Monday, September 3, 2007

A Good Training Week, and Proof that Great Minds Do Indeed Think Alike

Hi, y'all!

First off, HAPPY LABOR DAY! Here's to another year of, well, labor.

No names for the Fred's Team Honor Roll this week. I meant to do a mailing this weekend but got a little lazy and didn't get around to it. Don't you worry, if I have your email address you'll be hearing from me this week! And if I don't have your email address and you would like to support my marathon effort by donating to Fred's Team on my behalf, please click here.

It's been a good week of training. Monday I got in a nice, breezy loop of the Park -- clockwise, to avoid going up Cat Hill, knowing we had a hill workout the next day.

And what a hill workout it was. Twelve repeats of Cat Hill, done in sets of three. The first set was supposed to be easy (define "easy!") the second and third moderate, the last easy. The trick was to make each set consistent -- in other words, to try to get up the hill at the same pace each time (downhill was recovery.) I may not be the fastest runner, but I am a remarkably consistent one. Each set, I was within 1 second of the time each time. The third set was a killer -- I tried to charge up the hill, but my charge wouldn't have stopped a light bulb, let alone the Light Brigade. Because we only stopped to rest three times, the workout flew by and was surprisingly invigorating, even though it was possibly one of the hardest workouts I've done. And I technically ran 6 miles (since the hill is a quarter mile each way) in 50 minutes, for me an astounding time.

Thursday was our step workout, at the Riverside Park Steps. Unfortunately, when we got there, there was some strange photo shoot happening. The photographer was setting up all these giant mylar mirrors on the steps, effectively killing any chance for us to do a step workout. Grrr. So we moved to the steps that are a few blocks south -- a policeman told us about them last year during a training session. They are, of the three sets of stairs we train on, the most evil of the three, because they are the steepest. There is also a hill attached to these steps, it's twice as long as the 72nd Street steps and also twice as narrow. We did the usual drills, then we did a variation on a swimming drill: we were given 45 seconds. In that time, we ran up the stairs, down the stairs, and rested. After 45 seconds, back up the steps, even if it took you 44 seconds to get up and down the steps. We did this a bunch of times. I was pretty good on these drills, if I do say so myself.

There is also a grassy section next to the stairs, with a nearly vertical hill (also grassy and overgrown.) We moved to the grass and did a whole bunch of drills up and down the hill, including attempting to run up the hill backwards. It was actually harder going down the hill than up, because the grass was wet and we were all slipping, and for some reason, nobody rolled down the hill, although a bunch of people said they were going to. Not me. I get motion sick on a rocking chair. Who knows what a roll down a vertical hill would've done?

Friday I had planned to stay home all day because we were getting a new refrigerator. The old one had finally given up the ghost. It was the original fridge when we moved in 12 years ago. It had started leaking a couple of weeks earlier; we thought it was something in the fridge, turns out it was the fridge itself. Getting appliances for the kitchen is tricky because there's only 25 inches of clearance to get into the kitchen, so we needed a counter-depth model. This means, of course, that the available models are either off-brand, mini-fridges like the one we had (it was only 5 1/2 feet tall) or ultra-expensive ones designed to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen. We just need it to fit through the door. Fortunately, Home Depot had a good compromise, which I bought. The delivery people were supposed to come between 10am and 2pm. Guess what time they showed up? Go on, guess. Give up? 8:30am. They called at 8:30am and said they were half-an-hour away, and not two minutes later they were in the lobby. So now Laura and I are the proud owners of a bottom-freezer LG counter-depth fridge.

Anyway, I had planned to spend the day indoors, practicing my steno, and thus I did. So by 3pm, I was starting to get antsy. I figured, why not do the long run now, it's a beautiful day and I'm itching to get out. So I did my 15 -- okay, 14.75 -- Friday afternoon. I went over to Riverside Park, went up to 125th, back down, around a little bit where the dog park is, then down to Chelsea Piers and back, heading down some of the piers to see what's going on -- the sole advantage of running by myself instead of with the team. I love seeing the big water wheel, it's really cool.

Took the weekend off, though I did act as the bag lady for the unofficial Team workout Saturday morning. I brought my steno machine to the Park and practiced, it was a great practice session (except for the wind blowing the paper around -- I had to use a rock to hold the paper in the tray!) I was feeling a little shin-splinty after Tuesday's workout, and it was still bugging me, so I thought an extra day off would be good.

Sunday my roomie Laura and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was immensely crowded, and you know why, it's beautiful, and the perfect day for it. The only thing that spoiled it was that my bionic foot started aching and my right calf was tight. Granted, I wasn't wearing my orthotics, but I've not worn them before in my other shoes and didn't have a problem. So I was concerned. I did wear shoes Saturday night (going out for Coach Annie's birthday) but they were KITTEN HEELS for pity's sake. Could they have been the cause? Dunno. But putting my feet up for a while helped.

Monday (today) was a clockwise loop of the Park. My right calf started bothering me during the run, right at the back of the knee heading down. This is a new and distressing development. I was trying to do a tempo run, but couldn't because of the pain. Slowing to a cruising pace kept it in check. I must be allergic to speed. Laura and I met my parents in the Village for lunch and a walk around the Village Art Show. That art show used to be HUGE -- took up most of the Village, from 11th St. or so down to Washington Square Park, all around the Park (but not in it) down Bleecker and LaGuardia -- it was at least 20 blocks long and 5 blocks wide. A big crafts section (my favorite was the guy with the leather bracelets that he could burn your name in.) Now it's just a shadow of its former self, barely ten blocks long and only on two sides of the street. Maybe 3 craft booths, and no more leather bracelets (eh, they never had my name anyway) but the stuff that remains is by and large really nice stuff. I remember back in the day, when you could do these things, there was an apartment building on LaGuardia that my friend and I would sneak under the fence and play in their playground while our parents went browsing. There's only so much art a kid can take.

I leave you with this: Laura was out of town last weekend, Friday to Tuesday, visiting family in VA. I decided on Monday to go to Century 21 and get new sheets and a new quilt comforter, since my old ones were really getting ratty. So Laura comes home on Tuesday, comes into my room, I'm telling her about cleaning the bathroom, and she's just looking disapprovingly at me. "What did I do?"

Turns out, she had bought me sheets and a comforter for my birthday (end of September,) and, if that wasn't enough, she had bought me the EXACT SAME SHEETS I bought and the SECOND CHOICE comforter. AND, the comforter I bought was HER second choice.

Sort of Gift of the Magi, huh? Sort of.

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