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Omni Runs August 24, 2012

Omni Runs Friday recap

So far this week I’ve managed to run 18.5 miles out of a goal of 24 miles. I’ll probably do 3-4 miles at lunch today and then run a few more miles on Saturday. I’ll be breaking the 10% rule again but these last few runs have been (or will be) at a slow pace and for only about 3 miles. Last night I noticed for the first time in weeks that my leg did not hurt.

Lance Armstrong

lance Armstrong,cycling
telegraph.co.uk

This morning on the news I heard that Lance Armstrong has dropped his fight against the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). I haven’t really paid close attention but this battle has been going on for years. I’d like to think that Lance is innocent and he is just the biggest target for people to go after. I’d like to think that as an elite competitive athlete that he would not want to win at all costs.

The news reports say he has passed hundreds of drug tests over the years. I’m hoping that he was not using some super sophisticated regimen that no one could detect. The technology keeps advancing and the testers are always one step behind. For Olympic athletes I believe they keep their blood samples for 8 years so that newer testing technologies can go back and test for things that may not have been seen initially.

I’m not naive, I know people cheat. At these elite levels the slightest advantage can mean the difference between the yellow shirt and finishing back in the pack. That yellow shirt, or gold medal, can mean millions in endorsement deals and lifelong fame. But if you cheat and get caught, your reputation is gone and your achievements are forever tarnished.

These advanced cheating technologies have not been studied by the FDA or other scientists. Someone may have figured out a better way to bond oxygen to your red blood cells, but do they know the long-term effects on your health? Men have taken steroids before and then found out that their balls shrunk up to about nothing. I’m pretty sure some people have died from taking steroids.

Maybe when you get to the top levels of competition, winning is the only thing in mind. Getting to the finish line first is all that matters. Living to see your grand children or even the ability to have children are not considerations in these situations.

As a casual, amateur “athlete” I cannot conceive of paying this high price to win. For people like me, like you, like us, we win just by getting out there. We get better by putting in the effort we can afford to pull out of our busy lives. Sports and winning are not our lives. And hopefully sports will not be our deaths.

Again, I’m not naive, but I sincerely hope that Lance has nothing to hide and is just tired of the fight. However, I’ve read that he is the most competitive person you will ever meet. He also has all the money in the world, so why give up the legal fight?

What do you think?

A Night on The Town

A Night on the Town

Last night after work a few of us went on a running tour of the bars in Boston. My friend had a colleague visiting from New York and she wanted to show him around.

We ran down Mass Ave to Comm Ave and showed our guest the turns we take on Marathon Day. From Comm Ave – Right on Hereford and left onto Boylston. Then past the Boston Public Library to the Marathon finish line, which to my great dismay is no longer visible on the street.

Pub Number one: Emmets

We meandered through the Public Garden and Boston Common, past Beacon Hill and found a comfy little Irish pub on Beacon Street called “Emmets“. My friends had an Allagash White and I had a Guinness as they were out of O’Hara’s. The crowd was light with people coming in for a drink after work or to grab supper.

For a place on Beacon Hill it had a familiar, friendly neighborhood feel to it. It seemed like the kind of place I’d like to call, “My Bar.”

Freedom Trail wanderings

After about half an hour of conversation and beverages we went out to the street to pick up The Freedom Trail, which served as our guide through town last night. Pointing out historic sites to our guest as we went, we arrived at the Old State House. This was the scene of the Boston Massacre in 1770. Even around 7:30pm on a Wednesday night there were tourists taking photos.

We walked through Haymarket and Faneuil Hall and made our way to The Union Oyster House for a plate of mussels and a couple of Sam Adams Boston Brick Red. We sat in the bar and the staff was fantastic with great service and a few tidbits of history. The Union Oyster House opened in 1826 and is the oldest continually operated restaurant in America. It has never been shut down for code violations or even Prohibition.The building is a registered historic land mark and they cannot make any modifications or updates to the building. There is a 400 seat restaurant upstairs, but no elevator.

Check out the link to Sam Adam’s Boston Brick Red. It is one of their specialty beers, name one that isn’t!. They are donating $4 from each keg to the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream which provides micro loans and mentoring to small businesses. What’s not to love about that!

The North End

From The Union we headed towards The North End. For my non-US readers, The North End is a classic Boston neighborhood that has traditionally been an Italian neighborhood. For the most part it still is and you can get a great dinner, pastry and gelatto at many fine establishments.

We were on a mission to find Mike’s Pastry at 9:45 at night. I wasn’t sure they would still be open but Gail looked at me like I must have been high and said “It’s the middle of the summer, of course they will be open.” At Mike’s we all got cannolis and I grabbed some pistachio cookies for us. Mike’s makes the best pistachio cookies.

Peering over our cannolis, we walked down Salem Street to Paul Revere Park and walked through it on our way to The Old North Church. As we got to the end of the park I could see that the back gate on the alley to the front of the Church was closed and locked. We wandered down a dead-end alley into what must have been someones front yard, had a laugh and turned around.

After much circumnavigation of the streets of The North End we arrived at the front of The Old North Church. It is still an active Episcopal church  with Sunday masses at 9AM and 11AM. At 10PM on a Wednesday night it was locked up and dark. It took us much longer to get there than it took us to look around and move on.

We wandered down Hanover Street and ended up at The Green Dragon Tavern. We walked into a half full bar and grabbed the only table by the open window looking out onto the street. The best seat in the house. We ordered a round of their Green Dragon Ale and settled in to enjoy more conversation and the scenery.

When the drinks arrived they looked like, and tasted like, plain old lagers. I’m not sure what we expected but I was a little disappointed in their lack of flavor. The Green Dragon has a long and rich history also. If you click on the link you can read about it.

Our last stop on The Boston Bar Run was the Waterfront Sports Bar and Grill. It was a cozy place with a neighborhood bar feel to it, and they served both Pretty Things and Slumbrew, so we were very happy to show our out-of-town guest more local flavor.

At 10:48PM we decided it was time to call it a night. I finally got home around mid-night and managed to get a few hours of sleep. As someone quoted Warren Zevon last night, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Run well my friends

Andy

©2012 Andrew nagelin

Rage against the dying of the light!

Here it is Monday August 20th all ready. As usual I ask, where has the summer gone? I always try and extend the summer as long as possible. The calendar is the calendar and there is no fighting the eternal movements of celestial bodies. But in my mind, as long as there are tomatoes on the vine and some fair weather, it is summer.

I don’t care that it is starting to get dark earlier. I don’t care that the nightly symphony of insects is beginning to play a different tune in my back yard. At this point in the year the angle of the sun still feels like summer. As the days grow shorter and the shadows grow longer I will need to fight harder to keep my summer alive.

I will sit in my back yard and enjoy the sun on my face, and the green vibrancy of my little sanctuary. I will enjoy the tingle in my hand from the frost of an ice-cold beer. I will not go gently into that good autumn. I will rage, rage against the dying of the light. For as long as there are tomatoes on the vine and sun in my eyes, the summer shall live on!

All will come to pass in good time, regardless of my efforts to brace against the turning of the season. The passing of the seasons cannot be slowed or brought to a halt by a man’s mind. However, a man can make the most of the season he is in and the hope that the season to come will be just as thrilling.

Drink up my friends. Gulp down that glass before you. Do not waste your time pondering over the foolishness of perspective. Bottoms up! Empty that glass and wipe your chin.

My thanks to Dylan Thomas.

Live well my friends!

©2012 anagelin

Sunday Long Run

Sunday Long Run recap

The Sunday long run today was 16.2 miles but I opted for the 8 mile course instead. I had planned on this course anyway, but some yard work from yesterday was haunting me this morning.

I copied and pasted my splits from Garmin Connect.

Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary1:19:15.08.009:50
110:03.81.0010:04
210:22.51.0010:23
39:55.51.009:56
49:48.91.009:49
59:37.71.009:38
69:38.11.009:38
79:52.51.009:53
89:54.11.009:54
9:02.20.008:07

No spectacular times here, but I did get in 8 miles and I’m off to a good start to the week. Last week I managed to run 22.8 miles with 11.6 miles from the Sunday long run. I should be able to hit 20 this week and if I feel like adding 10% to last week’s total I could run 24 miles.

I spent three hours doing yard work yesterday. I dug up some grass next to the deck and replaced it with crushed stone. It’s part of my “get rid of the freaking lawn” program. Little by little I’m getting rid of grass in the nooks and crannies of the yard. Eventually, I’ll have so little lawn to mow that I will be able to use just the weed whacker. This will leave more time for running!

So three hours of digging and pushing a wheel barrow are not good for hamstring injuries. Pushing a wheel barrow involves a lot of exertion from the glutes and thighs. Not exactly a therapy session. I paid last night when I had to drive my daughter to a birthday party in Boston. The pain was as bad as the first time I drove home from work and realized I had a problem.

For this afternoon I plan a long stretching session that will involve all exercises on my sheet. Tomorrow at lunch instead of running I’ll do the stretchnig routine again. Then at 4:30pm I have another PT session. I’m sure they will be shacking their heads at me when I tell them about my weekend.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and thanks for dropping by.

Andy

Physical Therapy and Wisdom

Physical Therapy

I had my fourth PT session this morning. Hilda and Nick over at Harvard-Vanguard in Somerville are helping me recover from my hamstring problems. It is a slow process and I am hoping that eventually I will be able to put this injury behind me (no pun intended) and get back to my training.

I’ve been incorporating the stretching exercises they give me into my daily routine and try to do the full cycle of stretches at least twice a week. It’s amazing how much stretching you can do while watching TV or waiting for the coffee to brew. I love to multi-task so adding stretches to time that would just be spent sitting or standing around is fantastic.

My regular training routine is about 20 miles per week. When I’m training for a marathon I like to average 25-30 and peak around 35 miles per week. With a job and family it is difficult to find the time for this much running. I know that if I want to improve my marathon time I need to get more miles in per week.

Since I am working through an injury my plan is to get back to 20 miles per week and stay at this level for the next few months. I can’t afford to push it and aggravate the injury, so I’m just going to have to suck it up and run my next few races just for fun. It’s not like I was ever out for prize money or anything like that. But, like most runners, I do enjoy seeing my times improve.

Wisdom

Like so many of my close-to-middle-aged running mates, I am looking to keep running into my 80s. I’ve seen plenty of older guys at races so I know it can be done. The old gang is also realizing that we do have limitations and that our bodies will punish us if we do not respect those limits.

I had big plans for the summer running season, but I screwed up. Now I’m just hoping to finish my next three races and not cause any additional damage to myself. Here are a few hard learned lessons that I mentioned I’d pass on to you when I started this blog.

One lesson is that you need to respect your body and understand your limitations. It’s easy to get over-confident when you are feeling good and things are going your way. These are the times you need to be careful, when you are pushing your boundaries. As athletes we need to push our limits, our boundaries, in order to grow and progress towards our goals. Just be aware that at your peak and when you are most confident is the time you are most likely to make a mistake and/or injure yourself.

Another lesson is the famous 10% rule. Hal Higdon and other running guru’s will tell you that you should not increase you mileage by more than 10% per week. Any more than that and you risk injury. I spent three weeks traveling or being sick earlier this summer. During this time I ran one 5K each week. This caused my fitness level to drop off significantly. When I got back to training my body was not ready.

Trying to go from 3.2 miles per week to 20+ is not a good idea. I can tell you from my own personal and painful experience. Don’t ignore the experts like I did and think the rule doesn’t apply to you.

This Sunday my long run will be 8.2 miles. Many in my club will do the full 16.2 route but I’m not up to that level yet.

Have a great weekend, get in some good running and thanks for stopping by.

©2012 anagelin

Hump day, All day.

Unfortunately Hump means Hump, and not Shag. No such luck! It’s Wednesday, I got paid yesterday and all is good in the World.

Now that The Olympics are over, it’s time to shift back to talking more about running and my own journey. As bloggers we get to be totally self-centered and talk mainly about ourselves if we want to.

Training and Recovery

For my Club’s Sunday Long Run we were supposed to do 12.5 miles. This was equal to the total miles I had run the week before, so I felt no obligation to do all of those miles in one run. I ran the first mile with my friends Gail and Stacey and then kicked it in for the next mile or so.I just had to stretch the legs out a bit.

When we got to our first water stop I was debating whether I should do the 12.5 or cut out the hills in Breakheart Reservation and head back for an 10 mile run. Gail convinced me to keep going and walk the hills with her. This was a good idea and we both made it through the woods.

On the way back I got all fired up talking politics and of course my pace picked up also. After a while Gail told me to go ahead and that she was going to walk in most of the remaining distance. I hate to leave anyone, but I could not walk the next two miles or so. I did walk some, and more than usual. But I’m still coming back from my injury and it was hot and humid – a classic summer day in New England. I finished with 11.6 miles on the watch.

I grabbed a bag of bagels at Bruegger’s and headed home to feed the gang. My oldest daughter was a councilor at a Girl Scout Camp over the summer and came home Saturday. She brought a colleague with her who was from New Zealand.

Apparently they don’t have good bagels in New Zealand. So, I had to bring home the best we have to offer in the Boston area. They thoroughly enjoyed them as they watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony. They had been at camp all summer without TV.

Tuesday night I did the Club Run. I was hoping to do 7.5 miles but I started out too fast. I managed to keep up with our fastest runners through mile 2, but then my dinner started to speak to me and I had to slow down. I had to cut it short and did 4.22 miles. I was okay with that.

This brings my weekly total to 15.82. This is more than 10% greater than last weeks total and I still have a few days to add a 5K or 10K at lunch.

Have a great Hump Day, and thanks for stopping by.