Monday, June 24, 2019

Oregon SummerFest 10 Mile Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 6th Edition 
31.35 miles run and 12.75 miles biked and 2550 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: Oregon SummerFest 10 Mile
Place: Oregon, WI
Miles from home: 1179
Weather: 65 degrees; sunny; dry

I was in Madison Wisconsin for a speaking engagement at the Dream Bank, a community space dedicated to the pursuit of dreams, run by American Family Insurance. I had been at this Dream Bank six years ago when I was running from Dane Wisconsin to Davenport Iowa in an event that I created called, wait for it, Dane to Davenport. It was hard to believe that it has been six years since I was there but when you get old time flies by.

As is the case whenever I travel, if I have time, I try to find a local race to take part in. As luck would have it there was an event just south of Madison in Oregon, Wisconsin. Because I strive for accuracy you’ll be happy to know that the pronunciation of this city is different from the pronunciation of the state. The emphasis being on the last syllable and pronouncing it "gone" was difficult for this former resident of the tate to say this when he had to stop his mother from doing that very same pronunciation all the time. But I persevered.

This small local race had usually only had a 10 or a 5K race in it, neither of which fit my limited skill set in running. Fortunately, this year they added a 10-mile race. That sounded pretty darn good to me so I signed up.

The weather called for 50s and 60s most of the week leading up to the race with strong possibility of rain. But as the morning broke it was clear that it was going to be rather sunny. In fact by race time it was in the low 60s with a bright sun ahead. This is obviously not “ideal“ but for summer it is hardly bad whatsoever. Throw in the fact that on Tuesday just four days before this race I had done in an aquathlon in Austin Texas where at 6:30 PM it was in the mid 90s and let’s just say I was quite happy with the weather. One thing that I was not happy with, however, was a breathing problem that I had the morning of the race.

This spring has been a very good training spring for me and I thought that my racing was going to come together at a marathon in Canton, Ohio in April. But I had trouble breathing that day and ended up tanking it just about three miles in.  In Wisconsin, I was experiencing the same thing I don’t know if this was allergies or what but it is quite a bummer to feel that you are trained and not have the results on race day. So I got to this race well in advance hoping to maybe jog out some of the crap in my lungs. I ran over certain parts of the course and got in a good two miles before the race started. By then my lungs felt much better but far from perfect. I noticed it was sparsely populated race for us 10 milers, as we started before the other events.  But I noticed one fella who looked quite spritely.


RACE:

Within a quarter of a mile, after the start a very frustrating thing happened. I’m not particularly fast. I can win a race here and there but all it takes is someone with moderately good talent to show up and I don’t have a chance. In other words, the race has to be relatively small in order for me to maybe get a victory. Well this race was small but some ringer came down from the Movin Shoes store in Madison Wisconsin to show the locals and travelers like me who was boss. I could see that there was no way I was going to win this race and soon the leader was gone from sight. Also, another gentleman was between the two of us leaving me solidly in third place.

The race was well-organized for a small town race with wonderful markings on the ground for all four of the different races that were taking place. However, the one thing that was missing was mile markers. I found this out as we entered into what was the first of two loops of a park system. It was hard for me to tell if the gentlemen in front of me were running fast or if I was simply running slow. As my GPS watch was on the fritz, I was simply using a standard stopwatch which I thought would be enough if I had mile markers. That was not the case. As such I was now in no-mans land with no one really to chase in front of me and no idea of how fast I was going. Normally I have a good idea of my pace but as the past few years have been off, with me laboring in Texas heat, my inner sensors haven't been calibrated to what felt hard because it was hot or what was hard because I was running fast.

As i was hoping for a win on this day, it was difficult to keep myself motivated with that out the window and the thought that I wasn't running well at all. I run for a multitude of reasons.  But I race to run fast. When that isn't happening the fallback is to place high in the event, the thinking being that everyone is suffering. However, by the time we left the park and crossed a road into another smaller park I had a little bit of motivation.

There was a runner who I could simply not shake probably about 30 yards behind me. As we made little turns here and there, I was given glimpses o whomever was behind me and this young fella was doing a great job of hanging on. I figured I might not get first or second but I was going to be damned if I let him keep me from joining the podium. Especially since he was wearing baggy basketball shorts. I can't sleep at night if someone wearing basketball shorts of five finger shoes beats me. So as we ran down and started the second loop I began to pick up the pace. At least I think I did as a distance between me and my chaser grew.  My lungs finally opened up and even though I was drenched in sweat in spite of it only being around 65 degrees, I felt like I was running fast for the first time all day. However, I could see I was getting demolished by the first place runner. I wondered if he had not been there if I could have made a race out of it with the guy in second place. It didn't really matter now, as he too was also solidly in front of me.

By now runners from the other races were beginning to either exit the first park or enter it from another direction. So, while there was nary a spectator cheering out on the course other than the few that were manning the aid stations, it was still nice to see other participants.

I had a fair estimate of an idea of where the 8th mile was simply by extrapolating a course map I had seen for the 10K the night before the race. When I hit that spot it look like I was actually going to have a solid time for this race. As such, obviously not feeling that great about my effort, I figured that this might not be the right mile marker. As I headed down a stretch of road where I had run earlier in my warm-up I realized I was much closer to the finish than I thought. I knew the 10K and 10 mile course finished the same but doubting my own ability I figured the 10 mile course must branch off for an extra half mile or something somewhere.

However with about three minutes of running left I realize that I was on the right course and only had the finish line in front of me. I looked at my watch and was beyond surprised. If I had known a little bit sooner I might’ve been able to put a bigger push on to run a tad faster, But as it stands when I passed in third place and a time of 1:07:21 I had well over a one minute PR. I temper this excitement simply with the fact that I have run a faster pace for no less than five or six marathons and numerous halfmarathons as well. But the fact that I’ve only run a handful of 10 milers means I still set a PR. Can't argue with facts, people!

What was quite hilarious however is my desire to not be kept off the podium didn’t matter as the race only gave out awards for first and second place. I’m not complaining whatsoever as I have more than enough non-precious metals in my collection. It just tickled me that one thing that was spurring me on was one thing that I never ended up getting.



I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this small town eating some pasta from a place that after 40 years was closing its doors in just a week. While I always lament that I have not traveled internationally nearly as much as I would like, I do like how much I have seen of United States. Going to small towns like this and experiencing the local flavor has always made any travel woes well worth it. Seeing good friends and meeting new ones is also a plus. When you start a trip with a vocational opportunity that allows you to inspire some people and hear their own stories and finish it with a new race personal best all in about 48 hours then one must consider that a sincere success.

Now I just need to figure out this breathing problem and tackle some more races soon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Lifetime Splash and Dash Series 3 of 6 Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 5th Edition 
21.35 miles run and 12.75 miles biked and 2550 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: Lifetime Splash and Dash Series
Place: Austin, TX
Miles from home: 13
Weather: 95 degrees; sunny; dry

I had set three consecutive PRs at this distance going into this race at I doubted that would continue on this evening as we neared the 6:30 p.m. start time and we were still hovering around 95 degrees. With water temperature at a posted 83 degrees the only thing that was going for us weather-wise was a nice breeze and relatively low humidity.

Swim:

I had actually hit the pool a few times since the last swim race  so I expected to be a little faster than normal. I decided to push it a little harder this time because I figured I would wilt during the run anyway.

The swim is a clockwise pentagonal shape around five major buoys that is usually rather pleasant. Today wasn't too bad as it felt even a touch cooler than advertised. I found myself right on the tail of a young swimmer who almost has always beaten me out of the swim. In fact, by the time we hit the third buoy I had passed him. I figured I was having the swim of my life. Unfortunately, I brought a crappy pair of googles with me and as we turned and swam into the sun, I had an awful time seeing in front of me. My swim started to zigzag a little and I wasted precious seconds getting back on course. As we passed the final buoy and headed home, I saw I was in front of another swimmer that was normally in front of me. I must be swimming out of my mind.

Getting out of the water, I stumbled a bit putting on my shoes but figured I would be fine. Both the swimmer right in front and behind me transitioned quicker and were off to the races. I crossed the mat to start the run in 12:07. This was my second fastest swim and T1 ever but no where near what I thought it was going to be. These fellas must have been having an off night. All 14 and 16 years old of them. Damn yoots with their skillz.

Run:

So a little disheartened by a swim a tad slower than I expected I set off on my run. I saw the 14 year old had passed the 16 year old, whom is the one I am normally able to catch on the run. But I didn't seem to have much zip in the legs and as I was indeed catching him, it wasn't as quickly as I liked. The 14 year old began to pull away right when we hit the backside loop hill that I despise. But right then I felt a small slowing in the other runner and began to pass him. Right before the end of the first loop, he was behind me. I hit it in 4:25 which was not bad but wasn't great.

The second loop allowed me to get a glimpse of a new-found nemesis, a perfectly affable young man of 29 named Kyle. Now Kyle had beat me by 4 seconds in the first race of these this year, partly because I hadn't know he was on the same lap as I was and I hadn't kicked it in. Last month I bested Kyle by a time of 12 seconds. So this seemed to be the rubber match. However, throughout this loop I couldn't seem to make any ground on him. I crossed the second loop in 4:27 and figured I would have another slower loop to finish out. I just couldn't seem to find the will to run harder.

Suddenly, Kyle slowed just a touched on the downhill portion and I was just a few seconds behind him. He got mildly caught up in a narrow portion of the course passing runners behind us on their loops which allowed me to turn this into a tactical race. I love "racing" like this. Most of the time I am just pushing myself against the clock but sometimes it is fun to take down runners as well. The problem was I soon on his heels right as we began the backside hill.  I really can't tell you how much this tiny little hill slows me down but I knew I had to keep the momentum and pass him here.

Unfortunately, I made the cardinal sin of passing and I did not do it definitely. Energized by my passing him (Kyle's final loop was 21 seconds faster than his first) he saw me falter ever so much and suddenly had a five second lead on me. As we hit the final homestretch, which is shaded, and slightly downhill (and I always crush on each lap) I now saw he as fading a touch.  But I had given him too much real estate. I narrowed the margin with a 4:20 lap but ended up 2 seconds behind Kyle for 7th male overall. The PR streak ended with a 25:21 but this remains my third fastest time ever of all these races,  with those three all happening this year.

A new community pool is supposed to be opening soon in my neighborhood. When it does, I fully intended to try and re-find my gills and get my swim time down 30 seconds to a full minute. While I will never catch Kyle's brother Kasey, who routinely wins the entire race (with a swim and T1 2:30 faster than me) I should be a bit more respectable. AS it stands, I won the Master's Division for the second time this year and am looking forward to the July edition of this race when I am sure it will be 100 degrees and humid!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Dexa Scan

I recently received an offer to get a DEXA Scan which measures body composition (muscle, fat, bone). As a tinkerer and a stat lover, I love anything that can give me more insight into how to make myself healthier or a faster runner. Also, as a fan of the show Scrubs, all I could think about was the episode where full scans were the bane of Dr. Cox's existence where they showed perfectly healthy people all their imperfections. Obviously not the same thing, it was a nice discussion I had with myself before realizing it wouldn't be a bad idea just to take a peak under the hood anyway.

So off to the Fitness Institute of Texas courtesy of the generosity of the DEXASCAN people I went. I knew the chances were low I would be happy with much of the results I would see, simply because I am fairly hard on myself.  However, this is the best shape I have been in since 2012 so I was glad I was doing it now than just about any other time in the recent past.

I was a bit surprised when I weighed in a good ten pounds more than I normally weigh, especially since I have taken off so much weight this year. But I hadn't run yet for the day and had eaten heartily over the Memorial Day weekend. Another nice surprise was that I was, barefoot, 6'1''. I have been 6'1'' since I was 18 but I know that guys often fib their height a bit. I often joke saying I am the only 6'1'' guy in existence as most who claim they are actually are 5'11.5'' and the ones who are 73 inches, skew upward in their tales. But here I was, no shrinkage or anything at all, (I was in the pool!) proving years of running hadn't shrunk my spine a bit.




The scan was quick and painless, as I simply lied down on some butcherblock paper as the arm of the machine gave me the once over. My pleasant and affable test giver, Rachel, peppered me with questions while we waited. When the results came back, I can say I was both unsurprised and also, as expected, a little disappointed. The biggie was body fat percentage. Mine was supposedly 24.8% which really gave me pause. But in our conversation, Rachel mentioned that if I weighed a bit less the percentage would go down as well, which I didn't think seemed to make sense because the weight alone shouldn't dictate the percentage of body fat. Perhaps I misunderstood her. (Or the scan works with some simple plugging in of weight as a number which makes it a little less exact than I thought.) Since, I already thought I weighed a bit less (and I came home and weighed myself on my own scale at 176) my guess is that it is closer to just under 20%. Still, egads.

That's actually fine. I have already made great strides towards losing fat and building muscle this year, even while not working specifically on that. You see, being a long distance runner and being all ripped do not go hand-in-hand. I remember a good friend of mine once saying he was surprised given al the running I do that I am not significantly more "cut." Well, I sorta eat what I want (in moderation) and running alone doesn't give you that cover of Men's Health magazine build. (Also, thank goodness I have a good sense of self-worth or that comment might have hurt, SCOTT.) It was reassuring to see that my bone density is thoroughly fantastic, so hopefully no new hips anytime in the next three decades. Also, I laughed at the density of my collarbones, both of which I have broken twice and one could actually see where those flimsy porcelain snapsticks had shattered previously.

There were a lot of numbers I didn't fully get a chance to understand but the gist is I have another set of guideposts to help me along on my journey. Sure, we all want to look good in the mirror, and to have fat wrapped around our organs, but the numbers which usually mean the most to me are those on the clock above the finishline as they cruelly tick upward. The less of those numbers I see the better. If I can use this scan to help me get those numbers down, than it was well worth my time.

But I guess I could go do a few more crunches.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lifetime Splash and Dash 2 of 6 Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 4th Edition 
19.35 miles run and 12.75 miles biked and 1800 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: Lifetime Splash and Dash Series
Place: Austin, TX
Miles from home: 13
Weather: 86 degrees; sunny; dry

2019 has been a tad of an anomaly for me. I am running my workouts the best I have in nearly a decade. However, this would only be my third race of the year.  The last race I did, a half-marathon, I had hoped would show me if I was going to race well or just have good workouts. Unfortunately, I dealt with a respiratory problem which left me just as unsure about my progress after the race as before.

The last aquathlon I did, five weeks ago, went spectacular for me. The only thing which hadn't gone my way was breaking the 25:00 mark. With the weather being much warmer on this day, I didn't expect that to happen. One good thing for me is unlike that race, where I hadn't swum in six months, I did have one swim event and three workouts under my belt. That is not even REMOTELY enough to make big leaps but it was at least something.

The day of the race there had been a rain storm in the mid-morning which somehow had cleared the humidity out of the area. I am sure there is an explanation for that but didn't make sense to me. Regardless, since I wasn't expecting to have a great race, and I am experimenting with all sorts of different workout regimens, I went for a small four-mile jog around lunch before this 6:30 p.m. race.

Arriving at the quarry, I hoped the water was still cool given all the rain Austin has received as of late. Someone told me it wasn't but as I slipped into the water, it was far cooler than I expected. This gave me some hope.

Swim:

I picked my usual spot along the further buoy and when the gun started, I was a little perturbed that someone came from my right, on the other side of where they were supposed to be.  Soon, I had no choice but to let them get in front of me and then slide to the right again. Open water swims can be a tad annoying and I am glad that I am a strong swimmer who doesn't have any water anxieties.

I soon found that I was right in the slipstream of another swimmer. I couldn't pass him, but he wasn't going any faster than me. As I hardly felt spry enough to make a move on the swim, and was worried what the heat would do to me on the run, I just used his bubbles to guide me along. Without needing to sight while swimming as I could use him to keep me in a straight line, I had a rather enjoyable little dog paddle. As usual, a few swimmers blasted out like sharks, a few were behind them and then there was me. No one really around me on either side and no one nipping at my heels. Overall it felt good but until I got out of the water there was no way of really telling.

I slipped up the ramp, threw my shoes on, and crossed the mat to begin the run at 11:58. I knew that 12:10 was my fastest ever and that was two years prior.  I never came close to that in all of last year having swum a 12:50; 12:30; 12:18; 12:27; 12:30; 12:31, 12:29. In fact, this was 13 seconds faster than last month when I PRd. Well, that's good!

Run:

My first lap was just trying to get rid of a small side stitch as I tracked down a youngster (160 years old) in front of me. I knew I was faster than him on the run as I had beaten him handily last month.  This time, however, he held me off a tad longer than I expected and I wondered if he was rounding into shape. His swim was faster so who was to say his run might not be.

I passed him a little after the first lap but didn't hit my watch lap to see what I had just split. Rather than fumble with it and risk tripping, I knew I could just see what I had left on the next lap and do the math. As I have said before, this run course is not easy. The footing is dirty and rocks and roots, and it twists and turns with branches hanging down from trees. I was thankful for those trees today as they blocked the sun on the front half of the loop. But on the cruel climb on the back half, the sun was fully bearing down.

I could see another runner in front of me as we approached the end of the second loop and if I wasn't mistaken, he was the fella who had finished just a few seconds in front of me last month.  I hadn't known he was on my loop and while I might not have been able to catch him last month, I'd like to think I could have dug deep to do so if I was aware he was also finishing.  This time I wanted to make sure that didn't happen. It took me a bit longer than I wanted to catch him but I passed him on the same downhill portion I had passed the teen on the previous lap.

The stitch in my side was not relenting but I felt I was going to break 25 minutes and if so, it could hurt for another few minutes. I hit the last straightaway and saw I had 30 seconds to break that barrier. I gave it all I had and set my third consecutive (going back to last fall) PR and eked out a 24:58 which was good enough for 7th place overall. I lost overall Masters to a newly minted 40-year old who hadn't raced a single one of these last year. He used to beat me by two minutes. This time it was just 30 seconds.

What made me very happy was that my run appeared to be three consecutive 4:20 loops. I have no doubt in my mind I can get those down to 4:10, maybe even 4:05 each. If I actually get my butt in the pool and work on my swim, it is entire possible I can take another minute off this PR. That still won't put me close to winning this thing as the overall leaders would still be two minutes faster than me (most of that coming on the swim) but it sure does make me feel good that somehow, at less than two weeks away from being 43 years old, I still seem to have some surprises left.

The weather in Austin isn't going to do me any favors in the upcoming months but I have already shown that even in far less than ideal conditions, I am still improving. Here's to that upward climb!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Streak Ends

A week before my longest running streak ever ended, I finally knew when it would. After 143 straight days of running (besting my previous record by nearly 100 days), a very early morning wake-up call, a two-hour drive to an expo, a long day of signing books and talking to runners, and a desire to race well the next day meant that Saturday, April 27th would be the end of the streak. I know you were all so very concerned.

When I broke 100 days, I wrote a little blog-post about it because it was extremely earth-shattering and you needed to know. Actually, the vast majority of this blog for the past 12 years has been a place for me to write my thoughts and feelings down and if other gain insight from them, then fantastic! I will save you a repeat of the intense navel-gazing of that post, and suffice it to say that I am beyond pleased with no only how I performed during this streak but the fact that I ended it.


Only twice during that time did I feel like maybe I shouldn't run. However, while I went out for a run each time expecting to maybe turn around, I instead quickly got over the potential fear of injury of soreness and soldiered on.

I have been extremely lucky the past half-decade as I have not suffered a single running injury, per se. Sure I tripped and broke my hand in December of 2015 and was mugged by two men breaking my face and my thumb in 2017  (yes, you read that right) but since 2014 when I had intense calf pain that left me grimacing on runs for months, I haven't not gone for a run once because of pain in my legs. That is a long time, with a lot of races and a lot of miles to not tweak something. I do not take that for granted. And I think most of that comes from knowing when not to run.

As racing goes, however, I had a horrible half-marathon on the day my new streak began, mostly because of a breathing problem which I should have realized would happen. I don't wish in retrospect I had run the night before to keep the streak live, however. Racing is a crapshoot. We try to put ourselves in the best position possible and hope all the other dominoes fall the way they should. They didn't for me on race day but I am in the best running shape I have been in for nearly seven years and it is only a matter of time until that shows up on race day.

Unless the Austin heat kills me first.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 3rd Edition 
17.35 miles run and 12.75 miles biked and 1050 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon
Place: Canton, OH
Miles from home: 1310
Weather: 40 degrees; rainy; windy

What makes racing so much different than running is the fact that there is a clock attached to it. I have long advocated that anyone of any talent level get out and run. I have also done the same for racing. But the difference between the two should be the effort given and the desire to give all you can give. That is why racing holds such a special place for me personally. One shouldn't put on a bib number and toe the line unless they are willing to give all they have that day. Granted, most days it won't be anywhere close to what you would like. But, for me, running a race just "to have fun" (which is always code for "to take pictures, give less than your best, and mess around") goes against what a "race" is about. Your views may differ (and I have no doubt for some of you they do as any time I have broached this subject, I get labeled as an elitist or that those at the back of the pack have more fun and blah, blah, blah) but to me, that is what separates a race from a run.

Because there are so many variables that can make a run good or bad, hoping that a good run falls on a race day is what makes each race such a wild card. It is what makes it extremely special to race well on the day of the event and not just during training.To show up, ready and prepared and then also have the fates play into your hands and give you what you need. Not simply collecting medals and accolades but doing the whole left, right thing as fast as possible.

I coach athletes and have gotten dozens to set new PRs in all sorts of distances. The first thing I tell them is how lucky they are to get to the starting line of any race.With so many variables that can stop that, sometimes it is a miracle. Second. as luck plays so much into how we do on race day, we cannot get too excited about the highs and, more importantly, do not get to let down about the lows. I try my best to listen to my own advice. This weekend in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame half-marathon, I had to deal with the "lows" portion.

Until two weeks ago I hadn't run a race since the first weekend of December. Given the downright pleasant weather we have had in Austin this year, I have been taking advantage and putting in some great training miles. When I ran an aquathlon and a triathlon last week, the run portion of both was about the best I could hope for.  As such, I was excited to see where I stood just running alone at this half-marathon.

I spent the day before the race at the expo, where I was apparently out of focus very often for people. Nevertheless, I got to see people I hadn't seen in years, meet others I had talked to but never had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, and make new acquaintances as well. I would mention all the great people I met, but would undoubtedly leave out one and feel like a jerk!

When my friend, and running legend Bill Rodgers came over to say hello, I realized we had been friends now for eleven years. Bill gives so much back to a sport that loves him so much that it is always a pleasure to see him. Today's runners know less and less about our recent history in the sport and that is a shame. But Bill is one who sticks out in most runners' minds and for good reason.

Race Morning:


A windy Saturday turned into a windy and rainy race day.  There had been predictions that this would blow over by race time but as the clock ticked down, that showed it would not be the case. I sat in a invited athletes section, fortunately warmed from the weather. I finally met in person a runner and educator, Taylor Sowers, whose class I had Skyped with years ago. Taylor would end up running a 2:55 to take third overall in some serious sloppy conditions and setting a new PR as well. That was a stellar time indeed!

Walking to the start, I talked to two individual athletes; one, Eric, who would end up winning the half-marathon in a ridiculous 1:15 and the other, Barbara, who would take first in the female edition of the marathon in another fantastic time of 2:59. Interesting that in my sleepy morning time, two of the few people I would talk to ended up doing so well. Too bad it didn't rub off on me.

As we counted down to the start, I took off my jacket and asked Bill Rodgers if he could give it back to me at the end of the race. I know this is like asking LeBron James to hold your jock but Bill gladly gave it to someone else to make sure I got it back at the end. A cannon fired and away we went!

First 3 miles:

I can normally tell how a race will go for me, or at least in what direction, in the walk to the start.  Today I had no clues. I had slept just fine, eaten a decent meal, and felt sufficiently awake. But I neither felt tired nor did I have a spring in my step. I had taken the previous day off from running, which also was my first day off in 143 days. That running streak beat my previous streak of 48 days by quite a margin. One would think I would be rip roaring ready to go.

When we hit the first mile and I only clocked a 6:39, I was a bit disappointed. It felt so much faster.  My lungs, also, were burning. This, unfortunately, is mostly my fault. Suffice it to say that I have allergies that I know I have that I could have dealt with better and should also have not put myself in  place where there had been so much cigarette smoke the day before. I have sissy lungs that need perfect conditions to function properly and I didn't do what I needed to do to make that happen.  I have no one to blame but myself even if I did think that I would have them clear by the time the race started.  But, I thought, perhaps the mile markers are a little askew and by the second mile I will be back on track.

Unfortunately, I didn't see the second mile marker and given the very blustery conditions, it is entirely possible it was blown over. Regardless, I knew the projected times of some of those around me and regardless of mile markers, I knew I wasn't running what I wanted. Hitting the third mile marker I just divided by two and knew already that my desired goals for the day were out the window. I was going to come nowhere close to the 1:25 or so which I knew was entirely possible for me to get today. Now the question begins: what do you do on a race day when you know your race is over but you have miles to go before it literally is?

To Mile Six

The fourth mile had us approaching the boundaries of the small Evangelical Protestant liberal arts college, Malone University. The first boisterous crowd of the day was led by some vocal students here and it was greatly appreciated. Kudos to any and all who braved these less than desirable spectating conditions. I didn't mind running in them too much even if they weren't ideal, but standing around in near freezing temperatures in wind and rain required a hardy soul.

This also marked the high point of the course for us elevation-wise and a small downhill, with a wind at our back coming up, provided me with some of the best miles of the day for. We traversed some of the most beautifully laid brick roads I have ever seen in the Ridgewood Historic District which provided me with a little spark as well. (I also love how we ran up Yale Street and back down Harvard Street. Not sure if that is mocking the students of Malone or what exactly.)

The next turn had all of us front runners passing all those behind us on a mile-long stretch of Market Ave. I spent precious resources cheering on those behind me and they did the same for me. Yet in spite of all of this, I was showing no signs of picking up the pace. Granted, neither was anyone else which at least made me feel that I wasn't the only one struggling. However, as I read from many others, they were dealing with the rain and wind much more than I was. For the most part, while cold for sure, I wasn't too bothered. I just couldn't breathe.

At this point, I felt like I was rather locked into my position in the race. It didn't look like I was going to catch much of anyone and no one else seemed to be closing the gap on me.


Heading to Mile 10:

With a nice turn around right in front of the Stark County Courthouse, I saw Taylor on his way to his awesome finish. I could also see that here were a few people closer behind me than I thought but after that it was a long stretch of no people. One woman who would overtake me on the uphills and allow me to slip past her on the downs was right beside me. We would do this cat and mouse again for the next few miles.

We passed the Timken High School where the student band/dance/step squad was out performing for runners. That was beyond appreciated, especially given the weather. Normally, I would have whooped it up with the kidlings but I was too buy feeling sorry for myself.

At 7.5 miles the course rejoined the first 1.5 miles through a nice park area which could definitely lend itself to boisterous crowds as this race, in its third year, continues to grow.  Today, however, they were silent, save for our footsteps and the rain drops. And if your soul leaving your body makes a noise, it was about to make a loud one for me at mile nine. The above-mentioned woman drew next to me as we lopped back to pas under the start line and we began to run in lockstep. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I knew I was going to puke.I pulled off to the side, right in front of some Porta Potties and let go what could only be described as a slightly wet dry heave. I hadn't eaten anything since the night before and, for the first time, realized I hadn't drunk a single drop on this course. This expulsion and heaving was the nail on the coffin for me to even try to have a respectable time of sub-1:30.

I stepped into the Porta Potty and used it. Not sure what I was coming out of me given the dearth of foods and liquids but that's the human body. Coming out, I also grabbed a throwaway shirt. Why, you might ask. Well, let's just say I was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction and was trying to be a bit modest. Unfortunately, I didn't resolve the issue. Fortunately, the crowds were sparse. That's all that needs to be said there.

On to the Finish:

Right when I was beginning to feel pretty damn low, the course took us past a quarter mile section put on by wear blue: run to remember. This national nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military had put out picture after picture of fallen military members.  We hear the numbers all the time but seeing faces put to just a smallest of fractions to those numbers was sobering. We see those wonderful videos of military members surprising their family members by coming home early from their service. As wonderful as that is, I always say wouldn't it be even better if we weren't always sending soldiers to fight wars that are unnecessary or unwinnable?

*steps off soapbox*

Right after these pictures were dozens of people standing on either side of the road leading to the McKinley Memorial Park holding full 3x5 American Flags for runners to run through. It was, all in all, a rather moving sentiment and one that took my mind off my own personal suffering for a few minutes at least.

Next it was a little jaunt around WaterWorks Park and circumventing West Lawn Cemetery. You didn't get to see nearly as much of them as one would like before skirting over Interstate 77 and beginning the final mile and a half to the finish. At this juncture the wind and rain were pretty bad, my shorts were turning me into a roving indecent exposurer, and I was just wanting to be done. When one final runner came up next to me and was challenging me for a finishing place, I wasn't in the mood to try and outkick him. He would be the only runner who had passed me while I was running since mile four but I just didn't have it in me to care.

Around the Hall of Fame Stadium we went, entering at one endzone, running all the way to the other, through the length of it like we are celebrating a touchdown before a quick turn to the finish. I was done and couldn't have been happier. My time of 1:32:16 was my 71st slowest half-marathon ever out of 104 I have run. That said, I was 27th overall out of 1,241.  I think that tells you how much the weather seemed to affect all of the runners. Plus I got to show everyone how svelte I looked in my high school track and field singlet. Wait, were we supposed to give those back? Is 25 years the statute of limitations on petty theft. (Joking. I was gifted this when I ran my 51st of 52 consecutive weekly marathons in 2006. Cool down, sad pathetic people who are always looking for something to snipe about.)

It can be difficult to assess how well a race is put together when you are in the middle of having a bad day. Yet, when you realize that you never once thought about how the race was run that tells you everything you need to know about the race. No race is perfect and after running over 500 races I have seen just about everything that could go wrong. This was far from an ideal day to run or put on a race but the organizers did a bang-up job. The medals were fun and the shirts were comfy. Moreover, upon finishing, each runner was given a lovely, huge fleece blanket to wrap up in. Given the weather, this could definitely be an almost literal life save for some. For me, one who loves to run in the cold but the minute I am done want to be warm, it was beyond superb.

Now I just need to sit back and figure out what my next race is and hopefully do it where my lungs work with me.

Monday, April 22, 2019

No Label Sprint Triathlon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 2nd Edition 
4.25 miles run and 12.75 miles biked and 1050 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: No Label Sprint Triathlon
Place: Austin, TX
Miles from home: 131
Weather: 50 degrees; sunny; cool

*le sigh*

Going to cut to the chase and not bury the lede here: with a little over a mile left in the bike portion of this triathlon I got a flat tire. Well, that was when I realized it. I think it happened a mile earlier when I inexplicably started to slow down. As this flat happened when I was
1. only a mile away from transition
2. in a sprint tri
3. something I don't know how to do (change a tire) and didn't have a spare anyway

I was left with one decision: run in my clippity clop cycling shoes to the transition. That is not ideal in a triathlon. Or anything else for that matter. But how did I get to this place, my first triathlon in 3.5 years?

Earlier in the week I competed in an aquathlon in Austin. It went FAR better than I expected as it had been six months to the day since I had swam a single stroke. Feeling jumpy, I searched and found the No Label Triathlon in Katy, Texas which fit my needs of being relatively close, not being too long of a bike (I hadn't cycled one rotation since August 27th, 2018) and happening THIS weekend. I signed up and was excited to see what I could do.

The day before the race as I loaded my car and was pumping my tires on my bike, one the the tubes broke. Oh no. I don't have extras and I had to get going right then in order to make the packet pickup.  Luckily, I found a bike shop not too far from the packet pickup and acquired a tube. After they put it on for me and started to ring me up

*POW*

the tube exploded. They put another in for free and everything seemed OK. Of course, everything seemed OK when it was sitting on the counter as I tried to pay for it too, so there you go.

As the race started at 7 a.m. and I had to be up at 5 a.m. because triathlons are exhaustively involved with their setup, I went to bed at a super early time for me. I woke afresh as I possibly can at that ungodly hour and headed to the start of the race.

Swim: 4:15.4 (21st place)

The swim portion was a tad different with the 300 meters being swam in a pool where each swimmer would go up and then back down a lane before doing a flipturn under the laneline and into the adjoining lane. If you are a decent swimmer this is not too hard, just a little odd. Unfortunately, there were roughly 400 people who had to do this. The only way it was possible was for each participant to seed themselves according to ability correctly, then go off in roughly 10-second intervals.

I did just that and looked like I was about in the right spot beginning maybe about 20th overall. When it was my turn to leap feet first into the pool I took off with gusto.

At no point did I feel settled in this swim. I felt fine but never like I was swimming fast. About half
way through the swim I had a guy right on my feet. I was perturbed I was so slow so I waved him past. Then I spent the next half of a swim right on *his* feet. I think he sorta shot his wad in the first half of the swim and I should have been less polite and simply stayed where I was. But it being such a short swim I knew it didn't make much difference either way. I was not here to win the race.

Transition: 1:09.2

I got out of the pool not knowing exactly what my time was as I had not started my watch. I knew it wouldn't get a signal in the natatorium so I just had it set to catch my bike and run. Unfortunately, I literally had THE longest run to make in order to get to me bike and THE longest run with my bike to leave the area. Nevertheless, my transition was fair. I looked at some of the others who cut my T1 time in half and figure that couldn't be ALL just bike placement.They definitely have their stuff down. I know I do not.

I struggled a bit getting my feet clipped into the bike which cost me a good ten seconds. Even though I was all the way over to one side some overzealous guy ran into the back of me with a "Jesus!" I said "Yes, he is risen tomorrow but I'm sorta stuck here for the moment. Not sure how you didn't see me."

Bike: 51:16 (239th - egads)

The weather was just perfect for this race. Absolutely wonderful. Next to no wind, barely above 50 degrees, mostly cool and relatively dry. And the bike course was extremely flat with basically four turns. It was well-marshaled by the police officers, the cars on the road mostly gave us a wide berth, and from all of that standpoint, it was good. In fact, kudos to the race directors indeed for how well they organized this race. It was well-run for sure throughout in what was definitely a bit of a challenge to put together.

Unfortunately, cycling on the shoulder of this one highway was kinda crappy. The road was rather rutted, with marbles for rocks in a lot of places, and not a smooth surface. When we left the highway for about half of the ride onto some other streets, it was much better. However, when I was barely 2 miles into the ride and saw one cyclist pushing his bike back, that tight feeling in my stomach hit me a bit. I haven't done many tris but I have never had a flat in a race. I sure hope I didn't have one today.

Most of the ride was uneventful.I had a few cyclists pass me but by and large they were riding those $10,000 per wheel bikes. ("Oh, but Dane, it's not about the bike!" No? OK. Trade me.) My speed wasn't exactly what I wanted it but at around 23 mph, I felt good. I passed a few cyclists and felt like it was an even trade for those who passed me and those who I passed.

Then, mere feet after seeing my third cyclist on the side of the road with a flat, I noticed the lethargy I expected to get but never felt in my legs was really getting to me. Soon, I realized it wasn't lethargy but a flat tire.

*INSERT SWEAR WORDS*

I debated trying to ride my bike for the last mile-plus but was certain that would do some serious harm to my rim. So I dismounted and stood for a second. What do I do? I guess I will run.

As fast as I could in these infernal cycling shoes, I horseyed my way along, doing my best to stay out of the other cyclists way. With about half of a mile to go, I took my bike off the road and onto the sidewalk on a narrow turn. When I bounced down on the other side over the curb my entire front wheel just flew off. I caught it in one hand and stood there: flat tire and frame in my left hand and a wheel in my right hand. To say I was a bit frazzled would be an understatement.

*INSERT SWEAR WORDS*

Triathlon has oodles of rules. I was certain me running in with my bike was allowed as long as I kept my helmet on. But I was unsure if I could carry my bike and have the wheel in the other hand at the same time. So I sat down to put the wheel back onto my bike. Thanks to Strava I can see I spent exactly 2:01 putting that wheel back on. But I finally got to the second transition.

Transition 2: 1:09.3

I am very intrigued by the fact that my two transitions were only one-tenth of a second off of each other. I also wasn't exactly in the fastest of moods either knowing I had lost approximately ten minutes to my flat tire and errant tire (Kenny Rogers voice: "You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel!") But I made the effort to get here, so I was going to run. Also, I say this is my first triathlon in 3.5 years. That's not entirely true. I attempted an Xterra off-road tri last summer that had me DNFing a third of the way through the bike after my umpteeth crash. So, surviving any calamity and getting to the run mean I could at least give it a go.

Run: 19:41 (11th place)

I immediately began passing people in front of me but given all that transpired I had no idea if that meant I was going fast. However, before I even felt winded I passed the first mile marker. Now it just became a hunt to track down and pass as many people in front of me as possible.

This was a very enjoyable run with just a few turns, a nice jaunt past the Katy City Hall building, and a mostly tree-lined green-visaged route. I made note of these niceties but for the most part I had tunnel vision wondering how many of the people in front of me I could put behind me. Each one I passed spurred me on faster and I wanted to snare them all. Like Pokemon!

Into the last mile I could only make out two runners in front of me and I didn't have a chance to catch them. Then suddenly I had a chance to catch one of them and did. Then with .3 of a mile left I suddenly had a chance to catch the other one. I turned on the jets running right around 5 minutes per mile but it looked like I was running out of real estate. He heard my steps and picked up the pace himself and as I dodged a pot hole and ran into a narrowing chute, it was obvious I wasn't going to be able to catch him. I ended up just about one short of passing the guy. I wasn't too bothered as who knew how far he had been behind me before my bike incident and he might have finished minutes of ahead of me on his chip time anyway. Furthermore, it was about my individual effort on the run here that mattered most to me, not the placement. (As suspected, when I saw the results later he finished 3:30 ahead of me anyway.) When I later saw my time for the run (6:30 pace for the three miles) it pleased me exceedingly.

All told I finished in 1:17:32 which was good enough for 85th overall out of 381 finishers.  If you just removed that two minute stoppage to put my wheel back on I would have finished 62nd. Now, subtract another 8 minutes at least for my flat tire. (I say that number based solely on one cyclist on Strava who started a little behind me, fell a little bit further back, and then when I really started to get a little tired, but now realize was my tire going flat, passed me.  He did his bike in 41:33. As we hit that last straightway he was over 30 seconds behind me. So eight minutes is conservatively the time I lost running instead cycling that last mile-plus.) That alone puts my 1:07 time 26th overall and tied for second fastest in my age group.

Like I said, *le sigh*.

My biggest takeaway from this event are I am glad I didn't crash and that I am in the best racing shape I have been in for a very long time. To do so well in the swim and bike with zero training makes me very happy. To run some of the best speedwork in a race at the end of a triathlon I had already sorta given up on was even more stellar. I am extremely excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for me.

Hopefully my tires stay full of air.

Fun Fact: The Overall female winner and third overall male are from a relatively small town in Germany which just so happens to be the same town one of the athletes I coach resides in. Was a bit of a shocker to see that!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Lifetime Splash and Dash 1 of 6 Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 13; 1st Edition 
2 miles run and 750 meters swam in races in 2019 races
Race: Lifetime Splash and Dash Series
Place: Austin, TX
Miles from home: 13
Weather: 78 degrees; cloudy, windy

This is now the third straight year I have done this series here in Austin. When Lifetime Fitness bought the gym, and quarry, I guess, which this event took place in I wasn't sure they were going to have the series again. But they did (with the respective price hike) and I figured I would sign up and test my monthly mettle.

The weather looked about the best it could for most of these races with a cloudy 78 degrees with a slight breeze and relatively low humidity. That all made me rather happy. I was extremely curious, however, how this race would go for a number of factors. First and foremost, I have not swam one single stroke since I finished the last of this series in October of last year. Not one lap. The vast majority of the reason behind that was the second factor - I am currently in the middle of the longest streak of running I have ever had in my life, by a long shot. I wrote about surpassing the 100 day mark and that was more than a month ago. Keep in mind my previous longest streak was 48 days.

In previous iterations of this race, I had rested the day before the event and taken it easy the day of.  On Sunday I blasted out a 12.5 miler at 7:10 pace and then Monday I ran another 8.3. The morning before the race I did a leisurely four mils but it was four miles nonetheless. Basically, here I was in the middle of no rest, 133 days into a running streak, and taking on a race.

That said, I have lost upwards of 15 pounds this year with a new way of eating, new running, and a few other life occurrences. Now I simply had to go do the race and see how it all fell into play. So many new factors to have fun and obsess over.

Swim:


With no swimming lately, I was curious how it would feel in the water.  As the temperature was 68 degrees in the quarry, I was pleased as punch we wouldn't be swimming in soup. Unfortunately, I swam fairly poorly when it came to sighting. My goggles fogged more than they should have and I found myself way off course on a few occasions. Obviously that bummed out a bit. But other than that, the 183-day layoff from swimming didn't seem to hurt me any as even with the non-straight-line swimming, I swam my fastest swim ever. Not by much, but a 12:11 swim and transition was one second faster than I had ever done before. I can say I was definitely surprised by that and have to attribute it to both the cooler temps and the wight loss. I easily lost ten seconds swimming off course and with exactly half a year since my last swim, I cannot complain one bit how this went.

I came out of the water and saw that two of the swimmers in front of me were still putting on their shoes. I do something different than most by wearing socks during a swim. I hate running without them and trying to put dry socks onto wet feet has always confounded me. One of these swimmers got going and soon thereafter another did as well. I had designs on tracking them both down but it all depended on how fast of runners they were. Having done this series numerous times, I have seen some extraordinarily swimmers who can't run at all, some who are middling, and some who are good swimmers but better runners. I can't keep track of all of these younguns that live here in Austin, especially as some of them have sprung up half a foot since the last time I raced them, so I did not know which these boys were.

We crossed the timing mat and now was time to see what I had in these running legs.


Lap One:


As I took off after the two runners, it became clear the latter out of the gate was faster than the former. He also appeared to be faster than me.  But I knew I could catch the other runner and it was just a matter of real estate when I would.

This first lap is always the most enjoyable as there are no other runners to run around.Well, there are no others in the race. There are other people on the course as it s not closed to the public, even if the public is only Lifetime gym members. To be honest, if I am paying for a race, I'd like for it not to be open for the public, especially in a tight space like this. It is just half an hour or so once a month to close it down.Shouldn't be that hard to ask. Especially when someone was out walking their damn dog on one narrow part on the south end. You see everyone else, right?

I closed the gap on the one runner as we closed in on the end of the first lap. I crossed it in 4:19 and was beyond excited. In all of these races, I have never broken 4:20. Did I try too hard on this first lap? It didn't feel like it. I could only wait and see.

Lap Two:

This is not an "easy" course as I have stated before. It is relatively narrow path for half the course, with uneven footing, roots, and twists and turns. Low-hanging branches threaten to knock heads off and when you hit the second lap with all the other participants now on the running path, it gets kinda dicey. Without fail there are some people who, time after time I can count will run directly in the middle of this path, regardless of the fact that they MUST know people are passing them. Alas.

I used a surge to pass the one runner in front of me at the midway point of this second loop and kept surging. Don't pass until you are ready to make it stick, I always say. As a slight tailwind helped up up the backside hill, it appeared that this was where I was going to stay overall in the placing. I crossed the mat for the second loop in 4:17 and got very happy. What could I do on this final lap?

Lap Three:


Unfortunately, it was even more crowded now and with slightly tired legs once had to be more careful not to stumble while avoiding people. As I hit the midpoint of the last loop I saw two guys in front of me. I had a feeling one of them was a loop behind me but the one in front of him gave off the vibe of a runner who was almost done. I began to push hard and with a quarter of a lap to go passed the one guy. The second was coming closer but it was hard for me to want to push past someone who I was unsure of whether they were about to be done or not. Nevertheless, as we hit the final straight away, I began to throw down a little bit but I think he felt my breath. Even though I was gaining, he kept a small margin between us. He passed the finish and stopped.

Drats. He WAS on the lap with me. I passed four seconds later and stopped my watch. I had ran a 4:15 final loop and my overall time was 25:04. I couldn't remember my previous times.Was this good? Bad? Somewhere in between? I had convinced myself so many times of what I know I could do on this course that what I HAVE done gets mired in the mists.Upon checking my past results I saw that I had run my fastest time ever by 41 seconds!

I was a happy bunny. I ended up winning the Masters Division, placing 9th overall in the men. Three women beat me and while two of them beat me handily (90 seconds by one and 40 seconds by the other - the third just by 20 seconds, all ) it really is hard to race people you don't know you are racing. (All finished behind me because we did wave starts and it was their chip times which were faster.)

All told, this bodes well for me in the near future. I am aware it is going to only get warmer here in Austin over the next few months but with the construction of a new pool in my neighborhood, I am planning on really improving my swimming. I know that in my prime I swam nearly as good as the top overall swimmer whose combined swim and transition beat mine by 2:33 today.  Let's say I can't get back there but if I just cut that in half I am now about where I thought I would be in these races and that doesn't even count if I improve in the run. In other words, after my first race in nearly five months, which might be the longest drought I have gone without racing in thirteen years, I might be onto some good times.

In fact, just to test that out, I am entering a triathlon on Saturday which will test me for sure at the No Label Triathlon.With just a 300 yard swim, 13.9 mile bike,and 3 mile run, this is a sprint which is not in my wheelhouse. But hey, just because I haven't biked since August 27th and haven't completed a triathlon in 3.5 years doesn't mean I don't expect to excel.

I like being foolish that way.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

100-Day Running Streak

I first opined about running streaks 12 years ago.  In that post I talked more about what makes a streak and how we trust those who say they haven't missed a day. Five years ago, I spoke about it again and how streaking can often impede a good running goal. I also gave reasons for when it is good idea to stop your streak. Then today, I hit 100 days in a row where I haven't missed a run.

My previous record was 48 days in 2012. That streak ended when a combination of a cold or illness met up with a long flight and travel day. Heeding my own advice which I would late write above (can you heed something you haven't said yet?) I took the day off. Since that time the longest streak I had came in 2016. This was surprising to me because when I was counting the days earlier this year I was convinced that January was the first time I had ever run every single days in a calendar month. I as wrong. My second full month in Austin, Texas, in the thick of sickening heat, I ran every day in October. (In fact, I ran 35 times in October, and with some in prior September and some in November after my consecutive days streak was 43 days.)

This particular streak started because I did an experiment in December. Even though I fell on consecutive days and cut up my knee, I kept going. I kept going not because of the streak but rather because everything felt good. I had matching ouchies on my knee that looked super weird but that's just cosmetic.

One week in to that experiment I had experienced some slight groin pain which made me think I might need to take some days off. It wasn't that surprising as I was adding distance and adding days. I normally take one day off a week. But the pain abated and I finished 2018 without missing a day. Then I began 2019. For a variety of reason I pulled out of some races in January which is usually when I take a rest day. January continued to have pleasant and cool running weather which helped me continue the streak. The previous January had some very cold days in Austin but they had quickly subsided and gave way to a plethora of 80-degree days. I figured when this happened I would take a break. This year that did not happen.

This nice weather continued into February. Dealing with some personal heartache issues I found myself turning to running again.The weather stayed nice. No legs problems or injuries of any kind cropped up. I figured I might stop my streak at 52 days (52 is somewhat synonymous with me) but that came and went unceremoniously on a day that was also 52 degrees when I ran (because of course it was.) I saw that if I ran all of February, making it two months without a missed date, I would be at 86 days straight. Besides being my football number in high school, it is my favorite number. How can you not like a number which is also a verb?! I had a plan to do something which would take me out of my normal order of sleeping in on Sundays the fiest weekend of March and I thought that perhaps this would be the streak- ender. Then the plans got cancelled on me. So instead I found myself consoling myself with another run.

Meanwhile, the nice weather in Austin continued. Well, nice for me. Everyone else was freezing and complaining. I was scheduling 16-mile runs in the freezing temperatures because it had been years since I had felt these. I noticed I would get to 100 days on Pi day, and if I were to beware the Ides of March on March 15th, perhaps I would end my streak on the 14th. My run on the 13th went pretty crappy. I felt exhausted. I thought perhaps I would show how little streaks mean to me by not running that 100th day. It takes fare more gumption to stop at 99 then it does to push hard to get to 100.  I know this because I had a 9.9 mile route that I ran all the time in Salt Lake City when I lived here that everyone else said they would run that extra .1 to get a round number. I didn't see the point. I mapped out the run, ran it, and it ended up being 9.9 staring and finishing at my door. Adding more would just be ridiculous. leave numbers not on round endings than it does to power through when you are sick or injured. But I woke up today, the weather was warm but dry, and a few steps into the run I knew it was going to be a good day.  No need to stop the streak on this day.

So March 15th has a scheduled 16 miler. It will be my 101st day of running. The next two weeks call for more surprisingly "cool" temperature in Austin. After a summer last year forced me to run on a treadmill more times in a month than I may have the rest of my life, I know that it is the weather which most dictates how I run. As long as I continue to feel good, I am going to keep running.

I am not sure when the streak will end. Part of the streak is undoubtedly tied to the fact that I haven't had a single race since the first weekend of December. I also had some travel plans cancelled and some others fall through. All of those are things which usually make me take a day off. With my next confirmed race not being until the end of April, maybe the streak will go onto to then. Maybe I will find a race which will take my fancy and I will run it before. The aforementioned heartache is abating somewhat so perhaps I won't "need" the run as much anymore. I truly don't know what will cause the first rest day and I am sure it will be at some weird number that has no significance.

That will be perfectly fine with me, too. This streak has had multiple purposes and all were to make me a better runner. The second it no longer serves my desires to help me on my running journey, I will rest.

Until then, long live the run!

Some Stats:
100 runs. (I never did a double.)
Total miles run: 892
Longest Run: 20.5 miles
Shortest Run: 4.65 miles (twice)
Most often run distance: 10.3 miles