Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Enjoying Time Off From Running ... I Think

It's almost December and my self-assigned month-long vacation from running. I may have given myself a head start this week though. I've been out of town in Tampa again since Sunday night, and it's been a bit busy at work. Still, 3 consecutive 6:00 am wakeup calls have not resulted in any runs yet, but I'm definitely going to give it another fair shot tomorrow morning!

In the meantime, I haven't felt terribly guilty about not running, but I have sort of missed it. I've also missed not having much to write about! Plus I'd hate to think I packed all my running stuff and will fly home tomorrow night w/o using any of it. Maybe something good will happen tomorrow morning!

Hey, has anyone read this post from Donald about next year's Mardi Gras marathon (and half marathon) on Feb 5th? I know I've already passed on Austin, which is on Feb 19th, but the first major run after Katrina does sound like it will have some historical significance and could be an interesting event for those running it. Apart from the usual charity donations, I personally haven't done much else, and this might be one small opportunity for a "show of support". Practically speaking, I don't know how much of an impact this can have, but perhaps every little bit helps? Anyone else considering this run, or already signed up?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where The Young Are Young and the Old Even Look Young

I really have to find a way to live in Austin. I drove down for a quick trip yesterday, and managed to get in a run at Town Lake before driving back. It's a great place to run, mostly sand and gravel, on the banks of Town Lake which is really a river flowing through downtown Austin. It's full of energetic young people running, which at my age is beginning to exceed 50% of anyone out there with a heartbeat. Boo. Even so, I could flat outrun some of the young'uns (still recovering from the weekend perhaps?), but there were of course many more that left me in the dust. Young, old, fast, or slow, most everyone out there looked to be in great shape, and you could see it in their faces. I guess the setting brought out Austin's finest and fittest!

I ran for 1:03, I'm guessing 7.5-ish miles. At the end of the run, it was already dark at 6:00 pm, and a little chilly in shorts and short sleeves at 57F. I can imagine Florida David's reaction to this (freezing!) and Minnesota Zeke's (burning up!).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Austin Will Have To Wait

I've decided to take a rain check on Austin. Good luck to Susan, Flatman (I think), and others who are already gunning for it! I'm too into the cruisin' mode to get up for it, but that doesn't mean I'm not running anymore. This past weekend, I did 11.5 from our house in Plano to the in-laws place in North Dallas. We've driven this a million times as we usually go over on Sundays for lunch or to visit for a while. It's the first time I've run this route, and probably the furthest I've ever run for no apparent reason! But I'd guess you runners out there know why ... we run it because it's there and so what if it's a little long and a little painful; we run it because we can!

It was beautiful late fall Texas day, but still in the low 70's at high noon. I had a slow easy run, finishing in just under 2 hours. S. and kids met me half way on their way over, and served as my own personal water station! They honked as they passed by on the other side of the street, and I pulled in a neighborhood playground just up ahead to wait for them to turn around and come back. I also took in the one GU I carried while waiting for them. When that was done, they still didn't show and I was beginning to wonder if we had mis-arranged the pit-stop. Earlier at home, I dropped off a half-bottle of water in the 'ol family van and mentioned that 11:00 would be perfect and half way into my run ... so why did they drive off? For a few more minutes, I waited and stewed (will the GU work w/o chasing it down with water? or will it suck my throat dry?! is my tongue already stuck to the roof of my mouth?! can I make it another 6 miles w/o dying of thirst?). Finally, I decided to carry on, since I couldn't well just stand there forever!

Lo and behold, about 0.5 mile further and around a curve, there they were waiting for me! S. bless her heart said she was 10 mins early and didn't want to mess up my timing. Well, let's see here ... 10 mins, 0.5 miles ... 20 min miles?! Oh hell, I was happy to see them! My three girls (9 & 9 twins, and 4) were jumping up and down as I approached, like I was some Speedy Gonzalez or something. One of them held out my water bottle, and I picked up the pace and ran by at full speed to snatch it out of her hand while they all started to give chase! It must've been a crazy sight for anyone happening to drive by. Ah, the little things in life ...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Crusin' or a Brusin'

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run ...

OK, so the song doesn't fit the title, but I like the last line anyway! I ran The Half in Dallas today. It's the 2nd time I've run it, and my 3rd half-marathon overall. It was a good run for me because I broke 2:00 hours and PR'd in 1:56:52! I'm really happy with this, considering that a year ago I had never run anything longer than a 10K, and I didn't really plan on running this until last month.

Also, a couple of weekends ago, I PR'd in a 5K at 24:34, after a long string of high 25:xx and mostly 26:xx runs the last few years. I really haven't been training all that much lately, and I think this is all the residual effect of my one and only marathon this past summer. But I'm happy to take it nonetheless!

So this leads me to my next move, which is ... I don't have one. My options are:

(1) Cruisin' into the end of the year with just some Turkey Trot Jingle Bell fun runs, and otherwise taking December off like I usually do to "rest" and "recharge" (but hopefully not "refuel" too much!)

(2) Brusin' to see if I can break 4:00 in a full marathon. I peeked over at the Austin marathon site, since it's an early February run, it's sort of close to Dallas, and it's one my favorite cities. I went to grad school there and lived there a couple of years after. The course winds through campus, which I think will be cool. But the thought of training for another marathon, and over the winter months outside ... bbrrrrrr!!

So which would you choose?

Cruise on into the new year, or pick up the pace for a brusin'?!