Sunday, July 27, 2014

Canton Football HOF Enshrinement Festival Pigskin Run, or, Eighty percent of success is showing up

Woody Allen's quote, Eighty percent of success is showing up couldn't be more true than for old geezers like me who drag themselves to races.

I've never been in more pain than I have over the last week or so. I can't even explain it; it seems to be deep in my bones, especially my back and pelvis. As of yesterday, I stopped using the nitroglycerin patches on my Achilles tendon, thinking that they could be the cause. I'll give it a couple days to find out. Of course my Achilles pain is still there as well.

Just running at all is a problem. I spent almost the entire the week on the mill, with the thought that if I got to the point where I couldn't continue, at least I could step off the thing. But I still drove to Canton for this race that I'd stupidly pre-registered for.

It was warm and very humid - about like it was for my last race, the Johnnycake Jog two weeks ago. That one wasn't as bad as it could have been. This one was.

I did about 7:30 pace for the first three and a half miles, but then fell apart and  finished right around 39 minutes. The funny thing is that I placed third in my ancient age group. Not so awful for such a big race. I guess it helped to just show up.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tales of The Kid, Part 2 - When Did You Get it?

The Kid arrives at Lock 29 at 6:30 AM, just like he did two weeks ago. This time it's raining and the Towpath is full of puddles as he begins his run with a few early-birds. The group only does a quick mile and a half out, before turning around and heading back.

Now The Kid has more company.There are about ten MCRR friends hanging around, waiting for an additional two tardy traveling teammates. And waiting. And waiting.

The Kid enjoyes this friendly banter as much as anyone, and The Kid doesn't like to leave anyone behind, even at the start. But The Kid needs to run soon so that The Kid can get done. He's due at the store at ten, which means that he has to be done running by 9:30, which means that he needs to start running before 7:20 in order to get the planned additional fourteen (including pit stops) in.

Figuring that it's the only way he can get his mileage in, The Kid very reluctantly begins to run by himself. He considers simply running out and then back again, and has actually turned back, when he sees Dave Eliason running towards him. Dave was feeling the same way. They run together for a while, hit the rest rooms and then hook up with more of the gang. Depending on the running mates at any given moment, the pace varies wildly. But The Kid is okay with that.

The rain is coming down harder, but eventually Dave and the Kid wind up running the final four or so miles with Renee Harden to wrap things up. Renee isn't feeling well, which means that she isn't pushing the pace beyond means considered reasonable by The Kid these days. The Kid finishes with 17 miles in a fairly reasonable time. Not bad for a wet Saturday.

But that's not quite the end of the story. The Kid goes to work, then home, then to a wedding that Saturday. Sunday morning his back is absolutely killing him. He can't quite figure out why or what he did. It's not as if he needed another physical (or mental) malady, but there it is.

Good thing The Kid had already been planning to not run on Sunday, because he can hardly walk. Sitting, standing and laying down cause extreme discomfort as well. That doesn't leave much.

The bad back is now close to seven days old. Which reminds The Kid of an old Three Stooges joke:

Stooge 1: I have a weak back.
Stooge 2: When did you get it?
Stooge 1: Oh, about a week back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Johnnycake Jog - Belated but Brief Race Report

In short, I got what I deserved. 37:40 for fourth in my ancient age group. Nevertheless, all in all, I had fun. Pam Cato, Renee Harden, John McCarroll, Chip Jenkins and I drove up there, and we all had fun and ran well.

(Well, in my case, as well as could be expected).

Monday, July 07, 2014

Tales of The Kid, Part 1, July 5, 2014 – an accidental long run

The Kid shows up at Lock 29 in Peninsula on time. He is surprised to see that running partner Dave Gajewski is already there and ready to run. The two get off to a timely start.
The morning is unseasonably cool. The Kid is slightly beat up from the previous day’s Twin Sizzler 5K race. But he has begun runs in greater states of soreness than this. His Achilles Tendonitis hurts, and everything else does too. But he thinks he can handle the pain for these first three miles with Dave, as well as for the next ten with the entire gang.
That first mile truly is slow and painful. But then the conversation changes to politics, the pain subsides, and the pace picks up. It seems that the Kid’s Dander is up a bit. By the time they return to Lock 29 he hardly believes that they’ve got three preliminary miles under their belts. The crisp air is very comfortable for running.
Ten to twelve Medina County Road Runners have made their appearance for the planned ten-mile run. The Kid introduces most of them to Dave, and soon they’re all off once again. It occurs to the Kid that he’s got more than ten years on the next oldest runner. Although the Kid has forgotten any aches and pains he had when he began, he still feels a little bit elderly as he tries mightily to match the pace of these youngsters. The planned (by Keith Johnston) ten minute per mile pace has gone south of nine, and is approaching eight and a half, and the Kid is working hard to keep up. But he manages somehow.
The gang is running north on the towpath, along the beautiful Cuyahoga River, and it’s as nice as a day can be. The scenery is stunning and the park is practically sparkling.
At five miles north of Lock 29, the gang comes to a sudden stop. A conversation ensues as they debate whether some should simply keep going or head back to Peninsula in order to run back out for a few more. It appears that Caitlin Oblander, Christy Gnat, Patti Tomasello, Brian Rosenstock, Rick Roman and Renee Harden had been thinking of running fifteen or so, and have now decided to keep right on going past Station Road Bridge in Brecksville.
Now that the decision to go on has been made, the Kid has a choice of his own to make: keep going with this ambitious bunch, or turn back with the practical people, happy with thirteen for the day. After a small verbal nudge from Dave, the Kid finds himself continuing on in the northerly direction.
At this point the pace continues to quicken, and the Kid notices that his GPS is now squawking about a few sub-eight minute miles. Conversation, not to mention breathing, becomes more difficult. He mentions to Brian that the return trip may be tough. In other words he says, ‘we’re gonna pay.’ Brian, huffing and puffing a bit himself, agrees.
They pass the Brecksville eagle nest and decide to stop for a look. The path from the towpath to the river (the nest is on the opposite side) is short, and they think they may see a white-headed eagle inside the nest. But no one is sure. Everyone nevertheless enjoys the interlude. Other pit-stops are made at Brecksville and Boston Store.
At some point the group gets split up, but all are running well. Even though the Kid is feeling the miles and slowing down a little, the conversation with Dave and Caitlin in the later miles, not to mention the great scenery and fantastic weather, keeps him going.
As they finish up, the Kid has something on the order of eighteen and a half miles in, and he enjoyed every one of them. He thinks, not for the first time, that running, and indeed life in general, are wonderful.
Probably just a stupid runner’s high. He’ll get over it.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Medina Twin Sizzler

I ran only the 5K this year. Most years I do both that and the 10K.

Beforehand, everything hurt. Besides my AT pain, it seems like everything else does as well. And it's not from over-doing things in the running department. I wish I knew what it was. Debbie says it sounds like the Vitamin D deficiency she had a while back. I've increased my intake.

Back to the race. It was nice and cool in the 60s as Veronica and I rolled into Medina. She was doing the third of her four required (for a nice award by her company) 5K's for the year. It was nice to see everyone before the start. I love it when the square comes alive.

The race went about as expected: my pace stayed pretty much within the 7:00 to 7:18 range. I ran a tiny bit faster than my other 5K's for the year, but this one's a wee bit short. At least the pain subsided enough for me to run. Then of course it came back. With a vengeance.

I finished in 21:54 and won the geezer age group.
Diving for the finish line. Photo by John McCarroll

Friday, June 20, 2014

Running in Costa Rica II: This time the Monkeys Get Me ~ A Chronicle of my Running in CR During Our June, 2014 Trip

An Early One

The 04:00 AM watch alarm goes off and several things happen at once:

1) I wake up. This is not to say that I haven't already been running for forty minutes. Just that I come to the realization that I'd better get moving in order to get back to the hotel to shower and eat before the 4:50 AM pickup for the trip up to Monte Verde.
2) I do some quick math and determine that I probably only have about a mile of my five-mile loop here at Hacienda Pinellas which surrounds the JW Marriott Guanacaste, Costa Rica. So I ought to make it. You know the loop. It's the one I ran so many times last time we were here.
3) The lightning strikes much closer. It had been all around me since I began, yet the sky right above had been clear, and the full moon had been lighting the way. Along with the distant flashes of lightning. Now it wasn't so distant. Another reason to get moving.
4) The howling starts.

Whereas last time I was fairly well spooked by this (click here for that story), this time I just think it is really cool. The low, unearthly sound gradually builds into a groundswell of noise. Think of a T-Rex stomach growl. I can't tell whether it's coming from the trees just above me, or a mile away. I only wish I could spot some - the moon is full, but the howler monkeys are staying well hidden in the trees.

A Longish One

The goal today had been 16 to 19. That's three five-mile loops, plus the distance to/from the hotel for a mile, plus whatever else. For a while there things had been going swimmingly; but my achilles began to ache as I finished my second loop. This third one has been a real struggle, and I've slowed down considerably. Spotting a dead coral snake that wasn't (it's colors were in the sequence, yellow, red, black, meaning it was a friend of Jack - a false coral snake, instead of black, red, yellow, meaning it will kill a fellow) I stopped for a long examination to give myself a much needed break.

With only a half-mile of this final loop to go, I hear some howler monkeys again. No big deal; I've been hearing them since I began at four. For some reason, this time they show themselves. The lead male - I can definitely see that he *is* a male - jumps from a tree to an electrical utility wire right above me, howling all the while. About ten of his friends are jumping around in the trees just behind him.

It was all worth struggling for.

A Short One

Only three this day - all I'd have time for. Considered taking the day off, but running's just too darn good here to miss a day.

Case in point: as soon as I started out in the rain, the sun began to rise and I saw a wonderful rainbow. As if there's another kind. Then I saw the howlers again, and once again they were in the trees and on the wires right above me, howling away. And finally I looked down and noticed the caterpillars. Hundreds of them. Maybe they come out in the rain like earthworms do in our neck of the woods.

A (little) Better One

Short on time once again, I'm trying to hoof it. The pedal is to the metal as I complete my first loop in 45 minutes. Dang. I can't seem to break that 45 / 9 mpm barrier. Maybe for the second loop?

The hurry today had to do with monkeys. Debbie and I were to drive, then walk a short distance from the JW to try to spot them where I had for the previous two mornings. Those had been at about 6:00 AM, so that was the goal hour today.

I complete my second loop in... wait for it... 44:40. Speediest run yet.

A Not So Great One

It's my final run here at Hacienda Pinellas and I had planned to do another 16-miler. The first loop was excruciatingly slow - about 49 minutes. Hey, I think, maybe I can reverse my performance from a couple days ago - run my best at the end for a change. What a concept. Too bad it didn't work. I did run a decent second loop in a bit over 45 minutes, but then I simply quit. I blame it on my achilles, but chafing and dehydrations were factors as well.

No monkey sightings. I did manage to live in order to run another day.

A Final One

I could’ve also called it a steep one – this would be my one and only run in Punta Islita, and the hills are real here. I spend most of the hour and twenty minutes being lost in the hilly darkness. I eventually get down to the beach and the town.

As it begins to get light, I’m heading back, enjoying the din of the howlers for a final day’s run.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Long is 18 or more. Longish is 15-17.9. Don't ask why; that's just the way it is.

After a half-decent longish 16 miler on Saturday, I got on the hotel mill yesterday and banged out a long run of 18. That's the first long run in quite a while. And it wasn't very pretty.

Today I could only manage six here in Bellevue, WA. They were very slow, but at least I got to explore a bit. Mercer Slough park is close by, so I ran around there. Nice.

It's AT, not PF

You know the plantar fasciitis I've had all these decades? Well, it's really achilles tendonitis, according to the x-ray. I really did suspect that it was something different this time, since the pain was more in the back of my heel, instead of underneath.

I'm now using nitroglycerin pads to treat it. Doctor says it'll take 4-6 months, but the alternatives are more invasive and more expensive. They may be more expensive, but this could be more... wait for it... *explosive*. Sorry.

It was good to at least know what it is. If the nitro doesn't work, I can still go to option B or C. Unfortunately, there was an additional diagnosis, one that has nothing to do with the AT: Doctor thinks I have vascular calcification. On the x-ray, she showed me a deposit on the top of the foot. She said that I should get a stress test as part of my next physical.

She didn't say much else about this, just that I should have it checked further. I've been doing web searches, and I'm not sure I understand the problem at all. It may be related to atherosclerosis.