Yeah I remember that dude from History class… His first name was Pancho if I recall and he and his buddy Lefty were outlaws in the ancient Middle East… or something like that.

Monday’s discussion:

Me: “Mark is gonna run the trails at 1615… I know that you might need a day off after the 18 miler yesterday we can do something else”

Judi: “how about Yoga?”

Me: “I have gas”

Judi: “no, I mean Pilates”

Me: “okay”

Now I had zero idea what happens in a Pilate’s class.. never seen one… never been to one… never bothered to ask anyone who had either. Nevertheless we were going.

But first we went to the grocery store to buy something for diner… we were having chili for dinner… recipe here:


and… you can’t have chili… even girly vegetarian chili… without beer.. so we bought some… and take it home… well.. we are just going to Pilates… so we have one.

Then it’s off to class… First I ask if we need shoes… neither of us know so we wear ours because the floor is cold and we don’t want to have cold feet The instructor arrives and advises the removal of our shoes… I am grumpy… and cold.

The first thing we do is line up our pointer toes with our pelvic bone and our bottom rib… this is “VERY IMPORTANT” and if we don’t continuously keep these all lined up we are doomed… then we are told to put our heels together with our toes out at a 45 degree angle… this is the key stance for all of Pilates we are told… In the back of the class I silently ask why does this new stance violate the pointer to with the pelvic bone thing…. I have little time to dwell on the inconsistencies because soon we are stepping from side to side with our arm straight and touching our knee… I think that this is soooo easy… must be a class for old ladies.

This lasts for a minute or so until we are told to all a kick with our left foot. On the right side… while we exhale and raise our right arm… Mary-mother-of-god.. I can pat my head while rubbing my stomach but this…. I cannot do… I feel very white until we thankfully move to shoulders.

Perhaps this is a good time to tell you that I have bad shoulders… I tore a rotator cuff lifting weights in college… and have struggled with them ever since… so I just don’t really *do* shoulders… but in Pilates it seems shoulders is like 1/3 of the class… it sucked… I sucked… and completely quit a few times and even put my hands in my hips in disgust… with me… with Judi…. With the instructor… and even with the creator in general for designing me in such a poor way.

After 15 minutes that seemed like an hour we moved on… she said to lie down on our stomachs…. I thought heck yeah baby… lie down! Well… lemme tell you… it was just the beginning of suckage…. The next 15 minutes she had me grunting and flailing around like baby Shamu on the poop deck….

I looked stupid… I felt stupid… and once when I raised my head up to see if anyone was laughing at me… I could see through the crack in the blinds… the gathering dusk… and thought of mark out running trails… how the sunset would look filtered through the trees out on the trails as the roots, and sand, and leaves passed beneath our feet.

Eventually we flipped over on our backs… here we did “normal” type ab work and I was able to

hang… at least for a while…. Not long enough to start getting cocky but a while…. We move from abs to some side hip raises that I obviously did completely wrong and I totally got away with it because I didn’t get corrected by the teacher and it was in no way unpleasant or painful.

The end of the class brought me back to feeling like a fish out of water again… the instructor said “okay class… our time is almost up, let’s get in the something-or-other-position” (mermaid position I was later told) everyone kind of relaxed and smiled… sat with one leg crossed in front… and one leg drawn up behind… as I’m trying to figure this out… they start doing some kind of side bends…. I try and try to accomplish the sitting technique… and I feel pretty good about it as the class is finishing up their side bends… I throw my hands up and try one to only to flop over sideways (I blame the beer).

The class switches front and back leg positions and I simply give up and flop around aimlessly until we do the “stand and roll up from the waist and give yourself a pat on the back part” which I do with a smirk… As I roll up my mat…. Judi and the instructor are talking about the moves and techniques and “next time”… I silently say… “for me… there will be no next time”


About that 20 miles…..

Ok, so we were going to run 20 miles this morning. I was told that the temperature when we would be setting out would be the highest all day (42). Fine. I WASN’T informed about the wind and rain. Good thing, too. I was already making grumpy noises about climbing back into bed, or hopping into Michael’s friend’s Mark’s car (we were supposed to pick him up at mile 6) and waiting for them to swing back around. I was even scheming that I could get Mark to drive us home….. I warmed up by mile 3 or so, as we headed down to where we were to meet Mark. His grand plan was to drive to a convenience store and run 9 or so with us. We get to said location and no Mark. We were running 20 minutes behind schedule, so we felt safe in assuming that he wasn’t late or that he had been waiting for us, given up and gone on home.
So it was just Michael and me for the duration. We head over one of the bridges crossing the intracoastal to the beach. The rain had already started before the Mark pick-up spot. I felt the wet drops on my face and looked over at Michael and nodded my head with a smile. He smiled back. At this point I need to explain something to you. Michael is not the same kind of different as most people. There are those who run marathons, and then there are those who are just getting started at mile 26. There are those who look out the window at the cold rain and say “maybe I’ll skip it today,” and there are those who can’t wait to get out in the stuff. He’s one of the second kind. Yeah… I’m getting there, though. Truth be told, once we were out there, and I was warm, it wasn’t that bad. I would call the worst of the rain a heavy sprinkle.
The most AWESOME part, though, was the wind… hooray… gotta love the wind…. especially going back over the water and up to the turn home – a 3.5 mile stretch of nothing but 38 degrees and hateful wind which Michael has described as “the best part – the picture of miserable.” I do love him so : )
I took Michael up on his offer and drafted behind him for a lot of it. The other parts, I just toughed it out and pretended I was stronger than the wind. And that made it so.
We ended up with 18.5, and were glad to have another adventure under out belts.
“Oh, fear not in a world like this, and thou shalt know erelong, know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Merry Merry!

I woke up this morning with a food hangover from my annual Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes party. Crab Risotto… Boiled Crawfish…. Linguine with Red Clam Sauce…. Shrimp and Scallops with Angel Hair, Smoked Fish Dip, Shrimp Cocktail, and Seafood Gratin… not to mention the Gooey Butter Cake, Biscotti, Petit Fours… oh my! Whew! Thank goodness for a 6 miles this morning and 20 miles to come in the morning. AND, thank goodness for a kitty sleeping in the sunlight coming in from my bedroom window!

Easy like Sunday morning…

crown-737673.jpgI used to hate to run in the morning… well really I used to hate training in the morning… okay that’s not the whole story… I used to hate mornings in general..

As a younger man I was not a morning person… and I used to drink… kinda excessively and kinda on a regular basis… Hangeroverish and morning training do not good friends make…

But… things have changed… as of a couple of years ago…. no more liquor for me…

I then found that I could ride in the morning… but… only if a nap was imminent.

Dec%2B2010%2Br2t%2BIMG00180-20101204-1020-741530.jpgThen I met this girl… she is a morning person… and I started training with her… in the morning… really early… I liked this girl a lot… but before 0730 every day… liking just barely won out… on a daily basis… breaking up with her so I could go back to bed and get some sleep… cycling, swimming, Lifting were all crappy in the morning… but… running was the worst… I hated it… but… I liked her so much the rest of the time… that I kept on showing up

Well… then it was my turn to be the pusher… she had never run more than 15k at a time… so I started taking her on my long runs… we did a couple of long runs on Sunday afternoon… but other commitments soon drove us to settle on Sunday mornings… before church… oh… and get this… church starts at 0830.

But a funny thing has happened… I started liking these early morning adventures… it started with us sneaking thru a swanky gated community… then we added a loop through our outside mega-mall… which is really cool in the cool darkness at 0545 on a Sunday… then we added a loop or 2 of a trail system nearby… running in the woods in the grey mist of dawn is spine tingling… Last week we ran out to the beach… and saw the sunrise over the ocean

Now… I look forward to Sunday morning all week… seriously… like a kid at Christmas… I talk about it all week… plan, scheme, map, discuss. It is our own little epic adventure… and yet… it’s like our little secret at the same time…

This week’s installment really started on Friday… when the speedwork we’d put off on Wed and Thursday was re-inserted into our training schedule.

We did 7ish miles with the 4.5 in the middle at 7:15 pace… I did push it on the last full mile to get a 6:59 just for “fun”

Judi did 4 ~7:45s… and only took one wrong turn.

On Friday evening I met Mark for a couple of loops of the UNF trails…. We got in 6 miles in 54ish minutes…. And had a nice chat along the way.

That said…. And done… my legs were cooked

Dec%2B2010%2Br2t%2Briding-743588.jpgDawn on Saturday was clear and crisp (35ish F). We did not, however, attend but instead slept in until about 8:30 then rode the Baldwin rails to Trails loop at around 10:30 when it had warmed up 20 or so degrees. Beautiful fall scenery at a nice relaxed pace… 42 miles

Sunday morning… I kid you not… I woke with a start… raring to go running… only to look at my watch which read 0230… I thought to myself… “Dangit… gotta sleep 2 more hours”

Alarm went off at 0400… finally it was time…

And we had a plan…. Loosely based on this:


basically… we run together for the first 13 miles… then I turn around and run back .5 miles… reverse direction again and try to run Judi down… we both would pick up the pace for the last 5 (for her) and 6 (for me) miles. I was hoping to do a nice crescendo from about an 8:30 pace to a 7:20 over the 6 miles…. Judi was just going to run…

the course was mapped:


We hit the road at 0450… ran the first 2 at 10:15 pace… Judi asked me how I felt about a half mile in… “my legs are tired” was my response.

That does not mean that we weren’t having fun tho… miles 3-8 quickly passed under our feet… we stayed at about a 9:45 pace… while talking, laughing, listening to music, and dancing… we even saw a couple walking down one of the streets in Jacksonville Beach drinking beer and carrying a cooler at 0545 on a Sunday morning… now *that’s* hardcore.

After a store stop around mile nine we started to slow a bit… we had tuned into a headwind… our tired legs were just slowing down… and I, for one, was trying to gather myself for the discomfort of running hard for the last hour. Miles 9-12.5 slipped to a 10:30 pace… It has been months since we have run that slow….

No matter…. We stopped at the top on the Atlantic Blvd Bridge… “Shook hands”… and parted ways. I was not ready… and did not immediately pick up the pace much… maybe to a 9:30…

Mile 14 I tried to up the pace… my legs said “no”… my head said “yes” my legs said “maybe” then my head said… “that’ll have to do” and off we went to run a 9:05

I tried to up the pace again for the next mile… Really working hard and managed to drop it down to an 8:35… I had planned to be sub 8 for the last 5… it just was not to be… I was giving it all I had.

Somehow I managed to keep edging my pace down 8:20 for mile 16, then 8:16, and finally mile 18 was a 7:56… I wanted to up the ante one more time… I really wanted a 7:40 for mile 19 but I did not have it in me… I used every mind game I knew and only came up with an 8:11… I finished up the last .82 in just under a 10 pace… like the beaten man that I was.

Oh, and Judi…. I never even caught another glimpse of her… she had finished, stretched and gotten in the shower by the time I came rolling to a stop.

Now… you may think… that I feel defeated… and in a way I do…. I did not meet my goals and as a goal oriented person I am disappointed in falling short… but… that is so not the case.

For three hours, ten minutes, and 12 seconds on Sunday… I was a runner… doing what I love… with my favorite person… testing myself… and I can hardly wait 5 more days to get out there again.