Monday, August 28

Junk Miles

Due to road construction along my regular run route, I had to cut my morning run a little short. So, when I got home this afternoon, I tried to get in some additional road time. Ouch. Those 3 measly little miles hurt far more than the 8 this morning. I was reminded--amidst the heat and humidity--just why junk miles are never really worth the time and the effort. Hopefully, tomorrow I will get in an earlier start so that I won't be tempted to repeat my folly.


My milage was down a bit this past week. Nevertheless, according to the Nike-Plus website, which compiles statistics from all the runners around the world who use the new Nike-iPod system--the milage was sufficient to place me third in my age group. Third in the world! (Well, third in the world among those who happen own this system and who happen to use it every time they run and who happen to post their data whenever they use it--but hey, those are small distinctions)! Third!

Saturday, August 26

Big Difference

"The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank." Dr. George Sheehan

"Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." Dr. George Sheehan

The Courage of Your Lungs

"I always loved running--it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." Jesse Owens

Another Short Long Run

I was going to try a long run yesterday, but my weariness kept me to just 6 miles. This morning was not much better at 8 miles. I'll try to supplement in a little while with an additional 3, but it looks like my next possible shot at a long run will be early Monday morning. That's really fine since I am a little ahead of schedule on everything except the long runs. Everything I read says that rest and recovery are among the most important components of a training program. Maybe I'll start to believe that sometime soon.

Friday, August 25

Weary Were the World

I was going to do another long run this morning. But, I got off to a late start, my truck was nearly out of gas, and when I finally got myself out and running, I found that my legs were just numb with weariness. As the great Belloc poem for Advent intones, "Weary, weary were the world."

And, no wonder. For the last three days in a row, I have left the house before 5:30 AM, not eaten well during the day, and then not returned home until after 10 PM. That's not exactly a good prescription for training. But, I've just had a slew of appointments, meetings, and classes to teach. So, there you have it.

Despite all this, I was able to run 6 early morning miles on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, and 6 today. Now, my Plan B is to do a long run tomorrow morning--I should get some good relaxation today because I only have three meetings to attend (it is my day off after all). I'll rest on Sunday. Then get in a second long run early, early on Monday morning.

Monday, August 21

Long Run

My long run hit two snags early this morning: first it started raining and then I looked at my watch and realized I had miscalculated the time necessary to complete the run. So, I ended up cutting the run short. I was able to complete just under 15 miles. But, that now means that I am going to have to somehow carve out more long run time later this week--perhaps on Friday or Saturday morning. Because I teach during the mornings starting tomorrow, I will have to get up extra early for the next several days just to make sure I stay on track with my training regimen. If I can get out the door at 5 AM, that should be sufficient. That's my goal at any rate.

Going Hard

"I always believe in going hard at everything, whether it is Latin or Mathematics, Boxing or Football, but at the same time I want to keep the sense of proportion. It is never worthwhile to absolutely exhaust one's self or to take big chances unless for an adequate object. I want you to keep in training the faculties, which would make you, if the need arose, able to put your last ounce of pluck and strength into a contest. But I do not want you to squander these qualities." Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, August 18

On Track

For the first time, I've had a good, full week of training that has me completely on my target times and distances. For the first time ever. This was largely accomplished because I was away at the start-of-the-year-camp that Franklin Classical School hosts for its students each year. I had good free time early in the morning (high schoolers sleep as late a you'll let them) and in the late afternoon.

It was hot and hilly, but I am so glad to have gotten in the injury-free miles.

I am on track to have my first-ever over-50-mile week. All I need to do is figure out how to get in my final 15-mile long run. It should not be too difficult--last Saturday, I was able to log a good 17-miler, so this oughta be more than doable.

Wednesday, August 9

Miles to Go

"Good things come slowly--especially in distance running." Bill Dellinge

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

"Some runners like to train a hundred miles per week because it's a round number. But I think fifty is a lot rounder." Don Kardong

"If you want to win something, run a hundred meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." Emil Zatopek

"Anyone can run twenty miles. It's the next six that really count." Barry Magee

"A marathon is a twenty-mile warm-up and then a six-mile war of mind, body, and spirit." Tristan Gylberd

The Ultimate Test

I should have a better idea of my current conditioning by the end of this week. I have stuck pretty closely to my marathon training schedule for several days. My mileage is adding up nicely. And I am, thus far, injury free. The ultimate test will be my long run this weekend. I really need to have a good, solid 16-20 mile effort on top of the five-milers I've been doing every morning. If I can do that, I will feel all little more confident moving ahead with my aggressive race plans--despite my pokey average training pace.

Monday, August 7

Nasty, Brutish, and Short

I can't imagine how I could possibly squeeze in more training time than I already am. It seems as if I steal every available minute to either run or ride--or perhaps even trudge along on the elliptical. And still, I am only doing about half of the miles that I am supposed to be doing (according to a fairly standard marathon training schedule). How do people do this? And how do they keep the quality and pace up?

Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is my stage. I don't know. But, I am a lot slower and a lot more lethargic than I thought I would be this far along in my training. My workouts seem to be a bit like the Malthusian and Utilitarian vision of everyday life as articulated by Thomas Hobbes: "nasty, brutish, and short."

Early yesterday morning before church, I got in a quick three-miles. I was still very sore from all the biking I did on Saturday. So, I was even slower than ususal. Then, last night I ran a little one-mile warm down. Oy veh! Was it ever stiff and creaky. The decrepitude continued this morning when I slogged through a five-miler at a snail's pace.

I'll try to run another couple of miles this afternoon, but this is getting harder and more complicated rather than easier and simpler. Nasty, brutish, and short, indeed!

Saturday, August 5

Regions 5K

The second annual Regions Bank 5K was run this morning under misty skies and amidst considerable milder temperatures than what we have experienced during the past three weeks or so. It was blessed relief to run this very, very challenging, hilly course under better conditions than I'd expected. Don't get me wrong, it was still hot and muggy. But, it was tolerable. And the 250 or so runners had a great time. What a way to start off the Williamson County Fair.

When I got back home I jumped on my bike for a quick 12-mile ride. I stuck close to home so I was able to avoid the hills.

I love my new Shimano clips and shoes--they are so, so, so much better than my old ones. A "What Not to Wear" maxim is "Shoes make or break an outfit." Well, I don't know much about fashion--and I doubt that I ever will--but, I do know that in both biking and running, that maxim is all too true.

Floyd Responds

On his blog site, Floyd Landis has responded to charges that he took performance enhancing drugs during his amazing Tour de France victory:

In the past week, I have gone from the "Top of the World" to the depths of scandal. I have been thrust into the international spotlight and am being asked to defend myself against something that I did not do, for reasons that I do not understand. Although this has been a hard time for my family and me, we are confident that I will be vindicated. I am innocent of any wrongdoing and want to take an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions that exist regarding the situation.

It is widely known that the test in question, given as a urine sample after my victorious ride on stage 17 of the Tour de France, returned an abnormal T/E ratio from the A sample. I want to be entirely clear about one point of the test that has not been fairly reported in the press or expressed in any statements made by international or national governing bodies; the T value returned has been determined to be in the normal range. The E value returned was LOW, thus causing the skewed ratio. This evidence supports my assertion that I did not use testosterone to improve my performance. I emphatically deny any claims that I used testosterone to improve my performance.

Much has been speculated about the presence of exogenous testosterone in the A sample. Together with some of the leading medical and scientific experts in the world, we are reviewing the documentation about the carbon isotope ratio test. All I can say at this time is that I did not take testosterone, so there must be another reason for the result, as leaked by the UCI.

Beyond the specifics of the testing, however, I am particularly troubled by the actions of the UCI. Information about an "adverse analytical finding" was prematurely released by the UCI in order "to avoid a known leak" within the lab. A direct statement followed from UCI President Pat McQuaid that left little to infer as to whose test was in question.

I was notified of the A sample results while attending post-Tour criteriums in Europe. As a result of these breeches in protocol, confidentiality and disregard for due process, I view this as a clear violation of my rights as a professional racer licensed by the UCI.

I became the center of media attention with little time to understand the nature of the A sample results, possible causes or explanations. As I tried to come to terms with the situation, my statement and attempts to understand the results were interpreted as excuses before I had time to fully grasp the facts of the case. The inappropriate actions of the UCI has caused undue, and potentially irreparable, harm to my reputation and character. I feel I am being prosecuted without regard to my basic rights.

It is now my goal to fight to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve. I am a fighter. I did not give up during the Tour and I won't give up now, no matter what the results of the B sample are.

Thursday, August 3

Fairly Faster

Yesterday, I had my faster training 5K ever. Then this morning, I had my fastest 4-miler ever. The key has been wise use of my Nike+iPod training system--and of course, getting out before the sweltering heat settles in for the day.

Tomorrow, after several meetings, I am going to just go for a long bike ride--as a cross-training exercise. Then on Saturday, I will test my new-found speed at the Regions 5K race at the Williamson County Fair.


I've been using the new Nike+iPod system--or at least a "hack" of the new system. It has been really fascinating, fun, and surprisingly helpful with my training. I admit that at first I really thought it was just a gimmick, another unnecessary gadget. Of course, I am a sucker for unnecessary gadgets, so I went to the Apple Store and bought one as soon as I could. I strapped it on, signed up for the free web-based account, and started running with it. And now almost two weeks later, all I can say is "wow."

For many runners, music is an essential part of their workout. It isn't always for me. I love to run just listening to the sounds of nature. I also don't like the intrustion into my thinking and praying that music can sometimes be. But, even I like to run to Psalms or Hymns or new music every once in a while.

I do understand however, why iPods, have seemingly become both iconic and ubiquitous in the running community. The iPod can hold thousands of digital songs or dozens of e-books or the whole e-Bible or the Scottish Psalter or whatever--and then it can store playlists that you can arrange in strategic order especially for exercising. Various armbands, belts, clips and other accessories make it easy to carry your iPod with you while working out--especially if you have a Shuffle or a Nano (I use the Nano).

With the new Nike+iPod system you can do more than just play the soundtrack to your run--you can actually take along a virtual running coach. Apple and Nike teamed up to create a really nifty gizmo. Now, the iPod can measure your progress as you run, report it to you orally at regular intervals, and then post it to a Web site that tracks your workouts over time.

The $29 kit contains two small pieces: a receiver that plugs into the bottom of an iPod Nano and a small sensor that fits into a pocket in the inner sole of specially designed Nike running shoes. While you're listening to your iPod, the sensor calibrates your pace, distance and other data, and sends it wirelessly to your iPod, where it is stored and even announced every so often as you run. Upon returning from your run, you can plug your iPod into your laptop and load its data onto the free site at, where you can view your progress. The charts, graphs, personal records, challenges, and other features are really informative and very motivational.

Now here's the thing: I don't wear Nike shoes. I wear Brooks. And I have no intention of changing. So, what I do is slip the sensor into a little key pocket that attaches to my laces. It works perfectly that way. Others have hacked the system by attaching velcro or simply tying the sensor right to the laces. Any and all of the above are suitable ways to take advantage of the system without having to actually wear Nikes.

I've been using the system for more than a week now--and I love it. It is as accurate as a bulky GPS, easier to use, contains many more practical features, much cheaper, and lots, lots, lots more fun. Having Lance Armstrong's voice (or Paul Radcliff's) congratulate you on a good workout or a record time is a hoot!

Oh yes, and because it was designed by Apple, it is elegantly, simply, and brilliantly designed. I'm hooked.

Tuesday, August 1

Much Better

My run this morning was much better than yesterday's sweltering disaster, primarily because I started much earlier. In fact, I was out so early that only the wild turkeys and the deer were the only living things astir at the time. I still lost all energy and pep by the end of the four-miler I ran, but it was so much easier to get through than the zombie-lunge I attempted yesterday.