Monday, March 28, 2011

A Victory of Sorts

Yesterday afternoon, on a crisp cool Sunday, I jogged to the start line of the W&OD Trail 5K race, 1/2 mile from my house. The W&OD is a 40-mile long flat 8-foot wide asphalt trail extending from Arlington to beyond Leesburg, a paved-over railroad bed that cuts across my back property line at MP7.

Because I hadn't raced in a year and a half and I'd only been back to running for eight weeks, I was as nervous as any novice runner. My 5K time used to average about 24 minutes, but now I was worried I was confronting my new running paradigm of a 30-minute 5K race, unexplored territory for me.

I had hydrated all day, eaten a huge bowl of pasta for lunch and quaffed an energy drink before leaving my house. I punched my Garmin when the starter gun went off and moved out with the crowd.

The first quarter-mile went by at an 8:50 pace, which I knew was too fast. I slowed as I climbed the bicycle bridge over Leesburg Pike at the half-mile mark, my breathing ragged.

I hit the western turnaround at Shreve Road at the mile mark in 9:32. I was too tired already to do the math to see if that pace would be good enough for a sub-30 minute 5K. (I needed to maintain a 9:39 pace, which I should have calculated before I went to the race.)

We ran over the bicycle bridge again as I enviously looked at my house from its height, feeling like just packing it in and going home. I used the downhill off the bridge to pick up my pace and I passed the second mile marker in 9:15 (18:47).

A fog of fatigue enveloped me as we ran eastbound past the start/finish line and proceeded to the far turnaround at Little Falls Road. I felt like I was crawling as I retraced the half mile back to the finish line, passing the 3rd mile marker in 9:51 (28:36).

My time was 29:12 (9:24), a PW but still exhilarating since I achieved my goals of a) finishing b) running all the way and c) breaking 30 minutes. I was 89/183, tenth out of sixteen in my age group.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I did my tuneup for tomorrow evening's W&OD Trail 5K by running 4 miles this morning on the race course, which happens to go right by my back yard. I ran slowly, a maintenance run.

Slowly as in 43:45 for four miles (10:58), and I passed the 5K mark at 33:05. Yeesh.

I wasn't feelin' it today, but I finished the run. A lady passed me by and I caught up to her and chatted with her for a bit. Irina, she runs 3 miles two days a week every week (she had a German accent so I imagined she never misses a scheduled run) and because I could maintain her pace she was impressed with the fact a) I was doing four miles & b) I had only been running since January.

Irina was a steady runner but she actually wasn't that fast. But she pulled me along for a mile and then I let her go and turned around to come back, grateful to revert to a slow shuffle.

I love talking to unknown runners that I fall in with. Many are friendly and if they aren't, I pull away or drop back. Runners with headphones on I never bother with. I ignore them because I think it's a) selfish & b) dumb to run with headphones. Why not just pound out the mileage on a dreadmill for all the good being out in the open air does for these runners, enclosed in their own little cocoon of sound. These runners always display their annoyance if you try to talk with them by making a big show of yanking out their headphones to see what you want.

My walk-to-run training program spent all of January getting our walking up to 4 miles at our Saturday sessions but currently we're on a 3-minutes-running 2-minutes-walking gig. I don't tell them that I run the four miles the other three times I run each week, albeit at a slow pace.

I guess you could say that I have actually been back to running for about six weeks since my year-and-a-half layoff due to an injury which is still bothering me. I don't have any expectations for the 5K race tomorrow. It's late in the afternoon and I hate waiting around all day to run a race. I can leave my house and jog to the start line in six minutes though.

Friday, March 25, 2011

W&OD 5K.

I couldn't talk anybody at work into going for a 4-mile run yesterday at noon with me; perhaps I should change deodorant. So I ran on the National Mall alone, 4.2 miles in 41:42.

My first race since the Army 10-Miler 2009 (where I got injured) is upcoming this weekend. A 5K where I'm dreading I'll go over 30 minutes for the first time.

I'm in a Walk-To-Run 5K Program, which frankly is the only reason I've ramped up my weekly mileage, which was zero for all of 2010 because of my chronic injury, to 16. The program participants, all non-runners, suspect I'm an interloper and can actually run.

My coach e-mailed everyone to say, "Peter L. is running the W&OD 5K this weekend but he has lots of racing experience so I'm not worried about him." (No one will be there to "support" me.) Can I break 30 minutes?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yeah I been running a little...

A year and a half ago, I was atop the world. I had just finished running the Army Ten Miler as the race's official 9:00 pace group leader, having completed my running club's fifth consecutive 10-miler training program as a site director and certified running coach, a program I had formerly directed and largely developed. I was president of my running club.

I got injured in the race and haven't raced since then. I haven't run since then. I was unsupported on the club's board, running afoul of some young Alpha Dog twenty-somethings in the club's IT department, one of whom in my opinion is an actual paranoid schizophrenic with narcissistic affectations, and this crew, with the active participation of a young disgruntled club VP and the hands-off acquiescence of the other VPs, literally ran me off the board (I resigned when I could not get any requested information from them, especially about suspicious transactions in the club's payment-receiving account). I let my club membership lapse, and 95% of my "friends" from a decade of running don't have anything to do with me anymore.

In a year of injury-induced inactivity, I put back on practically all of the weight I had lost and kept off during ten years of running. I almost died in an accident. I stopped blogging.

Well, I'm trying to come back from "there." I check in regularly with my family (meaning my five siblings, my children are alienated from me as a result of my Western-style nuclear divorce). I attend church regularly.

In January I started participating in a walk-to-run 5K program which has caused me to drop a little weight and get my running schedule up to 16 miles a week (my injury still bothers me). I have my target 5K race coming up in three days.

Four days ago I ran four miles on the race course in 40:35 (10:09 pace), a slow time for me back in the days of old but still my best outing in a year and a half. My 5K time would have been about 31:50, a far cry from my PR set a decade ago of 21:58. I have run dozens of 5Ks and not one has ever been over thirty minutes.

Things change. Or perhaps the more things change, the more they remain the same.

We'll see.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Children

I posted this fare-thee-well recently on Face Book to my three sons, all now adults, who have rejected for years all of my attempts to re-connect with them after a contentious divorce. During the nuclear litigation, these minors were the supposed plaintiffs in a secondary lawsuit brought against me that the court found to be an unconscionable harassment petition, an attempt by their Mother to interfere with my relationship with my children.

The court sanctioned and assessed costs against her of nearly $50,000, but I never saw my children again. That's why it's against public policy to allow children to be parties in domestic law litigation.

Moby Dick ends with the ship sinking and dragging a living part of heaven to hell with her. "Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled 5,000 years ago." Fare thee well JJ&D, live long and prosper and I'll always love you.

Love Dad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Danny

My youngest and most easily manipulated child, Danny was in my opinion turned against me during the divorce by his Mother with the active assistance of the charlatan court-appointed psychologist, who rewarded him with an X-Box for his cooperation, and several other paid-gun agenda-driven social service "professionals." These adults in my opinion whipsawed this tender lad emotionally to the point where he expressed some violent ideation.

Do you think domestic law in America is broken?

The last time any of my sons communicated with me was in 2007 when Danny sent me a letter asking me to provide for payment of 100% of his college tuition and fees, which I am doing. None of my sons has communicated with a single family member on my side in over seven years, a hallmark of PAS.

When Danny passed into maturity upon his birthday last month, I posted the following fare-thee-well to him on FB after he had ignored my friend request to him for over a year and left unanswered the personal message I sent to him on that medium. His Mother, a first-grade school teacher, refuses to give me the address of any of my three children.

My youngest child Danny, now a man, was a special boy. Neither the fastest nor the most athletic on the field, he had a unique ability in sports. At fullback during one football game he twice broke through the line and ran for TDs on long runs, displaying nice juking moves and a good sense of angling to the corner of the end zone to outrun faster pursuers. But his best play came at the end of the game when, as the outside linebacker on the weak side, he came all the way across the field to the strong side and knocked the opposing ball carrier out of bounds at the two-yard line to preserve a 13-7 lead. What a team player. Happy Birthday Danny, have a good and prosperous life and I was blessed to know you as a child.

Love Dad. [I am sorry for what those "professionals" do to children and that I was unable to protect any of you from it. I love you JJ&D.]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Johnny

My middle child Johnny has graduated from college I think, at least he used up all four years of the pre-paid college tuition plan that I purchased for his benefit. For years, the annual statement from the plan administrator is the only scrap of information I've received about my three children after a contentious divorce a decade ago.

Sober, responsible, earnest Johnny most resembled me with his heartfelt nature, exhibiting a great concern for others (a trait in a child that is subject to gross manipulation by conniving adults) and displaying an interest in military history. As a boy, I used to conduct massive battles with little green army men in my bedroom; Johnny did the same in our yard when he was a child. Occasionally I'll come across a long-lost faded little plastic soldier in the yard and it breaks my heart as I think about Johnny.

He is an adult now and the choices he makes are his own now. I recently posted the following fare-thee-well to him on FB.

My middle son Johnny was most like me, his Mother observed. My favorite description of him came from his football coach at a year-end team banquet: "Johnny was always nearby whenever he wasn't in the game, and he had a question about every move I made and an answer for every question I asked." The first child of mine to act upon his desperate love for his Mother and end a relationship with me, I miss him. I love you Johnny, wish you a happy and prosperous life and was blessed to know you.

Love Dad.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dear Jimmy

My youngest child recently had a birthday that took him beyond his twenty-first year. Now it is time for my children to contact me, if they ever care to, rather than for me to always be fruitlessly reaching out to them on every major holiday. They know where I live. (Their Mother refuses to give me their addresses, or indeed, any information at all about them.)

I last heard from any of them in 2007. I last saw any of them in 2006. That's PAS in the West.

Losing your children is devastating. The only thing that has allowed me to move on after years of personal devastation is a growing Christian belief. I attend church now frequently and reflect upon the inscrutable nature of faith.

I forgive them all, even the scumbag divorce lawyers who, in my opinion, preyed upon children and were the enablers of this family-wrecking.

Last month my oldest child had a birthday and I published the following fare-thee-well to him on FB. Those posts, limited to 220 characters, are necessarily short.

I remember Jimmy Lamberton dribbling down the pitch with two minutes to go in a scoreless championship game while being jostled by a midfielder, juking around a sweeper and scoring upon the previously unbeaten goalie. It was a beautiful run. He had just joined the McLean Sting, a select soccer team, which thus won the tourney. Happy birthday Jimmy Rogers and have a good and prosperous life. I'm going to miss you but I was blessed to be your father.

Love Dad.