Pipe Dreaming

Been doing the east coast thing for the first time in a while, Chicago yesterday and Boston today.  Temperatures all over have been unseasonably cool with the exception being Wednesday in Philadelphia – probably mid-40’s yesterday and maybe 50 today.  Not complaining since compared to our most recent winter it can almost be considered balmy out, but at the same time May is around the corner so I think we are due some regular shorts weather any day now…

After the intervals on Wednesday I spent the past two days just going slow.  Planned on 10 yesterday on Lake Michigan, 5 miles outbound ended up being farther than I had ever gone before so curiosity had me go a little farther to explore a new park – ended up at 11.3 on the Garmin, all the miles right around 7:00 pace.  This pace is becoming easier and more natural, but still requiring a little bit of effort to maintain.  It felt very comfortable though, so maybe the information I am getting is correct.

More of the same today, this time the venue was the Charles River.  Even easier pace today than yesterday – I may have reached the reduced-pace limit though as I feel like if I go any slower I am just going to come to a complete halt.  6.6 miles, legs feeling pretty good.  Boston definitely a running town – there are always folks out on the paths, lots of specialty running stores in town, and there is still some leftover excitement (and on-sale memorabilia) from the recent Boston Marathon.

One thing about running is that if you spend enough time on the trails/roads/paths, every once in a while you see something that you either find interesting, did not know, or can not believe.  It might be a new trail, some beautiful scenery, or something odd – like seeing not one, not two, but three college-aged men with pathetic attempts at beards (and 2 wearing tweed paddy hats) walking the river smoking pipes – not together.  I was beginning to think they were auditioning for “Finding Forrester II” or something – after the first pipe guy I thought “that’s weird”.  After #2 I thought “what are the odds of there being two young guys in the world who would smoke a pipe outside on a walk, let alone for both to be in the same town?”.  After the third one I thought “only in Boston – the self-proclaimed headquarters of the intellectually elite and the bastion of higher learning”.  Don’t get me wrong – Rocky Balboa wore a paddy hat, and I’ve said before anyone who could defeat both Mr. T and Ivan Drago is a badass.  I don’t even have anything against pipe smokers – Gen George Patton smoked a pipe and he starred in a movie that might have even been better than Rocky.  There was just something odd about these young pipe-smoking English Literature majors today that I didn’t get – maybe I’m just not a “Hahvahd Man” so I wouldn’t understand….

I great day for the Iliad, the Odyssey and a pipe.

Anyway – 1 week til the Drake Relays.  Since it is a Friday meet and since I have off all week leading up to the race, I am going to try to get in two more interval sessions between now and then.  Have arranged to run intervals in the pool tomorrow morning after I get home, and then (weather permitting) hope to do something shorter and quicker on the track on Monday.  I don’t want to set aside too much time and training to an early season race, but at the same time if I am going to go all the way out to Des Moines for a 2-minute race I should at least be relatively fresh when I get there.  The main focus is still the mid-July trifecta (outdoor world championships, the Harrisburg Mile, USATF outdoor nationals), so the goal will be finding the proper balance of being performance-ready without burning out.  That is an easier said than done proposition – I think I am going to sit down by the fire and pull out my pipe and ponder how I might make it happen…..

P.S.  It just dawned on me that I think the guy who played the MIT student (Clark) in Good Will Hunting (“You like apples?  How about them apples?!?”) smoked a pipe.  And that was in Boston too.  I thought I recognized one of them…..


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!
This entry was posted in Aquatic Fitness, Boston Marathon, Competitive Races, Drake Relays, Harrisburg Mile, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Interval Training, Outdoor World Championships, Running, Training for Runs, USATF Indoor Nationals, USATF Outdoor Nationals and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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