Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weakly Run, The Long Run, and Run

I'm at 29 miles for the week so far. The past several runs, however, have felt clunky. My legs have been heavy. My pace has been off. Breathing a bit gaspy.  But I've put in the miles without much difficulty by slowing down . . . a lot. Slowing down doesn't bother me too much as long as it is for a short period of time - a week or so. What concerns me is that the 7 month hamstring injury may have decreased my speed more than I had realized by affecting my stride length. I have been shortening my stride to avoid pain and continuing to run with the injury. So now I'm taking steps (no pun intended) to pulse-stretch the hamstring and re-lengthen my stride.  The process will be ongoing. The results, I hope, will be a return to a faster pace and diminished pain.

Before moving on to news of my own book, I thought I'd take a moment to plug a novel I finished this week. The Long Run, by Leo Furey, follows a year inside a Catholic boys' orphanage in Canada. It is a bit what you think it would be, in that there is an overriding sadness to the story, with some instances of humor thrown in (much like most of our own lives, I suppose). The boys in the novel (set in 1960) secretly train for a marathon. As the event approaches, the boys become both increasingly independent and interdependent in order to achieve their personal and collective goals.

The descriptions of running and training are a bit lite, but the story and the writing is not. I was drawn in and went through the range of emotions - rage, hilarity, and sadness - as I read the book.  If you like running and coming-of-age stories, The Long Run is a good choice for a Spring or Summer read.

A quick note: If you do buy running books, whenever possible, buy them through sites like Your purchase helps top  runners who train and compete with limited sources of funding (when compared to other top athletes).

My new novel, Run, is now available in paperback. It will be up on Amazon and Amazon Kindle within the next week. It can be purchased now at . 

I've experienced a bit of trepidation in publishing the book, mainly centered around the intended readership. I have been encouraged to market the book as YA (young adult) and also general and sports fiction. But in order to be true to my main characters, all older teenagers, I had to write what is real. And that group doesn't speak or act in a G-Rated manner. Instead, the lives of a lot of younger Americans seem to be lived in a world that is more NC-17, with language, actions, music, videos, and other entertainment outlets reflecting this sensibility.

The full synopsis can also be found on the CreateSpace site listed above.

I hope you have a chance to read Run. If you have time to comment on it, please feel free to do so on Amazon (once it is on their website), on RunTheNovel FB page, my Twitter account, or right here. I love to hear from friends new and old.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Running and Longview Disc Golf Course

PT for my hamstring issues has started to work. They don't hurt much when I'm simply as they did for the past seven months.  I still experience pretty good pain when I run and stretch, but it slowly subsides to manageable levels once I've passed a mile or two.

Last week was an excellent time to put in some miles. While it happens to be snowing as I type this, the last seven days were mainly warm, with runs on Sat and Sun taking place in 70F+ temps. 

After seeing my first copperhead of the season on the Clinton trails two weeks ago, I passed my first garter snake on the River Trails on Saturday. It was good a good size critter. I tried to get it to move off the trail by squirting it with beet juice from my hand-held water bottle. I didn't want it to be crushed by a mountain or cross bike. It is odd that I've only ever seen garters and black snakes on the River Trails, and only copperheads at Clinton. You think there'd be some crossover. But I've never seen it. 

Anyway, week complete. 33 miles.

Gregory Thomas driving at Longview

After Saturday's long run, I popped out to Perry Lake with my disc golf buddies, Chris Ford, Mathew Faulk, and Greg Thomas. We normally play courses in Lawrence, but wanted to try out the Longview course at Perry Lake. And what a great idea that turned out to be. The course is challenging and one of the best-marked I've seen (in my limited experience). The pads and baskets are also perfectly maintained. It has some of the most extreme holes - in terms of shooting through canopies uphill for successive shots - that one can imagine on a course. The layout among the boulders, ponds, and trees also makes for one of the prettiest settings imaginable. Another big plus for Longview is that the pars are correct. Birdies and eagles can be had, but shots have to be well-played for those to occur. Due to the extreme terrain, plan to spend around 3 hours per 18 holes. This is not a course like Centennial - which, while challenging - is a course that can be run in about and hour and twenty minutes. At Longview, you will finish feeling as if you had a real workout from tromping up and down hills, over ravines and streams, and around ponds and boulders.

Based on the fact that I can't wait to get back to Perry to play the course again, I'd have to give it an A+ rating.

Now, I think I'm going to go and do my last run in the snow for the season. . .