Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Halloween run...

It's scary how my mind works. I woke up this morning, realized it was Halloween and immediately began thinking of words I could spell with my Garmin. I thought of spooky, but 'k' is a difficult letter to draw. I thought of eerie, but it gave me less than three miles. Then I thought of scary. With a little work, that got me to 4.03 miles which, scary as it may seem, is all I needed to make October a 250-mile month. Having planned my route, I headed out the door.

I was really stiff at first. My legs were not happy to be moving after yesterday's 50K. They would have preferred staying in bed. They are stupid, so I just told them to shut up and keep going. In order to make my 'y' look right, I had to run down an alley that I've never run before, at least not in the dark. It was not much fun. The surface was pretty uneven. Thankfully, I made it through without twisting or breaking anything.

Just after coming out of the alley, I met up with a walker. He said hello out of the darkness. It made me jump. I hadn't seen him despite his neon green reflective jacket. I said hello back and kept running.

The rest of the 'y' and all of the 'r' were pretty uneventful. No one to see. Nothing exciting happening. As I was running over to begin the 'a', however, I saw a blinking red light. It was my peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-loving dog friend and his master, Brandon. I greeted both of them, ran around the 'a' and met up with them again. Brandon said, "Only 99 miles to go." I glanced at my Garmin and replied, "No. 98 and a half." Silly stuff!

I ran the 'c' and pushed on into the 's'. Before I was even near the top of the 's', my Garmin decided to get scary. The low battery alert popped up. I saw it, hit enter and picked up my pace considerably. There was no way that stupid thing was going to quit before I finished my 4.03 miles. I wanted an official satellite image of this historic run. Running down the hill on Maple and then up it, I kept waiting for it to die. It didn't. As I approached Welton, things got scary again. I had mapped the route and it had come out to 4.19 miles. It was clearly going to be short of that. It appeared it might be short of the 4.03 I absolutely had to have. In the end, I ran a couple of steps past the intersection and 4.03 rolled onto the screen. I hit stop.

I reset my Garmin there at the corner of Welton and Maple, started it running again and walked toward home. I've been trying to drain the battery every morning to see if it would help. It ran for 7:15 more, then croaked. I guess I'm going to have to send it in and see if it can be fixed. Forty-four minutes is not an acceptable battery life. Actually, it's scary!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A little old 50K plus...

I got up just before my alarm was set to sound. That's saying something when it's set for 3:30. I set about getting myself ready for what I thought might be a painful six hours. At the direction of my 100-mile co-runner, Adam, I was to run 30 miles today. He was worried that if I didn't get in a run like this, that I'd give up when everything hurt at 70 miles.

I dressed, drank a big glass of Gatorade, ate an chocolate chip oatmeal cookie and headed out on the first of four 7.93 mile out and back laps. There was very little traffic around 4:00 as I ran down the highway. An odd car or semi here and there, but nothing much to speak of. I felt really good as I ran along the sidewalks headed out of town. Just before Main Street, I had to stop to take a sharp rock out of my shoe so it would quit poking me in the ball of my right foot. I certainly didn't want to be stabbed every other step for 30 miles. I ran out to my turn around point and ran back home with no further need to stop or walk. My first lap was done in 1:06:52.

After a longer than desired bathroom break and eating half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, I headed west again. This time I took a water bottle with me and drank from it here and there. As I was getting used to taking a swig on the go, I walked for a few steps once or twice. After that, I had it mastered and could drink on the run. I ran out to Skyline, turned around and headed back. It was just after leaving Skyline that I encountered a friendly black and white polecat. His tail was pointed in my direction as I veered out onto the deserted highway. He ran away. I ran away. No one smelled any worse for the meet up. I completed lap two with no further mishaps. My time at the halfway mark was 2:26:25. That's when the idea that I could finish in under five hours first crept into my head. I shoved it aside as I ate a couple more cookies and drank another glass of Gatorade.

It was still dark as I began lap three. There were hints that daylight was coming, but I still needed my headlamp for visibility. I ran out of town with a fresh water bottle. I found no need for a stop as I ran along the highway. It was during the mile or so between the city limits and my turn around that I dropped a foot off the edge of the pavement twice. I guess I just wasn't paying attention. Thankfully, I didn't twist anything. I just felt stupid. I turned around at Skyline and ran back. I had to walk briefly as I approached Main Street so that I wouldn't be squished by the Ford F-250 coming from the north. Once he was out of the way, I was back up to speed and headed for home again. A stupid little dachshund barked madly as I ran past his house, but he was on a leash and had no chance at my ankles. I finished lap three with 23.79 miles completed in 3:42:43.

My last break was a quick one. I ate the rest of my sandwich and snarfed down two cookies, washing it down with the last of the Gatorade. I grabbed another water bottle and headed out the door. I had an hour and eight minutes to finish before my stopwatch clicked over to five hours. I'd been running each lap in about an hour six or an hour seven, so I knew it was possible. I walked a few steps as I finished off my second cookie, then forced my legs into a running gait. The sun was shining now and it wasn't long till my legs quit whining. Right after Main Street there was a moment of yikes! I was almost hit by a garbage truck. The driver came out of an alleyway a little more quickly than he ought to have. I yelled. He stopped. I lived to tell the story. I ran on out of town and somewhere along the way past the marathon mark. I'm going to guess it was between 4:15 and 4:20, but I can't be for sure since I didn't figure out exactly where that point was until after the fact. I hit the turn around in about 34 minutes and had 34 minutes to finish in under five hours. I don't know how, but I picked up my pace. If I was in the middle of a 100-miler, I would never have done such a foolish thing. Today, I had nothing to lose. I passed the city limits sign with exactly 18 minutes left. That's how long it had taken me to get to that point on the way out. I kicked it up a notch again. Shortly after that, though I didn't know it at the time, I passed the 30-mile mark. I ran with purpose and determination the rest of the way home. I wasn't held up by traffic lights or turning cars or anything. I turned onto Lawrence with five minutes to spare. With a little extra effort, I pulled off what I would never have imagined possible at the start of my run. I finished my fourth lap in under five hours. My time over the 31.72 miles was 4:58:35. My pace - and this is WITH breaks included - was 9:24! I'm not sure that's even possible! It's too crazy fast for me! But I'm telling you...that's what the watch said.

I walked a short cool down, stretched a bit, then stepped inside. I am sitting on ice packs as I type. I hope I can manage the steps into and out of the library basement at Barclay College when I go there to teach this afternoon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another ten...

I didn't really want to get up this morning. My bed was warm and comfortable. The wind was blowing outside and it was cold - 37 degrees. I got up anyway. I dressed to run. I stepped outside wearing what I wore for the Run for Missions Half Marathon Saturday when it was below freezing. I started to run and the wind hit me. I turned around and ran back for a windbreaker. Brrrrrr!

I ran south on Howard, crossed Highway 54 and ran on past PRRC and the apartment complexes south of there. I turned on Fifth thinking I could take it out of town, forgetting that there's a park that cuts it off for a block. I remembered that after I ran down the super steep little hill and started back up. I shrugged my shoulders and ran on.

At Haskell, I turned south and ran down to Sixth, took a right, the turned into Sixth Street Park and followed the street's curves all the way to Pine. I turned there, ran to Lemon Park and then headed west on Santa Fe which took me to Highway 281.

Turning south on 281, I ran to Lake Road and headed west. My plan was to run out to West River Road and then out to Skyline. Dogs changed my mind. About a third of a mile down Lake Road (a.k.a. S.E. 10th), I heard barking from a multitude of dogs. Having never been down this road in the dark, I wasn't sure how many there were in this pack nor whether they were penned up or not, so I turned around and ran back into town. Call me a coward if you like. I just don't trust critters that used to be wolfish.

Back in town, I turned onto Tenth Street and ran along the edge of town. A couple of people had their sprinklers going. I avoided them. It was way too cold for an outdoor shower. I turned north on Ridgeway, then turned into the housing development with the nasty little hill. I ran it, then made my way out to Fifth Street.

Since my original plan had included a trip to Skyline, I took Fifth to West River and then popped out onto Highway 54. I ran west the mile and a half or so to the school, ran on past it, then doubled back and headed home.

I was finally feeling good by the time I hit the city limits. The soreness from the half marathon was gone and I had settled into a nice rhythm. I made a little jog south at the Kwik Shop and took Second Street toward downtown. A little yipping dog came out at me once during my trek along Second, but I could see him and he wasn't much of a threat. I ran east until I got to Jackson, then turned north so I didn't have to stop for a car that was coming from the north. I hate stopping!

From Second and Jackson, I ran up to Garfield, took it east, jogged north on Main and then took School all the way back home. I momentarily thought about running a few more blocks, but then the urge to have a seat in the bathroom hit so I quit.

Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, I will be out earlier than this morning and put in my final long run. At Adam's suggestion, it will be at least 30 miles. If I hit 30 miles, I'll likely, unless I'm dying, run the extra mile to make it 50K. I just like those Ks. (I ran 10.24 miles. Garmin died at 5 miles. Stupid Garmin.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New half marathon PR...

I woke up at 5:00 this morning feeling great! I had laid out all my gear for the Run for Missions Half Marathon last night, so I didn't have to go hunting for anything. I went through my normal pre-race rituals, ate my gotta-have-it peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich and a big glass of Gatorade, then packed everything in the car and headed to Haviland.

I drove into town around 6:30 and parked outside the Barclay College gym, grabbed my bag and went in. I picked up my packet, pinned on my bib number and tied my chip onto my shoe. After that, I walked around and talked with people until around 7:30.

A little after 7:30, I went out on a short warm up lap covering the entire length of Haviland. It's not a big one, so I was done nine minutes later. My pace was around 8:00. Crazy stuff! I was feeling good. My secondary purpose for this jaunt was to see if my clothing choices were good for the cold. I decided everything except the gloves were good. The lightweight things I had on were letting too much of the chill get through to my fingers. I decided to take them to the first aid station and wear my warmer gloves at the beginning of the race and switch them if they were too warm later on.

I got back to the start line just as they were beginning to give last minute instructions to the half marathoners. I stepped into the of the pack and sort of listened as I chatted quietly with friends. Right at 8:00, the gun sounded and we were off.

I didn't try to keep up with the faster guys like I did last year. I found my own pace and stayed there. My average was around 8:45. I ran around the first corner, ran the two blocks to the next turn, then zigged and zagged till I was running south past the schools.

It was somewhere along this stretch that my running partner for the day caught up with me and settled in beside me. Angela was from Goddard and runs cross country. Her longest run before today's half was ten miles.

We ran around the 5K course, passed a couple of people, then turned off onto the half route with Angela's mom screaming encouragement. At the aid station, I traded off gloves, drank some water and ran out into the country. The section out by the sewer pond was nicer this year than it was last year. The grass was much shorter, making the ruts easier to see. Angela and I ran on opposite sides of the raised middle of the lane and made it through to the dirt road without incident.

Running past the Davis farm, I half expected to hear Elmer and Laura yelling encouragement. They weren't there. Must have been too cold. I think it was up to freezing...maybe. We ran up to the next aid station, took on more water and started the long out and back journey.

At the six mile mark, we were right at 8:48 pace. I only know this because the math is pretty easy at six and ten miles. I can divide and subtract correctly when the math is simple enough.

The run out to the turn around at mile eight was much nicer than it was last year. This year's wind was probably ten to fifteen miles per hour less. Angela's mom was at the final aid station. She was cheering again. Loudly! We could hear her from 100 meters away. Continuing on, we encouraged each runner ahead of us as they ran passed us headed home. I counted them. We were in fourteenth and fifteenth place when we hit the turn around.

The runner ahead of us wasn't far off at this point. Slowly, but surely we reeled him in. We passed him just before we heard Angela's mom yelling encouragement again. He mumbled, "I must be falling off my pace." I tried to pick him up. "You're still ahead of 9:00 pace," I shouted. It wasn't until we reached mile ten and I did the math again that I realized how much speed we had gained. I have since forgotten exactly what pace I figured, but it was under 8:40. I dreamed of finishing in an hour fifty.

Taking in the hills one at a time, we eventually made it to the turn west. At this point, we were clipping along following a few of the 10K runners as they passed the five and six mile marks. We, of course, were clicking off mile twelve and thirteen. Our pace was greatly increased as we flew south on the Haviland blacktop into town.

We rounded the corner and ran the last few meters at full speed. Angela crossed the line a second before me. Her mom was there screaming again. I stopped my stopwatch at 1:51:11, a brand new PR. I wasn't sure by how much, but I knew I'd finished faster than ever before. I received my finisher's medal, grabbed a water bottle, talked a bit with Angela and her mom, then went inside.

Inside the building, the results were being posted. Angela finished in thirteenth place. I was in fourteenth. My gun time was 1:51:15, chip time 1:51:11. Our overall average came out to 8:29. I was more than pleased with that.

For I don't know how long after than, I enjoyed talking with other runners. I met up with a couple of fellow Idiots Running Club members. One of them finished second and the other third in the 10K. I talked with friends and complete strangers. Several people from our church had finished their first 5K. They were pretty happy. One half marathoner came up to me and gave me a big compliment. He said he was really impressed with Angela's and my running. "You were like machines," he said. "Your rhythm never changed." I thanked him.

Finally, it was time for awards. They started with the top three female half marathoners, then announced the top three males. They did the same for the 10K and the 5K, then then they started giving out the goodies by raffle. They called out fifteen or twenty numbers, then they called out mine. I raced to the table and scored a big box of frosted brownies. Yum!

When the treats were all gone, I talked briefly with a few more friends before picking up all my gear and heading home.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One thousand...

One thousand miles. My feet have taken me that far this year. When I realized I was less than five miles from my goal, I just had to go out and get it. After my work was done, I came home, changed my clothes and went after it. I found a loop that done twice would give me exactly the mileage I needed. I stepped out into the cool air and I ran. It felt good to run in the sunshine.

On my first loop, I was chased by a little dog that had gotten out of its fence. I told it to go home and kept going. When I finished that lap, my pace was 8:47.

I continued on. I ran my second lap faster than the first. A boxer chased me and sniffed at my legs as I neared main street. A police officer saw it and stopped me to see if I'd been bitten. I told him know and ran on. I passed the spot were the dog had met me the first time around. He was back in his yard, tied up. I sped up and finished my second lap and the 4.83 miles I needed to reach 1,000 for this year.

I walked around the block, enjoying the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a thing done. Another little dog came out and said hello. He followed me for a little way and then ran off to investigate something more interesting than a smelly man who'd just finished his 1,000th mile.

I am pleased and I thank God that he gave me legs to run every one of those miles. (garmin data)


It was 32 degrees when I headed out the door this morning, so I ran a route in honor of the temp. It was actually pretty pleasant despite the 17mph winds. My Idiots Running Club shirt and dailymile team jacket kept my upper body just warm enough to be comfortable and my compression socks were just right for the legs. My orange Kinvaras, polypro gloves, compression shorts, regular shorts and a thermal headband completed my gear for the day. Nothing terribly exciting happened while I was running (and spelling). A few dogs barked, but none of them was loose. A few cars drove by, but none of them hit me. All in all, a good morning run. Just 15.05 miles more and I'll have my first 200-mile running month ever. I think I get that done. Only 4.83 miles to the year's 1,000 mile goal! I may have to run this afternoon. (8.7 miles @ 8:41/no Garmin data since it quit after only 37 minutes.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cold is better than boredom...

Ugh! I hate running on a treadmill. I wasn't going to do it, but when I stepped outside the cold wind made me change my mind. I hooked up the torture device, popped in a movie and resigned myself to a couple hours of drudgery. I ran for 15 minutes and couldn't take it any longer. "I'm going out of my mind!" I screamed. I ran the rest of the way to two miles and hit stop. I would rather freeze to death than die of boredom!

It was cold outside, but moving around the streets near my house beat running nowhere on the treadmill. After a lap or two, I stopped for a bathroom break, then went right back out and ran another six or seven laps. I was staying close to home in case I needed to warm up, but I was okay the whole time.

I didn't encounter very many cars and only three people and a dog this morning. The dog owner, my friend Brandon, wished me luck on my 100-miler. His dog ignored me. (8.07 miles + 2 warm up, no garmin data)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All around...

I woke up ready to run this morning. I dressed quickly and headed out the door. I decided to take in all the entrances to town that I missed yesterday, so I took off to the north to cover the Highway 61 entry from the north and the 10th Street entry also.

I had nailed both of those and was running south down 61 when I happened to notice something moving just ahead of me. By the time I realized it was a skunk, I was within seven or eight feet of it. I swerved out onto the highway. The skunk raised it's tail and swerved the other way. Whew! Closer call than I'd like. A quarter mile or so further down the road, I look over in the ditch near the truck stop and there's an owl sitting by the light pole. He sees me and starts running. If you've ever seen an owl run, you know that was a bit of a laugh. I continued on down to Highway 54 without any further wildlife encounters.

On Highway 54, I ran to the edge of town, then doubled back and returned to Wal-Mart. I turned south there and ran down to Country Club Road. I ran out of town on it, turning around just past the sewage treatment plant. I ran back to Sixth Street and made my way west to south 281 (a.k.a. Main Street). I didn't actually run all the way out to the city limits on 281 because I did that yesterday and I wanted to make sure to exceed one other limit that I'd not done.

I ran back up 281 to Tenth Street and followed it until it hit Ridgeway. I took Ridgeway north to Fifth and took Fifth over to Rancho and Rancho up to 54 as I'd done yesterday.

I took 54 east to the Kwik Shop. I didn't need a pit stop today. I turned on Starr, ran to First and took First to the sandy entry to town, turned around and then ran zigzagging up to the railroad crossing at Simpson and Main.

I really wanted to take in the last city limit, but I was clearly going to run out of time. I reluctantly turned south on Main and made my way back home via Green and Larimer. I ran past the house a block to get to 11 miles, then stopped and walked a block to cool down. (garmin data)

For God so loved...

“For God so loved the world – the adulterers, the anxious, the arguing, the fearful, the Americans and the Canadians, the abortionists and the aborters, the arrogant and ashamed, the horoscope followers, the Iraqis and the Iranians, the backbiters and vain babblers, the unbelieving, the bitter and blasphemous, the boasters and deceivers, the judgers and abusers, the bribe-givers and bribe-takers, the lustful and the God-haters, the Jews and the Syrians, the evil-thinkers and the plotters, the complainers and insulters, the immodest and the contemptuous, the liars and thieves, the murderers and the covetous, the envious and the corrupt, the king cursers and the filthy mouthed, the gossip speakers and the gossip hearers, the Serbians and the Japanese, the false teachers and the contentious, the faction creators and the debt dodgers, the defrauders and the inventors of evil, the drunkards and disputers, the world-lovers and neighbor-haters, the gluttons and the disrespectful children, the employee-cheaters and the employer-cheaters, the Chileans and the Argentinians, the rewarders of evil and the condemners of the innocent, the faithless and the extortionists, the showy religious types and the customer-cheating businesspersons, the strife-stirrers and the foolish, the gamblers and the grudging givers, the fraudulent and the fortune tellers, the fornicators and the unforgiving, the idolaters and the oppressors of the poor, the harsh and the disobedient, the Irish and the Scots, the thankless and the prayerless, the self-glory seekers and the rebels, the unsubmissive and the rejecters of truth, the Germans and the Afrikaners, the lukewarm and the fool, the incestuous and the bestial, the angel-worshipers and the greedy, the homosexual offender and the inhospitable, the violent and the hypocritical, the husband-hating wives and the wife-loathing husbands, the lazy, the idle, the cowardly, the jealous, the covetous, the kidnappers and the coarse jokers, the wealthy and the poor, the unkind and the false witnesses, the lovers of self and the haters of enemies, the malicious and the prostitutes, the unmerciful and the law-breakers, the murmurers and the money-lovers, the mockers and the double-minded, the obstinate and the over-indulgers, the partial and the impatient, the slaves to pleasure and the stingy, the French and the Danes, the people-pleasing preachers and the flatterers, the prejudiced and the proud, the rapist and the unrepentant, the riotous livers and the scoffers, the scornful and the self-righteous, the slanderers and the sorcerers, the swearers of oaths and the tattlers, the unjust and the quick-tempered, the corner-cutters and cheats, the worriers and traitorous, the truce-breakers and the ungrateful, the vain and the discontented, the witches and the stiff-necked, the rejecters of God’s word and the resisters of truth, the worldly-ambitious and the worldly-minded, the dishonorers of marriage and the dishonorers of parents, the wrathful and the slothful, the neglecters of children and the lovers of tradition over God’s will, the orphan oppressors and the widow swindlers – that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” In short, God loved you enough to send his son so that if you believe, you won’t be condemned, but will have eternal life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Front page?! Seriously?!

It must have been a slow news day. An article about me running in the Run for Missions 100-miler made the front page of the Pratt Tribune. Big headline, full-color photo, the works! I don't believe I've ever been in that spot before. It was a great article too! Really well-written and all the facts were straight! (Read the article)

To the limits...

I was going to run out to Skyline and back this morning, but changed my mind when I got to Main Street. I decided there to run to the southern city limits and then to the western limits. I felt great as I ran down Main. It was fun to run into the cooling breeze as I ran across the bridge and out to Lake Road.

Running back north was not nearly as pleasant. Without a breath of wind in my face, I started sweating profusely. The humidity, I found out later, was hovering right around 100%! I ran up to Fifth and took that bricked street out of town to the west. I ran up to the highway on Rancho Road and then ran back into the city limits on Highway 54.

After a brief pit stop at the Kwik Shop, I ran back to the center of town and decided to take it past one more limit, the northwestern entrance into town on Highway 281. I ran up Jackson, through the parking lot at the Union Pacific offices, across the tracks and up Main. I was feeling really good.

I turned around and picked up the pace now that the wind was in my face again. I ran back to the railroad tracks and turned east on Maple. I ran down the hill then up it, jogged past my office and then turned on Larimer to complete my loop at home.

I saw six other runners this morning. I saw two down south on Main and four on Maple around Oak or maybe Pine. I greeted all of them warmly and they waved and answered back with their own greetings. (garmin data)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cairo out and almost back...

I should have stuck with my original plan. I set out this morning to run 15 miles. I was going to run to 70th, jog north a mile and follow 10th back to town. If I'd done that, I'd have gotten home with just over 15 miles. I probably should have eaten something before I left too.

What I did instead was run past 70th all the way to Cairo (no, not the one with the sphinx), then turn around and try to run back. That didn't work so well. Somewhere around 12 miles, my energy level dropped. I stopped to walk for a bit, then tried to run again. I ran for a short way and had to walk again. For the rest of my run that's the way it was. I could run about a half mile, then I had to walk. I felt awful and I was starting to get really thirsty.

About four miles from town, I was so desperate for water that I prayed for it. About ten steps later, I looked into the ditch and there were two unopened bottles of Neslte's Pure Life water, my favorite! I walked over, picked them up, popped the first one open and thanked God as I poured the entire 16.9 ounces down my throat. Refreshing!

I continued on. About three miles from home, I started sticking my thumb out. I was ready to quit. No one stopped to give me a ride. I guess I looked scary.

When I got to the road out to the lake, I spotted a couple of people looking through the farm implements on the other side of the highway. I yelled, "Can I get a ride into Pratt?" They offered a trip in the back of their pickup. They didn't think I'd enjoy a ride with their dog in the back seat. I was about to get in when another pickup pulled up. It was a couple whose daughter was another of the homecoming candidates at Skyline last week. They had a back seat. I rode with them.

The lesson I learned today: Never go on a long run without eating something beforehand and carrying some kind liquid with you. (garmin data)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Loooooong hill...

I did not sleep well last night. I think I saw every  hour pass on my alarm clock. I suppose it could be because I ran hard right before getting ready for bed. Too much adrenaline.

I finally got out of bed around 4:00. I figured I might as well do something rather than toss and turn. I dressed and headed out the door. The air was cool (59F) and muggy (82%). I walked a little and then started running.

My plan was to run out 6.5 miles, turn around and come back. To do that I headed out toward the lake. I knew the driveway to turn around at if I went that way. I'd mapped it out beforehand.

As I turned onto Lake Road, I started meeting up with cars. Who's out driving at 4:30? Crazy people! Don't they know the road is for runners at that time of day? Between Country Club Road and the lake five cars passed me. Traffic!

It was about the time I got to the lake that tiredness hit. I was cruising along, not fast, but steady, when all of a sudden my legs turned to lead. I walked around the curve by the lake, then started up the loooooong hill. I'd never run the whole hill, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was about as much "fun" as I expected. I walked a few times.

Approaching the top of the hill, I decided my turn around was going to be a little earlier than previously planned. I would turn around at the next road and make it an 11-miler instead of a half marathon. It was about this time that the wind really picked up. I heard it in the trees to the west before I felt it. One minute it was calm. The next it was blustery. It felt a lot cooler too.

I turned around and headed back home. I walked a lot more. I was not feeling strong or well. I was burping up the remnants of last night's Frito chili pie. I must remember not to eat such things close to my 100-miler. Ugh! Canned chili is not pleasant the second time around!

I made it back to town. I ran under the flashing yellow light by the old railroad tracks and slowed to a walk again. I walked to Sixth Street and forced myself to run again. I ran to Howard. I walked up the hill and once again forced my legs to run. I ran up to the highway, walked as I approached it. There were lots of cars going to and fro. When there was a break, I forced myself to run. I ran the rest of the way home.

Though this wasn't the best run ever, it was good for one thing: training my legs to run even when they're tired. Ten miles yesterday morning, plus another nine hard and fast miles last night we the perfect lead up to this 11-miler. Now I know I can keep going when I feel like beetle dung. I will prevail! (garmin data)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two today...

Because I did not log on to my computer this morning, I hit the streets earlier and had more time to run. It also helped that I woke up at 4:22 and hurried to get around. I love it when I wake up naturally and feel good. Alarm clocks are so annoying! A necessary evil.

I started out as I often do running west down School Street. I didn't really have a plan until I was about half way to Main Street. I knew I was going to be pushing the limits of my dying Garmin battery, so I wanted an easy to remember route. That's when I hatched the idea of an ever growing spiral.

I turned onto Main and ran down to Highway 54. I considered crossing the highway, but there was a car coming so I turned and headed back east. I turned again on Howard and headed north. I stopped briefly at the house for a pit stop, then continued on.

The next loop took in Larimer, Cherry, Jackson and Second. I think it was on this loop that I ran into a fellow runner. Not sure though. I said hi to them whenever it was that I saw them. They mumbled something in reply.

I'm not going to describe every loop. That would be too much. I'll just mention that I ran past the same spot where the aggressive dogs were the other day. It took a great deal of courage on this dogaphobe's part. I heard them bark, but they were tied up this time.

Later on, I met up with a walker out for their morning constitutional and at the very end of my run I encountered two runners with a dog. One of the runners (and the dog) were near neighbors. She asked about my 100-miler and how far I'd run today. I answered and she told me I could do it! It's nice to have encouragement at unexpected times. (garmin data)

Hours pass....

I got home from my daughters' volleyball matches around 8:00 this evening and found an empty house. I decided I needed a few more miles, so I changed clothes and headed out the door. My plan was to run out to the airport and back, a trip of between 8 and 10 miles depending on where I turned around.

I ran west on School Street to Main and headed north. I hit the city limits 12:35 into my run and continued on into the darkness. Few cars were out on the highway as I ran along. I was running quickly and felt great. I ran past 20th and 30th. Everything was clicking along. I ran on to 40th and turned around at the military jets and helicopter display in front of the airport. I'd been running right at 40 minutes.

I still felt good, so I did my best to pick up the pace a bit. I ran on and on back toward town. A few dogs barked at me as I ran past their houses. I ran past the John Deere dealership and reached the Kubuto dealership before my timer ticked over to an hour. I ran on reaching the city limits ahead of my pace going out. I had more than 12:35 to get back in less than 40 minutes.

I turned onto School and ran down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, I ran up behind a couple of high schoolers. I may have startled them a bit when I ran past them. I'm not sure. I ran on up the hill and around the curves to home, stopping the clock at 1:17:39. My return journey was faster than my outbound trek!

I must say it felt really good to run without stopping at a faster pace than I'd been running lately. I know this pace is too fast for my 100-miler, but an occasional faster run is nice. (no Garmin data)

Follow my run...

Have you joined my Facebook group for those who want to follow my 100-miler training? It's the only way to get updates during the run on November 9 and 10.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A short one...

I woke up this morning to an email from my friend, Adam. Attached to it was an Excel spreadsheet with turn by turn, intersection by intersection directions for our 100-miler. He was giving it to me and to my support vehicle driver. According to his calculations, we'll be running 103.9 miles. I may have to run an extra .9 miles to make it 104.8 which is exactly four marathons. I say that now. I may be happy with 103.9 when the time comes.

I spent too much time pouring over the directions, so I didn't get out as early to run as I was planning to. I decided to take it easy and just run a few miles to wake my legs up for the day. They felt pretty good as I ran along.

I ran to Maple Street and then over to Highway 61. I toyed with running out into the country, but decided against it and ran south to Highway 54 instead. I took 54 over to Wal-Mart and headed south on Fincham to Sixth. I ran Sixth all the way to Main Street, then ran north on Main to School which took me home.

I met up with a few walkers and their well-behaved dogs this morning. They all gave me a cheery, "Good morning!" (garmin data)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just another 10K...

I did not feel like running this morning. I took forever to get dressed. I dinked around on the internet. I finally, left the house and ran slowly. I felt like a slug with salt sprinkled on it.

I ran around town with no particular aim in mind. I wandered north of the tracks. I wandered way down southwest. I ran across to Sixth Street Park. I ran back home. I finished with 10K. That is all. (garmin data)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

900 miles...

I passed 900 running miles for the year today. That's crazy! Who runs 900 miles?!

I woke up around 4:15 and got quickly out of bed. My alarm was set for 4:30, but there was no point in lying around. I had to get 11 miles in order to reach the 900-mile mark. 10.98 miles actually, but who's going to quibble over 2/100ths?

I walked into the living room and check the temp. 36! Brrrr! I dressed for the occasion and was out the door before 4:45.

I ran down Howard toward Dillon's with the goal of running over to Lawrence to see the block party sign my neighbor had put up there. I ran through the parking lot and circled around. There it was! Nice looking sign!

I continued up Lawrence and there realized I hadn't used the facilities before leaving, so I ran back to the house and took care of that. Number 1 if you must know.

From home I left again running down Edgeford to Random. I love the name of that street! So random! I ran over to Lawrence again and down through the First State Bank parking lot to Highway 54 which I took west to Main Street.

I ran south on the sidewalks on the east side of Main until Sixth Street where I stepped out onto Main. I ran down to the Ampride and tried to stop in for a number 2 pit stop, but they were closed at 4:40, so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

A good friend asked me yesterday if I'd ever run up the hill on Highway 281 leaving town. I told him I hadn't. Today, I set about righting that wrong. I ran up it. It was not pretty. It's a lot steeper and a lot longer than you think looking at it. I pushed a little hard and had a little bile-in-the-back-of-my-throat feeling for a minute or two. Thankfully that passed as the road leveled out a little.

I ran out to 20th and turned west. The sandy surface under my feet felt nice. I ran up and down the little rollers. As I approached SW 10th, I had to stop to walk. Montezuma was seeking revenge and I had to walk or be vanquished. After a minute or so, the feeling passed and I ran on. I ran north on SW 10th to regular old 10th and turned west.

As I ran along 10th, Montezuma threatened again. I walked it off, but I was beginning to wonder if I'd make it into town to the Kwik Shop before all you-know-what let loose its fury!

I ran turned north again on West River Road. I sped along the paved surface with an urgency I'd not known for quite some time. I had to make it to the Kwik Shop. Now! A quick jaunt down 5th took me, after a zig and a zag, to the place I needed most. Whew! Made it!

Much relieved, I left the store and ran down Highway 54 again. I ran past First United Methodist and KFC. I ran past the Presbyterian Church too. I ran to Hillside and then went north up to School. I turned right and ran to Champa which I took north to Maple. I had about 15 minutes left to run at this point, so I turned west on Maple and ran to Oak and circled back on Holly to Stout.

Taking Stout north for a little over a block, I found myself headed east on Walnut past the Pratt Care Center. I turned onto Larimer and ran the home stretch with great joy! The streets passed by in quick succession - Myrtle, Holly, Spruce, Maple, Green, Cherry...home!

I stepped inside and began to draw my map. Had I covered 11 miles? I wasn't sure. My stinkin' Garmin had died before mile six! Grrrrr! I clicked here and there all over the Google map until the route was drawn. 11.16 miles! Enough.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Post work five...

When I got home from work, my wife was ready to go for a run. I changed from my professor clothes into running gear quickly and we headed out the door. For her sake, we walked around the block to warm up and then ran two blocks and walked one for about a mile and a half.

After a quick pit stop, I left her at home and went out for another 3.5 miles. My goal was to bring my average pace down from about 13:00 pace to 10:00 pace. I ran up along the same streets we had run earlier and then set off around the north side of town. I ran down Main Street and then west a few blocks before I found a break in the traffic and ran down to Third.

I took Third west past the hospital and then ran north on Howard and sped around our neighborhood. My last mile was pretty quick as I was nearing 50 minutes. I missed my goal. I passed 50 minutes about 25 seconds before my Garmin clicked over to five miles. It was sure fun trying! (garmin data)

Hilly hill repeats...

I set out this morning to run 10 miles. That was all the planning I did before I hit start on my Garmin. What more did my legs need to know?

I ran south on Howard to Third Street and turned east. I ran one block. I heard loud barking. I turned and saw a big black furry thing charging me. I turned around and ran back toward Howard. I took a few steps and heard a slightly different bark coming from my left. I looked left. A black and gray and white thing was charging from that direction. I hate dogs! I turned around so I could see where to aim my kicks and screamed obscenities at the canines nipping at my heels. Okay, well, I didn't really curse at them. I yelled, in my best I'm-not-really-scared-of-you voice, "Go home!" Of course, these dogs didn't speak English so their behavior didn't change one bit. Grrrrr!

I finally got back to Howard where I escaped my nipping nemeses. (I had to look up the plural for nemesis. I guess I've never had to deal with two before.) I ran down to Sixth Street, went east to Country Club Road, and turned south onto it. I ran up the hill to Lake Road and turned west. The climb continued up and over a little hump and then I was going downhill.

It was at the bottom of the hill that a new plan took over. A car was coming toward me, so I decided to turn around and run back up the hill rather than continue toward the car hoping that it would actually move over and not run me into the ditch. As I turned, I thought, It's been a long time since I've done hill repeats. So began the pain. I ran up and down that hill, turning around at my friends' house at the top of the hill and at the street light at the bottom. Over and over I did it.

I completed five repeats and then ran into town to the Ampride for a necessary stop. As I was coming out of the facilities, I met up with a Sherrif's deputy. "You can talk with the city police, can't you," I said. "Yes," said he. "There are two big aggressive dogs loose at the corner of Third and Grove," I report. "I'll let them know," he said as he picked up his radio transmitter. Take that stinking furballs!

I resumed my run feeling better. I ran back to my hill and did three more repeats before I really had to get moving toward home or miss breakfast. I ran back down Country Club, but did not turn on Sixth. I ran straight up to Highway 54. I did NOT want to go see if my nemeses were still on the lam. I ran up the hill on 54, turned on Belmont and zigged and zagged my way home. I walked in the door. Breakfast! (garmin data)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My private marathon...

I finally got my long run in! I set out this morning just after 5:00 headed from Pratt to Haviland along basically the same route that I will take at the end of my 100-miler next month.

I ran from my house along School Street to Main and headed north to the first country road that leaves town headed west. I ran out into the dark along the sandy road, enjoying the sound of each footfall as I cruised along. I ran three miles on this road, then turned south on 40th for a mile. It was on this stretch that I took my first roadside pit stop, a first for me. Not fun! I did feel better afterward, but yuck!

I ran down to 1st Street then headed west again. I followed 1st Street all the way through the rest of Pratt County. I had to take a second pit stop a few miles down the road. I encountered a couple of dogs. They barked, but didn't charge. I'm always happy when barking is all that happens! I also heard hunters firing their rifles in the distance when I ran past the Texas Lake Wildlife Area. Glad they weren't shooting at me!

1st Street turned into G Street when it crossed into Kiowa County. I continued on west and picked up a running partner about a mile into the county. A friendly pup ran along with me for the next five or six miles, disappearing only after I crossed over the asphalt of 51st. 51st goes south to Haviland, but I wanted to complete 26.2 miles so I ran a mile west, one south and another back east to get the extra miles I needed.

At the cemetery, I turned south onto 51st and ran into town. When I entered the city limits, I ran on to my wife's uncle and aunt's house where I had left clothes to change into. I thought I needed more distance, so I ran around their block before stopping. It turned out that I could have quit earlier. Oh, well! I finished my first solo marathon distance run ever!

Am I ready to run 100 miles? Not quite yet. I need a few more of these kind of runs to gain confidence and to build stamina. Watch for them later this month!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Running around town...

I got out the door earlier than usual this morning. It wasn't even 5:00! I stepped out into the darkness and found the atmosphere to be a bit hostile to humans on foot. With winds in the 20mph range, it felt a lot colder than the 55 degrees the thermometer read. Brrrrr!

I started running and quickly decided on a run around the outskirts of Pratt. I hadn't done that since the dog "attack" the last time I tried it, so I was due for a big loop. I ran out to Highway 61 and then ran out and around the edge of the community college campus. That's where I spotted my first police cruiser. I guess they must patrol the campus from time to time.

I ran off campus and back onto the highway, running down the middle as I did yesterday. I'm such a rebel! I ran up to the cemetery road and turned west on it. I ran up and around the cemetery and then made my way over to the other side of the railroad tracks. I was running along there when I encountered my second cop car. I hardly ever see any officers out when I'm running and now I'd seen two!

I ran across the railroad tracks again and ran directly to the Kwik Shop where I made a much needed pit stop. Ugh! Sometimes running is such a pain!

I left the Kwik Shop and ran out to the western edge of town and ran down to Tenth Street. I was running along Tenth approaching the power plant when, what do you know, another police car passed me. Three in one day! What's up with that?

I ran out onto Highway 281 for a block or so and then ran over to Lemon Park. I did a loop around the park and then ran up to Sixth Street Park, running along the sidewalk until I could jump over to Haskell and run out to Sixth Street.

I ran east on Sixth for awhile. Crossing over Country Club and running on to Fincham, I saw headlights approaching. You guessed it! Another police car! Crazy! Did they radio each other so they could keep the runner under surveillance? More likely it was the same car all four times.

I ran up and around Wal-Mart and out onto Highway 54 for a short time, then turned north on 61 to run back up to Maple and back around to home after climbing the hill up to Welton. I pushed stop on my Garmin at 11.11 miles because I liked the number and then walked a block to cool down. (garmin data)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A trip to the lake...

I am not sleeping well right now. The pain in my shoulder keeps waking me up. I was awake three or four times during the night. The last time I woke up, I put an ice pack on it and fell asleep only to be awakened by my alarm clock about an hour later.

It was a cool 46 degrees when I stumbled out the door at 5:00. I decided to run out and around the lake, so I headed east. I ran over to Terrace and then down Maple out to Highway 61. It was about that time that I finally felt alive. I ran out to the middle of the highway and ran all the way down to Highway 54 in the new center turn lane. It's amazing how little traffic there is at 5:00.

Turning east on 54, I ran out of town, then turned south on the little state highway that runs south to Lake Road. I met a couple of cars on that stretch of asphalt. Rather than make them figure out what I was, I ran over to the opposite side of the road.

When I got to Lake Road, I turned west and ran along the narrow way. I heard something crashing its way through the woods once. I hoped it wasn't a rabid Sasquatch and kept running, clapping my gloved hands as loudly as I could to scare the beast away.

I reached the lake about 40 minutes into my run and decided I had enough time to do a lap around it. It was nice to run through the shadows cast by the moonlight with not another person around. I was surprised that in several places gravel had been spread over the pavement. The run through the RV area was almost all sandy. Sand is nice for soft footfalls.

I left the lake and headed back toward town. Rather than turn back toward 54 when I got back to the state highway, I ran straight west on Lake Road to Country Club Road. I encountered a few cars along the way. One was the paper delivery van and they pulled over onto my shoulder right in front of me. I thought I was going to hit them, but they sped away without looking back.

Running down Country Club Road was a pleasant relief after climbing up the slow, shallow grade to it. I ran straight on up to 54 and then ran along the well-worn foot path next to the highway. I crossed over to the north side at Dollar General and then snaked my way back to the house. Glancing at my Garmin, I saw I need just under a quarter mile to get nine miles, so I ran across the street and through the Haskins school property on their sidewalks before doubling back on Manor to finish out my morning.

Compared to yesterday, this run did not feel all that great. I didn't have the same flow. Still, it wasn't a bad run and I didn't have any major emergencies. I just hope the ache in my shoulder is gone by November 9 when I start my 100-miler. It would be a mental burden to deal with it for 24 hours. (garmin data)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Biggest mileage yet...

At 42 degrees, it was a bit brisk this morning. The cooler temps made me want to run faster to stay warm. No sense in being cold if you don't have to be.

In the first mile and a half of my run, I encountered two skunks. The first was running parallel to me about twenty feet away. The second was much closer and running away from me. Both had their tails up, but did not perfume me. I ran away from them out into the country. All morning, I enjoyed the bright light of the near full moon as I shuffled along the dirt roads. It was beautiful.

I ran a route that I've never done before, running a mile north and then looping around to come back into town the same way I left it. I then crossed the highway and ran up past the cemetery to Stout to get back home.

My Garmin died before I finished, so this is a close approximation of my distance and time. I know I was right around 9 miles and 1:20. If my Garmin had still been working, I'd have run an extra .30 to get 15K. Even without that extra, this run put me over 826 miles for the year making 2012 my biggest mileage year ever. Of course, that's not saying much since I've only run for two years.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pit stop at Wal-Mart...

I wanted to run a little longer this morning than I had since my bike accident. My shoulder has been feeling better, so I was pretty sure I could handle it.

I took off with no particular route in mind. I just wanted to run as long as I could before breakfast.

I ran out to Highway 54 and headed east. I didn't get very far when GI issues became very pressing. I stopped at the truck stop and it's one-holer was full, so I ran on to Wal-Mart and used their facilities.

Much relieved after my pit stop, I continued on east on the highway. It was a beautiful morning, cooler than it has been and nicely lit by the moon. I ran out two miles and then turned onto dirt.

I ran up a mile on the dirt road and then turned back toward town. This is the road I'll be coming into Pratt on during my 100-miler next month. (Yikes! Did I just say next month?!) I ran along the sandy surface enjoying myself.

When I got back to the pavement, I took Highway 61 south to Maple and then ran up the hill past my office and on to Oak before looping back around toward home. I passed 8 miles before the curves in School Street, so I ended up with 8.25 miles.

I still need some (a lot) longer runs for me to feel confident about my 100-miler, but I was really pleased with today's run. I felt like I could run at this pace for a long, long time. (garmin data)