Running to music – why don’t I do it?

I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day. She is also an avid runner, and at some point the conversation came around to music. “What songs do you like to run to?” she asked me.

“Actually, I never run to music,” I replied.

She stared at me, aghast. It was as if I had just told her that I was an alien being from the planet Glorrtaxx and was trying to fondle her with the tendril of ectoplasm extruding from my forehead.

After she had composed herself, she asked incredulously, “Why not?”

And actually, I had to think about this for a second. Because I love music. I had a 600 strong CD collection before CDs were rendered passé by streaming. I have thousands of mp3s. I have Spotify on constantly in my office. So indeed, why not?

There are a few reasons, as it turns out.

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I am not this guy.

When I first started running again, I tried to run with music, and I found that it really screwed up my running rhythm. Basically, I was constantly trying to run with the beat, because my legs were being jerks and weren’t doing what I was telling them to. So, I would slow down for the songs with a slow beat, and speed up if the BPM did. Now, apparently this is pretty normal, and I guess it’s OK if you’re doing fartlek or something, but it was annoying when I was trying to run at a steady pace. And the damn earbuds kept slipping out because I’m too much of a cheap bastard to buy ones designed for running.

Also, I kind of like to hear what’s going on around me for reasons I detailed in my last post (keeps the octogenarian grandmas and killer clowns from sneaking up on me).

Finally, running has become sort of a zen activity for me, and I like the fact that my mind can go nowhere while I’m focusing on my breath, and music would probably disrupt that for me.

Now, I’m the type of guy who likes to look at an idea from different angles rather than dismiss it outright, so I did try to come up with some solutions:

 

1. Put together a playlist. It turns out there are some websites out there that will tell you what the BPM of various songs are so that you can put a playlist together, including

http://jog.fm (what was it I said about calling us joggers?)
http://jogtunes.com (seriously. stop it.)
http://goingjogwild.com (ok – i admit i made that one up.)
http://shape.com
http://dailymile.com

et cetera.

I guess there’s a way you can do it with iTunes too, but whatever. I’ll leave that to the Apple nerds.

First problem with this – I have no idea what my stride rate is, and I’m waaaayy too lazy to measure it. It could be 200/minute for all I know. (It’s not.) Then, I found a blog post with a chart converting stride rate into speed, which made me wonder, how the hell do these people know how long my legs are? Did they sneak in and stick a tape measure in my crotch while I was asleep? That’s peculiar, and slightly disturbing.

I kid, of course, but after all, I could be built like Manute Bol, which would render the chart pretty invalid. (I’m not).

So I decided to take the chart on faith, and went to jog.fm to look at the playlist for 175 bpm, which supposedly corresponds to a 7:30 mile, my usual tempo running pace. The first three songs were “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson, “Come Over” by Kenny Chesney, and something called “Backroad Song” by someone named Granger Smith.

Ooooooookay. Country. Huh. Ummm, what else ya got, jog.fm?

Oh, there’s “Pictures of You” by the Cure. “Yellow”, by Coldplay? We’ll put that in the maybe pile. A bunch of songs from the cast of Glee, eh? Pass. Jimmy Eat World… ehhhh…..

Ok, screw this. It’s too damn complicated.

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Hmm. Seems about right.

2. Listen to music without a beat. This might seem a bit odd, but I do have some music that would qualify in this regard. An album I particularly like is called “And Their Refinement of the Decline“, by Austin-based Stars of the Lid. It’s this incredible collection of warm, droning tones that make you feel as if you’re floating in the womb or suspended in quince jelly heated to body temperature or something. Problem: I like to listen to it when I’m ready to go to sleep. Sleeping ≠ running, last time I checked. I have this sense that I’d either fall asleep and wander into the path of a meth-addled truck driver, or my legs would go all Pavlov’s dogs and jimmy all night while I was trying to sleep. Pass.

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Ha! If the shoe fits… oh god, another bad pun…

3. Listen to something meditative, like Gregorian Chants. Remember in the early 1990s, when Gregorian Chant CDs were a thing for about 3.4 seconds? Nah, neither do I.

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What the HELL do you mean we’re not getting royalty checks anymore, Brother Alfred???

4. Train myself to ignore the beat. I told you guys my legs were wankers, so this is out. I’d probably look like I was having some sort of seizure as I tried to do this, too. I don’t need the fire department rushing to my aid, so forget it.

I guess we’ll leave the headphones off, at least for now. Maybe I’ll make a list of good podcasts instead…

My Running Route, or, Cars and the Occasional Moron Who Drives Them

We are blessed in Cambridge with a pretty great trail system. It runs along the Grand and Speed Rivers which meet north of the city, and provides a nice little piece of parkland in a relatively urban landscape. There’s a surprising and constantly shifting variety of things for a runner to see along the way. For example, this weekend I ran past a raucous, roaring group of South Asian Canadians who had set up a cricket match in the middle of one of the baseball diamonds as a couple of guys fried up samosas and other street snacks nearby. At the extreme other end of the spectrum, there’s a guy around here who has a car which is an exact replica of the General Lee, and he likes to drive it at 10mph around and around the park sometimes. Which seems kind of weird for Canada, but I guess the Dukes were a cultural touchstone even up here. (Note: the owner resembles neither Bo nor Luke, but would fit right in with the Robertsons on Duck Dynasty. Not that I ever watch that show).

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Well, way down yonder in the land of… uh… pine trees?

I once had to stop dead in my tracks when I came around a bend and an obstinate deer was standing astride the trail. It didn’t even spook, just gave me a haughty look as if to say “I’m a miracle of nature, and you’re a ridiculous looking sweaty hairless ape in in a neon tank-top”, and flipped its tail at me as it sauntered away. Whatever. Stuck up prick. What’s worse, it was a doe, and my brain sang “Doe, a deer, a female deer” at me for the rest of the run.

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Yeah, we get it, you’re a cute woodsy animal. Bite me.

Then there was the time I came across a clown in full regalia walking towards me on the trail. Seriously. He was sauntering along, mellowly smoking a cigarette. He didn’t seem to have a machete or a chainsaw, so I tipped him an uneasy wave, and, no word of a lie, he HONKED HIS NOSE AT ME. (I spontaneously decided to do a bit of speedwork for the next couple of miles). I did feel better when I noted that there was a carnival setting up in Riverside Park along my route and that it seemingly wasn’t some random Pennywise clone wandering the forest.

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You know, I’m not buying the smile. You’re still creepy.

There’s all kinds of nature and other crap along the route as well, and the usual coterie of runners, and of course it’s always fun to give the biker-style two-fingers-down bro wave as I pass the dudes, and puff my chest out, speed up, and do my best impression of Ridiculously Photogenic Guy for the ladies. (Y’all do this shit too. Come on, admit it.)

So, the trail system is great, except for the brief period in spring when it floods because of the river overflowing. What’s not great is getting there.

See, Cambridge has grown from 85,000 people when we moved here in 1996 to 135,000 people. Which means the roads around here have turned into snarled traffic nightmares a lot of the time, since the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace. What’s worse, approximately 1/3 or so of Cambridge drivers are seemingly either assholes, drunk, on Quaaludes, or some combination thereof. Seriously – our region has some of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve driven in some very hairy places around the world.

Which is a problem, because I have to run on said roads to get to the trails. And it can raise the hackles a little bit, so to speak.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But, why don’t you just drive to the trails?” Well, aren’t you just the contrarian.  Frankly, it always seemed like a dirty cheat to me to drive somewhere in order to go running, when I could just run there and save the little bunny rabbits by keeping my polluting auto ensconced in the garage. And also, there’s the big puddle of sweat that invariably forms on the leather upholstery of my modestly priced chariot on the way home. Really, who wants that? It’s gross.

Thus, I end up running the gauntlet, if you’ll pardon the extremely poor play on words. Usually it’s fine. But I have almost been hit by cars on five separate occasions in the last year. It’s funny how it tends to usually be some skinny cretin in an Ed Hardy t-shirt driving a clapped out Honda Civic with a straight pipe that you can hear two counties away. But at least once it was an octogenarian grandma who missed me but proceeded to knock down a poor kid on a bike who was crossing the other way. My reaction to these rather unwanted incursions into my route varies; usually it just involves a shouted “watch it!” and a derisive shake of the head, but I’ve been known to react rather more, um, forcefully.

With the guy who shouted “Goddamn jogger!” at me, for example.

Just a note to you drivers who may read this and get pissed off at a runner one day for some reason – try calling the individual in question a jogger. Often, it will make them lose their shit. I believe my response was to call the guy a “fucking asshat”. I don’t usually like to do that, especially since escalating the situation is never good, and I might be at a disadvantage in a fight if the guy’s bigger than me and I’ve just run 12K. Although, at least in Canada people don’t carry 9mm handguns in their glove boxes which makes mouthing off slightly safer. In this case, and probably luckily for me, the dude wasn’t looking for a dustup and simply screeched his tires and drove away. Not one of my finer moments, to be sure.

I felt bad about unleashing the finger on the octogenarian grandma as well, after some reflection. But that’s another story.

Anyway, if you’re driving, please look both ways before turning a corner. Thus endeth the public service announcement for today.

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Facing down marathon training… again. And a happy 4th of July.

I’ve had to make a few changes to my running schedule lately. I had planned to do the Peach Bud 10K in Grimsby, ON, along the shores of beautiful Lake Ontario, on the 28th of June, but the University oh so helpfully scheduled a doctoral defense for the exact time and date of the race, and I had to attend, so… that was a no go. Then I thought I would do the Guelph Summer’s Night Classical 5K this Wednesday. It’s so called because they have members of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra playing at various points along the course. It turns out, though, that it’s gonna be 90+ degrees at race time. So, uh, nope. Although it would be interesting to see how well one can play the cello with heatstroke.

I ended up adding the Tannenbaum 10K in Toronto in December to the schedule instead. Some seriously fast runners in that one, so maybe it can spur me to a PR. I’ve also started thinking about next year, and which major events I’d like to shoot for. I have unfinished business at the Mercedes-Benz 10K in Oakville, which I couldn’t run last year because I was hurt. We also plan to be in Puerto Rico in March, so I’m definitely going to run the Puerto Rico Half Marathon, which is March 12th. All my other plans are kind of tentative, but assuming all goes well with the Hamilton Marathon this year, I’ll be looking at a fall marathon for next year too.

So, here we go. Back to marathon training. I’m feeling good about it this time though. I’ve worked my base up to 25 miles per week and will be starting to ramp up the distance in about six weeks. Gonna give myself lots of time and fix the mistakes I made in the last attempt. No running through injuries, no overly fast long runs, no exploding groins. Will be documenting as I go along. Should be an interesting time.

Finally, hope all my Canadian friends had a great Canada Day, and happy Independence Day to my American friends. May there be plenty of relaxing with family (and beer and barbecue if that’s your thing – it’s certainly mine).

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A Perfect Run.

If Heaven is a perfect run
through a sun-dappled wood

Motes and dandelion seeds whirling
through the air
One’s lungs a joyous bellows
roaring breath
in
and out

A breeze, softly stirring the emerald boughs
(but always at one’s back)
Feet, aloft,
on Mercury’s wings

If Heaven is a perfect run
through a sun-dappled wood,
well then

when the time comes
to lay down my head
I should not fear, or rage
or mourn a life thus past

But instead
only thrill

in anticipation
of the race to come

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2016 Race #4: Northwestern Lurie Cancer Survivors 5K and Walk, Chicago, IL

Date: June 5, 2016
Gun Time: Not measured
Chip Time: 20:09
Placing Overall: 2nd out of 443
Placing in Age Group: 1st out of 42 (M40-49)
Theme Song: Survivor“, Destiny’s Child (obviously.)

I wasn’t going to do a full on race report with this one. While a great event, the intent here was more to have fun rather than to intensely compete. I was in Chicago for a cancer conference I attend often, and I’ve started to look for races I can do when I travel for work. This one was kind of a no brainer, since the survival of cancer patients has been my raison d’etre, at least as far as work is concerned, for the last dozen years or so. It certainly made sense to celebrate the successes of the Lurie Cancer Center, even if they weren’t my successes personally.

I ah, kind of had a big night on Saturday though, having gone to Oriole Restaurant in the West Loop to indulge in their tasting menu with beverage pairings (which is amazing and if you are inclined to fine dining and in Chicago you have to check it out) and then a nightcap at Moneygun nearby, which does the best Pimm’s Cup I’ve ever had.

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The end result was that I woke up Sunday morning feeling, well, rather less than mint. For a minute I questioned whether I wanted to run at all. Nevertheless, I grabbed a coffee and croissant across the street from my hotel, and then warmed up by trotting down to Grant Park where the race was slated to start. I figured I’d take it easy and enjoy the course, which ran right along the waterfront past Buckingham Fountain and the Chicago Marina. The party was in full force when I got there, with a DJ, an emcee whipping up the crowd, and the survivors wearing purple shirts (and there were a LOT of purple shirts, which was a wonderful sight).

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The survivors gathered for a traditional photo after the walk.

There were some 3,000 folks gathered to do the walk, and around 500 to run the 5K, which was sold out. The opening ceremonies concluded with patient Hector Nunez and oncologist Mark Agulnik on stage talking about a marathon they ran together after Nunez’s life was saved by the team at Lurie after a diagnosis of head and neck cancer. It was a stirring moment and the patients I had seen over the years were certainly on my mind as we lined up in the corral for the start. Put into perspective, my piddly little hangover seemed awfully minor now. I resolved to give it my all right then and there (I doubt I could have turned off the competitive juices anyway).

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I’m in this picture. Somewhere.

So, I took off at a pretty fast pace at the gun, and moved into the front group of runners. The first few hundred yards was a slight downhill which traveled along Hutchison Field and then bent left toward the lake and through tunnels under Lakeshore Drive. We then turned north and ran along Lake Michigan. It occurred to me as I ran that I had now participated in races along the shores of four of the five Great Lakes (I will conquer you too, Superior. Someday. Not in winter though.)

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The race’s opening stretch.

Now, the funny thing is that I was passing people left and right, and as we moved onto the trail along the lake I actually surged into the lead. It didn’t feel like I was moving overly fast as I followed the guy on a bike that was acting as a pacer, but I guess I was, because I looked at the clock posted at the one mile mark and was astonished to see my split was 5:45.

Uh-oh, I thought.

There was no way I was going to be able to maintain a 5:45 pace, but I pushed on as hard as I could. By this time I had about a thirty yard lead over the rest of the pack. I did something I usually don’t do and took some water at the first aid station (it was hot that morning, and, well, hangover). So that enabled some other runners to catch up a bit (the girl at the station dropped the first cup as she was handing it to me and I could tell she felt bad – I told her not to worry). I was still leading as we reached the turnaround near the Marina and I started to head back south. By the start of mile 3 I was really feeling it and had slowed considerably. I thought of all those people I had known and helped treat for cancer over the years and tried to run for them. That old familiar burn in the quads and calves was asserting itself, and as I made the turn to go back under Lakeshore I was passed by another runner who kicked past me. I ground my teeth and pushed to stay with him, but the gap was widening.

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Apparently there were acrobats. But they were acrobating while I was running. So I didn’t see them.

I was out of gas, so victory was slipping away. I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone else pass me and given that I was going to treat this thing as a fun run, I was pretty much OK with second. I noted coming down the final stretch that a sub-20 wasn’t going to happen either (I told myself it was a sub-20 adjusted for hangover). I did manage to run my second fastest chip time ever (and presumably my fastest gun time too, since I started almost right on the line and it has to date has been 20:18 or something like that). Not a great tactical race, to be sure. I went out way too fast. But I was encouraged that I was still able to get close to 20 minutes and if I’d held back a bit at the start it might have happened.

After finishing I went and got some water, an apple and banana, and some pretzels, and went to sign the cancer survivors wall which had been set up. Trying to think of something pithy to say, I wrote the following:

“Surviving cancer is like running. When it gets really hard, you dig down deep and find the strength to go on.”

I think it summed up my sentiments nicely.

In the end, over $325,000 was raised for Lurie Cancer Center, and it truly was a celebration of life and living. And that’s the most important thing of all.

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2016 Race #3: Buffalo Half Marathon, Buffalo, NY

Date: May 29, 2016
Gun Time: 1:36:01
Chip Time: 1:35:46
Placing Overall: 88th out of 3838
Placing in Age Group: 6th out of 186 (M40-44)
Theme Song: One Beer“, MF Doom

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Let’s go, Buffalo!

Standing there on Saturday in downtown Buffalo in the 90 degree heat, facing the finish line, I will admit to having felt some trepidation.

It was the hottest May 28th on record in the city, and as I trooped up Franklin Street toward the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to get my race kit with my septuagenarian father, I was thanking my lucky stars that the race organizers had the wherewithal to start the race at 6:30 in the morning when the heat would be less of a factor. My dad solemnly reminded me that complaining about things being too hot would not be tolerated, at least not by him.

“Would you be saying the same thing on a grey, depressing January day?” he asked pointedly. “I think not.”

He was, of course, entirely correct.

The expo itself was smallish in comparison to the ones I’d been to in Toronto and Cleveland, but had everything you would expect, including lots of gear for sale and plenty of other races being advertised. It was pretty much a breeze to pick up my packet, which included a smart, lightweight navy quarter-zip pullover. My dad was impressed with the whole scene, not being a runner himself and never having attended an event like this, although he did mutter a bit about the preponderance of suspiciously fit looking people hanging around the place.

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The expo, with the usual accoutrements.

We lingered a while in the sweet, sweet air conditioning, not really wanting to go outside and face the fierce heat and the walk to the hotel, but eventually we capitulated and made our way back, noting the gracious layout of Niagara Square and the hulking, Art Deco masterpiece that is Buffalo City Hall. Buffalo’s got some great architecture, including loads of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, but we unfortunately were here for a pretty quick trip and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to show my father around.

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The iconic Buffalo City Hall.

We did pick a great place for a pre-race meal though – Sun Cuisines is on Niagara Street just off the Thruway north of downtown, and is one of the best Burmese restaurants in Eastern North America. Buffalo has a surprisingly large Burmese community, and since my dad had just been part of a group that successfully brought a Burmese refugee family to Canada, he was keen to go. We gorged on Burmese tea leaf salad, samosas, beef curry and rice, and all of it was fantastic. My father, ever the charmer, talked his way into pictures with the staff and we had a conversation with the ladies at the table next to us about what to eat (one of them was a local elementary school principal, and given my dad taught sixth grade for 28 years they had lots to talk about).

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Sun Restaurant’s freaking off the hook beef curry.

Carbo loaded, we got back to the hotel just as the heavens opened up and an impressive deluge spattered the city. I made preparations and hit the hay, knowing that I’d have to be up early in the morning despite the hotel being a short walk from the start line (my dad had no delusions about being there to see me start the race and said he’d catch me at the finish).

The next morning dawned with clear skies, and temps were in the high 60s as I walked up Delaware to the starting corral. The race organizers had made it a point in the lead up to the race to issue warnings about the impending heat and implore everyone to hydrate properly, slow down, and be safe. This came with a comprehensive race plan to open fire hydrants along the course, have an additional 6000 lbs of ice on hand, and provide mobile trucks with bottled water, additional EMS and nursing staff on the course, and additional ambulances stationed nearby. In other words, we were going to be well looked after.

I felt absolutely tip top, and was itching for the start of this one. My plan was to basically find the 1:35 pacer and stick with him for as long as I possibly could in an effort to get that PR. The weather seemed to be playing ball and I felt like I could get off the course before the heat really became a factor. I soon found the pacer and after the anthems and some fireworks from the start gate, the gun went and we surged out of the corral.

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So the race kinda went like this:

First 5K – 21:42 at split

The race for this section took us up Delaware Avenue, around Gates Circle, and briefly into Delaware Park where there was a turnaround. There was a surprising number of people out to cheer the runners on despite the early hour. I ran right beside the 1:35 pacer for a pretty good chunk of this part of the race, but, just like in Toronto, I ended up getting ahead of him when he stopped for hydration at the aid station at Mile 2 and I didn’t. I seem to be making a habit of losing pacers. Anyway, I felt great, but I was trying to hold something back so that I didn’t get completely zonked before the end of the race. As you can see from the split, I was moving, probably faster than I needed to be. There was a bit of a gentle uphill for part of this but mostly it was pretty flat.

Second 5K – 44:14 at split

I mean, geez. This split was faster than the one I did in Toronto, and I was aiming for it to be slower. It didn’t hurt that it felt like the whole section, which was largely run along Linwood Avenue back downtown, was downhill. Also, Buffalo people are great. Loads of encouragement, people handing out Swedish Fish, a random dude in a black bathrobe standing in his driveway and hollering exhortations at us as we went by, a sign that said “If Trump Can Run So Can You”, and lots of other joys along the way. I started hitting every station for hydration from this point as it had started to get a little warm and the sun was beginning to beat down on us. As we reached the 10K split, which was basically right beside where the start line had been, the relay runners were handing off, and I was pretty pleased that I hadn’t yet started envying the ones who were done running.

Third 5K – 1:07:07 at split

This is where things started to get a little tough, though not as early as they did when I ran Toronto. The course bent toward Lake Erie along Prospect Avenue and through some of the urban neighborhoods. Did I mention Buffalo people were awesome? Continued great support, and at one point a guy was standing out in front of his house with a hose for the sole purpose of misting the runners with cool water. We went over a slight rise as we crossed the bridge over the I-190 and turned south along the lake shore. There was a bit of a pickup in the wind here off the water, but not much, and I basically just drafted off people as we headed into La Salle Park. It was at this point around mile 9 that I really started to tire. I was having no problem from a cardio perspective keeping the pace, but my legs were laboring a little bit. Interestingly, the 1:35 pace group caught up to me at this point, and I heard the pacer telling the other runners he was maxed out and wasn’t going to be able to continue holding it, and he ended up dropping off (I talked to him about it after the race and he was pretty bummed). I resolved that I wasn’t going to let this group run away from me and willed the legs to keep going.

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Getting a bit tired here. Still hanging on.

Fourth 5K – 1:30:26 at split

Gut check time. The course took us out the spit of land along the Erie Marina and back before bending west back into downtown. You know what I was thinking about, as the heat and humidity were building and my quads and hamstrings were screaming at me to stop? Beer. That’s what. Specifically, that Mile 27 beer brewed just for this race, a big glass of which was waiting for me at the finish. I thought about how cold it would be. How it would hit my throat like a blessing. How beautiful and hoppy it would be, and how it would fill my stomach with its wondrous goodness. It called to me like a shining amber beacon. At the Mile 10 aid station they had towels saturated with icy water which helped revive me, at least for a bit. Miles 11 and 12 seemed to take forever, as those of you who have toughed out those last miles can appreciate, but as soon as I hit the 20K split and saw my time, I knew I had a PR in the bag, and damn if it didn’t feel awesome.

The home stretch – 1:36:01

I was completely gassed by this point, and was just giving it every ounce I had left. I reached the point with a couple of hundred yards to go where the marathoners split off from the half, and looked around for my dad, but didn’t see him (as it turned out, he didn’t see me either and we ended up meeting back at the hotel). I could hear footsteps coming up behind me and thought, no fucking way am I letting anyone beat me to this goddamn finish line. With all the strength I had left I broke into a sprint and crossed the line right at the 1:36 mark. On wobbly legs I wandered over to where the medals were being handed out, and lo and behold, another surprise – it was players from the Buffalo Bills doing it, which was extremely cool (linebacker Randell Johnson gave me mine and he is a VERY big man).

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Powering down the stretch.

So, I went inside and got that beer. And it was damn fine. There were lots of other goodies on offer as well – tons of fruit, Clif Bars, bagels, Dunkin Donuts coffee, a pretty good spread all in all. I loved this race, and not just because I smoked my PR by 2 minutes. It might be my favorite one I’ve ever done, and it’s all down to the people and volunteers who made it happen. Way to go, Buffalo. I will be back.

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Four days to Buffalo, and things are looking… hot.

It seems like all my bitching about the weather has come back to bite me a little bit.

ME: God this cold weather sucks! Screw this cold blah blah blah bling blam blah. (I’m paraphrasing myself.)

WEATHER GODS: Oh yeah, buddy? Here’s your cold weather. How do you like record highs for Memorial Day Weekend in Buffalo? Hah? Dick.

ME: Ah, shit.

It’s supposed to be 90 in Buffalo on Saturday, plus the humidity, so the heat index will be like 2000 degrees. Luckily I’m not running Saturday, but even Sunday morning it’s gonna start at 70 with high humidity and get warmer. Got an email from the organizers today urging hydration and, quote, “[preparing] mentally by understanding that this may not be a PR day”.

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I think I’m in the 39% group. At least I hope so.

Ah the vagaries of Great Lakes weather. Yes I know, I know, OK. I’m done bitching about it. Sorry.

I am running the half, and at least will be off the course before 8:30 AM, so that’s a plus. And, also, Buffalo Marathon has its own beer! Brewed by Flying Bison Brewery, and called Mile 27. (It will be mile 14 for me, but hey, that’s OK. Guess I’ll just have to have two of them).

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A marathon with its own beer. I love you, Buffalo.

In other news, I found out something else I shouldn’t do before a big race. Took B to the batting cages a couple of days ago and we got one of those magic tokens that spit never ending pitches out at you. My rib cage is killing me. Note to self – don’t do athletic stuff you don’t normally do prior to a half.

Anyway, still gunning for that PR, but I don’t know what will happen. Might have to wait till my half in the fall. Or, maybe I’ll show the weather gods who’s boss. At least until next time.