Sunday, October 24, 2004

Long run #3: Don't look at watch...look at what's inside!

Today’s long run, about 19.5-20 miles (total amount of running, approx. 3:20). This was the same course as the previous long run, except that this time I made it to the Green Lane Bridge in Manayunk, whereas last time, I had to turn around at Cotton Street. Got to Dave in Manayunk sooner than I had previously (2:00 as opposed to 2:04). Dave added 8x100m strides at the end. No mercy! But it surprised me that they actually helped me work the tight spots out of my legs. Hard to believe! Neil came with me on this run, and was leery about doing the strides but said he too was surprised that they actually seemed to help.

These long runs hurt though! Fortunately, this one hurt a lot less than the first one (that I did by myself). As with the one two weeks ago, this too involved starting at aerobic pace for the first hour, then picking up to marathon goal pace, then to 10k pace in the last three miles. Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. What it was for me: easy for first hour…check! Pick up a bit after that...check!—but still over 10mpm…. But the 10k pace for the last 3 miles--well, not quite. What I did manage to do was simply to intensify the effort to keep the wheels from coming off. My time was close to 11 mpm by the last 3 miles, but I was not stopping, which I was tempted to do. Probably by myself I’d have been reduced to walking and whimpering and limping. But with people waiting…and Dave having a bunch of strides planned, I had to keep going. This is where the graduated effort makes so much sense: in the solo long run, I started out a little faster and was, in fact, walking and slogging, limping and whimpering. The way Dave arranged this run, it's subdivided into sections with each section having a new goal, something that forces a person to focus, not fall apart when the going gets harder.

I wanted to run the last three miles in under 30 minutes, but couldn't bring myself to look at my watch. I didn't get the feeling it would tell me anything but "you're seriously slowing down!" "Look inside yourself, not at your watch," I told myself. Sometimes thought I could feel my dad’s presence, his urging me on.

* * *

Stray thought: not really connected with running but intriguing anyway: cosmonauts return to earth from International Space Station, having been away since April. The first thing they say they notice is the smell of grass. Something to think about--touching ground. Smelling grass. Flying to dizzying heights, they return to the smell of grass...and childhood. Maybe it's a human need...the smell of grass. Laid on the grass wincing while Dave helped me stretch my hamstrings. It begins and ends on the grass--and in between comes the flying. But not without the smell of grass.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Doing the impossible: Goal setting and the Red Sox

First, today's run: Decided to add the pick-ups that Dave had on his marathon schedule to the 1-hour run that I switched from yesterday to today on Mike's schedule (too stiff-legged to run that long yesterday, just ran 47:17, 8 little pick-ups to something imitating running pace for 100ish m.). Today's were to be from one to three minutes. So I decided to make a pyramid out of it: 200, 400, 600, 600, 400, 200. Listed below are the times for these repeats and, in parentheses, what I guessed the times to be before looking at my watch (in some cases, I didn't remember to guess):

200--56.14 (62)
400--1:56.5 (2:04)
600--2:54.? (Note: stopped and accidently restarted watch so time said first 2:54something, then 2:55.8, but I'm going by the 2:54.)
400--1:55.51 (!:58)

I was thinking about Larry Simmons while doing these, and Russell. Russell used to say "breathe in, breathe out!" and now I know he must have gotten that from Larry. I found myself working the repeats a little harder because I sensed Larry's voice--"let's see what you can do with this"--and I was surprised that both my 600s were under 3 mins. and that although my original plan was to go 200 or one min. whichever came first, 400 or two mins., etc., I decided that would be too complicated, and I'd do the repeats w/out all the permutations (less bothering with my watch as a result)

Pylometric drills--not quite 15 mins. tho. I did five reps of the following: high knees, skip bounds, quick feet, "majorettes" (kind of a speeded up version of a t'ai chi kick), and butt kicks. Any resemblance between my style of doing these and, say, Maurice Greene's would be nothing short of miraculous, unless we're talking about Maurice Greene at, say, 89.


Then there's that Red Sox win! They're the first team in history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a pennant. As Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince was prone to say when his Bucs would come back from what seemed to be a deep hole to win a game, "we had 'em all the way!"

I made a lighthearted comment several days ago on the Dead Runners Society listserve that I'd consider an ultra if the Red Sox won the World Series. Hah! The rascals are out to get me to run an ultra! When I do, I'll wear a Red Sox cap by way of thanksgiving (or blame?). But the connection seems appropriate. They have shown us all something about doing what can't be done, about skipping past the "can't's" and making something happen. I think to myself--ME? Run an ULTRA?? No way!! Yet these guys came back, gutted out two consecutive extra-inning games, made us all sweat with them, pushed the boundaries of our beliefs, and told us, yes, this too can be done.

I want to carry that into other areas of my life. In darker moments, I sometimes think, "I can't do things right! I'll never find the right job. I should just settle for whatever I can get." But I had an odd feeling. Today I will find exactly the right job. I am right on the trail of it. Sometimes it's what you believe in that you'll get. I don't mean that if I believe I'll win the Philly Marathon overall that in fact I will. But I also know that if I expect that I'll run the best marathon I'm capable of, set my sights a little higher than I think is possible, I'll surprise myself--I'll find a stronger runner than I thought possible. We form partnerships with our physical limitations and our capabilities--and our dreams...and we set goals accordingly.

Last night, the Red Sox taught us something about perseverence and faith and setting goals. They recognized as an organization what they needed to do to win, what their strengths and weaknesses were, learned from their mistakes, and did the "impossible."

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

October 16-18: Of fall beauty and loss and comfort

October 16: Shorter run this week-end, as we stepped back from the longer distance--but intensified the effort. This run totaled ~12 miles with 4 x ~1 mile repeats. We started at Lloyd Hall as usual, ran along the new section of bike path (past the Waterworks), and toward West River Drive, turning on Sweet Briar Road, and again onto Concourse Drive. Since this section of the course wasn't measured, Dave's original plan was to have us run hard starting from the turn from the River Drive to Sweet Briar, then along Concourse up to the Mann Music Center. However, based on everyone's times, it was determined that this was closer to a mile and a quarter, so in our next three repeats, we skipped Sweet Briar and just ran Concourse Drive to the Mann Music Center. That was about 9/10 mile. My times seemed a bit faster than my current mile times: 8:20, 8:15, 8:10. Shorter course than for the 12-minute first repeat, and the times (if I deluded myself sufficiently) were prettier! For the warmdown, we passed Belmont Plateau and headed down Montgomery Drive back to West River Drive, returning the same way we'd left.

Sights on this run: the Great Blue Heron on the opposite side of the pond near Belmont Plateau, almost hidden by the brown surface of the water and the water lilies, but its curved neck just asserting itself against the liquid backdrop.... the runner coming toward us with a pelloton of bike riders at a distance behind her, runner and bike riders lit by the sun, the runner appearing to lead the riders, the shadows sharp on the ground....the swirl of pigeons spread across the river, with the Strawberry Mansion Bridge behind them, the water glittering, the rowers in their variously colored shells....all so dynamic, so fluid, so graceful.

R.I.P. Larry Simmons, Philadelphia area coach, Master's runner, race-walker: Dave told me after this run that Larry had passed away. I knew him through participating in the Philly Masters' events. Larry--so energetic, so quick witted, so generous with his help and advice! He talked me through a mile race at an indoor meet at St. Joe's one day when Russell couldn't be there, then offered me a ride home. When he took up racewalking, he competed as hard as he ever did as a runner. He lived fully almost to the end. Dave told me he'd seen Larry only the week before at a racewalking workout. Thank you, Larry--you gave so much to the track community! May God bless you in heaven!

Here's a link that contains tributes by those who knew him:

October 17: 92 minute run. Again, I stopped at my mom and stepfather's grave. For some reason, when I do that, it's an incredibly difficult run emotionally. I never can make that trip without tears. This day was no exception. In part, this came from my disappointment that the flowers had been taken away (found another little artificial flower and added it to the daisy. Not much, but something. Maybe the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of flower displays. But as I hovered by the grave, the tears coming, I felt a warmth that seemed to penetrate the chill and the wind. As if somehow they were telling me I wasn't alone and to keep up my courage. Finally, I felt able to start off again, but I could not start a second lap around the cemetery.

Instead, I detoured to the right to stop at the Delaware County Hospital, needing to use the ATM. As I started toward the hospital, I saw a white haired man who asked me how long I'd been running. At first, I thought he meant on this particular day. About fifty minutes, I told him. "No," he said. "How many years have you run?" "Since about my mid-thirties," I replied, "and I'm 53 now." "You look great! Keep it up! I used to run but my knees gave out." I felt as if this man was somehow sent to me to encourage me. I don't know why--not so much that he was literally an angel, although people say they see angels in human form, and I won't say that didn't happen. Just that it struck me as interesting that he wanted to know how many years I'd been running. And I had an interesting feeling that the man knew me from somewhere, even though I'd not met him before. I think sometimes each of us can be angelic to one another, encouraging a stranger, letting someone know he or she is appreciated. I felt a kind of peace after seeing that man.

Continued on toward Upper Darby High school, where there was a flea market going on. Flitted around the tables briefly, promised myself I'd return after my run, then off to the track to run by then the remaining 35 minutes. I was pretty tired, but oddly, by the time I finished, I began to want to keep going. However, I was also as happy to stop and explore the flea market. I can see why my mom used to love going to flea markets and antique stores. You can find so many surprises, things you won't find in the malls with all their glitz. Dusty little pieces of someone's life.... I bought a book on creativity, a small wicker shelf set, a couple of silver rings, and a display plate with a bald eagle. Not the most practical items, except for the wicker shelf set (bathroom needed more shelf space). But somehow a fun conclusion to my run, an exploration--going around this quilt of odd objects.

October 18: Quiet little 32 minute run, taking in neighborhoods and woods.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Running Rundown, Oct. 4-15: short form, except when it's not

<>October 4: 30 minutes easy. Took in some of Naylor's Run Park
October 5: Group workout, and I was LATE! Fortunately, since the workout consisted of "Art Museum repeats" (described in an earlier entry), I met up with the group as they returned from their warm-up and went with them to the back lawn of the Museum. We ran ten minutes, then rested a few minutes, then for the second set, we were to do half of whatever number of laps we'd completed during the ten-minute run. I couldn't remember how many laps I'd run, so Dave told me to do three laps the second time. Seemed fair enough. Did the cooldown afterward, and then I rode to 30th Street with Mike. I always appreciate getting some time to talk with Mike. There haven't been so many chances because I'll often stay afterward to do the bounding drills--which I also enjoy. However, we didn't have those because I think Dave wanted to get home to watch the Cheney/Edwards debate.
October 6: One hour run, including the xc course.
October 7: Felt under the weather, as if I was getting a cold, very washed out. Managed about 20 minutes, but couldn't go further.
October 8: Scheduled off day

October 9: ~18 miles. This went much better than the 20-miler two weeks earlier, even though I ran harder. The object was to start easy for the first hour, then increase the effort to marathon goal pace, and aim for 10k pace during the last three miles. This one had me worried. After the hurting 20 mile run, I wondered if I'd be able to increase the effort level. That seemed counter-intuitive, but I was surprised to find that I could do so--increasing my speed was another matter. There were two parts to the course. We first ran along West River Drive, past Memorial Hall, and back toward WRD from Montgomery Drive.

From there, we returned to Lloyd Hall on the path that skirted the Art Museum (rather than the one near the Waterworks). Dave had run that first loop and waited at Lloyd Hall with water and some prodding. We had a 3:20 time limit, and Dave reminded me that I had a little over two hours left--and that was it. (I had 1:17 on my watch for 7 miles, so approximately 11 minute pace until then.) I had already begun to push the pace a little more on West River Drive--but probably not by much. It was time to hunker down and see what I could do. I wanted to go the whole distance. Dave said he would be waiting at the theater in Manayunk and there letting people know their turn-around points so as to meet the time limit. I wanted to do the whole 12 miles of that twelve-mile section. It would turn out not to be the case, but I still was grateful for the challenge.

Setting out with Nancy, I saw some women talking about the marathon and their training. They seemed to be setting a strong but doable pace, so I suggested to Nancy that we tuck in behind them, without being right on their shoulders of course. She agreed, and we became their "chase pack," staying about 20-50 yards behind them, determined to keep them in sight, yet not distract them too much. We kept on in this manner until we had to detour onto Kelly Drive (a section of it was closed) to avoid the Dragon Boat Festival crowds. There, we drew closer to the women in front of us. At one point, I even passed them, but I don't recall if they returned the favor. Somewhere along this section, I passed Rebecca who had been running quite strong. "Caught!" she exclaimed. But she hadn't made it easy!

From there, I moved on past the Falls Bridge (where the "lead pack"--or were they now the chase pack?--turned). I still had some doubt about being able to keep the effort, but I found that it helped to fantasize. I wasn't just on a training run. I was in the Olympic Marathon, and having started conservatively, I was getting ready to reel in the leaders. They were quite a distance ahead, but they were coming back to me. My strategy was working. By the time I reached Manayunk, Dave told me to run ten more minutes and turn back. While I hoped that my ten minutes would lead me to the turn-around point for the full distance, I was about a third of a mile short. Still, the pace was better than it had been during my ghastly 20-miler, so I was pleased with that.

Once I turned, I saw myself heading down the homestretch. Back into Olympic runner mode: the leaders would come back to me. When I reached the 3 mile marker, I paused briefly for a gel, and then it was time to dig in. My goal was to make the last three miles in under 30 minutes. Hardly my 10k pace at its best, and I hoped that I'd do even better than that. But it was the bottom line goal. With about two miles to go, I passed Rick, but that didn't last long. He had the move covered, and was past me before we reached the one-mile marker. I tried to stay with him, and, in the last quarter mile, almost caught him. But I breathed too loud when I drew up near him, and he heard and pulled away. Still, his presence made me work harder, stay stronger. I still don't know if the last three were under thirty minutes, because I couldn't see my watch well enough to notice the seconds. It teetered on the edge of thirty minutes, however, which, again, certainly was better than the limping, struggling 20-miler of two weeks earlier. Surprising what's possible with a good fantasy!

October 10: One-hour run with 10x100m strides on the Upper Darby track. Decided to time these, and while no Olympic records were even made the slightest bit nervous, I was pleased that I was able to do these the day after a long hard run and that the times improved as I went along. The times: 28, 26, 25, 25, 25, 25, 24, 23, 22, 22.
October 11: easy half hour
October 12: Ran with group. We ran 6x1/4 mile with 1/4 mile recoveries. In this one, we were divided into four groups, starting in inverse order of speed. For a change, I decided to try a slightly faster group, so went out not with the first bunch, but with the second--all guys except me. I stayed with them for the most part, and did a 1:54 for my first quarter, but then I was mincemeat! The rest of my times showed the toll my over-ambition had taken: 2:04, 1:59 (managed to rally a little), 2:03, 2:10 (but I'm not sure about the distance; the 1 3/4 mile mark on the bike path is very hard to see, especially now when it gets dark earlier), and 2:09. Unfortunately, that last was for a real quarter mile...can't claim to have overshot...but I felt my father's presence, kept feeling prompted not to give up--though I'd really badly slowed down. Because of that, I could finally resist the temptation to berate myself for being so slow and instead see the positive: that I didn't give up, that I'd tried something a little harder, a group a little faster than usual, taken a slight risk. The slow times did me no harm. It was just a chance to learn--and stretch--my limits. Later, Dave suggested starting with my regular group and then, if things went well, jumping in with the faster group. It makes sense. If we start in inverse order of speed, the faster group eventually catches up, and if I'm feeling good, I can try running with them at that point. If I fall off their pace, I can still drop back to my regular group. I liked that he didn't just say "you're too slow for that group." I think he understood that I wanted to stretch myself a little.

October 13: Attempted 90 minutes but did 82. Stopped at my mom's grave and found that the flowers Liz and I had brought there on 9/26 were gone. I felt so hurt, sad. Found someone who worked at the cemetery, and he told me they cleared everything away at the end of September, but to wait a few days, and the section with Mom's grave would be cleared. Then if anything was replanted, it would not be moved. I found a little artificial daisy and set it next to the gravestone--to stand in for the real thing until we could come back to replant. But I was very low energy and sore after that, couldn't focus too well. Of course, I think it was partly also because of having run since Saturday with no off-days. Decided to take the next day off. And, Mom, we'll be back with real flowers!

October 14: Took day off from running--much needed recovery day.

October 15: Felt better on and was able to run 47 minutes with no difficulty.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Of hawks and tigers carried to the mountain

Fall in full swing--first weekend in using fall coloring

October 2

Workout consisted of
Warm-up approx 2.5 miles
2.9 mile xc course on Belmont Plateau
3x batting cage rpts (approx 700m)
Cooldown via River Drive loop across Falls Bridge to Kelly Drive and from there to start

Highlight--seeing a hawk swoop overhead as we started the 2.9 mile run. In some cultures, that's considered a good sign--to see a hawk before a race.

Lately I’ve been so goal oriented that the goal becomes everything, even driving me to risk injury to reach it. I hear of someone saying she did 3 20-milers & so I have to get in my first, even though my previous longest run was 15 miles, and a more gradual increase is called for.
Joe, my.t'ai chi instructor, reminds the class to listen to the wisdom of our own bodies, not force a move or a pace that's out of harmony w/ that wisdom. In t'ai chi, movements have names based on nature--stroke the peacock's tail, parting the clouds, carry the tiger to the mtn--so mysterious in origin. We are invited to meditare, relax, power up, “step out onto the ice”--accepting yet trying to improve our skills. If I carry that into running, perhaps that's a way of “carrying the tiger to the mountain,” as in bringing what is stong in us to our challenges.

October 3

An hour total today. Once again, ran the xc course, with some random trotting around before and afterward. This time, I started out a little harder than just a jog, maybe what I'd call "briskly easy." But found myself wanting to push a little harder and a little harder--except that during the second mile, I really slowed down--that's the section when I'm least sure what I'm doing because I can't find my map, and that's where the trickiest terrain comes. There's a section that involves running over a rooty, rocky path and either up a mound that leads down steeply on the other side or along a grate and after I took a bad fall one day on a grate in Smedley Park, I am very cautious. Either way seemed risky, so I chose the grate and walked it. Good thing. Little bits and pieces of rock caught in the grate could have tripped me. I chose not to run through the stream, since I have a run tomorrow and I want my shoes to be good for it. So that meant some back-tracking, which might have added distance. Once past the obstacles, however, I began running harder...and harder. I became aware that I was in a race--with myself. But I also felt a sense of community with cross-country runners past who shared the course with me in spirit. Reached the playing field and sprinted across the imaginary finish line with imaginary crowds cheering. Time, however, was 34something. This was all right with me. My ambitions on this course are tempered by the terrain, and I will now work on 30 minutes. "Small steps," as Mike always reminds me. Sometimes they feel very small. But take them anyway.

Catching up

I'll throw in yesterday's and today's runs here.Yesterday, I experimented with a two-a-day. Ran very easy, not quite 3 miles in the a.m., then about 8 3/4 in the p.m. with the marathon training group. The latter consisted of a 30 min. warm-up, then a 3-mile prediction run (we had to surrender our watches and run by feel), then cooldown for another 30 mins. which I did very slowly.

The prediction run went better than I expected, but my goal was a little conservative, based on a series of rather sluggish mile repeats last weekend: so I guessed 28:26 (why the 26? I don't know...just b/c marathons are 26 miles...or some such equally whimsical reason). My actual time was 27:21, and I think it would have been even faster were it not for a side stitch that lasted about a quarter mile and came on in the last mile. Fortunately, I was able to blow it off and resume the hard running.

9/3, ran 47 mins. easy, and happened upon a h.s. xc race getting set up in the park near where I live. So I finished my run and took off for home to get my camera, returned, and rooted for my local h.s. team! That was a fun morning! The lead female ran about two mins. ahead of the nearest competitor, and both were members of the "home" team! What a nice surprise to come upon that race!

September 11: Group long run
The goal: 15-17 miles. I managed 15.

We were divided into three groups, depending on our speed (I was in the "caboose" group; we kept these more or less throughout the run).

This 15 miles was divided thus:
The run from Lloyd Hall to Belmont Plateau (don't know exact mileage there, but trust me the total came to 15)

The various repeats inflicted upon us while on Belmont Plateau: the "whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger" part of the workout (actually I enjoyed them...just having some fun here). These consisted of < style="color: rgb(51, 51, 153); font-family: arial;">
  • <><><>four "batting cage repeats": In these, we covered what Dave said was approximately 700ish yards for each repeat plus an approximately 3 min. easy jog back to the start point. They were called "batting cages," because they started at one batting cage and skirted two others. My times:
< style="color: rgb(51, 51, 153); font-family: arial;"><> --3:54 (I was disappointed by the slow time...later I'd be happy to see the south side of 4 mins. again)<>
--4:12 (I was running second in my group until we were near the end, at which time, I caught my foot in a piece of pennant banner that had been set up for an upcoming race. Took me moment to untangle myself. Was running second in my group until that point, and my merciless team-mates sprinted past me)
--4:00 a milestone--for the FIRST TIME, I was the first in my group to finish a repeat!! (Payback time, team-mates!)
--3:53 ball back in my team-mates' court, as most of them finished ahead of me, but the time surprised me. Felt sure I'd be over 4 minutes because I couldn't chase the others down and finished in second-last place in the group.

  • <><>Two "inside mile" repeats:<>
  • <><> First repeat, 10:49 even though I was in so much oxygen debt, I needed a credit counselor. Good to know that it was a little over a mile. Second repeat--almost 12 mins. but took a wrong turn and fortunately someone in the group called to me to get me back on course. Between these two repeats, ten minutes of easy running.

  • After these diversions, we proceeded back to the start, taking the long way around the Schuylkill River loop. Our normal procedure had been to run straight back toward the Art Museum, but this time we were directed to head for the Falls Bridge, cross that, and then return to the start. During this part of the run, I began to entertain doubts about whether I'd be ready for the marathon. Hamstrings tight, almost to the point of hurting. But somehow I found myself able to keep running, tight/stiff as my legs felt, and as I continued, began to feel a little better. Afterward, Dave stretched me a bit which sent my facial muscles into all kinds of contortions (as in OUCH!), but I definitely felt better after he worked on me.

  • Long runs remain a challenge for me, but talking w/ the coach afterward, I think I see why. Part of it might be needing to stretch more; part of it might a need to adjust diet; and part might be starting out a little too fast.
    It might just be that I'm made for shorter races, but I'm going to see how the half-marathon goes next week. Having covered 15 miles, some of them w/ some hard, hilly running, I feel more confident going into the half marathon which will be largely flat. So we'll see!

    Tuesday evening group run. We were instructed to run 3 miles at the pace at which we planned to run the half marathon. I have to admit that given my speed lately, I didn't see myself running the thing in under 9 mpm, but I dream... I dream. Wanted at least to know how a sub-9 pace felt for three miles, and the answer: harder than it used to! But I was glad to end up with 26:45 (on my watch--Mike told me his watch said 26:55--I like better what my watch said...but I like Mike, so it's a tough call!). Mike also told us not to look at our watches, just to try to go as much as possible by feel. I followed this advice, looking only to press the start button and then to stop the watch when I finished. So I have no idea what my splits were.

    I developed a side stitch toward the end of the run, but it was only in the last hundred or so yards that it really began to bother me, so I gripped my side and made myself run through it. (Anything for a sub-27, right?) Fortunately, it didn't slow me down too much. But I hope I don't run into the same problem in the Philly Distance Run Sunday!

    Including warm-up and cooldown, total of five miles.

    Just a comfortable trot around my local h.s. xc course, except that I skipped the stream crossing part (I know, I know, very wimpy) and used the footbridge further down instead. Started raining toward the end of the run, but only a drizzle...actually felt good! Ended up with 51 minutes counting getting to the start, then returning home.

    A few easy miles in pouring rain. When I was almost done, a man commented, "a little wet to be jogging." Wet? It was wet out? Oh. I was too busy running to pay attention. Well, not really--but I do notice that when it rains, I'll be decked in raincoat and umbrella like anyone--until I start running, then the rain doesn't bother me much at all! In fact, it can even feel good if the weather's been hot.

    However, racing is a whole other story. I don't like racing in the rain because then my shoes get wet and heavy and slow me down. Tomorrow's the Philly Distance Run (1/2 marathon), and it's supposed to be cool and clear--favorite conditions for me!

    After a day of pouring rain yesterday, today was not onlybright and clear but a tad chilly and windy. Almost wondered this morning if I'd have done better w/ gloves. However,after checking my bag, I shivered in singlet and shorts until warmed up and ready to start. Cutting to the chase, here's the result--2:04:29 chip time,2:06:41, gun time, 1:03:59 at the halfway point (I carried anold watch with me which I started when I crossed the secondchip mat so I'd have a second half split--which was 1:02:42).Based on some time trials I'd run, Dave predicted a 2:10 so he was quite pleased--although he warned me that now that he saw that time, he'd have to conclude that I'd been holding back, so I guess he'll expect me to work harder in the group runs. My hope was to go under two hours, but I'm still pretty happy with today's race. I ran a negative split, was able to push myself more the second half, and felt pretty good afterward...sore but not wasted. In fact, I beat last year's time. I'd had such a difficult spring and summer that I wasn't expecting to go sub-9mpm pace, but I felt so draggy in the Broad Street Run that I wondered if I could even run sub-10 mpm again. So this race, while certainly no personal best,. was still a real confidence builder!

    There was a nervous period for the race organizers who thought they might have to reroute the race due to flooding along the Kelly Drive part of the route, but fortunately road crews worked all night to get the street cleaned up, and so the race could proceed on its normal route. However, there was a moderately slippery stretch after the Falls Bridge, and Iremember thinking, "sure are a lot of people with tattoos on their legs"--until I realized we were all getting "tattooed" with mud spatter! Aside from that stretch, the going was dry and the weather gorgeous. None of the mugginess that had been settled upon us earlier in the week, so I felt pretty energized! I think that helped a lot! Afterward, I met up team-mates in the marathon group for some post-race celebration (and ... um ... some of the "fluid replacement" included bloody mary's and mimosas). A good day, I'd say!

    9/20/04: Very easy walk around Naylor's Run Park.

    9/21/04 Group workout: recovery/handicap run. We could predict a time and run w/ preferred group. I put myself in the 30-35 min. group but ran 28:26 (splits were 9:36, 19:??).

    9/23: 1 hr. run
    9/24: 35 min. run
    These were distributed differently than called for in my schedule, because time constraints made a 45 minute run impossible on Friday.

    9/25 20 miler completed in very slow-mo 4 hrs./7 mins. Hurt, hurt, hurt! But finished.

    9/26 5k race that I just jogged (recovery from 20-miler), 34:50. Still won 3rd place in a.g. This was the Road to a Cure 5k Run/Walk to raise money for Celiac Disease research. Liz told me about it, and I signed up...then wasn't sure if I would be able even to walk the distance, but calf felt better.

    9/27 rest day, completed copy-editing project

    9/28 For the rain it raineth... Hugely.
    I started to go to meet the group, got as far as center city. Running late, heard about possible tornadoes, sky getting darker, rain coming in sheets. Cab driver said Kelly Drive flooding. Suddenly was driven sane. Told the driver to bag the trip to Lloyd Hall and drop me at 30th St. Station instead. Wondered if I'd wimped out--thought of Schultz's Charlie Brown perennially standing in pouring rain on the pitcher's mound, everyone gone home...always did identify with him, but sad to say, I left him on the pitcher's mound tonight--but when watched the news at 11, I wondered if maybe anyone came to the "pitcher's mound" including Charlie Brown. I heard that a woman died while waiting for a bus on Midvale Avenue--swept away by flood water. [Even today, more than two weeks later, the thought still haunts me.]

    9/29 Dave e-mailed me and told me there would be a workout for the 26-2 group the next day. Went to that and we did six hill repeats, 3x up/down continuous on Lemon Hill, same as Mike has done, rest in between, another 3 up/down other side of Lemon Hill.

    9/30 Easy 50 mins. (used part of xc course)

    10/1 Easy 34 mins.