Running: Nearing the Threshold

Beware, Joggers

Today’s run was a little better than Monday’s. 5.3 mph vs 5.2 mph, so when I say a little better, that's what I mean. However, I ran nearly all the first two miles without any sort of walk break, and only needed maybe a 30 second walk before I headed into and finished the third mile. When I finished the 5K, I was more exhausted than I usually am, but in just a couple minutes I felt great. Warmed down with the walk home and some stretches and Wii Fit-taught yoga poses.

I warmed up, however, with the "100-Up" exercise that I read about in a NYT article about barefoot running ( The goal here is to get you out of running shoes and into a more natural gait where you land on your forefoot instead of your heel, with less energy lost to impact and more toward forward momentum.

While the exercise was a good warm up, I find it almost impossible to use that gait while running, perhaps because I am still wearing the running shoes, and the shoe has its own idea of the proper gait (this is, after all, why there are running shoes). I have tried a couple of times, and I move MUCH faster, but I also get exhausted sooner.

This is the difference between running and jogging, which is what I do.

I can see a threshold in front of me, where, while running, I think about the motion and the music instead of the course and where I can sneak in a few seconds of walking. I can't cross it yet, but I can see it. Once through it, I should be able to work further on speed.

For the first time since my first 5K run several weeks ago, my legs hurt. This is a good thing. I'm finally beginning to push up against my current limitations.

DDO: Rakshasa, Dragons and Many Many Minos.

Dragon in the Tor

Modern MMOs have trained me to believe that no matter what class I play, I'll be able to solo anything without trouble. That's the compact MMO devs make with their players. So my natural tendency is to just pick a target and wade on in.

You just can't do that in DDO. You have to know your place, and my place is in the back. This means that sometimes stuff dies before I can get to it, or I have to take out my bow and snipe stuff from the periphery. I just can't take aggro. But sometimes my role means I get to take the lead.

The Rakshasa Lair was one such; I got to be in the lead. I've been amping up my sneaking skills so I can take on the scouting role more often — in particular, boosting my "Move Silently" speed so I don't hold the rest of the group back.

Gleek pointed out in his recap that we finally got a Rakshasa that was in a shape other than tigerman. But…. he transformed into tigerman once we uncovered him, so there's that.

Though favored soul Ulan was away this week, we decided to take what we'd learned in Gianthold Tor last week and see how far we'd get. We got through to the Gatekeeper quickly, and we managed to summon him using hirelings and me hiding in a corner. My work on sneaking paid off; I was able to survive and sneak out of the room once the Gatekeeper got summoned, but I was toying with death once I joined the fight and two rooms of giant skeletons came along.

We did manage to defeat the Gatekeeper and open the endless killing ramps up to the dragon area. The trick is to kill the dragon and the giant companion within some seconds of each other. The dragon and the giant companion killed us and our hirelings within seconds of each other. So the straight up tanking isn't going to work — not at our level, anyway. The lair is suspiciously laid out as raised paths in a circle… perfect for kiting next time.

The dragons can drop scales for some pretty significant armor, but you need 25 scales for the armor, and Spode remarked that you need relics to repair it.

DDO: Battlefield 3 mod

I haven't been playing a lot of games on my vacation, but I went back and played a bit today. I went through my quest log and found a line out of Lordsmarch Plaza, the home of the Coin Lords. The three quests here involve a conspiracy among the monsters of the area. A local medusa boss is making common cause with some monster invaders and a minotaur city and eventually turning things back on the invaders and their medusa ally.

I'm level 14, these were level 12 quests. I got a cleric from the hireling merchant and a fighter and a wizard from the DDO store. Since I was still in the offline group with Gleek and Spode, I passed on a fourth hireling that would have forced me to leave the group. Always a chance one of them would log on and want to join in, after all.

The first quest, Diplomatic Impunity, was a simple scouting mission. Some ambassadors from a monster country have landed to open up diplomatic discussions with the leaders of Stormreach, but they have been dawdling up on the coast and they need somebody to check it out. Simple fights against monkeymen, panthers and scorpions had me thinking I could have saved my money on the Gold Seal hirelings. I got to the coast and saw an army debarking from troop transports. There were siege engines and more monsters than I could count. I reported back (negotiating my way into passage through a monkeyman village for an optional objective) and was asked to talk things over with the commander of the invading force to delay things while the locals got word to Stormreach about the invasion. I fought my way into the encampment, and tried to draw out negotiations as much as I could, but eventually things turned bad and we all died. I returned and drew the mobs out of the trap-filled audience chamber and killed them without too much trouble.

I went in after and disarmed the traps, but it was too late to get the ingenuity bonus. I don't remember spotting them before everything went aggro… or I would have disarmed them. First I heard of them was when the commander admitted he was going to cheat with the traps.


Next up was Frame Work. This one took HOURS. The medusa is IN THE CITY and she is rousing up the minos against the good guys. We were going to convince the minos to doubt her overtures by petrifying some random minos in the town. Then we assassinate the mino chief. And done! That's it! Only need to stone one mino and kill another!That's technically possible, perhaps. You can optionally repair some broken ballistas into "spy insertion devices" that will fling you into the city, saving having to fight in.So I was doing the stealth thing, with my hireling parked far away, and was doing pretty well until I was seen. After that, it was just the killing. And the killing. And the more killing. And the still more killing. You keep getting achievements for killing more and more stuff. Toward the end the hirelings got split up and died, and it was back to stealth mode as I gathered up the soulstones and rezzed them at a shrine outside the city.When I got back to the NPC at the start of the instance and told her what I'd done, she was stunned. I was supposed to frame the medusa and take out the chief, not kill every living creature in the city. You get an extra chest for being a cold-blooded killer.

By the time I finally finished and got the optional objectives, my hirelings had all expired so I opted not to finish out the quest series. It's supposed to be simple — supposed to be — but I'm dubious.

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Manchester Road Race: I’m so gonna die.

After biking through the course for the Manchester Road Race this morning, I really have to hand it to the course designers. Sure, it would be nice if it weren't partially up the side of Mount Everest, but the steep ascent only lasts for the first couple of miles, after which there's a steep DOWNhill followed by a flat stretch of a couple miles and then another downhill race to the finish line.

The hills at the start will separate the pack. The descent at the end means your friends and family see you coming down running. Even if you're a noob like me.

Youtube automatically detected the eerily appropriate background music, oddly, and put up a link to buy the track. That's new. Does it make it okay that I used the track, then?

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Bulls Bridge

Today I visited the Bulls Bridge in Kent, CT. The bridge crosses over the Housatonic (HOOS-a-tonic) river onto a large island that splits the river in two for a ways; a more conventional bridge leads off it the other way. The Bulls Bridge is currently one of only two covered bridges in the state. When the Comstock Covered Bridge is rebuilt, there will be three again. Kent is in the beautiful Berkshires that extend north of here through western Massachusetts and up to Vermont, where they become the Green Mountains.

In album Bulls Bridge (14 photos)

Bulls Bridge

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