March Hare Hop -- 03/03/08

Gillian and I went to Mystic (Connecticut) yesterday for the Kelley's Pace March Hare Hop 3 Mile Run.

As I noted in my last entry, we ran this for the first time in 1997 and have run it most years since then.

It's a good thing this is only three miles because -- this being the first race of the season for me -- I am usually (okay, always) out of shape. Once-upon-a-time (when we lived in upstate New York) my first race of the season used to be the Chenango Forks 15K, a 15 kilometer run (about nine and a third miles for those who don't speak metric)... but that was when I was in my mid-forties to early fifties.

Come to think of it, the first year I ran the Forks 15, back in 1987 -- ouch -- I was still a few weeks short of being 44 -- and I had signed up for it as a way of forcing myself to start running longer distances because that June I was running my second Vestal XX (20K -- about twelve and a half miles) and I wanted to be in better shape for it than I had been the year before.

After the race -- yesterday's race -- my feet were tired and my bunions hurt and my calves hurt (a muscle in my left calf really felt knotted up). Today my feet and calves are okay, but my thighs are now sore. I'm sure I'll feel fine tomorrow. Gee, I don't know why it was so stressful -- after all, I had run three miles as recently as a month ago. Yeah, yet another reminder that riding an exercise bike may be a good cardiovascular workout, but it doesn't do all that much for running.

I've got to get out on the streets (and the bike path) and actually run. The best way to train for running is to run. (Duh!) Exercise bikes (and real bicycles) are fine for building cardiovascular capacity and weights are good for upper body strength -- both of which help with running -- but most of all you just have to get out there and run. I've been running since the summer of 1982 so I suppose one of these days I'll really learn that lesson.

If I can get my lazy self out running, I've got a bunch of races I would like to try to run this year (especially because I'm going to hit 65 in eight weeks):
  • April 27th -- The James Joyce Ramble -- 10k -- Jill & I ran it in 2005
  • July 6th (probably) -- Camire's Firecracker Four -- a 4 mile run that I run most years but missed last year
  • July 25th -- The Narragansett Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Run -- most recently ran in 2005 with my brother
  • August 3rd -- 7th Annual Run 4 Kerri -- another 4 mile run, I've enjoyed this race, would like to do it again
  • Sept. 6th -- 33rd Annual Run Around the Block -- 15k -- a run around Block Island, never ran it but have wanted to ever since we first moved to Rhode Island
  • Sept. 21st -- CVS Downtown 5k Road Race -- have run this a number of times but it is a lot of fun, a big race, more than two thousand runners
I'd be happy to run more than those races, but those are the six I'd really like to hit this year. Of course, it all depends on getting in enough miles each week to get into shape for each of them. It sort of alternates between long races and short races, a nice mix, with the long races building in difficulty. The Blessing of the Fleet may be two thirds of a mile longer than the Run Around the Block, but the Blessing is on a fairly flat course while Block Island run is a very tough with lots of hills.

By the time I get to the Blessing of the Fleet at the end of July, I hope to be fifteen pounds lighter, which I should be assuming I really train the way I need to (and watch my food intake). Of course, this also requires that my feet and legs hold up under the stress of running... and that's the part I'm not too sure about.

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