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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.