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  • A Half Marathon is Just a Training Run

    Four months ago it was difficult to imagine that I'd say that. But yesterday's training run of 14 miles was longer than a half marathon and I made it! The long runs are feeling much better than that first 10 mile run (See Running 10 Miles Alone.) It may have to do with my weekly run at Rancho San Antonio. That course is about 7.5 miles and quite hilly. My long training runs are essentially flat.

    When I woke up at 5:30 AM, the temperature was already 72 degrees and sunny—not a very runnable temperature for me. I could see from my back porch that the valley was covered with clouds, an indication of an inversion. When I arrived at the Los Gatos trail, the starting temperature was 54 degrees and cloudy. I slapped on the sunglasses in anticipation of the clouds breaking and set out running.

    My grand plan was to run 5 miles from Los Gatos to Campbell, then 5 miles back. Then I was going to tack on 4+ miles by running to the top of Lexington Dam and back to Los Gatos. When I got to the start of the dam trail, I found it was closed due to pipeline work. So I headed back up the LG trail 1.5 miles, then back down, and then ran 4 laps at the LG high school track. A very screwy route, as you can see.

    I realized during the course of the run that my right toes were banging against the inside of my shoes. The shoes are already one and a half sizes larger than my street shoe size. The summer heat and the distance must really be making my feet swell up. It's time to move up to a larger size! I already lost one toenail and another one is on its way off. I really don't want to lose any more. I've been using blue toenail polish to mask the damage.

    The sun broke through the clouds after I completed 10 miles, so I had to run the last 4 miles in the sun. Only the last mile felt very hot, and that's probably due to the heat coming off the track. As I ran around the track, I thought of the table of fresh fruit that San Jose Fit had ready as an end-of-the-run treat. Orange slices and strawberries never tasted so good!

    Favorite new songs added to my running playlist:

    • In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
    • Clocks, Coldplay
    • My Immortal, Evanescence

    I am running this marathon to raise money for LUNGevity. Please consider donating to the cause!

  • Requiem for a Toenail

    The preparation for a long run always starts the day before by keeping hydrated and having a substantive evening meal. This time my preparations also included performing a toenailectomy. The nail started to lift during the week. It was so high that I was pretty sure it would be quite uncomfortable over the course of 18 miles. Now that the nail is gone, I won't be able to camouflage that toe with nail polish. It will be a few months until the new nail takes shape.

    When I arose at 5:00 AM, I wasn't sure whether I'd do another 16 miler or try for 18 miles. Two weeks ago running 16 miles turned out to be tough. I thought I might just try to do better on 16 again, and save 18 miles for next week. During the course of today's run, I changed my mind at least 4 times, depending on how I was feeling. In the end, I toughed it out and finished 18 miles. I had to walk some of them, but I covered the distance. It's distance that's important.

    I had some tough times on this run, so I thought I'd focus on the positives:

    • The weather was perfect—48 degrees at the start and 72 at the end.
    • After I'd run almost half a marathon's distance, I ran into two smiling friends—Padraig and Janice. Janice ran with me for half a mile.
    • Tri-berry GU tastes amazing.
    • The wasp that stung my forehead at mile 16 didn't kill me. Despite the pain, I managed to propel myself forward for 2 more miles.
    • I finished 18 miles upright and without puking.

    I am training for a marathon to raise money for LUNGevity. Please consider donating to the cause!