Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Love My Lips

4.1 miles on treadmll, 7:07 average pace - 6:42 incline adjusted. More tired than I "should" have been. Noticed 2 miles in that it was set at 2.0 incline rather than my usual 1.5, accounting for a little extra fatigue, but it was also after work, which is usually not my best time, and ... take it easy, you're still a little sick.

Shin's definitely worse for wear, no apparent problem running (wore Nike Frees), but quite tender to touch after. I better lay off though for a few days before I risk a stress fracture, at least the way I feel right now, it's a few days resting and/or on the elliptical, and a shortened long run this weekend, to 7.2 (which also sucks because I can never seem to prevent myself from racing through that route), deal with it. Still 16 weeks to the Vermont City Marathon.

Anyway, who cares, the best thing is that Z & J still love Veggie Tales. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to them that I hadn't heard them playing any Veggie Tales music or movies recently, and J especially made a face, poo-pooed the idea that an 8 year old of his stature would still consider Veggie Tales worthy of his attention. Then out of nowhere they're making and listening to Veggie Tales play lists, watching the videos, singing, dancing, goofing around. They're not grown up yet!
I love my lips!

Sweet, Alan Culpepper will be running Boston again this year, along with Meb Keflezighi) - two top American marathoners, could be the best American showing in ages.

Slightly interesting tidbit, thirsty people feel more pain.

Geek alert. This is amazing: DHTML Version of Apple OS X. But besides being an interesting and almost incredible technocological achievement and curiosity, I'm not sure what the point is. Is this useful?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Doctor Z

Not feeling that great this morning, more congestion. Saw Dr. Z, sez it's bronchitis, but not too bad, should be better by mid week. Also blood work to check my iron levels. Not going to run, shin's a little tender now, after feeling fine after my treadmill 10 miler yesterday, but decided to go to the club to just walk, not even elliptical, too tired.

I walked 3 miles on treadmill, first one briskly (4.7 - 5.1 mph), then for the next 1.5 I did silly walks, alternating between walking on my heels, slow, at a very low incline, and then walking on my toes, at a very high incline. Also alternating between toes pointing straight ahead, inward, and outward. Supposedly this should help strengthen a bunch of shin/calf muscles. Must of looked like an idiot at any rate. Then walked another half.

Was going to try the rowing machine, 'cause someone I was chatting with at the club a few days ago said it was good actually for strengthening the front shin muscles, the way your feet pull back on the straps. But the machine was taken, I wanted to get home and sleep.

It's ridiculous I haven't got this shin thing licked yet, I'm constantly doing strengthening exercises, I changed shoes, soft run on surfaces, iced, cross train, NSAIDs, bromelain, saw doctor, xray, MRI (at least for the right, negative), all the standard stuff, I even finally slowed down.

The right shin was originally the problem, from spring 2004, when I started running consistently again, on/off through mid summer 2005, when it mysteriously disappeared, and was replaced by more vague occasional left shin tenderness, but both were good for Hood to Coast, then the left gradually become more chronically sore, a bit lower than the right, in fall 2005 through now.

Looking at some basic anatomy, I think the tenderness is in one or more of the following, all soft tissue next to or behind the inside of the left tibia, about two inches about the funny bone.
  • flexor digitorum longus (the muscle right behind the tibia)
  • long saphenous vein
  • saphenous nerve
  • posterior tibial vessels
  • tibial nerve

I'm pretty sure it's not a stress fracture, it's a similar situation to the right shin, which is okay now, and that wasn't a stress fracture. And this article says "when a stress fracture is present, tenderness is usually noted that extends horizontally across the front of the tibia." I definitely do not have this symptom.

At some point I'm just gonna bag it. The thing is, it never even hurts when I run, sometimes I can feel some sensations, tightness, a presence, but not pain; there's only pain if I start poking and prodding with my finger, I don't know if I'm being oversensitive, maybe I should just forget it, keep running until it actually hurts while running. I'm just afraid of the damage that may be done. Awe quitcher bellyachin' and get back to work.

I have tried most of the exercises described in this MTSS article; I need to be more vigilant.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Treadmill Treat

Well that was treat, 10.2 miles on a treadmill today, 7:45 average pace (middle 8.2 @ 7:39; 7:34 incline adjusted); longest ever there. Couldn't bear running in the cold/drizzle, but also figured the treadmill's softer on my shin, and I knew I'd run slower on treadmill, which I really needed to do since I'm still a little sick, congested. Fairly tough, really tired by mile 6, wanted to give up by 7.5, felt better once I got to 2 miles to go though, I can handle anything for 2 miles.

I still don't understand why I tire so much easier on treadmill than outside, I do usually incline it at 1.5 to 2.0 but still. Last weekend's 12 miler at 7:04 pace seemed, at least in retrospect, to be less effort than today's 10 at 30+ seconds per mile slower. I bet the freedom and variation in speed outside has something to do with it, I usually stay at the same pace on treadmill for a mile at a time, increasing slightly with each mile. There ought to be a treadmill setting to randomly change speed continuously within a range.

Anyway, got it done, hope this gets easier. The really great thing is that it was a good healthy run, good for my legs to slow down, easier on the shin, which is not at all worse for wear, in fact it seems less tender than before I ran, go figure.

Just 24 miles this week, after 33, 32, and 38 for the past three, but that's fine, got sick and previously I'd been averaging barely 18 mpw for the previous umteen weeks, way back to Hood to Coast last August, I needed a lighter week. I'm sure I broke the running gods' rule about increasing mileage to quickly; thankful I'm doing as well as I am.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Heebee Jeebees

Man, I was high this morning, slugged down a little too much Robitussin-DM, in the middle of the night, trying to kick this chest cold. I was getting the heebee jeebees. I don't know what that really means, but growing up in my family it came to mean that quasi-hallucinogenic state you get in when you're sick and have a fever or something. Drifting in/out of consciousness, very vivid close up visual images (I see maps sometimes). Hypnagogic hallucinations I think they're called (well, I know it's called that now, since I just looked it up and created a link, silly.)

Also, dreaming about running, and got this unusual sense of calm and confidence, slight euphoria even, that all will be well, this cold will get better, my shin will get better, I'll train for that marathon, and all will be right with the world. An over-the-counter-drug induced state of bliss. Thanks, Robitussin.

And I do still feel better, taking a rest/sick day, I think I'm getting better, maybe I'll even run tomorrow; if the shin's tender, maybe I'll suck it up and try to do a record 90 minutes on the elliptical (I wonder if that's even beneficial.)

So given this fleeting moment of irrational calm and confidence, and some info/encouragement from Mike, I think I just may really take the plunge, and go sign up for the Vermont City Marathon today.

Picked up the new Vonnegut book I mentioned a few days ago. Fancies himself a bit of a Luddite, here's what he says about online communities:

"Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anyone tell you any different."

He's great; I didn't realize he was such a leftie, quite irrational sometimes too, but he's still great. He rips into Bush et.al. with exquisite hatred, calling him a PP — psychopathic personality — a personable person who has no conscience. A fun (not exactly the right word) read.

Reminds me, I saw the audiobook for this book at the store a few weeks ago, The Sociopath Next Door. I almost bought it, but it gave me the creeps. It claims that 4% of the population are PPs, people who are able to act like any other decent human being, but there's really nobody home, a genetic brain defect, no moral sense (which, imo, is innate, like language, vision) — one out of every 25 people, good grief! Like the American Psycho guy. Freaked me right out. Let's hope it's not true.

Btw, recently (re)watched the very excellent Empire of the Sun with my kids and realized the main kid, the actor, Christian Bale, is the American Psycho guy. How 'bout that.

And from the Why Didn't I Think Of That file — The Million Dollar Home Page.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Birthday

Was going to do another rest day, I'm a bit sick, chest cold or something, and the shin's still tender to the touch. But something drove me to go to the gym for an elliptical workout, 47 minutes; I thought it might knock out the congestion, no such luck. Also walked for a half mile, 5 mph. Don't know if I'll do a long run this weekend or not, que sera sera.

I better sign up for the Vermont City Marathon soon before it's filled up (maxes out at 3600, at 3000 now), hesitating 'cause I still have serious doubts as to whether I can actually follow through with this thing, I've got 17 weeks now, been doing 32+ miles for the past three weeks now, theoretically do-able. (In theory, theory and practice should be the same, but in practice they usually aren't.)

And, Happy Birthday, Herr Mozart!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dangerous Ideas

Caught just a snippet of Christopher Lyden's Open Source last night, on Dangerous Ideas, especially got my attention because one of my favorite thinkers/authors, Steven Pinker, was on. So I listened to all of it today from the Web site, good show.

One of my favorite dangerous ideas was from Pinker, the idea that science may one day (soon) find substantive genetic based differences between human races. I for one wouldn't be surprised — it certainly appears that a disproportionate number people from central Africa seem predisposed to world class distant running. And I've worked with enough Asian people to wonder if they have naturally superior intellects. I think it's even been shown, fairly definitively, that Ashkenazi Jews are of superior intelligence due to natural (or artificial/social) selection. Imagine how crazy people would go it was shown that blacks were genetically intellectually inferior to whites, or the other way around; as Pinker says, society is just not currently equipped to deal with such things.

I also appreciated the notion (attributed to O.E. Wilson, I believe) that religion may not simply be a strange artifact from our ignorant ancestors, but that the human desire to believe in God/religion is itself a characteristic which evolved through natural selection, because it has survival power, and further, the notion that God Himself set things up that way, precisely so humans would strive to know Him.

Pinker says we may just come to view our belief in religion sort the way we recognize our own limitations when being fooled by optical illusions, or accepting the way talk about the sun rising when we know it does no such thing, or about the table being solid when we know that the physicists tell us it is mostly empty space. I wonder.

I just finished listening to Freakanomics and one interesting or dangerous, certainly controversial idea discussed there is that Roe v. Wade, the legalization of abortion in 1973, was the primary cause of the precipitous drop in crime in the mid 1990's. Reasoning (based on data, say the authors) that the many thousands of aborted fetuses would have disproportionately been born into households known to raise troubled kids (low income, single parent, drug abusers, etc.) A little sobering.

Okay, so this is a running blog, so my dangerous idea is the idea that I stop running, rest day today, giving the shin a break (ouch, I hope not), and I'm antsy already; maybe run tomorrow, maybe elliptical, who knows. 500 sit-ups, 50 push-ups.

Oh look at that, John Kerry has a blog, congressional blogging is catching on apparently. About a dozen members of congress are now blogging, some allowing comments, some not. Interesting, I like it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


7.7 miles on the treadmill today, middle 6.0 at 7:07 average pace (6:46 incline adjusted). Feeling better than yesterday, in my Frees, actually looking forward to the sixth mile during the fifth to hammer it a bit (6:29). The shin's a little worse for wear, icing as I write. Before I started, a young guy next to me, cruising at 8+ mph, 5+ miles, casually asked me how I liked my shoes, said he wanted to try them out — I said 'No way dude, I'm using them', not really, I told him I loved 'em etc. I get so many comments on these, especially the orange ones - anyway, it was kind of like I was in a commercial.

For me, the Frees are great, I've been running in them once or twice a week since last summer, treadmill and outside. I think they've helped to strengthen my feet and lower legs (I don't know for sure as there's no accessible version of me who hasn't been doing this — no control!). It really is similar to barefoot running (which just isn't practical very often); you just naturally (after some initial acclimation) land softer and more midfoot.

Actually, when I first ran in them, my natural inclination was to land totally forefoot, springy, but expended too much energy, wasn't pronating/relaxing enough. Then I gradually found that I could indeed achieve that moment of relaxation on each step, when the foot pronates, relaxes, and becomes for a brief instant a loose bag of bones, by landing midfoot. It was almost a leap of faith, I'd initially been landing forefoot as protection mechanism against the jolt I sensed I get if I landed like I did with shoes. But if you just trust your body, it'll figure out the right thing to do.

I was lucky enough to meet and visit with an Olympic champion — Venuste Niyongabo of Burundi, 5000 meter gold medalist, 1996 Atlanta Olympics — when I was in Oregon last summer for Hood to Coast. Really sweet guy. Anyway, he thought that training in Frees could be very beneficial (as well as barefoot training), but also warned to be careful, not to overdo it (he does work for Nike, btw). This is a pretty good Free review. Of course, the barefoot running community does not approve; well I'm sure if you're a seasoned barefoot runner, Frees must feel like real clodhoppers, but for most of the rest of us, I think they function as designed.

In my travels today, I came across some interesting/sundry marathon stats, and a Maffetone Low Heart Rate Training FAQ — I wonder if there's real merit in this, I don't think I could do it, I'd have to train at a heart rate of 140. I did try a MAF run a while back, couldn't stick to it for even one run! I ended up with 4 miles, 7:33 average pace, 145 average HR — running slower than 7:35 hardly even feels likes running to me (yeah, let's hear you say that in mile 20 of a marathon). Anyway, I just don't seem to have the discipline/patience right now to do this, maybe my loss.

Being a bit of a geek, this book, The Bug, looks like it might be interesting, don't know how it escaped my attention, here's a review. A novel by Ellen Ullman, a former computer programmer, and set within that culture, it's actually about, what else, a bug! Sections of the book are said to delve into The C Programming Language (a classic), that could be going a bit too far, but perhaps kind of like how Melville explores cetology in Moby Dick. Maybe I'll check it out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ride My Seesaw

Treadmill day, 6.5 miles, a mile warm-up and cool-down, 7:07 average pace for the middle 4.5. Started ok, but left hamstring started locking up a bit in mile 4, picked up the pace to 6:55 down to 6:20, to stretch it out a bit for the last mile or so, cut it short, was gonna do 5 miles at pace. Also felt like I was starting to bonk, not enough carbs this morning maybe.

But the first few miles were cruisin', listened to The Moody Blues tune Ride My Seesaw like three times in a row, more than a mile, in perfect rhythm with my stride rate, it's just about exactly 80 beats per minute, that was sweet - started falling apart when I up'd the pace from 7:15 to 7:00, my stride rate had to increase just enough to lose the rhythm.

I really need to slow down more though, according to McMillan my endurance pace should be 7:16 to 8:16, plus I'm at 1.5 incline which makes today's average pace 7:00. Anyway, up to 111 miles for the year so far; last year I didn't hit that until mid April.

So I gotta pick up the new Vonnegut book — A Man Without a Country, it looks good, said to be an angry/funny collection of essays. Nice quote:
"I am now eighty-two. Thanks a lot you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick, and Colon."
M heard an interview with him on the radio the other day, said he said something interesting, in regards to religion, said he's absolutely positive something really amazing is going on, but he has no idea what. I've had the same feeling, that existence itself, is unimaginably bizarre and non-obvious, something truly amazing may be going on, bigger than religion, amazing indeed.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Recovery day after yesterday's 12 miler. Spent 37 minutes on the elliptical; took it (relatively) easy, then walked for a half mile, 4.7-5.1 mph. Feeling okay, shin doesn't even feel that beat up (though I know tenderness is lurking behind the tibia - just don't touch it!).

Saw a print ad today for Nike Air Zoom Vomero running shoes - looked interesting - emphasized natural motion, flexibility, foot control; sounds like something I'd like to try, I'm thinking maybe something between the Nike Free and regular trainers (that's probably optimistic).
I need new shoes, but I can't find these anywhere, and no info online, must be brand new; Marathon Sports sez they'll be getting 'em in within a week to three weeks. They're pretty ugly though, typical looking running shoes, why do they have to make them so ugly, they could at least use some interesting/cool colors, like the Frees. C'mon, looks matters, right?

Kinda interesting news, a new Big Five Marathon Series, involving the Boston, New York, Chicago, London, and Berlin marathons - will award half a million dollars to top men/women finishers in any three of them, over a two year period.

And, could it be, an American win at Boston this April - Meb Keflezighi is going for it.

Btw, today is the worst day of the year, according to a formula developed by Dr. Cliff Arnall at the University of Cardiff, Wales, a researcher of Seasonal Affective Disorder; though this work was actually done for a travel company to help them optimize their advertising timing - apparantly when people feel crappy they tend to book vacations to paradise. If this is the worst day of my year I will be a very happy man.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Long Run

I love hotels. M and I spent the night at a nice one in Boston last night, after M's company's "holiday" party (a little late to call it that, imo); JF stayed overnight with this kids at home. Hotel rooms are soo nice, antiseptic (in a good way), anonymous, and dark, really dark (we usually have hall/bathroom lights on at home with the kids), cozy, sealed, solid, safe, permanent. I like what Moby sez about hotel rooms in his latest album, Hotel:
"why hotel? A variety of reasons, but here's one of them... hotels fascinate me in that they're incredibly intimate spaces that are scoured every 24 hours and made to look completely anonymous. people sleep in hotel rooms and cry in hotel rooms and bathe in hotel rooms and have sex in hotel rooms and start relationships in hotel rooms and end relationships in hotel rooms and etc and etc, but yet every time we check into a hotel room we feel as if we're the first guest and we get very upset if there's any remnant of a previous guests stay. something about this idea, that intimate spaces can be wiped clean every 24 hours, fascinates me. that we enter a hotel room and it becomes our biological home for a while and then we leave. in some way it's similar to the human condition. we exist and we strive and we love and we cry and we laugh and we run around and we sleep and we build things and we have sex and then we die, and, not sound too depressing the world is wiped clean of our biological presence. which, from my perspective, makes out brief biological time here all the more precious due to it's relative brevity."
Anyway, up and out by 10am, slightly, silently, stressing about my long run I'd need to run. Need to get over that - just forget it until I have to do it, it's (almost) always not as difficult as I'd imagined. Anyway, sunny, cold, but not too cold a day.

Went up to me Mum's in NH; her sister, my aunt, and her so, my cousin K, are visiting - haven't seen them in like 30 years, 1976. How weird. But fortunately, it wasn't weird, blood counts, shared genes, shared memories, Grandma, Grandpa. K was 6 the last time I saw him, I was 16, now he's 36, a whole half a lifetime, zip. I did feel like a bit of a jerk at first because just about as soon as we got there, I took off for a long run; it was the only time this weekend I could fit it in. A less obsessed runner would have said screw it, time to visit with family, but I'm a little selfish right now I guess, attempting this marathon training thing. Fortunately, no problem, no one missed me :-), M, J, and Z played games (Sorry, Masterpiece) and visited with everyone.

I'd originally planned on running 13.something, then decided to shorten it to 11 to reduce my time away from family; I mapped out a route using Google Pedometer, which seems very accurate (at least as accurate as my bike odometer - I measured my Lake Quannapowitt loop). So during the run, I took a wrong turn, improvised, and ended up running 12.1 miles. Not bad, slightly stressful not being 100% sure I was on the right track, pretty fatigued by the end of the first hour. Ended with a time of 1:25:34 (7:04 pace) - a little faster than I'd thought. Felt my left shin for a bit during the first couple miles, then occasionally after, then a couple sharp pains after, walking (walked/jogged another quarter with Z after I got back - could hardly keep up!). Seem to be recovering okay though.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Beautiful Day

Finally a nice outdoor run, no snow, no ice, no cold, no wind. 7.4 miles, 6:29 pace, 46:00 for the 7.1 to Lake Quannapowitt around and back. Too fast, of course, for a training run, but that's just what I do, nice weather, had to let loose. It's not quite my record though - that was 45:25, 6:24 pace, about a month ago - the same pace I ran the Veteran's Memorial 11K in - that's insane, I'm racing through my training runs. I'm not the only one who runs too fast most of the time, this guy, Joe Navas, wins lots of local races, says he know it flies in the face of convential training wisdom, but he never does slow runs.

I at least have actually started slowing down recently, had to if I wanted to increase my mileage for my first marathon training. Jeez, just looked at my log, last year at this time I was running just 1-3 times a week, but all treadmill tempos, 4-6 miles, 6:35 to 6:15 pace, I doubt the running gods would've approved.

Oh, I've been drafted, my brother-in-law invited me to be on his Nike Hood To Coast team again this year. Yeah, baby! I hope he can recruit a couple more faster guys, it'd be sweet to beat Powered by Google; we were just 35 minutes behind them last year. We'll need to figure out how get me out to Oregon in August, Idunno if the family's up for another trip out there, might be just me this time.

I'm off now to a pinewood derby, J and I will rule! Well, with any luck the wheels will stay on anyway.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Back To Running

Despite very occasional (few times a day, since yesterday) sharp-ish pains on the bottom of my left foot, and some remaining tenderness (to the touch) on my lower left inner shin, ran 6.2 miles on the treadmill (7:14 average pace, 6:56 incline adjusted for the last 5).

After running mostly in the 7:15 range, kicked it into higher gear in the fifth mile, 6:35, not quite tempo pace but just about. It's an interesting biomechanical shift that takes place, springier, feet spending less time on the ground, not even more difficult in a certain way, feels good letting loose a bit after slogging along for a while. I remember reading that kangaroos actually are more relaxed and expend less energy hopping than standing still (or something like that), I almost get that feeling sometimes, when going slower requires more effort than going faster.

Not new, but I came across an interesting article on the natural selection of endurance running in Homo Sapiens - How Running Made Us Human. “Running has substantially shaped human evolution. Running made us human – at least in an anatomical sense. We think running is one of the most transforming events in human history. We are arguing the emergence of humans is tied to the evolution of running.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Back on the elliptical today, 46 minutes, phew, glad that's over, I despise that thing. Coulda run but my left shin, low inside, has been getting more tender to the touch - doesn't hurt running or walking, only if I touch it - maybe I should just stop touching it! I never know what to do, that's one of the worst parts of running, deciding on workouts, anxiety about shins or other injury. Oh well, I should take a day off anyway, increasing my mileage too fast after running in the 15-24 mpw range for many weeks, the past two weeks have been over 32. Maybe I should get a running coach or something, lots online choices, but it's expensive, and it's not like I'm going to the Olympics any time soon.

So I use a heart rate monitor sometimes, I notice that my perceived effort is much higher on the elliptical for a given heart rate than my perceived effort while running at the same heart rate. Why is that? Just psychological? Does it indicate that running is just a more efficient way to get your heart pumping? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Check it out, the Boston Marathon is changing its start and finish.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Beat Goes On

Another 6.2 miles on the treadmill today. Nothing special, just gettin' 'er done. Did 8 sets of strides during the fifth/sixth mile, about 30 seconds, 6:20-6:00 pace (I was on the mill that maxes out at 10mph), pretty relaxed, 60-90 seconds between each. Shin's a little worse for wear, better get me to an elliptical tomorrow, what a drag.

I'm suprised how much I'm enjoying music while treadmill running, I must look like an idiot, I actually sing along or play air drums sometimes, it can be very motivating; I don't think I'm annoying anyone since everyone else (everyone!) also has headphones on.

I wish the iPod Shuffle had a feature where I could speed or slow the tempo of the song slightly, so I could more often run in sync with the beat. A very few songs are just right, for example, REM's Harborcoat (from their very excellent third album, Reckoning) is good for me - I measured the beats per minute using this nifty beats per minute calculator, it's about 80-81 beats per minute, which jives with what I've measured my (relatively slow) stride rate to be (160-165 strides/steps per minute, at least for my easy-ish training non-tempo runs). There's also a site, JogTunes, which lists beats per minute for songs, but there's nothing much there I like.

So I've gotten in the habit of doing very brisk walks on the treadmill after my runs, like 4.8 to 5.1 mph, for a quarter to half a mile. I can really feel it in my shin muscles. Today I did three quarters, maybe overdid it, later I got a couple sharp pains on the bottom of my left foot - plantar fascia trouble?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hello, world!

Somehow I've got it in my head that I just might be able to run a marathon, maybe. Just to help keep my motivation going, I'll keep track of my progress here.

Today I ran 6.4 miles on the treadmill. I've started something new, running 1 mile warm-ups and cool-downs. Conventional wisdom says I should always do this, but being a somewhat impatient fellow, I usually just do a quarter before/after. Not only is this the "right" way to do things, it's an easy way to increase my mileage. (Checked with the running gods, it's kosher to include warm-up/cool-down mileage in total logged miles.)

Thought sure I'd be on the elliptical today, but my legs/shins felt surprising okay, after yesterday's hellish 10.5 miles in the freezing windy cold. The route is 2M to the lake, around it (3.1M) twice, and back. The far side of the lake, with no trees was especially tough, the wind whipping me head on, thought my face was gonna freeze off. Plenty of ice on/off the roads helped to further stiffen my gait. Much worse than last weekend's 13.6 miler (three times around the lake - my longest run ever) which was also in the cold, and snowing, but not as bitterly cold.

Anyway, the middle 4.4 of today's 6.4 today was at about 7:10 average pace, too fast for recovery run, oh well (not far from yesterday's 10M 7:08 pace and last weekend's 13M 7:18 pace). If I feel okay tomorrow, I'll do a similar training run, probably in my Nike Frees. The shin (left) seems to be holding up okay, still some tenderness to the touch, inside, a couple inches above the funny bone, but seems no worse for wear, we'll see.

I really don't know if I'll be able to stick with this marathon thing, running is really hard sometimes! But I've been managing to keep it up now, pretty consistently, since April 2004. Ran over a dozen races, dropping my 5K race time from 21:14 to 18:09 and ran the Hood to Coast Relay last August, all on just 5-25 miles per week, not bad, I've come to learn - real runners seem very surprised that I do as well as I do with such puny mileage. I'm running almost as fast as my high school cross country days, 30 years ago! But I was such a slacker then. Anyway, thankful for how it's gone so far; I should have more confidence.

So, trying to up the mileage, become a real runner, hoping it'll make me noticably stronger, I want to kick my shin issues altogether once and for all. I'm over 30 miles for the past two weeks, and should be over 30 miles this week too, with my second 13 miler scheduled (looming) for this weekend — pray for decent weather! I'm really taking it on faith that following a standard marathon training schedule will work.

What I'm shooting for is the Vermont City Marathon on May 29th, I hope to qualify for the 2007 Boston Marathon; I'd need finish in 3:30:59 or better, which theoretically seems do-able (according to the McMillan Running Calculator I should be able to do sub-3:00:00!), but I know actually doing it, training for it, week after week, is quite a different matter - a completely different animal from the 5K-11K races I've been running.