Saturday, November 29, 2008

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than Manchester...

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way, Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day." I Can See Clearly Now: Johnny Nash

I've been lazy...I confess. It's 2 days after I completed the Manchester Road Race, and I'm now finally making an effort to write about it. In very few words, it was great. I woke up at 5 a.m., and ate my usual breakfast of two english muffins with peanut butter and Smart Balance. Gross, I know, but it's a flashback to my youth, when I would eat peanut butter and butter sandwiches. After getting my son showered, shaved, and dressed, I was still on target for my planned driving departure time of 8 a.m. I checked, and was pleased to see that it was still supposed to be "rain free," with a high of around 48 degrees. It was only 29 degrees at that point, so I decided to wear some of my "cheap" running gear, which means my long sleeved wick through shirt ($5.00 on clearance at WalMart this past spring), with a short sleeved wick through shirt (free for competing in a previous 5K race). I also put on shorts and running pants, with the hope of shedding the pants pre-race if the sun was warm enough. I did not bring my mp3 player, since Manchester is the one and only race that the crowd is large and vocal enough to overide the need for music. Their cheering is always music to my ears. I programmed my TomTom, and at 8:05 was on my way for the 45 minute drive. TomTom decided to have me exit what I thought was way too soon, and I found myself driving the last 7 miles along local roads instead of the highway. However, I have since found out that the highway traffic near the road race was backed up, so TomTom actually did me a favor. I guess I have a "psychic" GPS, since it doesn't have the traffic option programmed into it. I arrived at the Manchester Town Hall at 8:45, as planned. I always park there since it's free, away from traffic, about a half mile from the start/finish line, and most importantly a 1/4 mile from Dunkin' Donuts, where I always have my post race coffee. I debated whether to shed my long pants, but decided against it since as I went outside my car I was greeted with a chill in the air. Besides, I figured it was 45 minutes away from the suggested line up time of 9:30, so I still had time to change my mind before the 10:00 start time. I walked towards the start/finish line, which was about a half mile away. Fox 61 news was setting up, and of course I kept my eyes and ears open for any reporters or cameras. Yup, I wanted to be on tv. As I walked down Main Street, towards the start/finish line, I stopped and watched as the fire department hung the traditional HUGE American flag suspended between the end of two firetruck ladders . It is located about a 1/4 mile from the start/finish line. It gives me goosebumps every year to see it. It was still chilly, so I spent the next fifteen minutes walking and slowly running up and down Main Street, while looking for my co-worker Grace, and my son's friends Christine and Julie, who were also running. At 9:15 people were already starting to line up according to their anticipated finishing time. It was now or never as far as returning to my car and adding hat and gloves, or losing long pants. I decided to stay the way I was. I headed for the 35 to 40 minute area, and was disappointed that no one was checking for seeding cards, which as I said in an earlier post, I had. The other time groups were fenced off, and cards were checked there. So my "Under 40 minutes" card was, in effect, worthless. I was soon joined by fathers and their young children, as well as teenagers who were encouraging their friends to cut in and join them. In other words, I was surrounded by "obstacles," meaning slow moving runners who hadn't adequately trained to run the 4.75 miles. At 9:45, I heard someone call my name, and was surprised to see Christine and her sister Julie directly behind me. They told me they had just arrived, and had snuck in under the fence on the side. Again, so much for me having a seeding card! Well, at least I had someone to talk to, and since they were behind me, they were someone elses obstacles! At this point the sun was shining stronger, I was feeling cozy warm, and I was questioning whether or not I was going to be overdressed. As I listened to the pre-race announcements, I was amazed at the number of registered runners: 11,800. A new record. I was thrilled that about 10,000 of them were starting behind me. Finally it was 10:00, everyone sang along to the Star Spangled Banner while facing the flag behind us, and the race began to the music of "God Bless America," as it does every year. I decided to start my stopwatch as I crossed the starting line, so I could have my actual time, or "Net time" as I ran. I took one last look to make sure my "SAI timing tag" was still fastened around my shoelaces. It's a brand new method of timing races, and the nice thing about the tag is it works the same as the timing "chips" that most races use, except you get to keep it afterwards. No more trying to unlace your shoes while you're exhausted so you can return your timing chip. 50 seconds later, I was officially on my way. I immediately headed for the left side of the road, knowing that the first turn is a left and comes quickly. For the most part, people tend to stick to the middle at this point. After some zig-zagging in between and around other runners, I was where I wanted to be. A left turn onto Charter Oak Street, and I knew that soon I would be greeted by all the patrons of the Hungry Tiger bar, whose sole purpose is to drink a lot and cheer for everyone running by. I always make sure I move over to the right side of the street so I can be near them as I pass by. They were not only in front of the bar, but also on the roof, drunk as can be, and cheering everyone on. Somewhere around there I reached the 1 mile mark, and a quick check of my watch revealed... at this point I must confess that my mile split times are a guestimate! I think my time was around 8:15. I knew from previous years that I was off to a GREAT start because 1) I had passed many "obstacles", and 2) a long uphill was just ahead, meaning I could probably pass any remaining obstacles. Running up hills is where I tend to pass others due to my long legs. Miles 1 to 2 consisted of running up the long, gradual hill. As others walked or slowed down, I picked up my pace. Mile 2 time was also a blurr...somewhere around 16:30, or another 8:15 mile. It's a blurr since I was busy cursing myself for forgetting that the steep downhill part of the race doesn't come until after the steep uphill just after mile 2. So I had miscalculated when the uphill part ended, and instead had to kick it into a faster gear in order to attack the steep uphill. All the time I kept reminding myself that I would be rewarded once I reached the top. As I saw the sign for Porter Street, I knew it was time for a left turn, and my reward. The steep, yet fun downhill portion had arrived! I was smiling like the Cheshire Cat, and I passed mile 3 at around 23:50 (7:20 pace mile 2 to 3), meaning my pace per mile was now at 7:57. Just 1 3/4 miles to go, and I was not only going to break 40 minutes, but I was going to SHATTER it!! I had the best runner's high I've ever experienced. Best of all, it was all natural, meaning no energy drinks or energy gel. Just 100% pure adrenaline. I was focusing on the cheering crowd, 5 deep in some places, as well as the beautiful day, bagpipers, and live bands and cd's blaring. Between miles 3 and 4 is a house that every year blasts out the "Theme From Rocky." That is the song as far as getting me psyched. I spaced out and missed the one and only water station. No matter, I was having fun. I never wanted the race to end. I was painfree, breathing easily, and running completely effortless. Mile 4 was reached at around 31:20, meaning a 7:30 mile. Around mile 4 1/2, I saw a camera and a Channel 61 reporter in the crowd. I'm pleased to say that I TIVO'd the race, and can be clearly seen for 3 seconds on Channel 61, from "unofficial gun time" of 35:26 to 35:29. My 3 seconds of road race fame! Shortly thereafter I turned onto Main Street, and headed for the finish. My common sense reminded me that I still had about a half mile to go, and not to start my finishing kick. My uncommon sense said to go for it, since Main Street is wide and has thousands of cheering spectators on both sides. How could I disappoint them?! Besides, I still felt greater than great, and I spotted another Channel 61 camera plus the road race photographer over to the right. I swung out wide, making sure they both had clear shots of me. Well, Channel 61 didn't show Main Street at that moment, so I have to settle for my 3 seconds of fame. I'll find out in a few days how "buff" my race photos are. I know I ran the entire length of Main Street with a smile on my face. The finish line came quickly...too quickly. After 36 minutes, 42 seconds of "net time" running, my journey had ended. Not only had I beaten my goal of finishing in under 40 minutes by 3 plus minutes, I also averaged a 7:43 per mile pace. Along with running and completing 2 marathons, it was my most memorable running experience ever.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Manchester, Manchester, Manchester

"I understand about indecision; But I dont care if I get behind; People livin' in competition; All I want is to have my peace of mind." Peace of Mind: Boston

I know...all I've talked about lately is the Manchester Road Race. Well, guess what I'm going to be talking about today?! No time to run yesterday due to my Weight Watchers job. I really wanted yesterday to be my final run before, you guessed it, the Manchester Road Race. Today I debated for about 2 seconds whether or not I was going to go for a run after work. The rain had gone away, and the sun was shining. I got home, logged into, and discovered that it was 41 degrees, "feels like" 38 degrees. A "heat wave" compared to the temperatures this past week. So, my 2 seconds decision was to go for a run. However, I needed to use common sense since the Manchester Road Race (4.75 miles) is now less than 2 days away. I chose my 3 mile road course. I figured I'd take it easy, enjoy the run, and not worry about my time. As I settled into my pace, it felt so right. Even though the sun had disappeared behind the clouds, the temperature had dropped, and my hands were cold (forgot to wear my gloves), my legs were moving well. I hit my one mile point at 8:26, which was fine since home to mile one is a series of small, annoying hills. Mile one to two I felt so good that I increased my speed. I reached mile 2 at 16:26, or an eight minute 2nd mile. Nice thing was, I still was enjoying my run. Everything was as perfect as it could be. My time for the final mile was 7:45, for a time of 24:11 (8:03/M) for the 3 miles. Well, tomorrow is a day off from running, then "Turkey Day" is the race. Myself and 10,000 other runners and walkers burning calories and having fun doing so. Thanksgiving turkey always tastes so much better after I've run the Manchester Road Race.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Ready For the Manchester Road Race

"Take it easy, take it easy" The Eagles: Take it Easy

An early morning run today. I left my house at 7:45 a.m., and finished back home at around 8:30. Temperature was 20 degrees, "feels like" 13 degrees. After the first couple of miles, I didn't care. I thought my time was going to be slow, meaning around a 9 minute mile pace. I ran the 5 mile route created by my daughter Stephanie, and I wasn't winded, feeling any pain, or struggling at all. It was too easy, therefore my belief of a 9 minute mile pace, especially since I decided I wasn't looking at my stopwatch until I finished. I was shocked when I finished and looked at my watch: 41:29 (8:17/M). I stared in disbelief, and checked it again several times while inside. I thought the cold had numbed my brain cells. Well, needless to say, I'm ready to run the 4.75 mile Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if I'll do another run I really need to?!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's High Temperature: 29 Degrees

"Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through; I'm cool (He's cool); I can't complain but sometimes I still do; Life's been good to me so far." Joe Walsh/The Eagles: Life's Been Good

Nothing like a refreshing 6 mile run on the linear trail. 3 miles out, with the wind at my back, then turn around and run the 3 miles back with a cold, icy wind blowing in my face. Yes folks, today's high temperature in Cheshire Connecticut was a brisk 29 degrees, with a wind gust of 30 mph, which I'm guessing occurred as I was running miles 4 to 6. I was in full winter running gear of hat, gloves, wick through shirt, long sleeved cotton shirt, shorts, sweatpants, and for the first time, sweatshirt. It's a month away from officially being winter, and I'm dressing like it's February outside. How depressing. Today's time was 50:51 (8:28/M). I would have had a better time, but the 30 mph gust between miles 3 and 4 made me feel as if I was running on a treadmill. Well, at least there wasn't thunder and lightning. By the way, Manchester Road Race is in 4 plus days. I'm psyched. 10,000 runners and lots of spectators plus, for the first time ever:
Fox 61 to televise Manchester Road Race LIVE. Damn, I'm doing my best to be on tv!!


"(You got) Bad luck; That's what you got, that's what you got; (Yes, uh) Bad luck; That's what you got, that's what you got; Bad luckThat's what you got, that's what you got; (You got) Bad luck, bad luck (Bad)": Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes: Bad Luck

Current temperature outside: 19 degrees; feels like 13 degrees. Oh, and I just discovered that our furnace isn't working. At least we have a full tank of oil. That's ok, because we have a propane fireplace to help keep us warm. BUT I just checked the propane tank. The gauge reads below empty. The oil company is coming out today to repair our furnace. A Saturday service call on a chilly day should cost me about a billion bucks. The propane company will get back to me today, or so says the woman I talked to from the answering service. Well, I was close...sorta. I already had scheduled a propane delivery for next Tuesday. As Maxwell Smart would say, I "Missed it by THAT much." I hate you people living in Florida, Arizona, California, and wherever else it's warm!!
UPDATE: $219.42 to repair/clean furnace and hot water heater. Thank-you Giacco Oil of Meriden for arriving an hour after I called you, fixing the problem, and charging a fair price. Propane delivery will be on Tuesday, as scheduled. An extra $100 to have it delivered today wasn't worth it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Humphrey's, Fratelli's, and McDonalds Oh My!

"They say it's your birthday, We're gonna have a good time, I'm glad it's your birthday, Happy birthday to you" The Beatles: Birthday

Well, once again I went overboard with the eating and drinking. Yesterday was fun, but insane. A co-worker of mine, Pam, turned 49 yesterday. Her husband passed away recently, and she wanted her co-workers, meaning me and about 20 others who attended, to celebrate with her. Celebrate I/we did. I got a head start at Humphrey's with Carissa, my "Bar Buddy," and "Jamba Jane." Jane's nickname comes from several of us going to New York City several months ago to attend a taping of the Letterman show. Jane was feeling no pain after consuming I don't know how many drinks. She decided that Jumba Juice had a fun name, so she in her intoxicated state of mind was walking around NYC shouting out "Jamba." She even had her picture taken at a few Jamba Juice locations. Strange, but true. So after 3 Sam Adams' at Humphrey's (thank-you bar babe bartender Alisha), we three headed for Fratelli's Restaurant, which fortunately was a mile away. Oh, it's also located 3 doors away from Weight Watchers. I almost went to Weight Watchers to say "Hi," but thought better of it since a) I was "buzzed," b) I didn't know who was working, and c) I figured I'd say and/or do something stupid like step on the scale and shout out something like "Dammit, I shouldn't have gone to Humphrey's and drank 3 beers and eaten two freakin' pails full of their delicious chips before I came here." I almost forgot how I nearly peed my pants when Jamba kept getting phone calls at Humphrey's, and was telling whoever called that she was stuck in traffic, then was getting gas, then was on her way. All this while sitting at the bar. OK, it doesn't seem so funny as I read this, but it WAS funny if you were there. Trust me. Anyhow, at Fratelli's Jamba kept flirting with whatever guy at the bar would buy her a drink. I think she drank for free the entire night. Carissa was standing, kind of, at the opposite end of the room. The more she drank, the more she swayed. I can compare it to palm trees swaying in the breeze. I was getting dizzy just looking at her. I for whatever reason became a "food mooch." I never do that, but I guess since I couldn't flirt and get free drinks like Jamba, I needed a challenge myself. As a food mooch, I was able to get pizza, bread, and even a free drink from a co-worker. So I spent $3.75, and fed myself and drank 2 beers (Coors Light this time). Since I knew I had to get up this morning at 4 a.m., I said my "Good-byes" at 7:30 and headed for home. Drinking 5 beers and eating chips, bread, and pizza had clouded my judgement too much. Then it car started heading in a different direction then it should have to get home. I found myself at the drive-through window of, you guessed it from reading a previous blog, McDonald's. I was at Mickey D's, ordering a double cheeseburger and two regular fries. Here I was already stuffed, yet I ordered MORE food. So the drive home consisted of me steering with my left hand, and stuffing french fries and the cheeseburger down my throat with my right hand, Like always, I neglected to order anything to drink, so I ended up with an overstuffed gut, and some wicked and loud hiccups from eating too much, too fast. I'm not sure if I left any "floor food." I'll have to look tomorrow. Overall, it was a fun time, but my Thursday morning weight of 178.8 (down 4.7 lbs. from 11/3) will surely rise during the upcoming days. Hence, since I didn't run today (went to look at a 27 lb. cat at the animal shelter), I certainly will be running this some longer distances this weekend in the sub-freezing temperatures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


"And I got such a long way to go... So I'll ride like the wind. Gonna run like the wind." Christopher Cross: Ride Like the Wind

I didn't run on the Linear Trail as planned. It's one downfall is that it doesn't have lighting (only "lightning"), so long story short, I ran on the roads. Before running, I once again consulted and groaned when I read the following: Temperature: 28 degrees...Feels like 23 degrees. Yup, you know the routine. Same running gear as yesterday, plus my yellow arm band with the battery powered red light so I'm visible in the dark. My greatest fear of running at night is that there's always the possibility I become "road pizza," meaning some person talking on their cell phone and not paying attention to the road runs me over. I always make sure I'm visible, run on well lit roads, and of course hug the curb whenever traffic approaches me. Of course not being able to see as well as most people in the dark hinders me a little bit. I always console myself by thinking that if I ever get run over, at least I'll die with a smile on my face since I'll be doing two of my favorite things: Running and listening to 70's music. OK, on to more pleasant thoughts. My time and distance was 5.1 miles: 42:09 (8:15/M). Once again, I'm satisfied. I'm actually enjoying running in the cold, at least for now. This time of the year I feel like I'd rather be living in the west, where it's always warm, and football's on at 10 a.m. However, due to lots of reasons that I won't go into, that cannot and will not happen. Anyhow, tomorrow will not be a running day. A co-worker who recently lost her husband has invited all of us at work to go out after work and celebrate her birthday. It's an offer I can't refuse. Problem is, the restaurant she picked doesn't serve beer, and I don't drink wine. So my gameplan is to go to Humphrey's first, have some Sam Adams, then head to the restaurant she's at. I am already having flashbacks to the 70's show "Lost in Space," and the robot waving his arms and shouting "Warning-warning, danger-danger." Yes, I know, I'm showing my age and not acting it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is it Winter Already?

"Everyone knows it's Windy" The Association: "Windy"

OK, I know it's technically still fall. However, running 4 miles today on the road, with a temperature of 32 degrees (feels like 29, according to website) was a reality check. I probably won't be able to run wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt again for another 4 or 5 months. BUMMER!! Today's attire consisted of a hat, gloves, short sleeved "wick" shirt, long sleeved shirt, shorts, and sweatpants....did I forget anything? I was going to "cheat" and run 3 miles, reminding myself that I had a meeting at 5:30 to attend. Problem was, no matter how I did the math, I still had enough time to run a longer distance. So I used my normal logic of 3 miles was too short, but due to time constraints and the cold temperatures, 5 miles was too far. Guess what distance I settled on?! I decided to run my original 4 mile course, since it doesn't have any "killer hills." Off I went, cursing the "feels like 29 degrees temperature," along with the wind which was blowing from the west, meaning my last mile was going to be run into it. My first mile was an 8:36, which meant I was doing too much whining, and not enough running. So I picked up the pace, and it started feeling like a "runners high" was on the way. Maybe drinking the 16 oz. can of Erev energy drink helped. My 2 mile time was 17:06, or an 8:30 mile...still not acceptable. I turned around, and headed for home, determined to do better. By then I was feeling fantastic: warm, cooling breeze, pain free, and running without effort. The dark clouds and falling leaves seemed to me like a beautiful scene. Yup, the runner's high had arrived. I hit the 3 mile point at 8 minute mile! I was running with and like the wind. I cranked out the last mile, pain free, mega-high, and effortless. Last mile time was 7:32....what can I say?? Overall, I ran a 32:40 4 miler, for an average of 8:10 per mile. Tomorrow I'm off from Weight Watchers, so I'm hoping to run a 5 or 6 miler at the Linear Trail. The forecast is for the same weather as today, but at least I won't have to worry about my swimming ability!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Lot Has Happened This Past Week

"Talkin' to myself and feelin' old; Sometimes I'd like to quit; Nothing ever seems to fit; Hangin' around, Nothing to do but frown; Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down." The Carpenters

So I'm sitting at our computer, 7:15 in the morning, using the "hunt and peck" style of typing, (meaning typing with both middle fingers) and I check the weather forecast...

(WTNH) - Forecast Updated Saturday AM
From Meteorologist Matt Scott
Another day full of showers and storms, as a front passes through. Stand by for blustery winds picking up later in the day.
All the best, Meteorologist Matt Scott
SATURDAY: Showers and thunderstorms. Windy with gusts to 40 mph possible. Highs : Low 60s.

"All the best?!" What the heck kind of a greeting is that, Matt? You're telling me that today's forecast means I'll have to cut back on my planned 10 mile run, plus get soaking wet, plus run alone because my daughter Stephanie surely won't be as foolish as me and run in a torrential downpour. The only consolidation I get is "All the best?" At least when I checked Channel 3's website for the forecast, which basically says the same thing as Channel 8's website, Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest says to "Have a great weekend!" That's a little more encouraging. At least I can wear shorts and a short sleeved shirt today, which is great since I live in Connecticut and it's November 15th. So later on when I run, I'll do my 3 mile course, which starts and ends at my house, and if it's not raining too hard, and I'm not too wet, I'll add on miles by running half mile loops around the block.
A lot has happened this past week. Sunday was the Rams vs. Jets game. As promised, I consumed "mass quantities" (I think I'm stealing that from Coneheads) of beer and food. Coors Light (total of 10 I believe), pulled pork, kielbasa, sauerkraut, hot wings, cheeseburgers (in paradise), potato chips...I think that was everything. My theory is that when I drink, especially if I'm starting at 9:30 in the morning, I need to establish a food base to help absorb the alcohol. The game was a blowout. Jets won 47-3, which made everyone happy except my Brother-in-Law Tad. But I couldn't harass him too much, since he was my Designated Driver.
After a day off from running on Monday, (I wonder why?!) I took advantage of having Tuesday off and headed to the Linear Trail. I finally ran 10 miles, actually 10 1/2, since I had a brain fart and lost track of the spray painted numbers as I ran. I was satisfied with my time of 1:37.11: (9:15/M), which included me stopping for a bathroom break and a drink from the water fountain. Great thing about the trail is it has 2 water fountains I run by, plus plenty of opportunities to use the outdoor bathroom (woods). I know, "TMI." Wednesday was a tough day, and as a result I didn't have it in me to run. I had to bring our 16 year old cat Shadow to the vet to be put to sleep. She's been sick, and had kidney failure, so we had no choice since she was suffering. It was a horrible experience, and I hope to never have to do it again. I have to admit that I cried like a baby before, during, and afterwards. It's still bothering me, but I'm trying to ease my guilt by getting a "macho" cat for myself. No luck so Thursday I slacked and didn't run (Post "Grim Reaper Syndrome?"); yesterday I did everything I could to avoid running, but eventually went for a 3 mile road run, which took me 25:04 (8:21/M). I was proud of myself for heading home after work, and driving past "Humphrey's" instead of to "Humphrey's." Which brings me up to today, which I talked about earlier.
UPDATE: Well, I went to the linear trail, figuring I could run 2 miles out, and 2 miles back, for a total of 4 miles. Yeah was POURING rain, but I decided that it was ok, because it would be another learning experience, meaning that sometimes I have to suck it up and run in the rain. Hey, it rained even harder on Thanksgiving day in 2006 when my daughter and I ran the Manchester Road Race, and it was 40 degrees, so I knew I could do it today. So, I set out on my run, shoes sloshing in the rain, trying to dodge the huge puddles on the paved path. (I was smart enough to wear an old pair of running shoes). As I'm running, I started yelling like a fool: "Bring it On," "Wetter is Better," and whatever other stupid phrases came into my mind...all in an attempt to keep from realizing that I very well could drown, especially since I really don't swim very well. There was that much water. I turned the corner, passed the .3 mile marker, all as the intensity of the rain continued to increase. It was literally coming down in buckets. That was when I decided that 2 miles would be sufficient, provided my now rain covered, fogged glasses didn't impede my sight so much that I either a) ran into a tree; or b) ran into the creek along the trail. Then it happened: thunder, followed by lightning. Thunder and lightning on November 15th in Connecticut?! I thought I was hallucinating, but a repeat episode made me realize that I needed to turn around and run as fast as I could back to my car before I became a human lightning rod. Well, since I'm typing this, you know I made it. Overall, I ran about 9/10 of a mile, in a little over 8 minutes. Who cares? I'm alive and not treading water at the Linear Trail. By the way, as I sit here at 1 p.m., there's not a drop of rain coming down. "All the best." Rick

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Football Game Today!!

Going to see the Jets vs. Rams at the Meadowlands. I'm not going to behave, because I'm not driving. So that means too much drinking, too much eating, and definitely my streak of running for 5 days straight will not become a 6th day...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Were There Rocks in My Socks??

"Running on - running on empty, Running on - running blind, Running on - running into the sun, But Im running behind" Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

Cheshire Linear Trail...cloudy, drizzly, a blah kinda day. BUT, warm enough (55 degrees) to wear a t-shirt and shorts. Instead of feeling like I had rockets in my pockets, it felt as if I had rocks in my socks. I really wanted to go for a ten mile run today, just because. As I started my run, it just didn't feel as comfortable as it usually does. Maybe running the previous four days had taken a toll on the pep in my step. At least I had company. Families, joggers, and walkers were still on the trail despite the weather. Fortunately it wasn't as busy as it usually is on a Saturday. (The trail starts in Cheshire, the town I live in, and continues through Hamden and into New Haven, where it ends. It's about 8 miles one way. More info. is available at During my first mile, and into my second mile I determined that today was not going to be a 10 mile day. I felt that 8 miles wasn't in the cards either. So I reluctantly turned around at the blue spray painted "3" in Hamden, and headed back towards Cheshire, planning on running a 6 miler. But heading back I actually started to feel better... kinda like I had marbles instead of rocks in my socks. I made a deal with myself that if I still felt like this at the end, that I would turn around and run to the one mile marker and back again, for a total of 8 miles. Well, I did, and I did. So, bottom line is a 1:10.19 (8:47/M) 8 mile run today.

Fourth Day in a Row

"On the seven seas there was a phantom ship acoming, Shinin' in the dead of night, I heard the crew a hummin' Tunes that sounded like the Rolling Stones and Leonard Cohen. But they didn't know the words, So I assumed that they was foreign." Electric Light Orchestra, Illusions in G-Major

I have to recommend a song to download into your Ipod. It's "Illusions in G Major" by the Electric Light Orchestra a.k.a. ELO. It's located on their "Eldorado" album, yes album, from way back in the 70's. It wasn't a single, but it was the "B" side of one of their singles. If you never owned a "45," then you have no clue what I'm talking about. Anyhow, if you can find it, download it. It's guaranteed to put some "pep into your step." If anyone actually reads this and has songs that are more recent to recommend to me, please do so. Being stuck in the 70's music wise is difficult sometimes.
OK, yesterday I skipped Happy Hour at Humphrey's and came home. I did what my co-worker Jim calls the "Duck and roll," meaning at exactly 3 p.m. I signed out, sprinted to my car, and drove home. This helped me avoid the possibility of my other co-workers, most who are younger, hot looking women, talking me into going out for "Just one drink." As all of you know, there's no such thing at Happy Hour as "Just one drink." One delicious tasting Sam Adams develops into having "Just one more," which leads to several just one mores, which leads to going to Mickey D's on the way home for the double cheeseburger and two regular fries off the dollar menu, which leads to driving home with one hand on the wheel, and the other hand stuffing the double cheeseburger and fries into my mouth. What's really cool is that any fries that don't make it to my mouth become "floor food," meaning they sit on the floor of my car for future consumption. Yes, I have eaten floor food in the past.
Well, before I finally went out for a run, I did everything I could to NOT go out for a run. The cats food dish needed food and water, I separated the laundry and washed a load, I folded and put away the clothes in the dryer, I checked the messages on the answering get the idea. By the time I was done stalling, it was nearly dark. Had I not procrastinated, I would have run 5 miles. Instead, I ran four miles, on the first running route I created here in Cheshire. It was once again warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt (Yea!), and I ran a 32:37 (8:07/M). I'm noticing a pattern this week: all my times are very close as far as pace per mile, which makes me extremely happy. Plus it's pretty much effortless. Today I'm planning on running somewhere between 6 and 10 miles on the Linear Trail. I always look forward to the weekend and my Linear Trail runs. More later...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And I Wonder, Still I Wonder, Who'll Stop the Rain

"Let it rain, let it rain, Let it rain, rain, rain." Eric Clapton

Nope, I wasn't going to let the rain keep me from running. After all, I'm encouraged by the fact that my bathroom scale was MUCH kinder to me this morning: 180 lbs. I'll take it, considering it was mooing at me on Monday as I weighed in at 183.5. I decided to cut back my distance to 3 miles, since 5 minutes before I went outside I could hear the rain pounding on my skylights. Fortunately when I started my run it had stopped. So I ran my 3 mile course the regular way, having learned my lesson yesterday. The worst part was the final mile, when I headed north and was met with a faceful of rain. The rain kept me company until I finished. Running in the dark, in the rain, and wearing glasses that I have to keep wiping off isn't fun. Anyhow, enough complaining. My time of 24:24 (8:08/M) was better than is good.

Getting Carded is a Good Thing

"I've been standin' here waitin' Mister Postman, So patiently, For just a card, or just a letter" Marvelettes

Just went through yesterday's mail and found this postcard:

Manchester Road Race
192 East Center Street
Manchester, CT 06040

Permits entrance to the under 40 minute starting area.

Line up behind the elite runners in order to give them an unimpeded start.

For safety and efficiency of the start DO NOT give this card to another runner.

This card must be presented before 9:45 A.M. on raceday at the under 40 minute starting area.

Bottom line is, my 39:56 time from last years race paid off. Now I get to start ahead of the people/obstacles that I'm usually zig zagging my way around at the start.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Running Backwards... Sorta

"Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-changes, Pretty soon now you're gonna get a little older, Time may change me, But I cant trace time" David Bowie

SUCCESS!! First I'd like to say that being able to run wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt in Connecticut on November 5th was truly a gift. Wednesday is a Weight Watchers work night, so I had planned to go 3 miles. However, I felt great at the end and had a little extra time, so I did 2 laps around the block for an extra mile. My time was decent (33:40; 8:20/M), so I'm happy. I decided to be creative, and run my 3 mile course backwards. OK, I didn't run backwards, but rather ran it in reverse. My reasoning was twofold. First, it would allow me to start with a less hilly first mile, and finish downhill. Second, it would psychologically be a different route to run. Well, stupid me forgot about the STEEPER hill I had to run up for the first quarter mile. That hill is usually part of the downward part of the last quarter mile I run to the finish. Having conquered that and breaking into a sweat much earlier than I anticipated, I was good until halfway through when I saw a nasty hill waiting my ascent..yes, a hill that's normally DOWNHILL. I had an easier time running over it than I thought I would, but I realized at that point that I would have been better off running my route the regular way. Important thing is that I was able to go to work with an official "Runner's High," and that I beat the pouring rain that occurred a half hour after I completed my run. Perhaps I'll step on the scale tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

That's Not an Earthquake, That's Me Running

"I feel the earth move under my feet" Carole King

3 o'clock didn't come fast enough today. After stepping on my bathroom scale this morning and hearing it scream for mercy (I'm lying, it's a digital scale), I had another "wake-up call." Yes, consuming mass quantities of beer and food this past weekend at Atlantic City certainly expanded my waistline in a hurry. It's not my fault that Harrah's gave my wife a free room. Hey, she turned "50" on Sunday, and we had to celebrate. It IS my fault that I had absolutely no problem taking advantage of the free beer while gambling. A $10 tip ahead of time was adequate motivation for waitress "Tammy" to make sure I never went more than 15 minutes empty handed. So what if it wasn't Sam Adams. After all, Coors Light is my second favorite beer after all. 183.5, yes, 183.5. I like to be 175, I'll accept 179.99. I'm typing it so I have a motivational visual. I need to get serious this week, and I started today. A 41:15 (8:15/M) 5 miler is a good start-no, it's a DAMN good start. I need to make time to run, or run when it's dark (it's now dark by 5 p.m.). OK, 'nuff said. Talk is cheap. As Nike says, I have to "Just do it."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Too Much Eating and Drinking, Not Enough Running

"So Drink To Me Drink To My Health..You Know I Can't Drink Any More." Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me):Paul McCartney

Well, life's been hectic, but fun. This past Thursday the company my wife works for threw her a surprise 50th birthday celebration. Randee, her co-worker, did a fantastic job sending my wife all over Hamden and Cheshire looking for clues and gifts that eventually led her home. From there I drove the 2 of them to Humphrey's Bar and Grille in Wallingford for her birthday bash. A fun time was had by all. Needless to say, I ate and drank way too much. Friday I had all intentions on going home after work for a 5 mile run and skipping Happy Hour at Humphrey's. After all, I had been there less than 24 hours earlier, right?! WRONG! Peer pressure from co-workers Carissa and Grace changed my mind. So, more beer and food for me, and of course even though I left at a decent time, I didn't go for a run. Saturday I DID go for an 8 mile run. Why 8 miles?? Well, 5 seemed like it would be too short, and 10 seemed like it would be too long. That's always my "Runner's logic." It felt great running the Linear Trail once again. My time was a little slow, 1:11.46 (8:58/M), but I was satisfied with how I felt. No knee or achilles pain. The past 2 days were spent in Atlantic City (Harrah's) with my wife, celebrating her real birthday, which was Sunday. (Details above)