Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Route: Copley's (11.5-Mile) Scourge

On Memorial Day we managed to sneak ourselves away from the slumbering (little) giant (61 lbs of Danish love!) for a quick 3-mile loop through the lovely, lovely Fells. Sadly our second trip of the day didn't end so well...

For the rest of the week, I did little (OK, no) running, outside of a Wednesday night hoops game. But after the rigors of a long day of work, and an even longer week of the same, I was raring to go by 5:30 p.m. Friday. Jared mapped us a route that took us past Marathon Sports for a quick pitstop to pick up Gu for the road, before heading over to the river. The loop took us along the Charles River, past George's digs, over to Watertown and by the gym where many of the DFMC runs started and ended. It curved over and around, ultimately culminating on the back side of our little street.

It also looked a lot like a drawing of Copley with her head out the car window, ears flying back in the breeze. Hence the naming of the new route...

During our 11.5-mile runfest, I had a chance to try my (borrowed) Garmin, the 205 version. While I think the "actual pace running right now" feature is a bit wonky, overall, I think it was definitely accurate--the whole satellite in space thing, monkeys and all, probably had something to do with that. The best part was being able to tell (exactly!) the distance we'd traveled along the way. No questions about when to Gu, or take a quick break. No chance of accidentally shorting ourselves on distance, then being disappointed when we mapped it later. Unfortunately, this was also the worst part--as those middle miles that feel achingly slow only seem slower when you're checking your mileage with every tenth traveled.

The last mile, a cruising, loping one, had both my beloved and I marveling over how nice it was to at last have gotten in a good, solid run, and how nice it was to be done with it so early in the weekend. The air was heavy with the smell of recent rain and moist earth, and the drawing evening made for a cool temperature--perfect for longer miles.

Home at last, we made a quick dinner, and fell into bed within an hour and a half. The next morning's sleep-in has never felt so good, or so deserved.

One week to Covered Bridges!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do Two Past Half-Asses Equal One Good Run?

Having managed to get my sorry self out for a few short runs this week to remind myself how to do it (surprisingly, I do seem to forgot how exactly to put one foot in front of the other sometimes), I was strangely excited--and anxious--to head to the Fells this weekend for another long run with my better half.

The Covered Bridges is looming only two short weeks away, and both Jared and I can admit that our training has been, well, half-assed at best. (Don't you wonder what half an ass looks like? I do. Though that would also mean half the RAP. Intriguing.)

So, we hauled ourselves out of bed, and drove the short distance to the Fells, ready to run by 7:00 a.m. The woody area was cool and quiet, still damp with the night's dew, and a faint wind whispered through the lush green leaves and brush. As we turned along path after path, running with easy, loose gaits, I marveled anew that such a gorgeous slice of nature could be found just outside of Boston, in what is essentially the heart of Suburbia.

We looped once, twice, three times around a reservoir, before turning onto what I knew was a challenging hiking trail, the Skyline trail. It's steep inclines arched harshly up and down, and the small rocks and roots jutting from the earth made it clear that this was a trail for hiking, and, just maybe, one for a couple of crazy morning runners. Gasping, at least we arrived at the crest, and looked out over the tops of the trees of the Fells. The air had begun to thicken and grow heavy, with what seemed to be impending rain, and the light breeze had increased to hold the occasional mellow gust. After a short break to grab a drink, we headed back down into the heart of the Fells, and found our way to a soft beaten path that took us back to the parking area.

After a long stretch, Jared popped his bike out of the trunk, and with a friend who'd just shown up, headed back out to the trails to get in some mountain biking miles in preparation for his upcoming triathlon. I, on the other hand, settled myself into the driver-side seat with a book and a bottle of water, wholly content with the 9 peaceful miles of the morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three Times A Runner

Sigh...and I find another week has passed, with nary a blog from this silly runner. Still, at long last, this is one of the first post-marathon weeks that I've actually gotten out and about to DO some running--they may not have been long or highly adventurous runs, but the proof is in the pudding. Getting outside is really all that matters at the end of the week.

The first of these was last Saturday--the Dana-Farber reunion run. Though I was disappointed at the relatively small number of runners present, I was happy to see several of my favorite faces--B, Jim, Gordon, and co, along with two friendly volunteers logging some miles--Mary Ann and my own beloved. Though we'd planned an easy, loose 5ish miles around the Charles, we soon were dancing away the miles at a brisk and unfaltering pace. Jared, Mary Ann, John and I, along with a few others, turned around to make our run a quick and snappy 5 miles. B and several others continued another bridge to make a sleek 7ish. Jared and I chatted a few, then headed out to the Fells, where we'd planned to do another 5 for an even 10 miles of training. Upon hitting the trails, though, we rethought our decision, and after a somewhat haphazard 2 more miles, called it a day at 7.

Monday I managed to finagle the lovely Alison Ruhlman into a happy three along the Charles, where we caught up on each other was up to.

Thursday brought another 3.5ish with my better half, as we abused some fast loping miles that did the trick--clearing away the day's bad mood for me.

Last year I had an excuse to ease back into running in my body's faltering recovery from the marathon, but this year's torpedo-style recovery means I need to be out there, left-foot, right-foot-ing... which is OK. I don't know that I'll be running many long runs outside of on the weekend, but its nice to get out there three or so times a week and feel alive again.

Not to mention, it's a great excuse to justify some high-caloric summer foods and an extra cold beer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

6 Miles + the Doyler Dash 5K

At last beginning to get over our mutual 3-week cold virus (and quickly running out of the assortment of prescribed goodies), my beloved and I suddenly realized that the Covered Bridges Half Marathon was looming--and we were again in the position of needing to cram.

Last week's attempt at 8 miles turned into a hacking, wheezing 4--though on the mend, we found ourselves simply coughing too much to attempt the second of the two four-mile loops we'd planned to do.

This weekend we were determined to achieve a scheduled training run--at at 8:00 a.m., we dutifully began running from our house. Our plan? To aim for Fresh Pond, and shamble around the lake, before heading in to Harvard Square. Since I had my fuel belt, there was no need to worry--we had all the water and Gu we needed, for the first leg of the run--and the last--the Tommy Doyler Dash, a 5K race from one Tommy Doyle's Irish Pub to the other (with funds going to breast cancer research). Our total distance would end up the pre-requisite 9 training miles, and we'd have the added perk of the last 3 being a bit more fun, and followed by a free Irish breakfast--and cold beer.

When we got to Harvard Square, we had about half hour to kill (good, since I was feeling lazy--typical for the summer months), and agreed that after 6 miles, we should just run easy. With 30 seconds to gun-time, however, Jared looked at me with a smile and said, "Want to run this?" I couldn't help but agree...and we were off. While I can't say that we were our fastest (we weren't) or that we didn't stop (we did--twice), we still managed a highly respective 8:20/mile pace--not bad after having cruised out 6 miles already. Good enough to make me forget I looked somewhat like an idiot--cruising along in a 5K with a fuel belt on.

Afterwards we were rewarded with the aforementioned full Irish breakfast--complete with eggs, black and white pudding, Irish bacon, homefries, bagels, french toast, fruit, and coffee. Having consumed most of the deliciousness by the time we thought to grab our free beers, we lamented over the chill air on our sweaty selves, and the lack of travel mugs to take our beers to go. (The thought of leaving them never crossed our minds, of course.)

Luckily a stroke of genius hit, and 10 minutes later, we were on the T on the way home...happily drinking Sam Adams out of my hardy fuel belt bottles.

Who says you can't have your cake, and eat it, too?

40 Minutes (or 5) with My Mom...

As noted in my most recent post, my mom walked a half-marathon yesterday--her first! She'd anticipated her total time being around 4 hours--with an average pace of 17:00/mile, and factoring in time for bathroom or stretch/drink breaks. I promised her I'd head out for a few miles with her--but having to take the gorgeous (and growing!) Copley to obedience class from 11:00-12:00 meant that I'd catch only the tail end of her travels.

Still, hopeful that I'd be able to "see her home," I headed out as soon as I could--at about 12:30. I spent the next 40 minutes and one second thinking hard, motivating thoughts in the general direction of my mom (a lot of "You can do it!" types of things).

Little did I know that my mom was kicking the ass of the last of the half marathon--in only the first five minutes or so of my run.

Clock time: 3:36
Actual (chip) time: 3:28.


Friday, May 8, 2009

It's All in the Family...

The best part of running is sharing it with others...

Here's me in my sweet new t-shirt from my cousin Dr. E-Lamp:
And, more importantly, a shout-out to my mom...who's walking her first half marathon tomorrow! Think some motivating thoughts in her direction (from about 9:00 a.m. EST to 1:00 p.m.)!