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Monday, January 30, 2006

Just missed the rain

I ran twice today. 5 miles in the AM before work and another 4 miles at lunch. I finished as the rain swept in and I just missed getting drenched.

Nothing fast but my legs felt good.

Invited his most inquisitive Dimitri to join me and the rest of the gang for the Wednesday evening track workout. 4 x 1200 at 5K goal pace. He is even going to forgo his AT run and cha cha dance class.

I'll drag him to dinner afterwards.

Flying Again

I hadn't flown in over two weeks but Rob and I finally got out late Sunday afternoon to work on patterns. We had to fly down to South Valley because Reid Hillview was so crowded. South Valley has no tower so I got some experience flying in and out of an unattended strip.

We ended up doing 4 landings two of which were pretty decent. On one though I didn't really round out or flare so we came down flatter than a pancake but luckily didn't bounce.

My takeoffs had deteriorated slightly (rust again) but I still got the plane up OK. Mostly I had problems staying on the line once up and not drifting to the right or left.

The last landing was back at RHV in the twilight. South Valley gave me some confidence and it went off moderately OK but after we taxied in I realized that I forgotten to turn the carb heat on when we slowed to 1500 RPM on final. Sort of like scoring a touchdown but missing the extra point.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bob and Joe, Again!

After talking Thursday off, Friday was a typical recovery day. I jogged 5 miles (untimed thank God). I was nicked up from the Wednesday evening workout. Several hot spots but nothing that stopped me from running.

By Saturday my legs felt much better and I was able to run with the front runners during the 3 mile warmup. Then they all went to run 5K on the track while I ran around watching them and adding another 6 miles to my daily total of 8-9 miles. I am really unsure and don't care much.

In the 5K track race The Joe and Bob battle continued. Joe went out hard which is not his usual strategy. Usually Bob does this, Joe stalks him and then they battle it out. Joe went out in 90 seconds for the first 400 and then he ran a 91 for the second lap. By three laps he was at slowing but still had a big lead on Bob.

At 3200 meters Joe was just a hair over 13 minutes and Bob was about 9-10 seconds back. That all changed in the next lap and Bob cut his lead in half. In another lap he had caught and passed him and gradually just moved away. They both ended up running in the mid 20's for 5K with Bob in front. Dimitri commented that he believed I could beat both of them now (we're all in our 60's) but I never count these two guys out. In battling each other they often tend to run over guys like me. Had Joe gone out sanely, I am sure it would have been a very different battle with both of them trying to kill each other over the last 2 laps instead of a dying Joe falling away from Bob.

My Wednesday workout says low 20's for 5k but it doesn't mean that I can run that sort of time yet. I may have run ahead of my conditioning. I just don't know yet. I will have a better idea over the next several weeks when I run 4 x 1200 and 3 x 1600.

Lost in the excitement was The Pick running all alone up front. Even in his mid 40's he is capable of running a low 16 minute 5K.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

6 x 800's

Went out in the early morning and ran 5 miles very easy. My legs felt stiff and tired from pushing my runs harder than usual on Monday. I wondered if I would be able to run my intervals this evening at West Valley College.

I showed up in the late afternoon and warmed up for about 3 miles part of it with Tom O'Connor who is quickly becoming one of our ace 50 plus runners. Tom has young legs so he doesn't have to deal with having 70-80,000 miles of treadwear like many of us.

The workout was 6 x 800 starting every 6 minutes. I ran the first one in 3:16. It wasn't bad but I did feel sluggish. My goal was to run these in 3:15 or faster and not immolate myself.

My body seemed to kick in at that point and I gradually ratcheded them down to 3:11-3:09-3:08-3:04-3:00. Each one felt better than the last but with a 3:08 average I doubt that I am in 6:16 shape to run a 5K. I have no doubt that it is the fact that I am running these with a group that allows me to run faster. If I ran these alone I would be slower (and more realistic). But what the hell. I am just going to go with it for now and make sure my easy days are very easy.

Overall it was an 11 mile day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

American Record..But not by me...

I didn't run today. Blah...blah...blah....

I worked from 10 am to about 6 pm with no lunch break. A good day for a consultant.

Finally heard from my friend Dwight. He ran a 30K in Louisiana. He beat the old American record for age 59 (he said it was soft) running a 2:01 and change. He deserves it. He ran 100 miles per week to get ready for this thing.

100 miles per week! I can't (or won't) run half that. Not even 25 years ago when I was in my hey day and running my best times. Maybe 60-70 but not 100. I remember running 75 average for about 16 weeks in the late 1970's and hating running. And of course I loved running so I knew that 75 mpw was too much for me. These days 30-35 mpw feels about the same.

Besides if I can run the tiume trials and speedworkouts, I will run the race times. I believe that my body has had all the mileage memory it needs.
I didn't run today. Blah...blah...blah....

I worked from 10 am to about 6 pm with no lunch break. A good day for a consultant.

Finally heard from my friend Dwight. He ran a 30K in Louisiana. He beat the old American record for age 59 (he said it was soft) running a 2:01 and change. He deserves it. He ran 100 miles per week to get ready for this thing.

100 miles per week! I can't (or won't) run half that. Not even 25 years ago when I was in my hey day and running my best times. Maybe 60-70 but not 100. I remember running 75 average for about 16 weeks in the late 1970's and hating running. And of course I loved running so I knew that 75 mpw was too much for me. These days 30-35 mpw feels about the same.

Besides if I can run the tiume trials and speedworkouts, I will run the race times. I believe that my body has had all the mileage memory it needs.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Back at Work

Today being a work day I ran my typical calorie burning double.

I ran 5 miles in the morning from my house clipping along at 145-150 HR.

I came back at lunch and ran another 4 miles out at Sunnyvale Baylands (windy) but ran it several minutes faster than last friday keeping my HRM up around 145-150.

At the end of the run there is a small grass hill which I bounded up 6 times (walking back down).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Up in the City

I drove up to Golden Gate Park today. Ran about 30 minutes before the DSE 5K and then jogged the race itself without signing up. I was afraid if I put money down on the table I would run too hard. Pretty cheap on my part since the race only costs 5 bucks.

So I ran in the back of the pack and took it very easy.

It was slightly cool conditions but also clear and sunny. It was cold enough that I wore double cotten gloves and a hat.

Maybe 7 miles total. Maybe 35 miles for the week.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Return to the Sunnyvale Baylands

On Friday I ran 2 x 4 miles. The first run was early in the morning. It was cold. Maybe in the high 30's. The second run was at lunch time out in Sunnyvale Baylands Park. It was in the mid 50's with a slight breeze.

This is the park I used to run from back in my Transmeta days (1998-2002). It hadn't changed much. I ran one of my old courses and pretty much hit the same intermediate times that I hit back 6-7 years ago. My HRM stayed in the 140-145 range.

My legs were tired from Wednesday's speedwork. But then Wednesday i was tired from my Monday long run. Of course Monday I was still recovering from my Saturday speed workout. I can't let this become the a trend. I slept in Saturday (well not that late but 7 am is late for me) and didn't run. I needed the extra rest. I just went to breakfast with the club.

I plan to run a 5K dolphin run on Sunday up in Golden Gate Park with enough miles including the warmup and warmdown to make it around 7 miles. That will give me a 35 mile week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

12 x 400

I ran 4 miles this morning most of it in the dark. Today was the first day of a new contract job so I woke up early in anticipation. Turned out to be a half day of work because the company wasn't quite ready for me yet. I signed my contract agreement, was brought up to speed by the HR Exec who is leaving and then i decided to go home and veg for most of the afternoon.

Late this afternoon I went to the track and ran 12 x 400 starting every 4 minutes. I pretty much kept to 5K goal pace running most of them in about 97-98 (6:28-6:32 mile pace) but I finished up by taking the last 4 down into the low 90's and high 80's and ran the last one in 85.

My legs responded but I was bit tired. I was still recovering from last Saturday's test interval workout and Monday's long run.

The key is that I could do them consistently as planned. So far I have pretty much stayed to plan. First the 200's for the first 3 weeks and now the 400's. Last Saturday told me I am have the strength to get to my goal of running 3 x 1600 in 6:27-30. If not this cycle, then next.

Next week I plan to run 6 x 800 in about 3:15 if the weather and my new contract job allow me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Long Day

I went out late this morning and ran 90 minutes at an easy pace. I added in 6 x 30 meters of hill bounding over at De Anza towards the end.

In general I felt pretty decent throughout the run. I felt recovered from Saturday's speed workout.

The weather was overcast and cool by Bay Area standards. By Maine standards it was probably a warm day.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Rain and Running Hard

I went to my club wokrout this morning. The scheduled workout was two runner relay team with each runner doing 3 x 1600 meters. So 6 x 1600 altogether. I really didn't want to do this but signed up anyway. I went out an dran the 3 mile warmup and stayed up with the leaders so my legs were very fresh.

It was raining on and off and the track was slick. When the teams were formed for some reason I was left off (I think Walt just plain forgot about me) and so somewhat relieved, I slinked away and decided to run my own workout which was 4 x .66 around the tennis courts starting every 8 minutes.

My goal was to run a 4:20 a loop or roughly a 6:30 mile pace. It is rolling course with down hill at the beginning then flat, then up hill, then flat, then uphill and then flat for a short sprint in to the finish.

I ran 4:19-4:15-4:12-4:08. It was tough doing this alone but the effort of each rep was perceptually equal and I just got faster as I warmed up. The workout told me that I may be closer to running 3 x 1600 on the track in 6:27 than I originally thought. I don't think I am there but I may be close. The 3 x 1600 workout is roughly a 20 minute 5K level workout.

Roughly 8 miles total with a 3 plus mile warmup and 2 mile warmdown.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Another (very) Easy Day

4 miles very easy this morning. The sun was out and there was only a slight breeze. I pretty much stayed on soft surfaces the whole way.

After the run and a shower I went to see Brokeback Mountain, with my wife Sue, at about noon. I can do this during the week because right now I am not working. I am a consultant and have settled into the relief pitcher model. The manager has to call me. If no one calls then I sit in the bullpen and chew on sunflower seeds. I spit the shells out onto the grass.

I may work next week. It is up in the air. I met with the CEO of local company last Tuesday. He asked me if I could start next Monday. I said fine. The problem is that the company is closed for MLK day monday. It is now friday. No call yet.
So as I sit here writing work. We run out of money in about twenty years so I am really sweating it out. That doesn't include social security in about 4 years, or my wife's retirement, also due in 4 years, or our lessening expenses when my son graduates from college in about two years from this June.

And of course we never inherit anything from our parents.

I don't have to work.

I work because I enjoy it. I enjoy the fact that I don't have to work and that I can walk away from jobs if I want to. I rarley do but it's a nice thought.

When we came out of the show the wind was picking up. The weather forecast says a fast moving storm will be passing through this evening and Saturday.

My plan was to run hard on Saturday but we'll see how the weather is.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Slow Flight

No running today. I went flying at 1 pm. For the first time in weeks we got out of pattern work and headed down to the south valley and worked on slow flight and stalls. All in all, it went well. It was a beautiful day and the mountains looked incredible.

Coming back we made a straight in landing approach and for the first time I did it unassisted. Rob coached me but basically I got her down for a "safe landing". We came down slightly harder than what is considered desirable but I rounded out and flared nicely. It was great but I am not sure of all I did to make it happen.

However then we taxied back for another go around, this time in the pattern and I seemed to be behind the ball on every part of the maneuver. On final turn I was too high and too fast and if Rob hadn't been in the airplane to save my ass, I would have gone around and done it again. I was still trying to round out and get us straight on the center line when we had to flare to avoid coming down too hard. Rob told me to give it a bit more power because we were ballooning and at least I understood what he was asking me to do. I threw in about 200 RPM's

Then I pulled back the power, flared and we settled onto the runway but well down past our mark. I had to taxi off the runway at the far end.

Tomorrow the wind comes back (or so the weather forecast says) with showers. I plan to run 3-4 miles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Easy Week Continues

The easy week continues. I ran 4 miles this morning very easily. Usually by now I would be at about 20-21 miles in the two days I run (Monday-Wed) but I am only at 7 so far this week.

I plan to run 3-4 on Friday and on Saturday either run a 3 mile trial effort or do something else hard. Depends on the condition of the track. There is some rain the forecast.

I went to RHV this afternoon and did more pattern work. Came close to nailing a good landing on the last go around but missed the mark because I forgot to cut the engine to idle so we balooned down the field. Finally realizing my mistake I did cut the engine and dropped hard to the runway and bounced.

No damage done. The main wheels struts are made from spring steel. The key is not to come down hard on the front wheel. Come down hard on that and it will collapse.

Rob, my instructor shows a great deal of patience but I seemed to backslide today on other things like takeoffs and keeping a straight line once I lifted off. I could see it was getting to him even though he kept his cool. He wants to be a commercial airline's pilot and I think he'll be a decent candidate. He keeps his calm. After forgetting to cut back the power on landing I asked him "do you think this is an age related problem. My age, not his.

Anyway, the pattern seemed easier today though and I positioned myself well going over EastRidge Shopping Center. It is from there on in that I have the problem.

Oh well, as Churchill once said:

If you are going through Hell, keep going.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Beginning The Easy Week

Ran an easy 3 miles yesterday. So goes the beginning of my easy week.

Conditions were almost perfect. Cool and sunny with little wind.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Down week

I am taking a down week this next coming week. Little or no training Mon-Fri.

I have reached the first step in my program by hitting the 24 x 200's and Saturday I ran the 4.76 easy and felt great. My legs felt strong. The hills didn't even bother me. Same with the 3 mile club warmup ahead of time. I was up running with the faster runners with little effort. So about 8 miles total.

I promised myself I would take a down week every 4th or 5th week as I hit each new level. I am just going tohave to rely on the fact that I have over 80,000 running miles on my legs since 1968 and my base is pretty thick.

Went to Reid Hillview (RHV) and did more takeoffs and landings. Strong afternoon headwind made it challenging. My landings are progressing but I am not getting the final and roundout right. I keep pulling back on the yoke during final when I should be in a landing attitude. Flares and roundouts are not pretty and I came down hard several times.

I told Rob, my instructor, that I feel like I am diving into East Ridge, a big shopping center right on final. Should I worry that folks are running from the stores and screaming? ;-)

Picture of RHV from the air at the top of the page. East Ridge is to the left.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Good Recovery

I ran 5 miles very slow Friday morning feeling a bit leg weary and thought about doing a second run in the afternoon but held short realizing that this is another one of those things (read traps) where I get myself tired and rundown.

So I ran 8 miles with some good hills Saturday morning and felt great.

About 34-35 miles this week. More than usual but I plan to take the next week easy and not do speedwork on Wednesday evening.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Day After

Cessna 152

I woke up today and could walk. I thought I was going to need advil just to get around the house.

Today is a day off anyway. I mostly run every other day, rarley more than 4 days in a training week. It seems to work better for me. I can run a great deal of mileage on the days I run if I take the next day off. Been doing this more or less since late 199o. This and the HRM is the reaosn i believe I am still running. Most of my peers from the running boom days are either constantly dead legged or just slow.

I am not fast but generally I am faster than they are. It's no longer about miles. It was in my 20's and 30's but there is a day when you have run all the miles you will ever need. Then it becomes about something else. What that something else is as I age is the challenge.

Talking about challenges:

I went to Reid-Hillview this afternoon and did pattern work with takeoffs and landings. This is my 3rd consecutive lesson focusing on learning how to land.
It is very intense but for some reason I am not nervous. When I finished and taxi'd back to the hanger I was exhausted. Like a good workout. I drove home and nodded off in front of the computer. The plane I am training in is a Cessna 152 (top of the page).

Tomorrow I run.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Big Day On The Track

4 miles in the AM and 8 miles in the evening. It seemed that I was on the track forever. 2 mile warmup some strides and then 24 laps (or 6 miles) with 200 hard and 200 easy.

I hit 45 seconds on almost all of them. It was like clockwork. A few in 44 and a few in 46 but moslty 45..45...45...45.....and so on.

I never pushed but just ran. Strangely still too fast.

Anway it was tough on my body. My legs never tired but my hips and hamstrings tightended up towards the end but I relaxed through it.

We'll see what I feel like on Thursday.

When I do workouts like this I realize why I wasn't ready to race (not really).

Next week I may do a time trial and then go to 12 x 400 the week after.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Return of "Mr. 88th at the 1981 bay to Breakers"

It's been 10 years since I last ran races hard. I was competitve from 1972 to 1995. I ran hundreds of races and thousands of miles. Maybe 80,000 of them. Maybe more.

I won my age group in my last two races in 1995 at age 50 and then decided to throw in the towel.

Retire. Just run for fun.

I wouldn't stop running. I have running since 1968. This was 4 years before the running boom. I didn't know there were races until 1971 and it took another year for me to finally run my first race. Maybe you have heard of it. Bay to Breakers. Kenny Moore (Olympic marathoner in 1968 and 1972) won it that year. I was 274th out of about 2,000 runners. It didn't make me happy. I ran 7.8 miles (the course was longer back then) in 48.11. I thought I was faster. That began it all. Later on when the course had been shortened to 7.63 miles, this was 1981, I ran 41:15. I was much faster but the field was very deep and I was lucky to make the top 100. I had to sprint to beat the top women. All were Olympic Trials calibre runners. One of them ran in the Olympics 4-5 times.
That year the field was over 100,000 runners, not all of them official. I was in the seeded runners group. Surrounded by guys like world class runners like Craig Virgin, another Olympian.

I was 88th that year.

Now I am 60 and I have been lured back in to competition. I didn't expect it. the game has changed. Yes, the fastest still win but getting points in the Pacific Association is more of a being there game. I ran in only two races last year. Both as tempo runs. I finished 27th out of 61 scoring runners for the year.

Two races. Seems impossible.

Ok, that lured me back in. So I am training again.

I ran the Christmas relays at Lake Merced just south of San Francisco. Our 60 plus team had finished second two years in a row. I ran the first leg of four. The course is not flat. It rolls with some very gradual hills and a bit of climb at the end. I ran 31.08 for 4.46 miles. At 6:58 pace. An easy recovery day effort in 1981. A moderate effort ten years ago.

Times have changed.

Our team won our age group. I was slow but no one cared. We had won.

West Valley Joggers & Striders
20 Points ($50)

Richard Stiller, 60

Dick Chimenti, 62


Robert Schmitt, 64

Tamalpa Runners
18 Points

Frank Bozanich, 61


Russ Kiernan, 67

Hans Schmid, 65

Buffalo Chips
16 Points

Roger Fong, 71

James Fischer, 65

Doug Braasch, 66

Joel Contreras, 62

Tamalpa Runners 'B' Team
0 Points

Darryl Beardall, 69

W Kambur, 72

Richard Couvillion, 77

Dennis Hassler, 72