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Th. 9/25 - Tiny Life

Posted by DaveVause Sep 25, 2008

The tiny mole lay on his right side on the neighborhood trail through the woods as I came upon him during my morning run.   I wondered what caused him to leave the security of his burrow to cross the narrow, black, asphalt path.  He only made it halfway across, before expiring in the middle of the trail.  He lay in a small circle of dampness he exuded upon death.

I ran past in the darkness, the sad sight lingering in my mind.  The end of a tiny life on such an unnatural surface just didn't seem  right.  I stopped and walked back to where he lay.  Taking two small sticks, I picked up his body and placed it in the leaves of a bush on the side of the trail.

I continued my four mile run feeling the world was somehow a better place.

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Su. 9/21 - Double Digits

Posted by DaveVause Sep 21, 2008

It is a failing of me as a runner that I undervalue my runs in single digit miles.  The cumulative stress of those runs really does matter.  That is one of the lessons from this spring.

The sun was just clearing the treetops when I arrived at Buddy Attic this morning.  Its glare lit up the steam from the lake.  The water was smoking in the chill night air.  The scene was surreal.  No details of lake and tree line were visible.  The mist glowed and everything in it was a dark gray shadow.  I began my run.

On the fourth lap of the 1.25 mile trail around the lake, I was joined by a young woman introduced by a mutual friend.  I'd guess she's in her 30s now, but she retains that light, gliding, stride you see in talented high school and collegiate runners.  She slowed significantly to chat with me in a thick Central or South American accent.  I seldom run with others on my long runs, but it was truly pleasant to hear of her competitive running past, how she balances being a mother of 3 and running, and how she dislikes doing long runs alone.  On the other hand, I was pretty quiet.  She taxed me, inadvertently causing me to run just a little faster than I had planned.

Completing the eighth lap, I was done for the day.  My slow, gentle, comeback to marathon training continues.

10 miles today; 22 on the week.

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New format

Posted by DaveVause Sep 18, 2008

Dr. Tim Noakes recommends the following format to running log books. I will be slowly adopting and extending it over then next week:

How the run felt:

Effort Rating:

Using the Borg scale. More on this later.

Enjoyment Rating:

1 is you didn't enjoy the run at all. 3 is neutral. 5 is very enjoyable run.

Training Load:

More on this later.

Waking Pulse:

Morning Weight:

Bedtime and Number of Hours Slept:

Heart Rate while Training:

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Th. 09/18/08: Run-down

Posted by DaveVause Sep 18, 2008

today: 1 mile warm-up for strength training @ 06:00

week: (only) 5 miles.


I'm still sore from my strength workout on Tuesday, specially pecs.  Had a mediocre workout, but would have loved to do 5 or 6 running.  Conventional wisdom is that you rest 48 to 72 hours between hard workouts to let your body repair and grow.  Looks like my 48 wasn't long enough.

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We. 09/17/08: Morality

Posted by DaveVause Sep 17, 2008

Today: 3.0 miles on Severn Crossing Trails @ 06:20

Borg Scale: 4 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 4 miles

65 F/65%

unk lbs / unk %


The days are getting shorter.  I waited to 6:15 to get enough light to run on my neighborhood's trails.  While I simply prefer to run through the woods, running on my neighborhood roads can be disturbing.  The speed limit on the streets in our development is 25 mph.  I routinely see cars traveling much faster in the driver's rush to get to work, as high as perhaps 40 mph.  In the park-like atmosphere these drivers endanger the lives of the birds, squirrels, even children.  I have frequently seen a vehicle show no brake lights as it careened towards a sleepy mourning dove, confused squirrel in the road, or stray family dog.  I can only wonder what kind of mindset leads a driver to completely disregard the life of a tiny creature in his or her effort to get to work 10 minutes earlier.


Think about it.  Its a life - not human, but still a life.  I have to wonder if its really so worthless.


Plato, in his dialog on the death of Socrates, portrays Socrates drinking his hemlock despite the opportunity to escape.  Why does he choose death?  Because, in a democracy he argues, the citizens all have a role in creating the law that governs us.  He argues that by living in a democracy, we agree to the benefits and agree that sometimes our vote will set the law, sometimes it will not.  In the expectation that others will obey laws we support and pass in legislature, we are morally bound to obey laws with which we do not agree.  Socrates takes the hemlock rather than flee because as an Athenian, he is bound to Athen's laws.  


I can admit that there are exceptions, like when Northerners helped slaves escape the South before the Civil War.  But getting to work 10 minutes earlier does not rise to the same moral standard as helping slaves escape.


The rapist, the pedophile, the driver who chooses to speed through a sleepy neighborhood or school zone, all stand on the same moral basis.  Each decides his own needs or desires transcend the social contract that binds a democratic society together.  This is immoral. 


Me, I just want to run down my neighborhood roads without concern of being run down from behind or seeing a little tuft of fur or feathers run over by some driver with no respect for life.

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Tu. 09/16/08: Strength

Posted by DaveVause Sep 17, 2008

Up and over Mt. Tendonitis to warm up for my strength workout.  1 mile. 


Arriving back in the cul-de-sac, I hear owls in the woods behind our home.  It was still before 06:00.  Running outdoors puts the runner close to the ebb and flow of the weather and the seasons.  I wonder how many of our neighbors even know we have owls flitting about in the pre-dawn.

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Su. 9/14/08: 8!

Posted by DaveVause Sep 14, 2008

Today: 8.0 miles on Anacostia Trails @ 08:00

Borg Scale: 4 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 17 miles

80 F/91%

unk lbs / unk %


I ran 5 with Denise on the Anacostia Trail System, then another 3 around Lake Artemesia.  It got quite warm by the end and we had both had not hydrated enough. 


Doing my final 3, while running past a small group of U Md coeds, my introspective reverie was interrupted by a female voice: "  He's so sexy."    Another female voice chimes: "I could soo make love to him."  I drift off.


During my runs in College Park I occasionally get a remark from young women.  I don't know if I was the topic of that conversation, but, as a man at 53, it feels good to know I can occasionally elicit remarks similar to that from girls less than half my age.  (smiles)


To my detriment, I tend not to take shorter runs seriously enough.  I enjoy the accomplishment of double digit runs.  My 8 miles today felt truly good.

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Th. 09/11/08: Because she can

Posted by DaveVause Sep 11, 2008

Today: 4.0 miles on Severn Crossing roads @ 5:45

Borg Scale: 3 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 9 miles

unk F/unk%

unk lbs / unk %


Uncharacteristically, Denise took charge today, meandering through the neighborhood.  She added an extra mile with detours up the courts and by-ways.  I warned her not to overdo it, but today the run was a celebration for her.  She told me she wanted to run further than our recent week day runs simply because she could.


It is her 50th birthday and she enjoys knowing that running 4 miles at 5:45 AM puts her in a small, worthy, segment of the U.S. population.


So, I salute Denise and her efforts.  We both managed to overdo it this spring and have been hampered by nagging aches this summer.  We are both on the mend now, and the miles are slowly increasing.

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Tu. 09/09/08 - Sweat

Posted by DaveVause Sep 9, 2008

Today: 4.0 miles on Severn Crossing Trails @ 05:45 plus 1.0 over Mt. Tendinitis

Borg Scale: 4 / unk mpm / 150 bpm at end.

week: 4 miles

71 F/91%

unk lbs / unk %


I was out in the dark, a shadow gliding through the woods of the Severn Crossing trails.  Running along the trail in a copse, I make out what appears to be a nearly formless shape.  As I come upon it, I whisper "Passing on your left."  The girl lets out a startled cry, the boy steadies her.  I drift by as they continue their hand-in-hand walk to their school bus stop.


As I cross the earthen dam that forms our neighborhood's small lake, I reminisce to hand-in-hand walks 35 years ago.  The world, the woods, the university campus, my girl, and my own emotions were all part of the exciting exploration of life.  It seemed that limitless, wonderful horizons stretched in all directions.


Now, as a gray shadow fleeting through the pre-dawn, I my mind centers on my breathing, my effortless glide, and the occasional mourning dove that I startle from the ground.  The world no longer appears to me as positive as it did 35 years ago.  Now, bad and good, it just is.  It no longer really matters to me; I certainly do not matter in it.  All that I care about is how my body and mind respond to the next step I take in the darkness.


I finish the run caked in sweat salts.  I feel no plantar fascia irritation.  I am stronger.

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Mo. 09/08/08 - Rest Day

Posted by DaveVause Sep 8, 2008

Ok, I should lift today.  Instead, I took the day entirely off.

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Sa. 09/07/2008 - Restraint

Posted by DaveVause Sep 8, 2008

Today: none

Borg Scale: none

week: 11 miles

na F/na %

unk lbs / unk %


I woke up to slightly sorer PF.  Honestly, canceling my warm-up run for strength training put me in a bad mood and I blew off the strength training, too.

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Su. 09/07/08: Charity

Posted by DaveVause Sep 7, 2008

Denise and I ran Zach's 5K Run to fight cancer this morning.  My employer, AT&T, is a major sponsor.  Proceeds go to Johns Hopkins research on childhood leukemia.  I'm also in a Johns Hopkins graduate program, so it seemed to fit in more than one way.


It was a gorgeous morning after a day of heavy rain courtesy of Hanna.  While I don't run competitive times, specially after being down 14 weeks, I really enjoy the atmosphere of races.  Given all the commercial hype through which sports is often marketed to the general public, being in a small crowd of 600 hundred runners motivated by love of running or charity is refreshing.


I ran with Denise, probably urging her to go faster than she should have.  We are both nursing injuries on come-back paths.  Its far best to take it easy.


But something happens to me when I cross a starting line with a timing chip on my shoe.  I get this overwhelming truly test myself against road, time, and mind.

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Fr. 09/05/2008 - Weary

Posted by DaveVause Sep 5, 2008

Today: 3.0 miles on Severn Crossing Trails @ 05:45 plus 1.0 over Mt. Tendinitis

Borg Scale: 4 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 11 miles

63 F/91%

unk lbs / unk %


Denise and I are weary as we trot through the Severn Crossing trails before dawn.  Those 7 hours at the zoo on Monday are still with us.  Nonetheless, we finish well.


After I drop her off, I do one more mile, going over Mt. Tendinitis twice on an "out and back".  I run past students collecting for their bus rides to school.  In 72, while walking to school, I used to see an older man out running in the morning.  Back then, the sight was unusual.  Actually, it still is.  He motivated me to attempt running.  Knowing nothing of the sport, I went out a couple of times only to wind up with a sore diaphragm from running too hard.  At the time, that was discouragement enough.  Today, I regret not having found my way into high school cross country.  I honestly believe it would have changed my life for the better.

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Th. 09/04/2008 - Warm Up

Posted by DaveVause Sep 4, 2008

Today: 3.0 miles on Severn Crossing Trails @ 05:45

Borg Scale: 3 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 7.0 miles

unk F/unk%

unk / unk%


On strength days, my 3 miler is a warm up.  I'm not as strong as I was 16 weeks ago, so the combination of 3 miles running and 45 in the gym usually tire me quite a bit.


Today is no different.

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Today: 3.0 miles on Severn Crossing Trails @ 05:45 plus 1.0 over Mt. Tendinitis

Borg Scale: 2 / unk mpm / unk bpm at end.

week: 3.0 miles

unk F/unk%

144.6 / 15.6%


We were up early today, in the cool air in the mid 60s.  Cloudless sky shone blue after we started.  The mists reflected the light, seeming to glow over the dark grass and against the dark woods.  We ran mostly silently and effortlessly. 


When I was a small boy in the Florida panhandle, I thought the early morning mists were the spirits of generations of Indians who had lived on that land.  In my mind, they lingered still over the earth they must have loved.  To this day, I remember that little boy every time I run through morning mists.


Hamstrings, thighs, and a bit of shin soreness, still, from the zoo.

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Tu. 09/02/2008 - Sore

Posted by DaveVause Sep 2, 2008

No run today.  Denise and I are both sore all over from the extended walking.

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Today: 0.0 miles on nowhere @ 06:20

Borg Scale: n/a / n/a mpm / n/a bpm at end.

week: 0.0 miles

unk F/unk%

144.2 / 14.8%


It is said that you should only serve a single master.  Well, I'm not really interested in a master.....perhaps a mistress?


In any event, Denise and I arrived at the National Zoo around 07:00 and spent the next 7-8 hours observing the flora, the spectators, and, yes, even the fauna.  They've done wonderful things landscaping the zoo over the past years and I was more taken by the aesthetics of the place than the animals.  I took some photos with the Nikon that I hope to get on my website soon.


I did notice one point, though.  Young couples who take their young children to visit the zoo on holidays tend to be much fitter than the general population of couples, young or otherwise. 


As for my observations on master and mistress, Tuesday will tell.

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