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Since the Mamaroneck Turkey Trot, things have been going well. Most important, I seem to have gotten to 6 as a standard run. Before this morning, I last ran last Sunday. I had dental work done on Wednesday and was told no-exercise-for-three-days. Today, Sunday, was designed to be a five-miler; around the B’ville Lake and back. But I felt good and decided at 2 to go to Scarsdale Road, which is right at 3 and that’s what I did and I did not have much of an issue in finishing. 6 in 46, and it seems that 7:40 seems a good pace for running relaxed.

As to 50, that was last Sunday, a beautiful run at Nature Study/Twin Lakes.

So my plan is really to have no plan. Just try to get out 4 or 5 times a week and gradually build up. Maybe even run my age one of these days.

I did come upon a fine, short piece by Scott Douglas, which reminded me of the importance as one ages of some speedwork. It seems that we are seeing study after study and story after story that says that the starting point for fitness is intensity as opposed to the view of building a slow base and only then ratchet it up. So I’ve taken to doing 4 strides after my runs when I can. Just to open things up and put some quickness into my legs. I’ve long viewed speedwork as important for form.

As I put it in a rplty post on the Maters Running in New York Facebook page, “Speed work, even forcing yourself to do 4 strides after a run but especially fast repeats, is largely about grooving and maintaining and strengthening form to hold it together in those late-race or -run moment when things start going bad. If you can maintain your form while those around you are losing theirs, you will be able to pick off a bunch of people before you are done”.

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Since my last report, I’ve done pretty well, notwithstanding a sore-foot interruption over the last few days. Solid run on Oct. 14, but then on the next Saturday I felt as quick as I have for quite a while, getting in a sub-7 and the next day found me doing 2 laps of Twin Lakes in the afternoon after working at the Yonkers Marathon and having a band rehearsal and those laps were fast, with a 24:19, again with a sub-7. I elected to only do the two laps as I was going at a quite solid tempo and decided to try to hold it to the end.

A good run on Tuesday, but Thursday’s ended after about 3 when I felt a pain in my left foot. It reappeared on lap 7 on the track on Friday, so I took Saturday off. Today, though, I decided to give it a go, thinking I’d push through if necessary. Twin Lakes yet again and when the foot did not bother me, I soldiered on. At first I’d have been happy with two laps, which I passed in 25:20, but decided to go to 30 and then to 32 and then, what the hell, lets do three laps. My left achilles ached a bit on the third lap, but it was not a major issue and I finished in 37:25, feeling relaxed and not under strain (unlike last Sunday when I felt and pushed through a good type of strain, of running hard and fast).

So, there we have it. Progress appears to be being made. And the dreaded dead-leg syndrome not an issue.

I also re-recorded “Gotta Go to New York”, I like it.

A copule of weeks back I identified my short-term ambition as getting a 40-minute run. This past week I was on vacation in Berkshire County, Western Mass., and the difficulty with where we were was the hilliness. So while I got in one run with which I was happy, I stopped on a number of others.

Back home, I had a nice trail run yesterday. I decided to just see if I could get to 40.

This morning, the strategy — yeah, I need a strategy — was to see if I might find some folks doing the Paine-to-Paine preview run. The race is next week, and a bunch of folks going at varying paces did the course this morning. It finishes along my normal trails. I timed it well, and after a couple of minutes heading against the course, I came upon three runners who were in the final stages. It wasn’t quite fair in that they had some 10 miles of trail running in them while I was just starting, but I stayed behind.

They pulled me through 21 minutes, when they exited and I turned. And I felt pretty solid heading back on my own. There were a few moments of concern, but I really had no trouble, ultimately finishing in just over 41 minutes. So a small milestone, but a milestone nonetheless.

It will seem fanciful to the runners I know to write of aiming to run for 40 minutes. For me, alas, I’ve not reached that mark in well over six months. It seems, though, that with my ups and my downs the trend line is moving up. On Friday, I got in 20 laps — including getting cut by thorns in lane 6 — in 38:24. It felt good, but I don’t know that I could have gone further.

And today on the roads I made it around the Bronxville Lake. This is the lake at the south end of the Bronx River path and the run is a little south of five miles. I kept things under control and had no more than the usual struggles but finished strongly in 36:12. (Yesterday, on the other hand, I worked at my wife’s estate sale in Irvington. Since it was just up the road from the OCA, I headed there. You don’t appreciate the strain of something like that is and often I am too spent to go for a run afterwards. But I figured something was better than nothing and headed north but I ran out of gas, turning at 10 minutes and then stopping twice on the home stretch to get in 20 minutes. I chalked that up to tiredness and did not view it as anything.)

Musically, apart from the No Cover Band in the City, I’m trying to get something together here in Westchester. I’ve had a good experience with a pianist and we’re meeting with a guitarist today. I like playing the guitar for this but will revert to the bass as needed. The objective is to do original things or have fun with covers. I find doing covers gets boring pretty quickly unless you do something to make them your own.

The problem I have with my stuff, in addition to not knowing whether it is any good, although I think it is, is finding a singer. I am trying to modify my approach to make it more singing/speaking and thus less jarring. Cause I like to do my own stuff. One of the benefits of this new group-effort is hearing a better pianist filling out my own melody/progressions, which tend to be pretty basic.

Today’s run was the best I’ve had in ages. It did not start out that way.

On most of my runs-from-home, I head to Route 22 and down Locust Lane past the Bronxville Field Club and into Bronxville, hitting the one-mile mark a bit before hitting the library. When I can get that far, I’ll head through the village to the Bronx River Parkway and do an out-and-back totaling 5, 6, 10 or more. Well I haven’t been able to get that far in a while. But, as I say, today was my best run for a while. A bit over 3. Which is progress.

It didn’t start out that way. It was a bit chilly but very humid after overnight rain. As I hit Route 22 and headed north I felt horrible and I think I managed to get to the half-mile point only because Locust starts as a slight decline. By the time I hit Pondfield, though, also a slight descent I began to feel relaxed and my thighs did not feel like the tree trunks they’ve felt like of late. So I decided to push on and go nearly to the train station and did a loop before heading back (now slightly up) Pondfield and then (slightly up) Locust. I didn’t die. I felf kinda, sorta relaxed and added about .25 to the end.

We’ll see.

It appears that my shoulder issue actually dates back to 2000. Way back then, I tripped and landed on my left shoulder. Initially, I was in a sling. About four years later, I felt pain when I lay down on my left side. An MRI showed a torn labrum, from the fall. So arthroscopic surgery and it was good. So I didn’t assciate my recent pain with that ancient event. But my ortho did, and said that they’ve learned it is a not uncommon injury that follows well after the initial impact. It’s a strained bicep.

So I was ordered to minimize the front-to-back movement of my left arm plus lots of Alleve. On Tuesday, I was given the OK┬áto run and see what happens. If it continues to be an issue, he would go with cortisone. (Both of the orthos I’ve had do not like to go that route unless absolutely necessary.)

So I drove down this morning to the Bronxville track with much trepidation. I awoke early likely because of it.

I was able to do two laps, at which point I died. Actually, I was pretty dead from about 200 meters, but I soldiered on. After stopping, I jogged another lap. I think the shoulder was OK. A slight “feeling” there, but not pain and I don’t know the extent to which that was nerves.

Perhaps a bit more tomorrow.

I haven’t posted in a while because, well, things have not been going so well. Nothing apparently to do with the surgery. A couple of weeks back as I was building up (albeit in slight increments) I suddenly had a pain in my shoulder. It hit me only when I ran. And it hasn’t gone away. So I’m seeing an orthopedist tomorrow to find out what it is. It just came out of nowhere.

Hence the silence. I’d hoped to be up to five laps of the Lake. But it was not to be. Yet.

Fairly momentous 24 hours.

Last night for the first time I played in band in a gig. The band is “The No Cover Band” and it consists of a couple of guys on guitar, a woman singer, and me on the bass. The songs are all written by the lead singer, although I hope to get some of mine in the rotation. We’ve been rehearsing for months. Last night was the first show. It was a Desmond’s, an Irish pub on Park Avenue South just south of 30th.

I’ve played the song many many times, but I was afraid that I’d miss switches from verse to chorus and vice versa. I knew the verse. I knew the chorus. But because my focus is on the music — I don’t sing — so I’m not using the lyrics to lead me.

I played alright. I missed a couple of spots but I don’t know that anyone notices. The crowd seemed to like it. Strangely, as we were playing I looked up and saw a rodeo on one of the TVs. I looked at it wondering what a rodeo was doing on a TV in a Manhattan bar.

It was fun, and I look forward to doing it again some day.

This morning I ran. It’s probably two months since I last did so. It was hard. But I managed to get just under 2 miles in. Amazing how much you lose without doing it, but I hope it’ll come back. I hope.

I took down some posts that were more detailed than they should have been. Bottom line is that right now everything is looking good and I’m feeling good. I have another week to go before I can lace up again, and I’m quite looking forward to it. In the meantime, I’ve been walking more and more.

This morning I did two laps of Twin Lakes. I took a bunch of photos, and created a movie. I didn’t realize when I added the music that it had specific “lake” references.

I walked for 40 minutes today. With surgery coming next week and no serious exercise until mid-April, I’ve been free of the where-to-run concerns that normally would occupy me this time of year, a not unpleasant development given the current weather.

So I’ve gotten lazy. My weight ballooned to 180, where it has never been, so I have to get back to at least getting some exercise.

Today, as I turned on Sherman Street in Bronxville, I had a wave of recollection. Like a whiff of a perfume that reminds of a long-ago lover, I was suddenly turning onto Sherman on a chilly winter’s night — to keep off main roads I had a plethora of complicated routes — with a smooth stride and going fast as I entered the final mile-and-a-half of my run. It’s these little things and not so much the complexity of a race experience that are the foundation of my running. So I hope to re-kindle that come April.

One thing I won’t be doing is Paine to Pain. Too “technical” and risky for my money, much as I’d love to wipe my disastrous experience away. But RD Eric Turkewitz put me in touch with Trail Runner Magazine, and I wrote a short piece on the race. I don’t have a copy, although Eric posted a photo of the article on Facebook.

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