Thursday, December 11, 2014


Seven. That's the number of runners that made the 4:45 PM run from Parkview tonight. I never thought Jimmy's popularity could be challenged, but apparently the charisma and machismo that is Allen Burris has some sway with the exercise-minded. Or it could be the calves. Either way, there were indeed seven runners for tonight's run.

We did the usual Thursday route I can never quite remember. I was reminded we do it every week, though that is a bit of an exaggeration; this was only the third Thursday. It is fair chide me, because I am usually much quicker on patterns.

Galloway made it, though I'm pretty sure by the end he wish he hadn't. The knee is really hurting him. I knew it was so when I made an egregious error regarding high school basketball and he didn't ride me like a cheap quarter ride outside a supermarket (kids, you might be too young to understand that one). He said he "was trying to keep his mind on positive thoughts." I'm so sorry, man.

Roy is beginning to assert himself in the absence of Scott. He led most of the run tonight, and by the end had dropped the pace significantly. We started a bit past 9 and finished a bit past 8. One minute per mile dropped by the time we finished 5. Yeah, Roy's coming on.

Twenty Miles of Nowhere is getting somewhere! Leisa and I worked on the graphic a bit tonight, she has her flyer about done, and she has spoken to the local health clubs. Things are moving apace, almost as if it was meant to be. I may have to tap some of our celebrity talent for promo videos. More on that later. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Like my new Strava profile pic? Made it myself. Dang, I got skilz.

There was another good-sized Wednesday night running group tonight. It featured about every available local runner in our circle, including Scott. What is notable about Scott is he is scheduled to see Dr. Fox next week about his knee. That didn't stop him from handing it to us.

Scott's typical MO is to lead out after the first half mile. The idea is to make a gap so he can go completely around the 27 Street route, getting the full 5-mile distance by the end of the run. True to form, Scott broke off before the alley headed to Norton Lane.

I knew what he was doing, and decided if I was going to chase, I'd better do so immediately. I broke smartly off the front of the group, but it took a long time to catch. I'd picked the very moment he'd accelerated more to go, and it made the catch all the harder.

We did the extra loop, ran back to the group, and for a while played nice. Soon Scott was busting off the front again, preparing to add a little extra to the second part of the run. I went with him, as did Miller. About half a mile later I began to feel more than hear another person behind us. It was Jake, an impressive move considering the pace. The four of us followed Scott to his turn, the U-turned to go back up to Jimmy's.

We could see Jimmy and Rand had already turned, and the distance was perhaps a 10th of a mile. "You guys go get 'em. I can't catch them tonight", said Scott. Laughable. We were doing 7:30 pace, and I'd guess Jimmy and Rand were doing 8:30-8:45 max. Not only would we catch them, but we'd do it relatively quickly.

We caught them midway between 21st and 22nd, a fair distance from the office. Would Scott play nice the rest of the way in? No way. Soon he was off again. Miller started to feel a little saucy by then, and he started to lead out. Scott urged me to catch, but I declined. Couldn't if I'd wanted to, and besides, my whole purpose of breaking off the group was to run with Scott.

So we took it in, a solid effort. I felt good the whole way, not pressing, and though the time was not impressive, it was faster than I have been averaging. That has to count for something.

Run from Parkview tomorrow at 4:45. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


One thing is always certain when Jimmy and Allen get together to run; there will be the give-and-take discussion/debate over Garmins/running watches. It's always hard to say who starts it, and even harder to divine the purpose. Fact is, it's been going on for so long I can't remember a run in a long time where it wasn't brought up.

It's not like anyone is changing anyone's mind. You either wear one or you don't. There are people that take anything to the extreme, and though I can be one of those people, in this case I'm fairly neutral. I see Garmins as a tool with a purpose, but certainly not the infallible end-all/be-all of running neophytes tend to believe them to be. Truth is usually in the middle in most cases, and I think this is certainly one of those times.

I will note, however... those without Garmins can't seem to shut up about them. Playing upon a similar psychological phenomena, let me just dub this practice here and now as "Garmin Envy". More, those without seem to be engaged in more than a little "overcompensation". ;)

We did do our tempo tonight, "we" being Allen, Jimmy, John T., Rand, and myself. This was a bit more organized than last week, and if I do say so myself, a bit more "tempo-ey". This was 2 miles instead of 1, the time taken more closely approximating a true tempo duration. 2.5 miles might be the perfect distance for us time-wise, though I'm not sure that's a can of worms I wish to open just yet.

I wanted to let Jimmy set the pace. He and John T. settled on 7:10, and we started together. Allen took off early (as usual), and Rand did his thing. We were bunched fairly closely until traffic on darkening roads strung us out a bit. Our quarter-mile checkpoint had us a little up, so we started to adjust. Too much, because before long I saw 7:15 pace on my Garmin. I picked it up after calling the pace, but Jimmy wasn't having it. The last thing I heard him say before I pulled away was, "Okay, that was 7:20 pace". He'd just seen their half-mile split.

Dropping down Industrial I just let gravity work. The result was a faster than planned 6:44 pace. This is much slower than last week, and it was in no way difficult. I pressed up the incline heading into mile 2. this mile went fine as well, other than congestion in my throat beginning to choke me. I suppressed the gag reflex and finished the mile smoothly at a 6:36 pace. Somehow Garmin turned this into a 6:39 pace for 2 miles, I won't argue this way or that. Let Jimmy and Allen do that.

John T. and Jimmy were something like 7:05 - 6:58, Allen 7:29 - 7:28, and I never heard Rand's times. Perhaps I should call him "Mysterious Rand", because getting this type of information from his is usually very difficult. Of course tonight maybe I just didn't hear him.

We run from Jimmy's tomorrow at 5:15.

Monday, December 8, 2014

3 x 220

The answer is NOT 660!

No, the meaning is not really mathematical at all... it's how many guys in tonight's run wore Garmin 220's. I was the first to break the ice on this truly wonderful all-around watch/GPS. John T. soon bit, and now our good friend Scott has recently begun sporting his black and red beauty. He even convinced his Orleans buddy Chris into buying with him.

Jimmy keeps sniffing, but he doesn't bite. He had a shot at a $199 Garmin 910 (which he should have bought), but passed. Now he is looking hard at the 220. I do understand the problem a bit. He needs something he can wear as a watch. I had the same issue, and the 220 has filled that void beautifully. With a 10-hour battery and a completely waterproof case, it's nearly the perfect all-around piece of equipment. I do wish it tracked swimming better, but the truth is my 910 wasn't accurate in open water either, making that portion useless. The one thing I do truly wish was the 220 had the same 20-hour battery of the 910.

We ran 5 tonight - at least, I did. I ran from my house to the office, then ran home afterward to get my miles. The rest of the guys cheated themselves. The regular time, the regular route, the regular crew. Nothing much to note here except one thing... the end of the run.

Bartlett, as he sometimes does, broke off the front. I let it go for a few moments, but decided if I was going to cover, I had to make the move. I did. Then so did Rand. Then John T. Bartlett looked surprised we were all there, not because he didn't think we could, more like he didn't think we would.

It felt good to run a faster tempo. It wasn't fast as in the old days fast, but it was fast enough to feel like I was working. I like that feeling, and enjoy running that way.

Good thing. Tomorrow is tempo Tuesday. We will be going 2 miles at speed, at least, that's the plan. 5:15 from Parkview!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cookies and Santa Go Together, Don't They?

First off, I want to thank the City of Bedford. No one has ever thrown a party for my birthday, and while that may still be true, I can now say an entire city just threw a parade for me. Never in a million years did I see that coming. Floats, lights, crowds of people waving and cheering as I took my evening jog... forgive me, I'm choking up right now. You guys are the best, really!

In the words of Mike Myers, "I'm verklempt!"

The day actually started when Jimmy, Rand, and I took a short trip down to Loogootee. Debbie (of John T. fame) hosted a 5k benefit run this morning, and as it was her first try at a race, we felt we should support her. It almost didn't happen though... when I awoke at 4:45 to the sound of sleet pounding my window, I couldn't imagine making the trip. Thankfully that let up.

There weren't a lot of people there, maybe 30-40. It was a nice group though, and for a startup race, maybe the best thing that could have happened. It kept things manageable. The three of us started the race, quickly moving to the front within the first half-mile, with only 4th grader little Lucas Britton hanging with us.

Okay, maybe it is my birthday, and maybe I was tempted to go for a rare birthday win. But how do you stomp on the dreams of a little kid? Especially a little red-headed boy. You can't. You just can't. As I always say (sometimes), "Don't punch down."

So we coached him through it. We didn't hit his time goal, but we did let him sprint to the win. Jimmy's competitive nature did get the better of him - too late. He began to protest loudly and persistently about the illegal nature of Lucas's shoes. I don't know what the deal was - sounded like sour grapes to me. It was Jimmy being Jimmy.

He did wind up snaking me on the awards. Lucas was first, Jimmy 2nd, I was 3rd, Rand 4th. Rand was proud he was 4th, because EVERYONE knows 4th is better than 2nd (well, everyone whose name rhymes with "penny"). My poor luck was to be in the male 51-59 age group. If only I'd been 50. Or 60. Not sure where those folks wound up award-wise, but I would have had a shot.

Later we got together again for the Santa Hat Run. Things got off to a weird start when a busload of band kids made for our gym doors as soon as we opened. Someone had called Jimmy asking for permission to let the kids in to use the restroom. It's an awkward thing; we didn't have permission to do that, but at the same time we wanted to be human. Jimmy told them to come in, get dressed, use the restroom, then go back out. They looked shocked. We tried over and over to explain the situation, but they still looked shocked.

Later their band director came in. He started to really take liberties when he directed his kids out onto the hardwood. This was too much, and before I could jump up Jimmy was all over it. One more time he tried to explain about permission, to which the band director declared defiantly, "I have permission!" "From whom?" I asked. I really needed to know this more than he realized. He gave me a name that in nearly 30 years of working for the corporation I'd never heard. Once again Jimmy jumped in with "She does not have authority over this facility."

Jimmy was as diplomatic as only Jimmy can be, and though dissatisfied, the band director eventually accepted the directions. I want to make clear in no way did any of us wish to be harsh or unfair to anyone related to the bands. We were caught between a rock and a hard place. We had very specific permissions, and there was no custodian on duty. We were prepared for a certain level of traffic, We would have accepted the additional traffic, and did. What we could NOT have was the public on the new hardwood floor with street shoes.

It all worked out in the end, and the run portion was very well attended. I was glad to see many of my running friends, community, and even some of my girls' team present. I was especially glad to see Dale Lynn and Mark Ryan there. They've been through so much lately, and it was a blessing to have them there.

The weather was very nice and I can't say that it could have gone any smoother - the small band issue aside. That's easily solved, of course; next year we'll simply broaden the permission. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Cold Drizzle

Standing on the corner this afternoon while performing traffic duty, the light, cold drizzle covered my jacket. Luckily Leisa loves me, and bought me a waterproof Northface that seemed to resist the elements nicely. Though I was warm, I could only think ahead a couple of hours to when I wouldn't have that jacket, but I would be back out in the drizzle.

You see, it's Thursday. Jimmy doesn't run on Thursdays, ergo rain was certain.

What I could not be certain about was having company. I would run regardless. Would Allen make it? As far as I knew he was the only other person planning to come. Allen can sometimes be... sketchy... about iffy days.

I rolled up to find Roy in his car waiting. A few moments later Allen arrived. We three would be the complete company of today's run, so with little ado, we were off.

Allen only changed the course one time. We headed down Park Avenue instead of Washington. I didn't care - made no difference to the run. Roy seemed used to it, so it's clearly something they've done regularly.

Roy really pulled the run. At times Allen appeared pressed to keep attached, though Roy didn't seem to notice. I let him do his thing, running just off his shoulder. I would comment it really is amazing to see how much improvement he's had over the last few years. He is not the same guy that tried to hang in there for a mile a few years back.

Allen started working on Roy about Boston. I have to say I would agree, Roy can get a qualifier if he wants it. I hope he goes for it, because there would be no better time to try than right now, at the peak of his adult fitness.

Jimmy, Scott, and I are planning to go to Loogootee Saturday. The race is at 9 AM. I have one more seat if anyone wants to ride with us.