Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Training, April 3 though April 9

57 miles in lame singles. My newest hobby seems to be cutting back unnecessarily for races and then not running them very hard anyway. This week's more-or-less spur-of-the-moment 5K was a glorified fun run an hour down the road from where I'm encamped for a couple of weeks with friends, most of them furry.

It was a step in the right direction, I guess, compared to last week's especially uninspired effort. One my my hosts and best friends, Arthur, "needed" a race of some sort before the Boston Marathon on the 17th after last Saturday's USATF-New England Grand Prix 15K was canceled due to snow, so we wound up at in Shrewsbury, Mass. today. You know it's not a very tough crowd when the race director encourages people to do jumping jacks five minutes before the start and three-fourths of the people gathered start doing them. I want to see this happen at the Olympic Trials Marathon some day.

We ran together in first the whole way, or at least after threading our way through the inevitable squadron of quick-starting mini-runners. We were already clear of the field after a 5:52 opening mile (OK, it was a tad uphill), and Arthur could have run away from me easily at any time, but chose instead to try to match me joke for awful joke. I came up with "Look at the bright side," as we crossed a side street near the unmarked mile mark named Brightside Ave. (He was taking the dim view at the time, so it took him a second to catch on.) In an attempt to outdo this amazing example of wit, he made some crack about a political candidate sign on a lawn with about 2K left, but you kind of had to be there. We wound up finishing in 17:55. It was a nice day, a little breezy but warm enough to go shirtless by noon. And in a nice surprise, we each won more than we paid in entry fees in gift certificates for a running store -- it's been a while since I managed that feat and will surely be years before it happens again.

This wasn't close to an all-out effort, but it wasn't as easy as I thought it should have been. I'm realizing that these days, I can't just decide to get in shape merely by assembling some solid mileage for three months or so. The trick now is to not get discouraged or disgusted and to keep showing up and taking my licks en route to whatever pinnacle I manage to reach as an incipient geriatric.

As for the rest of the week, basically a wash, pun partly intended. I was in Concord, N.H. until Friday morning, and it rained more or less all week. I was also idiotic enough to postpone about 25 pages of copy, dreck I could have banged out before even getting to New England, until Wednesday, which was only a big deal in that I continue to maintain somewhat vampire-like hours.

After my run tomorrow, I will have run all 100 days of the calendar year so far, something I'm pretty sure I mentioned I'd be reduced to boasting about before long.

If you follow me on Facebook, which all but the most despicable losers are permitted to do, you've seen these already plus many more from the farm, but anyway...

...This is Arthur, his lovely wife Heidi, and their captive.

...This is Frosty, Major Mudd, Milkshake, and Moxie in the foreground doing the "BatDad" thing. They are Nigerian dwarf goats.

This is Fifi, a few weeks removed from delivering a litter of four beauties.

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