Monday, November 22, 2010

Fat, drunk and stupid

It may, as Dean Wormer so eloquently put it, be no way to go through life (son) but it's a decent way to go through the holidays. Just don't drive.

Now I'm so used to hitting the post-Baystate/pre-holiday wall that I just plan on it and just figure whatever jiggly jogging I can manage until Christmas will keep me from getting so far gone that I can't come back to where I was and then some. In the spirit of the season, this past Saturday I participated in the first ever Reading Pub Run. This was easily one of the dumbest days of my post-collegiate life but, wow, it was fun.

And the best part is nobody got hit by a car (though there were a couple of close calls) or arrested. Success! Next year, we'll have 50 guys by accident as the legend of this stupidity spreads throughout the suburbs, but the Original 11 will always have Saturday, November 20, 2010 to remember. They can never take that away from us.

Not only did I spend the afternoon jogging from bar to bar and getting progressively less able to run in a straight line, but afterward I jogged home, showered and then my wife and I got on a party bus into Boston. Yikes. Waking up the next morning was sort of like college, except in addition to a massive hangover I also realized I had four kids and a huge mortgage payment. Oh, and Marc C's license and ATM card (no idea how.)

After shuffling gingerly about the house most of Sunday, doing some housework and making some meatballs and sauce, I finally put on my running gear and went out for some running, distance and time TBD. All in all it was a pleasant late-fall run: cool and crisp with the smell of wood fires in the air. At one point as I was running up Charles Street something caught my eye to my left and I turned my head to see a tall guy in a kilt, high boots, a leather jacket and smoking a cigar put a travel mug of something on the roof of his car as he shoved his hands in his jacket pocket for his keys. I wonder where he was going? I got in about 9 miles, my 2nd longest run since Baystate.

This week will feature some more jogging around in a haze and stuffing myself with turkey and trimmings. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The fundamentals

Asking someone when they started running is kind of odd, when you think about it. For most people, the real answer is probably shortly after they mastered walking.

But that's not what most people mean when they ask that question. They want to know when you started to purchase lots of specialized equipment and clothing, to track miles and paces and use all kinds of dorky running lingo in polite company. People who started running as adults with disposable income and big brains want to know the magic formula--the fundamentals--that you learned from all the years that you must have spent working with professional coaches and reading training manuals and following the recipes. They want to know the secret that you must know because you're kind of fast relative to the average finisher at the local yokel 5k. They want to break it down, follow the steps and take the exam. Earn their CRD credential (Certified Running Dorkwad.)

I say read some books if you're into that sort of thing (personally, running books bore me to tears) and patrol the interwebs for the training logs of elites if you want--it's all good and interesting stuff. But if it's the secret you're after, find some real-life, flesh and blood people to run with and run with them a bunch. After about your 50th workout or long run (40th if you're a really quick study) with the same group of experienced runners, the secret begins to come into view.

I suppose I started running, in the way that people mean, when I was 14 years old and I went out for the winter track team as a freshman in high school, putting an end to my hockey career in part due to a December birthday. And so pretty much what I did every day after school all winter and all spring was go running with my buddies. We ran in good weather and bad. We ran in the heat in the cold, in the rain and in the snow and on beautiful, sunny afternoons that took your breath away. We did all the familiar loops with names that had been passed down from generation to generation. We made fun of each other and had snowball fights out on the roads. We did hills up by the water tower and we did drills on the back straightaway. We did loads of 400s at all sorts of paces. We did a hellish workout named "baseball" because it took place on the baseball field and involved lots of accelerations for unknown amounts of time at unknown intervals, in a pack. We tasted copper. We ran in cotton t-shirts and without watches, heart rate monitors, GPS, or iPods. We didn't keep training logs and hadn't even heard of the expression "miles per week." If it rained today, we ran in wet shoes tomorrow.

When the weather was really bad we did workouts in the field house on a flat, tiny track--mondo over concrete--that we were fortunate to have compared to lots of other high schools. We raced our asses off on eleven laps to the mile indoor tracks and at the end of the season, if we were lucky, we got to turn it loose on a nice, banked 200m oval. In the spring we got to move outside and run on the big track and then life was really grand. We knew all the runner girls.

The first time I set foot on a college campus, it was to run a race. The first time I left New England, it was to run a race. The first time I dated a girl from outside my town she was a runner for another high school whom I'd met at a track meet. The first time I drank a beer from a keg it was on a track recruit weekend at Holy Cross my senior year in high school.

And I was absolutely nothing special. A completely ordinary high school track runner.

I might have had a grand total of 5 one-on-one conversations with my coach over 4 years of track. Maybe.

When I started to get back in to running as an adult, it never occurred to me to worry about a lot of the stuff people obsess over. I started running, I found some races, I talked to some runners. Eventually I found some people to do workouts with sometimes. And then I just stuck with it.

The nice thing about running--the thing that brought me back as an adult with a family and a real job--is that the lion's share of the work can be done alone, on nobody else's schedule. The motivated enough hobby jogger can simply make it a habit to get up early every morning and get his workout in before most of his neighbors are awake. Or if he's a night owl he can do it after the kids are in bed. He can get pretty fit, and even be relatively competitive locally, on an average of an hour a day of training--most of it outside the hours when he's beholden to others. But this can become isolating if you let it.

What it takes is running a lot, sure, but also yucking it up with your buddies over a long run. Talking running while running. And talking non-running while running. Commuting to races together, racing hard, and sharing a few beers and a few laughs afterward. Because it feels good to be fit and alive. Because you just ran a race. Because you're runners. And runners run.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baystate 2010, it was a good season

Last Sunday was the Baystate Marathon in Lowell. It was, I suppose, my goal race for the 2010 season.

I ran a respectable 2:49:56, my 2nd fastest ever, but I did it the hard way--going through half way on pace for a 2:47:30. As the splits (1:23:45 / 1:26:11) would indicate, it was a very tough second half. In hindsight it's easy to say that if all I was going to do is run 2:49 again, there are easier ways to do it, but all indications were that 2:47-mid was realistic and so it was worth a shot, no regrets.

Marathons are just really, really hard if you race them. There's no way around it. There is a process of eliminating possibilities that goes on where at the start you're just trying to give yourself as good a chance as possible for a great day--you can't accomplish anything in the first half but you can throw a lot of goals away if you're not careful. As you get deeper and deeper into the race, the universe of possible outcomes gets smaller and smaller and the runner's job is to continue to pursue the best possible outcome on the day. Faster is always better. It's a damn hard job.

I was racing my friend Andrew and we started together. We ran shoulder to shoulder for the first half and then, just past the halfway mark, he took off up the road. I was already starting to feel the effects of the slightly too fast first half--my right hamstring was beginning to tighten badly, and I knew that if I went with Andrew there would be a huge blow up on the horizon. I had a feeling Andrew was committing race suicide himself at that point, but you never know. Maybe he was having a breakthrough day. All I knew is I had to run my race. He opened up about an 80 meter gap on me by about the 17 mile marker but by the time we reached the Tyngsboro Bridge for the 2nd time (around 18 miles) the gap was not increasing and it may have been shrinking. I reeled Andrew in over the next 3 miles or so and eventually passed him between 20 and 21--it's a bit hazy exactly where.

Andrew and I exchanged some encouraging words and then I moved by and within a couple of minutes I didn't hear his footsteps anymore and the reality of what was ahead of me started to sink in. The race with Andrew was basically over, the goal of 2:47 was out the window, a PR was starting to look really unlikely, so what was left to fight for? The best possible outcome. It's vague and trite, but when you're suffering that bad it's all there is. Maybe I could still get in under 2:50 for only the 2nd time in my life. Maybe not. All I knew was I had enough invested to that point that I was going to leave no doubt. The lowest finish time, the lowest place, the best result I could get, whatever that was--nothing left to think about, go until they wrap you in mylar, I told myself.

The last 3 or 4 miles of the race were some of the most difficult of my racing life and I don't have the energy to recount the details. My pace was slipping, my hamstring was becoming a real problem and there was the nagging feeling that it could all go bad in a second and I might not finish the race. Baystate has a 1 mile to go mark and at that point I looked at my watch and realized I needed to run a 7 minute mile to break 2:50 and I wasn't sure I could do it. But it was worth trying.

When I finally reached the entrance to the stadium and the 26 mile marker I felt like, because I was still actually running, I would at least get the sub 2:50. My friend Jeff was there on the outfield grass in his mylar sheet having just wrapped up a 2:35 PR and gave me some encouragement as I began my kick, such as it was, around the warning track. A figure in a red Whirlaway singlet and black hat came into view and I thought it looked like my friend Dan who had gone for sub 2:30, but how could that be? It was--the marathon is a bitch.

I finished. I never gave in, so there's that. It wasn't a PR, or really anything, but another marathon and yet I was mostly satisfied.

Later, after putting on layers of dry clothes, chatting with other marathoners, eating some of the post-race grub and meeting up with my wife and girls for some well needed hugs, I shuffled over to Beerworks and met friends for a few beers and grub on the patio. My friend and training partner, Mark, was the only one there before me. We swore off marathons together, again.

It was a good season. From August 1st on, I ran a 17:08 5k (fastest in 6 years), a 1:19 half marathon (fastest in 6 years and 2nd fastest ever) and my second sub-2:50 marathon. And yet, I'm ambivalent. I guess that's how this works--we're never truly satisfied. But it was a good day, mostly. A good, hard day.

The end.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Counting down to go

I've been remiss in keeping up with this blog lately, which is generally a good thing. It means I'm too busy for navel gazing.

Since my last update I've put together one of the best two months of training and racing I can ever remember as I aim this building tsunami of racing fitness (by my standards) at October 17th and the Baystate Marathon. In general, a marathon is always the end of a racing season for me--I'm not one of those freaks who can run several marathons off of a single block of training and I have neither the interest, nor the budget to do a succession of sub-maximal marathons in the interest of earning a t-shirt or entry into some club or what have you. With the exception of perhaps the 2008 Flying Monkey, which I ran 5 weeks after a PR effort at Baystate, every marathon I've run has been an all-in effort, which means I'm done for the season after that.

This time there is the added finality that a few hours after I finish Baystate and enjoy some food and post-race beers with friends, I will board a plane for Las Vegas and my company's world-wide sales kickoff that runs Sunday to Thursday. I'm not sure I'll even bring running shoes. Okay who am I kidding, yeah I will.

This fact has been quite liberating. In running terms, I'm not at all looking beyond a week from Sunday. That's the end of the earth for me. At some point after Vegas I'll hit the reset button and put some new goals on the calendar and begin the process of starting over, but we'll jump of that bridge when we come to it. I'm living in the now.

Here's what I've done since my last update:

  • Week of 8/9 -- 74 miles including 2 decent workouts
  • Week of 8/16 -- 78 miles indcluding Saunders 10k in 36:37 (14th) and a 20+ mile long run
  • Week of 8/23 -- 80 miles including 1 good track workout and a 20+ miler on the Baystate course with Mark and Dan
  • Week of 8/30 -- 73 miles with one decent workout and no long run with Cape Ann on Monday
  • Week of 9/6 -- 82 miles including Cape Ann 25k in 1:37:28 (15th) and Street Faire 5k in 17:18 (2nd) the day after an 18 miler
  • Week of 9/13 -- 82 miles including 2 decent workouts and a 21.5 mile long run on roads and trails
  • Week of 9/20 -- 73 miles including 1 decent workout and the Wilmington Half Marathon in 1:19:13 (1st)
  • Week of 9/27 -- 66 miles including an unplanned day off (sick) and yet a really good 18 miler with 6 miles at sub MP on Sunday.

The only one of those weeks I can find any fault with is last week, where I was dealing with a bad cold and took a day off. Even then Sunday's workout went so well I didn't even worry about the lower mileage. They hay's in the barn.

This weekend I'll get a little greedy and see if I can squeeze a 5k PR out of this cycle before I spend everything I've got left on Baystate. The old 5k / 42k double. It's worth a try--you gotta get while the gettin's good.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken dogs, hawks, and offspring: Summer training and racing full steam ahead for October 17

Where should I start? Okay, my name is Mike and it's been two months since my last confession.

Several Very Important Things have happened in my world of running since I last posted in this space. I had a run-in with a chicken dog, I've strung together two 300+ mile months in a row and counting (and not just mileage but quality training), along with my cohorts I helped direct a successful 4th annual FORR 5k road race, I was attacked by a hawk, I ran a PW 10k and in the same week brought my masters 5k PR down to 17:08, which is also my fastest 5k since 2004. I convinced my favorite rival to run Baystate so we can go toe-to-toe for 26.2 miles. Oh, and I decided that Baystate will be my last marathon--more about that later.

By chicken dog, I'm referring to one of those "toy" breeds that weigh less than 10 pounds and yaps at you incessantly because it has a doggie version of a Napoleon complex. You know the type I mean. Calling them chicken dogs is a bit of an insult to chickens, since they are much less useful than actual chickens. It's mostly a size thing. Anyway, one chased me half way up Woburn Street in Reading one day as I was jogging home from the track. I kicked at it once just grazing it, it ran away only to come back later and was almost run over by a beige swagger wagon. It was quite a scene. Eventually it got tired of chasing me and, I guess, went home.

The FORR 5k was a mild success. I was a bit worried about having too many runners this year as Memorial Park and the adjacent Harrison St are completely torn up, but we wound up with about the same number as last year (160 ish) and nobody got hurt or arrested. Success! My oldest girls ran it without me this time and had a successful race.

Yeah, for real a hawk swooped down out of the sky and tried to maul me on the top of my head with both sets of talons while I was running one morning on Chestnut St in Lynnfield. Then it flew up into the limb of a big oak tree and looked down mocking me. I had to google "hawk attack" when I got home just to see if that really is something that happens. Apparently it is. I had bruises on my head, but it didn't draw blood. Good thing I was due for a haircut so that my thick mat of hair (that my wife insists is full of gray) protected me. I couldn't have made that up if I tried.

Last week I ran a 10k that was put on by one of my co-workers. I mostly ran it as a workout and as a favor to the guy but I didn't expect it to be THAT bad. The race was out and back on a bike path and featured 5k of downhill, then a hairpin turn and 5k of uphill. And it was 88 degrees and very humid at race time! Yuck. I ran my slowest 10k ever in 37:45, which was still good for 4th overall and 1st old guy.

I guess it was a decent workout though, because I had an excellent 5k just days later. I took the oldest 2 girls up to York and we crashed at my sister's place on Saturday night so we could all run the York Days 5k on Sunday morning. The weather turned out to be perfect. There was a couple days of break in the humidity and this big Canadian air mass (what am I a meteorologist??) came down and cooled us off. It was literally 57 degrees at my sister's when I got up in the morning. I got the girls over to York High School, got us our bibs and chips and left them in the girls' room line while I went out to do a jog. I could tell immediately I was going to pop a good one. And it was still cool, probably still in the 60's by race time. I knew the course profile pretty well and had run a race that uses the same finish, so I was pretty confident. I wound up executing one of the best races I've ever run running (I think) about 5:25 in the last mile, and finished in 17:08, my best 5k since 2004 and 3rd best ever.

The girls ran great and finished with the same time in 29:15.

A fantastic beach day with their sisters and cousins ensued.

In other news, I've decided I don't want to run marathons anymore after Baystate. It's half a quality of life/career decision and half a quality of running decision. I'm planning to go balls out for the rest of the summer and try to improve on my 2:49 PR and then whether I do or I don't, I'm really not willing to do the work it will take to keep improving at that distance. There are too many other things I'd rather focus my energy on. I'll continue to run for sure, and I can probably stay pretty close to PR shape or even improve some of my PRs from 13.1 on down, but the marathon is a different animal and I'm just not up for putting a whole six months of training into one day like that anymore and making all the sacrifices along the way that doing so requires. And I have no interest in slogging through sub-maximal marathons just for fun. Not my bag. At times I'm sure I'll run just as much as current "marathon training" but I won't be dong any 20 milers (unless I feel like it) and I won't be putting a whole season's worth of eggs in one race-day basket anymore after October 17th. Big whoop.

The various reactions to this decision have been interesting. Some people completely get it, some flat out don't believe that I'll stop running marathons and some can't understand why I've spent as much time as I have on them already. But a small group have even become what I can only describe as offended by the notion that perhaps a forty-something hobbyjogger might not want to run eighty or more miles a week at the expense of his career, family and overall quality of life for the sake of improving, by a few seconds, his completely mediocre and utterly unimportant marathon personal best. I'm not judging others for their obsessive pursuit of trivial numbers and in fact I'm admitting that until October 17th, I'm going to be at least as OC as anyone. But I've prioritized marathons to the extent I have because I wanted to. And now I don't want to. It will really be okay.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

The last couple of weeks my training has started to come together to where I think I'm back to where I was before I got sick in early May, and possibly a bit stronger as well. The last 5 weeks mileage has been 62, 66, 66, 81, 74 with good workouts.

Last week's 74 miles included the Market Square Day 10k in 36:39. Not a stellar time in the grand scheme but a huge improvement over the putrid 18:07 5k at Redhook just 2 weeks earlier and I made absolutely no concessions for the race--I'd done 2 workouts that week including 16 x 200 on Thursday before a Saturday race.

I was pleased with how I competed despite leaving some time on the course. I honestly think I was so pleased when I went through the 5k split in nearly the same time as Redhook that I relaxed a bit in the uphill 4th mile. I quickly got my head back on straight, though, and finished strong.

The next morning I was feeling good enough to run a 14-mile hilly long run to the Breakheart Reservation with Mark Hudson and Dan Princic. I'm recovering really well right now and just need to keep it rolling. Some work travel and a camping trip will possibly limit my miles a tad this week but nothing to be worried about.

And we roll on...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Laser show. Relax.

It's summer. We're training. It's what we do. By the by, this still cracks me up...

Monday, May 31, 2010

A day at the brewery

I spent a lovely morning and early afternoon at the Redhook brewery in Portsmouth on Sunday. The Runners Alley Redhook 5k is always one of my favorites--what's not to like about a fast-ish 5k that finishes at a brewery?--and I was just pleased to be recovered enough from my bronchial and sinus issues of earlier in May to even be able to compete.

My oldest daughter, Allie, and I arrived early so that she could babysit my niece while my sister worked registration, giving me lots of time to rest in the shade and soak in the pre-race hoopla. At about 10am, I met up with Mark Hudson and we jogged the course for a warm-up. After changing shoes and shirt and heading over toward the start for some strides, I bumped into Jim Johnson who mentioned that Bob Wiles and John Mentzer were there. I knew, then, the race would go out fast--as if the downhill start and strong tailwind wouldn't be enough.

I wound up going through that first downhill and tailwind mile in 5:26, probably the fastest mile I've run in a year and it felt pretty good. From there, though, it was a tough fade. I never really blew up, just gradually faded the rest of the way and every little rise felt like a mountain. I guess it's what I should have expected given my training or lack thereof lately, but it was still frustrating and a tough bit of medicine to swallow. Having that tailwind from the first mile turn into a headwind for the last mile and then having to go up the slight incline that we had come down at the start just added to the misery. The result (18:07 for 18th overall) was totally unacceptable to me, but in hindsight that's about as good as I had a right to expect. I was really sick a few weeks ago and really haven't very done much above a jogging pace since. As disappointing as it is, the truth is it was probably just the kick in the ass that I needed. I now start my 40's racing career the same way I started my 30's--trying to get back under 18 minutes for a 5k. This sport is beyond humbling at times.

After the race, Hudson and I jogged the course again before I went off to enjoy some free beverages and food and he and his wife set off for a day on the seacoast. My wife took Allie and the rest of the kids home by way of Kittery and my brother-in-law, Brian, and I sat on the patio taking in the sights and sounds, enjoying the warm day and planning out our summer of training that will lead to big things in the fall. The next big red letter day for both of us is the Baystate Marathon on October 17th, but there will be lots of races between now and then.

I won a $25 gift certificate to Runners Alley for being 3rd in my age group (hurray for being old!) so my entry was free. And I left Portsmouth more hungry to get back into some hard training than I've been in quite some time. As hard as it is to accept any number that starts with 18 when I so recently held out sub-17 as my primary goal for this Spring, there is a kind of freedom in knowing. When it's all said and done, this may very well turn out to be my most productive race in years.


Monday, May 24, 2010

No reason necessary

Talking about the weather is about as lame as it gets, right? And even if it wasn't, as runners we are conditioned to simultaneously obsess over and ignore the weather. Snowing? Doesn't matter, we run. Hot as balls? Doesn't matter, we run. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, locusts? Runners run. But while we're ignoring it, we're also constantly preparing for it. We're making sure the right clothes are clean, whenever possible we're timing our workouts and long runs to take advantage of the warmest or coolest or driest or wettest or breeziest or least windy part of the day. We're getting mentally psyched up for what it will take to git r done no matter what.

But not right now. Not this time of year, at least not in New England. Right now, and for a few more weeks, it really is irrelevant. We don't even need to look at the forecast.

Right now is when no willpower is needed. There is no need to ponder the question of why. Right now we are putting positive memories in the bank to be withdrawn on a hot, humid day in August or a freezing, icy day in January. Right now we're raking.

Now is when fifteen miles rolls off our legs like our phone number off our tongue. We don't even have to think about it. Right now we feed off the energy of the other runners, walkers and bikers we see out on the roads and we don't even wonder where they've been all winter. We're all smiles, all hello and what's up, and we're all on the same team. Right now our challenge is not getting out the door, it's getting back to our real lives and responsibilities. Right now anything is possible and the only thing we have to remind ourselves is that we can't do it all right this very minute.

Our racing goals seem eminently doable, and they are. We have time--we can't be stopped. Right now it's light out when we leave for a morning run and it's still light out when we get home from an evening run. We're not really sure how we've done it all year, but we're sure glad we did because right now there's nothing better than being a runner.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's true. I am an idiot.

Several people have commented via email and other means on my training log entry for Saturday, May 1st when I recorded my participation in the Footbridge 5k in Dover, to Benefit the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. While the journal entry itself is not fit for reprinting on this here family-oriented running blog, the industrious follower of these chronicles will be able to find it without much trouble. (Hint: it's on the INTERNETS.)

In my defense, I have since been diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis, complicated by allergies and asthma. The headache that woke me at 1:30am on Saturday morning is easily one of the 3 or 4 worst I've ever had and is only slightly less intense now, three days later and after maybe 15 hours on antibiotics.

Apparently my trusty old method of dealing with all manner of illness and injury--ignore it and it will go away--didn't really pan out this time. What can ya do, right? When I told the PA at my doctor's office that I had attempted a 5k race on Saturday morning she just looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "Really? And how did that work out?" But she should know as well as anyone that adequate oxygen to the brain is critical to good decision making.

It should go without saying but my disparaging comments in said training log entry were directed at myself alone and were in no way meant to show disrespect toward the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, Granite State Race Services, The Seacoast Race Series, The Town of Dover, Andy Schachat, Bob Wiles, John Mentzer, Jim Johnson or any of the other competitors, race officials, volunteers or spectators at Saturday's event.

I take solace in the fact that despite setting a new PW for 5k by a huge margin, my entry fees will allow one or more underprivileged children to experience the museum for free. (The same would be true even if I had wisely eaten my $22.50 entry fee and just not shown up for the race, but that's beside the point.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Define: Racing

When you're done talking about the thing and obsessing over the thing and you actually, finally, mercifully get to the starting line to do the thing--run the race that is--the number in your head doesn't mean shit.

You'll run the race you're capable of if you can just get your big dumb brain out of the way and execute a max effort over the distance you're racing that day. You can't do that if half your brain is preoccupied with a number--either a mile split or a pace or a finish time or one of the numbers on that beeping, blinking gizmoid the size of a toaster strapped onto your chicken-bone wrist.

This is what you trained for. Now do the thing. You find out the number at the end, and maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. You just never know. And that's why you do it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I used to have a blog

Spring is almost here, sort of. It's been winter for a while now. I haven't run a race since November (haven't run a meaningful one since October) and I just took two weeks nearly off from training. I went skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado with one of my college buddies and a bunch of his friends from California and then I went straight to Phoenix for a work meeting. When I got home I had to go to Portland and Albany for meetings. I rolled into last weekend on fumes. It was worth it--the skiing was awesome and it was great to catch up with my buddy Pat.

I had always planned to start my 2010 training campaign after I got back from Breckenridge--before I knew the Phoenix trip would get tacked on and before I knew the New England area would get hit with the storm of the decade right as I was getting underway (we had 10 inches of rain in 72 hours in Middlesex County, driven by sustained 35 mph winds, gusting to 60.)

So here we are. It's just over 10 weeks until the Runners Alley Red Hook 5k and that seems as good a target as any at which to aim my training.

I've run 5 days in a row (woohoo!) and today I did a nice, gentle workout to prime the pump--a 10 mile run with 8 x 1 minute at 5k-10k effort with 3-minute jogs. I'm loosely following Pete Magill's Carlsbad 5000 training program. Pete's a few weeks ahead of me in his training but that's okay--that means I can do exactly what he doesn't want runners to do and look at what's on the program for next week and the week after. I'm starting to feel like a runner. And the days are starting to get longer.