Week of October 22-28 (23 weeks to the National Marathon - March 29, 2008) Monday 10 miles in 69:05 OK. It's time to start it up again. In a sense I'm starting from scratch, which is fine. The idea is to build a big base until there are 14 weeks to go and then I'm going to crank it up. I don't think I can push super hard for 23 weeks or so anymore... oh sure, I could have, but sometimes life gets in the way. Anyway, I started with a 10-miler that was a bit difficult. For one thing it was more than 80 degrees outside. Plus, I have a cold that made it tough to breathe. On top of that, my legs and lungs were weak, which made the running a big test. Either way, I ran a solid pace the entire time. splits: 1st 5 - 34:36 2nd 5 - 34:29 Tuesday Goose egg Took a zero because I couldn't feel my legs or breathe. It seems as if the cold I have is kicking my ass... not fun. Wednesday 10 miles in 68:25 Felt good after taking a beating from the cold I had/have. My legs are still kind of weak and my lungs aren't there (yet) but the 10 miles a day seems reasonable at this point. splits: 1st 5 - 34:21 2nd 5 - 34:04 Thursday 7.2 miles in 48:05 Ran a loop with Jeff Kirchner, who was doing a LT, and it kicked my ass. I went 1.8 miles in 10:37, which is the fastest I've run since the baby was born, and... wow! I felt it in my lungs and legs from the first couple of strides. I'm definitely not in shape, but it was good to do it even though it hurt a little bit. But it felt good... I also ran back in the Brick Yards and came face-to-face with a wild, red fox. This is the fourth or fifth time in the past year I've come across a fox, and when I use the word "fox" I'm not using slang. Anyway, as I was leaving the normal loop around F&M's Baker Field for the trails along the Little Conestoga Creek near the abandoned brick yards, I came within 10 yards of the fox after rounding a bend of trees in a wooded covey. There, after I came to a sudden stop midstride, casually sat the fox in the middle of the trail -- and he wasn't budging. Now I've encountered a fox or two in the past, and like deer, ducks, monkeys, bighorn sheep, snakes and elk, they always skedaddle into the brush or far into the trees. Like deer, a fox can jump like a sonofabitch... it's almost like they have springs on their legs. But this sly fella eyed me up and down and wasn't moving. Scanning the files in my head of what to do in case of a fox attack while slowly backing away, I figured I'd get out of view behind the trees and then make a run for it. At the same time, I thought that I should make myself appear large and make a lot of noise, but then realized that's what you do when being stalked by a mountain lion. Then I thought I should climb up on something elevated and try to be cool, but that's what you do in the event of a bear attack, I think. Finally I decided to pick up a bunch of rocks to throw if the bleeper made a move on me. Needless to say, everything turned out OK. I slinked away without incident and finished the run, while the fox continued to do whatever it is foxes do. Next week: the story about how I beat the bleep out of a guy with my bike helmet after he flipped me off, jumped out of his car and then took a few swings at me. Friday 9.3 miles in 65:11 Got out at 6 p.m. after procrastinating all day. Basically, I didn't want to run in the rain, but I ended up going out when it was coming down in sheets. Nonetheless, because it was raining so hard all day, I ran a few loops on the F&M cross-country course where they will be holding the Centennial Conference championships tomorrow. The course is in decent shape despite the fact that it will be as soggy as a bog for the race. Saturday 11 miles in 1:16:07 Started out by running over the cross-country course, which was a muddy, soggy mess. There was water everywhere and the mud was deep. While running up a hill back in the Brick Yards, I stepped down and my foot sank into the earth up to my ankle. It was kind of cool. But it wasn't something I wanted to do for too long. I did one loop through the course and hit the roads. It feels as if I'm beginning to get my legs back, but my lungs and speed aren't even close. Sunday 7 miles in 48:12 I felt good on this one. When I started running I didn't feel tight or tired and I felt as if I had some lungs, too. In fact, I ran the last 10 minutes at 6-minute pace and it didn't feel difficult at all. Perhaps I'm getting it back?