31 December 2007

Closing Out 2007

Vanilla, who writes the Half-Fast blog, wrote his "Requisite Year in Review" on Thursday. I decided to wait until I had done my last run of 2007 to give a summary. Last year, I posted my summary in case someone was interested but it turned out to be for my benefit. I had kept my running log on my Palm but it decided to die early in 2007 and I had not synched it to my computer recently so I lost a month or so of records. The summary "saved my bacon", so to speak because I was able to piece together the information that I needed.

So, this year's summary is as much for my benefit as for the interest of anyone else :)

Number of runs: 236

Distance: 1488.99 miles
Average distance: 6.31
Total time (hh:mm:ss): 206:30:30.89
Average MPM (mm:ss): 8:19.28

Distance: 1441.62204 miles
Average distance: 6.11
Total time (hh:mm:ss): 193:54:55.89
Average MPM (mm:ss): 8:04.24

Shoes: 1 pair Brooks Adrenaline GTS7, 3 pair Etonics Jepara SC (current)
States: VA, NC, SC, GA, TN, CA
Countries: South Africa, Kenya
Longest Run: 13.1 miles, Richmond, VA Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon
Fastest Run: Richmond, VA, 7-Mar-07, 4.52 miles@7:33.35 mpm
Fastest Mile: Richmond, VA 18-Jul-07. 1.04 miles@6:45 mpm
Favourite Run: Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon, 13.1 miles@8:17.54 mpm (1:49:12)
Most Exotic Run: Tigoni, Kenya -- Kenya highlands
Most Fun Run: Christmas Lights Run, 5.3 miles
Worst/Hardest Run: Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon -- very hard course

Most difficult lesson of 2007: Learning that slowing down on the majority of my training runs is a good thing. My training plan for the half marathon had me doing my long runs at 8:32-9:03 mpm. I was concerned that this would train my mind/body to run more slowly. But, my track repeats and tempo runs showed me that I could still run faster (individual miles @ 6:45-7:30 mpm) and the 3rd mile of the half marathon was @7:06 (too fast for the race).

Happy New Year to all of you!

Run well, y'all,
Bob Allen
Richmond, VA

Just a Spoonful of Sugar...

...to cop a line from Mary Poppins. The sugar was the motivation for the kids to take their medicine.

Some of us need some kind of motivation to get out the door to run during this time of year. Or, some (like me) tend to make optimistic New Year's resolutions about running or exercising in general and then have trouble following through. Amy's post in the Runner's Lounge might be just the thing you need:
Natural Law: Overcoming Inertia

The video is pretty incredible. I wouldn't recommend a 50-mile ultra-marathon for 13 year olds, but I'm impressed.

There's also a post on Diet Blog that provides tips for pushing on.

Run well, y'all,
Richmond, VA

30 December 2007

Running From ...

We got home last night from our Christmas travels. Having been in the van for 7+ hours, I decided to get in a night run. That served three purposes -- stretching my legs, getting a Saturday run in, and seeing the Christmas lights in our neighbourhood. I had wanted to see the lights on foot, but since I normally run in the early morning, most folks hadn't had them on. The run was really nice (6.3 miles @ 7:59 mpm) and there were a fair number of homes that were lit up.

What I didn't know, until watching the news this morning, was what had been going on along my running route during the day on Saturday. There was an apparently rabid fox that had attacked 4 people before being killed. The report from one of the local TV stations is here. It attacked at at least 3 different spots along or very close to my route. The final person attacked was one of the police officers who had responded to try to capture or kill the fox -- it ran up his pants leg before being shot. And, yes, the officer got the fox off his leg before it was shot! :)

Hmmmm. Maybe that's why I didn't see anybody else running last night. I had no idea that I was running from a fox!

Run well, y'all (and keep your eyes open),
Richmond, VA

25 December 2007

Advent Prayer

Though we haven't been able to do it consistently, Linda (my wife) and I have used an Advent wreath and Advent devotions as we've prepared for Christmas this year. This has been our tradition for 25+ years. Each week has had a separate theme -- Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. Sunday, as I sat in the worship service celebrating the birth of Christ, I was struck with the thought that the themes of Advent speak to the people of Africa, the people we have served for the the past 21 1/2 years. Christ is:

HOPE for those without hope -- like those dying of AIDS who have no hope in this life and those who live in fear of life after death because they have no sure hope except to hope that their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds.

JOY for those who have nothing material that can give them joy -- I have had 21 years of amazement at how joyful poverty-stricken African believers can be.

PEACE for those who have endured civil war and who continue to try to carry on normal life in the midst of rebel activity.

LOVE for those who have no person who shows them love -- those like AIDS orphans and street kids.

We have had the awesome privilege to be ambassadors of the one who is all of these things for Africans, Jesus the Christ ...

... the hope of glory.
... for whose birth the angels rejoiced.
... who is the Prince of Peace
... who is love.

Those same themes apply to each of us, though most who read this blog have very different circumstances. Still, many live without hope or joy or peace or love. Christ provides all of those -- He reaches out to each one of us in our need; He knows our needs and cares about them.

As you wake up to Christmas Day today, it's my prayer that you will experience in your life the Christ for whom this day is named. I hope that you will realize the grace of Christ in your own live today as He is hope, joy, peace and love for you.

As these thoughts went through my mind in the service on Sunday, we sang the Christmas carol, Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus:

Come, though long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear Desire of every nation;
Joy of every longing heart.

That is my prayer for you this Christmas Day. Merry Christmas!

Run well, y'all,

19 December 2007

Another 100 Miles Traveled

This morning, I passed 1400 miles for the year. Finished today's run at 1402.58. The 1300 mark took me 17 days (23-Nov-07); this 100 miles took 26 days -- just an interesting (to me) observation.

Today I didn't have a particular time to be "at work" so I got in my longish run of the week -- 8.5 miles. I had intended to run about 8:15-8:30 mpm but didn't keep close tabs on the mile splits. I was surprised to see a 7:57 mpm average when I ran the numbers. OK, I messed up running the numbers. Still wasn't a bad run and was still faster than I had planned but it was 8:01 mpm average.

Next week could be a rough week for running. Not just Christmas Day and all the food but we're traveling to see family in Georgia (Hartwell) and South Carolina (Greenville). I've not run in Hartwell so don't know what I'm up against. Anybody reading this who will be in those areas and wants to run together? Let me know.

Run well, y'all,
Richmond, VA

11 December 2007

Christmas Lights Run #2

Tonight's Christmas Lights run was really nice. Because I wanted to try to take some pictures, I decided to run in the middle pack, figuring I could slow down to take some pictures and then catch back up. Slowing down and catching up worked but the picture taking was pretty much a bust as you can see from the picture on the right.

We started and ended at Runner Bill Sports.
The lights were pretty -- you can get a general idea from the pictures.

Brooks Running donated some running stuff and my name was drawn for a shirt -- a Brooks Nightlife Podium Half-zip. That was pretty nice.

The first 3 miles were pretty leisurely but I picked it up for the last 2 -- we were past the lights and just heading "home". Ended up passing the lead group and finishing the 5.3 miles in 46:17.

This Christmas, reduce your carbon footprint by replacing a Christmas lights drive with a run. You'll enjoy it and be earth-friendly at the same time.

Run well, y'all,
Richmond, VA

10 December 2007

Results Are In!

The results from the 1st 8 on the 8th virtual run are in and I'm officially a Breakneck Brother!. The race director tells me I'm entitled to use that title wherever I want.

Next on my calendar is my second Christmas Lights Run of 2007 -- tomorrow night (Tuesday) starting at Runner Bill Sports in Midlothian. 5.3 miles of fun.

Run well, y'all,

09 December 2007

Slip Slidin' Away

(With apologies to Paul Simon). This is in honor of the blogging runners who ran the 8 on the 8th race in the snow, ice, and freezing rain -- that group includes the following and probably some others who haven't posted their results, yet:

Amy at Runners' Lounge
Amy (in Belgium)

When I saw this, I thought of you all:

Run (or slide) well, y'all,

08 December 2007

8 on the 8th Virtual Race Results

Non-Runner Nancy pulled together a virtual race for this weekend, 8 on the 8th. The weather in Richmond was perfect. I headed out at 8 am with an overcast sky, 43°, and 75% humidity -- it was about 46° when I finished.

My goal pace for the race was 7:45-8:00 mpm but I ended up doing 7:42.64 mpm. I ran in Short Pump. Here are my splits

1st mile - 8:06.13
2nd mile - 7:38.13
3rd mile - 8:16.14
4th mile - 7:53.65
5th mile - 7:45.43
6th mile - 7:10.85 (not quite sure how in the world I did this)
7th mile - 7:33.58
8th mile - 7:17
Last 0.2 - 1:34.6
8.202 miles - 1:03:15.48

I'm looking forward to seeing how everybody else did.

Here's hoping everybody else has a good run.

Run well, y'all,

06 December 2007

Christmas Lights Run #1

One of the local running stores, Runner Bill Sports, sponsors a Christmas Lights run -- about 5.3 miles through the surrounding neighbourhoods to see the lights. It's a cool twist on riding around to look at Christmas decorations. It's nice to run with a group of people in a new place (for me). Tonight was the 2nd time I've done this run. I'm planning to do this run again on Tuesday (11 December) -- I may try to take a camera and post a few pictures. If any readers are in Richmond, join me at Runner Bill Sports.

By the way, I'm running a virtual 8-mile race on Saturday: 8 on the 8th. This was non-runner Nancy's idea and is a great way to build a virtual community. Check the race forum for details -- no cost, just fun; no set start time, so you can sleep late; and if you can't run on the 8th, run on the 7th or the 9th.

Run well, y'all,