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    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    Treadmill blues

    Six miles on the treadmill today - I had absolutely no motivation to run in the rain - at 7-7:30 mins per mile.

    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    Race Report - Blue and Gray Half-Marathon, Fredricksburg, VA

    Following last Wednesday I coasted into the weekend with a weights session and short three mile interval workout on Thursday. Friday and Saturday were days off from training to rest before this morning's half-marathon.

    Woke up at 5:00am to head to Fredricksburg for the race. Polished off two bowls of cereal, two cups of coffee, and a squeeze bottle of water. Thankfully I had gotten to bed relatively early the night prior so I was well rested.

    Arrived at packet pick-up by 0630 - temps were in the high 20s, low 30s and the wind was kicking like a ninja.

    Race went off at 730am. I took the first mile and half to warm up nice and slow and hit my stride. Although it was cold I was warm enough in tights, two long sleeve tee-shirts, light gloves, and stocking hat.

    The course wound out of the parking lot and headed north towards the Rappahannock River that runs through downtown Fredricksburg. We went down a long hill - 1.5 miles long to be exact past a hospital. I knew it would not be fun on the way back to the finish after 11 miles of running.

    The race then went beside a canal on a raised path then through some very pretty neighborhoods as the we wound to the half-way turn around point on the Mary Washington University campus ballfields. After running the half-way point and heading back the way we ran out the course ran fast. I developed a bit of a cramp from taking two gatorades at back to back aid stations and had to slow for about a mile to work it out.

    Once i crossed the 10 mile marker I slowed up some to pace before the huge climb back up out of the river valley. When I hit the bottom of the hill I ran hard up the hill and climbed it painfully but relatively quickly - passing at least a dozen folks who hit it at full stride.

    I ended up finishing in 1:38:40 - 7:28 miles and placed 8th overall in my age group.

    Overall this was a fitting end to my fall-season and the year in general. Open water swimming, a couple of half-marathons, an ultra, and a trail run series. Perfect because I was able to do several with friends. Add to that my overall fifth place finish in the Backyard Burn Trail Run Series and my solid run today and I am pleased.

    I am now going to stand down the next two weeks - one workout per day and relatively low intensity. I need a bit of a break. In the next few days I will post my reflections of this past year, my tenative training plans for the coming year, and my race schedule.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Training over the past ten days

    Although I was unable to compete in the final race of the Backyard Burn Series I had scored enough points to earn fifth place overall. I walked away with a nice beer mug and a gift certificate to VA Runner - a superb store.

    Quick summary on my recent training:

    Last week - two six mile runs, hard intervals of 10x800m with 400m in-between, two weights sessions, three swims of 1600m each and a slow four miler

    This week (so far!) five miles, 8x800m with 400m in-between, one weight session, one swim of 1200m. Remaining is a a three mile run, a four mile run, one weight session, and one swim.

    This coming Sunday I am running in the Blue and Gray Half-Marathon in Fredricksburg. Stay tuned for a race preview later in the week.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    Sadness

    My uncle died last week. He was only 58; it was from complications due to severe arthritis. As these things inevitably go it was sad for the whole family but especially on my mom. He was her little brother.

    To An Athlete Dying Young
    THE time you won your town the race
    We chaired you through the market-place;
    Man and boy stood cheering by,
    And home we brought you shoulder-high.
    To-day, the road all runners come, 5
    Shoulder-high we bring you home,
    And set you at your threshold down,
    Townsman of a stiller town.
    Smart lad, to slip betimes away
    From fields where glory does not stay, 10
    And early though the laurel grows
    It withers quicker than the rose.
    Eyes the shady night has shut
    Cannot see the record cut,
    And silence sounds no worse than cheers 15
    After earth has stopped the ears:
    Now you will not swell the rout
    Of lads that wore their honours out,
    Runners whom renown outran
    And the name died before the man. 20
    So set, before its echoes fade,
    The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
    And hold to the low lintel up
    The still-defended challenge-cup.
    And round that early-laurelled head 25
    Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
    And find unwithered on its curls
    The garland briefer than a girl's.