Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fast and Foggy

This morning's eight-miler was a good ending to a good week. Marathoners Tilghman, Margie and Jessica headed out first, and I joined half marathoners Lisa, Logan and Sara. Lisa and Sara are running their first half, but they're in good shape, and they're young and tough (they've had kids).

Conditions were very humid with a dewpoint in the high 60s. Our run started at Grassland Elementary, down Moran Road along the Harpeth River, then Old Natchez Road for a half mile with a turn around at Temple Road. A thick fog, courtesy of the Harpeth, blanketed the rolling roads along horse farms and the palacial homes of country music stars, shielding us from the sun.

My goal was to negative split and run at my planned half marathon pace. The ladies took us out on some 9:15s. It went by quickly as the gals talked about shopping (I'm ok with that) and their race plans. Our only stop was at 3.4 miles for hydration.

At the turnaround, our average pace was 9:18/mile. The only big hill greeted us at 4.4 miles, and I faded a smidge, then regrouped. At 5.25, Lisa went Ethiopian on us and buried the needle, running at a sub-8:00/mile pace. Logan followed her, while Sara and I dropped it a gear and worked to keep pace. The four of us began to space, with me at the back.

I wouldn't call the last two-and-a-half miles suffering, but I had to work to achieve my goals. My average pace steadily dropped, even as the women disappeared ahead in the fog. I returned to Grassland, kicking it in to finish at 1:12:58, a 9:07/mile pace. I'm happy with it, even finishing last in our group. The negative split and race pace in humid conditions were nice check-offs.

Total mileage for the week: 27; total training mileage to date: 294.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Good Start for Vandy

Last night, my friends Al and Min joined Dori's Dad, Rick, and me to watch Vanderbilt play Miami in beautiful Oxford, OH. The Dores played well, winning 34-13. I also saw my good friend, Runcie, and his cousin Jimmy at the game. Here are a few photos of the pageantry, including Rick, a retired Navy captain, singing the national anthem.

I used the Oxford trip as a break. I did run four easy miles Wednesday morning. Weekly total is at 19 with tomorrow's eight-miler on tap. Tomorrow, I'll rejoin the Team in Training group, but I'll be with the half marathoners now until October. I have very much enjoyed running with the "big dogs" who are training for 26.2. I will probably set my sights on a flat 26.2 winter marathon, maybe Phoenix or Orlando, after the Nike Half in San Francisco. Thanks to all for the advice and encouragement.

Last bits of good news. First, Dori's monthly check-up Thursday went great. Her blood counts rose, even her platelets, which are still below normal range. Also, the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society chapter told us our team (that's you, all of you who have contributed) is No. 12 out of 5,000 teams in the country in fund-raising. What can I say about you all that we haven't said already ... you all are terrific.

Friday Night Flashbacks

Tonight's leap back in time begins with cheesy 80s - big hair, synthesizers and a video that doesn't do much for anyone. After a 45-second ending to "Silent Running," Mike and the Mechanics crank up "All I Need Is a Miracle." Quiz: The lead actor wearing the coat and tie in the video played what character in what 1971 children's classic (answer below)?

Nothing fancy about this one - just good ole dry ice, 80s threads and confirmation from Dori that America's "You Can Do Magic" is a great song.

Gotta love SNL's John Belushi training for Olympic Gold by eating Little Chocolate Donuts, "the breakfast of champions" according to Marv Albert.

Answer to quiz: Verucha Salt's father, who was "always making things difficult" in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Coach Brown

Dori is assisting the kids' cross country team two days a week. She calls herself a cross country helper, but around this house she's known as "Coach Brown." You can learn a lot from Coach Brown, if you listen and observe. Today, Coach Brown ran two miles in the neighborhood, conquering our steepest hill without stopping.

Coach Brown's husband ran an easy four tonight at Radnor Lake in humid conditions (the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay). The first mile was slow as I shook the remaining soreness from Sunday's run. After another mile, I felt OK and dropped the pace down to about 8:40/mile. Final time: 37:24, a 9:21/mile pace.

Sunday night, Dori took the kids for a walk. As they left, Will gave me that invincible look from his Razor scooter. My memory of that picture was, "At least he's wearing his helmet."

When they returned, Will was in serious agony. He had five impressive raspberries from a crash that was precipitated by shooting straight downhill. I won't soon forget his screams as I washed him off. Fifteen minutes later, he was fine. We sent his cape to The Smithsonian.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So much for taking it easy.

Yesterday, I did 225 sit-ups and lifted weights (arms, shoulders and back). This morning as I sat in church, that Forrest feeling gripped me. I just felt like running. After a fueling of Gatorade, prunes and Clif bar, I headed to Percy Warner Park and dropped off a water bottle at the seven-mile mark of the super-hilly 11.2 run.

Mile One is uphill, and I arrived in 10:05. My goal, after seeing how I felt, was to go under a sub-10:00/mile pace and not to stop at the famous Nine Mile Hill, which has always gotten the better of me. I topped Three Mile Hill, which is a serious half-mile ascent, at a 9:58/mile average pace.

A fast dude went flying by me at the 4.5-mile mark, but I was in my own world on my own pace with my own goals. The next 1.25 miles is a gradual climb, sneaky in its difficulty, but I arrived at the top feeling in control. After a three-quarter mile descent, a short but very steep climb at 6.7 miles stared at me, fangs on display. Slowly, my body made its way up the hill. Sweat was beginning to pour, but the cloudy conditions, modest temperature and virtual shade were on my side. I arrived at 7.0 to retrieve my planted water bottle and to stretch my calves briefly.

For about a mile-and-a-half, the course rolls before Nine Mile Hill. This famous climb actually begins at 8.4 miles and ends at 9.25 miles. I visualized conquering this significant obstacle, which I had not successfully done without a rest in two or three previous tries. But I'm a different runner now - stronger, more experienced and certainly more driven.

My legs burned as I passed three women walkers. My running cap began to drip steadily, pouring sweat in different spots, including my face, legs and shoes, which were beginning to squish. Two more mounds awaited at 9.5 and 9.75, and I took them at a slow pace. At the last apex with only one mile remaining, my average pace was a 10:10/mile. It was time to kick the spurs.

I settled in to a fast pace on the downhill. Mr. Garmin began to reward my efforts, and my average pace began to drop. I neared the park entrance feeling almost like Sammy Wanjiru, yesterday's Olympic marathon winner who set an amazing Olympic record of 2:06:32 in less-than-ideal conditions. That's just a sickening pace of 4:49/mile for more than 26 miles!

My final time for 11.07 miles was 1:50:40, a 9:59/mile pace on the hilliest course I run. Total ascent was 3,139 feet. I'm pretty sure Mr. Garmin is shortchanging me a bit. My 13.1 miler a few weeks ago was 13.3 on, and another long run was inaccurate by a few tenths of a mile. So my pace may have been a 9:52. I'm loving that, given the course and conditions (probably 15-25 degrees warmer than what awaits in San Francisco in October).

Those of you who have run the 11.2 in PWP, what do you consider the equivalent? Is the 11.2 the same as a half marathon on moderate hills? Is it harder? I think it is, but I'm not sure where to peg it. Chuck? Donna? My fellow TNT-ers? What's your take?

I leave with some Fast Food Philosophy. How is it that the smart-mouthed Sonic guys eat so much junk but gain no weight?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Worthy Cause and a Wow

Our friends, Ann and Chris, are awaiting a transplant for Ann. You can help by clicking here. We are enamored by Chris's honesty and Ann's courage, grace and beauty.

I found the following triumph-over-tragedy story at the CaringBridge site of Lea Morrison, a courageous woman who is battling CML. Imagine being near death seven years ago and now you are an Olympic champion in a grueling event. Sounds very Lance-like. Here's the success story of Dutch leukemia survivor Maarten van der Weijden.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Flashbacks

Tonight's retro rewind explores the question, "What is love?" Howard Jones gives us the first take from the 80s.

We might as well "funkify" things with some more Deee-Lite, circa 1991. Make sure you go easy on the medicine before clicking (or maybe not).

Last but not least is the one-hit wonder from Haddaway, cemented forever by Jim Carrey & Co. on SNL. Hilarious.

Not sure we got anywhere with all of that, but the song had a good beat and you could dance to it. Someone tell Dick Clark we'd give it a 98.

Rest Period

I definitely need a break from running. After a long week at work, I had no desire to get up at 5 a.m. tomorrow to run. So I decided to do my long run tonight. My goal was to run at least nine through Belle Meade.

I made the first 5.5 miles down Belle Meade Blvd. at a 9:28/mile pace in 90 degree heat. It wasn't humid, though. After a fuel stop, I headed back out at a slightly slower pace. My left instep started to bother me, but it wasn't painful. Then my left calf started talking around 6.5 miles. I shut it down just over 7.0 miles at a 9:37/mile pace and walked back to the car. That's it for the week. Only 21 miles and time to take it easy for a few days.

Dori is going to 11 North at VUMC Monday to visit a friend of a friend who was just diagnosed with leukemia. One day, that floor will be empty, thanks to many of you.

I need to watch and post some retro music videos ... Time for FNF.

Good News at Kanzius

It was nice to receive an e-mail from the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation stating they look like they will be receiving significant federal funding.

I know some of you have donated to the KCRF, which Dori and I appreciate. The cancer war is being waged on many fronts. Check out the KCRF Web site, which has been upgraded this summer.

One person can make a difference, as can many people united as one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Miles

I ran six miles yesterday morning at 4:30 before hitting the road for business. I slept in this morning in my hotel room. I had no motivation to run. This evening back in Nashville, I ran 5.0 at Radnor Lake in 45:30, a 9:06/mile pace. It was warm, so I was happy with the time on the hilly course. I brought it home well.

That's a lot more than I can say about Tuesday morning's jog. Pace was 10:15/mile, and I summoned some grit to get it that low. I just had a rough morning where the soreness never left. The last 1.5 miles are mostly uphill, so the end was "fun." I did see a large coyote sprint through the neighborhood a lot faster than me. Now I know why the rabbit population is low this year.

Thanks to all the recent contributors - Bethany, Renee, Jim and Jim - to our effort. Trust me ... You motivate me to run through your generosity. On days I feel sub-par, I think often not only of the people who are dealing with blood cancer but also of the giving people who are joining us in this fight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Return to Radnor

Last year during her most difficult times at the hospital, Dori spoke often of hiking again at Radnor Lake, her favorite spot (one of mine, too, for running). Today, I received one of this year's best e-mails from Dori, who said she completed four miles at Radnor (three hiking hills and one running along the lake).

Saturday, our friends Kathy and Kevin joined us for dinner. All of us watched Dori polish off an 8 oz. filet, a crabcake, salad, bread and dessert. What a sight it was. Last year, Dori received her nutrition from a tube for much of October and shunned meals often. Words cannot describe the joy of watching your spouse enjoy good food.

I'm just so happy and proud of Dori. She's taking on many new tasks. She's communicating with longtime friends and friends at Gilda's Club about confronting and dealing with issues that cancer patients must face. She's running our house again, better than ever, and enjoying each day like never before. We are feeding off her increasing energy.

Dori is also realistic. Tonight, she talked to all of us at dinner about the cloud of cancer. She explained it well to the kids. Last year, we were dealing with a thunderstorm. That storm has abated, but clouds from the storm haven't gone away completely. We still think about cancer, and we have our ways of dealing with it or avoiding it.

Dori and I, for the most part, do a good job dealing with the clouds. Kids, on the other hand, don't have the same experience or coping skills. Our children have done well. No doubt, we're so proud of them. But I don't believe kids stand the same chance to sort out their feelings as normal, healthy adults do. That process will be ongoing for all of us ... sorting out the after-effects. We need to keep our gutters unclogged.

This morning, while on business in East Tennessee. I woke up early for an easy three-miler. I felt good after Saturday's run, not too sore. The temperature was a wonderful 62 degrees. I chose a backroad that was fairly narrow and busy, so I had to pull off often to avoid cars in the dark. I enjoyed the run nonetheless. Tomorrow, I plan to run six.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Super Friends

Our weather remains good for this time of year, but this morning's conditions were harder than last Saturday's. The plan was to run 12, but I cut it short to 9.5. I never felt right, probably because recovery from Wednesday's speed work isn't complete.

Tilghman, Sammie, Margie, Mark, TNT alum Scott and I set out after 6:30. I was hoping for a slow pace, but the young-uns started moving after a half mile. We were on a 9:15 pace the first few miles. At one point, the five pups ran astride while I trailed a few paces behind. I said, "You guys look like the Super Friends," thinking my action figure would have been named Old Fart. Mark replied, as we ascended a hill, "Twin powers activate ..." to which I asserted, " ... in the form of an escalator."

The first five miles were a gradual ascent, with one serious hill at the Percy Priest Dam. I was semi-cooked by mile five, sapped by the humidity and hill work. Mark wasn't feeling super, either, and he hung with me some between 3.5 and 6.0. The next two miles went better, but by 8.0, I was dialing it down below my 9:20 pace. I said sayonara to them at a trail juncture. It's amazing that the night before several of them stayed out late, watched a band and drank beers, while I was cutting short my run. That's what 20 years' difference will do.

A stone bruise on my left foot and some twitching in my right calf were two reasons I decided to run less than 12. Mark ran 11, while the others completed the 12. All agreed it wasn't an easy day, but not extremely hard like many August mornings. Scott was just getting started ... He planned to run eight more in the afternoon. He's running in a six-man marathon relay on the Blue Ridge Parkway next month. Right.

I'm past the halfway mark of training. Total miles this week: 24.5; total training miles since early June: 246.

Later in the morning, Dori, Will and I went to a Gilda's Club brunch, which I enjoyed. Dori has made some good contacts from attending these meetings. I was impressed with their set-up. Everything in their building is designed to connect, educate and relate.

Tonight, the women will compete in the Olympic marathon. Some dude at Gilda's Club said he'd rather watch paint dry. To each his own.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Night Flashbacks

Tonight's FNF is a tribute to my favorite musician, Mark Knopfler, who turned 59 this week.

Known as the lead guitarist and singer for Dire Straits, Knopfler's genius extends well beyond the classic stadium rock that made Dire Straits one of the world's most popular bands. He's a master of the blues, country, bluegrass fusion and a number of successful movie scores. Partnerships with Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris and many others have showcased his range and brilliance.

My shrine, as Dori calls this, starts with the acoustically pristine "Romeo and Juliet" performed live in London in 1983. The plucking after minute five is some of the best guitar I've ever heard.

Songs like "Calling Elvis" from the On Every Street album (1991) is vintage stadium rock that freaked out the Europeans who jammed venue after venue.

Here's a snippet of that live jamming (France 1992). Hide your children ... Paul Franklin is about to play the steel guitar.

And if you find something smoother than The Notting Hillbillies, call me.

16-Year-Old Role Model

Shawn Johnson finished second again and handled everything with grace.

When the final mark flashed, Johnson smiled and immediately went to congratulate her teammate. Much has been made of their rivalry, with most people assuming there’s no way they can be friends. But they truly are, even rooming together at these games.

The winner Nastia Liukin and champion Shawn Johnson

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If You Like Running ...

... You'll like tonight's blog entry. But first, I must acknowledge the courage and compassion of 16-year-old U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, who I watched last night in the all-around team competition.

As most folks probably know, Johnson's teammate Alicia Sacramone had a rough night, falling twice and performing under expectations. Johnson had a near-flawless night, but both women had to settle for silver as the Chinese took gold. This excerpt from a New York Times article speaks volumes about Johnson.

Several rooms away, Sacramone was confronting her own issues. She wondered why she had made crucial mistakes. Still shaken, she was surrounded by teammates trying to console her. Johnson took her aside and said, “Were you mad at me when I messed up at worlds last year?” Sacramone said no.

Johnson said: “OK, well, we’re not mad at you. We all still love you.”

That young lady is a champion.

OK, let's talk about running. In recent years, as I've run more, I've had some folks say things like, "You shouldn't run long distances; it's bad for you," "you're gonna mess up your knees," and "I'm worried you're going to have a heart attack." Well, guess what came out today! A Stanford University study that suggests otherwise:

" ... Middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run. ... Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. ... The study also showed that people cannot use the risk of injury as an excuse not to run -- the runners had fewer injuries of all kinds, including to their knees, [than non-runners]."

You can read more here and here.

Running may be slowing my aging, as the report also suggests, but I sure didn't feel young on Tuesday morning's three-miler. I expected to feel sore after Saturday's long run and Monday's quick run, and I was. This evening after work, Will and I went over to the local park which has a 1/3-mile loop. I started the night with two nine-minute miles, then ran three hard 1/3-milers (pace was a seven-minute mile with 1/6-mile recovery walks in between). I finished with eight 75-yard dashes for a total of about four miles.

The weather is still nice. I can't believe it's August in Nashville. We have Cape Cod temps with Rocky Mountain dry air. I see more good runs ahead. Even better, some generous people have contributed checks and matching contributions of $2,250 the last few weeks. That takes our team well into the five-digit range.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cord Blood Donation

I have a friend, Paige, who is due to have her first child soon. We're excited about this for two reasons. First, Paige is a great person and deserves every blessing. She's gonna be a great mom. Second, she's generously going through the cord donor process. Paige will be keeping me updated, and I'll be doing the same in this little corner of the universe. I know PJ will be keeping tabs in Rhode Island ... she's a cord blood transplantee. I'm guessing we'll all learn something.

I'm now in Week 11 of training. Sunday's and Monday's post-run soreness was as expected. I didn't feel rested and spry enough this morning to run, so I postponed until tonight, with the plan to run five fairly easy miles. The "problem" was I had some new shoes and the weather continues to be phenomenal for this time of year.

Mile one was a 9:00/mile, and my soreness began to fade. What the heck, I figured ... let's get this party started. Miles two and three were slightly downhill in the 8:20/mile range. Miles four and five were slightly uphill, but I held a good pace. Final time: 43:29; final pace: 8:41/mile. Not a yabba dabba doo, but a good tempo run.

OK, I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm intrigued by running the full marathon in October. The Team in Training marathoners continue to lobby me to join them. I want to a run 26.2 for a few reasons. "I can" sounds so much better than "I can't." I've been inspired by my TNT group, and I've witnessed a lot of courage lately from people I love. I want to prove I can do it to honor people who are gutting it out in different ways and to test myself. My dilemma is I don't want to ruin my planned time with Dori after the race. We'll be celebrating her bone marrow transplant and our 14th anniversary while we're in San Francisco.

While I play mental volleyball, I plan to run with the marathoners a few more weeks as they increase their mileage. Let's see what I think after a 16 or 18 miler.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Born Free

Assuming Mr. Garmin does not lie, I ran 13.12 miles this morning. Pace was 9:26/mile with a decent kick the last 3/4 mile. We did take some brief fuel and rest stops, but final time was 2:03:52. Total for the week: 27.1 miles.

The marathoners were planning to run 16 miles, but Coach Tilghman smartly reeled everyone in, despite the wonderful conditions (67 degrees and low dewpoint). It felt like early May or October this morning. The group broke off in twos, with some running 14, Jessica and I going 13.1 and another group finishing 12.

We started at Lipscomb University, worked our way through the neighborhood up to Belmont University, then headed down Music Row to the Roundabout, the Cumberland River downtown and up to the Metro Courthouse, That marked the 6.6 mile mark. Jessica, who is probably the fastest runner in our group, wasn't feeling great so we paired and ran back through downtown and meandered back to Lipscomb.

I started feeling the pounding around the 11.5 mark. Aerobically, I felt good enough to drop the pace the last 3/4 mile to just over 8:00/mile. It was a good run because I felt strong throughout and finished well. Adding 30% distance isn't supposed to be smart, but it was too nice outside and I felt too good not to take it up a notch. If I had to ballpark it, my pace was probably 85% capacity for the distance. The "break" from the humidity was wonderful.

So last night, crazy Pepper made a run for the border. At my Mom's for dinner, I asked everyone to be mindful not to leave a door cracked because our deaf dog will bolt and won't come back. Well, someone left the door open. Thankfully, the kids were outside. They saw a dog chasing a family on a walk down the street, and Will said, "Kathryn, that looks like our dog." Kathryn said, "It is our dog!" They chased him down and brought him back inside.

After I'd calmed down, as we were falling asleep, I started singing:

Born free! As free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart

She got the joke. I thought you'd appreciate the tune with some pooch and feline imagery. "Born Free" is a great song (Andy Williams) and great movie (1966) I need to find for the kids.

Dori's been busy completing projects she's been talking about for years. Recently, she updated Will's room with new furniture and some feng shui. The past few days, she painted Kathryn's room a beautiful light blue and tidied it up. I see some bathroom overhauls soon, as well as some new furniture for the family room. Most importantly, I'll get to say "feng shui" again.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Night Flashbacks

It's Friday Night Flashbacks, with an English bent. You can always count on The Beatles to get things rolling.

British comedy can be piercing. Case in point: Monty Python excerpts from The Meaning of Life (more Catholic humor) and The Holy Grail ("She turned me into a newt! ... I got better.").

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This Is Why We Run

Heather Patton, Nashville Team in Training member, shares this note from her personal honoree, Lisa Driscoll:

"Hello Everyone. My name is Lisa Driscoll and on February 24th, my life changed forever. But not in the way one would think when four days later they are told that the "flu" is not the "flu" at all, but acute leukemia. No, my life changed because God took a hold of my hand and has walked through this valley of the shadow of death with me every step of the way. He has not told me how long I will live, but he did tell me it was not my time now to go and be with Him. I can only surmise that this is because I have more rejoicing, more proclaiming, more praising, more sharing, and more loving to do here on earth.

But through all the spiritual, physical, emotional, and medical lessons I have learned, the prayers, blood and platelet donations and the monetary donations to the leukemia/lymphoma society have been crucial. Just the stem cell transplant I am receiving this month had years of research devoted to it by dedicated doctors, nurses, and patients. The apheresis machine (stem cell harvester) itself took 42 engineers and three years to invent. Your donations are going to save lives and prayerfully even find a cure to these blood cancers.

I want to thank Heather for taking me on as her "honoree" in this race. I am honored and thrilled to be able to help in some small way toward more research in this area.

May the wind be at Heather's back, the hills small, and the blessings abundant!

God Bless you Heather."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Speed

Sunday on the boat, one of our friends asked me what kind of times I've been running during training. Diplomatically, I answered that it's not about the speed and times right now; it's about the distance and finishing. Summer training requires summer speeds.

What's encouraging is I feel strong this week on hot runs. I ran after work yesterday (4.5 flat miles in downtown Chattanooga) and today (5.5 miles in Radnor Lake). The temperatures were 95 and 93, respectively. Both runs went well enough to say I enjoyed them even in the conditions. Yesterday's pace was 9:11 per mile, though I believe my GPS watch wasn't very accurate because of all the downtown buildings. Today's pace was 10:09/mile, which was fine because I tackled one of the steepest hills in the city.

The Team In Training crew received an e-mail today with advice about the upcoming hot weekend. Problem is, our coach hasn't looked at the weather forecast. We have a cold front heading to Tennessee faster than a unionized Michigan business. Saturday morning, it's supposed to be 62 and dry in August! That makes us running kids very happy (visualize cheering, singing and confetti).

My sister and I owe our obsessive awareness of the weather to our Dad. I do enjoy learning about it. According to Myers-Briggs, I'm a planner, so it's only natural I've bookmarked seven weather Web sites. I did say obsessive, didn't I?

The marathoners are going to run 16 miles Saturday, while the half marathoners are going 7. I'm thinking of running 12, but we'll see what courses our coaches have mapped out. I'm excited about the run to see what kind of pace I can hold in better conditions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lake People

Sunday, Dori and I joined six other couples at Percy Priest Lake on a pontoon boat for some R&R. We had fun poking fun at each other and enjoying each other's company. Everyone hopped in the lake except Dori, who continues to play it smart. It didn't bug her a bit.

This photo, which I really like, says a few things:

1. Chemo couldn't take away the cute freckle on Dori's nose.
2. I should avoid putting sunscreen in my eyes. It's uncomfortable.
3. Those two are happy not to be near a hospital.
4. Dori's smile hasn't changed since I met her nearly 16 years ago.

I couldn't budge out of bed yesterday morning, so I postponed my run until after work. The high was 96, but I had to run. As I started a four-miler at Radnor Lake, the temp was 92. It wasn't bad, though, because of the shade, the lower sun, and fairly low humidity and dewpoint. The first mile was all creaky. Muscle soreness was deep. I did warm up around mile two and managed to pick up the pace.

When I finished, the temp was 87. I now know I'm acclimated to the summer heat.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bouncing Back

My mother and step-father Dan recently stayed in Beersheba, our little rejuvenation corner of the world. They took some great photos of the nearby Savage Gulf State Natural Area, one of my favorite spots on this planet. Mom has given me many gifts. One of them is a deep appreciation for the outdoors.

I started this morning's Team In Training run alone before 6 because I was concerned about the heat. Most of those solo four miles were hard because of the intense humidity, but mile four was not bad.

I returned to TNT "Base Camp," where I changed my soaked shirt and socks. One experiment that helped today was to put wristbands above my ankles to stop the squishing shoes. I joined the marathoners in Centennial Park, running a one mile loop before we headed down West End to downtown and later up Music Row. At the downtown water stop, two transients who smelled strongly of alcohol asked us questions about our running. One, a 43-year-old African-American, said he was too old and too out of shape to run that far. I said, "You could do it. I know you could."

Most of the marathoners, who were running 14 miles, started pulling ahead, though I kept them within one-tenth of a mile until my turn for home after eight miles. Despite the rising heat, I felt strong. The humidity was burning off and shade protected me for much of the run. I finished 10 miles, time unknown, but the pace was probably just under 10:00/mile. I almost decided to squeeze in another mile, but decided not push it.

My takeaway: I know the month of August holds some bumps in the road, but after today's good run I feel confident the trendline is where it needs to be. Total weekly mileage: 26.1. Total since training started: 195.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society folks put together a social after the run. Dori, the kids and Pepper joined me and about 25 fellow TNT-ers. Dori was introduced with young Charlotte, who is battling ALL, and her nice family. We knew about Charlotte's fight through some friends. The runners applauded Dori and Charlotte when they were introduced, and many spoke with her afterwards, thanking her for being there. Dori said she owed them the "thank-yous" for all their hard work. Many TNT-ers have a connection to blood cancer, but others are running without a direct tie. I could tell that group appreciated seeing folks involved in the fight and recovery.

Speaking of people involved in the fight, Dori, the kids and I visited the good folks on 11 North at VUMC Thursday morning. Dori was at VUMC for her monthly check-up. First, a progress report: Dori's blood counts look good, with red blood cell counts finishing in the "normal" range for the first time in more than a year; platelets are OK, just not in confetti territory yet. The staff says that count will improve in time.

Dori groaned when she walked on 11 North. Her first sight was of a bald middle-aged woman walking the halls with her husband. Flashbacks. That changed when the nurses and staff hugged her and thanked her for coming back to say hello. It meant a lot to them to know someone they had cared for is doing well. I'm glad Dori did it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'll Be Wearing My iPod

Training continues. On Thursday, I swam some laps and played with the kids in the pool. This morning, I ran a methodical 5K in the steam that is Nashville in August. Weekly mileage is 16 with the long run remaining.

Tomorrow's conditions will be difficult, so I'll be firing up some tunes. I'm planning to hit the road earlier than our scheduled Team In Training time of 7 a.m. The marathoners are planning to run 14 miles, and I think it's silly to start that late. I'll run some good mileage but will be starting before the sun gets cranking too hard.


Friday Night Flashbacks

It's Friday, it's dark and that means Flashback time.

Dori loves ABBA (I don't know one woman who doesn't like ABBA). We start with a classic from the Swedish Sirens.

One of my favorite scenes from Ghostbusters is the irreverance in the mayor's office. Enjoy the mass hysteria with Lenny and Mike. PG version in case kids are around.

"The Love Parade" isn't my favorite song by The Dream Academy, the fleeting mid-80s band that played neoclassical tunes. But it will do. If you want to listen to their great stuff, recall the mellow music from Ferris Bueller's Day Off - both the library scene ("Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"), a version of which you can listen to here, and Ferris's mad dash home to the powerful "The Edge of Forever".