Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday night

Hey all. It is Thursday night. Survivor is over and ER is about to come on, so I am doing a quick update.

My legs and back have been hurting the last couple of days. Might be from the miles that piled up over the last week or my back is just out of whack. We'll know eventually.

Wednesday night I did 4 miles. No watch. Legs were very sore. Hip was huring too. My right calf has also been giving me a bit of a problem this week. Everything has felt sort of out of whack.

Tonight I started back to doing my hill work. I warmed up with 2 1/2 miles. the 1st 1 1/4 was very slow, just working out the kinks. The second 1 1/4 was a little faster. Then I tackled the hill. The same hill I used earlier this year to help train my for my successful PR marathon. Might as well repeat the training from before, right? Starting slow, of course.
4 hill repeats. The hill is about .2 miles and pretty steep. I meant to get exact distance and grade last year but still have not done it. That is my assignment over the next week. I will be reporting mileage and grade. You know us engineering types . . . have to quantify everyting. Anyway, I ran it without a watch. Since I am just getting back to starting my hill work there is no need to have any added pressure. Just working on form and consistent speed. Did a cooldown of 1/2 mile. I also did an upper body workout with light weights.

I have to get back into shape!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

way behind

The bad thing about 4 day holiday weekends is that I get sort of lazy. How about you? I don't check email, I don't pay bills, I just put life on hold. Except for running and laundry. I have to run and I like to wear clean underwear so the running and laundry must go on!

Running report:

Thursday morning (Thanksgiving)-
I had decided to run the Monclair Run 10k (our local annual turkey trot). I knew I was going to be doing more running over the four days so I decide to not really push the pace. It was a nice sunny morning and the race started at 8:30 so the weather was nice . . . about 50 degrees. I always get a chuckle when I look at the folks wearing sweat shirts, sweat pants, and jackets. They don't have a clue and it always shows about mile 2 when they are all tying clothing around their waists. I was shorts, singlet and then gloves (which I tucked in my waistband before the first mile was over). The course has a couple of small hills but enough to effect pace. My fastest mile was dead on 8 minute pace and my slowest mile was 8:45. My average pace was 8:28. Slow for a 10k but like I said . . . I was not racing it. Afterwards, Susan and her two girls, MA and E, showed up to run the 1 mile fun run which is run AFTER the 10k. MA asked me to run with her since she was wanting to run faster. Susan ran with E and I agreed to run with MA. As we walked to the starting area, MA asked if we could run a 9 minute mile. "Sure" I said, knowing full well the 9 minute mile is a piece of cake. Then MA asked if we could run an 8 minute mile. "Hmmmmm . . . . I just ran 6.2 miles but I didn't push it. We should be able to do that!" I said confidently to a 10 year old girl, thinking that there is no way she could do that. THEN she asked if we could run a 7 minute mile. "Wow! You're awfully brave to be so short!" I chuckled, know that there is no way she can do it. We toed the line and took off at a pretty good clip. MA and I left Susan and E behind us. I was having to remind MA to breathe slow and deep (she has a little asthma). I knew we were running pretty hard but I was letting her set the pace. As we approached the turn around point (1/2 mile) I noticed that there were only maybe a dozen people in front of us. We hit the turn around point in 3:15. I'm thinking to myself "we cannot keep up this pace, either MA or I will pass out!". However, I did not share my feelings with MA. Instead, I kept encouraging her and cheering her on, staying slightly behind off her right shoulder. As we approached the finish area, 4 spectators (big cow people) stepped off the curb and into the chute area! Can you believe it? We had to come to a dead stop. I yelled (sort of) at the people who didn't have a clue what they had just done. We worked our way around them and ran on to the finish live. 7:06 mile. That is a pretty good mile for me and I'm sure it was a good workout for MA. I figure we would have broken 7 minute mile if the cow people had not stepped in our path. I assured MA that she would have run about a 6:55 . . . Nothing like the grin of a cute 10 year girl! Susan and E surprised MA and me. We back tracked to watch them finish. I told MA that they would probably be running 10-10 1/2 minute mile. We saw them quicker than I had expected and they clocked a 9 1/2 minute mile. Not a problem for Susan but pretty good for E who is 6 years old and would prefer to look at the bugs along the way than to bear down on a one mile run!

Friday afternoon-
We had every intention of doing a 10 miler on Lakeshore trail. It was a pretty afternoon but the legs and back were a little sore from Thursday's run. We did a slightly longer loop so our round trip was between 5 1/2 and 6 miles. We decided to call it quits when we got back to the car. My legs just were not moving that well and the back was a little bit tight. Still, we had a good time and it was some mileage to add to the week.

Off! Rested. We did do some hiking. We took the girls to my parents house for brunch and then walked in the woods for a little while. Then we went to Blount county for a self-guided tour of covered bridges and a side trip to a local park that sits on top of a rock outcropping on top of a mountain. Very pretty and scenic and we saw rock climbers and rapellers (sp?). A good day to just walk around and knock the spider webs off my legs.

Sunday afternoon-
After church, we loaded up in the truck and went to kill a Christmas tree for Susan. After about an hour of walking through hundreds of evergreens, the girls picked a tree. We cut it down, had it loaded and took it to Susan's house. I helped them put it up and decorate it. I have to admit it was sort of strange . . . I have decided that I was not going to do anything at my house. Not really in the mood. Anyway, after the tree lighting ceremony, we decided to go out for a few miles. MA wanted to run and bike with me and E went with Susan. Susan has a 1 mile loop in her neighborhood the circles by her house . . . very convenient. I ran four miles. MA biked mile 1 and 3 and ran miles 2 and 4. The biggest thrill was when MA and I caught E and Susan. We were starting our fourth loop and caught them on their third loop! It was all I could do to keep MA in check when we spotted them a block away. I convinced her that we would catch them and got her to slow down a bit. We passed them and headed to the house. MA enjoyed standing in the driveway and asking her mom "where have you been?". A fun afternoon.

Monday night-
Legs are still a little sore but I know that I have to get some miles in. I got started a little later than normal so it was almost dark when I walked out the door. I had planned on 5 miles slow but I ran into Dom "The Dominator" doing is recovery run. He is training like a mad man right now and he was needing some rest so we ran some very slow loops in the 9:15 avg range. I got six miles in and it seemed to help work the soreness out of my legs.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Nobody is in the office . . . except me. I exaggerate . . . there are actually about 10 of us here and it is sort of laid back so I'm actually blogging at work. Shame on me.

I ran a 5 miler in the dark and cold last night. I never could get a good rhythm going. I ran without my watch since it was a recovery run from Sunday's long run. I'm not sure why I never got my groove last night. I guess things just pile up. The cold. The dark. My mind racing about all the things I need to do. I guess the big salad I had at lunch didn't help much either since I felt it bouncing around in there. I will just chalk it up as one of those days when you run for the sake of running. Normally, I feel better after a run . . . clear my head, stuff like that. Not last night. I guess I was just going through the motion.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I will, as I do most years, start the day by running our local Turkey Day run 10K. I'm not going to race it since I am plannning on doing 10-12 miles on Friday. This is normally just a social run except for the high school and college kids and the skinny guys who freeze in the colder weather. This race normally draws a pretty good crowd. One year we had close to 600 people. There is also a 1 mile turkey trot that Susan is thinking about doing with her girls.

On a serious note-
Everyone needs to take time tomorrow to step away from your runs, meals, festivals, football games and spend a moment reflecting on the holiday. The origins of the holiday is basically a celebration of life and survival
However, we do have so much to be thankful for today. We are a blessed people and we need to take the time to reflect on that. We need to make sure that we take the time to share the origins of the holiday with our children and to let them know that our gratitude to our Creator extends through the generations. Please take time to be truly thankful.

Everyone have a great holiday weekend and keep up the running!

Monday, November 20, 2006

too busy to post

I have been bad . . . again. Forgive me, it was long weekend.

First . . . everyone commenting-BEHAVE! For those who have not figured it out, Anonymous (most of the time) is my parents. They love me dearly but do not understand my desire to run. Heck, I don't understand my desire to run! I think it a compulsive behavior disorder of some sorts . . . I have to be doing something. Better than running than drinking myself into a stupor every night or shoving a needle in my arm. I always have and always will be fighting with the weight issue. I am not a fatty but I do tend to let the overindulgence of life overtake the discipline of fitness. One of my many demons.

Now let's talk about running-

Thursday night was miserable weather. I know it's not an excuse but after getting home and finding a message from FEDEX that I needed to come to their place to pick up a package, it was all the excuse I needed not to run. It was mid 40s and raining and I was fighting a headcold last week. No run Thursday but I did run to FEDEX and pickup my tickets to the Auburn Alabama game for Saturday.

Friday I did a quick 4 miler. Normally I would have run a 6 miler or so but I knew what was coming up for the weekend and wanted to spread out the mileage. A good start to the weekend.

Saturday. The big day. Auburn and Alabama neither had very good seasons this year but it is still the big rivalry game and I HAVE TICKETS! Susan and I going to the game and it will be a long day. Susan came over early Saturday morning and we ran 30 minutes before cleaning up and heading to Tuscaloosa. This was going to be an interesting day . . . . I am an Auburn fan and Susan is an Alabama fan. Oil and water. Oh yes, I must mention that Auburn has won 4 in a row and has not lost a game while visiting Tuscaloosa. Most of the bammers (Alabama fans) I know felt confident that this year things would change. Here's a few pictures from the day-

Here we are after a day of eating and drinking and visiting friends but right before going into the stadium. As you can tell I am wearing orange and blue (the good guys) and Susan is in her crimson (the bad guys).

Here is Susan before the game. She is happy. We are on her campus where she went to school. We are in her stadium where she has seen Alabama win so many games in the past. At this point in time she is thinking that her team is going to kick my teams butt. Do not ask here what is in her coke!!!

Her I am prior to the game. One a few Auburn fans sitting in this section. I am hopeful but dreading an Alabama win. It is just a game. It does not matter who wins. It is a pretty day, we're having fun, it is a nice campus and stadium. It is ashame that we have to ruin it with a football game.

Right before kickoff. The Auburn team is coming out of the tunnel, having to run past the Alabama cheerleaders and that big red banner. Yuck. The game was exciting and back and forth. To be truthful, Alabama played a good game but as most people thought, the team the made the most mistakes would lose. Alabama had four turnovers and Auburn had one.

The outcome was better than I had hoped. Auburn won 22-15. A nice close game that was sealed with a David Irons interception with less than a minute left to end Alabama's drive to tie up the game. Whew! Nothing better than listening to the Auburn crowd singing Rammer Jammer to the Alabama crowd. For those of you who don't know it, Rammer Jammer is a song that bammers sing after each game to insult the losing team. There's a line in the song along the lines of "we just beat the hell out of you". Very controversial song that the University "officially" does not endorse and discourages but bammers still do it. It is so much fun to be able to turn it around and give it back to them! Five wins in a row and Auburn still has not lost in Alabama's house. Sorry to the bammers out there . . . . you'd be bragging had you won so give me my moment!

Back to running-
Sunday. Today I am doing my long run since I didn't do it on Saturday. After church, lunch, and going to Susan's daughter's (MA) basketball game, we went to the Lakeshore trail for a long run. It was cold (mid 40s), cloudy, and windy. Not a very nice day for a run but run we must. I did a 10 miler and Susan did about 8 miles. We ran together for the first 5 miles and then I decided to speed up while Susan wanted to do some more. Normally she is good for 5 or 6 miles but she wanted to add a little. She enjoyed her run as did I. However, I think that she is going to sore and tired but that is what training is all about, isn't it? My 10 was fun and easy. I could tell I was a little tired since I am still fighting the remnants of a headcold. However, I was never in doubt of my pace or finishing.

A nice three day stretch. About 17 miles in less than a 48 hour stretch and that is throwing in a long football Saturday in the middle of it. I'm happy about it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You are correct

Phil's comments are correct. And I have sort of planned to do some shorter races. I am doing our Turkey Day Run 10k here in B'ham next week. We also have a club year end half-marathon that I'm planning on doing. I am also going to do the half in the Mercedes scheduled in Feb here in B'ham. I guess the only way to be successful is to repeat what made me successful last year. I am going to do the slow buildup. I have proven to myself and the world that I cannot just pick it up on a 12 or 16 week plan. I figure if I'm able to do 10s and 12s right now, I should be in good shape by April. Nashville Music City Marathon????

Last night I had a pretty nice run. I ran a couple of miles solo and my buddy Chip joined me. He was doing a 10 miler (his marathon is a couple of weeks away) and I was doing a 6. It was nice to have the company and we discussed everything from work, his daughter's sweep of all the first place medals at last weeks gymnastic meet, and Susan's daughter MA and her soccer career.

We continuously picked up the pace and it felt pretty good. Lap 4 was slightly slower-Chip thought we were on the way to a 10 minute lap so we slowed a little bit.

Here's the run-
lap 1 (1.2 miles): 10:55 9: 06 mile This was a warm up.
lap 2 (1.2 miles): 10:34 8:49 mile
lap 3 (1.2 miles): 10:18 8:35 mile
lap 4 (1.2 miles): 10:21 8:37 mile
lap 5 (1.2 miles): 10:07 8:26 mile

8:42.5 avg pace.
Nothing spectacular but I am starting to see an improving trend

As mentioned earlier, I have let my weight slip up and the Fat Man is catching me again. I have allowed myself to slip from a nice comfortable 34 pant size back into my old 36 (thank goodness I kept a few pair laying aroung). This is embarrassing and I expect you to hold me accountable!

Here's the FATMAN watch: 197.6 this morning.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Amy . . . be patient!

Yes . . . I am addressing Amy. Her comment about me posting my weight was a cold reminder of the FATMAN over my shoulder. I will be posting it tomorrow.

Here is tonight's workout-

100 situps
5 mile run. This was a recovery run for me. Average 9:00 pace.
Worked out. Light weights.

I have decided to can Huntsville (Rocket City) marathon. As you know, marathoning is all about mind, body, and spirit all coming together in a crescendo. My spirit says "go ahead . . . you can run it in survival mode". The body says "maybe we can give it a try but it might hurt". Fortunately, I am a GLASS IS HALF EMPTY kind of guy. That means the mind has analyzed what the spirit and body are trying to conspire. The mind knows better and will not let it happen. There are many more marathons and I want to do well like I did this past spring. I'll be thinking about it and inform you later what I decide.

Chilly weekend

I know, I know . . . I live in Alabama and we really don't get cold weather here. However, when you go from 80 degrees to low 40s in a days time, it seems chilly. Especially when the when is blowing 15-20 mph day and night. Actually, I have no clue why I am rambling on about the weather. Maybe it is just the fact that there was frost on the grass this morning.

Let's see . . . . Thursday I ran a short quick 4 miler. That was about all I wanted to do. I was still a little zonked from the quick trip to Vidalia. I was out of bed at 4:30 am and the plane was on the way to Vidalia at 6:00. Spent a full day at the plant in meetings and a couple of walkdowns. For those who are not familiar with the term "walk down" let me clarify. When we design engineering types need to gather information for our design work we sometimes need to gather this information directly from the field (plant site). Not all the information we need is shown on drawings so we have to go to those specific areas in the plant to perform a walk down (take photos, measurements, data gathering). Sometimes these areas are easily accessible . . . sometimes not. Thursday's work was in areas not so easily accessed . . . lots of climbing, changing clothes etc. Bottom line is that it was a long day. 4 miles was enough after a full day of steel toed boots and lots of walking.

Saturday morning was a little bit misty and windy but it was 70 degrees when I started my run. I was wanting to do 12 but I overslept and was pushed for time so I cut it short at 10.8 miles. It was a bit of a slow and sluggish run. Not sure why but there it is. I averaged a 9:10 pace. I was a little disappointed but I did get the run in. Maybe it was the fact that I was still dragging a bit and had lots on my mind. Sometimes I just can't run as well when I'm distracted. Though I averaged 9:10 pace overall, I consistently sped up throughout the run. I guess this coincided with the drop in the temperature. The temp dropped about 12 degrees in 99 minutes. Strange run . . . I started off slow and sweating like a pig but after the first few miles, I started speeding up and stopped sweating so much. Go figure.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back to work . . .

in more ways than one!

Back from the beach and back to my job. I love my job-it keeps me from having to live under the interstate bridge. It puts food on my table or more accurately, in my ever expanding belly. It lets me enjoy these trips and outings that I enjoy going on. I will not complain about my job. I've been here 25 years. I guess it is like the TV show survivor . . . "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast".

Oh yeah. Back to work in my running too. The good run I had Saturday while at the beach sort of inspired me. I was needing that. I ran a decent 5 miler Monday night. I didn't see any of my running chums. However, I did see Shelly for a few minutes. I stopped and chatted with her to get the latest. She is starting her training for the Nashville Music City Half. I have been thinking about this race and may have to study up on it. Susan has also expressed interest in this on. Anyone else out there familiar with this race? Any feedback would be appreciated.

On another note, here are several items of interest:
Starting next week expect a new look to this site. I am not changing the website but I am going to be changing the content. As much as I enjoy telling the tales of my life, I am going to get back to more detail in my training. After reviewing the months of blogging leading up to my successful marathon this past spring, I realize that this is an effective training tool IF USED PROPERLY. I am going to start boring you with details such as splits, distances, times, weather, etc. That is not to say I won't talk about personal things such as dinner, wine, relationships. I am just going to kick things into another gear.

The FATMAN has not only been sneaking up on me, he has jumped on my back and is riding me to the asphalt, face first. I have to get rid of the FATMAN. I am also going to start posting my morning weight. Naked of course. This all has to do with the accountability thing. If I continue having problems with the FATMAN, I may start journaling my meals (a Weight Watchers trick).

I am going to attempt to get Susan started with her own blog. Hey Susan . . . I know you don't want to do it but it is helpful and I am sure that you would quickly build a fan base. Any ideas for a blog name for Susan? Here are several ideas that I had . . .
"Smiles and miles"
"Running Susan"
"Diary of (fill in the blank)"

Ultimately, Susan will have to decide if she wants to dabble in this and she also will decide the blog name. Thanks for any input!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The last several days

Hey all,
As you know, I went to the beach for a long weekend. Here's the running news and other stuff you've come to expect-

Thursday morning before leaving for the beach, I ran a fairly nice and quick 5 miler. No watch, but just running by feel. It was nice and cool and I felt fast and strong. No sense in letting watch ruin that for me!

Susan came to the house, we loaded up the car, and headed towards Seaside, FL. We stopped off in Montgomery to eat lunch with Susan's sister Laura. After lunch we rolled on down US 331 and arrived in Seaside around 3:30 or so. We got checked in, went to our rental house "Our Place by the Sea" and unloaded the car.

Here's a picture of the house. Porches on all the important rooms and a tower to watch sundown. If you have not been to this town, I highly recommend that you rent a cottage and spend a long weekend. You'll never want to go anywhere else.

We barely had time enough to go up in the tower of the house to watch the sunset. We climbed the ladder at 4:40 with our camera, a bottle of wine, and great anticipation. Here's a view of the sunset and us at 4:50.

After sunset we changed clothes and went to our first event of the weekend. We went to Seaside for the "Seeing Red" wine festival. We had a dinner with the vintners at Great Southern Cafe. This was a very nicely arranged dinner. Five course meal + dessert, all paired with different wines. Let me see if I can recall . . . .

Scallops with Sav Blanc
Shrimp with Chardonnay
Merlot with Peking Duck
Zinfandel (red of course) with Roast Beef
Cab Sauv with Lamb
Cab Port with a bitter chocolate cake and cinammon ice cream

Friday was an off day. No running. Actually, we did a short run through Seaside . . . maybe a mile or so just to look at the houses and get the blood flowing. Then we went for a short bike ride. Afterwards we did some shopping and just goofing around town. We had planned on having a picnic on the beach in Grayton Beach State Park. We packed up some turkey sandwiches, chips, grapes, cookies and a nice bottle of wine. Stuffed it all in a back pack along with a blanket and biked to the state park early Friday afternoon. Here's some pictures-

Me on my hybrid bike at the entrance to the state park. Back pack is loaded and heavy. Our goal is to EAT and DRINK everything in the bag!

Susan on her bike. See how she is smiling. Could it be that she is happy or just glad that I'm the one with the back pack? Or maybe she's looking forward to the turkey sandwiches and the $100 bottle of wine we're about to open!

I know . . . this looks like a repeat from our Portland trip. Actually, the photo I posted from the Portland trip was just a spur of the moment thing. Phil really saw more in the other picture and we think so also. We have decided that this will be "our thing" and one of our standard pictures whenever we go to a a beach. Thanks Phil!

Susan saying "hey all". The beach was great! The weather was a little bit cool but not bad. There was nobody on the beach when we got there around 1:00. A couple of fisherman showed up around 2:00 but this was like having our own private dining room in the Florida panhandle.

Yes, I am breaking the rules. Normally, I do not feed the wildlife but we decided to have a little fun with the seagulls. We started with one. Then three. We started naming them until we got up to 45 gulls!

After the picnic, we headed back to Seaside and dumped the bag. Then we headed to Water Colors and hit some more shops. Did I mention that we make a great couple? We both like to shop!!!

After the shopping, we headed back to the house to watch sundown. We climbed up the tower . . . check this out-here's how we had to get up into the tower. Try doing this with crackers, cheese, wine, glasses. You get the idea.

We spent about an hour eating cheese, eating crackers, drinking wine and reading our books. BTW, I am reading a depressing book but I have to finish it. It is called "The Road". I recommend it if you are strong enough. It is a story of post apacolyptic America . . . or what is left of it.

After sundown, we went to Cafe Thirty-A, one of the nicer restaurants in the area. We had a very nice dinner and Susan saw one her friends and we chatted for a while. After dinner, we headed back to the house and played checkers and scrabble . . . . REALLY!

Saturday morning. Time for a long run. I know you've been bored with all this other stuff and have been waiting to hear about my running. We wanted to get an early start since the wine festival started at noon. Susan wanted to run for a little bit so here's what we did. We left the house and ran down the beach trail for 22 1/2 minutes. We ran Susan's pace since she is also training for the Mercedes half. We turned around and ran back to the house. We did not run a negative split so we ended up running a total of about 46 1/2 minutes. I figured we covered between 4 1/2 and 5 miles. After we got to the house, we took a potty break and Susan jumped on the bike and we took off. She rode while I ran and it was nice to have the company. I do know that I have a 2 1/2 mile mark on the trail where I go out and back for 5 milers. We picked up the pace and turned 2 1/2 miles in about 21 minutes. After we turned around and headed back, I told Susan that I wanted to pick up the pace. Boy howdy did I!!!! I turned the 2 1/2 miles coming back in 17:45. I think that I averaged a little bit over a 7 minute pace the last 2 1/2 miles. Not quite a full 10 miler but I think we did pretty stinking good! We were running and biking hard and cooking.

After showering, we went shopping briefly and got back in time to choke down another turkey sandwich before going to the festival. The wine festival was from noon to 4:00 and we got started as soon as possible. There were plenty of vendors and a few tables of h'odouvres. We made the rounds and tried some names we were familiar with and some labels that we had never seen. Here's some pictures we took along the way . . . .

This was right when we started. Notice that we are standing erect.

just a quick view of some of the things we saw. A nice sunny day and lots of sampling to do!

Here we are about half way through the tasting. Yes, I am grinning like a big old goober. Am I happy? Am I tipsy? Could it be that I just heard that Alabama got beat by Mississippi State? (Sorry Susan and Laura). BTW, this is were we go to church on Sundays when we're down there. Does it look like we ran/biked 10 miles 4 hours earlier?

We finished our tasting a little after 3:00. We headed back to the house and rested up. Actually, we turned on the Tennessee-LSU game and sort of napped thru the game. When the game was over, we decided to walk around town and find something to eat. We ended up and joint called Pickles. They do burgers, fries, etc. Stuff for walkups from the beach. A nice big greasy cheeseburger was SO GOOD!!! Afterwards, we headed back to the house and played more scrabble. Don't ask who won.

Sunday morning we packed up, went to breakfast, and then went to church. IT is so nice to go to church while you're on vacation . . . it really is like a breath of fresh air. The associate minister that preached did an excellent job and we really enjoyed our last hour in Seaside in church. After church, we jumped in the car, checked out and headed north back to B'ham. That was our trip!!!