Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 44: Treadmill

Beads of Sweat is a novel about running.  This chapter chronicles one boy's run on a treadmill.  I think it is one of the best in the whole novel.  What do you think?

When a priest gives a sermon, he can proselytize for fifteen minutes but a member of the congregation may only take with him one sentiment, one phrase, one word. Sometimes that aphorism is taken in context; sometimes it is not.
Ryan Jenkins heard that he wasn't running because the uneven terrain of a cross country course would jeopardize the healing of the ankle. Only a slight twist could put the susceptible ankle back into ice baths. He got to thinking that if today's race was on a mondo track that he'd be racing. He didn't hear the other things the priest had to say and in his defense Hartman could have been more forthcoming with the full platform of reasons as to why the star pupil was being withheld.
So he broke into the Dank Tank. Avoiding the school police was the breeze he knew it would be and he didn't have to worry about tripping any alarms. The tank had nary a motion detector nor security camera. The only thing he had to concern himself with was the actual entrance. Doors were locked but the bunker style windows were open. Del-like, he got in. It took him six minutes and he nearly reinjured his ankle due to his awkward landing but in another dozen he was on the treadmill.
He thought like his coach. He had one objective: make it hurt. Over a week had elapsed from his last good running sweat and to him that was unacceptable. Yes he did the bike and swam the pool workouts but like the boss said, There's no substitute for running—another maxim taken slightly out of context.
He wanted eight hard miles. He told himself to make it a progression run that started at 8.5 mph and ended at the mill's top speed. He didn't know what that speed was but he wanted that belt smoking by the end of it. He visualized himself as David Sommers from American Flyers, a movie he'd seen a hundred times, and told himself it was his time to work like that, to push it to the brink. Edge city man, edge city.
Three old machines stood in front of a wall of glass. The mirror had several small spider cracks and a longer diagonal one that distorted the reflecting image. On the left side a wooden shelf lay even with the bunker sills and supported an old boombox. On this boombox Smitty played his music at six in the morning. Jenkins decided not to turn it on. He didn't turn any lights on either. Didn't want any pigs sniffing around his workout. He wouldn't realize it until years later but that extra adrenaline rush of doing something that he wasn't suppose to do aided his workout tremendously and enabled him to kick the treadmill's ass.
He took the first mile easy. He had to test the ankle and make sure it could handle the load. He let the sweat form and roll off slowly. He often ran with a hat but today sans headcover he could feel the beads of sweat sprout on his crown and weave down through his hair. Two times he told himself to wait until he hit mile one to increase the speed but it was of no use. The ankle barely bothered him at all. Once or twice he even had to remind himself which ankle he sprained. He could have run today. He was repaired.
The odometer recorded a mile and he hit the up arrow until the mph number reached 9.0. 6:40 pace and still feeling as slow as molasses. He could feel himself entering the zone—easing into it like one does a hot bath—the only thing preventing complete immersion was his keeping an ear out for the school security cops.
That didn't last long. By four miles, he was running at ten miles per hour and inserted his earbuds. The music made him feel invincible. The speed was hard yet easy and the ankle held up fine. His reflection looked back at him in triplicate and he studied it from all three angles. A side mirror offered him a profile of his arm and leg swing. He tried to lift his knees higher and swing his arms more efficiently. The beat of the music helped him attain a steady rhythm of opposite arm-leg propulsion. So tuned in was he that he landed one step on the port sideboard of the treadmill. He totally forgot he was on the thing. He nearly fell off and broke the other ankle. Enough of that, he thought, and looked at himself dead on. He corrected himself as to stop his forearms from carrying across his body. He was sweating heavily at 4.5 and tactfully pulled off his “per aspera ad astra.” First he removed his left arm from its sleeve then the right. He had to reconfigure the headphone cord draping from his ear and tucked it into his wristband, which he was now wearing between elbow and shoulder. In this movement he thought of how he naturally slowed down on the road if he ever had to make an adjustment. Not on a treadmill. The machine was oblivious to any such human whim or fancy. It kept its speed. It did not falter. Jenkins admired this infallibility and became determined first to match it then to beat it. Both arms now desleeved, he tucked his head out of the neckhole and threw the shirt on a nearby nautilus apparatus. It landed right on a handbar; it did not touch the floor. He now looked at his pale svelte torso and it motivated him. His hairless pectorals were cut. A hundred fifty pushups a day will do that to a boy. Nobody knew how defined he was except him and a few x-c guys. His abs were equally chiseled No remnants of babyfat on this runner's stomach. With each step his ab skin zigzagged. Slant to the left. Slant to the right. Eight square blocks pressing up from under his skin. Runnels of sweat streamed down across his front and ephemerally pooled into the divot at his navel. Then the beads encroached into his coolmax waistband and dissipated into hot vapor. The headbob. Watch the headbob. A silent acknowledgment that would stay with him. Keep that head on a line. Didn't see it on SpringVale but he could see it now. Tamp it. Keep it in check. When he pressed the button to 11.5 he felt a twinge which he promptly ignored. It disintegrated as quickly as it was born. Fuck the pain, and he was referring to multiple discomforts now. The music made him say it. “Rearview Mirror” came through the wires and that last line made him increase the tempo yet again. This time as he pressed down he caught a shadowy image of himself of the treadmill's console. Just the shoulder and the top of his chest. He stared at it. His eyes moved from digital numbers to the shoulder and he made it just so he could see both simultaneously. He couldn't take his eyes of this image. What was wrong with him? In the solitary privacy of the dank he let himself become one with this narcissistic inclination. He thought what he was doing was badass. He thought this workout was badass. Something out of a Prefontaine movie. Nobody in the state was working as hard as him right now and he was going to relish that. Nobody can run with me. Nobody works as hard as me. He pumped his elbows and knees and kept his head perfectly still. Oh yeah, he cried, and flexed out his hands as though he were slapping those of spectators on Boylston Street.
At 7.1 miles Smitty's song came on the mp3 player. “It's a long way to the top,” Bon Scott sang. Damn right, Jenks said and hit the speed button once again. But it didn't go. He tried again but the number stayed at 12.0. He looked at the elapsed time but instead a message scrolled: “MAX SPEED ATTAINED.” What the fuck, he thought as he tried to run faster. He ran up into the frontbar of the machine. He wanted more but the machine could give no more. He raced passed the eight mile mark and kept pounding to the music. If I can't run faster, I'll run longer. Actually drove his legs harder into the treadmill's belt. Drove harder and harder and worked on perfect form and economy. I'm the machine, he told it.
Two songs later and Jenkins was still punishing it. Well over nine miles now and he was bumping into the frontbar again. He looked at the triplicate images. He was giving himself still more power. He ran on the front plastic casing at the top end of the belt. He looked at the orange numbers. His legs did something funny. For a second time a message scrolled on the console, a new message: CANNOT MAINTAIN REQUESTED SPEED...CANNOT MAINTAIN REQUESTED SPEED…

Ryan Jenkins' Treadmill Playlist

Rearview Mirror by Pearl Jam
Idioteque by Radiohead
Only by Nine Inch Nails
Double Vision by The Ponys
Underdog by The Dirtbombs
Black Jack Davey by The White Stripes
California Rolling by Kings of Leon
Clamp Down by The Clash
I’m Shipping up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
And Begin by The Mooney Suzuki
Nine Milli Bros. by Ghostfaced Killa
Over and Over by Hot Chip
Elevation by U2

Monday, August 29, 2011

Level Renner Issue #2 Now Available!

September 2011
24 pages, published 29 AUG 2011
Level Renner is a journal of (new england) running for the olde school literary athlete. New England races are featured as well as literature related to running. The September issue also includes articles on performance and general running commentary and insight.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.22 to 8.28.11

Monday - 11.5 recovery run; core
Started easy and felt best by the end of the run.  Low 7:00s.

Tuesday - 6 easy; core
Stride session after the run.

Wednesday - 12 in 87:xx; legcore
I wanted this to be a hard progression run but the legs just weren't cooperating.  Aerobically I was fine but my legs were cranky, esp the quads.  I think that steep downhill 3rd mile in Saturday's rest is still causing havoc on my quads.

Thursday - 12.5 in 92:25; core
Workout: 3 x 12 min w/ 2 min recovery
This was tough.  I was nowhere near recovered between each rep.  I was not on a track so ran on perceived effort.  Really hoping each repeat covered at least two miles.  The effort was there.  Classic cooldown bonk.  Spacey.

Friday - 4 easy; lifting w/ legcore
Easy day.

Saturday - 19.5 in a very slow time
I bonked.  If this was 10, I would've been fine, but it was 20.  Well, almost 20.  I was really dead on the second half of this run.  Not good.

Sunday - easy 7
Early morning pre "Hurricane" Irene run.  Body is feeling bad right now.  I need a cutback week to regroup.

For the Week
72 1/2 running miles
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: Suddenly I'm feeling worn down and dead.  Need to take stock of things and get energized.  Maybe eat better too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chapter 39: Starkfield State Invitational

Beads of Sweat is a novel about running.  This chapter tells of the boys' first big invitational.

In his mind's eye, he circled this date on the team calendar.  Every since he typed it up on his old Smith Corona, he marked the day as the first true test on the schedule.  His veteran status made him sententious enough to know that the odds were pretty good that at least one of his men would be down or that something unexpected would happen: teacher strike, family tragedy, no bus pickup.  He just didn't think that Jenkins would be his foible.  He placed his chips on the Coetaine card and early on it looked like he was in the money but as he full well knew things could change on a dime, especially with a group of teenage boys.  Coaches couldn't control freak injuries (contrary to popular belief he felt they could at least partially control other types of injuries, overuse injuries, for example) but they could control the training.  Hartman brought them into this meet ready to dance.  He even eliminated a late week track workout so the boys would have something they hadn't had all year: fresh legs. They were by no means peaking for this race, that wouldn't come until Championship season, but the coach intended to use this performance as an assessment of the team current fitness level and as an instrument to inform him for the planning and adjusting for the team's next mesocycle.
In August he had told his boys to pay attention and that their legs would remember the course. It was the last run of camp, a controlled progression in which they got to see and feel and smell the course two times over. Now he'd see if his instructions were followed.
He debated but broke his team in two. The upperclassmen would run the D1 Varsity Race and his bluebirds the Freshmen Race. Paws might be ready to run varsity but Hartman thought it might do him and the others some good if they didn't get their butts handed to them, for once, by guys three or four years older than them. Might also be good for the older boys to see their guys hold their own against competitors in the same weight class. From warmup to cooldown Pereira was in charge of the pfb's; as always Hartman held the reins of the varsity squad.

09:20:00 AM Frosh Boys
09:40:00 AM Frosh Girls
10:00:00 AM D1 JV Boys
10:20:00 AM D1 JV Girls
10:40:00 AM D1 Varsity Boys
11:00:00 AM D1 Varsity Girls
11:20:00 AM D2 JV Boys
11:40:00 AM D2 JV Girls
12:00:00 PM D2 Varsity Boys
12:20:00 PM D2 Varsity Girls

-Your other job, Hartman told Pereira, is to keep him away from him...and Paul...the best you can.
But it was too late. Impossible to keep Mr. Hammond from barreling on up to him with extended bear claw.
-Good to see you Mitch.
-How are you Paul?
-I hope my boy runs fast enough for you today.
-He'll do fine.
Pereira saved Hartman by introducing himself. The latter caught Pereira's eye, gave him a wink and a pat on the back, and removed himself from the tercet. He had to go reiterate to Jenkins for the twentieth time that he wasn't racing today.
-But Coach I could win this meet. The team could win this meet. The team needs me.
-Would you rather win a meet now or in November? The ankle's getting better. Let's not jeopardize it on this uneven terrain. What you will do is act like a leader. You'll warmup with the varsity, set an A.B. tone, and make sure they're ready to go. Once they're racing, you'll be out on the course offering encouragement.
-Oh great. I'm a cheerleader.
-Or you can wait in the van.
Hartman told him how to do. Opened a window into how he thinks. Frosh race starts at 9:20. Watch that race and yell at your teammates. Start your stretching as soon as they finish. Make sure the bluebirds do a cooldown. Tell them they did a good job but only if they did. Take them with you as you warmup the varsity. Ask them questions about the course. Make sure the varsity listens to the answers. They could learn something. Now remember it's a fifteen-twenty minute jog that starts slow and finishes with a light sweat. After the warmup it should be no later than 10:25-10:30. Keep an eye on your watch. At this point dynamic stretches only. Leave them alone just before the race. Make sure they put on their spikes and unis and go to the bathroom. On the line at final call for a couple hard striders.

The frosh race was short. Only 2.2 miles. One big loop that crossed a wooden bridge. Not exactly spectator friendly. In the 5K race a coach could camp out at .4, sprint across the footbridge to see his harriers at 1.8, then hoof it back to the final straightaway. Hartman would only see his freshmen at the start and finish. They ran well. Paws led the charge, elbowing three guys out of his line in the first quarter mile. Gales witnessed it and bragged to those around him that he taught him that. In the end Paws took fourth, Sellberg seventeenth, Lee thirty-ninth, and Buck forty-fourth.

On his way to the line, Mr. Hammond took his son by the ulna.
-Remember what we talked about.
-Yessir, eyes averted.
-Good. Now go get 'em. Show 'em who's boss.
Paul sprinted away to catch up with his teammates. He had to break into their already formed huddle. Though he wasn't ready, Jenkins was speaking with vigor.
-...We know this course. We ran it at camp. We kicked its ass after a tough week. Twice. Remember that? Your legs will.
-Let's go. Let's go.
-We're a team. You don't need my legs to win this meet. No excuses. Run hard. Run tough. Never die easy. Jackets on three. One. Two. Three.
Hartman heard the primordial “Jackets” from one hundred ten yards away. Jenkins, he thought, had done his job. Two minutes later, a swarm of athletes set out straight for the dirtroad. He galloped out and over a small berm as he wanted to be as far down the opening straightaway as possible. The first Yellowjacket he saw was Spider, who positioned himself in the top ten. He was always a fast starter. Right behind him were Smith and to his chagrin Coetaine. Torres streaked by three seconds later then came Hamz, Kimihara, and later Wallan. Hartman said nothing as his harriers passed. Experience told him that trying to yell instructions into a crowded mass in the first half-mile of a race was an exercise in futility. Fifty meters down the road, however, he head Paul Sr. screaming at his only son.
-Get up there Paul! Get up there!
This advice ran contrary to what Hartman and Hamz had discussed in their prerace planning. The coach shook his head, spat, and made his way to his next viewpoint.
At 1.8 he saw what he was hoping not to see. Hammond had made a wild move and positioned himself way in front of Spidestrom and right at the back of the small lead pack of five. Hartman wondered how much energy he wasted in this uncouth move and hoped he had enough stamina and endurance to hang on. The plan was for Paul to sit for the first two then drop the hammer in the last mile. He always ran his best when he started conservatively and worked his way through the field. It's the only time he ran with any type of confidence. Now all that had gone to shit. The kid ran scared, looking back, hoping no one would come along and eat him up, hoping his dad would see him while he was still up front. Hartman could see the terror in the boy's face.
-Alright now Paul. Be cool. Stick like glue. Like glue.
When Hartman saw him next the adhesive had lost its stick. He'd be giving his best effort but still doing the skeleton dance. Etched into his mind an audio imprint of Hammond's father screaming mercilessly at his son. Go! Go! Go! What's wrong with you? Go! Go! Go! Don't you dare quit on me! Move it. Move it. Before it's too late. The imprint returned to him at odd times for the rest of the long weekend. It led him to an old story he read years and years ago. He found a copy in one of the filing cabinets in the basement and intended to give Paul a copy come Monday.
Despite Hamz's blowup, the team raced well and with the exception of Hamz they raced smart. Each man has his own style and each ran well in his style. Hartman let them be individuals through October and early November but once championship season started they were expected to adopt a singular team strategy. And the troops knew that if the general didn't trust you, you weren't running in the big ones. So for this meet Spider could start as fast as he wanted and Kimihara could be an even Steven. They were young and Hartman wanted them to learn about their bodies in ways inherent and intrinsic to them. Hammond learned in a slightly different way today.

Starkfield State Invitational Team Results: Top 5
1. Springfield
2. Woodbury
3. Norman
4. Norwood
5. Drexel Hill

Individual Results for Springfield

1. Franklin Torres    16:07
2. Adam Spidestrom    16:28
3. Reggie Smith       16:41
4. Hideo Kimihara      17:10
5. Malcolm Galiozzi   17:35
6. Paul Hammond       17:37
7. Sam Coetaine       18:01
8. Peter Wallan       18:29

Monday, August 22, 2011

Larry Olsen 10K

mile 1; photo by Ted Tyler
The Skinny
Place: 1st
Time: 35:32
Pace: 5:43

The Report
When I walked out my door, I noticed two things: 1)everything was wet, 2) it was humid.  Those two things stayed constant throughout the early morning and throughout the race.

After the normal prerace routine and a pleasant chat with Ted Tyler, who graciously gave me permission to use all his photography in Level Renner, I was off to the starting line.  There, a couple guys were making idle, nervous chat about how they were dreading the upcoming race.  Hearing that palaver, I immediately crossed them off the list of contenders.

I wanted to go in a controlled first mile.  I did with a 5:36.  At this point, I was running with Glenn Miller of TVFR and in second place about 10-20 meters behind the leader.  The second mile is all uphill and the leader, Keith Neal, started to slow a bit on the incline.  I felt strong and worked the hill taking the lead.  Now, this is where I started to think that the markers were off b/c I ran a 5:19 second mile and the thing was just about straight up.  The third mile, straight down, registered a 5:33 and I knew something was amok.  That combined with the fact that all of the mile markers were “conveniently” placed at landmarks (a corner, a trailhead, the exact midpoint of a bridge) made me believe that the miles were a little off. 

I was running solo as I headed into the trails.  I felt like I was alone but did not look back.  I wanted to try to continue to push the pace and thought I did so, but for those two trail miles I slowed considerably.  I’m hoping it wasn’t just me.  I’m hoping the trails contributed to the flagging pace along with those miles being a little long.  They felt it.

mile 5; photo by Ted Tyler
The last mile is all road and I came off those back to back 6:13’s with a 5:31.  This gave me some confidence postrace b/c I was hoping to average low 5:30s.  I crossed the finish line and the clock read a disappointing 35:32 (hoping for 34:low), but I once again felt good to lace ‘em up and race.  That give me a jolt in itself.

Surprisingly, I felt peppy on the cooldown and did a solid 4.5 on the trails.  Unfortunately, some woman fell in the trails and broke her arm and maybe nose (it was all bloody).  I was pretty out there but had to doubleback and let a race official know (there were no race attendants in the 2 mile trail section of the race).  After a call to 911, I was back on the cooldown. 

At the awards ceremony I picked up a medal and t-shirt (pretty cool Larry Olsen memorial).  I wanted a cup of water but they ran out…which leads to this story.  Immediately following my finish I went to the 5 gallon drum to get some water.  Once there, I found no cups.  I asked a woman with a back tattoo and she said they were “working on it.”  I was pretty hot and parched, so improvised.  I pulled the water bucket over to the table’s edge and tried to bend down low in an effort to quench my thirst.  Either the table was too low or I was too stiff but I couldn’t bend down low enough to imbibe the water.  Instead, I let some run over my neck and head.  The woman seemed concerned that I was doing this but didn’t say anything to me directly.  Then, post awards ceremony I was walking back to my car and heard the tattoo woman telling a story…about ME.  This is what she was saying: “That asshole who finished first dumped half the water on his head.  What an asshole!”  I heard her and jogged up to her.  “Hey,” I said.  “That was me.”  She immediately started to back off.  I said, “I wasn’t being an asshole (using her language back at her for effect).  I was just thirsty and you had no cups.”  “Oh, I just wanted to get some cups,” she said.  I said, “And I didn’t pour half the bucket over my head.  I was thirsty.  I just ran a race.  I’m not an asshole.”  She sidled up to me and kept saying she just wanted the cups to arrive.  But I bet if I wasn’t there she would’ve kept on calling me an names all the way home.  I’m glad I got to straighten her out in front of her friends.  But, damn tattoo woman, if you are in charge of the water, put some freakin cups out!  It ain’t hard.  Oh and here’s another thing: have enough water left so some people can have some after a cooldown.  Me and this poor old man could’ve used a second cup.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.15 to 8.21.11

Monday - 12.25 in 87:44; core
Steady run w/ 10 x 1 min w/ 1 min recovery thrown into the mix.  Point of the pickups was to stimulate some neuromuscular systems that have been dormant for a little too long now.  Try to get some speed back in a relatively "safe" way.  It was raining but the weather was nice.  Real runners know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday - 3.5 easy miles; core
Dr. Mika visit in the morning.  Just a tune-up.  Nothing brewing.

Wednesday - 11.75; legcore
9 x "800" (Muddy Puddin specialty)
I did not do the repeats on the track.  I did them on a loop at a park which is composed of dirt and grass paths.  I have no idea the exact distance of the loop; I just start on a mulched path and end at a trimmed bush.   All reps were between 2:55 (first) and 2:46 (last).  I worked hard today and could feel my body start to get in shape.  Good run.

Thursday - 11 in 75:37; core
A good medium run that progressed down to 6:15 for the last mile and it felt pretty easy.

Friday - 4 mile jog; legcore; lifting sequence at the gym

Saturday - 12.75 w/ race
Larry Olsen 10K.  1st OA.  35:32 (two miles of trail; moderately challenging).  Race report to follow.
midway through mile 1; Photo by Ted Tyler

Sunday - 14.5 recovery run
The pace was slow but I didn't feel bad.  The trails today were pretty technical,which I think slowed me down a bit.  Still the body felt relatively good after yesterday's race.  I didn't bonk today (that sometimes happens the day after a race for me).

For the Week
69 3/4 miles
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
some easy biking w/ KJ
Analysis: A good week of training.  The miles are up around 70 per week now and the intensity is getting there.  I am still getting in shape.  Hope to see some improvement in race times soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chapter 38: Team Dinner

Beads of Sweat is a novel about a cross country team.  Today's chapter recounts a festive team dinner held on the eve of a big meet.

Despite the blazing hot run and ruckus of yesterday afternoon, Hamz still showed up at Galiozzi’s house at dawn.  He didn’t beep.  He let the car idle in front of the house.  As he reached for the phone to text Gales, the junior came running out the door with a bagel in his mouth, another in his hand, and a backpack slung over his shoulders.
     -Want one, he showed his bageled hand.
     -I didn’t think you’d show up this morning.
     -I only showed up because I know how much you hate the Dank.  Especially on a Friday morning.
     -No shit.
     He punched at a few of Hammond’s presets and threw a chunk of his bagel out the window at an equally spastic squirrel.
     -You’re a piece of work.  Know that?  Give me half.
     He handed him the bagel.
     -You’re a real bastard yourself.
     He held out his fist.  It hung there for a long second before Hammond recognized it.  When he saw it, he bumped his knuckles on it.  All was right in their world again.

     Thirteen hours after thirty minutes of core work in the Dank Tank, the Devonshires, Hideo Kimihara’s sponsor family, hosted both teams—boys and girls—to a pasta dinner.  However, the weather being so warm it morphed into more of a pasta barbeque.  A pastaque as Deo called it.
     The Devonshires, a bit clueless about all things endurance but not so clueless not to know that pasta was a prerace staple, did their dinner to the nines.  They started with appetizers: bowls of almonds, tortilla chips with homemade guacamole, popcorn, a platter of fresh cut vegetables.  Strewn across the living room, dining room, kitchen, and deck, small groups of skinny runners hovered over the goodies.  Buck and Lee along with Ola and Monique nearly stuffed themselves before they sat down for their meals.  When they did finally sit down, they commenced with a garden salad with roughly six different dressings from which to choose, each bottle brand new.  Mrs. Devonshire, playing the dual role of hostess/waitress, circled the tables, both indoor and out, asking each guest it they would like fresh ground pepper over their greens.  Half of them had no idea what she was talking about.  Mr. D would’ve been helping out too, but he manned the outdoor kitchen, splitting his time between rotisserie chicken and hamburgers. 
     Novices to teenagers, the Devonshires vastly underestimated how fast and how much high school athletes could eat.  Spider and Smitty had long since polished off their salads and half loaf of Italian bread before poor Theresa finally got pepper on her salad. 
     -Slow down you animals, Casey admonished, this isn’t Cinders.
     They looked at her and slowed their jaws in an exaggerated manner.  
     The Devonshires were at least sage enough to set the drinks up at the tables in a serve yourself buffet.  The kids helped themselves and waited politely for the main course.  Give them credit, they knew their manners when the circumstance called for it.  Casey, known for her massive guttural utterances, didn’t belch once the entire meal.  A record for her.  She still, however, busted chops whenever the D’s were out of earshot. 
     Right as Mr. and Mrs. D were to finally place the platters of assorted meats and pastas on the table, Wallan, sitting alongside Lindsey and Sellberg, stood up.  Perhaps one course too late, but he still gently tapped his glass with his fork. 
     -Hey guys: can I have your attention for a minute? 
He waited for a hush to fall.  Even Mr. Devonshire halted the flipping of beef.  Wallan made eye contact with him and his wife.
-Thanks.  Thank you for having us this evening and cooking this meal for us.  And Lord thank you for providing us with this bountiful table.  Amen.
-And may we run fast tomorrow.
-Amen, louder.
-And thank you again Kimiharas.
-Amen, louder then sprinkled guffaws.
-Their last name isn’t Kimihara, you idiot!
-Well, you know what I mean.
-Idiots, Casey said.
The Devonshires really did make a big deal of the evening.  They sent Deo to school with invitations for everyone on both teams.  The gesture gave the event an air of magnanimity.  As such everyone responded either via call or text to Deo’s cell, the RSVP number.  Even the guys who told him in person still sent a text.  Each subsequent night since the release of the invites, Mrs. Devonshire would ask Hideo for an update.  He complied and was observant enough to notice for his visits at Cinders to know that Maggie and Katherine were vegans.  This information, of course, sent the carnivorous Devonshire couple into a bit of a frenzy that started with an internet search for vegan recipes and culminated with tofu, cannellini beans, veggie burgers, and rice pasta—all prepared in separate pots and pans—appearing on the table.
-Now where are Maggie and Katherine?
Fortunately, they both sat out on the deck at the circular table that abutted the rectangular one, the two joined together in the shape of a gigantic lollipop.  Mrs. D approached them and asked what they’d like: veggie burgers or pasta primavera with rice noodles and tofu or both?  The girls were touched.
-How did you know?
She proudly pointed at Deo and bent town between them to whisper “Cinders.”  They smiled.  When Katherine finally caught Deo’s eye ten minutes later, she gave him a smile and wink that left the sophomore with a tingle in his groin.
Dinner ended almost as soon as it had started.  Pounds upon pounds of pasta, meatballs, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, and tofu vanished in the span of thirty minutes.  All that was left was a mountain of dirty dishes.
-Do you guys want to watch a movie downstairs?
-I brought Hoosiers, Jenkins said.
-We should help with the dishes first, Lindsey said.
-Now don’t you even think about that, Mrs. Devonshire interjected.
-We have smores for dessert, Mr. D said, I could get the firepit going and we could toast some marshmallows.
-Let’s do that.
And they were off.  Off to the backyard looking for twigs and sticks.  They ran all over the yard.  Some broke into fencing matches with their branches.  Laertes and Hamlet would be proud.  Others searched endlessly for the perfect bough.  Coetaine challenged Torres to a smores eating contest.  Franklin accepted and won nine to eight.  Coetaine vouchsafed victory by placing and waving a white napkin on his marshmallow branch.  Amazingly, the Devonshires didn’t run out of chocolate, graham crackers or marshmallows.  Maybe because Hammond and Paws only had one each.  Or maybe because Jenkins didn’t have any.  He still thought he might run tomorrow.
-Hey Deo.  Get your guitar.
Deo scurried up the stairs to his room and brought down his acoustic. 
-What can you play?
-Only a few.  I’ve only been at it a little while.
-Play a song we all know.
Deo complied and after a minute or two the whole team joined the refrain of “American Pie.”  That’s how they spent the rest of the night: circled around a fire singing songs they all knew.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.8. to 8.14.11

Monday - morning: 7.5 miles; afternoon: 3.5 miles
Felt horrible this morning but rebounded for a better, albeit shorter run this afternoon.  I sneaky way to get 11 in for the day.  It almost feels like cheating.  Almost.
Tuesday - 6 miles
My watch band broke and I've been running w/out a watch.  This feels weird.  Started slow but got going pretty good for the last deuce.
Wednesday - 11.25 in 80:04
Ran w/ the infamous Muddy Puddin on this one.  What a great run.  Good convo the whole way made the miles fly by.  Thanks for the run Muddy!
Thursday - 13 in 99:04
Track workout: 2 mile - 11.32, 1.5 mile - 8.50, 1 mile - 5.51, 800 - 2.48 all w/ 1/4 mile recovery
My goal was to step on the track and run sub 6:00 pace.  Haven't been doing enough of that lately.  I had to battle for lane 1 w/ a bunch of high school football players "coached" by a clueless "man."  I just tucked my cap down low on my head and said "time to go to work."  I wanted to run the first split in 11.30 and basically did that.  I thought I could maintain that pace for the rest of the workout, but my speed isn't there yet.  The game quickly turned to keep it sub 6:00.  I was hurting but having fun in a weird way.  I told myself I was going to complete this workout no matter what and it felt good to do so.  I do have to say that the 3+ mile cooldown felt rather long.
Friday - 4 mile jog to/from gym; lifting sequence
Easy miles b/c right now the legs feel a little worse after a day off.
Saturday - 19.25 in ~2:26
I felt good today, starting to feel like a real runner again.  Now, I need to work on pumping up the pace.  Still too slow even though this felt more aggressive than my last long run.
Sunday - 8 recovery miles
Whole body felt sluggish, not horrible just sluggish in the rain.

For the Week
72 1/2 miles
2 legcore workouts 1 w/ calf emphasis
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: No real core work this weak b/c I was on vacation and decide to work out my ab muscles by eating copious amounts of unhealthy foods.  It was fun.  I had a good workout on Thursday to make up for all the ice cream.  I now know where I stand in term of my fitness and need to continue to develop my "speed."  The long runs are starting to come easier, and this is encouraging.  This week I attained my highest weekly mileage # for the year.  No complaints there.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This Week in Running 8.1 to 8.7.11

Monday - 10 easy miles + 45 min bike; core
Tuesday - 5 easy miles w/ stride session; core w/ calf emphasis
Ran the strides in an effort to get out some post-race soreness.
Wednesday - 10.5 in 75:53 + easy bike; core
Best run of the week so far, but it needs to be farther.
Thursday - 11 in 80:25; core
Most aggressive fartlek run of the season.  3 x 4 min, 3 min, 2 min.  A good step.
Friday - lifting + easy biking; core w/ calf emphasis
Saturday - 18.5 in 2:20.36
Didn't feel bad just not as fast as I would've liked.  I guess base comes first and speed comes second.  Let's hope so....Felt a little like Bob Wiles b/c I was done before 0800.
Sunday - easy 8
My watch band broke yesterday, so the time of this run isn't exactly accurate, but I was going easy and wasn't worried about splits.

For the Week
62 3/4 running miles
~60 min + easy biking
5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: Happy to get in a 60 mile week as I take this as a sign of getting back into some serious running.  Hope to continue with the progression of miles and intensity.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Carver Cranberry Classic

The Skinny
5 mile time - 27:46
pace - 5:33
place - 44th
1 - 5.21
2 - 5.30
3 - 5.38
4 - 5.45
5 - 5.32

The Report
This being my first race since the February injury I was a little more jittery than normal.  I really had no idea about my fitness level.  I had done a couple of progressions that got down to low 6:00 pace, but that's it.  No real speedwork and I haven't run a mile in under 6:00 since the Foxboro Old Fashioned 10 Miler.

I was psyched to see my CMS teammates.  It had been too long.  After a little chitchat, we headed out for a solid three mile warm-up.  We could tell it was going to be hot.  I found myself with plenty of time prerace and did all the requisite stretching and drills.  Right before the start I gave the girls kisses and was off.

the race
I didn't have a firm grasp of pace.  I was waiting for the first mile marker so I knew how fast I was going.  I deduced it wasn't that fast because a bunch of guys with whom I am normally competitive were way ahead of me.  Needless to say, I was surprised to hit mile 1 in 5:20.  Throughout the first two miles, I moved up and passed people.  At three, I settled in with a good group: teammates Matt Clark and Chris Mahoney, Joe Donnelly, Doug Martyn, and John Barbour.  I have to tell you, these dudes are competitive.  It was great.  We battled back and forth, threw in surges, and nobody was willing to give an inch.  In the last half mile, things really got hot and heavy.  Terry McNatt, Jason Cakouros, and Jonathan May joined the fun.  I knew I was nowhere near a PR but I still pushed hard and gave it a full-out kick.  It felt so good to race and mix it up in a GPS race!

Some more chitchat and refueling with the CMS boys.  People seemed really receptive to the new running magazine, Level Renner, and I hope people decide to pick it up.  After a few more miles and some stretching it was time to go home.  A good morning...

When I got home, I looked up my results from 1999, the last time I ran this race.  I've done it a couple of times but was lazy and only looked up '99.  Result: 26:20 for 5th.  Obviously, not a GPS year.
  Following some legends in club racing.
Photo courtesy Ted and Mary Tyler via Jim Rhoades.

Great and plentiful pictures by Jim