Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zero Dark Thirty, the Run

It's necessary to clarify the post title. We're not talking about Zero Dark Thirty, the Book, or Zero Dark Thirty, the Movie. No, this is Zero Dark Thirty, the Run. If I understand the term correctly, a Zero Dark Thirty Run is any run that occurs extra-early in the morning. Brian Rosenstock uses the name for the runs he organizes in Brunswick on Tuesday and Thursday early mornings.

Did I say early? How does 4:30 A.M. sound? I joined the group for the first time today, sort of on a whim. Whilst preparing to run from home (which is rare these days since I usually run when I get to work), I found myself exchanging Facebook messages with Patti Tomisello at about 4:10. She informed me that she was about to meet up with the group when I wondered what in the world she was doing up. I wound up running towards Brunswick Lake and almost literally bumping into the Zero Dark group as they came towards me in the early morning darkness.

Today's group consisted of Brian, Patti, Caitlin Oblander and about six women that I didn't know. We moved at a brisk pace up and down route 303, and then did several Brunsick Lake loops at an even brisker pace.

For my part, it was good to be able to keep up, especially after those last couple days of stinker-type runs. Once again, taking a vitamin I pill the night before helped.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


TW3 is the abbreviated name of an old TV show called, That Was The Week That Was.  It was a 1960's funny show about the news, not too dissimilar to the Daily Show and SNL's Weekend Update.

Since this blog is about my running, I suppose I ought to explain a bit further. Yes, I had a pretty good week of running: a couple ten-milers mid-week, and then eleven in Brecksville yesterday and thirteen at Hinckley today. So I'm getting the miles in. The best part is that my pace is also generally improving. I now average around nine-ish, and sometimes I can run somewhat, though not a lot, faster than that.

Although it was a good solid week by modern standards, I still have a ways to go.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

BW50K, and Some Potential Subtitles

The main start of the BW50K.      John McCarroll photo
I ran the fifth annual Buckeye Woods 50K on Sunday, November 30, 2014. For the title of this post, I had planned to also add a subtitle. But then I started to come up with too many. So instead I decided to list them all here in the body of the post.

Here they are, in absolutely no particular order, along with explanations...

Subtitle 1: Falling for the Course

I double-dog-dared myself to fall when I told Ron Ross that I most likely had run this course more than any other person on the planet, and that I had never fallen, even once. The reason I believe I hold this distinction (most runs, not not falling) is that I've run all four previous BW50K's, and also several training runs. So guess what? I fell on the very next loop. It was right where we never expect to fall, but so many of us do. I'm talking about the section where we turn onto the pine path out and back section. Yes, there are roots under those pine needles. And then I fell once again on the last loop, just for good measure. Nothing was broken either time. Except my pride, of course.

One of the early loops with John Pavlick and his daughter Katie.
I don't know the doggy's name. Photo by John McCarroll

Subtitle 2: I am the Reason I Could Run at all

Yes, the reason is I. Ibuprofen, that is. It's sometimes referred to (by runners, of course) as Vitamin I. I take some on occasion, trying hard to not ingest more than three or four tablets during a week's time. And I almost never take even so much as one before or during a run. But what with all my recent problems, including pain in both feet these days, I took a couple I's the previous day, and also some today before and during the run. And yes, I think that was a major factor in being able to run at all this day.

Subtitle 3: We Almost Cancelled it

Having made the promise that the weather was guaranteed or your money (it's free) back, new RD(she took over from I founded and directed the race for four years) Suzanne Pokorny and I almost cancelled the race. It was 61 degrees, for Pete's sake. The weather most definitely did not cooperate for this event for the past years. I wanted to announce that today's run would still be held, even if the weather's nice. Which it was. We did apologize to anyone who would listen,

Subtitle 4: A Timely Start

About eight of us took the 7:00 am early start option. Early starts are generally supposed to be for folks who may need extra time to complete the course. While that really wasn't a concern for some of use, it was for others. Including me.

Subtitle 5: Not the PW

There wasn't any kind of cutoff, and with the shape I was in, I really didn't have a time goal. My 50K Personal Worst time of 6:30 (at Buckeye Trail about 12 years ago) did loom however. After averaging roughly ten minutes a mile for my first three loops, I actually picked it up for the fourth. It helped to have Renee Harden as a companion for that one. She had won the 25K by averaging about 7:10 per mile, and then did a cooldown 5 miles at a somewhat slower 9:30 pace with me. Then it was time to gather my wits and change my shoes for the final ten miles. I knew they'd be slow, and of course they were - something on the order of 12 minutes per mile. I was extremely lucky to have two companions for these laps as well, however: Michelle Wolff and Maureen Oblander. We completed the fifth lap and began our sixth in 4:59. I suddenly realized that a goal of sub-six hours had been thrust upon me; I had an hour to run these final five. Looking at my watch with about a mile to go, I mentioned to Maureen and Michelle that we could do it, but we'd need to book. And book we did. I pulled ahead for that final sprint (such as it was), but all three of us made it in 5:59.

Subtitle 6: It Didn't Kill Me

Of course I was tired and sore. And of course my injuries hurt. But I remained vertical, and as of a couple days afterwards, I remain away from the morgue.

Yes, it really was warm out there. This was somewhere in the middle of the run.
That's Caitlin Oblander, on the way to her first ultra, with me.  Photo by John McCarroll

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks to the Grand Old Deity

Today is the day we're supposed to give thanks, so I'll give it a go.

Thanks to the Grand Old Deity - for this new pain. Yes, the agony in my right foot wasn't enough, so I got the one in my back. And just as that has been subsiding, just in time for Thanksgiving, just in time for Sunday's Buckeye Woods 50K, I've become blessed with a brand new affliction, this one in my left foot.

It hurts a great deal. I began hobbling last night during our pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday night family gathering. Hoping that a good night's sleep would help, I didn't give it too much thought as I went to sleep last night. But when I got out of bed this morning, I... wait for it ... could hardly walk at all.

This pain is different from the Achilles pain in my right foot in that it's on top and a bit towards the outside of my left foot. But it's similar to the other ache in that it causes me to hobble like Grandpappy Amos.

I did make it to the early morning run with friends, and the pain actually eased slightly during the run. My new hope is that if it feels better after six miles, it ought to feel just wonderful after thirty-one on Sunday.

Things can only get better. Where have we heard this before? Probably right here in a previous post.

So thanks, Deity of Mine. But next time, how about if you give someone else a reason to say thanks?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Month of Training

The back continues to improve; the Achilles continues to not improve. As before, I continue to try to run through it, but the weight continues to be up in the stratosphere, and I continue to be one of the slowest land mammals known to man. That pretty much sums up the continuing adventures of my semi-recovery.

At least I’m running farther. I’ve hit around 50 miles for each of the last four weeks. And I’ve been able to manage three twenty-milers in that time. Some of the long runs have been at Buckeye Woods Park, where I’ll be going for a finish at the annual BW50K run this Sunday. What with as slow as I am, I have no time goal whatsoever; I only want to finish.

I also didn’t have much of a time goal for yesterday’s 5K here at lunchtime at work. It was great fun, and I was actually happy to be able to run at about eight-minute pace. Yes, I know that’s painfully slow, but it’s not as painful as not running.

Tomorrow’s training will involve turkey and large quantities of other food and drink. Should be just what I need for Buckeye Woods.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

I Think I Can

The Little Engine That Could - that's me. Yesterday I shuffled around the Buckeye Woods lowlands 1.4 mile loop four times and then some, in order to have about seven when the Big Kids arrived at 6:00 a.m. Then I ran two of the five-mile loops with them, followed by another very slow three at the end. If my math is correct - and my GPS will back me up on this - that makes 20 miles.

Twenty miles is longer than any run I've done this year. It's the longest since last year's BW50K. And that's ironic, since that's where this run occurred, and it's also where I may try another 31 miler in a few short weeks.

This training run had been a test, and I guess I passed. Not that the running wasn't slow. It was. Especially that last painful mile. I say painful, as that should be a caveat to this whole thing. My Achilles is killing me. It's as bad as ever.

So I don't really know whether or not I'll go for the whole enchilada at BW50K. But I think I can.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Dreams and Reality

I'm running with the lead pack. It's kind of a goofy race, because we've come to a building with a glass front, and we've got to get through the door and up some stairs before continuing to race back on the roads. My friend Dave Gajewski is among the other runners that I'm running with. I feel good enough to take a lead on the stairway, and as we get back on the road, I accelerate and power on in to capture the Big Win. I haven't won a whole lot of races in my time, and to do it at my advanced age is icing on the cake.

I'm running in the park in the early morning darkness. I started fairly slowly, and slowed further for the uphill mile, but now I try to pick up the pace. I can't. My Achilles Tendinitis hurts so bad that I'm almost limping, and this prevents me from running with any kind of efficiency. I do finish the run, but it is most definitely not pretty.

Both runs happened within a few hours of each other. Guess which was the dream, and which was the reality.