Thursday, November 25, 2010

PR: Thanks

If you're a real runner and you read this, forgive me. I'm about to be thrilled about a barely sub-nine-minute pace.

I am a slow slogger, usually training at about a 10:15 pace, quick only at seeding myself in the rear of the pack at the start line. Today I ran the local Turkey Trot, a three-mile informal group run, and surprised myself.

The cold (28 degrees, 12-mph winds) and the early hour (8 AM on a holiday) didn't matter. There were 70 or more runners hopping, chatting, ready to run. I loved how informal it was: put something in the box for the food pantry and wait for the start. No numbers, no fees, no chips. A guy told us the route, thanked us for the food donations, and yelled "GO!"

The first mile of the course went from a subtle downhill to a flat and when I glimpsed my Garmin at about three-quarters of a mile I truly did a double-take. It said my pace was 8:27. I figured something was wrong with the GPS or that the downhill was really helping. My heartrate was where it should be so I kept the pace.

I passed a few people (younger than me, felt so good) and was waiting for runners to start passing me as the course went on. I decided I must have seeded myself in the right spot -- WAAAAY in the back -- 'cause no one did. (Well, no one except a skinny teenager in breezy shorts who added an extra mile or two to his route just for the fun of it. He passed me toward the finish. Informal route.)

Toward the middle of the second mile the route began a long, low climb that lasted almost a mile. The terrible climber that I am, I listened for footsteps of runners wanting to pass. But still, no one. I was working hard, no extra breath, focusing on my biggest muscles for the climb. My second mile came in at 9:16. For me, shockingly fast.

The last half of the third mile was the hardest, but that's as it should be, right? I was out of my comfort zone -- way out. But I was psyched! I did all I could to finish strong: third mile 9:13. Finish time: three miles 26:59. A personal record. Can I technically say I ran an eight-minute pace? Maybe not. But now I feel hope.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big Breakfast

An orange at 5:30.
Just three days into the two-week distance-swim challenge put on by the US Masters Swimming-Wisconsin, and I'm caught off guard by my breakfast appetite. Morning laps was a 20-minute thing before yoga, easily handled by an orange before and a bowl of something after.

I've upped the time to an hour of laps each of these past three days; I'm a slow swimmer so that represents about 1.5 miles or 2,400 meters each day. The 60-calorie pre-swim orange isn't cutting it. With nine days to go I better get cooking. Now where are those beets?

(Last year's statewide Wisconsin Water Warriors results:

Calories Burned Calculator
Estimate the calories you burned swimming:

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Swimming can help with cardiovascular disease prevention.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hunting Miles

Can't ride it, so clean it.
Opening day of deer hunting season and the outdoors belongs the blaze team. I see orange spots in the grey horizon; I wince when I hear a shot and leave the bike at home.

But I still need 23 miles to get my November 100 outdoor bike miles.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I couldn't find a
photo of a mean
black lab, but
this guy looks
like he just took
a bite out of
Ever used pepper spray on a critter? 

A week ago I was knocked down by a big black lab. I was laboring (I'd call it running, but I'm more realistic) up a hill. Such an easy target. The bruise on my butt is witness to either teeth or claws. In the movie-moment of getting hit--or attacked?--I was aware only of something sharp and my own scream. I toppled like the statue of Saddam Hussein: straight body, landing hard on my crooked arms. Thought I broke an elbow. From me, as I lay on my back on the cold asphalt, "give me a minute, give me a minute." From the dog owner, "oh my god, oh-my-god, are you ok?" and "bad dog."
This run is in Baraboo,
Wisconsin on December 4, 2010.
See you there.

Well, I'm fine. Just a rainbow bruise on the butt  (only a few girls at the pool got to see the psychedelic buttocks) and a scratched up elbow (amazing what ice can do). And since then the dog owner--really a very kind person and a former mail delivery person who's bane has been out-of-control dogs--gave me a bottle of pepper spray with instructions to use it on her dog if needed.

I ran a different route this week.

Strangely, I've just designed a poster for a Sauk County Humane Society fundraiser run. Dogs and running--sometimes things just collide.