Monday, April 20, 2015

The Years Have Been Good to You. It's the Weekends that did You In.

The post subject line says it all. This past weekend I ran over 29 miles. That never used to be such a anything speacial for me, but nowadays, in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, 'it's a big f_____g deal'.

Saturday's run on the Towpath with Larry Orwin certainly brought back fond memories. I hadn't been down to the Station Road Bridge area for many months, and it was truly enjoyable to return to this beautiful area, to run on the old Towpath, and to do so with Larry. We ran to Peninsula and back for a total of 14 miles.

Sunday's run with Debbie S., Michelle, Luis and Rick was also just fine. We did the nine-mile loop followed by a couple 3-milers around the lake as well as some other stuff. I topped all that off with a walk with Debbie, Veronica and Malcolm.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All's Well that Ends Swell

So much of how we feel about how we did for any particular run comes down to how well we finish. When I managed that relatively fast sub-eight minute mile at the fifteen mark of Sunday's run, I felt like I would need to run the next (last) five at that pace as well. Despite my best efforts, I did slow back down to eight-plus pace. But those last miles were still among my best for the day.

Therefore, I felt pretty good about the run as a whole. Had I started that fast, and finished with the relatively slow mile splits of my first two miles, I'd have been very disappointed.

It's all how you look at it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

20-Mile Drop

Been a while since I've done a race report. This is primarily because it's been a while since I've done a race. So long, in fact, that I forgot how much fun racing can be.

Together with Michelle Wolff, Debbie Scheel and Donovan Lee, I drove up to Fairport Harbor, where we then caught the bus up (and I do mean up) to Chardon. We would be running down (and I do mean down) from there to the lake in downtown Fairport. Along the way - in the bus and in Chardon, we talked with Larry Orwin, Tim McGinty and other running friends. Some I hadn't seen in  quite some time. I didn't realize how much I missed racing.

We ran around Chardon, then onto an all-purpose trail that took us well past half-way. It was pretty running through the parks and greenways on this picture-perfect day. Temperatures were mostly in the forties, but got up past fifty by the time we were finishing. Running weather doesn't get any better.

Not knowing how I would do for a race this long and this far removed from the types of running I'd been doing, I had started very slowly. I came alongside Tim at mile two, and we chatted a while. Noting that he's in my age group, I picked it up to about 8:30 pace, and started to try to catch Michelle.

I could see her for several miles, but only caught her at about mile seven or so. We stuck together for several more, holding on to that 8:15 to 8:30 pace. Michelle was telling me about a 50-mile race she had registered for, and in my delirious state, I started thinking about joining her for it.

At about mile 13, they were handing out energy gels. I had expected them earlier, but this would work. I then picked the pace up just a bit, even though there were a few uphills to contend with. The course wasn't all down - the biggest uphill was back at about mile 2. I didn't realize how much I'd picked it up until I reached mile 15, and my watch told me I'd done a 7:48. My first sub-eight mile came as a surprise.

We were running on the road through Concord, Painesville and finally into Fairport Harbor. I felt sorry for all the traffic we held up along the way.

Now that I had done one, I wanted to do sub-eight miles the rest of way. Of course wanting to and doing so are two different things. I managed only a low eight-minute pace. Still better than most of the previous fifteen miles, but not as fast as the one.

The finish was fun and exciting. Debbie, Donovan and Larry had all run well, and they were cheering us  all on. Michelle came in a minute or two in after me. My time was 2:46. I found out that I won my age group. Woohoo!
At the Finnish Area

As we ate pancakes and awaited the awards we bumped into more friends, including a big surprise: Patti Tomasello, who had been injured. Just about all of us wound up with some prize, and we posed for a photo by the 'Finnish' monument afterwards.

And how could we drive home before jumping into the lake? Well, I went in up to my knees anyway. It felt good on my Achilles. Of course said Achilles is making me pay today.
On the beach
Soaking that Achilles

Thursday, April 09, 2015


If you lived through the seventies, you may recall that streaking used to mean something other than running every day. If someone yelled 'Streaker!', you would expect a naked guy (they were always guys, unfortunately) to be running through some public area. I actually encountered one of those seventies types in a bar. But that's a different story. Now, at least to anyone associated with running, streaking means running consecutive days for some period of time.

I streaked from the end of November, through December, and into January, at which point the reality of our travels intervened. Even that almost didn't matter, but I became a little ill whilst on the ship, causing the miss. If that didn't do it, the trip home would have.

Then when I got home, I picked it up again, running every single day from mid-January, until...

Until Monday.

It was the day after Easter, also known as Dyngus Day in these parts. Our Easter celebration had been Saturday, and the whole family, including Valerie, had been around. Vincent had been sick earlier in the week. He'd been throwing up. First Valerie, and then Debbie and I also began to feel sick by Sunday. Incidentally (or maybe not so much so) I also ran quite well on Sunday morning. Debbie Scheel., Donovan Lee and I did the Hinckley loop in 1:21. That's average or so-so by my old standards, but these days, it's really good - my fastest in many months.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Sick. Didn't feel well on Sunday and again Monday. I suppose I could've done a mile or so, but... I just dindn't feel like it!

And now I've run every day again, from Tuesday through today (Thursday). Yes, it's a new streak. How long will this one last? I like to base future predictions on history. Probably not long at all.

I may be a streaker, but I'm not a very good one.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sleep Must be an Inconvenience for You

It was the start of my second nine-mile Hinckley loop at 5:30 AM, and since people were asking, I informed them that I had arrived at 4:00 AM and had already completed a loop. And that I had gotten up and out of bed just before 3:00 AM. That's when John Pavlick observed, "Sleep must be an inconvenience for you."

The gang proceeded to leave me in the dust. That was okay - I know the way. So yes, I was the Beetle Bomb, (In case you're wondering about Beetle Bomb, it's something Debbie's dad always used to call the kids when they were late or slow, as in, "Here comes Beetle Bomb". I found this video as the probable source of that.)

Having said all this, I actually ran relatively well today.First loop was 1:28, the second 1:26. I'll take those, Beetle Bomb or not.

Time for a nap.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

River Road Run

Cold rain. I hate cold rain. I am running - if you can call it that, as slow as it is - down towards River Road here in Niagara Falls. It would have been easy to nix this cold, damp outside run in favor of something warmer, dryer and even faster such as a comfortable hotel dreadmill. But I think about how spring began yesterday evening after an awful winter - an awful winter that included way too much dreadmill running. I think about how many times I have pined for temperatures even just a little warmer than the single digits (today it was about 37). I even think about that year - yes, an entire year - in the nineties that I spent running entirely outside, based on a self-imposed exile from treadmill running.

Two Marriotts, including ours. An Embassy Suites, a Travelodge and several other hotels. Tony Romas, Margaritaville, Brasa, Outback, My Cousin Vinny's, Applebees, and gobs of other restaurants. Three or so casinos. The Silly-Skylon tower. The place is like Vegas, I think, as I turn onto River Road after descending the big hill away from the glitz. I hate glitz. Now at least it's quieter by the falls. Except, of course, for the roar of the falls. I have descended to a point directly across from the American Falls. It is still partially surrounded by ice and snow, but still pretty despite the cold, the dark and the misty, foggy light rain. I can see Horseshoe Falls about a half mile up river, but I turn the other way onto the walking trail.

Black, hard-crusted snow. And alongside it, black ice. I hate ice. I don't even like it in drinks. I have been running north on the walking path between River Road and the Niagara River, and now that I am getting farther from the glitz and the lights, the icy spots on the sidewalk have become more numerous. So I move onto the street. There is very little traffic at 6am on a Saturday away from town so there really is no danger.

At about 3.6 miles - just where I thought it would be - I come to the Aero-cars. These cable cars travel above a swirling whirlpool area of the river are a touristy thing that we did with Dave and Carol the last time we were in the area, about 12 years ago. I hate touristy. But it was actually ok. For today, this is as far as I want to go. I turn around and head back.

Now the cold wind and misty rain is in my face. I hate wind.

I try to pick up the pace, at least a little. The change is almost imperceptible. I hate running slow.

I turn back up the hill to return to the hotel. I hate hills.

After an extremely long time and not an extremely large amount of mileage, I make it back to the Marriot. I think about how much better it is to run outdoors than indoors. It’s like cats: indoor cats live longer than outdoor ones. But who would want to be an indoor cat, when the alternative is freedom? I think about all this in spite of how I hated everything along the way. I love running.

Debbie and me in our hotel room overlooking the falls
By the American Falls

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Doing the Double -or- Well That was Dumb

The last time I did a double (two Hinckley 9-mile loops) was over a year ago. Now I finally did it again. Same old friends, same basic results. Which is to say, I made it. Woohoo.

Not that it was easy. Been a tough winter for sure, but the Achilles injury made it much worse. But now I'm done with the physical therapy, and am incrementally better. So naturally I had to try to ruin myself again. I hadn't run more than 12 or so since January 1, so 18 hilly miles would definitely be a challenge. Turns out that it was a dumb challenge.

My Achilles began to hurt (as much as it ever had) during the last couple downhill miles of my second loop. That's when I also began to berate myself for being so stupid. Everyone else is doing a double. I'm feeling fine, so why not go for it. I've gotta get back in shape. All the things we say to ourselves. You know the talk.

And it kept hurting for several days, resulting in a not-so-great week of running, despite the (finally) good weather.

Now, a week later, I'm back on the road to recovery once again. Maybe I'll try another double tomorrow.