The Year of Interrupted Training continues apace. After a pair of longish slowish runs in Amherst I return home for surgery to remove a minor skin cancer (cf. FurrowedBrow, 18 Aug 2005). I'm advised by Dr. Frankenstein not to get my sewn-up forehead sweaty for a few weeks. Ten days after the stitches come out I'm feeling chipper, the weather is cool, and my Brother has sent me an early birthday present that I want to try—time to trot! So for the logbook, the past month's pedestrianism includes the following pitiable performances:
6 Aug 2005 - 14 miles, 171 minutes — What a difference 10°F makes! Yesterday's cold front has knocked temperatures down nicely, yesterday's big bowl of chili has cleaned out the old digestive system, and at 6:15am it's time to hit the road. Downtown Amherst is starting to stir as vendors set up their booths for the annual Teddy Bear Festival. The Norwottuck Rail Trail is quiet as I trot a half dozen miles, rising sun at my back, to the Connecticut River. Three bunny rabbits and one chipmunk flee my fearsome approach. A big blue-black dragonfly buzzes along in front of me. One stinging deer fly bites me on the back.
A 1:1 ratio of jog:walk feels comfortable, as four outbound measured trail miles average 12:12. I'm stingy with water until I reach the Saturn of Hadley fountain after ~6 miles and find it working, at which point I refill my bottle, take an electrolyte capsule, and commence nibbling an energy bar. The return trip is somewhat faster, average pace 12:06, as I push myself (and as the presence of an increasing number of ladies inhibits me in taking walk breaks). Some slight ankle and leg weakness is worrisome at times, and minor chafing in the netherworld troubles me for the final miles, but overall the journey is a happy one, my longest since the Frankentoe Incident of 30 March 2005.
8 Aug - 7+ miles, 91 minutes — Overcast and humid at 6am today, as I set out for the last run in Amherst: south from the motel on Pleasant Street to the Norwottuck Rail Trail, then turning eastwards and proceeding ~2.5 miles to the starting point of the path on Station Road. I spy my quota of three rabbits, though one of them is extremely small and scrawny. A canvas-covered machine at the swamp/lake mystifies me on the outbound journey, but on the way back the gentleman tending it explains that it's recording audio: birdcalls and insect sounds and the like. "I'll be quiet!" I promise. Maintaining a 1:1::jog:walk ratio is tough for me in the heat, and the left shin and ankle feel ominously weak. I take an electrolyte capsule at the turnaround. Average measured mile pace = 12:15.
5 Sep 05 - 5+ miles, 11:15 pace — I'm back from a visit to the Wizard of Oz, who told me that I don't need speed, or stamina, or endurance --- all I really need are excuses! And those I have aplenty: injuries, surgeries, lack of training, utter laziness, etc. (^_^)
Today is the first jogging experiment since I had the external stitches removed from my forehead in late August after a patch of basal cell carcinoma was taken off. The weather is relatively cool, so after dropping Son Robin off in Kensington to march with the Boy Scouts in the Labor Day parade I park on Beach Drive and head west along Rock Creek Trail from about mile 3.4 to 6 and back.
I'm trying an early birthday present from my brother: a high-tech sweatband called "Tunnel Vision" http://getunnelvision.com/, plastic with a channel to keep sweat from dripping down into the eyes. It functions rather like a continuous thick eyebrow ridge, and in this initial test seems to work quite well --- sweat is no problem, but general exhaustion is, particularly for the final few miles. I begin enthusiastically with a jog:walk::2:1 ratio but retreat to 1:1 during the last half. Kangaroo count = 0 ...