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Running Logbook

2016-05-03 - Austin Texas Hillwork

~7.0 miles @ ~11.8 min/mi

The Hill Country provides partial penance for a Krispy Kreme donut breakfast. Edwards Plateau limestone in northwest Austin is well-dissected into valleys that offer good climbs and steep descents. Local stream paths lead through Great Hills Park along Laurel Oaks Creek, then dead-end at the Floral Park trailhead. A local dog-walker doesn't know of any secret continuations downstream, so it's sidewalks for the rest of the loop, past big churches, gated apartment complexes, office buildings, and shopping centers. A streetside Little Free Library on Welcome Glen features children's books. Mist rises from the water hazard on the golf course.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-24

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2016-05-02 - Austin Texas Bull Creek Trek

~10.1 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

"WARNING: 8% Grade Next 1/2 Mile" The road sign features a picture of a truck careening downhill. Don't think about what that portends for the return trip! Nine deer munch a front lawn near the corner of Oak Knoll and Fireoak Drive. A few blocks later a herd of eleven look up from trimming the grass at another home. A jackrabbit scurries off the sidewalk. Then it's time to hike along the scary shoulder of Spicewood Springs Rd, where pelotons of bleary-eyed Monday morning commuters slalom along a narrow two-lane road with decaying bridges over Bull Creek. Poison ivy is the least worry!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-19

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2016-05-01 - Austin Texas Hill Country Blitz

~7.0 miles @ ~9.3 min/mi

Daunting padlocks and chains secure all gates to the track at Canyon Vista Middle School, so circle campus and meander amidst mansions in the nearby neighborhood. There's a reason for the school's name: hillwork! A waning crescent moon peeks between clouds. Northeast breezes make temps in the 60s and humidity of 80%+ relatively comfy. Inspired by friends (some completing the C&O Canal 100 miler this morning — go, John and Stephanie!) and pushing hard, mile splits = 10:06 + 8:37 + 10:45 + 9:35 + 9:17 + 8:40 + 7:51 with the final blitz aided by downhill Q-Ranch Rd.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-19

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2016-04-30 - Brenham Texas Whistle Stop

~4.1 miles @ ~10.8 min/mi

Visiting Aunt Froggie and Cousin James, with Mom and DS Merle: the Blinn College Buccaneers play a spring baseball game. The track around the football field is open, but one lap in the east central Texas sun is enough today. A two-car freight train pauses for a crewman to climb down, flip a switch, and watch while the engines reverse to drop off boxcars on a siding. Lizards scurry across the sidewalk and hide under rocks.

Important observation: jalapeño poppers are suboptimal for dinner and breakfast before a brisk run!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-17

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2016-04-27 - Decathlon Fantasy

~5.7 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

"Javelin, discus, shot put, long jump, high jump, pole vault, 110m hurdles, 100m, 400m, 1500m — doesn't sound impossible!" Dr Kristin patiently listens to havering about the decathlon, triggered by the recent discovery that the local Potomac Valley Track Club is holding one 11-12 June 2016. When Jim Thorpe won the first decathlon at the 1912 Olympic games, legend says that King Gustav V of Sweden told him, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world!" Thorpe's reply: "Thanks, King."

We meander through Pimmit Hills as intermittent light drizzle falls. Vertical stripe lights flicker blue-green/grue-bleen on the 7777 Route 7 office building. A gang of young men run around the library parking lot, then drop to the ground for sit-ups. Two tiny dogs yip and tug on their leashes; a cat crouches in the long grass and monitors our passage. Dr Kerry texts from the airport where she's awaiting a dawn flight. We transmit back our GPS coordinates.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-17

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2016-04-24 - Neighborhood Tour with Barry

~11.0 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Smith grabs a bat and hits a home run! Then he steals the basketball and it's a slam dunk!" We're on a Sunday ramble around Barry's extended 'hood. In Wheaton Regional Park we pass ballfields where a game is about to begin. Near the ponds at Dennis Avenue kids shoot hoops. "Walter Mitty!" says Barry. I ask a man in black at the baseball game what team he's on. "I'm the umpire!" he replies.

We analyze "Game of Thrones" dragons and Marathon Maniac qualifying events. Quadzilla, anyone? Sligo Creek side paths lead us to Blueridge Avenue, temptingly near a Taco Bell and a 7-11. "How many miles does a slice of pizza cancel out?" DS Merle answers my knock on the door of House Henderson but reports no ice cream in the freezer. Barry leads us past two little free libraries near his home, one of which has a miniature music box attached. I turn the crank and it plays, "If I Only Had a Brain". If only!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-15

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2016-04-23 - Tempo Run with Gerald

~11.0 miles @ ~9.9 min/mi

"They don't believe in Christian miracles; we don't believe in Jewish miracles!" Jerry Epstein quotes somebody's distinction between Unitarianism and Reconstructionism. It brings to mind the Zen joke, "Are you not thinking what I'm not thinking?" — or maybe the Existentialist jest about asking for coffee without cream and, when the cafe is out of cream, settling for coffee without milk.

We're causing along Beach Dr, each faux-blaming the other for the happy-brisk pace. Humidity turns to drizzle, then rain. Mud from the 2016-04-09 - Bull Run Run 50 Miler washes off shoes. Gayatri and friends meet us just after we turn back near Peirce Mill, and Barry greets us at both start and finish at Candy Cane City. Jerry's knee does well; my left hip complains quietly. Mile splits by the GPS: 10:43 + 9:46 + 9:46 + 9:24 + 9:10 + 11:35 + 9:51 + 9:45 + 9:27 + 9:39 + 9:10 — yay!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-13

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2016-04-22 - West Langley Loop

~5.0 miles @ ~13.1 min/mi

"It was only 20!" Drs K&K comment on how they felt after last Friday's trek. "Perfect!" is the payoff verdict from good pacing on the day, and gradual ramp-up of training mileage over the past year. Bravi!

This humid morning Kristin and I ramble around the West Langley 'hood, exploring dead-end streets, admiring new homes under construction and searching for potential cut-throughs to the Scotts Run trail. We add a lap on the mini-track behind the elementary school. Kerry joins us midway and leads us on a lovely new path through Churchill Road Park. Everyone has a long day of meetings ahead and a busy weekend, so we alternately commiserate and give thanks for the chance to run together. The full moon peeks through clouds as it sets, and rosy-fingered dawn greets us from the east.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-13

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2016-04-20 - Slow Dawn Intervals

~8.3 miles @ ~11.2 min/mi

"I can smell that fresh coffee brewing in my Mind's Nose!" We're stretching after laps at McLean HS track, where Beth joins Kristin and me as the rising sun casts long shadows. Passing the Safeway outbound we get the aroma of donuts cooking; returning it's more like pizza. Spring birds chirp loudly and a rabbit takes refuge under a parked car. Two young women run up and down the aluminum bleachers. Ten 400m speedwork intervals average ~1:50 each. A bald guy in a Navy shirt says "Hi Mark!" as he zips by.

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-11

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2016-04-18 - Quiet McLean Morn

~5.6 miles @ ~12.5 min/mi

"Rabbit!" Kristin spies the first coney of the day. A dog strains at its leash and tries to give chase, but to no avail. After a symbolic Dawn Patrol lap on the McLean HS track our feet take us along small streets to random-walk through sleepy neighborhoods. Gray houses in fifty different shades, all with white-trim windows, are a local fad. Cherry blossoms rain down when a hand brushes a low-hanging branch. After witnessing hundreds of awesome sunrises, one might think they would become boring. Never!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-05-11

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