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Rebuilding the Run

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Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:53 pm

So where did we leave off last time we talked?  Oh yeah, I was experimenting with this Triathlon thing.  But now it is time to rebuild the Run!  And what perfect timing for the V-team Facebook page to get going, a reminder of old friends and a nudge to get back over here.

Well, let’s see what’s happened since then.  I’ve got a second granddaughter that has stolen my heart.  I continued down the Tri path and have done 3 sprints, 3 Olympic distance, a half Ironman and a full Ironman-distance event.  Keeping with my history, there were a number of bumps along the way including broken digits (hands and feet), shingles the week of an event and a brain tumor (resolved successfully!).  Learned a few lessons about how to train through adversity and hopefully a few about life.

The IM distance race was a highlight and a great experience – at least in the swim and on the bike – and I finished in 13h6m.  It turned out to be one of those HOT days where temps got up into the 90’s, and with my run starting at about 2 pm, you can imagine how much fun that was.  I had, I thought, prepared myself for it mentally and made sure to slow down, take advantage of every aid station for water and ice and walk the hills as needed.  At each aid station I filled my carry bottle with ice and water, dumped a cup of ice down the front and back of my singlet (had a race belt on that trapped it), ice under the hat occasionally, and a cup or two of water down the gullet. I've never been in a race where I've seen pretty much everyone walking the hills and many the flats, but that was the case.  I came over one hill and felt like I was in a zombie movie. I had at least 20 people shuffling up the hill, open-mouthed, glassy-eyed toward me, all breathing heavily. There were two over on the side, bent over puking.  At the bottom of the hill were the paramedics tending to a guy lying off the side of the road.  Nothing really that provided a lot of encouragement, but at least I was in good company in the suffering.

During my first lap at about the halfway point a guy on a bike comes up behind me and says, "Just to let you know, there's a runner coming up." I'm thinking, perhaps a little annoyed as I was not in the best frame of mind, "Dude, there are runners everywhere here, what's the big deal?"  Well as it turns out it was the race leader on his last lap. It took him at least 5 minutes to catch up with me and he was running just slightly faster than my pace, and he was hurting badly. He got about 25 yards ahead of me and stopped, bent over hands on knees and stayed that way until after I passed him. He passed me again about 5 minutes later, made the turnaround and headed back and he was not looking good. I caught up with him about 4 miles later as he had pulled himself from the race with only 2 miles to go.  I made the mistake of letting that get into my head and slowed down even more, walked too much, etc. such that I did not make my goal of sub-13 hours.  Learned (hopefully) some good lessons that I’ll use when I come back for a rematch!

One really bright spot is that I found a training partner.  She helps me on the swim, I help her on the bike, and we are just about evenly matched for the run.  Now that our Tri season is done, we are focusing on the run and are running at CIM in December, both going for a BQ performance.  We’ve adopted a training plan that is much more aggressive than the Higdon ones I’ve used in the past, but I’ve got a MUCH deeper training base now so hoping it goes well.  This week was a 50-mile week and went really well.  In past training it has all be LHR to build up a deeper aerobic base, but with all the IM tri training that is pretty much established.  As a result, there’s speedwork in this plan, and that is a new concept to me, but makes it more interesting and fun.

So, off we go on this next adventure.  Here’s hoping it is a smooth ride!
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:22 pm

Sounds like a brutal IM...  Especially for a first go at the distance.

CIM is a good, fast course.  Make sure your race-specific training includes lots of small rollers.  Hopefully the weather is kinder this year than the last two.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:35 pm

Nice to have you back, Tom, congrats on the IM - that sounds like a brutal day, and good luck with the refocus on the running.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mark B on Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:17 pm

He's back! Woot!

Congrats on all the accomplishments of the past couple of years, Tom. You've done very well.

I know the CIM course well. You'll like it, but don't expect to run a perfectly even pace throughout: what seems to work best is to slow slightly on the uphills and push the pace on the downhills.

Can't wait to see how it goes!
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:43 pm

Glad to be back!  Mike, thanks for the advice on the rollers.  I'll need to take a car ride to get to those and have to find a good set, but I know the value of it.  My first marathon was Big Sur and while the big hill, Hurricane Point, was the major concern in training, it was the miles of rollers that followed that really wore me down.  My current plan (subject to multiple changes between now and then) is to take advantage of the pace groups they offer.  My BQ standard is 3:40, so I'm planning on joining up with the 3:35 group to build in a little cushion and, if all goes well, add a little of my own by adding in a negative split starting somewhere in the back half.  That worked for me in Eugene (Mark, thanks again for reining me back in those first few miles!) so I'm hoping I can pull it off again at CIM.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mark B on Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:36 am

Tom H wrote:Glad to be back!  Mike, thanks for the advice on the rollers.  I'll need to take a car ride to get to those and have to find a good set, but I know the value of it.  My first marathon was Big Sur and while the big hill, Hurricane Point, was the major concern in training, it was the miles of rollers that followed that really wore me down.  My current plan (subject to multiple changes between now and then) is to take advantage of the pace groups they offer.  My BQ standard is 3:40, so I'm planning on joining up with the 3:35 group to build in a little cushion and, if all goes well, add a little of my own by adding in a negative split starting somewhere in the back half.  That worked for me in Eugene (Mark, thanks again for reining me back in those first few miles!) so I'm hoping I can pull it off again at CIM.

CIM's pace group leaders are fantastic. Many of them are ultramarathon legends, so 26.22 is nothing to them. It seems to make it easy for them to keep their team on track on all the ups and downs in the first half of the course.

Glad I could be of assistance at Eugene, Tom. Wish I could be there for CIM. It's my favorite.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:39 pm

Today was a welcome rest day after a high mileage week of 51 with a 20 mile LSD run.  The right hip has been experiencing a burning sensation with sudden torsional movement and I could feel the telltale bumps of scar tissue there, so went to my Graston guy today and he nuked it with first a small medieval tool then followed up with one that for all the world that looked like the tool they use to clean the inside of hides before hanging them to dry.  Hoping that addresses the issue.

Also did my third volunteer stint with the Mythbusters show today as a volunteer guinea pig.  Can't discuss the specifics of today but previously I got to be sprayed with E Coli (a neutered version) for an episode to see which is more sanitary, hand towels or an electric hand dryer and in another episode drive a car around in circles insanely close to the vehicle in front of me to test how fast and far someone braking travels back to subsequent cars.  Always interesting stuff and today was, for me the best yet.  I usually get a bit of advance warning when the episode is going to air, and I'll try to remember to post it.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Jim Lentz on Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:56 am

Great job on the IM!
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:38 pm

Saw your FB post re: Mythbusters.  Please do tell when you find out the air date!  Love that show.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:26 am

Thanks Jim!  And Mike, I'll be sure to get word out. Sometimes they let me know a week in advance, sometimes the day it airs.   

So got a call from my son in law at 6:30 this morning saying his child care provider had come down with the flu and could I possibly babysit my 6-month old granddaughter. I said yes (of course) and jumped in the car for the hour long drive to their house. Fortunately I got a break on traffic and was able to cruise up with no stops.  On the way I was trying to figure out how I was going to get my run in today and kinda came to the conclusion it was likely not going to happen.  So decided the little girl was going to get some long walks during the day. Ended up with 5 miles of stroller pushing. 

I wasn't so lucky traffic-wise when I left at about 6:30 pm. There had been a couple of accidents so I-680 was a mess.  I am the first to admit I don't do well in traffic and by the time I got home I was a mess of tight muscles with a little bit of steam coming out from under the collar. Decided the best action was to put on my shoes and headlamp and go for a run. Did a quick 4 miles and felt a lot better.  

When I got back home, I tried to set up a custom workout for my Garmin, but the "New and Improved" Garmin Express will not let me download workouts now. Crap.   Tomorrow's run is a pyramid starting at 1 minute at 10k pace followed by a 2 minute recovery followed by 2 minutes at a 10k pace followed by a 2 minute recovery repeating the pattern up to 6 minutes then back down to 1 minute of 10k pace.  Not an easy one to do manually, especially in the dark.   Yup, I've got babysitting duty again tomorrow and have to have my run done, shower and be sweet smelling in time for a 6:30 departure.  I may try to still do it but may have to default to a tempo or race pace run instead.  I'll decide once I'm out there in the dark being distracted by all the pairs of eyes glowing in the reflected headlamp beam.  Who said running wasn't an adventure?
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:38 am

Babysitting continues, looks like until Thursday.  So went out running in the pre-dawn hours today on the MUP that runs behind my house and down to San Francisco Bay.  Today was 8 miles which took me most of the way to the bay.  The path is paved, but intrusive tree roots have made their presence knows with both minor and serious raised areas which, as I found today, are difficult to see with headlamp illumination.  This, along with Garmin's unwillingness to download my workout, defined my run as an easier one.  All mile splits were in the 8:20's except the first which was a warm up and the 4th which, well, had a little excitement.  Average HR was 141 which puts it at zone 1.8, so turned out to be a LHR run - which I did not expect running in the 8:20's.  I guess training does occasionally show there is a benefit.

Back to mile 4.  All during the run I saw pairs of glowing eyes - green, yellow, orange.  Lots of feral cats, some deer, raccoons and something that looked like a weasel or otter.  But in mile 4 I saw some bright yellow eyes glaring at me from just off the edge of the path about 100 yards up.  As I got closer, I could see they were at least a foot off the ground, so it was something big.  I slowed as I got closer and could just make out the body shape as it leapt off into the weeds bordering the running surface.  It didn't go more than 20 feet when it stopped and looked back.  I stopped and kept my light on it and determined it was a bobcat.  I scraped my feet on the path and it turned and sped down the hill until it was at least 150 feet away.  I've got to admit I was a little anxious as we've had some recent mountain lion/human issues across the bay.  Once he was down the hill I took a couple of running steps while still keeping him illuminated, then swung my head back to the front - only to see about 15 feet in front of me the rear end of a very large skunk with tail raised high!  I skidded to a halt and said out loud, "Nobody make any sudden moves, you go your way and I'll go mine."  He glanced back at me and slowly, but with tail still raised, sauntered off the path and down into the rocks on the opposite side of the trail to which the bobcat had fled.  This could have turned out really ugly if I'd kept my light on the bobcat for a few more steps.  Whew!  I'm guessing the bobcat was looking at this guy as a potential meal when I came on the scene.  Well, this was an out and back run, so I got to mile 4 and turned around, and guess which little black and white friend was on the trail when I got back to that point.  We had a similar discussion with similar results, so all's well that ends well.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mark B on Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:09 pm

Dang, Tom! I want to run with you! That sort of adventure makes getting up early totally worth it.

(Still trying to figure out my "creature from the black lagoon" incident years go...)

Glad you didn't need a tomato juice rinse after that last run, though. What a Face
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:05 pm

Mark, you've certainly had your share of adventures in and with nature as well. It is amazing how when you are out there alone and in the dark the mind seems to amplify everything. Guess that's just survival instinct - assume the worst until otherwise proven, get the engine revved and ready to go.  I just have to remember to look where I'm going.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:28 pm

Today was 17 with 6 @ MP.  Unlike my run on Wednesday, HR was not spectacular on this one but I'm blaming it on 3 days of babysitting for what it is worth.  Ran down the creek trail to SF bay and then ran the levees there.  Started out before the sun was shining but when it came up, the temp started to rise rapidly (will be 94 today).  I really noticed it on the levee as there was not a breath of air moving and the water in the salt evaporation ponds was pure glass.  So, I had the sun beating down from above and then the unbroken reflection coming up from the water below.  It was one of those clear days such that when running the Levee I could see 3 of the bridges crossing the bay (Dunbarton, San Mateo, Bay Bridge) as well as the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.  Not a bad way to get the day started.  Now, breakfast is sounding pretty good!

Hmmm.  Just recalculated my MP and it turns out I ran this one about 12 seconds/mile too fast (8:00 vs 8:12). 12 seconds doesn't sound like much to the uninitiated, but we all know that when pushing it, that can be significant! Guess I'll have to go out and run it again at the correct pace - NOT!
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  nkrichards on Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:52 pm

Tom...sounds like you survived the babysitting duty!

I laughed at your morning adventures. I had an encounter of the snake variety on Wednesday. I thought I was safe passing on the tail end...who would have thought that it could turn around so quickly. Before I set my foot down the head was where the tail had been! Fortunately it was a bull snake not a rattler. Got the heart pumping though!

Looks like your blog is going to be an interesting read...thanks for sharing.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:11 am

Yesterday was 13 miles with my training partner's running group. She started this with 6 moms as a couch to 5k group last winter, now there are about 20 people with 3 organized runs/week and many in the group will be doing their first HM in November. I started the run with two of the faster guys and we ran the first 6 at an 8:30-8:45, then I split off and joined two of the slower runners and helped coach them back for the second half of the run. One of them ran her first 10 mile run today and she actually was close to tears as she ran the last mile - tears of happiness and accomplishment. What a great feeling that gave me, reminding me of some of my early runs and milestones only 5 years ago! Overall, 30 miles in the last two days, second 50 mile week for me.  Today, a welcome rest day!
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:06 pm

4pm.  So it is 89 degrees, blue sky, no clouds.  Just took the dogs on their 3rd walk 1.4 mile of the day and in the direct sun it was very, very hot.  As I'm finishing up the walk, the dogs are wondering if I love them or hate them as their tongues drag along the ground.  They started out leading the charge, but finished up bringing up the rear.  Made me think of the marathon in the IM where it was about 5 degrees hotter, I'd already completed the swim and bike, and it was 2 pm with the sun up high when I started the run.  I had to ask myself, how did I ever even complete that race.  I may have to look at the results a little differently, and perhaps a bit more kindly, after today.  Maybe.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:09 pm

Today was speedwork and one of those things you are not sure if you are going to be able to pull off.  12 miles with middle 6 at tempo.  Not only pulled it off but ran a decending pace during the tempo  - a 7:40 first mile down to a 7:28 in the last. A challenging workout.  Finished it off with a second walk for the dogs (did my first as a warm-up).  Dogs are still deciding if they like this trend of 2-4 walks per day.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mark B on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:39 pm

Nice run. Isn't it fun when things work out better than you'd hoped?

Bet your dogs will be peppier once the weather cools down some. A real autumn would be nice, one of these days...
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:01 pm

Yesterday took my road bike in for a fitting to the guy who fitted me on my Tri bike.  I loved the job he did and have no problem doing 100+ mile rides on that bike, but the road bike just didn't give me that same lovin' feelin'.  He made some really significant changes and I'm hopeful.  Will just have to find/dedicate some energy I've been putting into the run to give it a couple of test rides to see if any further tweaking is necessary.  This guy is about an hour away from me and after I was done with the fitting I checked the traffic.  Bad news - I-680 was basically shut down and there really is not another reasonable route home.  Faced with a long time sitting on the freeway when outside temps were 97 degrees, I chose to turn a negative into a positive, and went to visit my daughter and grandkids for dinner since they live in that area.  Seems like a win-win to me!

Yesterday's run was challenging, so decided today was going to be 5 comfortable miles with no goals, just run.  Ended up with an avg pace of 8:43 with an avg HR @ 138.  Went back and checked the period just before Eugene when I had spent the whole cycle doing LHR training and it looks like I am right now ahead of where I was just before race day then.  That's good news and a testament to the long hours of endurance training for the ironman race.  I was glad to see this because this training cycle is the first one I've EVER done any sort of speed work, so wasn't sure how it was going to effect the HR.

For tomorrow, my training partner and I are arguing between going to the track or going to the trail.  I'm for the trail as I want to pay more attention to some hilly terrain based on Mike's advice and looking at the race elevation profile a bit more closely.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:45 pm

I ended up winning the  track vs. trail discussion, so it was off to Lake Chabot today.  It is located in the coastal hills on the east side of SF bay and has a good network of trails with hills of varying grades, short and longer.  So now that the foot is healed up, was able to lace up my Saucony Peregrine trail shoes and Inov8 gaiters to give it a go.  We decided to do the around the lake route and take a detour at the end to add in one more climb.  Ended up with a 9 mile run with mile splits between 8:44 and 11:34 depending on the terrain.  Here's what it looked like:



I'd be lying if I said it was an easy run, but it was a really fun run - now that I've seen the value of walking the hills that demand such respect.  The hardest parts were actually the downhils as they were steep and long.  Mike, does this help me reach my quota of rolling hills?

The Peregrine shoes were great.  Felt like nothing on the feet but I could tell it had the rock plate in the sole on the rougher parts.  The gaiters worked great as I ended up with zero debris in my shoes - a first.  I'm still dubious how long the hold down straps will last as they are made of what seems like plumbing washer material and the soles of the shoes don't have dedicated channels to recess them.  I can get them to fit in between the lugs on the bottom of the shoe, but they still should be getting a lot of wear.  I'm thinking about getting out my Dremel tool and making some small channels, but am concerned about destroying the integrity of the sole.  But it is in the heel region which shouldn't flex too much, so should be OK - right?
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:38 am

Not even a trail runner, but I'd sure like some terrain here in NE Ohio. I can run on technical trails in the Metropark, but those are a recipe for disaster when I'm training for a road marathon.  Nice work.

And don't be in awe of my 8.5 mile tempo run as we do this type of run at a hard effort starting at 8:40 pace and bringing it down to 8 min pace.  I'll tell you that it isn't easy, but for that distance the idea is hard effort past MP but not down to half MP or even 10K pace.  That we reserve for the shorter runs.
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Mark B on Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:02 am

Nice work, Tom! I think you're in a good place to layer in some uptempo work, thanks to that huge endurance base you built for the tri. It's exactly how it's supposed to be done.

That trail route looks fun. It isn't exactly rolling hills on pavement (and boy, does CIM have a lot of rolling hills...), but anything that works the legs in a slightly different way will keep you engaged and healthy. When you do an MP run, though, you probably ought to find terrain that closely matches good ol' Fair Oaks Boulevard. (Or just make a road trip to Folsom, Mr. Retired Guy.)
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  Tom H on Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:42 am

Michele, I understand completely having lived in North Ridgeville for 4 years.  North Ridgeville - where the heck did they come up with that name.  Not a ridge within an hour drive.  No Ridgeville or South Ridgeville.  The flatness of NE Ohio is at least consistent Wink .

I still think 8.5 miles of tempo workout commands respect.  I've got a 7 miles of tempo tomorrow and must admit that my legs are already lobbying against it with some effort.  I'm still getting used to the speedwork aspect of training, but am liking it.  I'm finding that I seem to be actually staying healthier by doing in than I did when my training didn't include it.

Mark, I've got to make the drive up to the course and at least drive it to see what I'm in for and try and find some similar terrain down here in the Bay Area.  How runnable do you think the rolling hills part of the course would be (safety wise) during the day?  Are there good stretches of not-too-busy road?

So, yesterday afternoon was again quite warm (upper 80's) when my dog Buddy



decided it was time for his 4pm walk.  This dog can tell time.  3:55 and he comes as sits at my feet looking up to me.  3:57 the paw comes up and starts tapping my leg.  If I'm not off my butt by 4:00, the serenading starts.  He's a Sharpei/Basset mix, so the basset in him comes out and the deep throated yodeling fills the house.  So I changed out of my pants to change into shorts for the walk and laid my pants across the arm of the couch which is Buddy's preferred resting spot, but he wanted a walk so I felt no regret as I sullied the spot he likes to lay his head.   

Flash forward to 5:45 this morning.  Dogs have been fed, thrown out back for their morning poopfest, and have returned to take over their castle.  As I'm walking by the garage door, my car alarm goes off with horn blaring HONK, HONK, HONK, HONK just as I'm swallowing the first caffeinated beverage of the day resulting some of it choosing to take the left fork to my lungs instead of the right fork to my stomach.  Between the coughs and gasps, I shove my hand in my pocket to get the key fob to turn off the alarm but the fob is not there.  Meanwhile Bud has leapt up from the couch and is playing the role of castle defender barking and growling at the garage door in such a manner that he gets my other dog Abby, also Sharpei/Basset, riled up as well and by his side.  Great, canine stereo.

So I've got a car alarm going off, two dogs going off as well with volume increasing and no key fob.  Then I think, why did the car alarm go off anyway?  Could be someone has gotten into the garage and is breaking into the car!  But wait, I don't set the car alarm when I park in the garage (do you?).  I look to the arm of the couch and there are my pants from yesterday afternoon, the key fob in the pocket.  The culprit - Buddy!  Not only can he tell time, but apparently he is not appreciative of me putting anything in his personal private sleeping spot.  Since he rests his head on the arm of the couch when he sleeps there, he somehow managed to depress the panic button on the key fob to set off the alarm.  Some may call it just a coincidence, but it was no accident.  I suspect if he had a little more time and dexterity, he and Abby would have been taking the car for a joyride when I was on my morning run.

And just for completeness sake, Buddy has just parked himself at my feet, looking up at me with hopeful eyes, starting the process for his 7:55 am walk . . .
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Tom H
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

Post  nkrichards on Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:31 am

Have you had a chance to ride your bike and see how the fitting went yet? I've never felt real comfortable on my bike so I tried another fitting this summer. She decided that part of the problem was I had mens handle bars. She suggested a narrower handlebar with a shorter reach. I haven't been able to ride a lot since I made the switch but it does seem better...time will tell. I participate in a local pool based sprint tri every year. The bike course is pretty hilly so it's quite challenging. I'd like to try a longer tri with an open water swim and some day I'd like to do a century ride. Life is still a bit to hectic for those goals right now...

Does Buddy know Fluff...they seem to have a lot in common...just asking...
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Re: Rebuilding the Run

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