Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can and Will, the eternal struggle

I know I can bust out a marathon.  I’ve done it before.  If I continue at my current pace, I know I’ll finish the marathon in January.  I can set my pace at 13 minutes per mile and grind out a slow, steady, 5:30 marathon without any major problems.  It won’t be pretty, but I won’t die trying.


The thing is, I don’t WANT a 5:30 marathon this time around.  LAST time I ran a 5:30 marathon.  I know what that feels like.  I’ve climbed that mountain, looked down and seen the valleys.  I don’t need to spend $100 to run another marathon slowly.  I want to run a little faster race this time. 


This time, I want to finish in the front half of the fourth hour.


But the question isn’t “what can I do?”


The question has NEVER been “what can I do?”


The thing that defines Man is the ability to run for long distance.  Man IS el cazador, el coreador.  Physiologically, the issue of “can” has never been in question.


However, the fact remains that much of the population of the world today has never run 26.2 miles in its entire life, much less 26.2 miles in one shot.  But even for them the question is not whether or not they can.


The question that begs an answer is “what WILL I do?”


Will I do the extra conditioning needed to extend my endurance so that I can maintain a 10 minute pace for 26.2 miles?

Will I do the extra training required to mentally prepare for the distance?


I know I can run a marathon.  I know a person can run a marathon in under 4:30—hell, people run the marathon in 2:05.


WILL I run a marathon in under 4:30?  Do I have the will to push through that time barrier?


I think so.  Time’s coming to prove it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The whole half recap

This weekend’s half marathon is really the story of 3 races.  I started out strong, I fell into a nice, steady pace that I’m generally comfortable with and was cruising along for awhile at that pace, then things started to go south around the 10 mile mark and times started to drag, my quit caught up to me and I started to run/walk the last few miles, but managed to dig down and fight through the last mile and change to finish stronger than I had been dragging through those last few miles.


All in all, not a bad run, but not even close to a good run, either.


Final time (per my watch):  2:29

1.       9:14

2.       9:44  (end race 1)

3.       10:18

4.       10:24

5.       10:44

6.       10:15

7.       11:10

8.       11:13

9.       11:25

10.   12:13 (end race 2)

11.   13:58

12.   14:02

13.   13:13

.03:   1:01


Hydration was a problem.  Dietary preparation was a problem.  GI preparation was a problem (need to teach the gut what to expect as far as Gatorade on the run).  Training was too light.  The list can go on and on.


I’m not overly satisfied with the run, but I’m not devastated, either.  I knew going in it was going to be a challenging run, and I knew I was a little underprepared.  I didn’t expect it to be THAT challenging, though.  I thought I was going to finish about 10 minutes faster.  Oh well, I know what the road ahead looks like now.  I have a LOT of work to do over the next 2 weeks to get ready for the 25k, if I’m going to run that race strong.


The preliminary goal for the 25k (which is 15.5 miles), is 2:40.  That’s slightly slower than 10:00/mile.  That’s doable.  At least it SHOULD be doable.  A 10:00/mile marathon is 4:19:00.  That’s doable, too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is IT in you?

Admittedly, this has been a bad couple of weeks running.


After the 10 for Texas (which was a GREAT run), I got in a good 3 miles on Monday for recovery, but the speed work on Wednesday had to be cut short for a plethora of reasons.  Then I went down with some kind of stomach bug.  Then Tuesday was the first day I felt good enough to run again, so I got in a really good run that day.  Class on Wednesday ran long and cut out that run.  Company came over last night and precluded a run.  This morning I overslept my alarm and didn’t get out to run.  Tonight I’ve got a fall festival thing and likely won’t run (I might elliptical, though).  Tomorrow is the day before the half marathon, so I might only run 3, if I run any at all.


This has been a bad couple of weeks.


But I’m STILL going to go hit the half marathon on Sunday and see what happens.

The timeline will go like this:

5:00am, wake up

5:30am, eat—egg, toast, peanut butter, banana

6:00am, head to downtown.

6:30am, head to the starting area, mill around for a little while, chat with some real runners.

7:00am, gun


10:30am, church.  Here I get to be the liturgist, so the run needs to 1, go well enough that I can finish in less than 3 hours (shouldn’t be a problem), and 2, not be so exhausting that I can’t stand, sit, and be coherent while reading the scripted cues.


This will be a fun weekend.


So, the question is, even without really rigorous training over the last two weeks, is IT in me?


I think it is.  I’m so ready for this.  That antelope better be well rested.

The Tuesday run

Tuesday was the first day that I felt good enough to run since last Wednesday when I pulled the plug in the middle of my speed workout.


Here’s how it went.


Around lunch time, this drum cadence starts throbbing in my head. 


DA  -  DA  -  D-DA CH-CH  DA  -  DA  -  D-DA CH-CH  DA  -  DA  -  D-DA CH-CH 


Again and again and again…

Then my legs start getting all tingly and I just want to rip off my shirt and run.


But I left my bag at home because I was feeling pretty junky in the morning again.


Nonetheless, I jam on my headphones and start listening to my pre-race music mix—lots of RATM, Beastie Boys, some Black Eyed Peas…  mostly stuff with driving beats that can be jammed LOUDLY.  No drum cadence, though.  And the drums are getting louder.


The 6:00 whistle sounds and I’m out the door like a bullet.  Flying through traffic, weaving in and out of every open space on the freeway, doing my level best to get home NOW.


In the door, kiss the missus, kiss the boy, into the bedroom and back out wearing my running gear like Clark Kent in a phone booth.  My feet barely touched the carpet.


I jam out 9:30 miles over my 3.64 mile route (a route which I have been calling my “three and a half mile route” and believing it is actually 3.5 miles even though, for some inexplicable reason, it never dawned on me that 3.64 is not, in fact, 3.5 miles and is, in fact, 3.64 miles…) and made it home good and tired and ready for dinner.


The drums had gone silent.


Later that night, I hear them again—WHAT IS THAT SONG?!?


I go on to the electronic answer box and start looking.

And looking…

And looking…


Find nothing until the next morning when I chance across the current Gatorade commercial.


Yup.  That’s right.  It’s the song from the Gatorade commercial.  It actually has an artist, and a title (Lock it Up) and you can find it on You Tube and download the mp4 file and even a ring tone.


So thank you crass commercialism and marketing.  One of your commercials has made its way into my pre-race mix and I’m jamming THAT along with my other sets of music.


Is it in you?  It sure as hell is in me…  Bring on the half marathon.  I eat 13.1 miles for breakfast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The morning after the morning after

I’m still not sore.

110 miles into my training and I have yet to wake up sore from any of my runs.


I’ve had tightness, sure.  But that would go away after about 15 seconds of walking into the other room.  There’s also been injury-type pain, but that’s a different problem than the lactic-acid buildup muscle soreness.  To date, there have been no lingering, non-injury related ill effects from any run that I have gone on.  What’s up with that?


Saturday morning was the 10 for Texas.  It was the first timed 10 mile run I’ve ever participated in, so a PR was guaranteed.  It was also the farthest I’ve run this season.  Fuel stops were set at each even mile, plus the 9 mile mark.  The weather was perfect.  It was a VERY well put together event and the course was pretty decent.


I had serious doubts going in to this run.  I wasn’t worried so much about my conditioning, because I know I can cruise at 11 or 12 minute paces for quite awhile.  However, I wasn’t sure I WOULD cruise at that pace, or any pace, for that amount of time.  In other words, the worry isn’t whether or not I can, the worry is whether or not I will.  My quit has been a near constant running companion for the last several weeks and the notion of running for more than an hour still seems pretty absurd.  The goal was to finish in the range of 1:30 – 1:45.  Worse than that would have been a bit disappointing, better would have been unfathomable.  I get nervous the day before, arrive early and still nervous, see some folks I recognize and am still nervous, run back to my car and I’m still nervous, lose the folks I recognized and I’m still nervous, take a leak and I’m still nervous, race to the starting line still nervous, the gun goes off and…  no more nerves.  That was pretty cool.


For the first mile I’m picking through the crowd waiting for things to thin out.  Eventually the crowd thins and around the half mile point I find two guys who keep the exact same cadence and stride length as me.  They’re also keeping a 9:30 pace for the first mile and keyed it back to a 9:45 for the second mile.  I slow down and grab some water at the refreshment stand, and they scoot on ahead, but not out of sight.  I begin to reel them in at about the 2.5 mile area and catch them at the 3.5 mile area.  At 4 miles I slow down again and grab some water, they scoot ahead.  I was feeling good and keeping a nice, steady pace.  A half mile later I spot the JuneBug up ahead of me, cruising along like the machine she is.  She has an equipment malfunction and we briefly chat, then she pours on the speed and leaves me behind.  At about 5.5 miles I catch her and my two pacers and push by them to get a little space at the water stand.  They blow by me anyway and for another mile or so I keep them in my sights, but lose them forever between mile 7 and 8.


The first 7 miles were really uneventful.


For what it’s worth, 6 miles is the longest I’ve run in a single stretch this year.  I’ve doubled up some runs in a day and run more than 7, but never at a single stretch.  The fact that I was able to clear the first 6+ without really slowing down much or stopping to walk at all (except while drinking, but that’s allowed), gave me a significant sense of accomplishment already.


Around mile 7, though, is where I started to feel the distance.  I began checking my watch to gauge how far until the next water stand (keeping steady 10 minute miles really makes it easy to estimate distance).  I started talking to myself to keep the focus and energy up.  I started counting breaths and paces to maintain focus.  I began pulling out as many tricks as I knew how to pull out, plus I was keenly aware that my speed was slowly dropping.  I wasn’t at all out of breath and my legs weren’t really tired yet, but I was beginning to feel it all the same.


This is where my quit began talking:  This is too far, no shame in walking, slow down, catch your breath, you have plenty of time to get ready for the half in 2 weeks, just relax, you knew you weren’t ready for this, 7 miles is better than nothing…


Mile 8, water, keep rolling.  Check the watch, focus, focus, check the tank, test the legs with a  little surge, ok that was a big mistake but they’re still responsive, keep pushing, keep pushing, don’t stop, don’t even THINK about stopping, measure the breathing, check the stride, lengthen the step, maintain the pace, doing good, doing good, keep it going.


You’re not going to make it, might as well pack it in now, no need to torture yourself for 2 more miles, just walk/run the rest of the way, you’ve already fought a good fight, you’re just not good enough to finish today, don’t worry about it, look at those guys running so much stronger than you, you don’t even deserve to be on the road with them, why are you even here…


Mile 9 is approaching and I hear music!!  This was just about the best placed water stand on the whole run.  The music was great, THE Jon Walk was there wearing his crown AND gorilla suit with a host of other super heroes.  A quick check and the watch told me I was 90 minutes into the run and WELL within my target of finishing before 01:45:00.  That put a little spring in my step, too. 


I start to push the pace, ever so slightly, which really only serves to get my pace back up to where it was when I started.  I check the breathing, and it’s still good.  I’m keeping a nice, steady cadence breathing out on every other left step.  The rhythm and tempo are keeping strong and steady.  (I’ve long since given up heart monitors and this is the best way I know to measure my exertion level.)  5 minutes in and I see the market square area where the finish line should be.  The problem is I don’t know EXACTLY where the finish line is, so I don’t really know when to kick it into another gear.  I surge just a little, anyway.


And you know what?  The voices have gone silent.

Where’s my doubt?  Where’s my quit?  Silence.  That’s a pretty damn nice sound.


We get on to the curbed streets which means the finish line is close.  I push the pace a little harder.  We turn a corner and I recognize a building.  I push a little harder still.  We turn another corner and there’s the finish line.  I break cadence, switch to the final kick, and press to the finish line.  I stopped getting passed when the curbs showed up and I finally begin passing people on this final stretch.


1:40:50.  10:05/mile pace.


Tasks for the next week and a half:  deepen the tank a little bit more, get at least 1x 10+ mile run, learn how to push through that wall of exhaustion a little harder.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Breaking the Quit

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”


We all know the saying and have probably heard it so many times that it has lost just about all measure of impact.  That’s what clich├ęs are, after all.


But I offer another twist.


We all have at least two forces working in us.  One force drives us forward.  We can call it fight, or pride, guts, determination, stubbornness, or whatever else you want to call it.  It’s the thing in us that makes us get up at 5:00am (or earlier), throw off the warm sheets and slide into the cold running kit to go pound asphalt for 60 minutes every morning.  It’s the thing that pushes us on in 200 degree heat with 100% humidity and mosquitoes the size of chickens swarming about.


But there’s another force working in us.  This force drives us back.  It’s what makes us hit that alarm button just one more time until it’s too late to run.  It’s the force that tells us it’s too hot, or too cold, or we’re too tired.  Or when our lungs are burning, but the legs are churning, we just decide it’s too much.  Call it what you want—doubt, uncertainty, “the wall”, fear, complacency—but I’ll call it my quit. 


I drag my quit around on several of my runs, and I know damn well it’s back there.  Or, maybe I’m not dragging it around so much as it’s stalking me, waiting for me to falter, waiting for me to take the next step at a slightly slower cadence so that it can catch up to me, climb on my back, and whisper in my ear the words I hate to hear:  you’re kidding yourself, you’re not good enough, there’s no way you will accomplish this, you can’t make it, just stop now, stop torturing yourself, what are you trying to prove, who do you think you are, you’re too small for this, you’re too fat, you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough, you’re such a disappointment, you might as well cut your losses now, you don’t want to feel that pain again…  just quit.

Right now I know my quit is a better runner than I am.  I know this to be true because I hear it whispering to me when I run and that insidious whisper drowns out the personal trainer soundtrack and the envelope of complete silence that surrounds me during the most blissful miles.


There will come a point, and I know this to be true as well, when my quit will falter and I’ll be able to look back over my shoulder and see it there, gasping on the side of the path, calling out for ME to wait up.  I don’t know when this point will come, but I know it WILL come.

Because it’s not about the dog in this fight, nor the fight in this dog.  It’s about the quit…  and breaking the quit…  and leaving it broken on the side of the road begging for a ride home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I have been hungry almost non-stop for the last 3 days.  What the hell?!?


Ok, so the speedwork last night was good.  I ran 2x800, then a series of 400s.  The first 800 was an easy pace of nearly 5:00, the second 800 was what I consider to be fast at under 4:00.

I trotted over to the small track and ran one slow lap at a 2:30 pace, then launched into 3 faster laps right at 2:00.  The final lap was another slow one at 2:30.


The intent was to break the 100m mark on my training log.  I thought I was at 97.79 going into the day and needed a cool 2.25 to put me over the century mark.


I was at 96.04 miles.  I was a little pissed off to find that out.  And after I got home I wasn’t allowed to go back out and play.




So, I’m taking the next 2 days off to run the Ten for Texas up in the Woodlands.  I’ll break the 100 mile mark there…  right before the first mile marker.


Oh yea, I’m giving serious consideration to signing up for the Dallas Half in December.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

100 miles, here I come!!

Today (or tomorrow) should be the day I break 100 miles.

Sunday I went out for a rather dreadfully humid 6 miles, but it didn’t leave me shattered.

Yesterday I went out for a not quite so dreadful 3 miles and thought I was running a little harder than I actually did.  I still managed to come close to 00:29:00 for the circuit.  I was a little surprised I ran as well as I did since the afternoon started with a little …  uh …  gastrointestinal problem.  Yea, that’s a polite way to say it.  It had me worried about dehydration and, well, the obvious problem. 


But everything came out ok in the end.


Tonight I have a meeting at school.  Usually I run on Wednesday mornings, but I had trouble sleeping last night.  I’ll probably run two or three tonight and tack on some track work to get the legs good and worn down so that I can sleep like a drunken baby tonight.


If I do my speedwork tonight, then I’ll rest for the remainder of the week in advance of the 10 miler in the Woodlands.


I’ve been giving serious SERIOUS thought to running the Austin marathon in February.  How nutty is that?  For $110, though, I need to do more than think about it.


I also see that the Marathons of Texas program encourages people to hit Dallas, Houston, and Austin in December, January, and February in some combination of the half and full.  Finishers get a premium award.


I can do a half marathon in December.  Hm.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The hardest mile

Often times I find parallels between my running and my religion.  After all, the practice of training runs is in and of itself a religious act where a runner learns the discipline required to maintain faith in the unknown—that is, his ability to achieve the desired goals—even during the times when the body or spirit is unwilling or unable.

This is yet another of those parallels.

A runner will find a comfortable distance and run that distance repeatedly.  There will be some recognizable point along a path that becomes “the turnaround point”, a physical anchor point that tells the runner he’s run far enough and every step beyond that point is uncharted territory.

Breaking through that barrier on a familiar course is one of the hardest things a runner can do.  It is far easier to plot out a new course that covers the new distance than it is to run 85% of a new distance on an old course and 15% of the distance into uncharted territory.

There are many things that can go wrong when a runner knowingly ventures into uncharted distances, not the least of which is physical breakdown and the inability to finish.  There is also the knowledge that the runner is “so far from home” and a physical breakdown becomes a significant challenge.  On a new course, however, much of this is washed away by the lack of familiar land marks informing the runner of his progress and letting him know just how far from home he really is.

On a familiar course, the runner becomes very familiar with dozens of signposts along the way informing him of his progress.  There’s the 2:00 corner, the 3:00 light post, the 3:45 fence post, the 5:00 sign, the 5:35 rock, the 8:00 man hole, and the list of markers goes on and on to the midway point.  On a new course there are no such markers.  The runner is free to simply run without the judgment of geography informing him if he’s doing well or not.  Every step along a new course is doing well because it’s a step that has been authored anew.


Churches face these same challenges.  Congregations erect various signposts along their own paths that inform them whether or not they’re doing well.  Attendance on Sunday morning, attendance to bible studies, the weekly offering, participants in the choir, prayer requests, and several others that inform them whether or not they’re “doing well”.  Each of these points up to and including the “turnaround point” where a church gets just up to the edge of what it feels comfortable doing, then promptly executes and about-face and marches back down the familiar path.  Adding to the distance from home is hard to do, as each step beyond that “turnaround point” becomes harder and harder and uncharted territory is covered with each new step and the familiar is left further and further behind.


A completely new course, more often than not, is far easier to traverse, but it is far harder to commit to.


Eventually a runner has to decide what kind of runner he will be and either bust through his own turnaround point and turn the uncharted miles into familiar ground and reach out farther than he ever has before, or chart a new course entirely, all the while maintaining the fundamentals that allowed him to achieve the original distances in the first place.  Alternatively, he can just stay in his old rut, comfortably traversing the same miles, day in and day out, without any hope of running farther and faster than he ever has before.


I feel very wrecked today.

Not entirely sure why…  yesterday’s run shouldn’t have taken this much out of me. 


I’m wondering if the unspeakable is happening.  That would be bad.  Very very bad.  Not catastrophic, but still very bad.

Weekend torture session

I know I should have run Saturday morning.  I even got out of bed at 5 to go to Memorial to run my 3x3 mile repeats.

But something happened between the bed, the alarm, the gear bag, and the door and I found myself back in bed at 8:00am wearing my running shorts, 1 sock, and trying desperately to remember if I had actually run or not.


I had not.


So I know I should have run later that afternoon when it was all overcast and cool.  I didn’t.  I took a nap instead because I had exactly zero energy.  Then we planned an afternoon at Dewberry Farms, then it rained, then I ate some delicious red and black bean stew to store up some energy to use on Sunday for the run.


I know I should have run Sunday morning when it was still cool and only drizzly.  I did not.  This time the alarm had been set, but failed to go off (a bit of an oversight on my part).  I packed up the gear bag and brought it to church.  I had images of running from church down to the end of the White Oak Trail and maybe even heading a few blocks south to cross the bridge for a full 11 mile round trip.


I was getting genuinely pumped.


Alas, the run from church remained merely an image.  When we left the sanctuary to head to fellowship hall the skies opened up and great peals of thunder and brilliant bolts of lightning shredded the sky.  With no small amount of disappointment, I decided to just go home.


A few hours later the rain relented, but the humidity returned.  I know I should have run Saturday, but was left with a late Sunday afternoon run.  Gear on, out the door, no second thoughts.

The plan was 6 miles on the trail, light and easy, some hydration, then 3x1 mile repeats back in the ‘hood.  The front half of the 6 went by easy enough, though the humidity was awful, and an operational error prevented me from accurately clocking my return trip, so half the run was untimed.


The clouds were bringing darkness on early, so I had to boogie to beat the night and made it home ok.  I gobbled a Cliff Bar and chugged some water and headed out to the 1 mile course when the sky lit up again.  The 3 miles were going to have to come another day as the lightning wrote better plans for my evening.

I stood on the scale after the run and saw that I had sweated off 2 lbs.  Maybe that’s why I was feeling so wobbly.


The 10 for Texas is Saturday.  I’m looking forward to that run.


Today has a 3.5 miler scheduled, but I may stretch it to 6.

I lost 2 pounds while running Sunday.  When I got home it felt like I had been swimming.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Run recap

Last night was a scheduled “easy run” with June.


Slacking off on the middle miles is a sin that I know I commit while running and by allowing June to pace me for “like 4 miles” would help atone for that particular sin.  It did.


But first, let me say a little something about distances that are “like” other distance.  Back in 2005 when I ran the Sugarland 30k (and had to sprint to the registration table because I forgot to collect my race chip), I was told that a 30k is “like 18 miles”.  “Cool”, I think to myself, “I ran 3 yesterday for a good tune up and should be able to knock this down, no sweat.  I ran 13 a few weeks back, so what’s another 5 miles?”


Now, not yet being what you would call a “runner”, I was not quick with the 5k to 3.1 mile conversion math and never bothered to multiply 3.1 by 6 to get the actual distance.  I just took the real runners’ word as gospel truth.  To me a kilometer was as relevant as a dram, stone, or cubit.


That is, I took their word as gospel truth until I reached the 18 mile marker and saw no finish line anywhere near where I was.


“Like 18 miles” my ass.  It’s “like 19 miles”.  Or, more accurately, like 18.6 miles.  So very much like 18.6 miles that it is, in fact, 18.6 miles.


So, back to yesterday’s run that was “like 4 miles”.  I immediately ask for clarification of whether or not “like 4 miles” was really 4.8 or 3.8 or some other horridly evil distance.  June assured me that it was actually closer to 3.8 (3.76 is what it turned out to be).  I knew what distance I was up against, and we were off.


What I didn’t know is that I’d be paced by a flat out machine.

June kept us pegged at 10:00 minute miles for the whole route.  No slacking off for this fat white guy.  The first mile whipped by at 9:59, the second at 9:51, and the final mile and change at 10:05.  At one point, after crossing a street and well into my tired stretch of the run, she sped up.

That’s right.  She sped up.  It was just for a few paces, and I don’t think she intended to do it, but I called her an evil witch anyway (through a gasping smile).  She came close to breaking me, but I needed that in a bad way.


Nonetheless, I had just enough in the tank at the end to sprint to our cars.

It was a good run.  A very good run, even.  And June isn’t an evil witch…  she’s a good witch and a pacing machine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The October "schedule"

Ok, so calling it a “schedule” is probably not entirely accurate because I am notoriously bad about working on schedules.  That’s part of the reason why I don’t like to run with groups.  The way I see it, running at 5:00am is no better than running at 7:00am, so why the hell get up 2 hours early on a Saturday just to run?  The problem is that most runners get up at 5:00am on Saturday to start their day running because, as far as I can tell, they are completely off their nut.


The goals for October:  150 total miles (66 for the month) and drop 13 lbs.  I may get some cycling in, but it’ll be hard to budget time for that.



To accomplish this I have tentatively mapped out what I thought was a rather pedestrian (giggle) October schedule as far as distances go, but ambitious in the sheer volume of work days versus off days.

A typical week (starting on a typical Monday) will look like this:

M: 3.5 AM, 0 pm

TU:  off

W:  3.5 AM, 1.5 speed pm

TH:  6.0  PM

F:  0 AM, 3 easy, plus 1 speed  PM

SA:  10, 11, or 13 miles AM (long run day)

SU:  off


That’s around 30 miles for the typical week.  Nothing spectacular, yet, and I’m good with that.  There will also be 2 races on the docket, the 10 for Texas on the 10th, and the Koala Fitness half marathon on the 25th.  Calling it a “half marathon” makes it sound so much more daunting than merely 13.1 miles.  I wonder why that is.  This half marathon is the first of 3 tune up races.  Back in 2006 I ran my first half marathon distance in November.  How I do on the 10 and 11 mile runs will determine whether or not I’m going to enter the 13 mile run at the end of October, but it is an excellent target to shoot for.


If I take only a week off during October, I still will have run 100 miles for the month, more than passing my 150 total mile mark that I want to hit.  I also have the freedom within the schedule to cut the longer runs short—convert a 11 mile day into an 8 mile day, or a 6 into 3.5—but that needs to not happen simply because I need to get my miles in, even if they are junk miles.