: rest
sun: 45 mins standing around with sign

week 3: time spent cheering and standing around will peak this week.

mon: rest
tue: 30 mins standing around with sign, plus intervals of screaming (e.g., "go!", "looking good!", "woo hoo!"), 10 x 30 seconds
wed: 12 cowbell repeats (see Week 2)
thu: rest
fri: 40 mins standing around with sign
sat: 15 mins easy cheering
sun: 60 mins standing around, interspersed with cheering and sign holding

week 4: it's taper time. this week you'll drastically cut the quantity of your cheering and standing around, while maintaining quality. remember to get lots of rest, and drink plenty of fluids. the day before your event, sip hot water with lemon and honey to really prepare those vocal cords.

mon: 15 mins easy standing around
tue: street-crossing sprints (see week 2)
wed: rest
thu: 20 mins standing around
fri: rest
sat: 10 mins very easy standing around
sun: Race day - stand up and cheer!

-mark remy for runner's world

4.15 miles in 38'03"

blah describes my feeling to a tee. blah legs. blah speed. blah everything. i walked up to the school with my wife and then ran around the section to the west of town. it was pretty windy, but the sunshine felt good.

i plodded along at the beginning, not a bit of pep in my legs. i ran past argonia mart, out onto the highway and then down w. 10th avenue. i hit the corner of 10th and blackstone, 1.22 miles from my starting point in 10'10".

i didn't feel like it, but i ran south for a mile on blackstone. the scenery was nice south of the railroad tracks, especially as i neared and ran past holden's nature center. enough leaves had fallen that i even caught a glimpse of the river. i covered that 1-mile side of the square in 9'20".

as soon as i turned onto w. 20th street, i had to climb two little hills. they probably don't even register on the elevation chart, but they're there. trust me. i hurt a bit as i climbed over them today. the downhill that followed was a little short, but most welcome. i ran on to the corner of main and 20th completing the mile long bottom side of my square in 9'45".

the remaining 0.93 or 0.94 miles were a little bit better. the wind was at my back, so i set the cruise control and ran as quickly as my tired legs would take me to the corner of pine and vine. i finished with a total time of 38'03", giving me a 9'10" per mile average. better than i expected, but nothing to write home about.

to the 1/100th

i could blame it on the wind which was pretty strong. i could point fingers at the temperature which wasn't exactly warm. i could claim my legs were shot from yesterday's hard workouts. i could complain about any number of things, but the facts wouldn't change. i was slow today.

before taking off this morning at 5:00, i took a look at argonia's online anemometer. the wind was strong from the south, but it was really hard to judge whether it was more from the southwest or southeast. the arrow kept swinging back and forth. it stayed on the west side a lot, but then it would swing back and stay on the east side. the hourly forecast was no help. it just said south winds at 12-15mph. south what?!

i got on my bike and headed north on pine, the wind at my back. easy going. had a little trouble with my timing device, but got that straightened out before i turned east onto the highway. my plan was to test the wind for a few miles and see if i could figure out which direction was most advantagious. going east first felt right, but the wind is tricky when it's blowing hard. it can feel like it's pushing against you until you turn around and find out what a real headwind feels like.

riding past the flag at kiser manufacturing, i got no help at all. the flag was tangled up and i couldn't get a clear east or west reading on it, so i pedaled on. i'd check the flag at the top of mock hill. it wasn't much help either. it was standing straight out, but the tree in front of it still has too many leaves to see through. i decided to keep going east and hope for the best.

i had an hour and a half to ride this morning, so i thought i could sneak in 20 miles, maybe more. i hit the ten mile mark and still had a few minutes, so i rode to the eleven mile mark and turned around. i smiled when i did so. i'd guessed right on the wind. i'd have help getting home.

i didn't have to push quite as hard on my return trip, so i let up a bit. i rode in a fairly easy gear and spun it out. as i neared milan road a glance backward revealed a beautiful orange sunrise. life was (and is) good!

i pedaled on home and rolled into my garage at most right on time. i stopped my watch and then looked at my mileage...exactly the same as yesterday's ride! to the 1/100th! that doesn't happen very often. i scribbled everything i needed for my log down on paper and headed inside. (22.16 miles @ 14.7mph)

Monday, November 8, 2010

1.12 miles in 7'40"

it's been a long time since i tested my heart and lungs like this. i set out to see how much faster i could run my one mile test route than i did the first time way back on september 3. my time then was 7'52" over the same 1.12 mile route. i desperately wanted to beat that time.

the first half of this run was all out. i ran north and then west and hit the "halfway" mark way ahead of my first attempt. i was about a block down the road to the south when i hit 3'36", my previous halfway PR. that's also when the wind fighting against me and my early effort conspired together to slow me down. i kept going, but had to back off the tiniest bit or i'd start puking. i know what that feels like. trust me. i'm not going there unless it's do or die.

as i rounded the corner and headed east on walnut i was able to pick up speed again. i hovered around my redline, but didn't push myself over the edge. i cleared one mile somewhere along walnut and kept going. i turned north on pine and ran for all i was worth to the finish line at pine and vine. i stopped the clock and knew i'd done it. i took twelve seconds off my previous time. that gave a 6'50" pace, my first sub-7 pace since i started running. i knew a sub-7 mile was possible. it just seemed a long time in coming.

now all i have to figure out is how to run that fast over more miles. i am dead. at the end of this circuit i couldn't have run another mile if i wanted to. i guess i'll just keep working at it.

2.16 miles in 17'28"

my wife asked me to run a few copies for her before i left on my run this morning. i, being the kind husband i am, agreed to said task. little did i know this tiny job would turn into fifteen minutes because of a cranky copier. i had to go get help to figure out what i was doing wrong. technology...the great time saver! grrrr!

when i finally had my four copies made and handed off to my beautiful wife - i still like her a lot even if i'm not sure about her copier - i walked out the back door of the school and started running a completely different route than usual. i ran south down elm, ran over a block and came back north on high, ran over a block and ran south on main, ran over a block and ran north on plum, turned at vine and ran home.

i had time to run more, but i finished my run with time to spare because i was being chased by a bear. seriously! it was growling and pushing me. thankfully i made it to safety of home before i was attacked. grrrr!

maybe i'll run another mile at noon.

they're after me!

don't know what it was about this morning, but i felt like i was riding in some sort of horror film. i was jumpy as all get out. noises that i'd normally ignore were reason for panic. jason's going to cut me! freddy's going to slice me up! hanibal's hungry!

then i remembered that i was fully-clothed and no one gets the knife in a horror flick unless their at least half naked. save the stray rabid st. bernard or the odd demon-possessed car, i was safe. when i realized this, i breathed a sigh of relief and rode on in the dark. alone. with no moonlight.

as for the actual riding, it was a good morning. i actually judged the schiozophrenic wind correctly and had it at my back (sort of) on the way home. my legs felt pretty good from the get go. i didn't work them especially hard, but they weren't allowed a day off either. i made them tap out a rhythm up and over hills. i practiced using the back of my stroke. clipless pedals are wonderful.

i guess in the end everything - except that horror film feeling - was good. i'm back now in my nice, well-lit house. i think i'll go take a shower...or maybe not. (22.16 miles @ 15.9mph)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

what to wear?

oh! this is too cool! i was just talking with someone on dailymile.com about layering and i stumbled on a "what to wear" calculator on runnersworld.com. you just enter the temperature outside, the wind speed, the weather conditions and how you want to feel then click 'submit' and it tells you what to put on. check it out if you like.

what to wear?

oh! this is too cool! i was just talking with someone on dailymile.com about layering and i stumbled on a "what to wear" calculator on bicycling.com. you just enter the temperature outside, the wind speed, the weather conditions and how you want to feel then click 'submit' and it tells you what to put on. check it out if you like.

4.01 miles in 46'34"

my wife is getting stronger! i went out with her this afternoon and we ran a four-mile loop past the nearby holden nature center. (i'd love to run the trails in there some time. bucket list!) we intentionally took four short walking breaks to keep our legs fresh and it paid off. we both felt pretty good at the end of the run.

as i was running on the sand, i thought back to the beginning of the week and the miles and miles of sandy roads i ran with adam and gabe and terry and ellen and marc and sammy and marshall and sarah. it's been a good week. with this afternoon's mileage i passed my previous PR for miles in a week. i'm going to have to get in a 50-mile week some time soon. it's time to ramp things up if i'm going to run a half or full marathon next year. better find a plan and get with it.

cold half century

the last time i rode 50 miles or more was august 28. it was 85 degrees and sunny. two months later it is sunny, but almost 50 degrees cooler. it was officially 32 degrees when i started my ride this morning...about 45 when i got back.

i woke up around 5:30 this morning, but went back to sleep for awhile. when i woke up again it was just after 6:00. i got out of bed and did a few things around the house. i didn't want to go out too early since i wasn't sure how much battery time was left in my light, so i didn't even gear up until around 6:45.

it takes awhile to get dressed for the cold. i put on exactly 22 articles of clothing if you include my sunglasses and watch. 22! i looked like a neon ninja, but i was warm.

i finally rolled down my driveway onto pine street just before 7:00. the wind direction was kind of back and forth but mostly from the west, so i turned left onto the highway and headed toward harper.

the first few miles were pretty slow going. my brain was not fully awake and my legs were rebelling. the back of my right hamstring decided to zing me from time to time, so i backed off the accelerator a bit and kept going.

just before the ascent of l'alpe d'anville, i happened to glance at a flag flapping lazily in the breeze. it appeared the wind had switched directions and was now pushing me along. that meant i had a decision to make. to turn around or not to turn around, that was the question. trusting my instincts, i chose not to turn around. i pedaled on toward harper.

the sun was basically up by the time i hit the city limits of harper, so i got a nice view of the town waking up. pickup trucks surrounded the cafe next to the motel. must've been something good inside. made me hungry thinking about it. i pushed harder to get away from the tantalizing smells.

i reached the stop sign on the far side of town and turned south onto highway 14. i had a few more minutes before i needed to turn around and head back. i set my sights on chaparral high school, four and half miles south. i figured the parking lot there would provide a good turn around. i didn't have quite enough time to make it to anthony and continue on around the loop back to argonia. this would have to do.

at almost exactly 1:30, i reached the driveway at chs. i turned in and rode around behind the school then circled back around to the front using the access road on the south side of the building. a quick right turn and a short jaunt east brought me back to the highway.

the beginning of my return journey was quick. the wind was almost directly out of the south and picking up steam. it pushed me along and my speeds jumped up into the upper teens with little effort. i had one close call with a pickup pulling a horse trailer. he passed me so close that the draft off his vehicle actually pushed me over a bit. grrrr!

i made it back to harper and turned east to head home. things were a little busier now. the trucks that were at the cafe were now out on the road. they whizzed past me, giving me and my bike a wide berth. a guy in tights is of at least questionable morals in the eyes of a man in a cowboy hat and dusty jeans. better to steer clear of such a man and his metal steed. works for me. i stay safe that way.

leaving town, i picked up speed. i was glad i hadn't turned around before danville now, because the wind was definitely from the west. it was a friend urging me on instead of a bully pushing me down.

as i approached town, i noticed that i would likely have enough time barring a stupid wind shift to get close to 45 miles before 10:00, the time i had to go back on call with ems. i recalculated every few minutes. i could make it work every time.

when i got back to town, i had just enough time to buzz out to the three-mile mark, morris road, and back and have around 47 miles. i gunned it and shot past pine street, intent on making it out and back in time.

i made it to morris road and turned around with about 17 minutes to get back. just enough time if i could keep my speed over 15mph as i rode into the wind. i lowered my head and willed the bike to higher speeds.

about two miles out of town, i pulled out my cell phone and diald my friend on ems. she answered as i rolled down the slight incline heading toward town. "can you cover for another 20 minutes?" i asked. "i want to get in 50 miles this morning." "of course," was her reply. i have such good friends.

with no concern for time now, i slowed up and rode at an easier pace. i rode west into town, then turned south to ride down to the river and back. i figured that would give me close to what i needed to complete my half century. the wind, my fickle friend, became the bully i had feared earlier. i was barely riding at 12mph most of the way south.

i rode over the river and climbed the short hill up to 20th avenue before turning around and heading back into town. back across the river i went and much higher speeds. i hit 20mph for the first time on this last leg of my trek.

crossing into the city proper, i glanced at my bike computer. i was just over 50 miles. i pedaled up and over railroad hill and turned east on walnut. i followed walnut until i was forced to turn north onto pine. less than a tenth of a mile later, i was home. i rode into the garage and pulled on the brake levers while putting my right foot down.

50.86 miles in 3 hours, 16 minutes and 33 seconds is not my fastest half century, but it'll do. my ride put me over 100 miles for the week, a goal i wasn't sure i could realize a few days ago. my streak remains intact and my yearly target is within sight. just over 1200 miles to go.

Friday, November 5, 2010

goals for 2011

i decided today that it was time to give you an update on my goals. i've accomplished all that i set out to do at the beginning of this year - ride 4020 miles and ride 20+ miles at or above 22mph. i've also met my mid-year goal of beating the skinny kid's time in a 10K. i still need to ride a few more miles to make it to 8040 miles before all of 2010's targets are bullseyes, but that will come.

so now i'm dreaming about 2011.

i've actually been thinking about next year for some time. this past week, i decided, if the Lord is willing, that i will ride 5000 on my bike and run 1000 miles. i'd also like to ride 200 miles in one day and run a half marathon or a marathon. while training for either or both of these running events, i'd like to continue to improve my 5K and 10K times. i really like these shorter races and don't want to sacrifice speed in them while working for longer distances. i have some times in mind, but need to decide for sure before i post them.

goals for 2011

i decided today that it was time to give you an update on my goals. i've accomplished all that i set out to do at the beginning of this year - ride 4020 miles and ride 20+ miles at or above 22mph. i've also met my mid-year goal of beating the skinny kid's time in a 10K. i still need to ride a few more miles to make it to 8040 miles before all of 2010's targets are bullseyes, but that will come.

so now i'm dreaming about 2011.

i've actually been thinking about next year for some time. this past week, i decided, if the Lord is willing, that i will ride 5000 on my bike and run 1000 miles. i'd also like to ride 200 miles in one day and run a half marathon or a marathon. while training for either or both of these running events, i'd like to continue to improve my 5K and 10K times. i really like these shorter races and don't want to sacrifice speed in them while working for longer distances. i have some times in mind, but need to decide for sure before i post them.

making up for lost miles

in case you haven't figured it out by now, i'm trying to make up for lost time today. at the beginning of the week, when i was recovering from my 50K run, i overslept several times, so i didn't get in the biking mileage i wanted to. i began the day with less than 35 miles to my credit. i now have almost twice that. i should be able to get up and over 100 for the week with a longer ride tomorrow. not sure if i'll get another short one in this afternoon or not. we'll see. felt great about this one. riding when it's 47 degrees out beats riding when it's 28. glad it's only supposed to drop to 40 tomorrow morning. (8.29 miles @ 17.6mph)

the grass is dead!

"ding, dong, the wicked grass is dead!" sorry, but i had to celebrate the first hard freeze of the year. no more mowing till spring. yippee!

it was 28 degrees when i got up at 5:30 this morning. 28 degrees when i went out on my first 14-miler. i layered up and stayed fairly warm. my right thumb got a bit painful by the end of the ride, but, hey, who needs a right thumb anyway? it was still 28 degrees when i got back.

it was 29 degrees when i went out after breakfast for the second part of this ride. for almost 12 miles, i stayed toasty and warm under double and triple layers. my right thumb which was barely hanging in there on the first ride was just beginning to throb a bit when i pulled into the driveway. it was 27 degrees when i checked the thermometer again. it's back up to 29 now. by mid-afternoon it's supposed to be in the mid to upper fifties! my right thumb will be happy as a clam. (25.96 miles @ 15.1mph)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

front page news

on a whim, i submitted an article about my family's participation in the run for missions to our local newspaper. i opened the paper today and found this on the FRONT page!

3.10 miles in 26'34"

it's official: i hate running indoors as much as i hate riding indoors. i was on call with ems today, so the only way i could get in a run was to step onto my wife's dreadmill. i decided to try starting at 6 mph (10 minute pace) and increase my speed 1 mph every half mile up to 10 mph then bring the speed back down 1 mph every minute for my cool down.

things did not go exactly as planned.

the first mile was fine. i ran pretty easily at 6 mph and at 7 mph. no big deal. i finished in 9'18" and pressed the 8 mph button.

my second mile was okay. i ran hard at 8 mph and even harder at 9 mph. as i neared the end of mile 2, i decided that i couldn't tolerate a half mile at 10 mph. i toyed with the idea of doing it for a quarter mile instead. when i started feeling puny, i decided against even that. the counter ticked over to 2 miles at 16'28".

i hit the 8 mph button with my right index finger. no problem. i swung my right arm back and my pinkie caught the cord which was attached to the magnet that allows the dreadmill to operate. the tug created by this motion set the magnet free. the dreadmilll slowed rapidly to a stop. the screen went blank. everything i'd done was erased. i'd run a bit past 2 miles, but all i had locked away in my mind was my 2 mile time.

what's a guy to do when a machine does such stupid things? i decided to run a cool down at 6 and 7 mph. i covered 1.1 miles in 10'06" then caught the stupid cord again. workout erased.

it may be less safe, but i think that if there is a next time on the dreadmill, that cord will be hanging limp from the magnet. it will not be firmly fastened to me. grrrrr!

a little extra

the sun came up while i was eating breakfast and it got colder and windier. crazy weather! you never know what it's going to do. i even pulled on my balaclava for the first time in months. between that and my thermal gloves and shoe covers, i was toasty warm.

since it's a little embarassing for me to have less cycling miles in a week than running miles, i decided to get out again and add to my week's total. i thought i'd have time for ten miles after breakfast, but then my daughter remembered she had a little homework she hadn't finished and she needed a bit of help finding the information she needed on encyclopedia.com.

school work done, i headed out on the highway. i pushed harder than i did this morning, because i wanted to get in as many miles as i could. i thought i could still get in ten miles before work if i pedaled really hard. when i reached the base of drouhard hill, i realized i couldn't add another two miles, so i turned around and headed home.

my overall speed at the end of this ride was a little better than it's been any time this week and my legs didn't have a bit of trouble. they've recovered from monday's 50K quite nicely. they feel as normal as they can this time of year. on tuesday, i wasn't sure i would ever say that. (7.95 miles @ 16.6mph)

1/100th less

i didn't get out very quickly this morning. i got stuck in front of the computer editting my accidental ultra story, adding pictures to it, improving wording. before i knew it twenty minutes had slipped away. it was almost 6:00 before i had my tires up to pressure and rolling down the road.

i suppose i could just say it was cold and dark and windy and be done with it, but that wouldn't be me. i've got to say something more.

what to say?

i got honked at twice. friendly honks. paul in his red dodge honks at me almost every day. today he actually startled me a bit. he was more behind me than usual. steve in his big rosy-colored semi tapped his air horn at me. i glanced over my shoulder and waved as he turned north.

i rode 1/100th of a mile less than yesterday on the same route. i finished five minutes quicker. my bike mileage is still less than my running mileage this week. what more is there to say? (9.96 miles @ 15.2mph)