19 March 2022

Change of Plan

I would recommend the Run Coach training app for any person taking a serious approach to running a marathon. For me it was simply too aggressive, with goals that were of no interest to me. So I switched back to running with Hal. For my first two marathons, I used a program that came from a book called Four Months to a Four-hour Marathon. That actually worked quite well for me. When Pat and I trained for the 2020 BSIM, we used the app from Hal Higdon and it also worked really well for us. 

Following Pat's lead, and since I was already three weeks behind in my training, the change of plan has served me well. I will come to the long runs at the appropriate time, making up time by missing just one scaled-back distance run. This weekend I will run either 17 or 18 miles and two weeks from this weekend will run 20. If I do the prescribed 18 miles, next weekend will be a shorter 14-mile run; I may run only 17 and then do 18 the following week. 

Another change of plan for me, and not a welcome one, is that I will end up training for this marathon without putting in miles at the Morton Arboretum. I have enjoyed longer runs with a fair amount of terrain at the Morton in previous training seasons; but that just hasn't been in the cards this year. Instead, by tapping into my cycling routes, I've been able to take in more hills without the extra drive to get over to the arboretum.

We're 36 days from the Big Sur International Marathon, and hopeful for a decent showing. Patrick will run 18 miles this weekend in Lyon, France, while I explore parts of Winfield, Illinois. Two weeks ago he ran 16 miles in Central Park, New York; he clearly is having the better training season!

Stay tuned for one more announcement about the nature and purpose of this run!

26 February 2022


 "Let's go, let's go, L.E.T.S.G.O"

"Go to dark Gethsemane, ye who feel the tempter's power"

"Njengabhadi libhadula" (Psalm 42 in Xhosa)

Just 3 of the ear worms that began recent morning runs. The old high school cheer finally had to be forcefully pushed away by some other song or idea. The others served me well enough that I was glad to have them come and go throughout the workout. Often I just find myself counting--breaths, strides, whatever.

My friend Neal Patel posted on Instagram some time ago, "If you're walking in the woods with headphones on, you're doing it wrong." [or something close to that] That's show I feel about running and cycling. Your results may vary, but I want to hear my surroundings; on the road for safety, on paths for nature. Not to mention the tumble of music that is  always in my head. (voices? let's not go there)

So, even on a sunny day, my thoughts might be gray and white and cloudy; without borders or boundaries.They may echo and swell, from Tolstoy to Tinkerbell. [thank you Paul Simon]. And maybe that's what I like about long runs, and longer bike rides.

06 February 2022

One month behind

This morning's long run was meant to be 12 - 13 miles. I pushed it to six, my first "long" run since breaking my wrist a month ago. I am confident (delusional?) that I will be able to catch up to Pat King's distances in time to train together on longer runs in March and  April. 

If the cast comes off on Friday, I'll be very happy. If not, all bets are off and I may have to face reality and re-calibrate my expectations for April 24.

But, golly, I do like running in winter!

29 January 2022

Look Doc, no hands

Ignoring doctor's orders, I got back on my stationery bike one week after getting my cast. I have slowly built up to an hour, without holding on to the handlebars. It's a bit awkward, but the payoff is not going stir crazy.

Meanwhile, I am walking as often as I can; longer walks than usual to try to compensate for the running.

My followup visit is in 2 weeks, by which time I hope to be (safely) running short distances. I have a lot of miles to make up if I'm going to finish the Big Sur in just 3 months!

15 January 2022

Cast of 1, cast of thousands

 One thing I particularly like about BSIM is that it is a small-ish race. In the low thousands rather than the ten-thousands. As a borderline agoraphobic introvert, I rather embrace the reality that there aren't crowds lining the 26.2-mile course. (As a musician I completely embrace the musical acts that appear at every mile!)

Indeed, except for the occasional long run with my marathon co-conspirators (this year it's son Dr, Pat), I prefer to run alone. A cast of one, without earbuds . . . just the music of nature, the music in my soul, and the voices in my head :~)

All that, however is set aside for three more weeks, as my one-man run has taken on a new cast member:

This ungainly fellow constantly reminds me that my running YakTrax were just inside the door while I was falling in the driveway, whilst salting early Monday morning. For 4 weeks he will be nagging me--until the cast comes off and I get a brace. 

Until then, I am off of the bike too (even indoors, even without using my left hand) . . . until I break the rule and begin to spin after 2 weeks. Meanwhile, it's careful walks, and jigsaw puzzling.




05 January 2022


I am not a gear-head . . . with any aspect of my life. I know what make and model my bikes and trombones are, but have to look up many of their constituent details. (Which Shimano gear set? I dunno.) (What is the diameter of my bore or mouthpiece? Beats me.)

Running is much easier that way. At least for me. When I first ran the Big Sur Marathon (2010) I tried on a lot of shoes, asked a lot of questions, and bought a pair of Brooks--the Glycerin model as it turns out. The following year, running BSIM again, I bought Brooks/Ghost 2. Not without trying on other brands, and looking at more reviews; but I was already satisfied with the Brooks brand. For 2020 I bought that year's Ghost model, 12. And yesterday. in a trip that took me all of 20 minutes to and from my house, I bought the Ghost 14. (I'm pretty sure that if I ran annually, I would have all the numbers between 2 and 14!)

I don't get paid to support Brooks; and they probably couldn't care less that I personally like this shoe. But anyway, here are all my marathon shoes . . . yes, I still have and use them all. One pair is now for lawn work, another for walking only. The 2020 shoes are still good for short runs. By March I will only be running in my Ghost 14s.

I learned in 2010 how to dress for winter training. The only thing I have (finally) added is a drawer full of merino wool socks.

And finally, this year's training app is RunCoach. So far, so good! I know I would benefit from the professional coaching they provide, but I'm really too cheap for that, and in any case I'm not trying to prove or win anything. Here's a look at my training calendar for this week.

The Big Sur International Marathon is scheduled for April 24, 2022. Here's hoping!

31 December 2021

Again with the running?

"What exactly is up with you? What do you hope to prove? Accomplish? 

Isn't cycling enough to satisfy you?"

Oh, you may ask any number of probing (or accusing) questions, but I'll give you the same reply: "What we do for love."

2020 was to be my (likely) final season of occasional purposeful running. Son Dr. Pat asked me to run the Big Sur Marathon with him. Like every other race beginning that March, the BSIM was postponed, rescheduled, and ultimately cancelled. And not brought back in 2021. When we were offered spots for 2022, before open registration, we conferred and decided we'd try again. 

So here we are again, beginning winter training for an April marathon. BSIM is the only marathon I have run (twice officially, and in 2020 solo and flatly on the Illinois Prairie Path); it is the only marathon I am interested in running. And--unless son Andrew asks me to run with him, this will be my final time. (Note to son Andrew: probably should do this soon if at all! Lucky for me, Andrew is not currently a runner.) 

Pat and I managed a 3-day bike camping trip in the summer. (About which, more anon in this series.) Now with him no longer in Chicago, our shared long runs will be harder to work out. But we'll figure that out.

Meanwhile, for all my preference for the bike--and with a banner year for outdoor miles under my spandex--there's no denying that I do actually like running, I'm actually pretty good at it, and God willing I will record another BSIM at 66  years of age. Then it's back to racking up the road and trail miles, and entering my "golden years" intending to get in more miles each year. 

This is as good a time as any to relaunch "Awesome Adventures" to track the various adventures that await in 2022: running, cycling, travel, and the greatest adventure of my life--marriage to Karen.