Thursday, December 29, 2011

Damage fixed, Big Run, Christmas

This post in not in any order of importance, but is just in chronological order of some recent events:
  1. Damage Fixed
  2. Big run on the trail at Croom
  3. Christmas

Damage Fixed:

Finally fixed, the bathroom is put back together again, just a few days before Christmas, with one last trip from the plumber, it went from this

To this:
and this

Big Run on the trail at Croom:

Dec 24th big run.  I'm signed up for the Croom Zoom 50K in January, my first 50K and first big trail run (I did a trail 5K in 2002, does that count?) -

Run stats - 32.24 mi 05:48 10:47 pace

  This particular course avoids the big hills that the fall and spring races here run on but there is some pretty good rolling stuff.  Never having run up here before I wanted to get a feel for the course.

I had wanted to get in 20 miles and I was originally going to try and just follow the course as best I could. But, Sean mentioned that he saw some people from FL Ultra runner's group were meeting at 5:00 to run 3 loops on the Croom Zoom course.

So, I woke up at 3:25, left the house at 3:44, and got there about 4:40.

 Starter loop and loop 1
We did the "starter loop" then one full loop (with a slight detour added),so a total of about 12.5 miles so far.  There were a few spots on that first loop where I wasn't sure how well I was going to be doing for the day, going through some deep sand, having a hard time seeing and avoiding the roots while it was dark out, and I was needing a bathroom stop with about two miles left before we got back to the parking lot.
The pace was pretty easy for the first loop, about 11:35 or so which included periodic walk breaks to go up a hill or to decide whether or not we were still on the right trail.

Loop 2
Tagging along on the Croom Zoom Loop
I did a quick pit stop at the start area, then started on the next loop.  Now it was light out and a picked up a few more people that wanted to run with the group but did not want to start at 5:00.  On the second loop is where I pulled out my iPhone to snap a few pictures because I'm not the best writer, a few pics never hurt even though I'm not the best photographer.  The pace was a little bit quicker and the running was a lot easier now that it was light out.  By the end of the second loop the pace was just a little slower than 11:00 pace.  

Loop 3
After the second loop I drank some muscle milk - I had planned on refilling my drink bottles with Accelerade but had left one of them at home.  Oh, well - two 10 oz bottles of Accelerade and 3 gels would have to do for 30+ miles.  One of the guys was heading out for the third loop so I hastily followed him back out onto the course.

Not sure if I was making a mistake or not, but after the halfway point of the last loop I felt pretty good. Picked up the pace for a few miles, then finally found my way to the end.
Couldn't believe I ran that far.
On the orange trail in Croom
The scenery was amazing (except for the first loop which was dark). Saw a pretty big deer. Andy pointed out the holes in the ground where some of the trees completely burned to the ground and then kept on burning, not even leaving a stump, just a hole in the ground. Several hunters were out so we made sure to periodically make some noise, like a "whoop whoop" or a train (whoo-whoo). Had fun running again with Andy (ran with him in Jacksonville in 2007), another Andy, Ash, Dave, Andrea, Tori, Ashley, and a couple others whose names I forget now. Some of the "rooty" sections at the beginning were a little bit tough in the dark. Couple near misses with falling and a few minor ankle rolls but nothing serious. After the run had yogurt, a cliff bar, and a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a donut. Overall an amazing experience.

I wish I could think of more to write. Now I'm definitely ready to be back there in January for the actual race.

Ok, I can think of a little more.  It was both good and bad that I ended up doing the entire race course.  "They" say you shouldn't run a full marathon to train for a marathon, that 20 miles is good enough (22-24 if you really must, but not 26.2!), so I'm sure the same logic goes for 50K.  So, I have taken some of the edge off of the feeling of whether or not I can complete the distance.  However, I could not have allowed myself that much doubt to begin with since I'm signed up for a 100K race just a month later.  But still, there was some doubt, and now that doubt is gone.   Even running at a much slower pace than what I usually run it was still challenging due to the distance and that it was the distance on trails which I'm still an extreme novice.

I do have all of the pressure off of me now for training between now and the actual 50K race.  I just need to keep myself from getting injured and I can do ok.  But, the 100K is a different story of course.  For that race, I'm pretty sure I can do the distance but I know that running it most likely will be an emotional ride and mentally challenging, perhaps more than physically.   To prepare for that aspect, you need more than just running and exercise to prepare, something else is needed.

And then of course, Christmas

There was a cool new drum set for one of the kids: 

And a new electric guitar for the other one:

The big huge amp can be shared between the drums and guitar (I can also sneak plugging in my bass guitar when no one is looking)

And, you can see that someone really knows me well, running gels from Hammer, PowerBar, and Gu, a Hostess Fruit Pie and Starbucks coffee!

Several pieces of running clothes including this cool shirt from Ink 'n Burn from Jenny's parents.  I've been wanting one of these but didn't want to get one for myself for fear of being a copycat, but if someone else gets it for your then no worries!!

Dinner at parents house, where we exchanged gifts, enjoyed some great lobster tails for dinner that my Dad made.  Andy, Jenny, and my parents enjoyed a game of scrabble.

I spent some time visiting my poor neglected boat, another big project to get done, it's going to take some work.  Owning a boat, then hardly finding the time to use it and seeing it fall apart is something that should not have happened.  Oh, well, just like the bathroom, time to do something about the neglect.  One thing at a time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Weekend and Stuff


So, I did not run 44km on Saturday.  I did have a wonderful run though.  I woke up extra early (at 4:00) but did not get started quite as early as I would have liked (4:52 or so), (but it was plenty of time to get in 19.56 miles at 8:53 pace).

I did not get lost.  I stayed mainly to trails I did last week, including successfully not taking the wrong turn which sent me out of my way.  I'm becoming more and more familiar each time I go.

My feet were happy in their slightly trail and road worn shoes:

Then took Thomas to bowling afterward, it was their Christmas party so no league bowling, just for fun, and parents could join, and it was "9 pin no tap", so if you got a 9 on the first ball it counted as a strike.

In the afternoon, went out to Barnes + Noble so kids could use up some gift cards.

Early in the evening, took a drive through Starkey Park where they have Christmas lights and displays, Jenny, the boys, Sammy, and I enjoyed the scene (I should have taken a lot more pictures!) - only $2 admission.

Starkey Park Christmas

Christmas party at Chris and Elizabeth's house was a lot of fun with plenty of friends and some great live Christmas music from these two wonderful singers.

Slept in a little on Sunday as Jenny was quiet as a mouse waking up and getting ready for her run.  Opened up my first gift.  Jenny said to be sure and open it first thing in the morning - a gift card to Ihop.  But, before I opened the card with the gift card, I saw this note which really made my day:

Took the boys to Ihop for breakfast with the gift card.

In the afternoon, a quick trip to Costco to restock the stuff we usually get from there and just for fun.

Followed by another run, ending at Jenny's gym, where Elizabeth was training and Chris was hanging out there. (A total of 7.12 miles at 8:20 pace) Finished up running and did a few sets of weights.

Then to Tijuana Flats for a beer.

Opened birthday gift from Jenny, a new pair of Brooks Launch, my most successful marathon shoes so far, thanks Jenny! 

Dinner at Carabba's with the parents.  All year long I kind of think of restaurants that would be fun to go to if I could pick anything.  But, when the time comes to pick I draw a blank so end up going to the same places.  But, I won't complain because I haven't regretted going there yet.  Also, Scott, Tracy and the Suncoast running store staff were there and they bought me a glass of wine for my birthday!

And of course, in the age of Facebook, tons of birthday wishes from old friends and new friends, thank you all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Almost Another Year/Birthday

 Running so far this week -

Mon - 5.93 miles at 9:15 avg, evening boot camp with Jenny
Tuesday - 10.16 miles at 8:32 avg solo run
Wednesday - no running, but evening boot camp with Jenny
Thursday - 8.09 miles, 8:05 avg with Raj and Craig
Friday - 4.14 miles, 9:06 avg with Jenny, Lisa, and Kathryn

Time sure does fly especially as the year is running out.
  • Sunday is the end of my 44th year and the start of my 45th year, and 1 week later...
  • Another Christmas is just around the corner, and 1 week later...
  • The celebration of 17 years of marriage and the start of an 18th year just after that
  • As well as the end of and start of a new calendar year at the same time
There are plans and promises and hopes and reflections on the past year.   The good and the bad.  There are the big things you wished you had done and then the little things you were glad you did.

It's a good time to really consider what it means to live in the present and not take things for granted that you have.   The clock ticks away and the moments become days and the days add up to a year.

Here is a little thing I did, at the end of November, planted a tomato plant in the upside down planter that Jenny's Dad gave her one year.

Kind of late in the year, but I figured that there were already a few tomatoes on it and some blossoms that have since turned.  With some care and some luck, the plant will survive through the one or two frosts we might get and will keep growing into the spring, just like last year's early girl I planted.

And the bigger project, which began right after Thanksgiving but should have been done about a year ago, that's coming along also and should be completely finished, finished on Wednesday after the cabinet is put back in, sink and toilet connected, and some baseboard/trim put back in place.  It already smells like new construction!

And the bigger project, which began right after Thanksgiving but should have been done about a year ago, that's coming along also and should be completely finished, finished on Wednesday after the cabinet is put back in, sink and toilet connected, and some baseboard/trim put back in place.  It already


smells like new construction (which is much better than what it was smelling like when it was moldy and rotting!)

Birthday wishes/hopes -  With so many things in the world more important than how some 44 year old guy feels on his birthday, it seems kind of petty to worry about it. But, every year I'm always wondering the best way to celebrate, and usually I end up doing something that I might have done on any other occasion during the year like having dinner out at Carraba's with the family.  But, that's ok.  It doesn't have to be anything big.  It's what is inside that counts, and spending time with the people that mean a lot to you.  And if you can remember to live your life like every day is the start of a new year and if having a birthday is what it takes to remind you of that, then that is a wish come true and a celebration right there!

For my pre-birthday celebration, or in other words, celebration of the end of another year of living I'm going to , you guessed it, go for a run.  I would like to do one of those runs where you run a mile for each year, but not this year, I'll start smaller and see if I can do 1km for each year.  And, since this is for completed years, that cuts one off of the total, so only 44km to run, instead of 45.

Or maybe I'll just run 14 to 18 miles, not sure yet.

If I was going to wait until Sunday, then I would have to run 45km, and probably run it looping around the neighborhood since Jenny will be on her long run.  Sunday is Jenny's long run day, and I wouldn't want it any other way, not even on my birthday.   Because, on Sundays, I am the "Sunday Morning Master" as Thomas calls me, where I get out of bed (ok, I have been sneaking in a shorter run recently, but no one seems to notice too much) and make cinnamon rolls, or take the kids for doughnuts, or maybe choose your own destiny/adventure (I mean food) at Panera.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Bird Told Me to Run

Sunday morning - I was lying in bed just after 7:00 am.  The night before I had pretty much made up my mind I was not going to run this morning.  I had been up a few times earlier already and was about to fall back asleep.  Jenny had left early that morning for her race where she would meet up with a bunch of friends for the Gulf Beaches Holiday Halfathon, so it would have been very easy just to stay in bed for a while longer.  But then I heard something coming from one of these guys:

Sandhill Crane
 They are one of my favorite Florida birds, more often than flying I usually see them rooting around on yards and golf courses like this:

But one kind of strange thing, is that for some reason these birds remind me of an episode from Bugs Bunny where he encounters Marvin the Martian who sets after him with "instant Martians" like these:

The run went pretty well.  I ran on the pavement and on the grass along the road which always is a good recovery medium.  I said hi to a woman putting gas in her car trying to cheer her up as I'm sure there are better ways to start a Sunday than running out of gas, having to get home somehow and come back with a gas can.

I got back home and it was a pretty quiet morning, with one boy at a friends house and the older one sleeping in.  Time for some reading and a cup of coffee.  Made a good dent at finishing Catching Fire , and chipped away at Lord of the Rings, which makes me keep thinking about Led Zeppelin songs ("Gollum, the evil one" - from Ramble On and "The Ringwraiths ride in black" - The Battle of Evermore).

Jenny texted me after she finished her race, a time of 1:46, but more importantly felt great after having a number of not so great feeling runs.  The finisher's medal was super cool this year:

Saturday - Woke up at 4:40 with a goal of doing 18 miles and finishing by 8:00 (8:15 at the latest) so I could take Thomas to bowling.  I had no one lined up to run with but I was optimistic that things would work out and I might have some adventures along the way.

2-ish mile warmup in Longleaf, coming back to my car right about 5:30 where I saw a small group getting ready for a run.   Ran with Keith, Victoria, Greg, and two Jamie's.  They were just going to do 6 or 7 miles then head over to Panera for breakfast and discuss the plans for their race next week in Jacksonville for the marathon there.  It sounded very tempting, but I decided to stick with running this time around.

Ran to Craig and Dianes house for fluids top off.  This is where I split off from the original group.  Craig was going to run to Starkey park, so we decided to run there together.

Arrived at the gate of Starkey Park right at 6:27, as the park ranger was unlocking the gate to the running path.  I don't think I've ever had such perfect timing (official opening time is 6:30).  We ran together until I turned towards the horse corral, where there is an entrance to the off road trails.

Ran into a girl named Madeline home on break. Ran to the power lines and then south for a bit with her, before I had to turn around. Said goodbye and headed back, hoping I'd find my way back ok to get home on time.  But, this is how I learn things, get a little help from someone else then try it out on my own and make a few mistakes.  I think this next picture probably looks about the same as several others, but here is the spot where I was heading back by myself:

Took a couple wrong turns on the way back, corrected it but was going to be a little long. Just as I was heading back up toward the trail I needed to be on I saw someone walking towards me, it was Craig who was short cutting home, so I turned back with him and ran out of the park and into his neighborhood.  He offered to let me top up my water at his house but I still had plenty so I kept on going.   Headed north a little once back on Starkey Blvd then turned around for home stretch back. No plans run turned into lucky adventure.

Trying to figure out where I'm going with my running right now, had a few good unexpected races and some random runs, maybe I should set some goals.  Ok, maybe I have some goals but just need to solidify them :)

running stats/summary for the week:
  • Monday - day off
  • Tuesday - 7.3 miles, 8:54 average pace, ran with Chris and Lisa
  • Wednesday - 6.14 miles, 9:02 avg, started with Jenny and Lisa
  • Thursday - 7.3 miles, 8:54 avg, cold and windy early run, ran some with Amye
  • Friday - 3.12 miles, 9:25 avg, solo run
  • Saturday - 18.05 miles, 8:34 avg, Starkey Blvd, Starkey Park, on road, off road, Keith, Jamie, Jammie, Victoria, Greg, Craig, Madeline and Craig
  • Sunday - 4.85 miles, 8:57 avg, sandhill crane 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jingle Bell 5K and Long Run


Pasco Sheriff Jingle Bell 5K - 18:34, new PR and 1st overall.

Was not expecting to win or PR today.  In fact, I had kind of given up on running this race.

When the race was announced (the race director was our good friend Ms. Kathryn who has run with Jenny for years and has always been a huge supporter of my running as well), I clicked the "attending" button on Facebook.  Then as the race approached and Jenny asked if I was going to run it and said yes, she reminded me I was planning on running 24 miles on Saturday.  Yes, that's true I thought, and I probably shouldn't try and do both, maybe not the wise thing.

But, Kathryn came over for a short run with Jenny and I on Friday morning where I told her I was not going to do the race.  Then I thought better of it and thought maybe I could do the race (this change of opinion had something to do with the fact that she was joking around with her kids that they should just go ahead and engrave my name on the trophy ahead of time!!).

So, whether or not it was the wise thing to do or not, I decided I would do both, run a 5K race as well as get in a total of 24 miles.

Trailed very fast high school cross country teenager for 2 miles then gradually caught up to him.  There was also another guy ahead of me for the first mile, a few years older than me but pretty tough looking (he's done some Iron Mans).   We were spread out 1 - 2 -3 for a while with the same sized gap between each of us.  Also, there were some smaller kids who I almost tripped over at the start who passed me and were out in front for about the first quarter of a mile.

I caught up to second place guy and slowly closed the gap on the teenager.  Ran next to him for a bit then started to pull away.  The course was a little bit hillier than expected (as there aren't that many hills around here), but I think I used them to my advantage to recharge my speed on the downhills if I started to slip a bit.
There was one final hill right before turning into the parking lot of the New Port Richey Aquatic center, where the finish line was.  I turned the corner and saw the clock which read something like 18:22, that really got me going and I pushed as hard as I could, crossed the finish line and couldn't quite believe that I had PR'd and one the race.

Thank you Kathryn L. for putting on such an awesome race and encouraging me to run it. Did some warm up before the race (jogged the course), then some strides, then did a little over a mile before awards.

Race shirt with race bib
Finish line
Gift Certificate and Trophy

Had a plate of pancakes, stuck around for the awards then headed over to Starkey Park to do the rest of my miles out on the trail.


I arrived there about 10:00, it was still cool out (high 60's) but the sun was up.  Did another 16.64 miles on trails (longest all trail run so far - well, almost all trail, ran about a 1/2 mile on the bike path to top off water bottles).   I parked at the horse corral and ran towards the 3 mile loop,

then out past it over to the power lines where I headed North.

I came to the water crossing where Sean had seen an alligator the day we ran together back in August and I was still recovering and rebuilding (I just did 6 that day so turned back early and did not see the gator).  But, with the dryness, there was only a very small water crossing (short enough to jump over), but with the size of the swamp and ponds on either side of the trail I could see how much of an obstacle this could turn into when it is the rainy part of the year.

Kept going north and got to the paved bike trail.  Took a slight detour onto it to top off my water before continuing north some more along the power lines.  Enters into a new park at some point.  I turned onto one of the marked trails and ran on it for a while until I came to a bridge over a creek,

crossed it and the trail started to get overgrown until it disappeared.

Made my way back through some tall grass to the main power line trail which I stayed on until taking another chance on a side trail.  The second one worked out better.

Ran until I had gone a little over 8 miles total then headed back the way I came (minus the first disappearing trail!).

The total distance for the day was just a little more than I did two weeks ago but I felt a bit more wiped out due to the race and the timespan.  Had been on my feet and on the go since 6:45, and now it was 12:45.

I had a bottle of chocolate milk (still cold) and a Power Bar waiting at my truck along with some more water which I quickly drank and ate before heading home.

Recovered pretty well and enjoyed another bass guitar lesson where I learned a few new things (like how to tune using harmonics), but also learned about how much I have to learn.  Hope I can get better at it someday!!

Also, got out the ladders and climbed up into the garage attic to get down the Christmas lights and other decorations.  Brought our artificial tree inside, and in the evening Andy helped me put it up.  I would leave hanging the outside lights for tomorrow as the daylight was running out.

Also, one of the toilets wouldn't stop running so I had to shut off the water and would have to head out to Home Depot to get a replacement part.

Felt pretty well ready to run again on Sunday.  This was the test to see if I did too much yesterday.  Wanted to just get in 5 miles.  I ran along the grassy shoulder of Trinity Blvd which felt good on my legs.
5.5 miles at about a 9:02 pace.

Odds and Ends
Headed out to Home Depot and took Thomas with me.  He didn't want to go but would have been way too bored to stay at home especially since his brother had gone to a friend's house for a few hours.
Bought the part for the toilet, along with a lighted Reindeer for the front yard, and some palm fertilizer for the yellowing palm tree next to the driveway.

Quick stop at Publix to get some things for dinner and the back home.

Put up the lights outside while Jenny and Andy worked on decorating the inside.

Cooked dinner (I need to do this more often!! at least once a week - I would also like to learn how to bake bread, I'm trying to expand my skill set beyond working and running).

Then, finally fixed the toilet in the evening!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Run Dread, Deadlines, Neglect, Decay, and Redemption!!

Friday night, looking at 14 miles the next morning. Skipped run on Friday morning, hit with long run dread.  Had not had that at all since before Boston.  Worried that it was a bad sign, but you can't overly worry about feelings that arrive unexpected.  You just deal with them and take the best actions.

Re-potted the cutting from the rubber tree plant (which is now much taller than the original plant)
Plant from Cutting (note original plant in background)
Original Plant

I bought the original plant shortly after moving to Dallas and before getting married.  It is a special plant to me.
The cutting has gotten huge.   Jenny's dad bought this nice big new pot for me.  I also took  another cutting and started it growing:

I need to spend some time working on the original plant.

Saturday  (16.62 mi 02:21 08:28 pace)
morning - the run went great.  I did 16.6 miles.  I figured out the problem.  It wasn't long run dread but "medium long run dread" - it's a feeling where you've been climbing up and each run is getting better, faster, or farther.  Then all of the sudden you have to do a run , which is still pretty long but seemingly nothing special.  That was today's run.  But, it did turn out special.  There are no ordinary moments and no ordinary runs.  It all adds up and everything has meaning.

I spent some time looking for the bathroom leak, that had been very slowly happening, just enough to ruin the tile grout, cause some mildew on the moulding and drywall, and ruin part of the vanity.  The original problem leak was thought to have been plugged over a year ago.  So, I fixed some drywall (my first ever attempt at that, replaced the mildewed molding, and repainted the bathroom.  But the leak was still there and the mildew came back and I could feel the moisture.  I talked to the plumber that was out to fix the shower and he gave me some ideas but basically told me that plumbers fix leaks, they don't find leaks.  So, I looked and looked, and ripped out some rotting stuff.

 I tore out the ruined section of drywall:

Then ripped out the ruined section of the vanity so I could peak underneath for signs of a leak:

I became overwhelmed and stopped and thought about what to do over a beer before I cut open the drywall from the garage side.

 But, this problem had gone on too long, neglect which led to decay and would only get worse.  Sometimes problems go away on their own.   This one wasn't one of them.  It was time to stop being overwhelmed and just fix the problem.  There are people who can do this I thought, I just need to find one.

I called the plumber's office who gave me the number of a guy that specializes in finding leaks, Dave from "iFindLeaks".

So, he narrowed it down using infrared camera, a pressure gauge, and some intuitive problem solving - it reminded me of the process I go through at work to find bugs which are hiding somewhere between the hardware and software, could be either place.

So, next, made an appointment to have a contractor come out to write up an estimate to put the bathroom back in shape.  Get it done and taken care of.

Sunday - (7.46 mi 01:05 08:41 pace)
did my follow up run from Saturday's long run.  A little bit over 7 miles along Trinity Blvd on the grassy portion which I used to avoid, but now makes somewhat of an "off road" trail.  It actually feels pretty good.  Maybe feels a little slow at first but then I forget about it and the pace gets easy and feels natural.

When Jenny was at work, ran out to Home Depot and bought some outdoor plants and some new mulch to fix up some spots in the backyard, a tomato plant for the upside down pot, and a Poinsettia for the outdoor table to make it look nicer.  I bribed the boys to help me carry stuff out back, weed, and plant.  Oh, and also bought a replacement stone for one missing from one of the small retaining walls.

Monday morning no running.  Did boot camp with some awesome sprints in the evening.

Tuesday - (7.57 mi 01:05 08:32 pace)
ran with Jenny, Lisa, and Chris.  Kind of disjointed 400m repeats because we were all sort of doing our own pace.  I ended up doing 7 due to miscounting.  Here's the splits for the all over the place intervals:
  1. 6:31
  2. 6:35
  3. 6:40
  4. 6:54
  5. 7:05
  6. 5:20
  7. 5:47

Wednesday - (7.62 miles, 1:05:24, 8:35 average)
Met Raj at the track.  I declined on the 4th mile repeat, realizing that the 400m repeats weren't nothing yesterday, especially with a couple of them being all out.
Paces for the three, 1600m repeats that I did do:
  1. 6:22
  2. 6:18
  3. 6:14

Nov 30th has been looming over my head with another work deadline.  Sort of hanging over my head since just before Thanksgiving when I could feel the pressure building.  But I worked at it, little by little which made me more productive and I delegated out some of the work which really made a huge difference.

Well, things don't always work out in the end, but it sure helps when we spend less time worrying and more time doing, even if just a little bit at a time.  So, maybe at the end of all of this there is redemption.  The long run dread becomes just a memory, the damage gets fixed, the decay cleaned up and hopefully we learn to not neglect the things that need attention.

And to make sure I end this entry on a positive note, here is Sammy enjoying a good dog's life (also, there's a little bit of Barbie in the background if you look closely)
Sammy Enjoying the Day

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks Giving Week

Great week and lots to be thankful for!  There was family, friends, good times and of course lots of running and exercising.  There is even more than that to be thankful for but I could spend forever on that, so I hope everyone knows what I mean.

Sunday - cheered on Jenny and her Mom at the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon.  Drove down there with Jenny's dad, the boys, and Allie.  We some how missed them at the start of the race.  We saw the 2:30 pace group all the way to the tail end of the group.

Eventually saw them just after mile 7 -

I tried to chase after them for a picture of the back of their shirts (very cool shirts!)

Here's a great close up of Jenny smiling (always makes me smile when I see her smiling!)

Just up the street from this spot is a big tree great for climbing.  I always stop by there with the kids.  I thought maybe they were getting too old, but Thomas asked if we could go.  Here he is :

Here I am with Allie

Andy in front of the tree

And a picture which looks like one very tall kid!!

I decided, that since the kids might not ever want to come back to this tree (who knows maybe they will), I decided to take my turn in it:

After the tree fun, we headed over to intercept them on the home stretch

They stuck together the whole time and neither one was wearing a watch, just wanted to enjoy the half marathon.

Monday morning, about 5 miles at 9:06 pace.  Had lots of work to do, but made sure to leave in time to make it to the evening boot camp at Flex One.

Tuesday - Chris came over to run as well as Lisa, we did 6.2 miles at about the same pace (9:08 this time).

Wednesday - ran another 6.3 miles, started out with Jenny, Kathryn and Lisa for about the first mile and a half, then did the rest by myself.  Then, Wednesday evening, after finishing enough of my project at work to let me know I could make the end of the month deadline, made it to Jenny's boot camp where we had extra people.   It was a very demanding fitness test.  I had to hold back just a little bit (especially the walking lunges), since I was going to race the next morning.  Still, a little worried about whether or not I had fried my legs.

So, Thursday morning, Jenny got up early to run with some friends nearby.

I had decided to try the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot 10K, which I had never done before.   Some sort of miracle happened and I did much better than expected.  All I wanted was this mug, which they give to the top 125 men and women.

I wore my green silence shoes which I love for racing and often get comments about (usually good comments!)

Here's me with a group of people, some of which I kind of know.  The guy with the tatoos, Mike, had a lot to do with my better than expected time.  I could see him and followed him in, slowly closing the gap but never quite catching up, today was a big PR for him and his first time under 40 minutes, his goal was to just break 41 minutes.  So, when I followed him to the finish line I was surprised when the clock still had a 39 on it with enough seconds to make it in time.

Race report:

Weaved through the first mile but manged 6:24 pace, 2nd mile was 6:10 and felt great. Hung on after that until I could see tattoo Mike, closed the gap a little but didn't catch him.
 Mile splits:
  1. 6:24
  2. 6:10
  3. 6:28
  4. 6:35
  5. 6:31
  6. 6:23
  7. 1:24  (0.23 @ 6:00 pace)

Got out-kicked at the very end by my sports doctor (Dr. Bill Cottrell). I got a mug with 44th place. I wasn't expecting to do so well after Jenny 's hard core boot camp last night - or maybe that is why I did well, along with the shock top with my father-in-law after the boot camp!

2,729 people ran in the 10K this year.

In the evening had a nice (but not over the top) dinner, with a surprise dinner guest (ok, not that much of a surprise, but still nice!!)

Here is my mom and Jenny's dad catching up

And finally for after dinner, Thomas enjoying a cup of decaf coffee

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday - I did not run.  Jenny did a short run on trails and her knee finally seems to be getting almost back to normal, combined with running on the softer trail surface instead of the roads.

So, I'm thinking that my running feels different these days.  I can't quite explain it.