Call Guinness! (the book, not the brewery)

Chuck Yeager used to ask for a stick of Beeman’s chewing gum before he went out and smashed through the sound barrier or any other barrier he wanted to smash.  Since Beeman’s is no longer sold I was forced to substitute Trident tropical splash gum (not nearly as badass sounding as Beeman’s, I have to admit) as I donned my veneriable Garmin Forerunner and set out to smash through the 60-mile week barrier.  While the worldwide reaction to my performance was slightly more subdued than the reaction to Chuck’s, I was nontheless in uncharted, record-setting water after completing the task.

Conditions again were perfect in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday – low 80’s, light wind, plenty of ‘scenery’.  In a perfect world I would have liked to maybe get a track workout in mid-week, but I’ve conceded that that is pretty tough while on the road working so I instead opted for a tempo run to wrap up the high-mileage “week”.  Had logged 50 miles the previous 6 days, so planned to go for 10, with the middle 8 being at pace.  Warmed up for a mile (which got me over the pretty huge bridge – aka a south Florida hill), then

"You're my boy, Blue!"

started banging out 6:10-6:15 miles.  Out and back along the boardwalk again, college kids still going strong.  Average skin tone had progressed from bleach white to deep pink in the last two days, to their credit the crowds were still pretty huge and they didn’t seem to be letting up.  Thought I heard a couple of people call me “Blue”, wondering if I was really that old looking….

Pretty strong for the tempo mileage, turned around at 6 so when I hit 9 on the way back I started cooling down.  Logged 2 more to take the total to 11 (conveniently right to the bottom of the bridge again), then walked the last bit home to stretch the legs out.  61 miles for the week – cue the band, new “rolling week” record, declaring myself officially re-healthy again.  Spent the rest of the day taking it easy except for the requisite visit to McDonald’s to satisfy my vanilla cone fix – can’t live without them, could probably thrown back about 4 of ’em but I managed to show some restraint…

Departed beautiful South Florida for “slightly” less scenic South Texas.  If there is a worse place in America to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than Laredo, Texas I’d like to see it.  They wouldn’t know a shamrock or a Guiness if it bit them in the ass down there – guessing the local Irish population to be pretty low (zero), but come on!  Given the pretty lousy roads around the hotel I had kicked around the idea of just taking the day off, ended up getting the itch to get out there so I went for an easy 5.  Always feels good to get something done, so a quick 30-some minutes is better than nothing.

I’m half way back to Fort Lauderdale to finish up the week (Laredo-San Antonio-Dallas-Fort Lauderdale), very long night.  Will be home by 10am tomorrow morning if the plan comes together, plan on a nice long run in the pool if I can get a nap and work it out.  Feels good to feel good again – don’t plan on continuing this high-mileage pace, but hope it will act as a springboard to get the outdoor season started (despite the last indoor meet next weekend).   Since Laredo wasn’t acknowledging the Irish holiday (and I’m pretty sure the FAA frowns upon the Guinness ‘n fly routine anyway) I will be celebrating the holiday a day late, Enola style.  I can almost taste it…


About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
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