Sun 5/21 - AM 95 minutes incl. half marathon

Fourth year of racing the length of the Ashuwilticook, although racing might be putting it too strongly. With the combination of jet lag and the still-dodgy calf strain I wanted to do the minimum required to defend my old fart title. The main and only competition for this, having learned from his head-scratching tactic from three years ago of insisting on leading while setting an irrationally fast early pace, this time glued himself to my shoulder from the outset and refused to budge. After rolling through the first three miles in 18:10, I slowed it down to see if the guy would take the bait which he didn't. Miles 4-9 went in 37:30 and felt like a joke. Calf was not a problem through this although I felt some twinges at around 5 miles. This middle portion of the race went slow enough that two randos behind us caught up and passed my barnacle and I around the 7 mile mark. I was grateful to have someone to follow as the usual persistent NW breeze was in effect. Decided to end the suspense at 9 miles and changed gears substantially, although I had to pull back a bit when the calf started barking. The next three miles went in 17:38, a pace I'd like to think I could have done for the whole thing had I not been dealing with a muscle strain. By mile 12 the barnacle was far enough behind that I couldn't see him. The calf was feeling increasingly frayed however and I had to put the brakes on for the final mile which I was planning on doing anyway but maybe not to the degree that I did. 13th mile went in 6:40 or so and the final bit from there was a jog. Finished feeling not particularly tired, but aggravated the calf more than I had thought which was disappointing. Mission accomplished nonetheless.

Sat 5/20 - AM 45 minutes easy

Puttered around Maynard and the edge of Area 51 with various stops along the way for scrounging. Sunny day but thankfully not as hot and humid as yesterday when we returned to mid-summer conditions. It'll take a while to bounce back from the travel. Need a vacation from my vacation, ha.

Fri 5/19 - off

Gifted six hours by the time zone fairy after the most tolerable of the few transatlantic flights I've taken. Still a beating. After a few hours of errands it was nap time, which wound up lasting the better part of 12 hours. Slept through dinner which is saying something.

5/12-5/18 France

Arrived in Paris Friday morning, fresh off Thursday morning's long hard workout and not sleeping worth a damn on the plane. Needless to say this set things up for a fairly exhausted feeling first few days. Runs as follows:

Fri 5/12 - Easy 45 minutes or so with our host in the Pyrenean hinterlands. Flat and mostly smooth dirt tracks through an idyllic agrarian setting. Not exactly what I was expecting but nice nonetheless.

Sat 5/13 - 60 minute loop from the Col d'Aspin down to Lac Payolle and then back up. Down and back up in this case meaning descending a bit over 1000' and coming back up on what was a shorter and therefore much steeper route. Punishingly, soul-crushingly steep at times. Pics below.

Sun 5/14 - 70 minutes, longer version of Friday's route exploring the fields in more depth. From there on to Spain for a visit to San Sebastian and Eibar, soccer match and not getting back until 2 AM.

Mon 5/15 - double, AM 30 minutes very easy, PM 55 minutes progressing the pace to a reasonably quick clip, closest thing to a hard workout the entire week.

Tue 5/16 - AM 80 minutes mostly easy but got the pace going a bit near the end.

Wed 5/17 - AM 35 minutes easy in Pau, where we mistakenly decided it would be a good idea to rent a room and spend the night before flying back to Paris. Should have stayed in the hinterlands one more day but oh well. Hindsight 20/20. Quite fried by this point. Planned on running again in the evening in Paris but that wasn't happening after a surprisingly hellish journey from Orly to our final lodging near Bois de Vincennes.

Thu 5/18 - double, AM 50 minutes easy in Bois De Vincennes which I missed on my last visit here. Excellent spot for running, just ask the groups of police cadets running in formation. Reminiscent somewhat of the refuge back home. PM 45 minutes easy with the CH, Coulee Vert to Lac Daumesnil. I thought I might do something uptempo, if only a few strides, but it wasn't to be as I was totally fried after a day spent strolling through the Marais and Pere Lachaise. Wind driven rain added to the fun.

Calf felt quite good by the end of the week, after withstanding the insult of climbing back up to the Aspin from the lake. Weather was fantastic in the Pyrenees, sticky with evening rains for the 36 hours we were in Paris. No recounting of an international trip would be complete without pictures of course:
 Payolle from the col d'Aspin

 the lake

 on the way to Luchon

 halfway through the 788m long pedestrian/bike tunnel in San Sebastian

 the beach

 snacks at the game, all in Basque

 hike to waterfall

 Views like this a dime a dozen in the foothills
 hiking up the Pibeste near Lourdes

 text in three languages, one of which is new to me
 farmhouse low on the ridge, not easily accessed
 much lesser of two evils won
 Jardin de Reuilly along the Coulee Vert/Viaduc des Artes/Promenade Plantee


 many many tombs
welcome to la Ville Lumiere


Thu 5/11 - AM 80 minutes incl. 2x6k

Lincoln. After making it through last night's glorified strides in one piece I went through with a threshold workout not much more than 12 hours later. The overall distance I wanted to cover was understood in advance, how many reps and how long each one would be was up in the air. In the end the relatively relaxed pace at the outset got me thinking I could go with just two reps of six laps apiece. Six minute recovery between them. Pace was controlled, with the first rep going 3:55-4:01 per lap and the second rep laps ranging from 3:52-3:56. Calf held together until the fifth lap of the second rep when I noticed twinges on uneven ground. Held enough back that I wouldn't do any kind of massive damage to it. Warmer than the past few days but still windy and as the morning progressed the clouds of course showed up.

Wed 5/10 - PM 70 minutes incl. 12x200

Feeling a bit more spry and the calf is seeming to improve by the day, as such I tested out running on the track for the first time in a long time. Untimed glorified strides which felt reasonably smooth, with 200m recoveries. Got a little ahead of myself on the last one when I squeezed it down a bit too much the last 50 and felt the beginnings of a twinge in the calf. Made time for post-run stretching and rolling despite all manner of competing interests.

Tue 5/9 - 70 minutes easy

Rail bed to South Acton, back via Levittown. Hoping I'd feel a little better than I actually did, irrational optimism in hindsight. Still recovering from Sunday's big day. Weather still gross, any time the sun peeks out it generates immediate cloud cover which coalesces and swallows up the sky.