Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Battle of Wounded Knee: Guess Who Lost?

The very last thing I expected was a large hunk of metal laying completely across the sidewalk. I was running along in the dark, minding my own business, when I suddenly find myself falling hard onto the ground. Sure was nice of someone to put that thing there. It appears that I don't even need trails to fall; I can do it on sidewalks too.

Bandaids and antibiotic cream have been applied. I think I'll be okay.

Monday, November 28, 2016

BW50K - 2016 Edition

It's necessary to mention the year, since I've done this one before. Actually, I've completed all six previous ones. Going into today's Buckeye Woods 50K, with my injury, lack of training, etc., etc., I knew that this one would be more of a challenge than most of the others.

About those others, here are the previous results:

2010: 4:46
2011: 4:50
2012: 4:57
2013: 4:45
2014: 5:59
2015: 5:17
2016: ?:??

The weather was absolutely wonderful for running. The temperature ranged from about 37F at the start, to around 47F by the time I finished. It was partly sunny, and there were light breezes. Just about perfect. So much so, that I nearly recommended cancelling the event. We sure have had a variety of weather for this run.
Finishing the first 5-mile segment with Keith Johnston    John McCarroll photo

Race Director Suzanne Sharp did her usual great job, and our club volunteers was wonderful as always. This year Alyssa Osborne also created hand-made, unique awards.

Oh, yes: my race. I done ok. I figured that a steady pace would be nice. Finishing under my previous Personal Worst on this course of 5:59 would be nice. But mostly, I just wanted to finish, period.

After running the first loop with my friend Keith Johnston, I mostly ran alone. I only saw others coming and going, and of course at the shelter after each 5-mile loop. It's always so nice to see all my friends out there having as much fun as I am. The injury didn't slow me much. The lack of training due to the injury did. The Achilles only really hurt bad for the last mile or so. After all that solo running, which happened to get slower as I went on, I was happy to finish in 5:49. My splits and other stats:
Later in the race. I changed because it got warmer    John McCarroll photo

For the numerically inclined, here are my splits. Notice the positive trend.
Also for the numerically inclined, here are some overall stats.

The usual fast folks beat me, but a bunch - there were actually a whole lot of starters - dropped down to 25K. I finished fourth overall; the third of my gender. And now I'm hobbling around as expected after a race like this.

Unique finisher award, handmade by Alyssa Osborne

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's About Time

Only recently, as in the past week or so, have I finally been feeling a little better. Just a little, mind you. This, after six months of painful running. In case you needed reminding, those six months began at mile 45 (out of 50) at the Rock the Ridge race this last spring. I'm not sure what good any fore-knowledge might have done for me at the time. Perhaps I would have started to walk at mile 44 out of thoughts of prevention, rather than at mile 45 out of necessity.

Yes, six months of pain and suffering, in which I believe I only managed to do one other race of any significance, NC24. And after that one, it's really been downhill. Several weeks of only four to eight miles, along with some swimming, followed by a very gradual re-build of my mileage base; a mileage base that is still roughly half of what it had been earlier in the year.

Even though said pain hasn't completely subsided, progress continues, albeit in fits and starts. Some examples include 15 miles at Buckeye Woods a week and a half ago, a 20 this past weekend, a relatively fast treadmill run yesterday and an unexpectedly high-mileage 13 today at Hinckley with friends.

Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect and remind myself to be thankful for the ability to run at all. Okay, I'm reminded. But further, I'm happy to say that the pain isn't quite so awful in these recent days. Therefore, you know what time it is, don't you?

It's Time for Dan to do Something Really Stupid.

What would that be you ask (and you're asking an awful lot of questions today)? That would be this coming Sunday's Buckeye Woods 50K.

Why BW50K, you ask (and there you go again)? Because I've done all previous six BW50Ks. Because I started it all those years ago. Because it's a great event put on by our club. Because it's trails, yet, other than the distance, not un-doable (an issue for me). Because it's free. Because it's there.

See you on the other side of stupid.

Monday, November 07, 2016

No Better; Know Better

My Achilles is no better. But I'm running more again. And hurting more again. Yes, I should know better.

But I'm in a quandary. The Buckeye Woods 50K is looming: it's the Sunday after Thanksgiving. And I need to decide, a) Whether to try for 50K, b) Whether to try for 25K, or c) Whether to chuck the whole dang thing.

Here are the ... wait for it ... FACTORS TO CONSIDER ...

Factor 1 -> I started BW50K. I no longer direct it, but I still feel that to some extent, it's kinda/sorta my race. And it's fun.
Factor 2 -> I've run the 50K all six previous times. It's getting to be kinda/sorta what you'd call a streak.
Factor 3 -> During Sunday's course training run, whilst attempting to complete three 5-mile loops, I could only manage 2 1/2. This was due partially to my woefully undertrained status, and partially due to the Achilles pain. Achilles pain that permeates every waking moment activity, but gets worse as runs go on
Factor 4 -> I could just do 25K. That is, actually, a valid option. And I think I can run that far
Factor 5 -> Since my month long hiatus from running didn't appear to work, maybe I need to do it again, until I get it right?
Factor 6 -> That's enough Factors. The Decision 2016 Results will be posted here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ouch Again

The days spent running have become fewer and farther between lately. Following doctor's orders, I cross-trained (swimming) for about a month, and then started to run (very gradually and gingerly) again. The pain had subsided, although I know I wasn't completely cured. I did some four-milers, and I don't think I re-injured myself. Re-injury is something that I had managed to do a lot of when I was training harder, not so long ago.

I gradually increased the mileage of my runs, getting up to seven, then ten miles. Even then, I was generally not running on consecutive days. But this past weekend I ran about ten one day, and nine the next. Guess what happened? If you said, Dan, I bet you re-injured yourself, then ding, ding, ding -> you get the prize!

If only I knew how to run without pain. Maybe some day I will learn.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Toe to Tow Marathon, October, 1996

Twenty years ago, I drove from Michigan to Ohio, stayed with family, and toed the line at the 1996 Toe to Tow Marathon, now known  as the Towpath Marathon. I remember it well.

The course was not unlike the one they've had at various times. We took the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from Boston to Howe Meadow, then ran south a couple miles before turning north on the towpath. I think the other turnaround was around Pleasant Valley Road. We finished back at Boston Mills.

At the time, I was active on the Dead Runners Society and Michigan Runners lists. Here is my relatively brief description of the race:

Subject: Toe to Tow Marathon

  There are several races which are well known for their spectacular
  scenery. The Toe to Tow should definitely be one of them. With autumn
  colors at their peak, this was one of the most beautiful runs I've
  ever done. The setting is the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation
  Area, and the race is held on a canal towpath. The entire valley was
  aflame with bright reds, oranges, golds and yellows. I could go on
  and on....

  Oh yes. The race. After parking at a ski resort, we hopped on the
  Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad for a slow but (you guessed it) scenic ride
  to the start. Kind of unique. The first two miles were on a road to
  accommodate the 700 runners. About 350 of them were running the entire
  marathon, the rest were doing the relay.

  Once we got on the towpath, we stayed on it for the rest of the race.
  Although there are lots of little twists and a few tiny hills, the
  towpath makes for a great running surface. Most of it is hard packed
  dirt, with some tiny gravel. A few paved areas and wooden bridges.

  I ran a steady pace, completing the first half in a bit over 89 minutes.
  At the 18 mile turnaround I counted 20 runners ahead of me. Although
  I did slow a bit, I was able to pass 12 of them to finish 9th (I
  think). 2:59:32. 1st in the 40-44 age group. Not a bad day all around.


Not a bad day indeed. I remember how much I enjoyed the scenery in our wonderful national park. And I also remember how relatively easy it seemed for me to break three hours in a marathon. This was the seventh time I'd done it, and it was even the second time that year. After trying and failing from 1978 until 1989, when I finally succeeded, going sub-three now appeared pretty-darn doable.

After this race, I repeatedly tried and failed to break three hours some more. I came close a few times, but never got there. Maybe it wasn't so easy after all. The 1996 Toe to Tow marathon wound up as my final run in 2:xx:xx territory.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Only in Dan-Land

Only here in Dan-Land would this happen: a swimming injury. Can you believe it?

Been cross-training, mostly swimming and some weights. Almost no running since NC24. Trying hard to heal this heel. And it may be working; I'm feeling better. Of coiurse I'm sure re-injury is just a long or a hard run away, however. I'll try not to. I'm really working hard to be smart about this for a change.

But injured from swimming? It should be impossible to hurt myself swimming, right? Only an idiot... okay, I'll stop. I won't even finish that thought...

Don't worry, it's not serious - just a stiff neck. It's exacerbated when I do turn my head to breathe in the water, but I'll live.