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Jacksonville, FL, United States
In Life as well as in running the secret is Pace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another weekend of RATS Prep

I knew that I had a few complications in my normal wide open weekend plan

I had to help my sister move Saturday…. And the Prom was Friday.

With that in mind I decided to do 20 miles on Friday. I couldn’t run it concurrently because I wanted to (of course) be there when my daughter’s date came to pick her up… and take pictures etc….

So I ran 10 miles at lunch…. I felt good… easy and smooth.

Got home… about the time the Prom thing all came together … corsages and boutonnieres… smiles and pictures.

I’d let my daughter and her date take my car… which was fine… because I was going downtown to run and wouldn’t mind too much getting my sweaty butt in her boyfriend’s hoopty.

The plan was to loop the downtown bridges for 10 miles… hitting the bigger bridge, the Acosta, as many times as I could stand it. Downtown was hopping on a Friday night. I was not expecting that… but it was not a really big deal. I did this run with full pack… which I weighed.. 9 lbs and change. Between the uphills… general fatigue… and the pack… I was crawling relative to my smooth even splits I’d put in earlier in the day…. Walked a few uphills… and stopped numerous times to answer touristy type questions… I guess folks figured a sweaty guy running with a pack would likely know his way around downtown Jacksonville… and I do… and I’m a bit biased of course but I do live in a beautiful city… and running through downtown… watching the sun set on my city… and the lights come up… and the stars come out… was pretty cool.

Saturday was move day… but… since I was chief mover… I decided that we’d start at noon which gave me an opportunity to ride with my Hammerhead (triathlon club) Buddies… 45ish miles… and these fellas ride 22mph… all the time… not 21 or 23… Twenty-two. Good group of guys tho… and a good ride.

Moving was the weekend activity that brought the most soreness….

Sunday time for another double

Started the day with a 37 mile ride with my two best friends… their fitness is coming on… and we beat our best time for our ride course by a couple of minutes… then cooked a big breakfast for everyone.

It’s funny… how sometimes… someone’s offhand comment can burrow it’s way under your skin… more so than even sage and sober advice… or a voice raised in anger… I’d remarked on the tri list something to the effect… that I ran loops around my side of town because there was really no place interesting enough to drive any distance to experience… My old Friend Lee C replied and remarked… “well then, I feel sorry for you” Lee is a gentleman… and meant nothing mean… but those strong words… made me rethink… and doo a little googling….

And in so doing I found a trail.

Sunday afternoon was the workout I’d been looking forward to… Susan and I were planning to hit the trails at Ft Caroline. Susan’s friend Bobby met us out there and acted as our tour guide… My planning was not so great, however, the park closes at 1700… I’d never even thought of that…. So I only had time for one loop… but man! Was it fun… Roots, and dirt, and hills (yes hills!), and more roots… I carried my pack once again which only added to the challenge but all too soon 5PM was upon us and it was time to leave…

Since Susan knows me pretty well.. she was less than surprised when I asked her to drop me off about half way home. I simply got out, shoved my wallet and a couple more items in my pack… said goodbye and started shuffling home.

During the first mile I rough sketched in my head a route that would give me ~18 miles for the day by the time I got home… then shuffled my way across town. Since my pack was full I had plenty of refreshments… and unbeknownst (no, I had no idea how to spell that word and had to Google unbenounced… see the urban dictionary definition for that...) to me to me at the time I ran pretty even splits and came in right at 18 miles.

The best news about the weekend, however, is what didn’t happen… no major Achilles flare up. J

Friday, April 9, 2010

Running QOTD

One reason I run is because I love the idea of the “journey.” Like life, running is a journey, not a destination. Like jazz, running is filled with limitless routes of discovery and self-expression. I enjoy running because it provides me an opportunity to spend time with friends in a physically and mentally productive way. I run because I love seeing the world outside my door. But most importantly, I run because, like life, it presents the chance to defeat, however briefly, my most formidable opponent – myself." - Rob Ulon

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

marking an item off my bucket list


With RATS looming on the horizon like a midsummer late afternoon thunderstorm… and a self diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis… I knew that I needed training… and I knew that I needed to be careful and not do anything stupid.

I had an idea…

My injury research had told me that I needed to run on firm even terrain.. and to avoid sidewalks…. I knew of just the place.

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail

It’s paved asphalt flat… not even a crown to speak of… this idea led me to another idea I’d often had on my numerous trips back and forth on this trail on a bike… I’d even said aloud before… “I’d like to run this one day… not just part of it… but the whole thing”

I had some new gear to try out

in no time flat my pea brain put it all together….

And that, my friends is how an idea becomes a plan.

So… I found myself at the trailhead… just past dawn on Saturday morning. With my bladder full… (the Nathan one) a pack full of snax.. Ritz Bits, Uncrustable, gel flask, phone, keys etc…

I felt pretty much ready to go.

Now this was not my 1st outing with the Nathan… oh no… I’m not that stupid.. I’d run 5 the day before as a test. And after fiddling and fumbling with the straps I thought I’d gotten the fit pretty much right

The first few miles were pretty good… trying to go easy… knowing that it would be a long day… and yes, kids… adjusting my pack. I saw a raccoon… The restroom at mile 6 seemed perfectly placed.

It was interesting to take in the trail at a running pace vs a cycling one… I had a lot more time to check out the sides of the trail… and notice many side trails that I wondered where they went….

Around mile 10 my Achilles started to complain… just the right one… and just a little. My spirits were buoyed quickly thereafter when I passed the Baldwin rail station… and I knew that I only had a couple of miles to go until the end.

Not that I really needed a boost… the thought of not running all the way to the end… and back again was never considered… this is not necessarily a good trait. It has been pointed out to me as a weakness before… that I tend to follow through with things… to the bitter end… even if in so doing more harm than good is done…

Okay enough of the self psychoanalysis… I did get a bit jolly at the far end… opened a pack of Ritz bits in celebration but did not stick around… I just started shuffling back… 14.5 miles down and 14.5 to go.

On the return trip the mile markers were a countdown since all mileage is measured from the eastern end of the trail. That is really a good thing…. Because… I’m like an acrophobic in a multi storied building… once I get up to the high numbers I’d rather not know.

At around 9 to go I happened upon a couple of hikers resting beside the road… I’d seen them before… about a mile before the turnaround… at the time I thought them to be adults… but upon meeting them again I figured late high school early college age… One asked me how far I’d run… I answered 21.8 miles… the other dude was impressed… the one that asked me the question as much as called me a liar.

Well… I’d been thinking of taking an extended walk break… as my Achilles were both in high alert pain mode but… as I was one part pissed at being doubted by the punk… and one part buoyed by the other’s admiration I decided to run on.

I sang a lot… and since I had my headphones on and didn’t much care when passing cyclists laughed at me for doing so… I walked to ease the main in my legs… then ran faster since that hurt less as well… I wanted to break 6 hours… why? I don’t know… my pace had been painfully slow but… I had a goal… and something to focus on.

With about 3 miles to go I got passed by a cyclist I’d seen a few times already… he must have done 2 or more loops out there… he slowed down… told me good job and left with a thumbs up… simple thing but it made me feel a bit better as I soldiered to the finish.

As the trailhead came into view I felt a surge of emotion… nobody was there to hand me a medal… or a mug even… but I’d done something… proven something to myself… marked an item off my bucket list that few would know about and fewer would understand. My finish time was 5:57… three minutes to spare.