Monday, December 31, 2007

The double single mitten throw

I put a flourish to the end today's 14 mile run in a snowstorm with the double single mitten throw. It goes like this:

1. Run 13.9 miles.
2. Within sight of the house descend snow covered hill.
3. Step on extremely icy patch and gyrate wildly trying remain upright.
4. Launch mitten high into the air.
5. Retrieve mitten.
6. Go back to #2.

Same mitten.

14 miles @ 9:24 pace (yes, it's a lot of snow). 130 HR.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I accidentally let slipped who won the Pats / Giants game this morning. It appears Mike had taped it and did not know the ending. Oops.

I thought it might cost me my chocolate balls but it didn't. There were still two there at the end of the run. Mmmmmm.

The run came in three parts this morning. I needed an early finish so I started before Mike and Jonathan got going. I parked at the 7 mile mark and ran back to the normal starting point. Timed just right, they were just getting going when I got there. We ran back to my car for water and then I did another 3 miles with them before turning around to head back to the car. Not as good as running the whole twenty with them but I was glad to get ten out of my twenty with good company.

Now off to Lippincott's to buy some books with my gift certificate!

20.2 miles @ 8:18 pace. 137 HR.

End of week 10: 88.3 miles.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I sit here by the warm fire thinking back...

To this morning's run.

Yes, I remember. The snow falling in fat flakes piling up in huge sticky clumps. Clumps on the car, clumps in the road, clumps on my head. A running clump of snow.

I remember the slippery road. I remember thinking, "Thank goodness today's an easy day." A short easy stride. I remember feeling a little overdressed, a little too warm.

I remember around mile three realizing a wind has picked up. It's behind me. At mile four I remember the wind whipping up in a fury, the snow changing over to rain and back again. Back and forth. Back and forth.

I remember the snow getting so thick my glasses are getting caked. The inside of my glasses.

I remember taking off my glasses because I can't see. I still can't see. I turn into the wind. The snow isn't snow, it's sleet. It's stinging my face. I can't open my eyes.

I remember the 18 wheeler roaring around the corner. I swerve to the left into the deep snow. I fall.

I remember being one big slush ball. I put my glasses back on. I pull my hat low over my eyes. I stumble into the hard wind, the hard sleet, the hard going.

I remember counting down the mileage by half miles. "Three and one half miles to go. Three miles to go. Two and one half..."

I remember the friendly "Hey, there's Andy! He's crazy!" honks of the horn as cars creep by trying not to slide into me. I remember raising my hand in tired acknowledgment.

I remember arriving back at the house, so glad to be done. I sat by the fire, dripping, dripping, dripping.

Ah... memories.

11 miles @ 8:58 pace. HR 130.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Middle of the road

It was the only sort of not slippery spot where I could get some traction. 5 inches of snow last night didn't entirely cancel the hard day, just toned it down a little. Not a bad thing, really, since it took awhile before I was feeling good enough to pick up the pace.

Massage last night to keep the legs in order and a birthday today to keep a smile on my face. Yes, the 2nd year into the 2nd third of my life. It's a good thing I'm not into crazy birthday running goals like a mile for each year. I would have had to run today's workout 3 times.

12 miles @ ~7:28 pace. 143 HR.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Always something new

Today it was the coyote barking at me at mile 4.5. That was spooky.

11 miles @ 8:36 pace. 132 HR.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweet recovery

Every hard day deserves an easy one.

8.1 miles @ ~8:57 pace. 128 HR.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The 12 miles of Christmas

I was prepared for a day off so when I got the green light for a run I was out the door before you could say "Hey, I like those new shoes!"

Tuesday is a hard day and the weather couldn't have been better with temps at 40F, dry pavement, and a wind out of the west (which means a tailwind during the last half). I wore shorts, ball cap, gloves, and brand new Saucony Fastwitch running shoes.

It was just about noon when I got out there and I was feeling good from the start. I always start at a crawl but I knew things were going to go my way when I was feeling easy and strong as I approached the first mile marker. By mile three I was pretty much in the groove and paying close attention to my form up and down the hills and, most importantly, against a steady west wind.

At mile 6 I turned and burned it back home feeling very, very good.

12 miles @ ~ 6:43 pace. 154 HR.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Drowned Rat

High winds, driving rain. Couldn't even keep my glasses on my face.

14 miles ~ 8:45 pace. 134 HR.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Blind Moose have chocolate balls

Peanut butter, dates, & coconut in a chocolate sphere! Long runs never tasted so good.


Scene: United States Border Crossing

Mike drives up to the guard shack sipping his Tim's: "Good morning!"

Border agent: "Good morning sir. Anything to declare this morning?"

Mike: "Nothing. Well, maybe I should tell you that I have chocolate balls."

Border agent: "You have chocolate balls?"

Mike: "Yes, sir."

Border agent shakes his head: "Have a nice day". Crazy Canadian.


Aretakis, our local Greek running god, was able to join us this morning for 17 of the 20 miles. He recently ran New York and is now in the very beginning stages of the winter build. It was good to have a larger crew this morning! He plans on coming out next Sunday as well.

The run went very well. Another short one as the sun didn't rise until mile 5 making the run only feel like 15 miles. I felt good the whole way without needing to fuel up during the run (just water). It turns out the pace was extremely relaxed and my HR told the tale.

20 miles @ 8:41 pace. HR 132.

Nothing like a relaxing long run to end the week. Speaking of ending a week, this week ended the latest 3 week block. I'll experience a small bump in mileage next week to kick off the new 3 week training block.

This week logged: 80.3 miles.

9 week recap:

60.2 (+2.8%)
61.0 (+1.1%)
65.7 (+7.7% - 3 week bump)
67.3 (+2.4%)
69.2 (+2.8%)
74.3 (+7.4% - 3 week bump)
76.0 (+2.3%)
80.3 (+5.7%)

The aerobic conditioning is starting to show some signs of improvement. It seems a little slow this time around. Possibly because I started at a lower level and held it there for longer.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Today I slept in, started late, and ran in the blinding sunshine. The streets were snow and ice covered but I ran on them anyway for a change. Slow and easy, the more difficult terrain could be felt on the legs but other than that a beautiful run around town. More like a jog really.

10.1 miles @ 8:40 pace, HR 134.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Working it

Today I worked it a little bit. Got the legs turning - especially on the return trip with the tailwind. The beauty of it was I felt pretty good. The pavement was miraculously dry (I guess plows are OK the day after) so I had good footing. Typical Friday workout (mirrors Tuesday's) with a 2 mile warmup and then a 9 mile up tempo. It turns out that the up-tempo really is a progression run of sorts but not on purpose. Things just loosen up a little as the miles go on and then of course once your close to home it's ok to turn on the jets.

11.6 miles @ ~7:12 pace. 149 HR.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pre plow, post plow, pass plow

In the beginning there were no plows. Snow covered the earth. The only trace of the run was the line of prints trailing off behind. The runner felt the peace of an early morning and saw that it was good.

Around mile 5 a deceiver in the form of a benevolent public works department asked if he wouldn't like some better footing to go even faster, some clear pavement to run on. The runner thought that this would be good.

And for the the final 4 miles, the runner heard the loud clinking of chains on pavement, the screech of metal rubbing asphalt, and the obnoxious fumes of puffing diesel. He constantly ran from one side of the road to the other to avoid being plowed himself.

And instead of pavement, all he got was sheen and slush for him to slip and slide. Poor runner.

9 miles @ 8:04 pace. 139 HR.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Running along today I felt great. I had looked forward to today's easy 9 miles as a contrast to yesterday's hard effort. The air was crisp and still and the temperature a balmy 11 degrees. I thought, "Wow, I feel really good. Perhaps there's a little improvement here!" Well, no. I got home and flipped through the log and realized that today's run was almost a carbon copy of every Wednesday run in terms of HR and pace. Oh well. At least I felt good.

9 miles @ ~8:30 pace. 134 HR.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The freeze is on

Starting to get used to the cold but it's still shocking those first few miles. Had a pretty cold headwind for the 1st half of the up-tempo run so I made sure to take advantage of the tailwind on the return trip.

11.6 miles @ ~ 7:23 pace. 150 HR.

Broken down: 2 miles slow, 9 miles up-tempo, .6 cool down.

Monday, December 17, 2007

That could have been a lot worse

The storm thankfully passed over last night leaving starry skies this morning. Surprisingly, the roads weren't too bad with just occasionally patches of ice. The biggest problem this morning was the extremely strong, gusty winds. It blew so hard in some spots I couldn't stay on track and had to be very careful if I was on any sort of ice for fear of being blown off my feet. It was the kind of wind that takes your breath away and you feel like you're underwater.

9 miles @ ~8:50 pace. 133 HR.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The turtles have their cake (but the Moose eat it)

Chalk up another 20 for the Blind Moose. And as a reward, Mike's wife sent along turtle cake to aid our recovery. With my mouth full of the heavenly chocolate, I said, "Mike, you sure picked a good one!"

Let's talk turtle. Turtle candy that is. It appears the ingredients include pecans, chocolate bars and caramels. (My mouth waters just typing caramel). Now add this to a cake. Now die.


Mike casually dropped the turtle cake bomb around mile 7 so we sprinted the 13 miles back to the car. Just kidding. Ha! Instead I ate some white bread to tide me over. Otherwise the run was rather easy. But my HR vs. the pace was a little off from recent long runs but not by much. Still...

To avoid the storm we had an early start at 6 am. The email broadcast to the other local runners produced no takers. So again, it was just the two Moose wandering around in the pre-dawn darkness. The sun rose (though we couldn't see it) around mile 3.5. When the sun rises mid-run it produces what I call the shortening effect. You see, what happens is when the light appears the mind is tricked into thinking the run has just begun - even if you're already halfway into the run. Marc will vouch for this.. So in this particular instance, the 20 miler was shortened to 16.5 miles. Easy!

I encourage everyone to give it a try and report back.

Another positive this morning was the dramatic rise in temperature during the run. We started off in the bitter cold but ended in the beginnings of the snowstorm which means snow temperature! If you'd like to see what cold looks like, take a peak at Mike's photo of me after we finished today.


End of week #8

Still building the foundation. I'm rather pleased that I've been able to stay consistent this long. It's because I'm being patient (pats self on back). Another gentle increase in mileage over last week of 1.7 miles. It's keeping things 'easy' if I can use that word. Eventually, my mileage should be 'fatiguing' but not yet. Keeping the lid on the number of faster workouts per week and increasing the mileage slowly is keeping things on track. Only ten more weeks of this build then it's on to the hard stuff. Here's a snapshot of the last 8 week's mileage:

Week 1: 58.57
Week 2: 60.2
Week 3: 61
Week 4: 65.7
Week 5: 67.3
Week 6: 69.2
Week 7: 74.3
Week 8: 76

Here is a snapshot of the long runs:

Week 1: 13.3 miles @ 8:00 pace / 145 HR.
Week 2: 15.1 miles @ 7:59 pace / 149 HR.
Week 3: 17 miles @ 8:19 pace / 144 HR.
Week 4: 17 miles @ 8:33 pace / 138 HR.
Week 5: 17 miles @ 8:48 pace / 134 HR.
Week 6: 20 miles @ 8:23 pace / 141 HR.
Week 7: 20 miles @ 8:17 pace / 140 HR.
Week 8: 20 miles @ 8:29 pace / 141 HR.

I'm not sure when I'll increase the long run by a mile. Perhaps soon. But as long as it is not necessary to increase the mileage (I'm still doing that via my easy runs during the week) I'll hold off.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It didn't register until I got back

Just how cold it was.

Brrr. That 9mph headwind out of the west made it a little colder than usual. But thank goodness it was a tailwind for the return trip. Footing was better and I even got in 4 striders at the 7 mile mark. I was feeling really... I'm not sure what I felt like. What's the word? Lethargic? Tight? Pent up? Anyway, I felt the need to do some fast turnover without straining and this stretched things out and I felt much better afterward. It was only telephone pole to telephone pole (with a pole length of rest between) four times but that was enough.

It must have been because yesterday's faster workout turned into a slow run due to weather. Now Monday morning. That will be interesting...

8.1 miles @ 8:20 pace. 135 HR.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow makes slow

The faster workout was canceled due to weather. In its place I ran 12 miles @ 9:03 pace which included a woodstove stop at 6 miles (did two 3 mile "out & backs"). Footing was really bad and I'm happy to have kept up a 9 minute pace in spite of it. 135 HR.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The forever zone

Gently, gently was today's run. Thursdays are easy but harder than Wednesdays. It's a balancing act. Not too slow, and not too fast.

When I'm out there I try to get a good pace going without the heart rate rising beyond the easy zone. It's all by feel until I get home and see what the run averaged in terms of pace and HR. It's one of the fun runs of the week. As I'm running I'm thinking, "I wonder if this is too fast?" or "I wonder if I could go a little faster?" Knowing that the initial miles average a pretty low HR, I feel comfortable letting the pace increase gradually as the workout progresses.

Ever notice that the faster you go the better you feel? At least until you leave the zone on the other side. This is also noticeable going up a hill. The increased heart rate pumps that lovely oxygen to the muscles and that good flow just elevates the mood. Well, somewhere past mile 3 this morning, while keeping it between easy and hard, I hit the "forever zone". Meteors shot overhead as a sunrise kissed the sky and I felt like I could have run forever.

8.1 miles ~ 7:36 pace. 145 HR.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Warm as all get out

Must be 33 degrees out there!

I think I'm running a day behind Jamie weather-wise. His slush made it to me this morning. I spent most of the time trying not to get scraped off the road by the plows.

Footing was slippery but the pace was relaxing at 8:57 per mile. (Hello Michael)

8.1 miles. HR 132.

Oh, and a belated thank you to Irish Thomas for fixing my shoelace knot problem.


On the reading front, I finished Alan Greenspan's book The Age of Turbulence and have now started the two volume Memoirs of Cordell Hull.

I have added a neat little search engine at the bottom of the blog that searches multiple used books stores for old books & out of print books. It's a fun way to shop for old books. ** Addiction warning: It is easy to purchase more books than one can possibly read. **

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hidden paces

The hard days don't show as well anymore. Approximately 2 miles of slow running preceded the up-tempo portion of today's effort followed by a moderate cooldown of .4 miles at the end. This method pretty much satisfies the 90 minute time requirement with 70 of those minutes at the faster paces. But how fast was it and at what heart rate? We'll never know.

Yes, I could know. But for some reason, I'm satisfied with the average. It appears more moderate and reasonable. And after all, the slow paces are part of the workout.

Today: 11.6 miles ~ 7:28 pace. 147 HR.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Still Cold

Cold, but not out long enough to freeze.

8.1 miles @ 8:28 pace. 135 HR. Right on target.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Silent Sunday

I don't know if it was the cold, how we were feeling, or what. But the majority of the run was run in silence. Like observing a 'mile of silence' repeatedly. At one point I broke the quiet with, "Mike, I think my brain is frozen." I don't know what he replied. His lips were frozen together.

20 miles 2:45:xx ~ 8:17 pace. 140 HR.

End of week 7 with 74.3 miles.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Rough surface

Slept in (day one of my vacation) and got out late morning. I decided to run the streets of Eastport for a change. The pace was slow as the road was all ruts of ice and snow. That's ok. I was intending on running really easily today anyway.

8.4 miles @ 9:00 pace. 139HR.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Single digits

8 degrees for this one. Felt ok. New level calls for a warmup before the quicker pace so it was 2 miles slow then 9.6 faster. Averaged out at 7:33 pace for 11.6 miles. 147 HR.

My shoes keep coming untied?? This is new.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow covered roads

Snow on snow made it slippery but we got it done. Had fun.

8.1 miles @ 7:58 pace. 144 HR.

You may notice that this is the 2nd 8.1 mile day in a row. This is because the program calls for two 75 minute runs consecutively - Wednesday then Thursday. However, Wednesday is supposed to be slow and Thursday a little harder.

Theoretically, I'd run a little farther on Thursday but I since I can't see my watch out there I chose a measured waypoint where I turn around on the "75 minute" days. This has worked out pretty well except for one point: it doesn't take 75 minutes.

It looks like I've got to measure to a different point (one that I'd be able to distinguish in the dark) to turn around at. That will give me another mile or so per week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

World's biggest Asian elephant missing in Nepal

My nephew is in Nepal.

Oh no.


Today's run was an easy 8.1 miles @ 8:33 pace. 133 HR.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


My pace for 11.1 miles in a snowstorm.  HR 130.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Easy easy

A good night's rest got most of the soreness out of my legs from yesterday's long run. And today's run was purposely slow and boy did it feel good. Focused on my form and just ran for recovery.


7 miles @ 9:39 pace (that's right Mike, 9:39. Let's see you do that!) HR 130.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Knee, hamstrings, & a -2 degree (F) wind chill. So I only ran 20.

Catchy title isn't it? Oh, that's not me... That's Mike. I'm just trying to guess what his blog post title will be today.

That man is unstoppable.

Despite his knee and hamstrings and a cold, cold wind blowing out of the north, Mike led us through 20 miles this morning.

It all started when I was posting to my blog yesterday. I looked at my log and realized I needed 19 miles. Commander Mike had already put out the APB to the local runners letting everyone know that "18 - 20" were on tap for today. So I thought I'd assert myself a little and declare 19 miles to be the distance to be traveled. 

Within 10 minutes, I received an email from the leader stating I was mistaken. Twenty miles was the distance to be run. It turns out he does not like odd numbers. (Of course if I had said 20, he would have claimed a dislike for even numbers and would have made me run 19).
I acquiesced, but I scored one by getting the workout started 30 minutes earlier than usual. The grumbling was loud as we met at 6am. He yawned all the way to the starting line. For a minute there I thought I was with Marc in a rainstorm. Too cold to hang around stretching and chatting, we were off like herd a freaked cows. Mike was the lead cow with me trailing behind trying to figure out why we were sprinting the first 400 meters. "Gotta warm up!" he yelled. He's trying to kill me.

So I lost my cushy 9:30 first mile and we soon settled into normal pace. At mile 6 he gave me a strange look when I took a piece of bread out of my pocket and began eating it. I offered to share but I guess he prefers Gatorade.

His knee was talking to him early but the pain soon went away when his hamstrings acted up. When he tightened up I said to him, "It's because we ran a 5:00 first mile". He wasn't listening. Instead, he kept trying different paces to loosen things up. The only thing this did was to add extended surges to a long run. He's trying to kill me.

I tried to take his mind off the pain by telling him a joke about two herring. A good laugh encouraged me to bring out the one about a cow.

Ok, we're approaching the car at mile 17. He's hurting. So I say, "You better stop." He says, "I'll go 1/2 mile and turn to get 18". I say, "Ok, then I'll do 1 mile and get 19" (which was what I needed anyway). Well that was the end of that. That odd number thing. Not only does he not like odd numbers, he doesn't want me running odd numbers either .

He decides to trick me. He runs with me awhile and when he is supposed to turn he doesn't. And when I am supposed to turn he says, "Nothing's happened yet." Which is suppose to mean: Keep Moving!

Alas, 20 in the bank. Wouldn't have done it without him. Or at least I wouldn't have done it with a fast 1st mile, multiple surges, and a good dose of indecision at the end. I probably would have still told myself the jokes. I'm like that.


End of Level 2

Can you believe 6 weeks have gone by? Tomorrow starts the next 3 week block. Level 3.

Last six weeks mileage:


Today: 20 miles @ 8:23 pace with a good friend (thanks for the brownie!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday Snow

Endured high winds and a some snow flurries this morning. Very cold too. Brrrrrrr. Met up with Eric around the 6 mile mark and had a nice chat.

Legs a little sore from yesterday's run and the winds kept the HR higher - not to mention I was running the hills of Eastport (up, down, up, down).

12.2 miles @ 8:49 pace. 138 HR.

Running with Mike tomorrow. We are running 19 miles.