Saturday, October 31, 2009

Runway 5k

Time: 57:57
Distance: 8.13 miles
Race: 15:43, 3rd

W/u: 26:23 for 3.16 miles
C/d: 15:51 for 1.87 miles

Tanya, Sean, Benny and I drove out to the airport this morning for the Runway 5k. The race takes place on the tarmac of the airport while there was planes taking off and landing. You are not in or near harms way, but there could be some worries for security. It was pretty cool being up close and personal with jets parked in side gates of US Airways.

The race itself was a little disorganized due to the overwhelming numbers. I think the race director predicted 1,000 participants and when the total approached 1,600, as you can expect, lines for parking, the bathroom and registration were really long. The race was scheduled to start at 8:00 am, but then it was pushed back to 8:15. The race didn't officially start until 8:28 am.

I felt terrible and all hope for winning the $500 flight vouchers went out the window in the first 300 meters. Since the course is completely flat there really is no reason to not go out hard. Sean took the pace and had about a 4 second lead at the half mile when he was joined by a runner wearing a Pacers uniform. Turns out this guy trains with Matt Centrowitz up in the Arlington/DC area and was here with his wife for the weekend. I didn't get the whole story about who lived where, but regardless the guy wanted those tickets.

Through the mile I was about 6 secs. behind Sean and Bert Rodriguez and thought there might be a chance to make a move in the next mile. I hung tough but the gap wasn't getting any smaller and by 2 miles I was packing it in. Sean ran alongside Bert for a good ways but was eventually broken. It was a bit humbling to show up knowing either Sean or I were going to take home the tickets, only to be outrun by someone else. That's how road whoring goes sometimes.

Tanya ran well to just miss breaking 17 mins. However, she was beaten by a dude running with a baby jogger.

Friday, October 30, 2009

McAlpine Loops

Time: 63:20
Distance: 8.94 miles
Pace: 7:05

I headed out to McAlpine this afternoon with the Queens team for an easy run. I'm planning on running a small 5k tomorrow so I didn't need anything serious today. The predator run that the team had planned on doing was being pushed back a day which provided me with lots of people to run with. Most of the guys ran in a big pack for the first 4 miles and it slowly broke up but the mood was lighthearted with Halloween coming up. Fun run today.

Lovely Fall Afternoon

Time: 52:20
Distance: ~8 miles

I was able to leave my internship about an hour early today and drive home to change. My running costume was on when I drove by Run for Your Life to pick up Meagan, only I wasn't going to drive home. The afternoon weather was perfect with a soft breeze, warm sunshine, crisp and clean air. I started out very casually from the parking lot and just kind of wandered through a quiet neighborhood near the store. Mr. Garmin wasn't on point for the first 6 mins, but it wasn't too big of a deal as I just wanted to get an idea of how far I was going. Pace was of no concern on this day.

I jogged near Latta Park on the streets shaded by oak trees and acorns. The acorns made their presence known as a couple nearly pelted my head and I could hear their direct hits on parked cars. To get some extra distance I ran part of the Booty Loop near Queens before heading back to the apartment. It felt like I had been out the door longer than 52 minutes but it was a relaxed run in great conditions today.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For Freedom

Time: 36:54
Distance: 5.30 miles

Easy morning run today through Freedom Park.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meagan Thinks She Can Run

Time: 39:35
Distance: 5.30 miles

I started out the run with Meagan this morning and we ran through Freedom Park. We parted ways once we hit Princeton when she continued up to Queens and I ran home. The body continues to recover nicely with such a light workload. I still cough occasionally but the cold is on its way out. Good riddance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Permission for More Time Off

Time: none
Distance: none

I spoke with Jailhouse Jeff last night while he was driving to class and we discussed training. I have no immediate plans to race again this fall which can be bad for motivation. I told Jeff that I thought my poor performance in Japan was due to having incredibly tired legs. Even the rest and extra sleep on the days traveling to Japan weren't enough to get my body recovered. I admit that my last two months of training have been solid but nothing extraordinary. Workouts were good, but not great. I believe that I was more impressive during the summer months back in Oklahoma. It has been good to take some time off and the time off has been in large part to traveling back from Japan and catching a nasty cold. The difference in my leg freshness can only be described by looking at the splits of yesterday's run: 7:14, 6:45, 6:28, 6:14, 6:11.

That was a morning run. I slowed down in effort after seeing the 6:14 split only to follow it up with a 6:11. Let's go back and look at an afternoon double run a few days prior to leaving for Japan: 7:45, 7:03, 6:50, 6:43, 6:30. I felt terrible that run, granted it was after 25 x 400. However, it was a much harder effort that what I did yesterday morning.

Jeff pointed out that I never really took that much time off after the OKC Memorial Marathon or the Boomtown Days Half Marathon. I have had more days off since returning from Japan than I had all summer. That's not a bad thing or a good thing, just making it known. My aerobic fitness is still high despite not training vigorously for a couple of weeks. I look forward to putting something on the calendar and resuming soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spit in the Face

Time: 34:59
Distance: 5.34 miles
Pace: 6:33

I ran this morning but that's not what I'm going to write about in this post. I'm sitting back at my apartment having returned from dropping Meagan off at Run for Your Life where I picked up a race brochure for the Savannah River Bridge Run. The brochure is right here in front of me and it looks very professionally done with clean graphics, bright colors, and all the pertinent race date information. The slogan appears to be "The south's toughest bridge run," implying that it's a hardcore event dedicated to trained runners/walkers. The brochure cover also states, "Run, walk or crawl," which further supports the difficulty of the race. Simply put, the race is not for wimps.

Let's take a look inside. Inside left has a schedule of events starting on December 4th when packets can be picked up. Race times are listed for all events including the Kids Run, 5k and 10k. Opposite page: more race information explaining accommodations, transportation, chip timing and expo location.

Inside middle left: Lifestats 5k, 10k course, Double Pump challenge (run both the 5k and 10k), team challenge information.

Inside middle right: age groups & awards, costume contest, costume contest prize money breakdown ($400, $200, $100).


They are offering $400 to the first place winner of the costume contest?! Surely the race must be awarding diamonds or gold bullion to the winners of the race but I can't seem to find that such a claim is made.

This isn't the first time I've come across a race brochure where costume winners get to take home money and the runners get nothing. I'll be the first to admit to being biased and in favor of handing out prize money to the runners as I am someone who could potentially win some of that money. However, it's upsetting when community groups, running stores, race directors, and timing companies take advantage of the sport.

Athletics is a sport that I care much about and I would like to see its popularity increase in the U.S. It's great that running and road races have become weekend activities for people in America. No doubt, organizers design races because they are diverse community level events with the potential to attract thousands. However, it doesn't help the sport when race directors choose to diminish the runners' effort by rewarding those who arrive in costume. A costume party is fit for: the circus, the fair, a carnival. A costume party should not be a featured attraction of a race, the race should be. The athletes should be.

I realize road races are fundraisers for various charities and that usually a race director cares very little about running. The goal is to ultimately raise dollars but then is it necessary for a race to be the chosen path to that end? Is running being taken advantage of when race directors charge $25 for a poorly organized race with only 120 participants?

Here is an article on about running in costume. I have no qualms about running in costume. I would invite you to run in costume, but the rewards should be nothing more than the cheers and laughs from the crowd.

Don Garrett of DG Road Productions fame hosted a race last year that gave out prize money to costume winners. Why? It makes no sense to me. Am I missing the point?

Here is my closing argument about running, money and costumes: you probably thought I was talking about a Halloween themed race, maybe a Monster Dash, or a Mummy Race, even a Dracula Run. Nope! The Savannah Bridge Run and Downtown in December both take place on December 5th. What's to celebrate?! Why the costume?!

This felt like a Scotty D rant.

Week in Review

Time: 363:41
Distance: 52.04 miles

This was another down week to allow me to recover from this cold. I have it almost gone. I can tell that my legs are a lot fresher after having taken some days off and not running very much on the days I have stepped outside. It feels good to have no aches and pains. I need to put something on my schedule so I can get motivated to run some more.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Red Shirt, High Socks

Time: 99:19
Distance: ~15 miles

In order to be a member of this running crew you had to be wearing a red shirt and high socks. Simon, Nelson and I formed a little group partway through our long run and noticed that the three of us were wearing the same costume. I wasn't sure how far I wanted to go this morning but opted to run with Simon for the length of the run. My right quad is a little tight due to the lead biking duties on Friday. I don't have any cool stories to report about the run. Sorry.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Candlelight 8k

Time: 70:33
Distance: ~9.5 miles
Race: 25:47 for 8k, 3rd

W/u: 30:32 for 3.82 miles
C/d: 14:14 for 1.62 miles

It was a busy volunteering weekend here in Charlotte as the Queens athletes were roped into helping out at the Candlelight 8k. Scott Simmons was co-race director along with Saul Bizuneh, Fasil Bizuneh's brother. The first year race was out in Gastonia, NC and was offering a cash payout of $500, $200, $100.

I didn't decide to race until about 7:10 pm when I figured I could get a comp entry. I really had nothing to lose if I were to race and there was the possibility of winning some coin. I sent out a few text messages inquiring the whereabouts of some Zap athletes who might show up. They were up in Boston for Mayor's Cup and would not be in attendance. That was great news for me, but I still had to make a decision. I'll tell you what wasn't a good decision...eating the Jason's Deli turkey sammich, potato chips, cookie and three pickles around 5:00 pm.

I started warming up with Jenna and received a call from Simmons saying he could get me in. I was now leaning towards running the race, or at the very least starting it. I had only seen a couple of guys who looked like they could challenge for the lead and the stomach didn't feel too upset. Furthermore, my cold is nearly better but I still cough at the start of runs.

About 20 minutes from the 8:15 pm gun time I spotted the first Kenyan warming up near the start/finish line. I kept my eye out for his buddies as they usually travel in packs. The only other runner that I knew of in attendance was Ryan Woods of Boone, NC. He shows up in a lot of road races that offer a bit of prize money.

The race course was a hilly three loop circuit near the hospital. Simmons suggested a conservative start because we would be running the first hill of approximately 400m in length all three laps. I already had settled on a really conservative "race" plan that involved running for money and dropping out when it looked like there would be no pay day. And, I'm not talking candy bars.

The Kenyan (Julius Kogo) and Woods were out quickly up the starting hill, exiting onto the main road and up the hill on the loop. I was running in third, leading the chase pack of three. I felt settled and content to let the race come down to a kick for $100. I didn't see myself running that aggressively at any point so I was most concerned with running relaxed with Dan Matena (Charlotte Running Club) and Cody Angell (TrySports). The Royals had been assigned course marshaling duties which provided me great crowd support about every 500m.

On the second loop I was able to gap Angell and Matena by the smallest of margins and I felt that Woods was coming back. I maintained a rhythm and kept at it. At the top of each hill, Woods seemed to be gapping me. I thought I might be able to make a run for second place, but when the advantage closed by only 10m on the last climb I knew the difference was insurmountable. I finished strong for third. Splits were:

5:17, 5:04, 5:05, 5:19, 4:55, :08 for 25:47 and 5.03 miles. (Simmons said the course was a little long).

It was fun meeting some new guys out at the race. I haven't been able to run with the Charlotte Running Club yet, but that is something that will eventually happen.

Oh yeah...Kogo. The Kenyan. He ran pretty damn fast. He broke the tape in 23:21 (4:41 average) which for a night race and solo is legit. Kogo trains out of Chapel Hill, NC according to his coach who was present and served as interpreter. One of the guys asked Kogo what he ran and he simply help up his watch to see. Some of his training partners were up in Charlottesville, VA for a race earlier in the day. They also performed well. I heard that they will be running the City of Oaks Half Marathon next weekend.

Avon Breast Cancer Walk

Time: 35:22
Distance: 5.30 miles

Ran solo this morning through Freedom Park on my standard loop. There was an Avon Breast Cancer Walk going on the greenway section of the park. If you have never seen one of these walks, then let me sum up the participants in the form of a classified ad. W/F, 35-55 y/o, seeking pink shoes, pink socks, pink jackets, pink hats, pink ribbons, pink shoe laces, pink fanny packs, pink water bottles. Likes fitness walks, the outdoors, community activities, womanhood, good causes. Dislikes blisters, breast cancer, wet shoes, and port-o-potties.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Conference Carolinas Meet

Time: 71:27
Distance: 10.74 miles

W/u: 18:27 for 2.66 miles
W/u: 22:20 for 3.20 miles
W/o: 16:35 for 3.01 miles
C/d: 14:00 for 1.87 miles
600m Community Challenge: 1:41, 1st place

Predator Run:
Today was our last day without a car as Meagan and I would pick up a loaner from the Mini dealership after the meet, but first I had to get to Queens. I was meeting up with Benny Perez for a short workout out at McAlpine prior to the league championship meet. I used my feet as a car when I ran from the apartment to campus and then we drove out to the main entrance.

Out at McAlpine, Benny and I started by running the Footlocker course as a warm up. Scott Simmons and Jenna Wrieden, asst. coach, were out there finalizing course markings for the 5k and 8k later in the day. After a few strides Benny was ready to kick things off with a short predator run of the Footlocker course (first 3 miles). I decided to tag along because I wanted to test out the lungs with a light workout. I spent most of both warm ups coughing, but would be fine during the up tempo section.

We hit splits of:
5:29, 5:32, 5:31 for 16:32 total.

I was relaxed and in control the entire time. Benny struggled a bit after the hill on the course but responded to words of encouragement.

Community 600m:
There was a community 600 to run prior to the cross country meet. Most of the participants were Queens student-athletes and friends of the xc team who had come out to support. Meagan is taking a negotiation course this semester and her tactics are still a little green because it wasn't until 2 seconds after the race started that she convinced me to run. I weaved my way through the back of the field and targeted the leaders. Mind you, I was wearing basketball shorts, chewing gum and my left shoe was nearly falling off. I rounded the pond and by 350m I was sitting off the leader's shoulder. He was quick to throw in a surge which made the tempo pretty serious coming down the windy homestretch. It was a two man battle for nearly 200m. The crowd was in my favor and I had memories of my first beer mile when I got into a kicker's duel with Rob Sorrell. This race was meaningless, yet the competitive drive for a t-shirt and gift certificate was higher than ever. With about 15 meters left I finally got a step advantage and crossed the line first. The assistant coach for Anderson put up a great fight.

Conference Carolinas:
I was in charge of leading the women's and men's races during the Conference Carolinas Championships. Don't worry, I was on a bike. And I didn't mess things up. My instructions from Scott were: 1) Lead the race 2) Don't fall.

I did just that by keeping about a 20 meter lead in the races. I decided not to go up the only hill on the course, not because I couldn't make it, but rather I didn't want to descend. I was on Mike Crouch's Schwinn purchased from Wal-Mart and there is a swamp on the other side of the hill. I had visions of flying down the course, sliding into the turn, off the trail and into the muck. I opted to sit the hill out and pick up the racers on the other side.

Oscar and Futsum had a nice battle up front that wasn't decided until the final half mile. Simon (of "It's not a tumor" fame) ran great to finish third. The Queens men swept the top 6 spots. Results.

The women won their first ever conference title by beating Lees-Mcrae who had won the last nine championships.

Congrats to the Royals.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Day Off

Time: none
Distance: none

I took today off from athletic activities today. However, I did walk to and from a bus stop in Uptown.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I need to update this blog in a serious way. The daunting task of recapping a great time in Japan and Washington DC is enough to slow the process of writing any posts. Keep posted and hopefully this afternoon I will start with some stories about the race and post-party.

Entertainment for Jilane and Ben

Time: 51:43
Distance: 7.00 miles

I ran with Benny and Devin out at McAlpine for this run. Devin's goal for the run was to not sweat and I think he nearly accomplished it. The pace was very casual which is what I needed because for the first 30 minutes I hacked up boogers. Not really but I wanted to write that. I didn't feel great for the first part but once the body adjusted to the elevated heart rate, it was good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Internship Starts

Time: 35:17
Distance: ~4.5 miles

Meagan thinks she is empowered things days with feminist ideals and one way to flaunt her female dominance was to force me to run with her in the morning. We did my standard loop through Freedom Park ending at the Queens campus. I stopped to use the facilities just before leaving the park and noticed that we were at 27:15. I usually complete this run in just over 30 minutes. We were running slow. Meagan got upset when I ridiculed how slow were running.

I felt not so great on this run. Actually, my legs felt good because they are totally recovered, but my lungs and nose had a lot to say in the form of phlegm and boogers. Not a pretty sight.

Today I started my internship at Edison Nation. One of the only reasons that I was running was out of necessity. Meagan's car is in the shop and we needed to get Tanya's truck from campus.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flight Day

Time: none
Distance: none

Meagan and I flew from BWI to CLT this afternoon. Jilane and Ben played great hosts during the weekend. I really enjoyed the no baseball on the tv rule and enforcing it by locking TBS when their other roommate came home. I had a great time seeing good friends and old teammates. I'd write much more but I need to get this blog up to date. I'm just now leaving DC and need to get back to writing about the wedding and Japan.

Week in Review

Time: 274:01
Distance: 38.63 miles

The two big highlights of this week were running in the Izumo Ekiden and getting massively sick. The race was fun but definitely a disappointment. I put a lot of time and effort into my training and never really saw the benefit. I didn't race well at CVS and had an awful performance in Japan. The trip is always fun, but it would have been that much better had we finished in the top 10.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tarpy and Washburn

Time: 61:12
Distance: ~8.5 miles

I spent the morning bumming around Jilane and Ben's apartment before leaving for a hipster coffee shop. The joint served the black stuff in a French pressed fashion. While we drank coffee Ben and I got smoked at Scattergories by our female companions.

I got to run with Mr. Washburn and Mr. Tarpy in the afternoon through Rock Creek Park. I met up with them at Owen's apartment and we left for the park. The route was very similar to one I ran last year about this time when Aja and the crew was together for Marine Corps Marathon. During the run I got some inside information on Tarpy's plan for the NYC Marathon. I won't reveal all the details but the plan does involve: the subway, a sports bar, two jerseys, a shave and the fade route.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 15, 16, 17

Time: none
Distance: none

There was no running on these days. The night before leaving Japan I got sick sick sick. I had terrible aches, a clogged nose and horrible cough. Nothing about flying back double digit hours in a plane made it better. I took a few days off and tried to recover as best as possible. I landed back in the states in Washington D.C. for a good friend's wedding.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kyoto Miles

Time: 58:29
Distance: 7.68 miles
Pace: 7:36

This morning I went on a run with the Ekiden from our hotel to a river. It was nice to finally get along a path that we could find a rhythm. We spent most of the first 10 minutes starting and stopping at traffic lights. On the return trip we ran through a park/shrine area where other people were taking a morning walk. It was a nice light run to start the day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hiroshima & Kyoto

I'm currently in Kyoto this morning and we are about to jump on a bus to see the city. Yesterday, we spent about 3 hours in Hiroshima visiting the Peace Memorial. Powerful stuff. I will provide a more detailed description in a few days or perhaps tonight when we get back to the hotel.

On a side note, I have managed to catch a bit of a cold which I find surprising since the Japanese all wear masks when they have ill symptoms. This is the second cold I've had in less than a month. My immune system is definitely not what it used to be.

Sea of Japan

Time: 89:20
Distance: 12.45 miles

The team was up early this morning and out the door in a light rain for our run. The party last night didn't get too out of control which meant we were in good spirits for some easy miles. We decided to run west and see the Sea of Japan (Pacific Ocean kinda). Ben and Dave were spearheading this run as they are both in a base training phase with their respective post-collegiate training groups. The rest of us were along for the ride and enjoyed seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and smelling the smells (?).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Izumo Ekiden First Review

The team finished 13th overall.

I ran terrible. Embarrassingly bad. I covered 6.5k faster two years ago. Not sure why I suck so much. I think I was the 15th fastest for my leg and let 3 guys pass me. I had no response for their silent shuffles when they scurried by.

The dude from Nihon University has really good eyesight. Like really good eyesight. He covered the 10.2k distance in 28:17 and made up a huge deficit in the process. He was seeing with 20/15 vision today.

Nihon won, Yamanashi second, Toyo third.

The opening split was covered in 22:30 for 8.0k which is a new record.

It was hot (22-24 degrees celsius) and a little windy (3.5m/s).

Time to shower and head over to the winery to drown my sorrows.

Race Day Morning

It's the morning of the race and I'm wide awake. In fact, I was wide awake several times throughout the night and at one point I got up for about an hour. I'm not sure why I slept so poorly. When I decided to get up I turned on the television and found a channel airing the Chicago Marathon. I watched Sammy Wanjiru looked controlled from about 15k to 25k which is when I was able to fall back asleep. I had already checked the result and saw that he won in a new CR breaking Special Ks' (Khalid Khannouchi) 2:05:42 by one second.

Check out the blog Japan Running News for a great preview of the race. It also says that you can watch the race online but for those who are in the states the start time is around midnight.

The states GAORA is showing a live NFL game. The guys from the northeast on this trip should be delighted to see the Patriots are leading the Broncos 17-7 at halftime.

Race report later.

Also, Tarpy won a bit of coin at the Hartford Half taking first place (money) and being the first New Englander (more money). Good pay day for 64:42 minutes of work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This Is a Hot & Cool Spot

Time: 29:10
Distance: 4.02 miles
Pace: 7:16

The day started off at 5:30 when my eyes opened and they weren't going to be persuaded to go back to sleep. I was up 90 minutes before breakfast and spent the time browsing the intertubes. Down at breakfast we were treated to more runny eggs and bacon/ham.

The team gathered in the lobby an hour after eating for a course tour. Each of us took turns at the front of the bus trying to visualize, to the best of our ability, what the race was going to be like. We struggled to find some of the kilometer markers but made the most of our time. The lineup for the race will start with Ben True on the downhill 8.0k opener. He will hand off to Dave who will run over two overpasses on a 5.8k segment. Next will be Zac on a shortened 7.9k flat leg. I will run fourth over 6.2k and hand off to Murat who runs 6.4k. Luke will bring it home on a 10.2k final segment.

Once we were through with the course tour it was time to get in some training. We were bussed to the track again where most of the teams were present. It was similar to going to a cross-country meet where true distance running is the focus. However, there was more of a track feeling to it because we were on the oval watching guys do strides and cut shapes. It's hard to explain the scene but imagine a track practice with 15 teams, no sprinters or field events and no females.

A group of us laced up the shoes for a short run followed by some light drills and strides. I'm feeling good and look forward to running hard tomorrow. I plan to run conservatively which will be hard to do as the tendency will be to go out fast. If all goes well I'll be around 3:00 for the first kilometer, 9:00-9:10 at 3k and will be able to negative split on the second half. A final time of 19 minutes would be a decent result.

After our run we drove to a noodle house and had a great lunch of ramen. But, not the kind of ramen you ate as a poor college student. This was delicious served in a big bowl with onions, pork and a light broth. Lunch was brief and then we returned to the hotel for a nap or tv watching. Our next scheduled meeting was at 4:00 pm when we met with our student guides. They are responsible for getting us to the start of our respective legs tomorrow and have the privilege of watching/carrying our gear. The introduction process was terribly awkward which consisted of the standard smiles, nods and bows.

When I was here two years ago the record was set on the opening leg. An athlete ran 22:50 for 8k which is flying. All the buzz last year when Jailhouse, Owen and Ari (former Brown teammates) were on the trip, was about a runner from Nihon University who ran 28:28 on the final leg. That's not 28:28 for 10k. That's 28:28 for 10.2k which is like 27:40s for 10k on the roads. Rolling. Nihon is back this year and they hope to repeat. When our manager returned from the press conference, he reported to us that members of the media wanted to know about his fitness this year. The best quote of the day came from the response of the Nihon coach who said something along the lines of, "[the athlete] runs very fast when there is someone in front of him. He pushes himself when he can see other runners ahead. And, he has very good eyesight."

I'll rush through the opening ceremony where each team is introduced on stage. I was named team captain and got to carry the placard across the stage for all to see. During the introductions Dave and I were sizing up which teams had the best warmups. There is a squad, I think Daiichi Institute of Technology, that has these green and orange unis that resemble the University of Miami. It makes me wonder if they get arrested a lot. Yamanashi Gakuin University has some really classy white tops that are very clean and Toyo University looks good with the blue.

After the ceremony, Yamanashi presented our team with a gift bag contain some stuffed animals and a pair of sunglasses. Jack Fultz knows their team manager because a couple of years back the Ivy team trained near Mount Fuji at their school. It was a very nice gesture and a complete surprise.

Dinner is in a few moments. I'm having the eel with tempura. I'll close this post out with the second best quote of the day taken from the front of Sega World:

Pleasant time is necessary for your lifetime.
This is a hot & cool spot, as you know.
Come on now!!

True words to live by.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Busy Day in Izumo

Time: 22:51
Distance: 3.01 miles
Pace: 7:36

I'm going to be posting my workouts backwards in order to keep the most recent stuff fresh.

This afternoon the Ivy League team had lunch with the new Mayor of Izumo and members of the Japanese collegiate organization (I believe IEAUJ). The lunch was at a French restaurant like it was 2 years ago, but this time the mayor had changed. The previous mayor was a charismatic guy who was able to express his love for the Ivy League and running with broken English. The new mayor chose to speak through a translator which was fine but seems very formal. The lunch was amazing with several courses and lots to drink. Gifts were exchanged along with awkward nods and smiles.

After lunch we all went to the Taisha Shrine that I wrote about the last time I was here. However, this year the largest and oldest part of the shrine is under construction and obstructed from view. That being said, we did get to the Izumo museum that explains why the city is where the "Gods and legends" originated. A few months ago during an excavation some artifacts were found which are now in the museum. It is important for our team to learn a bit about the city that is so graciously hosting us. During the the self-guided tour we received PS2 devices to listen to the explanations of most display cases. I learned some but it was hard to take everything in when the labels are all in Japanese.

Next, we drove to the community athletic area where there are two outdoor tracks, an indoor swimming facility, soccer fields, baseball fields and more. The main outdoor track is one of the top 5 facilities Lucas Meyer has ever seen. I'm not sure what those other 4 would be, but the stadium is pretty cool. Our team went on a short double run and did a few strides on the grass and track.

I was getting pretty tired by the end of our outing and was ready to return to the hotel. At dinner three of us got the "Izumo Gozan" meal which had a little bit of everything. From what I can recall it had sashimi, beef, pickled vegetable, miso soup, crab, rice, salmon on salad, cold pork?, and a few small plates that resembled endangered species. I at least tried everything. More than half was good, a quarter was edible but not my favorite and the remainder only got the first bite.

Sega World

Time: 48:50
Distance: 6.58 miles
Pace: 7:18

Today is our first full day in Japan. It started with a really long breakfast down in the hotel lobby. I didn't sleep great but it was definitely better than two years ago when I found myself wide awake at 2 am. I was one of the first patrons at the hotel restaurant along with John Deputy, Yoshi and Ben True. We ate the "Western" breakfast that consisted of runny eggs, undercooked bacon, toast, salad, corn flakes and yogurt. I'm not complaining about the food, but rather accurately portraying what was on the plate. Definitely not the best breakfast I've ever had, but perhaps better than the alternative of fish and rice that is part of the traditional Japanese breakfast.

I sat down in the restaurant for over two hours drinking coffee and letting my stomach settle while others ate. We decided to go out for our morning run around 10 o'clock. I served as run director because I knew where the bike path was since I was here in '07. We ran along the "river" as Jack, our coach, described it. I think Dave and some of the other were a bit let down because in reality it's no more than a 10 foot wide, 2 inch deep canal. It does open up a bit more and run out to the sea, but not for several miles.

It felt good to shake the legs out in a group of talented guys. I think all of us felt better than we had expected. Sitting on the plane, traveling on buses and walking through airports was not fantastic. We were all glad to be out in the fresh air getting the heart rate elevated. The run ended in enough time for us to clean up and put on our costumes prior to meeting the new mayor of Izumo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Planes and Buses, Planes and Buses

Time: none
Distance: none

Today was an entire day of travel. An. Entire. Day.

Meagan dropped Dave and I off at the Charlotte airport for our 9:51 am flight to Chicago. Once in Chicago we hopped on the plane bound for Tokyo and met up with Zac, Jack, Luke and John. It sounds like we were it at Bible camp or something with all of those names. Our flight departed at 12:05 on Thursday and wouldn't land until 3:00 pm on Friday on Japan. The flight alone was just over 12 hours. The time difference is 13 hours. Jet lag central.

During the flight I sat in the same row as Jack Fultz and we were able to talk strategy among other things. I watch several movies including most of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (I'll give it a 6), The Proposal (6), State of Play (7/8), and one more that I can't remember. I also finished the book Sway (very similar format to most marketing/advertising/negotiation books. Come up with a few cases to illustrate a theme. Find several mini-cases to illustrate the theme. Summarize research papers. Conclude with summary of first case study and how it illustrates the theme), and started another book Then We Came to the End.

I didn't sleep much on the flight, but there would be time for that later.

Upon getting to Tokyo we did the whole customs thing and then wasted time in the airport while waiting for the west coast guys (Murat and Ben). Once we were all together we took a bus from Narita (international airport) across town to Haneda (domestic airport). It was already getting dark around 5:45 pm when the bus left and completely black when we arrived at our destination around 7:00 pm.

We jumped on a 45, 60, 75, 90 minute flight to near Izumo? I don't remember the flight because at this point my body was shutting down. Our team was seated at the very back of the plane and almost immediately my eyes shut for the duration. Normally the team flies to Izumo but for whatever reason we stopped in ??? which was a 90 minute bus to the Wel City Hotel in Izumo.

We finally got to the hotel around 11 pm on Friday October 9th. I essentially lost Friday to roughly 26 hours of travel. The mood will improve in the morning when we get to spend our first day in Japan without the worries of making flights and catching buses. I look forward to meeting our hosts and exploring more of the city.

So far the guys on the team are great. We have enjoyed sharing stories about coaches, races, travels and the Ivy League in general. Basically we walk around with our noses sticking up in the air. Not because we are elitist Ivy League grads, but because we feel huge compared to some of our new Japanese friends.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Time: 71:51
Distance: 10.26
Pace: 7:00

It was an early 6:30 am start for the run with Dave Nightingale this morning. Last night he arrived from Zap Fitness which is a post-collegiate training group based out of Blowing Rock, NC. My former teammate Brendan O'Keefe used to run for the group. I was only looking for about 40 minutes but Dave was potentially doing some up-tempo stuff. We couldn't really see very well for the first 20-25 minutes of the run because the sun was still dreaming.

My first confrontational experience in Charlotte occurred on the run when we were just about to enter Freedom Park. I geeked out biker who was probably commuting to work felt the need to be an ass. I respect that he was riding a bike to work but that's where it stopped. As he slowly slipped by on our right he voiced that "there is a sidewalk just over there," which was his passive way of saying "get on the sidewalk!"

I told him that I find it rather nice to run in the street to which he replied, "It's illegal to run in the road."

Yup, that it is. I'm a huge rebel for running in the road. Especially when most of the suburban population is just waking up and there are no cars out.

I couldn't pass up, "It's also illegal to be a dick." Definitely not one of my better moments but this guy was ruining a perfectly good run by meddling in the tempo of it.

He mouthed something back but I couldn't hear it because I was too busy recommending that he should arrest the entire group of 8 that just ran up Princeton road. It was perfect timing on their part to run only a few wheels turn in front of this grumpy morning commuter. He was not being a good Samaritan for all those who were asleep in bed when he decided not to detain those 8 early morning joggers.

The remaining part of the run was better. The sun came out, the stars drifted off and the douchenozzle bikers made it to work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feeling Sluggish

Time: 34:54
Distance: 5.00 miles
Pace: 6:58

The legs did not have it this evening. Aerobically I felt great on the run this evening, but the legs are not there. I didn't have much pop out there. I kept the run relatively short on purpose. I know that in the next 4 days training will be all about recovery.

Tomorrow, I leave for Japan on a trip with the Ivy League Select team. The squad is comprised of David Nightingale (Princeton), Murat Kayali (Yale), Lucas Meyer (Yale), Ben True (Dartmouth), Zac Hine (Cornell) and myself. We lost out on taking Steve Sundell, Matt Clark, Thomas Morgan or Michael Maag due to injury or age. That all works out in my favor because now I'll definitely be running a leg on the Ekiden.

Gimp Limp

Time: 38:45
Distance: 5.30 miles
Pace: 7:18

I ran a little with Meagan this morning from the apartment which meant the start was really slow. I am pretty sore from yesterday's workout, but not that worse off. My calves are still tight, but better. Meagan has given me two extensive calf massages in as many days which has helped break up some of the junk. It was probably good that she held me back this morning and let the body slowly adjust to some activity.

I ran with her until we reached Freedom Park and then I picked it up for the next 10 minutes. By picking it up I mean running my normal pace. I was expecting to run with her on the way back, but she decided to ditch me instead. I was constantly peering as far ahead as possible hoping to witness the gimp from afar. In the end she beat me back to the house so I gave her a stern verbal lashing upon returning.

The Kid is Back

Time: ~65 mins
Distance: 10.13 miles

W/u: 22:33 for 3.00 miles
W/o: 25 x 400 on a 2:00 interval
C/d: 17:09 for 1.88 miles

I needed redemption after last week's 400 workout. I opted out of a workout yesterday because I thought an extra day of rest would do the calves good. The Queens team was running there fabled 25 x 400 meter workout on a 2 minute interval this afternoon and I thought that I would tag along. The 2 minute interval makes things interesting because the fast you run, the more rest you get. For instance, run 65 seconds, get 55 seconds rest.

We used a section of McAlpine just off the main path because it ends with a slight uphill on the way out. I wasn't looking to impress anyone today with my foot speed so I opted out of "hammering" some of the later intervals with some of the guys. My goal was to stay consistent and relaxed as possible. The group of guys broke up nicely to where I was running with Oscar, Nelson, Simon and Futsum for the majority of the workout. Devin was lurking just behind, but made his presence felt during the hammers and late in the workout.

The intervals started out quicker than they usually do based on the guys' reactions after the first 3. I hit splits of:
67.54 (50.90), 63.49 (58.28), 65.18 (54.64), 63.51 (56.37), 64.95 (55.35),
63.57 (55.90), 64.98 (55.05), 64.27 (56.03), 65.45 (54.30), 63.66 (56.32),
65.82 (53.93), 64.57 (55.20), 66.36 (54.32), 64.02 (56.13), 66.22 (53.93),
64.75 (55.45), 65.77 (53.90), 65.10 (55.41), 66.39 (52.65), 66.53 (54.87),
66.28 (52.90), 67.05 (53.00), 67.82 (51.43), 65.24 (54.58), 64.01 for 49:03 and 6.65 miles.
Avg = 65.30 sec.
Avg rest = 54.62 sec.

The workout is incredibly long and took a lot of focus. After each interval I found myself walking a little bit to shake out the legs and hoping that by 30 sec. I felt recovered enough to start running again. The countdown for the 2 min. interval would come pretty quickly and the group would jump off the line and get back at it. I'm pretty sure this is the most 400s I have ever run, surpassing the 20 I did earlier this summer. I'm not convinced the section of trail we were running was a complete 400 meters and would guess that it was 380-385, but this is not a complete science and the work we put it was solid.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Edison Nation Interview

Time: 36:41
Distance: 5.30 miles
Pace: 6:55

I ran my standard loop this morning prior to an interview for a possible internship with Edison Nation. Last week, Owen Washburn, shared this little nugget of statistical enlightenment on his RSS feed. Despite the fact my stats knowledge isn't as strong as my father's, (a man who managed to get out of taking a foreign language in college by filling the requirement with stats), I can still understand it's not ideal to move from an area ranked "best place to look for work" to the city ranked "4th worst place to look for work." At this point in the job search an unpaid internship seems like a great opportunity and one I hope I get.

Monday, October 5, 2009

McAlpine Malfunction

Time: 66:36
Distance: 9.94 miles

I went out to the Boyce parking lot with Tanya and Benny this afternoon for the day's longer effort. Before leaving, I finally found where the basketballs are kept in the gymnasium. Tanya and I showed off our skills for about 10 minutes while the team had a brief meeting. It brought back boring stories of Brown days when Peaches would dunk from the foul line and Tarpy slammed home Sprite balls.

The run started really slowly and progressed nicely to a group of Alex, Nelson, Futsum and me. For some reason Mr. Garmin didn't record the first 4 miles of the run and I only noticed it somewhere around the 2k mark of the Footlocker course. I got things straightened out with the techno-watch and saw the splits were sub-6:30s. The weather was still cool and perhaps a little drizzly like a winter day in Santa Rosa.

After the run I did a few strides with the guys but opted out of the plyos.

A Slight Change of Scenes

Time: 34:35
Distance: 5.12 miles
Pace: 6:45

I took a run through Freedom Park on this drizzly morning but instead of running back to the house I jogged over to Run for Your Life. Nobody was out this morning because of the rain and true nature of the casual jogger. Those who are truly dedicated get out the door no matter what. I showed my male dominance by spreading my scent on a tree just off the path in the park simply because I could. My calves are still terribly tight from last Friday's workout and they need to get better asap. I finished the run with a short loop around the block where Meagan's place of employment is located in order to hit 5 miles.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week in Review

Time: 598:12
Distance: 86.95 miles

I nearly felt unsick on Sunday which is the only step in the right direction this week. I had two sub-standard workouts this week, but know that I am still in good shape. The mile repeat workout this week was a bust mainly due to being sick and I have no explanation for Friday's shape cutting. Looking back at my most recent 400 meter sessions I have averaged 64.15 on a short track, 66.36 at night, 67.98 for 20 intervals and 68.20 just coming back from injury. On all of those occasions I was taking 60 seconds rest while this week I averaged 64.81 and 1:32 rest.

What's This Supposed to Be?

Time: 88:42
Distance: 13.28 miles
Pace: 6:40

The Queens team got back from Louisville late last night which moved the start time for the long run back an hour. The team placed 7th out of about 38 squads and Mike's run put him 4th overall. The team was tired but in good spirits out at McAlpine because they knew the run wasn't going to be fast or as long as it normally is on Sundays. I ran with Mike and heard about how the race unfolded. My lower legs are still overly tight from Friday's workout. So tight, in fact, that I wore my Zensah compression sleeves in hope of some sort of miracle occurring that would leave me pain free. My calves loosened up a little bit over the run but still were sore. I think it won't be until Tuesday when they start to feel better.

When I got done running I was hanging out with Simon, Devin and Tim by the team's van. Simon was bent over stretching in the middle of the street, a little bit in the way of traffic but not overly hazardous. A Buick rolled up with your typical Buick driver behind the wheel. He stopped, rolled down the window and curmudgeonly bemoaned, "What's this supposed to be?"

Simon answered in his German, Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque accent, "Stretching."

The guy just sat there for a few moments staring at the four of us clearly upset that we had parked, ran and stretched on his neighborhood street. Devin finally spoke up and asked, "Can I help you," which finally broke the guy's glare. Grandpa sped up to a crawl and entered his driveway which means now we know where he lives.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Torn Up Calves

Time: 36:43
Distance: 5.35 miles
Pace: 6:51

My calves this morning are terribly sore. No idea why the 400s yesterday have left me in such pain. I wore adidas flats on the track instead of my Lunar Racers, but that shouldn't have had such an effect. I decided to take it really easy today in hopes of getting the legs recovered.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cutting Shapes

Time: 69:09
Distance: 9.46 miles

W/u: 22:11 for 3.14 miles
W/o: 12 x 400 in 62 with 2:00 rest
C/d: 15:58 for 1.97 miles

This afternoon I warmed up to the Alexander Graham Middle School just off Runnymeade. Jailhouse wrote my training for the next few weeks taking me through the trip to Japan. Word on the street is that I might get to run one of the relay legs so the focus is still on running fast at 5k. I need to be able to run 68s comfortably and the purpose of this workout was to hit 62s with lots of rest. It didn't go as planned.

63.78 (1:52), 65.18 (1:53), 63.21 (1:57), 64.23 (1:56), 65.58 (1:57),
Stopped jogging 400m and dropped the rest to 90 seconds.
65.03 (1:32), 64.78 (1:29), 63.72 (1:30), 67.26 (1:30), 64.93 (1:32), 65.38 (1:32), 64.67 for 31:40 total.
Avg = 64.81 sec
Avg rest = 91.82 sec

Not sure what happened out there. I felt great on the warm up. Very relaxed. Good arm carry. I didn't think this was going to be an easy workout but I knew with all the rest the pace wouldn't feel taxing.

I used lane two for the entirety of the workout and ran the first 10 where I had the wind in my face the final 80-120 meters. Since the wind was on the backstretch I tried to take advantage of it as much as possible. It felt easy going through 200m in 30-31 on the handfull where I looked. However, the last 80 of almost every interval felt terrible. I'm not sure if it was because of the wind or lack of power but my pace slowed considerably and my form crumbled. On the split that I hit 67, I thought that I should relax the first 200 and try to attack the final straight. You can see how that worked out.

I'm perplexed as to why this workout went south. Maybe I'm still a little sick, have run too much this week, ran too late in the day?

Captain Hook

Time: 39:48
Distance: 5.31 mile
Pace: 7:29

I had a little company with me this morning as Meagan met up with me just as I made the turn onto the Little Sugar Creek bike path. You can read in her blog how she is able to run a little bit now that her hip/leg/quad/femur is feeling better. She still runs a little like she has a peg leg which is sweet because I hear pirates were the Usain Bolt of their time. Please pause for a pirate joke:

An able-bodied seaman meets a pirate in a bar, and they take turns recounting their adventures at sea. Noting the pirate's peg-leg, hook, and eye patch, the seaman asks, "So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?"

The pirate replies "We was caught in a monster storm off the Cape and a giant wave swept me overboard. Just as they was pullin' me out a school of sharks appeared and one of 'em bit me leg plum off!"

"Blimey!" said the seaman. "What about the hook"?

"Ahhhh...," mused the pirate, "We was boardin' a trader ship, pistols a 'blastin' and swords a'swingin' this way and that. In the fracas me hand got chopped off."

"Zounds!" remarked the seaman. "And how came ye by the eye patch"?

"A seagull droppin' fell into me eye," answered the pirate.

"Ye lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" the sailor asked incredulously.

"Welllll..." explained the pirate, " was me first day with the hook."

The pace on this run was a little slower than usual but it was good to have Meagan along and keep me running nice and easy. I have a 400 meter session this afternoon to get ready for.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Exploratory Run

Time: 56:26
Distance: 8.82 miles
Pace: 6:24

I couldn't take another run from the apartment to Freedom Park and I didn't want to drive out to McAlpine. I settled on leaving from the Queens campus after dropping Meagan off for class. The run began running in some Myers Park neighborhoods that we only drive by to get to McAlpine. It's hard running around these parts because you can't get anywhere quickly without using the main thoroughfares. I hate running on busy streets and much prefer side streets which was acceptable in the Oklahoma grid system. If you wanted to get across town there was always a street with less traffic that would run parallel to one of the major roads. Here, not so much.

I hated the grid system in Oklahoma because it was boring and if there was a wind much of the run could be spent running straight into a 30 mph breeze without any sort of reprieve. In Charlotte the roads are confusing as they make loops only to connect to other roads making their own loops. There are very few roads that cut directly across to where you need to get.

Today's run took me through a neighborhood just of Providence Road and I thought I was going to be able to explore a bit and perhaps even get lost. Sure enough, the road I was on simply looped back to Providence Road and I spent 1.2 miles running a .4 mile distance up on Providence. This sort of thing happened a few times, but eventually I found my way back to Freedom Park which brought me up to Queens.

After the run I went to the soccer field and ran 6 strides of decent effort with my adidas flats on.

More Freedom Park Action

Time: 35:46
Distance: 5.31 miles
Pace: 6:44

I put in a bit of a longer morning run today through Freedom Park. The fall weather is almost here to stay and it will soon be time to break out the long sleeves for the morning run. I still have been able to run shirtless but the temps haven't dipped below 50.