Monday, August 10, 2009

Lighten Up, Francis

After doing two road runs this week, one thing I have noticed lately are the "serious runners" out on the road. The ones with a very serious scowl and game face on. The ones I want to say "Lighten up, Francis." I am not going to win the New York marathon, and I doubt I will place in top 5000. And I am kinda fast. And I know that most of the people I see out running are slower than me. So why the serious runner face? Why not the smile and wave when you go by? We're all out there for fun, to improve and release stress. Even on a bad day, how can you be grumpy out there running? I don't understand it. My typical greeting to a fellow runner is a smile and a "Good Morning." I don't want to stop and chat but some return acknowledgment is nice, courteous even. Now if I see a real serious runner out there training, I don't expect that, nor do I from a bicyclist (we are kind of like cats and dogs in our sharing of the road), but your average Joe (or Jane) out there on the track? Please, smile, it makes me feel better. Ok on to my weekend....

After my long run Friday morning, I took Saturday off. Apparently, it was a gorgeous running day (cool, not humid) and many PRs were set in the race in Central Park. I wouldn't know, I was sleeping. Friday night, Mrs. Wolve and I went to a dinner party (sans kids) at a friend's place at the beach, and well, I fell asleep at the table. (They are good friends, and we were staying with them, so it was not offensive.) I suppose getting up at 6 a.m., running 20 miles, working all day, then having a boozy dinner into the night exhausted me. So Saturday I slept until 10 a.m. -- about 11 hours of blissful sleep. And Saturday was a gorgeous day at the beach.

Anyway, Sunday brought a tempo workout. This FIRST program thing is a real bear. It was supposed to be 6 miles, four at tempo pace. I ended up going 7.7 miles, with about 5.5 miles at tempo pace. To put it in perspective, I think that if I had run 6.1 miles at the tempo pace, I would have set a 10K PR. Again, the Garmin was just great -- real time distance, pace, etc.

It was a great run. I was hungover, it was humid, but I had a great pace. Of course my heartrate was a little high, not crazy so, but given the conditions (alcohol, humidity) very understandable. And this was after running 20 miles two days earlier. I ran this route last year (actually a shorter one, but major overlap), and the difference is startling. My heartrate was 15 beats per minute lower and my pace was 1:30 faster. What a difference a year makes. I am a little concerned that all this running will produce "dead legs" or even worse, an injury. But so far so good. I have been very liberal about my off days, and it seems to be really helping.

This week brings, ugh, more travel. But I ought to be able to get my workouts in with a little planning. (Looks like my long run this week (18 miles at marathon pace plus 45 seconds) will be on the road. But there ought to be enough of a window I can get it in fairly easily.)

And I need a new pair of shoes. I have been alternating between Brooks Trance 7 and Gel Kayano 15s, but the Brooks are now kind of shot. The Lunar Trainers, I have come to realize, are OK, but really can't be an every day shoe for training or long runs. My problem is that I am a size 12.5 which is a funny size to find. So I have to order shoes, which is not nearly as much fun as going to the running store and walking out with a new pair.


  1. I hate when people don't smile or wave back. What is up with that? I always say good morning. Even when I am dying. Like during my 17.72 miler! Good luck on your upcoming 18. Have a great week!

  2. Too funny. During Saturday's run, running buddy and I were talking about how the runners and bikers are WAY friendlier on the VA trails than they are in DC. They always smile, wave or say good morning. It's actually kinda rare when I'm on an early morning DC run!

    Good luck on your 18 miler! Any tips for squeezing long runs in while traveling? I'm trying to figure out how to get my 18 miler in Labor Day weekend - thinking about just switching it to the Tuesday before we leave...

  3. I'm right there with you. I always smile, wave and say hi to people out there. It is frustrating when you get a blank stare back like you are crazy. Nonetheless, I will continue to do it. If we ever cross paths out there running you can count on a wave back.

  4. Same here--I don't understand it either. How hard is it to smile, wave and actually acknowledge the existence of another person, especially when you're both out there trying to do the same thing?

    Casual Kitchen

  5. You actually fell asleep at the table?? What did that look like exactly? Face plant? Drooling nods and facial twitches?? Wish you had a picture. You have nice friends...

  6. I try to make it a point to at least smile to other joggers/walkers when I'm out. Sometimes though, it's a tough run and I can barely manage to even see them, so I am guilty of having that unpleasant face. Speed just kills me!
    I'm excited to see what kind of shoes you get next!

  7. Check out New York Running Company in the shops at Columbus Circle. I am also a 12.5 and went picked up a pair of shoes there last week. I wasn't sure what to get, so asked for help, and they were great and brought out 3 different pairs in my size after watching me walk around barefoot to see what would work.

  8. I thought your first paragraph was awesome. I am a pretty decent runner and can move it along pretty well down a trail. But I always make sure to wave and smile at every runner I pass and if I am feeling OK usually say "Hi" as well. It is amazing the number of people who scowl at me or stick their nose up in the air. Could be a Michigan thing, but I don't know... I hear you on the bikers and the cat and dog anology is one I hadn't thought of but is spot on.

    Great tempo with a hangover. I haven't had a hangover in a while, but maybe that is what I need to do next time.

    Take care and I always enjoy reading your stuff.

  9. I try to smile or wave, but sometimes all my effort is focused on not puking or crying, so that could be misunderstood as a serious runner face:)


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