Saturday, September 27, 2008


"Pride comes before a fall."
I was feeling pretty spunky this morning as I did the usual Saturday morning jaunt.
But I tried to be careful and humble about my new distance.

The plan was to do the six, with fall back plans B (the 4.45) and C (the 3.0) as required.
The temperature was 62 at the house.
The sky was so clear I could see stars overhead.
Off to the east there were a few thin stratus clouds waiting in the dim, lighter dark blue for the sun to light them up.

The party started at 6:08 AM; a little later than plan.
My left knee tried to squeak some protests about something not being quite right in there, but the early concern of Running Central turned to ignore after several steps diminished the problem to near zero.
And it stayed thus for the remainder of the trek.

Everything physical was nominal through miles one, two and three.
I turned off of Explorer on to Discovery like I have been doing it for months.
And the memories came back of the days that I used to run this course back in '02 and '03.
I plodded along flirting with accelerated breathing (not unexpected at this point) but managed to keep it under control.
Back on to Explorer, and things were just dandy.
Then I saw the sprinklers.
They were sprinkling on my sidewalk.
Not good.

Maybe sprinkling is too mild a term for what I saw.
These looked like a fire department pressure test.
Or a dress rehearsal at Yellowstone before tourist season opens.
Instead of the usual twenty-foot arcs of the other sprinklers I have seen in the area, these were shooting up ten or fifteen feet in the air and out fifty or sixty feet (or more?).

I do not like running with wet shoes.
The water makes them heavy and squeaky and on a long run, one can develop blisters sometimes. (to be honest, I have never gotten blisters running in wet shoes.)
Running in the rain is one thing (kuz it is everywhere, so you can't run around it), but running through the sprinklers is another.
I avoid it as much as possible.
Like today.

To do this I ran into the grass beyond the range of the sprinklers.
I hate running in the grass.
While softer than pavement or cement, the surface is uneven.
More so than it looks.
The risk of twisting one's ankle is much greater.

Anyway, once the computer controlled geysers were surmounted, the rest of the trip went smoothly.

Since last week, I have given some thought to adding the 264+ feet needed to make my course a true six miles.
So today I forsook my old, faithful finish line/crack for another.
Instead of ending the dance at the east end of the building where I start and stop, I kept on going to the west end of it.
According to my measurements of the satellite picture of the building, the new line is 507 feet from the old line.
Good enough for me.
The time was 7:02.
Fifty-six minutes, almost to the second.
Not bad for an old duff.

The Big Spring Jam 5K race was today.
Part of me wanted to run in it.
But, the shy person in me prefers to run alone.
I ran in close to one hundred races in my five-year "career" (I have not counted the exact number).
These included two half-marathons - 13 miles each, two or three 10 milers, three or four 9 milers, dozens of 6 milers, four or five 5 milers, three or four 4 milers, dozens more 3 milers and three or four two milers - and a one mile "sprint".
The results of all of these events proved to me that I was at least an average runner for my age; something I would not have believed if someone had just said it to me.
So, I do not "need" to run in a race to prove anything - to myself or to anyone else.
I enjoyed it when I was doing it, and might enter a few more in the future, but maybe not.
Racing is not a big deal to me.
Running is.

As I said last week, I will pay for this new achievement.
There is a low-level fatigue with me all day.
After lesser runs, I feel "tired" after the event, but this gradually lessens as the day goes on.
Not after this.
It takes a couple of days to get over this session.
And I will walk tomorrow.
And there is a weight workout scheduled for Monday.
Then Tuesday arrives.
Time to run again - albeit just three miles.
Still, it is a run.

If this sounds whiny, it is not meant to be so.
Just stating some facts.
I dare anyone to do what I am doing and not get into good physical condition.
Like the Nike ad says - "Just do it".

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