Pre-Commitment

I’ve had a running practice fairly consistently for a few years now. (Much more consistent than my blogging practice, in any case.) A quick glance suggests that I have logged multiple runs every month in RunKeeper since December 2010. And I’ve now run the Hokie Half Marathon each Fall for four years in a row.

But two things frustrate me, and they may or may not be related. First, I’m a little frustrated with pace. During Summer 2015, I was running 9 minute miles fairly regularly, if not consistently. I thought that I might have a shot at a 2 hour half-marathon, but then I ran into some trouble near the end of my summer training and wound up not pushing for that goal. (My official time in 2015 was 2:10:01, but the chip reader missed my start, so that might be a little off.) But for the last several months, I have been stuck at a pace a little over 10 minutes per mile. There are things that I can and will do to try to improve this, but I’m going to try to put pace on the back burner to focus on the second problem.

The second problem is that I build up to the half-marathon every summer, and then I slack off on mileage for the next several months. The result is that I have to spend my summer rebuilding my mileage. (Making it impossible to focus on other things, like pace.) My commitment: Not this year.

This year, baring injury, I want to retain my ability to run a half-marathon through the winter. For me, I’ve decided this means the following:

  • Three runs a week, mostly. Two shorter runs (3-4 miles, typical) during the work week. One longer run (see below) on the weekend. (I sometimes find a week off to be helpful in my training, so I’ll continue to do that when warranted.)
  • For weekend long runs, I will run 10 miles at least once a month, and have an additional run of at least 8 miles once a month. On other weekends, my long run will be at least 6 miles.
  • I don’t like to run in the cold, and I don’t expect that to change. So, at least the short runs and likely many of the 6 mile runs will be on the treadmill during the winter. But I will get outside when I can, trying to schedule my longer runs, especially, outside when the weather lets up. But if I have to run 10 miles on the treadmill, then so be it.

A possible consequence of this plan is something else that I’ve considered: Adding a second half marathon to my year. If I’m doing a 10 mile run every month, then I should be able to do a half-marathon at the drop of a hat, and easily be ready within a month. But it will have to be at a time and location that isn’t too disruptive to family and professional life. So, we’ll see.

Also, since I’m a little worried about the permanence of the results on the Hokie Half site, here they are, for posterity:

  • 2013: 2:05:23
  • 2014: 2:10:09 (It was cold and pouring rain. Miserable.)
  • 2015: 2:10:01
  • 2016: 2:12:31

Week in Review, 2016-W29.

(July 18, 2016 — July 24, 2016)

These posts keep going up late. And I’d like to either switch to or add some more substantive content. But, I’m glad that I’m posting regularly again, so we’ll stick to that for now.

Travel

  • On Friday–Sunday, M and I went to Girl Scout Dad and Me camp at Girl Scout Camp Sacajawea in Lynchburg, Virginia for the second year in a row. The best thing, according to her? “No brothers!” (She loves her brothers and is awesome with them. Seriously. I took a picture of this morning her helping N learn to read. But she’s the middle child, and she likes the attention of a weekend with dad.)
  • Upcoming: Nope.

Reading, Watching, and Listening

Family and Friends

  • M and N were busy with day camps this week. It’s nice for them to have something to do and enjoy, but it’s a lot of running around!

Health and Fitness

  • Took another week off running, but organized my half-marathon training schedule.

Weeks in Review, 2016-W27 and 2016-W28.

(July 4, 2016 — July 17, 2016)

We took our annual beach vacation from July 10–16. So, I decided to combine these two weeks into one post.

Travel

  • Myrtle Beach. I think this was our sixth summer. Enjoyed the ocean, the pools, the kids, the drinks, and probably a little too much sun.
  • Upcoming: Lynchburg, Virginia.

Reading, Watching, and Listening

  • Emptied the Instapaper queue. Finally. Now to fill it up with articles about the election that I don’t actually manage to read until December. Ha. Next few bullets are the best things that I read.
  • City of Water. New York City’s water tunnels are fascinating infrastructure.
  • An Unbelievable Story of Rape. I actually read this a while ago, but somehow didn’t properly archive it. In any case, I read it again. Amazing story.
  • The Secret History of Tiger Woods.
  • My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation. This is more of a book than an article. Worth reading, though.
  • At the beach, I like to read on the balcony, watching and listening to the ocean. And the balcony doesn’t have a light. So, I chose to read on my phone rather than read either of the paper books that I brought. Hence, I started, and read most of Fallen by Lia Mills, which was the next thing I planned to read on Kindle. I chose it because it was the Dublin: One City, One Book selection this year, and I’ve read their selection every year for the last several. Undeniably a great novel, but veered a bit too far to romance for my taste. (I haven’t quite finished it, but will next week.)
  • I did make a little more progress on Why Time Begins on Opening Day before the beach. I’m no longer even sure what it is, to be honest. Some of the chapters stand completely alone and are short; others are long, intricate stories. I suspect that I should start over and read a chapter at a sitting, which is easy for the short (6 page) chapters, but less so for the long (40 page) ones.
  • I believe we watched another episode of one of our shows on Friday before the beach.

Family and Friends

  • Went to a 40th birthday party for a friend just before the beach, and that was fun. Amazing how so many different social circles interconnect in a small town.
  • And had a vacation with the family, of course, which I found particularly restorative this year. Big things ahead, but I think I’m ready.

Health and Fitness

  • In week 27, I ran three times Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but short mileage.
  • In week 28, I did not run. I really missed my runs at the beach, but I’m recovering from a couple ailments, and I’d like to give myself a chance to do that before I start training in earnest for the half marathon. (I hope to resume training by about July 25.)

Week in Review, 2016-W26.

(June 27, 2016 — July 3, 2016)

Halfway through the year. There is an excellent chance that next week’s post will be delayed. Or posted early. It’s hard to say.

Travel

  • Quick trip to DC. Got to catch most of a Nats game that turned out pretty fun. And stayed next to Nats Park on points, which was a big win (would do again). Rode the MegaBus up to DC. It was fine, but if we got some other mass transit options to DC, that would be better. Drove back in a new-to-us minivan. So, yay.
  • Upcoming: Before too long.

Reading, Watching, and Listening

  • Decided that I needed to get back to Instapaper. I did manage to knock off a few things, but I’ve also added a lot more in the last few weeks. I think finally finishing this will be something to do on vacation. Best thing I read was probably this Washington Post exposé of a sexual assault investigation at the United States Naval Academy. Quite a story.
  • I’ve also been reading Why Time Begins on Opening Day by Thomas Boswell, which Becky got me for our anniversary. It’s good, but the writing style seems surprisingly dated (1984), and I’m having a little trouble keeping track of all the characters. It’s not helping that I’m reading it in very short segments at bedtime.
  • Had our Friday night TV on Saturday, watched an episode of Kimmy and an episode of Catastrophe.

Family and Friends

  • All three kids at Camp Alta Mons as day campers this week, which I think they enjoyed. Church camp rates among my favorite childhood memories, so I hope this is the beginning of many memories for them.
  • Took the kids to a Pulaski Yankees game on Sunday. The Pulaski Yankees are about the same distance from our house as our usual Salem Red Sox, but they are a Rookie League Team in the Appalachian League. (The Salem Red Sox are in the Class A-Advanced Carolina League.) So, the Yankees play in a much smaller, historic ballpark. It was interesting, and it felt more homey. It was fun, and we’ll probably go back at some point, but the games tend to be at slightly more inconvenient times, plus a shorter season means fewer opportunities.

Health and Fitness

  • Ran on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Saturday was maybe my best run of the season—a 10k training run.

Week in Review, 2016-W25.

(June 20, 2016 — June 26, 2016)

At least I’m getting this posted in a timely manner. Right?

Travel

  • Nope.
  • Upcoming: Quick trip to the DC area for a vehicle transaction.

Reading, Watching, and Listening

  • Well, I’ve been adding a bunch of stuff to the ToRead list. That counts? But seriously, this is a mess.
  • Missed our Friday night TV again, too.

Family and Friends

  • Kids in three different camps last week, which I think they enjoyed, but that’s a lot of running around. C at Cub Scout Day Camp; M doing an art camp; N doing “Busy Beaver” which is art and crafts, games, water play, and so forth.
  • Took the kids to Salem Red Sox on Sunday. Traffic in Salem was a general nightmare, and then we arrived to find that the Salem Fair was occupying more than half of the parking area with setup. This was unpleasant. But the Red Sox won, mostly through a 6-run 6th inning, which we got to see. So that was fun.

Home Improvement

  • Hung another ceiling fan in a child’s room, with quite a trek through the attic required to do so. One more of those to go.
  • Finished a little personal project, about which more later.

Health and Fitness

  • Ran on Tuesday and Saturday. Really struggling with schedule. Early morning was not working: I’m too impatient or rushed to adequately warm up, but sufficiently stiff that I worry that I’m going to injure myself if I don’t—old man problems.

Week in Review, 2016-W24.

(June 13, 2016 — June 19, 2016)

My latest post yet. I am unimpressed.

Travel

  • On Monday, we went to Dollywood. The kids really enjoyed it, and I think we’ll go back. Depending on other plans, we might even get season passes next year.

Reading, Watching, and Listening

  • I haven’t made much progress on reading again, and I don’t know why.
  • We missed our TV date, too.

Family and Friends

  • I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. It was my first experience of annual conference and, even though I’m posting this late, I’m still digesting it. Things are challenging in the United Methodist Church right now. We sit on the precipice of a schism, narrowly avoided last month. And yet the way forward is unclear. Be not afraid.

Home Improvement

  • Not this week, because of spending the weekend at aforementioned conference.

Health and Fitness

  • As predicted, I didn’t get much running in. I ran once, on Wednesday.