A burst of activity, and a burst of flowers

After a few weeks of taking it easy, I’ve jumped back in with a burst of activity.

This weekend, I ran. I swam. I biked. I marched. I jumped on the trampoline. I gardened with a vengeance. I cleaned bathrooms.

It must have been all the carbs in Mrs. Trail Boy’s homemade granola. Oh yeah, that’s a tasty dish, especially covered with yogurt and fresh fruit. Lots of energy, too.

I was Mister Activity — well, up to a point. The one thing I did not do was run trails. One simple reason: It has rained just about every day and night this week, including a horrendous thunderstorm last night, accompanied by a tornado warning. It’s raining again right now. The street down the slope from our house is quickly turning into a river.

I just know the trails are a mess. Three days ago, I ran the trails at Fort Ben, and they were saturated with water, shoe-sucking mud nearly everywhere. I could just imagine what an extra three days worth of rain would have done to them.

So I stuck to pavement this time, running roads in my neighborhood.

I started today with a six-mile tempo run, one of the best and quickest ways to get your heart racing — especially after several weeks of easy runs.

I ran the first and last mile at a very easy pace, 8:30 to 8:40. In between, I cranked up the four middle miles  a bit harder, 7:20 to 7:30 pace. 

As I ran, I realized I haven’t pushed myself to a huff-and-puff pace since the Cleveland Marathon last month. I was really getting my heart going today, and doing lots of heavy breathing.

Yep, tempo runs (otherwise known as running comfortably hard for medium-long distances) are the way to get the most bang for the buck.

During the cooldown, I let my heart settle and thought my marathon training for the summer and fall. Over the next four months, I will be pushing my distance on these tempo workout to 10, 12, 14, 16 miles. I guess I’ll either get faster or get dead.

When I got back to my house, I had fun analyzing my mile splits and then entering it into a running website I have just started using called RunningAhead.com. I plugged in numbers and a few sentences and got another entry done.

Here is a summary of my workout.

Here is a map of the course I ran, which I called French Loop (don’t ask me why.)

And here is a bar chart graphic of my mile splits.

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Geek alert

Runners can get very geeky with statistics, can’t they? Look for me to really push the geek factor in the months ahead.

Check out what I strap on my wrist to record all the data I mentioned above. I bought this oversized contraption five or six years ago. It’s a real throwback to the Bronze Age, isn’t it?

The device is my trusty Garmin GPS 201. It’s a very low-tech device, and it was practically obsolete when I bought it. These days, you can find a GPS for your wrist as small as a watch.

I wish I had a few hundred dollars to buy a new, smaller model. But I don’t, so I’m making do with this thing for now. It’s like carrying a laptop on my arm.

Like I said, geek alert.

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On the march

So that was running. I also swam several laps at the local pool today, rode my bike about five miles around the neighborhood, gardened, walked and even marched for a few miles.

Marched? Yes, marched.

Every spring, I march with my church in support of gay rights at the Circle City Pride Parade, usually held the second Saturday in June.

It’s a small way of standing up and being counted in support of gay people (including several relatives and lots of friends) who have enough obstacles in life and could use a show of hands once a year.

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A win-win on the Buckeye Trail 50K

As I mentioned a few days ago, I decided not to run the Buckeye Trail 50K this summer, which I signed up for last fall.

But that sucked for two reasons: I wouldn’t run some great trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And I would just have to eat the $65 entry fee.

Or so I thought. A couple days ago, I stumbled across a running chat board. A trail runner in Ohio was begging for a entry to the race, which closed out months ago.

I was able to sell him my entry, and get the transfer sanctioned by the race director.

I was thrilled to get my money back. And the other runner was thrilled he could get into this race. “I ran it last year and can’t tell you how happy  am to be able to run it again,” he told me in an e-mail.

Sometimes in life, things work out, all the way around.

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June is bustin’ out all over

It’s been a hot, rainy, humid, steamy week. When it comes to running, I’m not a big fan of this weather. But my flower garden loves it. Here are a few photos.

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