Thursday, September 28, 2006

Grab Bag

I just discovered the most fantastic web-comic, Questionable Content. It's about romance, Indy-rock and little quirky robots! Highly recommended. Also in the realm of comedy, yesterday the special edition of Bobcat Goldthwait's Windy City Heat, which may be one of the funniest flicks I've ever seen, was released. I caught this show a couple years ago on Comedy Central, at about 3 a.m., with some law school friends after we'd been bar-hopping through the Upper West Side "Frat-ties." If true, this movie shows one of the best practical jokes of all time. Treat yourself; I know I am. As far as stupid moves averted, a car dealership in Ohio has decided to pull its "Jihad" promotion, where on "Fatwa Fridays" sales reps would give play swords to kids . . . only in Ohio could someone think this was a good idea.

In running news, this article entitled "Running with Slowpokes: How sluggish newbies ruined the marathon" has caused quite a bit of consternation among blogers: here, here and here. While the consternation over elitism is admirable and I certainly have praised 5 hour marathoners, I think it misses the article's point:

Today, the great majority of marathon runners set out simply to finish. That sets the bar so low that everyone comes out a winner. Big-city marathons these days feel more like circuses than races, with runners of variable skill levels—some outfitted in wacky costumes—crawling toward the finish line. The marathon has transformed from an elite athletic contest to something closer to sky diving or visiting the Grand Canyon. When a newbie marathoner crosses the finish line, he's less likely to check his time than to shout, "Only 33 more things to do before I die!"
With this assessment I agree wholeheartedly. It's a race. By adults. This isn't second-grade P.E. where we all get ribbons (Oh Wait! We do!) Everyone is not a winner, even if you finish. How do I determine if someone's a winner? This is personal, from my viewpoint it's whether the marathon effort you just made was your best effort. That's it. Did you do your best -- just like in the old saw: If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. As a corrollary, if worth doing, it's worth preparing for. If you half-assed the training, you're not a winner. If you don't try to determine how successful you can be, not a winner. If you slam the wall, well . . . depends on whether you were trying to push the envelope or did zero pacing strategy. In the latter case, not a winner. If it's worth doing . . .

I ran a 3:22 in my first marathon. In the race, I did my best. My training was half-assed. I had more time than I do now, but trained half as much simply because of lack of motivation. Although I'm glad to have done the event, I find that time somewhat . . . embarrassing. I didn't do my best; I could have done better. It grates on my self-respect.

A couple of the Flyers and I had a conversation on the "just to finish" goal over the weekend. I maintained, and still do, that it's a stupid goal. If you have serious doubt about your ability to finish the marathon, you shouldn't be doing it. Run a Half. Run a 10K. Run whatever you can finish and can give your best effort in. The marathon's not for everyone. Moreover, I found that thinking "just to finish" was acceptable in my first marathon gave me a mental 'out' to shirk on training. That's an 'out' that I happily took when it was "too hot," or "too cold," or "too windy," or I was just "too tired." However, when the bar's set below mediocrity, what's the point in pushing yourself into discomfort? Anyone can finish, if they go slow enough. It doesn't take that much effort for the human body to cover 26.2 miles. That's a fact, Jack.

So, I wholeheartedly agree in this effort to strike at personal medicrity. Challenge yourself. That challenge is certainly personal and even if it's six hours or five or whatever, that you put forth your best effort is something to be proud of. An accomplishment that moves us beyond ourselves . . . victoria ad gloriam, gloria ad imortalitatem. The issue, I think, if for no other reason than self-respect should not be "did I finish," but "did I give it all I had?"

Tuesday: 8.15 miles in 61:04 (7:30 avg.) with 5X600@2:15, 2:14, 2:09, 2:09, 2:05
Wednesday: 11.25 miles in 1:28:30 (7:52)
Thursday: 6.1 miles in 46:56 (7:42)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Retirement . . .

. . . for my old(er) shoes. Almost 400 miles and they've started giving me shin splints. I ordered my marathon shoes yesterday. Perhaps they'll arrive in time for Grete's this weekend.

We cut short the planned 2.5 hour trail run over the weekend. Everyone was still pretty wiped from last week's 20 miler and some early clif precip mountai hills pretty much zapped what was left in the legs. Only about 2 hours and a little shy of 15 miles.

Sunday was supposed to be a recovery run. I did the Billy Bridge O&B. Supposed to be a recovery run, I say, but at 35:11 for 5 miles, it was MP pace. This isn't all that surprising. For my last marathon, by the last week or so before tapering, thanks to the speed work and endurance work over 10ish weeks, my "normal" run paces started dropping closer to MP. However, last time I wasn't quite so up on feeling the pace. So, I wouldn't have known except we'd be halfway through a 9 miler and Babs, my D.C. running buddy who was a former college track guy, would say something like, "Jack, why are we doing your marathon pace?" So it goes.

This week's plan's basically the same as two weeks ago, except I'm going to rearrange the second half a bit to get a short taper before the race. I want to go in ready because (1) I'm having competition withdrawal and want to run hard and (2) I really would like a legitimate fitness check for the marathon.

Week in Review

MondayRest -- --
Tuesday8.1 miles1:02:18
Wednesday8.4 miles 1:02:20
7:25 avg.
Thursday11.4 miles86:15
FridayRest -- --
Saturday 14.75miles
Sunday5.0 miles35:11
Total47.6 Miles -- --

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I saw a fantastic word in a case yesterday. “eleemosynary” The gist of the usage was "In constructing a contract entered into by sophisticated business persons, one should use the construction that would reflect the intent of a reasonable business person, rather than an eleemosynary construction."

I admit, I had to look this one up. (Another attorney's reaction to it was, "Is that even a real word?") According to Merriam it means “of, relating to, or supported by charity,” and derives from the late Latin "eleemosyna," which is obviously a Greek borrowing. "Eleemosyna" is also, apparently, the ultimate parent to “alms.”

We're off to Rockefeller Park today for 2.5 hours of trails. CM of the Flyers is being very eleemosynary in giving me a ride since MTA has shut down the 'L' train . . . again. Earlier this week, I did 5 by 1000 at (guessimated) 5K pace of 5:55/mile. That's a lot faster than my last 5K, but as since that race was over a year ago I think the time's pretty soft. The last one was sort of tough, but I kind of expected that because of my bad math on Tuesday.

Wednesday: 8.4 miles, 62:20 (7:25 avg) with 5X1000m @ 3:43, 3:42, 3:43, 3:41, 3:40
Thursday: 11.4 miles, 86:15 (7:34 avg)
Friday: Rest

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stupid Math

So, I spent today's entire run thinking I was crawling along at a snail's pace. "Dear God," I thought (I often have conversations with the big bearded one while running.), "I really thought I'd recovered better than this. I slept well. Work's backed off a lot. What's up? It must have been that trip to the gym. Why, oh why, did I try the Men's Health abs workout the day after a long run?" When I got home and put the time into my log, God replied, guffawing through his beard. "It was hard because you can't do math, idiot! Eight miles for one hour's 7:30/mile, not 8:00 per mile. Jesus, come over and laugh at this dummy with me!"

Possibly because I thought I was struggling to run 8:10s when I was actually running 7:40s, possibly because of a conversation I had with Urs during last weekend's LTR, I spent a lot of time during today's run ruminating on the wall. During my first marathon training I didn't properly understand . . . didn't properly respect . . . the wall. And the wall punished me. So, for this time around . . . the wall frightens me. As Urs put it, "Once you hit the wall, your destiny is out of your hands."

For those who've never hit it, the danger of the wall is, once you hit it, you don't lose seconds per mile. You don't slow down and hit your "B" goal. It's not like in a 5K when you slow up, catch your breath and can still push the last 3/4 mile for a P.R. OH NO. You hit the wall and you lose minutes per mile. The goals become "make it to the next lightpost" and "Don't stop. Just keep moving your legs." You think things like, "If I only lose 2 minutes/mile, I can still finish sub-3:30." That is, assuming that a thought like that's not too complex. Life shrinks to "Don't stop. Don't stop. Don't walk. Don't stop." And then it hits you that 4 months of training is going down the drain and you can't do anything to stop it. It's one of the worst feelings in running. And you hope that you'll be able to recover, that you'll at least be able to run the last half mile through the crowds because if you're going to horribly miss your goals, you should at least not look like walking death through the end of the race.

There's a saying from back in Kentucky, "It's better to aim for the stars and hit the barn than to aim for the barn and hit the ground." There's wisdom in that saying, good Southern/Midwestern, dirt in your fingernails and farmer's tanline wisdom. Problem is, at least for the marathon, it's not really true. Aim for a star during a marathon, and you're likely to hit the barn and it'll put you on the ground.

The challenge, for everyone with a hard time goal, whether 2:15 or 3:00 or 5:00, is to learn the contours of the wall before the race. And then play chicken, you running toward the wall full speed in the blue '69 Ford Mustang Mach 1, with the mean chrome and white racing stripes and the wall speeding forward in a red '69 Z28 Camaro, mulleted head leaning out the window to scream obscenities that you can't understand because of the of the ridiculously thick Tennessean accent and the huge wad of tobacco in its lower lip. Then you (hopefully, ideally . . . maybe?) turn off like those bikes in Tron to cruise to the finish. Hopefully, it works that way . . .

Grete's Gallop Half Marathon is in less than 2 weeks. That's my recon on the wall. Stage one of the assault begins. I hate the wall.

Today: 8.1 miles, 1:02:18 (7:41/mile)

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Yesterday was the second NYRRC Long Training Run of the season and I'd volunteered to lead the 8:00/mile pace group through 20. I honestly can't recall ever having a run go this well. We started with one of the Flyers at the lead of our group who was running with a Garmin. I didn't realize that until about 10 miles through and just thought that he was some sort of freak with an preternatural sense of pace. Anyway, we went through the first 16 at between 8:00 and 8:05/mile for each loop. People still complained -- too fast, too slow. Whatever.

As has been mentioned keeping the group from rabbiting can be kind of tough. Fortunately, our pace leaders were very militant about checking up with each other for feedback and directing runners -- "This should be easy for you. This is a long run and should be like a Sunday stroll. We're at mile 2. If this feels fast, that means it is too fast and you should be in another group." "How fast did you say you'd run your half marathon two weeks ago? 1:44:30? That's like 8:00 pace for you half p.r.! What the hell are you doing in this group? At the next loop, you are commanded to drop back with the 8:30's." "Hey, you guys are going to fast. The group's not going to do 7:45's with you. So, speed up and move ahead of the group and make your own." "That mile was faster, but it was easy terrain. There'll be an adjustment later in the loop. Don't worry everyone." It's shocking how many people sign up for groups mismatched to their target pace. One chick who joined us for the fast finish pace was targeting 3:30. Given her performance yesterday, she should be shooting for 3:10 (and after talking to her afterwards, I think she's going to revisit her goals). On the other hand, there were a number of people trying to run 8:00's who should have been trying to run 9:00s or 9:30s. Can't talk to everyone, but hopefully when some people above were screamed at spoken to, we kept at least a few from having a LTR burnout that'd shake their training confidence.

At mile 16, Uris and I broke off a group for a fast finish. About 10 of the 30 or so left in the group went with us. The target was "faster than 7:30 for the last 4 miles." I took the lead about a 1/2 mile and was running what I considered a smooth pace. Not straining at all, but going fast. It was a pace I could run for 4 or 8 and seemed reasonable -- especially since everyone was going with me. After the first mile, we found out the pace was about 6:50. One poor schmuck was shocked by this and came up to yell at Uris, "I thought this was the 8:00 group! That was 6:50!" Uris says, "This isn't the 8:00 group anymore and you'd have known that if you didn't have headphones in because you'd have heard the announcement. Don't blame me that you can't pay attention. This is the fast finish group. Why do you want to wear those stupid things when running with a group anway?" I love European bluntness. Anyway, that last 4 was absolutely no struggle, I felt fantastic and but for the pace-ees, I'd likely have run it faster. But, no joke, I killed them as soon as we hit the top of cat hill -- "We're on the flat! Move people! You're over the hill! Don't you dare quit on me now! This is the last mile of YOUR marathon! Hard to the finish!" We ran the last 4 miles in 27:00 flat, 6:45/mile. It felt fantastic and after we finished, when someone joked that we should do another 6, well, I actually entertained the thought of doing another loop.

Saturday afternoon, Erin and I spent the day at Bed, Bath and Beyond, the Container Store and K-Mart. Today, we've succeeded in restructuring about half our apartment (we now have bikes hanging from the bedroom ceiling!) and in making a lot of places on the walls where pictures now need to be hung. Thank you Jesus for spackle.

Finally, on the way to the gym this morning Erin and I were having a debate over whether "mosey" or "saunter" had a meaning with more intention behind it. I took the position that "moseying" required more thought because you "mosey on over" to a destination, but one can "saunter" without really going anywhere. Erin's thought was that "sauntering" required more thought because "moseying on over" implies a good bit of meandering, while "sauntering" is more moving from 'a' to 'b', albeit slowly. It's been a vicious debate that only two people growing up on the borders of the South could properly have, but does anyone else have thoughts? Let's see if anyone else can outmatch Erin and me for dorkiness! (And no online dictionary citations. That'd be cheating.)

Week in Review

MondayRest -- --
Tuesday8.0 miles57:55
7:14 avg.
Wednesday11.3 miles 1:28:11 7:48/mile
Thursday5.0 miles38:40
FridayRest -- --
Saturday 20.0 miles
Sunday6.0 miles48:05
Total50.3 Miles -- --

Friday, September 15, 2006


A couple weeks ago, I finished reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I was really excited going into this book because of how much I enjoyed The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Unfortunately, it was not "as powerful as the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," as the cover promised. And I must admit some disappointment.

Kafka is a coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old runaway from Tokyo that quickly spins out into Murakami's "normal" bizarre world where metaphors actually invade reality; it addresses memory and the soul, especially how people can become trapped in the past. And the fact that I could sum up the book in a single compound sentence is the problem! For example, HBWEW dealt with many of the same topics (and Murakami performed a half-assed recycle of much of HBWEW's symbolism for Kafka), but left so many unanswered questions for the reader to deal with that after I finished it I was completely confused. On the other hand, Kafka winds up in such a neat way, all loose ends tied up -- everyone happy -- that it could be broadcast on Lifetime (well, maybe not Lifetime, but definitely WB). If you need a beach read that's challenging enough to actually be interesting, Kafka's a good choice. (As Erin put it, "Some stories are just stories.") If you're looking for a great book, I'd go with one of Murakami's other works.

In other news, I'm pace-leading the 8:00/mile group on NYRRC's 20 mile training run this weekend with the other Flyers. The instructions I received included this:

10:00 pace and up - the NYRR will begin to breakdown the water stops at 11:00 am [the run starts at 7:00] - if you notice the water tables are disappearing while you are finishing your run, make sure to know locations of water fountains on the 4 mile loop and ask your group if they need to stop.
If I haven't expressed my amazement at people who run marathons slower than 4 hours on this blog before, allow me to do so now. It's not so much the amount of time and dedication during the race itself that I find so impressive, but the amount of dedication required to put in the time to do the miles of training. I mean, for each 20 miler a 10:00/mile person is out 40:00 minutes longer than I am . . . week after week after week. And longer on the other runs too. You guys are ridiculous!

Wednesday: 11.3 mile Queensboro Loop, 1:28:11 (7:48/mile).
Thursday: 5.0 mile Williamsburg Bridge O&B, 38:40 (7:44/mile).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Slow down rabbit-run. Must have been excited about getting my MCM bib number (1883), because I tried my best to fly through today's run, which was the Pulaski O&B modified so I could hit McCarren Park's track for some intervals. I caught my watch at 2/3 of a mile . . . 4:00 flat including time waiting on traffic! Where the hell'd that come from?!? Last week I couldn't break 8:00mm for a run and this morning I'm going faster than my planned interval pace on the warmup? I, ahem, slowed down at that point but still went through 2.75 miles at 7:17 pace. For those of you keeping score at home, BQ pace is 7:15.

I was actually kind of nervous at that point. I mean, this was supposed to be the warmup for 5X600m and I still had 1.25 miles to go before I even got to the track! But the intervals went off pretty well. They were a little tougher than the same workout two weeks ago. On the other hand, in the workout two weeks ago my "warmup" wasn't quite so tough. In fact, the prior workout had an overall average about 20s/mile less tough.

Oh, and the knee felt fantastic today. Back to normal, back on the horse.

8 miles: 57:55 (7:14 avg pace), including
5X600m@ 2:15, 2:05, 2:10, 2:10, 2:08

Monday, September 11, 2006

Such a Klutz

Had an unplanned day off this weekend. My apartment's a duplex with a tight, spiral staircase. Friday night, I became rather intimately familiar with about half the steps after my sock clad feet learned why friction is useful, and my ass, knee and shoulder learned exactly how hard wooden steps and an iron railing can be. So, rather than doing the 20 mile Palisades Run with the Flyers on Saturday, I was instead (when I woke up) trying to just straighten my leg without feeling like an ice-pick was rooting around in my left knee, and (later in the day) trying to figure out just exactly how much weight I could put on my left knee before cringes were induced. Ugh.

After taking it easy, by Saturday night, the knee felt solid enough for normal walking around and, when I woke on Sunday it'd only re-stiffened a little. So, I decided to plan to run for a couple hours and see what happened. If the knee was a problem, it's fortunately never far to the subway and I could bag it. Well, let me tell you, despite some stiffness in the early miles, and some soreness on the downhill side of the Williamsburg Bridge, it held up well and I managed to get in 18.25 miles in 2.5 hours. Did a little exploring too, since I was so bummed about not getting to run across the GW Bridge. (If you haven't noticed from my routes all over New York, exploring is one of my favorite parts of marathon training.) Cut up the Upper East Side's East River Promenade to Randall's Isle, an island in the East River between Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx that I'd never been to before. Randall's has a lot of park land, which would likely be quite bucolic if it weren't dominated by the Tri-Borough Bridges. Sunday was a beautifully cool, and sunny day, although I could have done without the north-wind beating back at me the whole way up the East River. The image is of Boreas, the North-Wind, abducting Oreithya from a red-figure oinoche on display at the Louvre. ("Rape of Oreithyia by Boreas," by the Salting Painter, ca. 360 BC)

I'd thought to perhaps move the 5 miler I missed over the weekend to Monday morning, but after my long run the knee stiffened up again. So, I've decided another day off is probably for the best. Then, hopefully things can proceed normally beginning tomorrow. I think another day of Tylenol will take care of this problem, but I have to admit to being really t.o.'d Saturday morning when I thought my marathon was going to be derailed by my Friday choice of work socks!

Week in Review

MondayRest -- --
Tuesday6.1 miles49:208:05/mile
Wednesday11.3 miles 1:31:06 8:06/mile
Thursday12.15 miles1:39:308:11/mile
FridayRest -- --
Saturday Rest -- --
Sunday18.25 miles2:30:008:13/mile
Total47.75 Miles -- --

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Work with me, People!

So, the weather in NYC post-Ernesto has been fantastic. I went for my Tuesday run and the first thing I thought was, "Gee, it's a little nipply out here." (OK. That was the second thing. The first thing was, "Why did I not run the day after that 21 miler? My quads are killing me.) And although this fantastic weather makes me want to run fast and far . . . traffic's been killing me! I may have to rethink some of my routes, because with NYC schools back in session, I can't recall when I've spent so much of my "run time" waiting for lights to change. For example, I counted off over 4 minutes of downtime in today's 12 miler waiting on lights. Geez! See, the problem (at the risk of sounding like NY Flygirl discussing Central Park) is that I get slowed down by the extra school traffic and buses pre-7:00, and then I don't make it home before rush hour picks up. Come on! The weather's great people! The kids can freakin' bike to school!

Let's see . . . I feel like complaining today, but the only other thing I've got's work. As I've said before, doing 12-13 hours and getting home at 10:15 makes getting up at 5:30 for 12 miles tough. (Speaking of Nyflygirl, looks like she's joining me on having life winnowed down to office and running.) It was somewhat disconcerting to, after realizing that I've run 29+ miles for the past three days, which is pretty good, to also realize that I've been in the office waaaay more hours than that. On the other hand, it's pretty cool the inbox is overflowing; at least it makes it less likely I'll be downsized. ;)

On to running . . . As I mentioned, the quads were killing me Tuesday. Good it was a recovery day. They were still tender on Wednesday, so I decided to take a page from Ryan and Mouse's handbook and skip Pfitzenger's proposed 7 mile tempo run, replacing it was a G.A. run instead. Really, a 7 mile tempo run? I'm not too shabby, but that'd take me well over 45 minutes at the fast end of McMillan's tempo range (based on my 5 mile time). That means that for a lot of folks, if tempo pace is approximately the pace that could be maintainted for an hour, a 7 mile T-Run is pretty damn close to a full out race! Perhaps someone with a little more physiology knowledge can explain this one to me? Today was a scheduled rest day, with 12 scheduled for tomorrow. Switched those so that I can (hopefully, assuming work doesn't interfere) do 20 with the Flyers in the Palisades on Saturday. Although all the runs the past few days have been slower than normal, leg soreness, lingering fatigue from Sunday's 21 and heavier vehicular traffic account for enough of a difference that I'm not concerned about it. But you better believe some of my routes are going to change!

Billy Br. O&B
+McCarren Park
Park 12
6.1 miles11.3 miles12.15 miles

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why alcohol and 20 milers don't mix . . .

But first . . . something completely different:

So, Saturday, thanks to Ernesto's aftershocks, I hit the gym for the first time in long time for an "easy" 6. I was running on the treadmill and saw what I thought was one of the best college football signs I've seen in a while. The program was GameDay on ESPN, and the hosts were on location at Georgia Tech doing pre-game analysis of the GT-Notre Dame game that'd occur that afternoon. Game Dayy is set up with the analyst desk in the foreground and hoardes of screaming college students in the background. The last piece of this story, GT has an All-American wide receiver named Calvin Johnson.

So, the sign . . . It says:

Defeating the
Since 1509.

Despite the fact that 1509 was John Calvin's birth-year, and he didn't publish his major works until 30 years later, I remain impressed that someone came up with these connections. AND, it's all the more impressive because I'm sure that someone came up with that sign after downing at least a six-pack of beer. I only saw it once; Erin thought that ESPN had probably decided to cut away from it before it offended someone. Great. You can't even make clever remarks about guys who've been dead for 400 years any more.

For the run, I did an easy 5 and then dropped it to MP (6:58) for the last mile.

On Sunday, I took a hit of LSD -- 21.5 miles in 2:58:30 (8:18 pace). That's significantly slower than my last 20 miler, but I intentionally slowed the first miles way down and I added in some extra hills (the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges) early so that on the later miles I'd be more fatigued. And, of course, 8:18/m is well within Pfitzenger's recommendation to run LSD's within 20% of MP. Fine run, pleasant day, I'd be up for more but . . .

After the run . . . it's Labor Day weekend. So, last night I pulled my dehydrated, fuel deprived body over for a gathering of folks who're off work today. Didn't have all that much to drink (a couple wines, a couple beers, a Manhattan), but felt totally hammered this morning. Note to self, give at least a day after the long run before a night out on the town. Anyway, at least today's a quasi-off-day from the office.

Week in Review
Monday9.0 miles70:007:47/mile
Tuesday7.0 miles53:007:34/mile
WednesdayRest/Travel -- --
Thursday8.0 miles60:557:37 avg
FridayRest -- --
Saturday6.0 miles46:007:40/mile
1 mile@6:58
Sunday21.5 miles2:58:308:18/mile
Total51.5 Miles -- --

That makes three of the last four weeks over 50 miles. Rockin'.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hello Fall, Hello Hurricane

Well, I'm back from vacation and I can tell from the total lack of blog comments that my friends were totally worried about my leaving Lexington, KY on Sunday. Sarcasm aside, this was a horrible tragedy that hopefully won't be repeated anytime soon. We were able to see both emergency vehicles and the huge morass of news vans on our way out of town Sunday afternoon. It's just plain sad.

Moving on to more personal news, after a week of barbeque mutton, golfing, spending time with the family and the in-laws and Ale-8-One (which I simply must have shipped to me), it's back to NYC and the daily grind today, just in time to welcome Hurricane Ernesto to the City tomorrow. Oh, and congratulations to Cat and Nathan, whose wedding was the reason for the whole trip!

Running-wise, I finally got to check out Muhlenberg County's brand-spanking new Rails-to-Trails conversion, which is a fantastic resource to the County's health. (For those of you unfamiliar with my home, John Prine immortalized it in an old Bluegrass protest song, "Paradise." Download it and you've pretty much got the picture.) It's somewhat shocking, but everyone that I talked to had been out to bike the length of the new 6 mile trail. I'm so impressed with this health resource (that's totally being used -- I saw dozens of people) as it's the largest such conversion in Kentucky. It's a great effort for the Nation's fifth fattest state. I also took runs in the super-hilly UK arboretum and along the old mine road across from my parent's house, where I scared the pants off a flock of quail and saw a tugboat floating down the Green River. The mine road was a fantastic cross-country run, involving gravel, mudholes, beanfields and animals (sheep, cattle and goats!). Definitely back to nature after all the time in the City.

I think that's a pretty solid summary; and I'll leave out more detail so that this post doesn't turn into a small book. All told, despite the trip I'm still more or less on plan, with only the two exceptions of a failed MP run (hills + 85F + 30s/mile faster than MP for first 2 miles = crash!) and a missed 6 mile general aerobic run (hung-over from wedding), which I have to consider a total success. Here's the last week:

Aug. 246.1 miles46:227:36/m
Aug. 2614.5 miles
MP Run (failed)
7:39 avg.
Aug. 289.0 miles
Aug. 297.0 miles
Mine Road
Aug. 318.0 miles60:55
7:36 avg.