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Long Scraggy - First Race of the Season

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I have decided to run the Long Scraggy race, which is scheduled for April 30th. My friend John is the race organizer. He called me to clue me in about the race . The Long Scraggy starts off with a 20% grade for 1.4 miles and then it gets hard. My friend John is hardcore. He is training for THE race - the fearsome Hardrock 100 mile trail race. Take a look at this bad boy:


The Hardrock 100 is one of the "Rocky Mountain Slam" series. Other "Slam" races include: Leadville Trail 100, Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Bighorn 100, or the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run.

Here is a blurb from the Leadville Trail 100:

"The legendary "Race Across The Sky" 100-mile Run is where it all started 29 years ago.
This is it. The race where legends are created — and spirits are crushed. 100 miles of extreme Colorado Rockies"

Take a look at the Leadville Trail 100 site:


Thankfully registration is closed for the 100 mile races. I am thinking about doing the LT100 10K run.


I have a lot of work to do to take on the Scraggy and the LT100 10K. I find that registering for a race is a great motivator. I did hill repeats today. On road where I live is a1/2 mile long hill that varies from 20% to 30%. It got pretty cold and windy (20F with 20 mph winds) while I was running. I jumped on the elliptical when I got home. I have also starting watching my nutrition far more carefully.

Here is a quote from the release for the 10K:

".... I have recently had a complete examination, preferably including a stress electrocardiogram, and even if I have, I have been warned that these races require special care. I have also been advised that I may be exposed to physical injury from a number of natural factors, including but not limited to snow on the trail, lack or overabundance of water, lightning, wild animals..."

These factors also include, among other things, the fact that I may become injured or incapacitated in a location where it is difficult or impossible for the event’s management to get required medical aid to me in time to avoid physical injury or even death."

I like the slogan of the Leadville races:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKEITHO 2/28/2011 4:49PM

    That last quote says it all! Sounds like your races, while still pretty tough by my standards, are much more reasonable.

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CAROLCRC 2/28/2011 8:11AM

    You do set ambitious goals! Way to go! I love the disclaimers on trail races - there's one near us that cautions that the trail runs along a gorge and you could fall in and it would be really difficult to extract you - basically says you need to make it back to the trailhead to get medical assistance...

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TEDDYBABE 2/28/2011 7:31AM

    Okay now! Going to follow this. The doctor I work for is doing a 100 mile cycle race in July in Leadville. Maybe same trail? Mountain biking. Have a good Monday! Have added you as a friend!!

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    Good luck!! Maybe one day you'll do a 100. (Not me!) I know someone who has done the LV100 and I just do not think I could ever be that dedicated.

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USFBULL 2/27/2011 10:41PM

    Way to go, registering does get the blood flowing and the training a little more sincere. Nicely done emoticon

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Sweet Run Alabama – Bad Run Colorado

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sweet Run Alabama – Bad Run Colorado

Saturday, February 19, 2010

As I write this blog I am flying through the inky blackness on my way home from Alabama. My backside is killing me! I have been sitting all day long. I ran really hard yesterday up some pretty steep terrain. Running hills puts a lot of stress on the glutes and hams. Sitting on a plane is torture on sore glutes and hams. I just paid $7 for a Budwiser in an attempt to get some relief. Just three more hours to go – ouch! Mon Capitan has the seat belt light on due to some clear air turbulence. I think he is clearly over-reacting. The plane seems to be flying fine to me. I need to get up and walk around!

Thursday, February 18, 2011

My work schedule allowed me to take Thursday morning off. I headed for another trail run in Oak Mountain State Park. The weather was still beautiful. I had spied a trail during my last visit that I thought would be reasonably flat.

As I entered the park I saw a guy running on the side of the road. He was running smoothly and looked quite fast. I am reminded of an old running adage; “Not all runners that look fast are fast, and not all runners that look slow are slow.”

I think I fall into the category of a runner that looks slow and is slow.

The trail I thought was flat was not flat. The trail had a little rise at the beginning and just kept getting steeper. The good news is that the trail surface was pretty smooth and Alabama has real breathable air.

At any rate, I did not run well. Here are my performance figures for a 5K training run:

Time: 29:13
Average pace: 9:21 min/mile
Fastest Pace: 5:45 min/mile for ½ mile (I only have ½ mile of real speed)
Slowest Pace: 12:24 min/mile for ¾ mile (I have an infinite amount of slow)

Temperature: 72 degrees F
Wind: Calm
Humidity: 41%
Average grade 10%
Maximum Grade 24%

So what happened? Why so slow? I found that my legs gave out. This is new for me. At high altitude my lungs give out. The hills at Oak Mountain State Park were just steep enough to wear me down. Plus I think running at a 5:45 min/mile pace on a flat stretch did not do my stubby legs any good.

Oh joy, Mon Capitan just announced the plane will be landing shortly. More later….

Sunday, Feb 20th

I am back home in the nose-bleed zone in Colorado. I just attempted to go running. I think a week in Alabama has totally wimped me out. The lack of oxygen was less fun than I had hoped. A lot of people run for fitness. I run to feel that I have accomplished something. The more adverse the conditions, the better feel when the run is over. A lot of runners have the same feelings.

The temperature was a balmy 26 °F. I decided to run in shorts. Big mistake! I managed to get in about 1 ½ miles and then beat a hasty retreat to house to finish my cardio workout on my elliptical trainer. My running pace was really bad at about 12 minute mile. I was cold and the lack of air I felt most acutely.

Temperature 26 °F
Feels Like 12 °F
Max Wind Speed 15 mph
Max Gust Speed 25 mph
Average Humidity 84%
Snow Depth: 20”

I am back home. Are there really places that are warm? Alabama seems like a distance memory.

Enjoy the photos!

It is always good to know where you are

Oak Mountain State Park low water crossing - the geese took thier own sweet time getting out of the way

Mico rental car at trail head - snappy little thing

Surprisingly steep trail

Nice and smooth

Nice little bridge on the trail

Trail starts to climb, and climb, and climb.

On my way home in a tiny plane - see the guy on the ground - he would bump his head on the wing if not careful! This plane was a flying torture chamber!

Home again. Toto, we are not in Alabama anymore!

Rocky Mountain High!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEUSMACHINA 2/27/2011 12:53AM

    I still can't get over your hills, man. 24% gradient??? Sweet baby J!!

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ELASTI-GIRL 2/26/2011 10:22PM

    I hear you on runners and how they look vs. how they are. My dh watched me run a 5k race and commented that if I ran as fast as I looked, I'd have come in first! lol. I didn't. I'm short and have quick leg turnover...for a short person...so I give the impression I'm roadrunner...but I'm not!

Great pics and post. Hope your legs have recovered :)


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LKEITHO 2/26/2011 9:51PM

    Glad you made it back alright, even if it was back to the snow!

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L3DESIGNS 2/26/2011 9:35PM

    Welcome Home!

I'm planning on running in shorts tomorrow... but it'll be much warmer than Freezing... Not so sure about running in Florida... Not too sure about 15C and 95% Humidity... the Humidity might do me in... I've been running in 0-5C with much lower humidity levels....

I'm sure you'll acclimatize quickly to "home"

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    Welcome back to Colorado! I always miss the thin air, and welcome it when I get home from a trip somewhere that is usually sea-level.

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Power Running and Alabama

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saturday, February 12th 2011 – Power Runner

Last Saturday I stopped by Keep in Touch Hairstyling and Message here in Bailey, Colorado, to buy my wife a one hour massage for Valentine’s Day. There was woman sitting in the waiting area wearing a windbreaker style warm-up jacket and matching pants. The masseuse, Jane, had to go get me change. I struck up a conversation with the fit-looking tanned woman , “You look like a runner.” She replied, “I am, indeed.” I said, “I know I don’t look like one - but I am a runner too.” She then said the nicest thing, “Oh, I think you look like a runner. You look like a power runner to me.” I had no idea what she meant but it sounded good to me. I said, “You look like a distance runner - marathon and ½ marathons.” She confirmed my suspicion. She told me she lived in the mountains and was a trail runner. She mentioned some Marathon trail runs. I am a trail runner too. I am only good to 5 or 10k. I am fast for really short distances like ½ mile. I guess that means I am a power runner – all speed and no endurance.

Sunday, February 13th 2011 – Planes, Planes and More Planes

I am flying to Birmingham, Alabama today. I am writing this part of my blog on a plane. My flight took off at 6:45am. I had to get up at 2:15am to make my flight. I live in the boonies. I am flying on a Embraer 190, which is a relatively small plane.

I have to make a connection in Milwaukee to Charlotte, NC. Then I catch another connection from Charlotte to Birmingham. This is the only way I could get a flight that was within company policy. Plane travel has gotten rather expensive. I had to check my bag. My Garmin 305 timer and my running shoes are in my checked bag. I really hope my bag makes all the connections. I really don’t want to buy a new timer and new shoes. I am really looking forward to running in Alabama. I checked out the area and there is a great looking place to run called Oak Mountain State Park. The trail descriptions sound really good. (BTW – by some miracle my bag actually made it to Birmingham)

Tuesday, February 15th 2011 – Running in Alabama

The company that I am working with here in Birmingham had to make a bunch of fixes to their computer system before I could do my thing. In other words, I got to take the morning off. Although I will have to work some late hours, I took advantage of the time off to go running! I decided to make a short drive to Oak Mountain State Park. This park is very pretty and devoid of ice and snow. Here was the weather when I was running:

Wind: SE at 3 mph
Humidity: 21%

These conditions are ideal and felt great! Last time I ran in Colorado there was snow on the ground the wind was gusting to 20 mph, the temperature was 24 degrees and the humidity was 74%.

I found a gorgeous trail in the Oak Mountain State Park. The trail was in reasonably good shape with a few rocks here-and-there. The trail climbed from 500 feet to 1,150 in about 1.4 miles, which is a solid 12% to 15% grade. The trail flattened out to about a 6% to 8% grade and was very scenic. I ran a total 3.12 miles (5K) in 29:18, which is about a 9:17 min/mile. I didn’t run as fast as I could. I took it very easy and just enjoyed myself. I really had an excellent time and can hardly wait to see what I can do if I run flat-out.

Pretty trail in Oak Mountain State park Alabama

Very Scenic Trail in Oak Mountain State Park -Beautiful Run

Just For comparison here is a Colorado trail - they don't call the Colorado Mountains "Rocky" for nothing!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RWALTON730 2/18/2011 11:24AM

    WOW only 21% humidity in Bama??? Being from MS, humidity that low in the south is almost unheard of! Usually a low humidity day is in the 60-80% range. You got lucky on that one. The trail is beautiful. Enjoy your time in the south.

True G.R.I.T.S (Girl Raised In The South)

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CAROLCRC 2/16/2011 7:59AM

    Running clothes and extra underwear always go in the carryon along with any electronics! Great trails you had to run, and I love the image conjured up by "Power Runner"

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L3DESIGNS 2/16/2011 4:18AM

    Love the plane! Oh and the trail looks great too!

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LKEITHO 2/15/2011 9:16PM

    The park looks great! And your times running steep trails like that continue to amaze me. Hope the trip home goes well!

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    The park looks very nice. Looks like a great change of pace! I could really dig those temps myself. Have a great time while you can. We have some spring like weather heading our way here in PA and I can't wait.

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ELYMWX 2/15/2011 6:45PM

    I've got a little black case (a cheap pencil case that I picked up for $2) that I put all my electronic accessories (chargers, cords, etc) into so they're not loose in my computer backpack. When I'm traveling, the Garmin and its charger go in there so it's always in my carry-on. Nothing I can do about the shoes, although these days I travel in an older pair of Cumulus 11's so I could still go running in a pinch...

Enjoy your time in 'bama. Those trails look beautiful. One of these days I should post some pictures of my trails...

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CHRISTINECAN 2/15/2011 5:46PM

    I, too, envy you your trail running, but I want to keep running and am prone to injury on trails. I have lived vicariously through your blog, thanks.

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SUZWARNR 2/15/2011 5:06PM

    Wow, that looks so nice. Have a great time! I'm not a trail runner. I've tried a couple time and even with being really careful, almost twisted my ankle. I'm going for distance this year and will be training for a half in the fall. My advice next time would be to put your shoes and garmin in your carryon. I love my garmin too much. I don't think I could check it.

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Running Slow in Snow

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Winter is messing with me! I finally get healthy and healed and the weather takes a huge turn for the worst. I know that old man winter has been beating-up a lot of folks here in the good old USA. Since I purposely live in the Colorado mountains, I really have no right to complain. But seriously, even I don't expect the weather to be this bad! Here is the local forecast for today:


I have tried to run in stuff like this and it is like getting sand blasted with ice crystals. The discouraging part is the temperature is pretty warm at 21 degrees F.

Here is how I am being messed with - last Tuesday the wind was calm and there was no snow but the temperature was -34 degrees F (66 degrees below freezing). When the temperature gets above freezing it is because it is snowing like crazy.

I managed to go running last Thursday, February 3rd. The snow was actually gently falling and the temperature was a balmy 20 degrees F. There was sheet of ice under the snow. The snow was only about 4” deep. I only ran about 2 miles but it was a really hard 2 miles. I managed an 11 min/mile pace, which sounds pretty pokey but felt like I was flying.

Yaktrax on Running Shoes - Required for Winter Running

Feb 3rd, 2011 - Out My Door and Back Again - Nearly Ideal Conditions for February in the Rocky Mountains

Right now, the wind is not too bad, only 15 to 25 mph, and the snow in not coming down too hard . The temperature is quite nice. I think I can get in a run before I am snowed-in and the wind starts to really howl.

More later.....

Blog continuation:

I drove down to the high school track. The high school is at a “low” elevation of about 8,100 feet. I was getting tired of running up and down hills and wanted to run on a flat surface. The wind was gusting to 20 mph but it was not snowing much. The temperature was a nice 24 degrees.

I decided to warm-up and then do some speed work. I find a track a good place to do speed work. I ran an easy half mile at a leisurely 11 min/mile pace and then did ¼ mile speed intervals. I would slowly jog ¼ mile the run as hard as I could for another ¼ mile. Here are my ¼ mile interval splits:

1st ¼ mile split: 89 seconds (5:56 min/mile pace)
2nd ¼ mil esplit: 89.5 seconds (5:58 min/mile pace)
3rd ¼ mile split: 1:40 seconds (6:41 min/mile pace)
4th ¼ mile split: 1:49 seconds (7:18 min/mile pace)

(Total distance with warm-up: 2.5 miles)

I was clearly getting winded. I decided to be lazy. I walked briskly for a ¼ mile and then hit it really hard for a couple of 1/8 mile sprints.

1st 1/8 mile split: 37.3 seconds (4:59 min/mile pace) - Very fun!
2nd 1/8 mile split: 37.2 seconds (4:58 min/mile pace) - More fun!

I finished up with a nice slow cool down 3/4 mile jog at 13:30 min/mile pace.

(Total distance with cool down: 1:5 miles)

I was pleased with my workout. I ran 4 miles and was able to add some good speed intervals. I was happy with my 1/8 mile intervals. I need to work on the ¼ mile intervals. I got finished before the blowing snow really hit.

This is what the track looked like today.

Wind ripples in the frozen snow.

Snow drifts on the track. Enough bare spots on the track for a good run.

A big storm is coming fast! Does this look cold? It kind of felt cold.

Walking up the stairs to go home. That is one of my tired legs. I am wearing regular Nike running shoes. These shoes are not insulated but my feet are nice and toasty. Only my nose and my cheeks are a bit cold.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARRINGTON5 2/11/2011 9:51AM

    You are one determined man! Even running in the snow, you run much faster than I do. I got cold just looking at your pictures. I'm so glad to hear you are well again. I just wanted to drop by and say Hi. Cynthia

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    Wow! Good for you, that's dedication. I admit that I've done some workouts outside that other's wouldn't attempt because of the conditions. I don't think I could be convinced to do what you did today. Those are the days that I get the snowshoes or XC Skis out. I am ready for Spring!

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DOUGLYE 2/5/2011 10:36PM

    Way to go. 2 mile jog in blowing snow. That's great.
I love those shoe grips. I bought a pair called snow trax. Absolutely necessary for walking on ice.

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LKEITHO 2/5/2011 9:56PM

    You're a better man than I am for getting out there in that weather! Good job!

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RAINTHIEF 2/5/2011 7:29PM

    Those Yak tracks are awesome. I didn't know they made those.

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  What are YAK tracks and where do you get those? How effective are they?

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LOREENYK 2/5/2011 1:40PM

    Have a good run while you can!

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Long May You Run

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I subscribe to Runner's World magazine largely to pick-up hints and tips but, invariably, the magazine ends-up give me a mild identity crisis.

Each month the cover of the magazine features an incredibly fit elite runner. For example the August 2010 issue featured Lisa Knoll, 22, from Ames, Iowa. This beautiful young woman shattered the 10,000 meter collegiate record turning in a 31:18.07! She is also studying veterinarian medicine at the University of Iowa. Good for her. I find this very impressive.

Then I realize, after running for 40 years (I am 54), there are more miles behind me than in front of me. Somehow, I feel somewhat depressed at the thought. Then I realize that at least I have a few more miles in front of me - which takes little sting out of turning from a fast young man into a slow old man.

I have a book called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. The book includes some great quotes. Here a three I really like:

"You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running." -Jack Kirk

"Name any other athletic endeavor where sixty-four-year-olds are competing with nineteen-year-olds. Swimming? Boxing? Not even close. There’s something really weird about us humans; we’re not only really good at endurance running; we’re really good at it for a remarkably long time". -Dr. Dennis Bramble

"Just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are." -Dr. Dennis Bramble

The December 2010 issue of Runner's World magazine had an article about running with music. I was always puzzled why my wife was that only person in the family that would run with an IPod. I don't run with music; nor do any of our children.

Runner's World claimed there were two types of runners; disassociators and associators. A person that is a disassociator likes the distraction of running with music and feel they can run faster and father while listing to music. I personally like the sensation of moving. I like the feeling of my feet hitting the ground, my legs propelling me forward, the beating of my heart and the air filling my lungs. I don't want to be distracted. And I run alone. I am an associator.

However, I like to listen to music before I run. There are a few songs that get me in the mood to run. Here they are:

STEPPENWOLF; BORN TO BE WILD 1967 (Selected Lyrics)




Here is a good link a youtube performance in 1969.


I also like “Speed" by Mongomery Gentry from 2003. Here is the chorus:

"How fast will it go
Can it get me
Over her quickly
Zero to sixty
Can it outrun her memory
Yeah, what I really need
Is an open road
And a whole lot of speed"

Follow this link if you can stand a cheesy commercial prior to the video.


And the best and greatest anthem for runners of all ages:

Long May You Run; Stills-Young Band 1976

We've been through
some things together
With trunks of memories
still to come
We found things to do
in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
have come
With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
Long may you run.

Here are a couple of links to "Long May You Run":

(Olympic Closing Ceremonies)

(Younger Neil Young Performance)

These three songs get me jazzed and ready to go burn-up the county side. And make me feel 22 years old again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Good blog! Love the quotes and the songs. You sound pretty amazing to me. Running for 40 years!? To me, that's awesome. I wish I had started sooner.

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AFRISAM 1/31/2011 12:42AM

    Hi Speedydog

I read the book "Born to Run" last year during my very nerve wracking tapering period before the Comrades marathon and I found it tremendously motivating. And I was happy it had so many South African links (I'm South African).

I sometimes run with music and sometimes not....depending on how I'm feeling. I do find that music gives me added oomph, but only when I'm in the right mood otherwise it's just irritating!

Wishing you many many many more years of good running!

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IRONGRANNIE 1/30/2011 10:58PM

    I am an associator, too! I also enjoy the odd run with my daughter (glad to see she enjoys it too!) But I really like just being there on my own. Music would drive me nuts!

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SAMGERBINE 1/30/2011 8:24PM

    Great blog! So true about being able to run for years, not all sports are like that! :)

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  Hey Bruce!

You're not old... look at your before and after pics! You look amazing. And guess what? All you runners out there, younger and those perceiving themselves to be old, have inspired me to start the Couch to 5k Running Plan. I haven't started yet - just heard of it today. I never thought I'd ever want to be a runner because I never thought I could be one, but this program has honestly made me believe that I can be, and I'm excited about that and ready to do the work to get there - I love new things!

Time passes, and some days we feel it more than others for sure. But you know, my father was 73 when he passed away (I was 17 and he was my world) and I never noticed a gray hair on his head until then. That's because he had no problem with aging - a natural occurrence. He said being old was a decision you made and he decided against it. He was and will forever remain the "youngest" man I've ever known and he would be 103 years old,and still feeling and acting young if he were still here.

I am my Father's daughter, and I feel the same way about life, my age(47 this June), and I will never get "old" either. You are my SparkFriend, so by association, you're simply not allowed to get old!

As far as aging goes, I'd say time has been quite good to you. You've been very good to yourself these past few years and the results are smokin' hot in my humble opinion.

Yesterday is gone and Today is all we have, because Tomorrow never truly comes. Keep on keepin' on Bruce, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and shake that money maker with pride while you burn up the miles....

Take care!

Louise emoticon

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DEUSMACHINA 1/30/2011 3:56PM

    I must be an associator, too. I don't like to run with people, in general. Although I enjoy the odd run with my Mum. I don't like to run with music. I just like to be running and being in the moment.

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LKEITHO 1/30/2011 12:56PM

    Love the songs! I can see how these would get you revved up to run!

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RWALTON730 1/30/2011 12:10PM

    I have the same book and it is a great read. I listen to music when I run, but have found that I truly listen at the beginning and end (cool down) of my runs. I have the ipod playing throughout the run, but I tend to let myself go, enjoying the scenery and giving myself little pep talks. You have some great songs listed here, several are on my ipod. Could some possibly be generational? LOL The Steppenwolf and Stills-Young are two of my faves also.

Don't sell yourself short, in my book you are an elite runner! I can only dream about being in your class someday.


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