A Run on the Beach
I went for a run today shortly past noon.

There's nothing truly unusual about that except that I've been very lax the past few months about working out and maintaining the level of fitness that I would like to maintain, not to mention keeping my weight down. (Did I say keeping my weight down? Actually, I first need to get it down to where I would like it to be.)

So there I am, jogging along the beach. Before I moved to Rhode Island I would not have thought of a beach as a suitable place for running. Beaches at fresh water lakes were all loose sand, impossible for running. Since moving here I've discovered how pleasant beach running can be. The beaches I like to run on slope very gently toward the water so there is not the feeling of running along the side of a hill. The sand between water's edge and the high tide mark is firmly packed, providing an ideal surface for running, smooth, firm, providing relief from pounding on pavement.

In the spring I was building my mileage, had gotten in an eight mile run, looking forward to the Narragansett Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile run at mid-summer. I've run that a couple times; it's a good race, well-organized. It's also the longest race I've run in recent years. In '97 my brother and I ran the Blessing of the Fleet together and had a blast. We planned on running it together again this year, but then he had surgery and then complications from surgery... so we've had to push our plans off to next year.

I had planned on running Camire's Firecracker Four -- a four mile run on July 4th -- and had sent in my entry form. I was in London during the week leading up to that race -- and had gotten in a run of about four miles through the parks around the London Zoo late on that Friday afternoon -- but ended up getting almost no sleep before flying home. Explanation... was out late carousing with friends (vast quantitites of hot Indian food washed down with vast quantities of Kingfisher beer) just caught the last Underground train to my hotel, then had trouble falling asleep, finally got to sleep only to be awakened by a phone call about four a.m. but I fumbled the phone picking it up and lost the call, so I called the hotel operator who told me he thought the call had come from America, so I phoned home -- where it was still 11 pm Friday night -- and found out that everything was okay and they hadn't phoned me, except I was now wide awake after only an hour or two of sleep, and later that day, by the time I reached Heathrow and boarded a noontime flight home I was totally exhausted, but I just can't sleep on planes, not crammed into econo-class, and it was probably around 9:30 pm by the time I actually got home, but that was Eastern Daylight Time, my body was still on London time where it was 2:30 am Sunday, and then eventually I got to bed, thinking that I had set my alarm to wake me in time but when I woke up it was just a few minutes before starting time, so I threw on my running clothes and drove into town, arriving at the shopping center that was the start and finish point almost fifteen minutes after the race had started, and I would still have been tempted to run it anyway except a thunderstorm had moved in and not only was it raining but a bolt of lightning struck a power transformer on the opposite side of the road and so I opted to get my race t-shirt and return home for coffee and breakfast... And that is the closest I've come to running in a race since the middle of June.

It's so easy to slack off training... so much easier to eat and sandwich and read a book or surf the web at lunchtime than to go for a run or down to the Y for a workout. And weekends! I always think that I'm going to get in a couple good runs on the weekend... but there are so many chores that have accumulated... and then I run out of time... Besides which, I had some (minor) foot surgery followed by a bit more, which kept me from running for two or three weeks... and it is always so hard to get back into shape...

The Newport Pie Run is held on Thanksgiving morning. It is a five mile race. I have mailed in my entry. My daughter has also entered it. From age ten she was a very competetive runner. We used to run five kilometer (3.1 miles) races together. At first I used to pace her, jogging along with her, encouraging her until near the finish line when she would put on a blazing sprint. Then one day she got a bit in front of me at about the halfway point in a race. I picked up my pace to catch up with her. I picked it up some more. I coudn't catch up with her and finally realized that if I ran in an all-out sprint I might catch her but then I might not have enough strength left to finish the race. She ran cross-country in 8th grade for West Middle School in Binghamton. She ran cross-country as a 9th grader for South Kingstown High. Then she retired from running except for local 5k races and the Newport Pie Run. We ran it together in 1995 and she took second place for women 14 and under. In 1996 she was first place for women 14 and under. In 1997 she was no longer training and had moved up into the 15-20 age group, so we just ran it together for fun. Last year we had to miss the race because we were in Connecticut for Thanksgiving. She hasn't done any running at all for at least a year except for two or three times that we went jogging together. I may have run as far as three miles perhaps half a dozen times in the past four or five months. She is seventeen; I am fifty-six. I've got to train. I have two weeks. I am going to be very very very sore and tired on Thanksgiving afternoon.

So down the beach I go.... seagulls... always seagulls at the beach... only a few people even though it is a beautiful day, mid-November but mostly sunny and in the low seventies... two or three people walking their dogs... a elderly man with a metal detector, prospecting the beach for loose change and buried treasure...

I really should keep updating this website much more often than I have been doing...

I've got cable Internet access at home now, no more hassle with busy signals or ISP servers not responding or dropping a connection in the middle of a session, fast access.... of course my son and my daughter (even though she has our old Aptiva in her room) and my wife all want to use the same computer... but even so...

Three miles completed. Lots of sand to knock off my running shoes before getting into my car to drive back to the Y. (The beach is only about a kilometer from the Y but I prefer to drive to the beach rather than running because then I can avoid running on the hard pavement, some of which is sloped and uneven, and also avoid traffic.) Quick shower, stop at Subway to buy a sandwich (too tired to pack a lunch last night, didn't get home from class until well past ten pm, didn't have time this morning), back to the office.

Oh yeah, better update my webpage workout log.... (My theory being that maybe posting my workouts may impell me to keep at it more faithfully... who knows, it might help a little?) [And I quickly decided this was more trouble than it was worth so I dropped it.]

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