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Executive Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow, Snow Everywhere in 4.55 Miles

4.55 miles
1.01 miles

total: 4.56 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

On the left is one reason I go to a gym. This was the best all weekend as snow kept falling. How much now? Several inches? Six? I don't know. I do know that our homeowners association has not plowed our drive as per my understanding of the contract. One of us is wrong, and it might be me. Either way, snow is everywhere, but not on my treadmill.

Ran just a little longer than usual. Tomorrow is a day off. Yesterday, I foolishly (as I am apt to do), I upped the speed to 6:00/mile for the last quarter, and am sore to prove it.

Again, a few weights. Still too early to call it a habit, but so far, so good.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Fat Is Exiting the Building: 3.1 Easy Miles

3.1 miles
0.50 miles

total: 3.60 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

A short, post-Christmas workout. I want to add another day to my routine without adding too many miles. Ideally, I'll run tomorrow morning before church, maybe 3-5-4.5 miles, with a few weights.

Today I did just three machines, but have started again doing sit-ups and push-ups at home.

I took a 'before' picture. The plan is to take a shirtless shot weekly. If there's no progress, I won't post them. No one wants to see flabby me. What I hope, of course, is to show a guy can lose 10-15 lbs and increase upper body strength. I don't know what to expect since weights are new to me, but, at least, fat will disappear of I stick with it. If I can figure it out, I'll put them into a video. My cousin's kid took a year of pictures his first year in college and it turned out pretty cool. Something like that.

Why? It will help keep me accountable to myself. By taking the picture, there will be an honest record of what I am, or am not, doing.

Top: Treadmill #6 just before I ran.
Bottom: Me, two miles into it. Take note of the red, puffy face. I hope to show off a leaner, fitter look come March.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Achin' Bacon on a Wednesday Night: 4.01 Miles Without a Tune To Tap To

4.01 miles run
1.00 miles walked

total: 4.01 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

My bacon is achin'. Ran a comfortable four miles, but the ache is from a mix of new running and new weights. Same as last time, I think. No leg work yet. That will come after I get a little leg sludge cleaned out. Next month should be long enough.

Intend to hook up with a trainer to give me the once through on the machines. He'll hardly lay down a lifting plan, but I will get an idea of methods and a general strategy.

No iPod today. I didn't die. Had the iPod, but no headphones. Thought I might go down for the count, but I pulled it out well enough. Tried watching the little TV each treadmill has. I learned basketball and football works, but not talk shows. Too much reading. Too slow. Too much to think about. TV, it seems to me, works like music. Wrong pace is just wrong. If I'm not tapping the same tune, it throws everything off.

Besides, I caught some of the loudmouths on the political talk shows. The last thing I need is someone telling how bad the world is (I caught MSNBC and Fox News both yucking up 'Woe is all' blabbering, so don't dance self-righteously thinking your guy never does this.)

Above: evidence of a run. My ASICS, bandanna, a bag we got free somewhere.

Are you feeling groovy? Simon and Garfunkel are. Watch the video and smile.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Twisting (No Shouting) in 4.25 Miles

4.25 miles (38:00 - 8:56/mile)
1.00 miles warmdown walk

total: 5.25 miles
course: Cardinal GE

I ache today. This is good. Might be because of doing weights. I'm so new to weights that it is presumptuous to even say I'm doing them. I'm trying to stick with them this time. I have no races coming up soon and plenty of time. No excuses. Did some arm work and a stomach machine that has has me twisting.

The run was an even-steven 8:56/57 pace. Felt good, stuck to my plan to not add too many miles too quickly, but notch it forward just a tad.

Workouts like today have me itching to get back at it tomorrow. No can do. Or, rather, I can do, but shouldn't. Wednesday's the next delve into action.

Met a guy working at the desk at Cardinal Fitness who is heading to the Middle East after boot camp with the Marines. He is smart, friendly, and ready to face this major challenge. He expects to be a sniper. While I hope his skills are not necessary, I am glad this young man is stepping up. Terrorism cannot be looked at from afar and ignored just because it isn't yet on our soil. He is not naive; he knows what he is getting into. Never caught his name but he's got my support.

Let's Twist Again (video)
Chubby Checker (The Best of Chubby Checker: Cameo Parkway 1959-1963)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowbound? Snow Way! Bounding Inside, Sans Snow - 4.01 Miles

4.01 miles run
1.00 miles walk warmdown

total: 5.01 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

I wanted to do between 4-5 miles. Legalistically, I made. More importantly, I felt OK. Did some weights too. I've never grabbed on to weights, but sorely need more strength.

In the photo, you don't see the snow. There was plenty of it. Running buddy Amanda M. chastised me to run instead outside. It is relatively warm, and a legitimate question.

Accountability. That's why. While I know treadmill running is not a 1:1 ratio to outside running, I can see my time and pace to the second and 1/100 at any moment. I can fool myself on the trail, or just get so discouraged. On a treadmill, I can remind myself how far is left. I need this while building miles. I prefer to enjoy what running buddy Liz Flowers calls "a beautiful zen run" in the quiet of a snowy trail.

Hopefully I get back there Monday. The rest of today is meant to clean, and to host a small dinner party (eight people in all).

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Can a Long Run Do? Character and a Tough Workout

I recently Tweeted "A long run shows a man's character. I've run hard on the track w/ Brad Webb. He has my vote for DuPage County Board"

It occurred to me it may not be obvious to non-runners why this is, or even what I mean.

Brad is around my speed. He is a bigger guy, once a good enough football player to try out for the Chicago Bears. He played in college for Iowa, and is probably useful if I need help moving a fridge. I'm 5'6" and maybe 135 pounds, and am not the guy to call even to move your microwave. If you call three other guys, maybe.

We've run many a 400 meter interval side-by-side on Wheaton College's track. I'm lighter on my feet, and he has power. The 400, when done in repetition, sort of evens out our strengths. Do 3x3 400s, added to a warmup and all, and who a man is shows up. I can't tell on the track what he believes about this or that, but, if he's a cussing man, I'll know. If he is persistent or easily discouraged, it will be obvious. How he handles frustration, pain, and competition is clear. Turn up the Illinois heat to 80 degrees, and exhaustion is felt. That's how training works.

Brad's got specific positions, and those, certainly, are never described in brief over 200-repeats, or a 400-600-800 ladder. There's the website for that. I won't try to push an analogy (or is a metaphor in this case?) that running can tell you all about a man. It can't.

The primary is February 2. I am not a Republican, and am not sure if to vote in the primary, I need to declare a party. I'll work that out. Just the same, I am confident of Brad Webb. This is not because he is a friend; there are friends in politics I will not vote for. It is because I have sweat it out on the track and seen him when he is real and honest, and a few times with his family, and heard of his reputation around town. I have been to his home, have seen how he treats his wife and kids. Always honorably. I don't care what party a man joins so long as he is a man of integrity. I see strengths and weaknesses in each party. What matters to me is deeper than the shallow explanations I read about detractors and supporters of either party. Brad has lived it out what a good man needs to live - honor, honesty, and integrity. This won't get him off the hook next spring when we next show up at the starting line on a Thursday night, but it will get him my vote.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Which Lock is Mine? Unlocking 3.86 Miles

3.86 miles run
1.00 miles hardwalk warmdown

total: 4.86 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness, Wheaton

A relaxed run. This Cardinal Fitness did not have the iPod plug-in. The treadmills were fine enough, but I like this feature.

Met Dan, an RV dealership owner after I thought his locker was mine. Same Masterlock. Why doesn't my combination work? Aha! Because it is not my Masterlock. Mine was a few to the left.

It was nice to be done with my run by 9:15 am. The day was in front of me without the gnaw to run, or the guilt because I made an excuse not to run. I had been sick for over a week, but the last two days were negotiable. I wimped out. Not today.

Legs are tired. Hopefully, again on Saturday.

The tune of the moment:
Mozart - Requiem - Confutatis - 7 - 05-12 218th anniversary of Mozart's death

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sandburg HS Boy Wins Footlocker XC Race

And not only did Lukas Verzbicas a sophomore kid from my neck of the woods (Sandburg High School, Orland Park, IL) blow out the competition (:15 ahead with a 15:08 50000 meters cross country, the girls race had a photo-finish. Megan Gothals of Rochester (Mich.) High won it is 17:07, with Chelsey Sveinsson of Dallas (Texas) Greenhill School finishing in second.

I ran regularly against Sandburg kids in my day. Then, they had two kids who could beat me. Lukas would have run circles around me, but I'd show him a race the first 800 meters. Until he dropped me dead on the field, that is.

As you read the story, you'll be reminded how gutting it out, no matter how much a lost cause the race seems, is sometimes worth it.

As for my own running exploits, they begin again tomorrow as I get over this week-long cold.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Trodding 3.11 Miles of Fat Burning Joy

3.11 miles run
1.30 miles warm down walk

total: 4.41 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness

A simple, easy run after (hear my sad mantra?) a long layoff. I was not entirely inactive, but I did not run. Long walks, packing/unpacking as I moved across town, and, and... and -- OK. That's all I did. Not much.

My pace was around 8:57. Nothing speedy about it. I was surprised I felt a little gassed at around 2.5 miles. Good to be out there (in there?) burning off winter fat.

A fun surprise was meeting a designer whose career has somewhat connected with mine. A post run conversation is always nice.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sun Blocked and Steady 5.0 miles

5.00 miles (43:25 - 8:41/mile)
0.50 miles warm down walk

total: 5.5 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness

A lovely run on an early Sunday morning. While my pace was hardly excessive, I remained steady throughout.

The gym was almost empty. Kind of eery, but most runners likely enjoyed today's gorgeous sun. I opted to stay inside, avoiding the sun with a tightly pulled shade.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Chariots Running with Me in 4.5 Miles

4.50 miles (38:50 - 8:38/mile)
0.75 miles

total: 5.25 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness

An excellent litttle run in my road to fitness. It felt good. I mostly ran at 8:41/mile. My stride feels most comfortable right now at 8:15 or so, but I held back.

The girl on the treadmill next to me was kicking out a slightly faster 8:34 pace for maybe six miles. The temptation of this red-blooded American male was to quicken my pace to something in the 7s, until she finished her workout. The risk was that she would run another five miles, beyond my ability to maintain my show-off pace, and the next day would be an ache-fest.

The psychology of a long run is complicated. I have long runs behind me; I know what 15 miles means. Tonight, and yesterday too, it felt long. Not that I was tired. I wasn't, and could have gone another three miles as far as 'tired' goes. I chose not to as I build my miles. Faster too. I'm burning fat, and building those blessed little capillaries. My mental endurance is weak. My lungs were cool. My legs, somewhat. But my mind? Not so much. In younger years, resilience of mind was a strength. I had plenty of fight. Eventually, distances like four or four miles will seem short.

I intended to listen to the Chariots of Fire (my movie review) soundtrack's (my CD review) long theme. It is 20:40, long enough to get me halfway through my run. It was not in my running playlist on my iPod and I didn't feel like fumbling through to find it elsewhere. Next time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

4.02 at Twilight and Runners on Twitter

4.02 miles run (34:42 - 8:38/mile)
0.70 miles warm down walk

total: 47.72
course: Cardinal Fitness

Easy going run. Needed it after a frustrating day with my computer bonking off for no apparent reason. Kept it steady for 3.5 miles, then lopped up a notch that last half.

It was really at Twilight. Just thought I'd toss in a nice pop reference to a movie I'll never see.
Not sure if you can see this, but here's a list of running-related members I follow on Twitter:

My general Twitter account (usually about running, writing, literature and philosophy)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

3.5 Miles During Sunday Morning's Extra Hour

3.5 miles (30:10 - 8:37/mile)
0.5 miles warm down walk

total: 4.0 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

A bright morning, fun music, and legs that are happier than they have been all week.

My weight is inching up after recovery from a bout of something or other, and after not running a few weeks.

Time to head off to Sunday school.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Have Decided (and Hopefully Will Decide Regularly) to Run Early - 3.5 Miles

3.50 miles run (30:50 - 8:43/mile)
0.50 miles warm down walk

total: 4.0 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness Glen Ellyn

Getting up early is no trouble. Ready to run early is another problem.

I love writing in the morning. My mind is clear and things are quiet. I can lose myself for hours, and, making the change to run a challenge. This gym I've started with opens at 5:00 am, and the word on the street is if the guy is there, he'll let me in at 4:45 am. I have no excuse as far as opportunity goes; it is all about motivation and decision.

The decision to run first thing in the morning is not some grand, big thing. It is a daily thing. Two days, if you consider the choice to sleep early the night before, as well as what to do when I wake up.

Today, I left home at around 7:15. That's hardly early, but it is earlier than I usually run.

My thighs ache from Monday and Wednesday's run. I thought about upping my run to five miles, but, until the aching subsides, I'll hover under four. The general plan as I once swing back into this running thing is to go every other day until my legs feel OK, then add a mile here and there, add one day, then two, until I am at six days a week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Steppin' Out: 3.0 miles inside

3.0 miles run
0.85 miles warmdown walk

total: 3.85 miles

course: Cardinal Fitness, Schaumburg

Had a busy day, a good thing, and decided to see how useful my new gym membership is. Grabbed an hour, and kicked out a few miles. My legs still hurt from Monday, but I need to get the steps in. More steps, more miles, more fitness.

Getting the hang of this gym business takes forethought: bring stuff to shower, including a towel. I had a towel I use during the workout, but a second towel would have been nice.

Steppin' Out (great old tune)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please Tread on Me: 3.0 Miles on Treadmill at New Gym

3.0 miles
0.2 miles walk warmdown

total: 3.2 miles

Fast post: First run in long while, and first run at new gym. Great deal at Cardinal Fitness. October special more.

Felt OK, probably too fast as I tweaked the speed. Cool treadmills.

Gotta get to a meeting but wanted to posted before I forgot.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Long Rain, A Short Run, A Fine Time

41:03 (9:40/mile?)
4.25 miles?

total: 4.25 miles

52°F | °C
Current: Showers
Wind: S at 5 mph
Humidity: 92%

Not sure how far. Ran an easy 40 minutes in the humid aftermath of a day long rain.

Good running partners make good runs. Friends Mark and Jody came along, or rather, I joined them. We ran Jody's course at an easy lope, and enjoyed conversation along the way. Mark dropped off so to get the dogs, and when we came round again, the exuberant adult puppies were there to overwhelmingly greet us.

Time for some Hamburger Helper. Trying the Philly Cheesesteak kind. It expired in January, but, come on, who is kidding who?

(Buy some. If you buy enough stuff from Amazon, I can get some new ones!)

Hamburger Helper Philly Cheesesteak, 6.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

T-shirt Tales: How I Received My Runner's World T-shirt

Yesterday, I received an envelope with November's Runner's World and an RW t-shirt. As it happens, my subscription has lapsed, and they have been chasing me with e-mails and letters. All this for a twenty buck subscription? No worries. The Ryan Hall cover story was interesting, and I'd get to the rest next week.

My name was spelled correctly on the package. How odd, and amazing, I thought. For every subscription, I use codes so I can follow the direct mail path. Runners World is Anthony R Trendt. 'r' = runners world. For Poets & Writers Magazine, I use 'Anthony P Trendl' and so on. My real middle initial is neither, so I know who each sells my name too. (For curious minds: Poets and Writers sold mine to the most, and as a result, I get lots of mail from environmental groups.)

This morning, I grabbed the October issue with the the very cool Zola Budd profile, and realized I had only received that a week or two ago. Wow. I have November's already? Weird.

Then I remembered. It all made sense.

See the letters to the editor section for a brilliantly written comment on the Andrew Wheating profile. I thought the article neglected mentioning Jim, one of running's more consistent milers of the 1980s and 90s, and whose 1500 time in the 1984 Olympics remains the best run by an American in an Olympic final. Couldn't let this error continue. I didn't get to mention that's he's a fine coach too.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Haile Gebrselassie and Donut Dave

Is there a new running convert online? Millions, I hope, are newly entranced after watching Haile Gebrselassie win the 2009 Berlin Marathon. No world record this year, but still an amazing gallop.

I am a big fan of Haile, but I am as big of a fan of local runner.

One guy a little slower than Ethiopia's marathon phenom, and a little closer to home is old friend David Dane. Always opinionated, and completely passionate about life, he's been chasing weight loss for a couple of years. He's done pretty well, but lately, has seen some weight gain. He is still under his old weight of 250 lbs, but presently at 190, with 30 lbs yet to lose.

Dave's found himself in a quandary. Food tastes good. Pastries, good burgers, a cold beer -- all are delicious, but all are calorie hogs. Through sheer discipline, he has fought off most of these beasts, but occasionally gets hit with a sucker punch by the dreaded donut monster.

Recently, he's flirted with running. He and I have walked a little, but his knees have argued with him when it came time to pick it up. He avoided it, then ran a mile here and there without much in the results column. As you might expect, running felt discouraging, especially as he remembers the days of yore when running was graceful. I understand completely that feeling.

Just the other day, he enjoyed a good four mile run. He clipped a 51:37 (12:54/mile), or a 47:37 (11:54/mile) if accounting for the roughly four minutes lost at the street light. Well done, Mr. Dane.

Readers of this blog who know the struggle of trying to lose a pound or two, why not drop by David's blog? Comment and encourage him. Mostly, he writes about the process of staring his weight in the eye and telling it who's boss. He sometimes delves into politics, but 98% of his posts are pure struggle. He is an every day trying to make it out alive. Just like me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Best Run of the Year (so far) - 5.5 Miles

5.5 miles (47:06 - 8:34/mile)
.5 miles walk

total: 6.0

62°F °C
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 82%
course: Springbrook Prairie

70°F °C
Current: Clear
Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 54%

Nice run, among my most relaxed in months. My stride was easy and long, my pace steady. The first mile was in 8:41, and picked up from there.

It is especially nice as I had a week off. First, I ran too hard at the Spivey Club workout, and paid for it the next 2-3 days. My fault. Next, a friend, a beginning runner, passed away and hit me off kilter. Allergies and life otherwise took hold. Next thing I knew, zero miles for over a week. I hoped to struggle through 9:15s today. 8:33.8 is an accomplishment, and I never pressed.

Felt bad for a bigger guy, high school football player sized. I passed him, easing on by at the two mile marker on down a hill. My stride is longer than others my height, and going downhill, this helps. I think he took it as a challenge, and chugged past me as we went up a hill. Down the next hill, I slipped by. I tried to hold my pace, and he wore himself out I think. I thought I heard him trying to give it a go as we went up a longer hill, but his 'get up and go got up and went'. By the time I was stuck at the 4.0 mile stop light, he was nowhere to be found.

The picture I took at around the 5.25 mile mark, after I ran. Slight uphill, not as steep as it might look. Got down low, and then put a hue onto the shot to give it a sepia-like look. Bad cell phone picture meets Photoshop.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eddie Izzard is a Stud - 43 Marathons in 51 Days (see the video)

Eddie Izzard is a stud.

Let's be clear. This is the same Eddie Izzard who dresses up like a woman. Still a stud.

He ran 43 marathons in 51 days. Not bad at age 47, with just five weeks of training. He's raising money for Comic Relief.

Comedian Eddie Izzard celebrates after finishing his 43rd marathon in 51 days, raising money for Sport Relief.. Follow us on twitter at
Category: News & Politics

Tags: eddie izzard trafagar square sport relief charity marathon

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Tofu Cometh

Monday Check-in

136.0 lbs. (down)
52 - Pulse (same)

My weight continues to slip down ahead of schedule. Today, I'm 1.68 lbs ahead of the game. I'm where I want to be on October 14. That's encouraging because my miles are down and I ate lots of tasty, greasy food. Losing weight is more than a few extra laps around the yard, or eating nothing but granola.

Just the same, the extra laps are helping both in the immediate calorie department and in the building of strength which in turn is burning calories even when I'm less active.

A new thing on the diet, or, rather, will be, is tofu. I might hate it, but I picked some up hoping to replace some of meat eating. I love red meat, and doubt I'll retire the grill, but this will reduce some of the fats and other naughty foods.

On the running side of things, the week was a mix of long miles or nothing. Two relaxed long runs and one hard track workout. Miles piled on. My long runs will remain to unfocused on purpose. My goal is to gain a base, but to remain healthy. When the serious training begins, I need to have all basics covered: weight optimal, knees sturdy, Achilles strong, and aerobic strength deep. Everything the next couple of months is setting up for that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fast Night at the Track: Gettin' Whupped by Skeeters and My Own Fat

3200 meters warmup
6x100 striders
1000 fresh (300) 4:30
800 fresh (300) 3:36
600 fresh (300) 2:45
400 good (200) 1:30
3x200 (100) (fresh {:46}, good {:42}, fresh {:45})
800 fresh 3:41
3x200 (100) (fresh {:50}, good {:45}, fresh {:49})
600 meters warmdown

total: 7.8125 miles

78°F | °C
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 46%
course: Wheaton College track

Tonight was a whuppin'. While I never felt wiped out, from the looks of my last 800 and set of 200s, the gas had left the tank. Made sense that it would be. While last night's run was no barn burner, it was a longer one for me. Tonight's workout was almost as long.

Inhaled a few bugs. Served as the health care program for a gathering of mosquitoes who sucked more than their fair share of blood.

Frank and I were partners tonight. He is fantastic conversationalist, a guy with years of running behind him, and is a well-versed gentleman beyond the track.

I won't mind dropping another ten pounds and then seeing how this workout feels. I'm spent, with an easier day tomorrow. Planning a leisurely 4.36 miles in the afternoon.

Halving a Marathon While Having a Really Good Time

As I think about running the 2010 Chicago Marathon, I became worried about getting stuck in the pack. With no marathons behind me, what could I prove? Apparently, if I do well enough the Illinois Marathon Half Marathon in May 2010, I can start in a seeded corral.

Why am I happy? Simple. My time will be better by having to dodge fewer runners in what I imagine will be a bottle necked gridlock. I'm not elite. I couldn't start 400 meters at the pace those guys will run the entire race. I'm also not expecting to run a 5:00:00 26.2 miles. If healthy, I expect to break 4:00, and potentially run in the 3:30s. I'll know better as time goes along where reality is, and the half marathon should be a truth teller. I'll have 24 weeks after that to focus my training (using Hal Higdon's plan with some variations as needed).

To run a 3:20:59 marathon, I'll need to be in 1:35:43.9 shape (according to Merv). Might be asking too much for a first half marathon with just a half year's training, but that's the time. A 3:30 marathon equates to a 1:40 half, and a 3:45 will need 1:47.2 half speed. Below, the chart show where each time lands me, if I can get into a blessed corral. I hope to be in the B or C corral.

Time Qualifications for Seeded Start Corrals:

                                                Men                                           Women

Start Corral         Half Marathon   Marathon         Half Marathon   Marathon

Top 100                1:10:59                 2:30:59             1:20:59                 3:00:59

Corral A                1:25:59                 3:10:59             1:25:59                 3:10:59

Corral B                1:35:59                 3:35:59             1:35:59                 3:35:59

Corral C                1:45:59                 3:55:59             1:45:59                 3:55:59

Corral D                1:50:59                 4:00:59             1:50:59                 4:00:59

Open                        N/A

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

8 on 9-9-9 with 1 - 8 Miles on a Muggy Evening

8.0 miles (unsure: 72:00-74:00 - 9:00-9:15/mile)

total: 8.0 miles

75°F °C
Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 62%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

71°F °C
Current: Haze
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 76%

Not everyday do I get to run with an ultramarathoner. Today, I did, though Amanda, a new running friend I made through Facebook, notched down her pace and distance on my behalf. She's training for a 50K race this fall (and a 50 miler after that), and is serving as a pace runner in the Chicago Marathon, leading a pack of 3:30 marathoners in clockwork-like 8:01s for Nike.

It was a good, but watchless run. Left my watch at home, and Amanda's died a mile into things. We ran a nice, relaxed pace, in the 9:00-9:15 range, though I'm not certain. For good measure on this notable day, she ran another mile to make it a pure nine miles on this September 9, 2009.

The humidity was high, so I'm looking at tonight's run with success. It helped to have a seasoned running buddy who was conversational and friendly.

Follow runner Eddie Izzard's marathon Tweets as he runs over 1,000 miles.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Who Waved? Dusk Run - 7.0 Miles

7.00 miles run (63:25 - 9:04/mile)
0.50 miles walk

total: 7.5 miles

74°F °C
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 50%
course: COD Loop

Someone waved 1.25 miles into my run. Might have been John Grebe, my running buddy from the JSRC. Can't be sure. John? You reading this? Where have you been?

My pace was steady. I gotta like that. My last 1.5 miles felt great. Longer runs after short layoffs often do, so how it percolates in the next week is what matters most.

Got a foot full of muddy water at the corner of Naperville Road and Rt 56. Looked dry. Wasn't. Simple as that. A stomach cramp from the massive pile of pasta I enjoyed for lunch. Deep breathes solved that.

Now that I'm running longer runs, I need to manage time better. Runs starting from my door are better than the beautiful Prairie Path runs. This is a start of that.

Sneezy, Lighter and Feeling Fine

Monday Check-in

137.0 lbs. (down)
52 - Pulse (up)

Generally, I am pleased with my progress. My workouts have been inconsistent thanks to travel and camping, but I still walked a considerable amount. None of it was power walking, but my legs moved enough to know they are alive.

My weight is still dropping despite the decrease in calorie burning exercise. That's a little over a pound less than where I want to be at this time. No tricks, no pills, no fancy diet. Just watching the amount of what goes in. I am being careful with sugar intake. My weight loss goals are not drastic, nor hurried, and if I don't weigh what I want to weigh when I want to weigh it, I'm good. Less sugar, more water, more exercise is never a bad thing. The number ultimately is not the goal, but to be fit and run fast is. Heavier men have run faster and been fitter.

Things which might be hurting aren't. Today I hope to put in a longer run, and the proof will be in the results tomorrow. Ache or no ache? Autumn allergies are kicking in. Pollen, or whatever happens in fall is giving me a sneezy, stuffy head. Never fun.

That's this week's update.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Slow Run and a Short Poem - 4.36 Miles

4.36 miles (41:13 - 9:27/mile)

total: 4.36 miles

77°F | °C
Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 44%
course: COD Loop

75°F | °C
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 47%

No iPod. Left it home. Drank water well all day. Ate well enough. And yet, slower than expected. Was last night's track workout the reason? Either way, this is all just base building.

Dripping with sweat. This morning, I weighed in at 136.8. I'm guessing now, even lighter.

Tonight's Run
Late summer grasshoppers hit my legs,
telling me not to quit when winter comes.
A solo Queen Anne's Lace tick-tocked in the wind,
a survivor of the recent road shoulder mowing.
Blackbirds in a natural choreograph worked hard to block the summer rays,
knowing, come December, there will no blackbirds to block a sun that isn't there.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post 500 - Running With a Pacemaker (and Healthier Because of It)

My 500th post in the Runner's Dilemma

1.75 miles warm up
6x100 meter striders
3x1000 (300) [400] {5:02, 4:57, 4:56?}
600 meter warmdown

total: 5.0 miles

74°F | °C
Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: Wheaton College track

I'm alive. This was not in doubt, per se, but how I would survive was a concern. Right now, I feel well enough. While I hardly screamed around the track, I held close to the pace I was asked to run, and finished when I was told to finish. What more can I do?

I ran with Lee. He's the pacemaker's pacemaker, with years of running behind him enough to smell a pace within seconds.

Not certain of my times, as I left them in the car, but those are close.

Such was my first track workout since April.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Too Short 1.4 miles

1.4 miles (12:13 - 8:44/mile)

total: 1.4 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 42%
course: COD Loop

Too short. Barely broke a sweat. Felt the results of a layoff. Run felt edgy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Treading in Water Streaming Down My Face

5.0 miles (43:12 - 8:38/mile)
0.4 miles walked

total: 5.4 miles

course: Wardman Marriot, Washington DC

After a long hot day checking out the Lincoln Memorial and other sites along the Mall, it came to time to run. The previous two days were filled with driving, with 10 hours on Thursday and two hours on Friday. My legs took a break since an eight miler on Tuesday, but walking the Mall wasn't exactly sitting by a pool either.

The treadmill had a TV attached to it. I don't how people can run and focus on what's showing, let alone read the captions. Not me. I can listen to music, or nothing at all, but not TV. So I turned that off, cranked the iPod up, and ran in an unair conditioned gym. Although the treadmill also had two tiny fans, neither pointed my way, and were essentially ineffectual. Water weight was lost in a big way.

The run was fine. Not much to describe except that I realize my pace is skewed by the fact that is a treadmill, not a real Earth surface.

The treadmill managed to help me get my legs turning over faster which I hope will be helpful Thursday night at my weekly butt kicking at the Wheaton College track. It will be my first interval workout in months, so confidence is not exactly overwhelming me. This post is post-dated, meaning that it will list as August 29, but I am actually writing it Thursday morning, September 3. That workout is staring me in the face, starting with a 5:30 pm warmup. We'll see how long I survive, if Jim shortens it, or if I manage to do OK the entire way.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fitness is Coming

Resting pulse rate this morning is 46. That's an indicator of progress.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do You Wanna? I Did. After 8 Miles, That Is.

8.0 miles (73:37 - 9:12/mile [36:18 - 9:05; 37:19 - 9:20])

total: 8.0 miles

course: Illinois Prairie Path

:30 after finish
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 62%

It was hotter when I started. Much. My time isn't zippy, but for the weather, I'm good.

Mile one was 8:57. Obviously, that was around 15 seconds too fast.

Last week's mileage is at 35.08 miles. That's nice to see. If fitness is going to happen, it will not be by running tidy 20 mile weeks. I'm not sure that 35 miles weekly will get me there either, but at 34 days into this I'm happy.

I was asking myself if a cold orange Fanta would taste good when I was done. Now I know. It did. 270 calories of cool pleasure. Earned every sip.

Tomorrow will be a shorter run, with Thursday as a travel day, and Friday either also a rest day, or on the treadmill.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Linear:Nonlinear Mode Resolution Over 4.36 Miles

4.36 miles run (38:59.64 - 8:57/mile)
0.50 miles walked

total: 4.86 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: COD Loop

Not quite sure how it is I went this fast. My legs felt heavy. My stride is stretching out, but is a long way from loose. I felt some bounce in my toes along with the slugging around of step-to-step. I am improving, and that's a nice way to finish the afternoon.

As I posted to my Twitter account:
The best thing about running with a cacophony of iPod music, traffic noise and my out of shape heartbeat is that in this, my thoughts organize.
As a writer both when working and on my free time, I often think in a linear:nonlinear mode, particularly in my creative work. Writing is a mix of craft and art, and so this tends to drain me of real processing of what I think. Hard to explain that here, but what happens as I run, all the noises are both completely tuned in and tuned out at once, a paradox of associating and disassociating on the same mental plane. The dogs barking, the cars honking, the singer singing and my own thoughts grinding away at yesterday's problems all go away. Things get sorted out.

This settling of my mind is what I need. This is more important than those blessed endorphins, and even more than the physical health benefits. Perspective, emotionally and spiritually, comes around.

1.29% Off, No Coupon Needed

Monday Check-in

138.2 lbs. (down)
51 - Pulse (up)

Lost a couple pounds? Maybe, maybe not. Last Monday, it was at 140.0, but had been fluttering in the 139s. Hard to tell what is reality. Not only is my scale not trusty, if I ran the night before and had not yet replenished my liquids, I might be lighter than reality. Either way, good stuff.

Last week was solid in terms of running. 32.72 miles. Two longer runs on each side, 10 miles and eight miles respectively. Yesterday was a rest day.

Everything is feeling OK, though I am wary of my knees, shin and Achilles. Good rest days and a balance of hard-easy days will help.

The week coming must resolve a complicated schedule, and will not have the quality of runs I would prefer thanks to a travel. A treadmill or two must be the solution.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eight Before I Ate

8.0 miles (72:58 - 9:07/mile; [36:58 - 9:14/mile, 35:00 - 9:00)
0.50 mile walk

total: 8.50 miles

Current: Overcast
Wind: NW at 4 mph
Humidity: 67%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Among my better runs. The cool weather helped. My pace was fairly steady, and, to my surprise, picked up the second half. It was a nice feeling knowing I had a few more miles in me.

I run four miles out, and turned around at the mile post.

Crowded morning, although the serious CARA and Glen Ellyn Runners Club runners had all mostly finished. I got out in the late morning.

Someone was burning a bonfire at around two miles, with smoke heavy on the path. A few dog walkers had not-so-friendly dogs on tight leashes.

My total mileage for the last seven days is at a new high, at 37.47 miles, with another 1.95 miles walked. There is a pound of calories sacrificed to the running gods.

Now, time for lunch.

Friday, August 21, 2009

30 Days and 4.3(6) Miles

4.36 miles run (40:40 - 9:20/mile)
0.50 miles walk

total: 4.86 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 69%
course: COD Loop

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 59%

A nice run on what is, in fact, a sunny day on this thirtieth day back into running.

Today was a new kind of day. I had run yesterday in the early evening, and did not have the same span of rest as usual.

While I am not yet fit, I am used to getting out and running, and with that, am trying to think about form, poise, stride and those kinds of things. In two weeks, my plan is to return to the track for whatever workout Jim thinks is a good idea.

Today's Course
Relooking at my 4.3 mile route, which originally I thought was 4.42 miles, it seems to be 4.36 miles. What is accurate? My GPS watch cannot decide either. What difference does it really makes? To be exact, 7.87 seconds per mile. Do I really care? No, because I know the route is pretty much the same. I can compare times in that context. These aren't carefully controlled track workouts. Maybe I cross the street at a different angle, or do not click my watch off precisely when I stop at a street light. Details.

For now, after several seconds of deliberated consideration, I'll move forward by recording the 4.36 distance, and the related pace. I won't back fix my mileage spreadsheet or anything, just as I did not with the 4.42 miles change. I prefer to be exact and accurate as it keeps me honest, but what counts as either is a bigger question than I am capable of solving.

A few runs I call 'COD Loop' for both the stats above and the post tags. That's just a ballpark took to remind me of where the run was. Having a name for every variation is more unwieldy that I want to deal with.

When I run the track, I fudge some as well, not bothering usually to adjust 1600 meters into a mile, but letting it go.

My weight is sneaking down. This morning it registered at a tidy 137.6 lbs. All is going in the right direction, and that's the pattern I need. I don't see how I'll be 135 on August 31 as hoped, but I am on track to get to 125 by May 1.

For David, the Super Chicken theme song (or, watch Jerry Seinfeld singing it), who thought there might not be useful songs for running. I know he likes this one.
"He will drink his super sauce
And throw the bad guys for a loss
And he will bring them in alive and kickin' (puk, puk, puk)"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Usain Bolt Sets 200 Meter World Record (Crushes It) Video


Usain Bolt


200 meters.


Training Aside a Train: 6.0 Miles on a Track Next to the Tracks

2.0 miles warmup
4.0 miles run

total: 6.0

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 52%
course: Wheaton College track

Felt good. Not sure how fast I went (around 8:30s for my first two miles). Ran with the JSRC club for first time in months, though just for the warmup. They did some 150s and 200s while I ran four miles worth of laps.

It was nice to hear the rush of the train through the evergreens.

Not much to say. Spaghetti's boiling.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainy Nights in Glen Ellyn Do Not Deter My 4.3

4.3 miles (40:59 - 9:32/mile)

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 55%
course: COD Loop

Current: Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 61%

Don't let the 'Cloudy' part fool you. It is pouring rain. Thunder. Some lightening. I'm soaked. That's all right. In November it will rain too. There will be no warm trickles then.

Took a mile to find my stride. I did. The last 800 m felt smooth. I stretched it out some, but avoided a a sprint.

It was familiar and odd to run this complete route for the first time since September 2008. Seven minutes slower than then, but all felt well with Monday's long run mostly rested away.

Some swift guitar playing in the video below. Fans of Phil Keaggy and Stanley Jordan might like it. There's a nod to my old running pal Ulm (see comments in earlier post) who recommend the John Butler Trio as good running music. Ulm runs much faster than I do, so I can see why he chooses it. Fine, bright music either way on a rainy day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

10 Miles in the Rain: Longest Run in Year+

10.0 miles (1:46:07 - 10:43/mile)

total: 10.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 0 mph
Humidity: 83%
course: Illinois Prairie Path southward

It rained. I'm tired. Dirt covers my calves. I'll ache worse tomorrow. That's the bad news.

The good news is I ran farther than I have in a year. Though it did rain from 2.0 to around 3.5 miles, the scent of oak trees surrounded, and the trees protected me from the harshest part of the rain.

My longest run last June (10.11 miles) was slightly faster, but I was in better shape, but today's pleases me because of the challenge of the elements and present level of fitness.

My recovery so far seems OK. Gatorade and mineral water over ice, and a small can of Bush's Baked Beans are hitting the spot as I write. A shower soon will eliminate some of of less savory impacts of my afternoon's effort.

Celebrating the Loss of 0.8, and Usain Bolt (video)

Monday Check-in

139.2 lbs. (down)
52 - Pulse (up)

With a few decent weeks of running behind me, I am starting to see results. The last five days have seen my weight below 140. Barely, but there. The consistency is good to see, especially since I dined out a few times. Not enough yet to claim weight loss exactly, but the slope of the line is headed in the right direction.

I ran 26.75 miles this week, and walked another 4.00. My weekly miles continue to increase essentially by increasing the length of my shortest run. My top distance remains 6.0 miles.

Consistency will remain my biggest hurdle. This morning's run, for example, was waylaid by a thunderstorm. Now, in a few minutes, I hope to grab what looks like a few hours of sunshine. Humidity will be high, and my intended running path might be soaked. Will I last the entirety of my run, or cut it short?

Nothing hurts at the moment, outside of a dull ache in my thighs. My Achilles, while still recovering, seems to be getting used to this running thing.

Need some inspiration? Watch Usain Bolt of Jamiaca tear apart the 100 m WR (9.58), and make Tyson Gay's American record (and third best ever) of 9.71 look pedestrian. Nothing much to say here, except, "Duuude, like wow!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Looking for My Path, And Getting on Track - 4.75 on a Steaming Sunday

4.75 miles (47:02 - 9:54/mile)
0.25 miles walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Haze
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 89%
course: Glenbard South track

All I wanted was a lazing long run on the Prairie Path. The morning dripped with humidity, pretending the cool temperature was in fact cool. I got up late, got out the door late. I couldn't find the place to park my car.

So I went to the track where I knew I could get in a few miles.

I ran out of time, and what had I hoped to be a long run was a medium run. Could've been 5.0 miles, but I lost count. Before you heckle me, try counting 20 laps. It seems easier than it is.

The run itself was relaxed. My miles are sneaking up, and, through this morning's gallop, I'm up to 26.75, plus another 4.0 walked. These dogs are tired. Yesterday's rest day wasn't enough, but I gotta do what I gotta do, and what I gotta do is run through this. In a few months, I will feel like a runner again.

My legs are coming through a tough time of rehabilitation after a months sitting in a crammed desk amid the cacophony of a crowded workplace, and then, a tiny office with barely enough room for air. Too much sitting makes a body wrinkle like an arthritic hand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sunsets and Meadows: 5.5 Miles

0.25 walk
5.50 miles run (58:02 - 10:33/mile)
1.75 miles walk warmdown

total: 7.5 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: W at 6 mph
Humidity: 31%
course: Springbrook Prairie

My legs are tanked. 25.50 miles this week, with tomorrow still ahead. As such, tanked and all, with a slow time in my run tonight, a day off is due. Running tomorrow will not add anything not better achieved by resting.

At mile two, I knew it would be a long run. Drenched in sweat, my bandanna was giving way and needed to be retightened. The heat bore down, pleading with me to stop, lay down, and baked. I pressed on. The run required finishing.

The views, as you can see are subtle, beautiful,.but my camera does no justice to the magnificence. The sunset was a tremendous orange ball, with its intensity just low enough that watching it caused no trouble.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Driving Me Crazy at Five Miles

5.0 miles (51:19 - 10:16/mile)

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 38%
course: Butterfield Loop

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 40%

Delusions of youth streamed in as I gave a seven mile loop a hit. The heat/humidity, matched against a poor night's sleep took over.

Today's run involved area roads as opposed to the track I had commonly been using. Brittle grass edged the cigarette littered shoulder. Most drivers slipped blindly passed the thick white stop line, giving my a sheepish look. At 22nd Street and Blanchard, commuters coming home didn't bother to see my crossing, and several times I had to pull back. Drivers Ed is necessary for a few too many.

My pace was slow, but I don't mind. 500 calories were burnt. However, I didn't like that I had to cut the run short. My body wasn't ready for what today offered.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Little Run on the Prairie: 5.5 at Springbrook

5.5 miles (52:48 - 9:36/mile)
0.25 miles hardwalk

total: 5.75 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 30%
course: Springbrook Prairie

Good friend David Dane, getting serious about weight loss, joined me on a trip to Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, IL. He's new to running, and his knees are still learning what great fun long runs can be. Today, he galloped a solid 1.25 miles and hiked another 0.75 of a mile.

Me - This was my first real run outside in months. This isn't dismissing my adventures on the track, but to be ready to race, I need what the trail offers. In tonight's case, I also needed the challenge of choice. This means that on a track, the most I have to walk if I give up is 200 m. At Springbrook, the stakes are higher. Halfway is 2.75 miles. At the 3.5 mile marker, I was tanked, but knew there was only one way home. Walk or run, two miles laid between my and resting.

The run was uneventful other than a strange guy who wanted to point out my headphones were a bad idea, that he preferred to use the time to think. I agree, and am no stranger to a long thoughtful run, but what I need right now is to free my mind and relax. I think all day. It comes with being a writer. He doesn't know this, and his way is certainly a good way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Six at Nine Near Ten: Same Old, Same Old of Six Miles

6.0 miles (59:05 - 9:51/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 7.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 99%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 69%

I ran this same distance, same location last week in the same time. Today was slightly cooler, a lot more humid. Not sure how it compares; I felt more or less miserable each time.

I weighed myself before and after: 140.2 before, 137.6 after. If it only worked that easily.

This was my first morning run, starting today at 9:00 am. Tomorrow, I hope to get out earlier.

Another runner came around and did a couple or few miles at 6:00/mile pace. Good to see as I plugged around near 10:00/mile.

At a high school, smoking is often frowned on, but the workers putting in bleachers on the east side of the track, the visitor's side, apparently lit up as I gagged each time I went around the back stretch. I guess Glenbard South High School is OK with smoking on campus so long as it isn't a student.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pulse Drops, Weight Steadies

Monday Check-in

140.0 lbs. (no change)
48 - Pulse (down)

My weight hasn't changed and I don't know why, but that hardly impacts my game plan. My scale isn't exactly top-of-the-line.

My pulse dropped a considerable amount. While this is welcome, like my weight, I don't know why. I simply have not trained enough to explain it.

Took three unexpected days off, and have yet to see what difference this makes. The first day was needed as a rest day, but the next two were the result of rain and heat, plus personal commitments. My return last night was a dreadful exercise in the heat. Today looks to be cooler, but not much, and the humidity is expected to be very high.

With the heat and three days off, my mileage will be lower.

Achilles problem has bothered me less. The three days hopefully helped rest them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Clouds and Hawks Overhead on Hot 3.5 Mile Run

3.5 miles (36:51 - 10:32/mile)

total: 3.5 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 56%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 83%

A hawk screamed after a crow as I circled the bright black track. Thunderstorm warnings brooded with nimbus clouds, and I wondered if I would have time to get six miles in.

I had time, but I could only get in 3.5 miles. The black hawk must have smiled thinking he could find me laying like carrion in the first lane on the back stretch if I only I would have run another mile. I knew better, and didn't even walk after my run lest I encourage the bird.

Tonight's 10:32 pace isn't even that good. Fairly enough, it is what I ran, but only because my first mile was 9:57, and my second was 10:14. Mile three = 10:54, and the last 800 was 6:46, or 13:32. I met the day head-on, and the day won.

Tomorrow's another day.

Summer in the City
Lovin' Spoonful

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What To Do On Your Day Off From Running: Mile By Mile

Karina is a fine runner, and more important than that, one who knows who she is why she runs. A fine writer, she keeps a blog detailing not just her training log, but sees parallels into real life. Not that running isn't real life. It is just part of it, and perspective is key to it all.

Karina is fairly new to running -- since December 2007, when she became an accidental runner after trying to lose weight. She lost the weight, and realized she gained a new passion.

Read her blog: Mile by Mile.

(you can also follow it as a networked Facebook blog)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

25 Miles in Seven Days With Six Today

6.0 miles (59:05 - 9:51/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 7.0 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: NW at 0 mph
Humidity: 44%
course: Glenbard South track

Today's goal was to run six miles, to equal April 6, 2009's distance. It didn't matter how slow. SSD. Short, slow distance. I managed that.

I felt well enough, though the last two miles were harder and slower. I weighed in at 142.8 before the run. I can't help but look forward to the same run 10 lbs. lighter.

With 25 miles in the last seven days, recovery is an issue. It will take time before the zip is back. My pulse at night shows residual stress, but will drop in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

iPod Mania: Running Songs for Great Workouts: My List

This list isn't done. This list has only 57 songs. Some you know. Cartoon theme songs? 1980s synth pop? 1960s hard rock? Cheesy movie tunes? All here.

Queen, the Who, all the ones you expect. Plus, a few more. The Flintstones. The Hollies. Saga. The Star Wars bar scene.

Find 3:23 of music - subject to change at whim. Your suggestions are desired. Help me make this 100 songs. Get me beyond 'Eye of the Tiger.' No slow sappy stuff.

Slow Burn - Three Miles Barely Run

3.0 miles run (28:59 - 9:40/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 4.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 46%
course: Glenbard South track

Hot. Run done.

The football field was freshly cut. Honey bees all around. A few hurdles in lane two.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Four Miles, Faster, Then Slower

4.0 miles (37:31 - 9:23/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Overcast
Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 52%
course: Glenbard South track

The 9:23s look better than they are. I finished the first two miles in 18:00, meaning my second two were 9:45s. I thought about doing five or six, but it wasn't in me. I didn't look especially hard for it either. All I really wanted was 20 miles in seven days. And I got that.

Time for a much needed shower.

Losing Myself Ounce by Ounce

Monday Check-in

140.0 lbs.
54 - Pulse

I thought it is time to start tracking things again. My goal, however long it takes to get there, to be at 125 lbs. The number is somewhat arbitrary. When I was my quickest, I tipped the scale at 107. I weighed as low as 139 in the last two weeks, but today am 140.0.

As being arbitrary goes, I have my eyes on weighing 125 on May 1. Why 125? Why May 1? May 1 is when the Illinois Marathon/Half Marathon is run. I want to run one or the other, and to run well, I need to be slimmer. Simple as that. 125 is a nice, basic number. As good as any. I do not expect to weigh 135 on May 1, but all of this is in God's hands, not mine.

To get to 125 from 140, I need to average 0.0553 lost lbs a day, or, 0.3871 lbs a week. Things will not be this snug, and hopefully starting with a bang, but I can't dwell on this. It is under two lbs in a month, so it seems all very reasonable, but weight loss is never all that easy.

I want also to lose five lbs my first month. The reason this is plausible is the severe changes I am making when compared to July. First and foremost: lots of running. Since kicking things up again July 23, I have logged 25.4 miles running, and six miles walking - 31.4 miles in all. Not a lot in the bug scheme of things, but moving forward with increased miles. I'll be at 20 miles/week next week, and at 34 miles/week by month's end. That all should get me close to my goal, but who can say?

Right now, I feel good after last night's five miles. Last time I ran I ran close to this was April 6, with a six mile treadmill workout. My Achilles aches a little. No surprise here, but I need to find the right balance.
As “overuse” disorders, Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis are usually caused by a sudden increase of a repetitive activity involving the Achilles tendon. Such activity puts too much stress on the tendon too quickly, leading to micro-injury of the tendon fibers. Due to this ongoing stress on the tendon, the body is unable to repair the injured tissue. The structure of the tendon is then altered, resulting in continued pain. -
Hurdles include injury, time and motivation. Same three big issues for any runner. It is one thing to tick off five miles as a long run, and another to run eight as a long run, with five as the short run. Yesterday's workout took 1:20 from leaving my driveway, getting to the track, running and returning. Then recovery issues are involved. The time adds up. Naturally, if I keep at it, my running time will drop per mile, but there is no getting around the bigger reality of parsing out the minutes each day and finding ways to be as efficient as possible.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Mann, the Boss, and Five Miles on a Track Thinking of Both

5.0 miles (45:43 - 9:08.6/miles, last mile @ 8:43)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 6.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 2 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 51%

Decent night to run. After a two-hour nap mid-afternoon, I found my way to a lonely high school track an hour before sunset. No crows, just a few kids tossing a baseball in next to the high jump pit.

After a somewhat discouraging weigh-in August 1 at 140.0 lbs, I further resolved to focus on slow miles. That's where the fat's burnt, and that's going to do me more good than any speedy three-miler can do.

My first two miles were 18:23, mile four ticked in at 37:00 (18:37/two miles), and I finished with 45:43, meaning I was at 8:43 for my last mile, mostly due to picking it up the last 400.

It is a long way back, but tonight felt good.

To all my friends with whom I spent an incredible weekend. Thanks, guys.
Bruce Springsteen, Blinded By the Light

Manfred Mann's version (live)

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Steps Are Numbered: Four Miles (8,239 Steps)

4.0 miles (pace not known, first two miles = 18:10)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N at 5 mph
Humidity: 48%
course: Glenbard South track

No crows. Much sun. Ran 8,239.84132 steps, then walked another 2,059.96033. That's 521.25 calories. Need to run roughly 940,000 steps to lose 14 lbs.

17 miles in the last seven days, not counting walks.

Felt OK, with two days off ahead due to scheduling. Maybe Monday I can notch things up to a five miler.

This needs to go on my iPod.

Saved by Zero - The Fixx

(the original version:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Three Miles, Starting a New Week

3.0 miles (28:36 - 9:32/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 4.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: SW at 2 mph
Humidity: 57%
course: Glenbard South track

I felt somewhat sluggish, most likely tired from drinking coffee in the evening at a little gathering I hosted. With just five hours of sleep, my legs were slow-going.

My next run, I want try five miles slowly, but will play it by feel.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

iPodding It for Four Miles

4.0 miles (39:16.44 - 9:49/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: N at 3 mph
Humidity: 51%
course: Glenbard South track

Carried my iPod as I ran. Not so easy. 80 GB is heavy. It has, at least, a billion songs, all of them very long. Some heavy metal (get it?) Seriously, it is heavy from a running perspective. If I'm going to do this, an arm band is in order, or a smaller iPod.

I'm tired, and tomorrow will probably not run. I added a mile today, and kept my pace around 9:50. My last lap I picked it up a bit more than I should have, to 1:57 for the 400 - 7:48 pace.

Someone asked me why I log a hard walk. True, in the grand scheme of accumulating LSD, it isn't even a junk mile. It, though, wear-and-tear on my body, especially as I am cannot yet claim fitness. My Achilles hurt, for example. I also burned a good 100 calories in that walk.

Fourth day running within seven days. Haven't done that in many months. February 2009 was my last decent month of running.

(purchase one of these bad boys and I'll get a cut from Amazon)
Apple 80 GB iPod AAC/MP3 Video Player Black (5.5 Generation)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Illinois Marathon - May 1, 2010 - Your Thoughts?

I'm not commited yet to run the Illinois Marathon. Too early in getting fit again. Quite seriously thinking about running at least the half.

I chose it because it is relatively close (2.5 hours away, I have friends in the area, and it is not a massive race. Also, the course sounds fairly flat.

Any readers of this blog have a runner's viewpoint on the quality of the race?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nothing to Crow About: Three Miles Logged

3.0 miles (27:07.93 - 9:03/mile)
1.0 mile hard walk warm down

total: 4.0 miles

Current: Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 53%
course: Glenbard South track

My want to lose five pounds by August 31. This means running as many miles as I can log, and a sensible diet. Starting back into running, though, I must add miles carefully.

I'll be aggressive, but I fought the temptation to pop on another four laps. Added up, I need 165-170 miles if I rely on running alone. I don't have enough time to get that done by then.

My pace was satisfying on the lonely track.

Two crows flew sentry, diving close to the football field, looking for snacks wandering in the grass.

Each mile was 9:03. I don't click my splits, and so all times are rolling guestimations.

Suspicious heat. My guess is closer to 80. I get the weather from typing my zip code and the word 'weather' into Google.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Smokey Gets in My Eyes as I Run Three

3.0 miles (29:00.60 - 9:40/mile)
1.0 mile hard walk warm down

total: 4.0 miles

Current: Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: Glenbard South track (see photo)

Mile one, about 10:00
Mile two = 9:27
Mile three = 9:33

COD's track is being rebuilt. Not sure when it will be done. This meant tonight's gallop would be at a new place, the nearby Glenbard South track.

I'll be sore tomorrow, and do not plan to run until at least Monday. Tonight was a good sweat, the second in a week.

Meanwhile, tonight, Smokey sings just down the road.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

There and Back Again: Coneflowers Are On the Move

3.4 miles - 33:29.93 (16:42 out, turnaround :03, 16:29.93 back) (9:51/mile)

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 57%
course: COD Loop

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 59%

A slow run, tis true, but it is the longest in a long while. No apologies. No excuses. Thanks to Bob Vishanoff for encouraging me to get out there today. Mind you, he told me as I sucked down a chili-cheese dog and fries and he looked as fit as ever.

Beautiful coneflowers crept outside a fence along the road. I thought how I felt them. My face flushed purple, all hanging low, yet trying to bloom. The sun shines on both myself and the flower.

My new old friend Loretta suggested I think about the famous Disney tune, "It's a Small World." So I did. And I thought how it fit so nicely with the themes I have been dwelling in as of late in the rest of life (obviously running has not dominated my life much recently). Besides thinking a lot about my international friends here, I am inviting my Facebook friends together for an evening of coffee at a favorite cafe, bringing into one place, so some degree, my worlds. One world. As the title of my personal blog says, "All of It: One Man, One Place, All Said." I hummed the tune, and wondered.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Valerie Bertinelli Runs Half-Marathon

2:12 (about 10:05/mile).

Pretty impressive given she recently went from 172 to 123 lbs. Jenny Craig is winning big with her successful celebrity endorsement. Losing weight is one thing, but doing it while gaining fitness is even better. Some decent running too at age 49.

Way to go! See Valerie Bertinelli here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'M A RUNNER: SARAH PALIN - Runner's World Interview

Runner's World this month landed a great interview. She knows running. Sub-4 marathoner.

Stories From Real Runners
The former Vice Presidential candidate opens up about her running life and explains why she's still on the trail.

Runner's World (1-year)

Just One Mile in My Shoes

1.0 miles - 9:48/mile

total: 1.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 53%
course: neighborhood loop

Just a mile.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Easy Mile Counterclockwise on a Sunny Road

1.0 miles - 9:50/mile

total: 1.0 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 51%
course: neighborhood half mile loop

The goal was just one mile. After I couldn't fit into a pair of pants I wore last year, I knew things were in trouble.

Nothing more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Volunteer or Run the PADS Run/Walk 5K - September 12

I helped guide traffic last year at one corner. Will I run this year or help? Either way, I'm involved. Any area runner will know where PADS HQ is. It is where the zero marker is at the Prairie Path.

Just show up between 6 – 6:30 am on Saturday morning September 12 at the PADS HQ at the Zero Mile marker of the Prairie Path at Liberty and Childs. If you volunteer, a volunteer shirt will be provided.

PADS Run/Walk

Saturday, September 12, 2009
8:00 a.m.
PADS Support Center
703 W. Liberty
Wheaton, IL

Join us as we hit the streets of Wheaton to End Homelessness. 2008 brought us over 500 people who ran or walked with us to end and prevent homelessness in our county. Registration is now available online. Raise $125+ in donations and your registration fee is waived! TEAMS are encouraged! Call Jen Williams at 630-682-3846 x242 for more information.

Two Miles Around the Block

2.0 miles (16:52.84 8:26/mile)

total: 2.0 miles

Current: Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: neighborhood half mile loop

When a man steps out to workout after a long layoff, he cannot help be insecure. After all, he weighs more, and that added weight is not muscle or handy capillaries. No, no. It is pure fat, as if purity were the issue here. Solid fat? Hardly. That's a contradiction. Nothing solid about it. Just fat. It is heavy to cfarry, it heats up the body, and, the most important thing -- it does not help.

That's me, and more. An especially challenging week needed flushing out, and I have time today. No rain, not yet.

I tossed on my togs.

With my stiff neck, I wondered if I would last. My goal was a humble 15:00. I ran a little more.

My splits? I dare mention them. How did I speed up that much? I need to pace better.

0.50 - 4:28
1.00 - 8:50 (8:50)
1.50 - ?
2.00 - 16:52 (7:02)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1.62 Miles With Dreams of Pork Chops

1.62 miles - 15:10 (9:21/mile)

total: 1.62 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 64%
course: neighborhood loop

Mosquitos, pork chops, pork and beans and decent run. Felt well enough.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tomorrow Begins Tomorrow

When else could tomorrow begin?

I have a couple mid-week days off this week, and intend to put them to good use.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Allistair Cookie presents Chariots of Fur (Parody of Chariots of Fire)

Given I have not run enough to even post as of late, I looked for inspiration in a classic source. Which runners are legendary? Grover and Cookie Monster.

Allistair Cookie presents Chariots of Fur
Parody of Chariots of Fire
my review of the actual movie
my review of the actual soundtrack

Friday, May 22, 2009



May 16, 2009
at Wheaton Academy
West Chicago, IL
Distance: 5K
Racetime: 8:00 am

Race website: Run for Hungry Children
Results can also be seen at

Weather at Racetime
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity 64%

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Run for Hungry Children 5K - May 16

I hope to be helping out.

Date: May 16, 2009


Wheaton Academy
900 Prince Crossing Rd
West Chicago, IL 60185

Parking available on site in marked campus parking lots

Event / Registration Fees:
5K Competitive Run - $30
5K Competitive Run (Fundraising $90 in pledges) - FREE
3K Walk - $30
3K Walk (Fundraising $90 in pledges) - FREE
Family Registration - $60
Family Registration (Fundraising $180 in pledges) - FREE



6:45 am – Registration/Check-in Opens
7:45 am – Registration/Check-in Closes
8:00 am – 5K Competitive Race
8:00 am – 3K Walk Follows Start of 5K Race
8:50 am - Kids' Run*
9:00 am – Awards Ceremony / Post Race Party

*The Kids' Run is a 50 yd dash for 4-7 year olds, and a 100 yd dash for 8-12 year olds. The Kids' Run is free, does not require registration, and all participating children will receive a medal.

Race Registration

- Online Registration – Register online before May 11, 2009
- Mail In Registration (downloadable packet available soon); Form must be postmarked by May 9, 2009
- Race Day Registration from 6:45 to 7:45AM

Save time on Race Day with Pre-Race Packet Pickup!
Thursday, May 14, 12 PM - 9:00 PM

Dick Pond Athletics, Inc
26 W. 515 St Charles Rd. • Carol Stream, IL 60188

Male and Female Age Groups
14 and Under; 15 - 19; 20 – 29; 30 - 39; 40 – 49; 50 – 59; 60 and over

5K Race Awards
- Overall 1st Place Men and Women
- Top 3 Positions for each age group (both Men and Women)

Run for Hungry Children Fundraising
Online Fundraising available through
Pledge Forms for offline fundraising – turn in on race day (download)

Awards for Highest Fundraisers

Overall top fundraiser (all four sites) receives a $300 Southwest Airlines gift card.

Event Corporate Sponsors
If your organization is interested in corporate sponsorship of this event CLICK HERE