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Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 8

The previous week’s log is here.

This week the speed run  is 6×800 on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday goes up to 4 miles. It also has an 10 miler on Sunday. Total target mileage 40 miles.

Week 8 schedule:

  • Monday:easy 6 mi - EASY RUN 4.5mi in 43:18, 9:36 pace.Painters arrived and I had to abort. Good thing, because after yesterday’s ten miler I was quite wasted.
  • Tuesday: speed 6 x 800 with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - SPEED RUN 6.31 mi in 55:21, 8:46 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.8 mi in 17:59, 10:06 pace; EASY RUN cool down 1.2 mi, 11:36, 10:03 pace. First Speed run, 12×400, I basically did 2 minutes at a 7:30 pace, with two minutes off. Then for the 8×600 run, I did 3 minute intervals. So I should have done 4 minutes intervals for the 800s. Emphasis on SHOULD HAVE. For some reason, I got out there and convinced my self that I needed to do six minute intervals with four minute rests. Not sure how Mr. Math Major here hoarked that one, but there you go, it is in the books.


  • Wednesday: off day
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 4 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.5 mi in 16:10, 10:42 pace (forgot to turn off tracking when I stopped to unlock the gate for the lawn guys; I was running around the neighborhood waiting for them).  TEMPO RUN 3.6 mi in 30:33, 8:30  pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1.1 mi in 11:32, 10:14 pace. Didn’t go the whole four miles, as my legs were still quite jelly from over-running on the 6 x 800 which I turned into a 6 x 1200 using great mathematical wizardry. But, the Tempo Run pace was quite obtainable, so the work is definitely paying off.

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  • Friday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 5 mi in 48:18, 9:39 pace. Had to wait until lunch time due to painters at the house, but it was still only 80 degrees; fall have finally come to H-town. Running with a bit of a headcold, but feel better after the run.
  • Saturday: easy 6 mi - EASY RUN 6 mi in 57:54, 9:38 pace. Went right at the trail instead of normally going left, and stayed on that side of the gully until Lakewood forest. I still think for the first segment down Pitcairn Rd that the tracking is messed up, as it always tracks the pace as a lot slower than the rest. But the distance was good, putting a map here so I’ll remember it.

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  • Sunday: easy 10 mi - EASY RUN 10 mi in 1:35:50, 9:35 paceA bit tougher, mainly because of tired legs with the increase in mileage this week. But it will feel better since it will be  followed by Packer’s game.

Plan total: EASY (6+3+3+5+6+10) = 33 miles + TEMPO 4  + 6 x 800 (3 miles+rest intervals) =  40 miles

Actual total: EASY (4.5+3+2.7+5+6+10) = 31.2 miles and TEMPO 3.5 miles + SPEED 6×800 (6.3 miles) =  41 miles

I was entertained by Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Wrath of the Khans, about Ghengis Khan. Plus the Today in iOS podcast, plus a lot of Joe Sample, which I always listen to, but with the big guy’s passing I’ve been listening to more. Plus some new Beatles post breakup.

Next week, week nine, is almost exactly the same except the Speed Ladder goes to 5×1000 and the Tempo Run goes to 4 miles, target total is 40 miles.

Joe Sample

Joe Sample – Old Places, Old Faces

Joe SampleI made a trip down to the Fifth Ward of Houston on Friday. No offense to the people who live there, or who are from there, but the “Five Spot” is not my normal stomping ground; it is a long way from Tomball…but I was pulled there, to the point where I continuously asked my wife if I should go and she suggested I answer the call.

From a material perspective, all I received for the trip was a card, the image of which is posted here.

But the visit was worth a whole lot more to me.

Joe Sample passed away on September 12, and Friday night was his visitation, open to the public, a categorization for which I qualified; I don’t know his wife Yolanda, or his son Nick (though I’ve seen him play bass several times). And I only spoke to Joe once, in passing after a show, saying the normal words one says to a performer you don’t “know” but whose performance has been a part of your life. People are hit with a lot of that these days, feeling like they get close to a particular performer through one or many of the social and digital media channels which provide an artificial sense of intimacy. Robin Williams comes to mind.

But music is different; the intimacy and the sharing isn’t artificial…especially if it hits you the right way, at the right time.

Joe first hit me with his album “Old Places, Old Faces.” And yes, kids, I mean album, the kind that earn scratches and pops through wear and use. I wore out that album, to the point where my two fave tracks – “Black and White” and “Hippies on a Corner” both had slight scratches in them. I never realized I “needed” digital music until this album came out on CD, so I could once again listen to it the way Joe intended it.

I was privileged to see Joe in concert several times, solo, with the Crusaders and with Lalah Hathaway as a guest. My favorite concert was when he played at the Hobby Center as part of Houston Homegrown 3G; he was on the stage solo for a while, then with flutist Hubert Laws (who I believe was in his same high school class), then solo again; it wasn’t a highly advertised appearance, but it was one of the most enjoyable performances I’ve seen.

I always enjoyed the story he told as he intro’d “Hippies on the Corner” talking about walking along Haight Asbury and being surprised by white “hippie flower children” slinging racial slurs his way.

I have no doubt that Joe, growing up in Houston’s Fifth Ward in the 40s and 50s, had heard his share of these racial slurs before. Joe attended Phyllis Wheatley High School and then Texas Southern University, staying close to his roots, leaving only to head to LA with The Jazz Crusaders, the band he founded with fellow school mates (some say gents he’d known in middle school). After finding some success, he moved back to the Houston area.

Which is why, last Friday night, I found myself at Our Mother of Mercy Church on Sumpter Street in the heart of the Fifth Ward. The Fifth Ward, from accounts I’ve read (which talk about poverty, high concentrations of felons, and other relator marketing nightmares), is not as bad as it used to be but as I drove by multiple run-down houses making my way to the church, I couldn’t help but wonder how this area had influenced a boy of five to take up the piano, and turn himself into the great jazz pianist and composer that he was. The answer wasn’t hard to find: Sample was influenced early on by the “la la music”, a pre-cursor to what is today called Zydeco, that his mother and father listened to.

One of the performances I missed was after Joe taught himself to play accordion (very late in life) and started playing zydeco as the “Zydeco Joe” band, with his son Nicklas on bass.

As I walked into the Church, several members of Phi Beta Sigma, which I learned was Joe’s fraternity, were milling in the front entrance way, getting ready to speak – some nervous, some joking to hide the nervousness, but all friendly, not just to each other but to me as I walked in. There was a viewing line which, after a moment’s hesitation, I queued into. I’m not big on viewings, not even with people I know.

I didn’t “know” Joe, only though his music and through one of those “in passing” fan meetings. I honestly can’t remember if it was after a Joe solo tour concert or if it was after the Crusaders “Rural Renewal” album tour. But I do recall that it was at the Arena Theater over in Bellaire. And it was nothing more than a handshake, me saying “that was great, pleasure to meet you” and Joe flashing that Joe Sample smile…which he should have trademarked. It was the same smile he had on stage when telling the story before “Hippies on a Corner.”

One of the speakers later in the service related a conversation he had with Joe, while he was sick and in his later days. He asked Joe how he was doing, and Joe replied, “I’m fine, always fine. I found my purpose in life early on, and that makes it easy.” I assume that means starting to play the piano at five years old, loving music and devoting one’s life to it.

I think that’s what that trademark smile meant.

I walked past Joe, past his wife Yolanda who was with someone she’d obviously known for years. Joe’s son and bandmate Nicklas was standing, looking at me like anyone would who is most likely sad, stressed, and wondering who this character is walking up to him. We both put out are hands to shake, me saying the usual “I’m sorry for your loss” and him responding “Thank you for coming,” like he probably had 100 times that evening.

And then I said “Your daddy’s music was inspirational, to me and many others.” Nicklas flashed that trademark smile himself, and said thanks.

Acorns never fall far from the trees. Nicklas’ professional biography (one as part of the Coryell Auger Sample trio) says “Forty years of experience in the music business is an unprecedented amount of information to gain in just the few years Nicklas has been working with his father. “Joe Sample is the best teacher I could ever have.  I’m learning from the best”.

I haven’t heard much of Nicklas’ trio’s music, but I like this track, called “Beautiful.” I will seek out more.

As for the visitation,  the Phi Beta Sigma brothers spoke about Joe, with one singing a hymn acapella so loud and clear that I’m sure my wife heard him back in Tomball. There were several proclamations from TSU, from the US Gov courtesy of Sheila Jackson Lee, and from many others.

There were lots of stories told, anecdotes shared, including on gentleman, who was MC’ing most of the affair, who stated something like “We can all imagine Joe in heaven saying ‘I know God is perfect, but where did you get this piano? And I thought the acoustics up here would be better?’”

Thanks very much to Nicklas and Yolanda for opening the visitation to the public, and my thoughts are with you. And thanks to Joe, for the music.

Below is a video of “Hippies on a Corner.” You can see that trademark smile at the end.

Tempo run

Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 7

There are many articles and books on the effects of practice, or repetitive effort towards the same goal (which marathon and half-marathon training certainly falls into). Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, says that mastery comes with 10,000 hours of practice. But with my martial arts reading and background, I prefer Bruce Lee’s interpretation, which is his version of an idea passed down for 1,000s of years - “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” 

In other words, if you are going to spend the time to train, to practice, practice correctly, in form and in methodology. Sloppy practice gets nowhere.

I’m writing this AFTER I have completed the week below, and am already seeing the effects of the previous six weeks (and the several weeks of 20+ miles before starting the program). The Tempo run this week, even on hills that I am not used to, was easier, as was the speed work. The ten miler in 70 degree dew point weather was painful, but doable. As long as I can avoid the niggling injuries that have hit me in the past, I will surely hit my goal.

The previous week’s log is here.

This week the speed run  is 8×600 on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday. It also has an 10 miler on Sunday. Total target mileage 37 miles, same as BridgeChattahoocheein Week 6.

Week 7 schedule:

  • Monday:easy 4 mi - EASY RUN 4.5mi in 44:45, 9:58 pace. In Atlanta for work, running on the Joe Callan trail along the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta. The trail is quite hilly, much more so than flat Houston. But it is a nice trail.
  • Tuesday: speed 8 x 600 with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - SPEED RUN 4.65 mi in 41:24, 8:54 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.5 mi in 15:35, 10:05 pace; EASY RUN cool down (or stumble down) 1.5 mi, 15:01, 10:01 pace. Last Speed run, 12×400, I basically did 2 minutes at a 7:30 pace, and it looks like from the charts I should do about the same – 3 minutes at the same pace, with 50-100% duration rest “jogs” in between (and, trust me, they will be 100%!). My current goal pace for the half is right at 8:30. As with last time:
    • The challenge will be not to over-run it, and to get the entire 12 in.
    • The goal is “…these speed sessions should total 3 miles of running at that higher intensity”, and the cool down periods should be the same length of time as the intervals. So we are doing for this first set two minutes on, two minutes off.

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  • Running on Joe Callan trail; ran the warm-up and cool down over the REALLY REALLY hilly part, the ran along the Chattahoochee river.
  • Seemed a bit easier than the 12×400 last week; maybe this workout is working? :)
  • The cool-down was a walk back up the hills.
  • Wednesday: off day
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 3 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.75 mi in 17:50, 10:31 pace (who put that hill there?).  TEMPO RUN 3.05 mi in 26:00, 8:36  pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1.0 mi in 10:14, 10:40 pace. This was a much hilly course than I am used to (last day in Atlanta), and I actually chose not to run on the Joe Callan trail because of its massive hills. Though the pace was slower than last week, I believe that was the hills; felt better and easier pace than the last tempo run. Screenshot below just to show elevation.

Tempo run

  • Friday: easy 4 mi - EASY RUN 4 mi in 38:33, 9:34 pace. Back in Houston in time for flash flooding, but managed to get in 4 between waves of rain showers. The easy runs are definitely getting easier, even on a day after a tempo run.
  • Saturday: easy 6 mi - EASY RUN 6 mi in 59:12, 9:51 paceNice and muddy, but decent temps and a dew point close to 70. I continue to be skeptical about the timing on the iPhone5S with the MapMyRun program, as what feels like a similar pace in one area is logged quite differently than another. But I have no other options at this point.
  • Sunday: easy 10 mi – EASY RUN 10 mi in 1:37:01, 9:42 pace. A bit tougher, mainly because of tired legs with the increase in mileage this week. But it will feel better since it will be  followed by Packer’s game.

Plan total: EASY (4+3+3+4+5+9) = 25 miles + TEMPO 3  + 8 x 600 (3 miles+rest intervals) = 37 miles

Actual total: EASY (4.5+3+2.75+4+6+10) = 30.25 miles and TEMPO 3 miles + SPEED 8×600 (4.65 miles) =  37.9 miles

I was entertained by Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Blueprint for Armageddon part IV, and started Wrath of the Khans, about Ghengis Khan.

Next week, week eight, is almost exactly the same except the Speed Ladder goes to 6×800 and the Tempo Run goes to 4 miles, target total is 40 miles.


Stone of Farewell re-read – Part Two – Storm’s Hand

This is the second part of the re-read of Stone of Farewell, the second book in Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series.

The introductory post is here, if you are interested.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair part I, Simon Mooncalf is here.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair  part II, Simon Pilgrim is here.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair part III, Simon Snowlock is here.

The re-read post for Stone of Farewell part I, Storm’s Eye is here.

This second book is 727 pages – paperback. Part Two: Storm’s Hand goes from page 263 to 444.

A note on the obvious: if you have not read the book, since this describes said book…here there be spoilers! And color commentary is in color (mostly in this color).

Chapter 11: Bones of the Earth - Eolair looks for Mad Maegwin in caves.

Of all mortal men, the Hernystiri had once known and loved the Sithi the best. They learned much from them – although the things they had learned were now only mentioned in ballads. They had also traded with the Sithi, bringing back to their own grassy country articles of workmanship beyond anything the finest smiths and craftsmen of Imperial Nabban could produce. In return, Hernystirmen offered their immortal allies the fruits of the earth – nightblack malachite, ilinite and black opal, sapphire, cinnabar and soft, shiny gold – all painstakingly mined from the thousand tunnels of the Grianspog Mountains.

The Sithi were gone now, vanished absolutely from the earth as far as most men knew or cared. Some of the Hernystiri knew better. It had been centuries since the Fair Ones had fled their castle Asu’a, deserting the last of the Nine Cities accessible to mortal men. Most mortals had forgotten the Sithi entirely, or saw them only through the distorted veil of old stories. But among the Hernystiri, an open-hearted and yet secretive folk, there were still a few who looked at the dark holes that pitted the Grianspog and remembered. (pg 263)

Maegwin is one of those Hernystiri who remember…or she is full goose bozo. She believes the gods have spoken to her, that their old allies the Sithi will come and help. Eolair finds her deep in the caves, not having eaten or drank in a while, but she is in front of a large wooden door. Eolair says he will help her open the door if she agrees to go back with him afterward. They force open the door to find a great city, “hewed directly from the mountain’s heart”…and quite abandoned looking.

Duke Isgrimnur is at Sancellan Aedonitis looking for Miriamele, still disguised as a monk.

Tiamak decides at last to go to Nabban as his elders have asked, instead of going to Kwanitupul as he thinks Morgenes wished. He hooks a large fish, but sees a crocodile enter the water. Afraid of losing his only fish hook and his dinner, he goes in the water after both, but ends up fighting with the croc and getting bit on the leg for his troubles.

Duke Isgrimnur decides to go directly to the Lector (who he obviously knows from before) but sees Pryrates entering the castle.

Chapter 12: Birdsflight - Simon, Binabik and Sludig leave the rest of the trolls and head toward the Stone of Farewell with the sword Thorn. Sludig continues Simon’s warrior training as they go, with Simon using Haestan’s death, Duke Fengbald’s slaughter of a city and Pryrates as motivation to get up when Sludig knocks him down.

From the previous chapter’s quote, I was wondering about the Nine Cities. As the three are riding, Binabik points out the ruins of Tumet’ai in the distance.

Asu’a, Da’ai Chikiza, Enki-e-Shao’saye and Tumet’ai you are knowing. Jhiná T’seneí lies drowned beneath the southern seas. The ruins of Kementari stand somewhere on Warinsten Island, birth-home of your King Prester John, but no one, I think, has seen them for years and years. Also long unseen at Mezutu’a and Hikehikayo, both lost beneath Osten Ard’s northwestern mountains. The last, Nakkiga, now that my thought is upon it, you have already seen as well…or have in a way…”
“What does that mean?”
“Nakkiga was the city the Norns built long ago in the shadow of Stormspike, before they were retreating into the great ice mountain itself. On the dream-road with Geloë and myself you witnessed it, but doubtless you overlooked its crumbling remains beside the mountain’s immensity. (pg 303)

So our man Simon has visited and seen more Sithi cities than probably any mortal alive, eh?

Once again, I’m inserting the map of Osten Ard. You can find all nine cities mentioned in the excerpt above (click on it to just see the image, then click on it again for a mo’ bigga’ version).

This very cool map is from Jonadab the Unsightly One, used with his permission (thanks, Nathan!)
Guthwulf is talking to Elias about Pryrates, trying to pry him away, when Elias orders Guthwulf to touch the sword Sorrow. It affects Guthwulf so much that he crawls away from his King. Guthwulf may not be having a change of heart, but he’s certainly beginning to have his doubts.

Simon, Binabik and Sludig see a flock of ravens attacking a sparrow, and save it thinking it may be one of the messenger birds. It is, but the message is scrambled.

“Two bits only can I read,” he said. “This, saying..’..ry of false messengers’…and this ‘Make haste. The Storm is spr…’ Then it is signed below with the League’s mark.”
“False messenger,” Simon breathed, dread creeping through him. “That was the dream I had in Geloë’s house. Doctor Morgenes told me beware the false messenger. (pg 312-313)

Chapter 13: The Stallion Clan - Josua’s band wanders out of the forest and into the Thirthings (which is a vast plain Josua calls “God’s Tabletop”). Einskalder, who bought them time by drawing off the Norn’s arrows, apparently did not make it and was buried in the woods. The Thirthings are where Vorzheva, Josua’s lady is from.

Father Strangeyeard finds information about the three swords in Morgenes manuscript.

Other objects take their power from the stuff of their making. The great swords alluded to in Nisses’ lost book are examples here. All seem to derive their worth from their materials, although the crafting of each was a mighty task. Minneyar, King Fingil’s sword, was made of the iron keel of his boat, iron brought to Osten Ard by the Rimmersman sea raiders out of the lost west. Thorn, most recently the sword of Prester John’s noblest knight, Sir Camaris, was forged from the glowing metals of a fallen star – like Minneyar’s iron, something foreign to Osten Ard. And Sorrow, the sword that Nisses claims Ineluki of the Sithi used to slain his own father the Erl-king, was made of witchwood and iron, two elements long thought to be antithetical and unmixable. Thus such object derive their strength primarily, it would seem, from the unearthly origins of their substance. Stories tell, however, of powerful spells of Making were also wound in the forging of all these three blades, so the power of the Great Swords may come both from their substance and their making.” (pg 320)

Deornoth, upon waking one night, finds Geloë in a trance, trying to reach out to Amerasu.

The group is eventually surrounded by Thirthings men, horse riders of the plains, led by a rider named Hotvig (kinda rhymes with Sludig) and taken to meet their march-thane. All but Vorzheva who has slipped away.

Flash over to the Hayholt and Rachael has been awakened by a scratching and pleading at the door. It is Jeremias, Simon’s old mate. He has been a prisoner in the forges, beaten and abused by Inch. “He beat me and…he used me.” Tad implies some sexual abuse, not unheard of in a book written in 1990 but certainly more forward than most fantasy since Lord of the Rings and before A Game of Thrones. Jeremias tells Rachael that he heard Pryrates bragging about how he burned down Morgenes study killing Morgenes and supposedly Simon.

Meanwhile Josua and crew are taking before the March-thane, somewhat the elected leader of all the Thirthings horse riders. It is Vorzheva’s father, named Fikolmij

Chapter 14: A Crown of Fire – Simon again enters the Road of Dreams, and sees Shem and Ruben talking like Pryrates begging for the “Words of Changing.” But he assumes it is all a true dream.

Simon, Sludig and Binabik are traveling from sunup to sundown, with Simon and Sludig continuing their sword training. The storm runs them over, close to where Old Tumet’ai Road crosses the White Way, where the town of Grinsaby used to be. They come across a boy named Vren, who should be freezing to death, but he takes them to a building where a lot of other children are being taken care of by a strange woman named Skodi.

Alarms should be going off here, right? They haven’t seen anyone for a long time, but find children and a weird woman/girl about Simon’s age taking care of them. Maybe they were cold, tired and hungry but they certainly walked into this one. Other than splitting Simon up from Sludig and Binabik (which, sorry for reading ahead, happens in a couple of chapters) which is a rather important plot line, not much going on here.

But they eat, drink, get poisoned. Simon awakens, paralyzed to Skodi caressing him and says Lady Silver Mask told her in her head that they were coming, bearing a sword the she wanted. They would give Skodi presents and she would keep Simon. It could get weird and kinky, but Tad keeps it clean.

Chapter 15: Within God’s Walls – Whereas the previous chapter had small events, this chapter ups the ante in showing the depravity of Pryrates, and the character of others.

Pryrates and the new Duke Benegaris are delivering King Elias ultimatum to the Lector, as Dinivan watches and listens.

“…all that King Elias wishes is your acceptance of one fact: Mother Church’s provenance may be men’s souls, but she has not right to interfere with the disposition of men’s corporeal forms to their legitimate monarch.”  The hairless priest grinned in self-satisfaction. Dinivan’s heart sank to see the lector smile dully in return. Surely Ranessin must know that Elias was as much as declaring that God’s shepherd on earth had less right to power than an earthly king? (pg 363)

Pryrates does a bit of parlor magic to remind Dinivan that he knows he is a member of the League of the Scroll, and Dinivan reflects the mistake of the League in bringing Pryrates into their counsel, and Dinivan thinks on all he has done:

Was there anything more he could do? He had sent messages to the two scroll bearers still living: Jarnauga and Ookequk’s apprentice, though he had heard from neither in some time. He had also sent suggestions or instructions to others of good faith, like the forest-woman Geloë and little Tiamak in the marshy Wran. He had brought Princess Miriamele safely to the Sancellan Aeondonitis and made her tell her story to the lector. He had tended all of the trees as Morganes would have wished; all he could do now was wait and see what fruit might come…(pg 366)

Then the lector tells Pryrates where he can stuff it:

“You have opened doors that should have been closed for all time, Pryrates,” the lector proclaimed. “In your pride and folly you and the High King have brought a ponderous evil into a world which already groaned beneath a might burden of suffering. Our church – my church – will fight you for every soul, until the very day of Weighing Out dawns. I declare you excommunicate, and King Elias with you, and also banish you from the arms of Mother Church, any who follow you into darkness and error.” (pg 368)

Yeah, buddy.

Cadrach saw a bit of this, and he tries to convince Miriamele to flee the Sancellan. When she won’t he eventually bonks her on the head and drags her out.

Duke Isgrimnur is still in the Sancellan, and he means to speak to the lector.

Dinivan leaves the lector reading and about to sleep. He has him bolt the door. When Dinivan goes out, he sees that the guards have been bewitched. Pryrates is there, and, marking Simon’s dream from the previous chapter as true, he says that he now knows the Words of Changing, changes into something and beats the crap out of Dinivan. Then he goes and burns the lector alive.

Duke Isgrimnur comes upon this, and Dinivan tells him with several dying breaths that Miri is there somewhere, tell Josua to beware of false messengers and to find Tiamak in Kwanitipul at Pelippa’s Bowl. Then dies.

Cadrach is carrying Miriamele, and hears guards coming. A spell is blocking a doorway, and Cadrach, who knows more than he lets on, breaks the spell and hides them, unseen by Pryrates and the guards.

Chapter 16: The Unhomed – Skodi has Simon under a spell of some kind, making his body do what she wants even while his mind (and mouth) resist. Binabik and Sludig as tied up and similarly paralyzed, and Qantaqa is kept away by some spell.

Skodi reached into the basket and lifted out a skull who mandibles clung by only a few knots of dried flesh, so that the eyeless face seemed to gape in surprise. The bulging basket, Simon now saw, was full of skulls. He suddenly felt sure he knew what had happened to the parents of all these children. …Simon remembered with a sinking heart how Skodi had said that besides his other chores, Vren butchered and cooked for her. (pg. 388).

Skodi calls the Red Hand with blood and spells, but they won’t come all the way. Vren, who is jealous of Simon, can’t lift the sword Thorn, so she spells Simon to go and pick it up. Still the Red Hand won’t come all the way. Skodi wants Vren to get some more blood (from Sludig, of course), but Vren goes after Simon with the knife. Simon manages to avoid the stab but it slices his back, spills his blood on the magic circle and chaos ensues.

MEANWHILE (yeah, cliff hanger, thanks Tad), Eolair and Maegwin have gone through the door to find what appears to be an abandoned Sitha city. They see a glow and head for it, and find a crystal. As they get near, they hear a voice coming out of the crystal. WE know it is Amerasu of the Sithi, but Eolai and Maegwin do not. The voice is looking for Ruyan’s Children, the Tinkeda’ya, and tells them to come to Jao é-Tinukai’i, and mentions the three Great Swords. The voice fades, but a procession of lights marches toward Eolair and Maegwin. It is the Dwarrows, led by Yis-fidri, and they name the city Mezutu’a (mentioned as one of the nine cities in Chapter 12). They name themselves Dwarrow, Dverning, Domhaini, Tinukeda’ya, from the Garden. And they provide a glimpse at old animosities that have been previously hinted at:

“If you came searching for the Zida’ya – those who you name Sithi,” Yis-fidri said carefully, “then that is of deep interest to us indeed, since we brought us here to hide from them.” He nodded slowly. “Long ago did we refuse to bend any longer to their will, to their over-weening injustice, so we escaped. We thought they had forgotten us, but they had not. Now that we are weary and few, they seek to capture us once more.” A dim fire was kindled in Yis-fidri’s eyes. “They even call to us through the Shard, the Witness which has been silent for many years. They mock us with their tricks, trying to lure us back.” (pg 409)

Yis-fidri tells them the voice in the Shard (First Grandmother, but we knew that) mentions Josua without a hand, and the Great Swords.

Then back at the burning of Simon…when Vren stabbed Simon, it put blood in the circle. Skodi strangles Vren with magic, and either her lack of attention or Simon’s blood breaks her hold on him…and the blood summons the Bukken, which attack all three. The spell keeping Qantaqa away is also broken, and he plows into Skodi like Clay Matthews (had to make this Packers commentary green – GoPackGo). Binabik calls Simon to free them as the Bukken are attacking, while the Red Hand, taunts Simon; the doorway is not all the way open, and it needs Simon’s blood to come through. Simon resists, but rides off a bit crazed from the voice in his head before Binabik and a dazed Sludig can get mounted.

Chapter 17: A Wager of Little Value – Prisoners of the March-thane (and Vorzheva’s father), Sir Deornoth berates Josua for being his own worst enemy. Then Josua is called before the March-thane Filkomij, who beats him up in front of Utvart, who was to be Vorzheva’s husband before Josua took her away, and who swore to kill the one who took her. for her hand in marriage and for horses. Hotvig brings in Vorzheva, who was captured. Geloë gets herself free, and when she cannot intimidate the March-thane or reason with him, makes certain that Filkomij doesn’t break Thirthings law/rules, telling him he cannot kill Josua on a whim because he is betrothed to Vorzheva, due to the fact she is preggers (which is a surprise to Josua). Utvart challenges Josua to combat to the death, winner gets Vorzheva.

They fight in the morning, even though Josua has had the crap beat out of him.

And, of course, somehow he manages to beat a man much bigger than he is, who has two hands and hadn’t been beaten up. Oh, and he wagers before that with Filkomij thirteen horses.

Here is a link to the next post in the re-read.

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Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 6

The previous week’s log is here.

This week removes the Monday off (now truly running six days a week), adds in a speed run (12 x 400) on Tuesday, and keeps the tempo run on Thursday. It also has an 9 miler on Sunday. Total mileage really cranks higher, going from 28 miles in Week 5 to 37 miles in Week 6.

Week 6 schedule:

  • Monday:easy 4 mi – EASY RUN 4 mi in 38:40, 9:40 pace. After the long run yesterday, legs were tired, and could “feel” the arthritis in my left knee – feel, but no pain. Interestingly, after running it felt better.
  • Tuesday: speed 12 x 400 with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - SPEED RUN 5 mi in 46:02, 9:16 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.7 mi in 16:40, 9:48 pace; EAY RUN cool down (or stumble down) 1.1 mi, 13:53, 12:20 pace. This took some calculation to determine the proper pace. My current goal pace for the half is right at 8:30 (and I was able to maintain that even in adverse conditions during the first Tempo Run last week). The Hanson’s book states paces for the speed work, but the charts are based on 5K and 10K times…which is worthless since the entire book is about training for a half-marathon. So:
    • using the pace chart, for my targeted half goal of 1:45:00 to 1:48:00, 10K pace should be 7:42 to 7:52
    • using a pace calculator, 7:52 pace is a 48:53 10K time; 7:42 pace is a 47:51 time;
    • and, finally, going back to the Hanson pace chart, a 10K goal of 48:45 equates to running 400s in 1:53;
    • in other words, I should be keeping to a pace faster that tempo (8:30), faster than the upcoming strength training (about 8:20). The pace chart shows 5K pace at 7:23 to 7:33 for the same 10K pace.
    • The challenge will be not to over-run it, and to get the entire 12 in.
    • The goal is “…these speed sessions should total 3 miles of running at that higher intensity”, and the cool down periods should be the same length of time as the intervals. So we are doing for this first set two minutes on, two minutes off.

Pace Chart

  • Yeah, this was painful, but a great feeling of accomplishment. The pace chart my attempts to keep the pace, and of course the slope is negative.
  • The warm-up run was perfect. When I was doing intervals before I did little warm-up, but doing almost 2 miles helped quite a bit.
  • The cool-down was a stumble. I had nothing left. Glad tomorrow is an off day.
  • Wednesday: off day
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 3 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.7 mi in 16:50, 9:55 pace.  TEMPO RUN 3.05 mi in 25:48, 8:27  pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1.5 mi in 12:38, 8:27 pace (this must have been recorded wrong, I was crawling). I told my wife as I started out that I felt surprisingly good, given the intervals on Tuesday. The Easy Run was…well…easy. But the Tempo run quickly found sore muscles from Tuesday’s intervals. I also got a cramp and did stop for a bit during the tempo run, so it is not truly a full 3 mile tempo run. But it was much better than last week.
  • Friday: easy 4 mi - EASY RUN 4 mi in 39:32, 9:53 pace. A bit tired after Tempo Run day.
  • Saturday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 9.5 mi in 1:32:15, 9:42 pace. Altered the schedule so I could get the longer run in, since tomorrow is a travel day to Atlanta and a Packers game day (yes, I do give the Packers higher priority than running). Plus, a semi front came through. This was the first time in this training stretch that I have run in dew points below 70 in Houston. I felt like I could have gone quite a bit further. It is an interesting bellweather to note that this pace would put me under 2 hours for the half.

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  • Sunday: easy 9 mi - no run. Long travel day, followed by Packer’s game. First time I’ve missed, but got the 9.5 miler in yesterday.

Plan total: EASY (4+3+3+4+5+9) = 25 miles + TEMPO 3  + 12 x 400 (3 miles) = 37 miles (Nine miles more than last week)

Actual total: EASY (4+2.8+3.2+4+9.5) = 23.5 miles and TEMPO 3 miles + SPEED 12×400 (5 miles) =  31.5 miles

I was entertained by Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Blueprint for Armageddon part IV, which goes through 1916 including the battle of Verdun and the naval battle of Jutland (there’s more, but haven’t finished it yet).

Next week, week seven, is almost exactly the same except the Speed Ladder goes to 8×600 and there are a couple more miles added to the easy runs, target total is the same as this week (37).

Jogging in Dallas

Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 5

The previous week’s log is here.

This week adds in a tempo run (a run at race pace) on Thursday. It also has an 8 miler on Sunday.

Week 5 schedule:

  • Monday:off day
  • Tuesday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 5.2 mi in 48.03, 9:12 pace.
  • Wednesday: off dayJogging in Dallas
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 3 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.74 mi in 16:58, 9:43 pace.  TEMPO RUN 2.54 mi in 21:43, 8:32  pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 2 mi in 20:29, 10:10 pace. I did everything I could to self sabotage this run – late night, too much beer, waited until it was warm to run. Two signs of old age: I thought I could do it in spite of this (and I couldn’t) and the fact that I thought I could (obvious mental instability). I had the metronome program going on my iPhone on the last half to try and get the pacing down (180 per minute) for the Tempo run. Running in Dallas along a trib of the Trinity, beautiful trail.
  • Friday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 5 mi in 49:56, 9:59 pace. Easy to slow down after the Tempo Run day.
  • Saturday: easy 4 mi - EASY RUN 4.25 mi in 42:12, 9:56 pace. A little moist on the track after thunderstorms yesterday evening and high humidity but a bit cooler temps. Right achilles is a little sore, and can feel the arthritis in my left knee…but no pain.
  • Sunday: easy 8 mi - EASY RUN 8 mi in 1:21:19, 10:10 pace. Dew point over 75? check! Bit of late start? 8am, check! But I kept the recommended pace right around 10 min/mile, as suggested in the Hanson’s. This was the longest I’ve run since the last half-marathon training bit about a 18 months ago, but it will be eclipsed next week.

Plan total (5+3+5+4+8) = 25 miles + TEMPO 3 = 28 miles

Actual total: EASY (5.2+1.7+2+5+4.25+8) = 26.15 miles and TEMPO 2.54 miles = 28.69 miles

I was entertained by Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Blueprint for Armageddon part II and part III, which goes through 1914 and 1915 of World War I. I cannot recommend this enough.

Next week, week six, takes away the Monday off day, adds speed workouts with an incredible 12×400 start.

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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