Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Heart of a Champion, Post 1

Not only did I have a lousy day at the 20-Mile Drop, but since then, I’m running as poorly as ever. I’m not sure what it is, because I appeared to be on the upswing prior to the race. Now it’s more like a downward spiral.

Part of it may be old age. That’s my constant fear: that I’ll never get back to where I was, and perhaps not even where I was fairly recently. 

But then, maybe I will. I do have the Heart of a Champion, you know. Or do I?

Stand by for more thoughts about Heart(s) of a Champion in future posts. I have such thoughts at times.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Twenty-Mile Drop Race Report

The Twenty-Mile Drop is a point-to-point race from Chardon to Fairport Harbor. Drop is in the name because there is a net downhill elevation drop of about 700 feet; the finish is right on the Lake Erie beach. It would be my first race in three and a half months, and of course the first since my slovenly month-long cruise.

Joy in the Journey

I drive over to the Brunswick Kmart parking lot, where I transfer myself and my stuff into Andy Wolff’s car. Andy and Michelle drive me to Fairport Harbor, where we check in, use the facilities, and transfer to the bus, which transports us to the starting area in Chardon. That ride seems to take a long time, indicating to me that twenty miles are a long way, indeed. In fact, by the time we line up for the start, it has already been a long day.


One snag is the weather. It’s as bad as it can get this time of the year: 40F, wind, and rain. I keep thinking that since the rain was from the north, it would negate the advantage of running downhill all this way. Time would prove me right.

The other snag occurs as I am hurrying to get out of Andy’s car in order to board the bus. A last-minute decision to switch from two shirts to one shirt and a jacket results in a snagged jacket zipper. I struggle with it until it breaks. The result is that I start the race wearing two shirts and a trash bag. Quite fashionable, if I don’t say so myself.

Parks and Bike-Trails

Much of the first half of the course is through parks on bike trails. I would be enjoying the serenity of the natural beauty if I weren’t so cold and miserable. I make a few stops, and this doesn’t help my time: I take my trash bag off, use some gels, make a bathroom stop. My hands don’t work correctly when they’re this cold. But then, nothing else is going very well today either, so why bother worrying about my time or place? I didn’t have any great expectations coming in, but this is not a good run by any standard.

I’d run the first couple miles with Andy, Michelle, Maureen Oblander, and Ladd Clifford. They had left me in the dust (well, the wet dust) by mile two or three. But now at about half-way I catch Andy and am running a couple of those middle miles with him. But where are Michelle and Mo? I suppose that I’ll have to run faster still if I wanted to catch those two.

The Final Few

Although I’ve been slow today, at least I’ve been steady; my first three five-mile splits are 44:39, 44:26, and 44:41. By now I know I’m not going to pick it up any faster. The wind and rain have taken too much out of me. But can I at least manage one more split under 45 minutes?

The short answer is, yes I can: the final split is 44:45, and the final overall time is 2:58. I never see Mo or Michelle until after the finish, where I learn that they and Ladd had all run quite well.

Wish I could say the same. Guess I was due for some humble pie. It’s good with ice cream. And cold rain.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Runs with Wolffs

Just a brief explanation about the title of this post: there was once a movie entitled, Dances with Wolves and that name inspired this post. But here it's about running (of course), and also about Wolffs, as in my friends Michelle and Andy. It's also about running on Wolff Road.

Actually, that's all I really wanted to say.

Except that I've been running with training partner Michelle for years and years now. It's been good to have such a reliable companion who doesn't complain about hearing the same lousy stories each time. And that those runs and the weekend ones where Andy has joined us are at an insanely early hour. And that today's run was on Wolff Road near Valley City, which is not the same Wolff Road that we run on in Brunswick.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Bad Run Outside

I've said it before, and I'm thinking it today: A bad run outside trumps a good run inside (sorry, but that verb works best here).

Only part-way through my first mile. I'm sorely tempted to turn around and complete the planned 18-miler on the mill. The cold wind is bracing, and I'm just not motivated. What's the point, I wonder, of suffering like this in this never-ending winter. Well aware that I'll hate the mill even more, I may, in fact, just call it a day completely.

The worst part is that I'm moving so slowly that you almost couldn't even call it a run. At this pace - and I know it won't get much better - I won't come close to making my mileage goal.

Then a couple funny things happen. As I am recalling my 'bad run outside' mantra, I also think about my friend Larry Orwin, who can't run at all due to severe injuries. Larry loves running as much as I do, and this hiatus is killing him as it would me, So now I decide to stay out a little longer, and to not feel too sorry for myself. Okay, so it's cold, I now think, at least I'm moving, and I'm even doing something I claim to enjoy.

The funniest thing to happen occurs just as the snow begins: I actually DO begin to enjoy the run.

Do I complete the desired mileage? Not even close. Can I consider this a quality run? Ha. But did I get some measure of joy out of it - more than I'd have gotten on the mill? You bet!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Those People Have Issues

“You see these people jogging around parking lots after their run to round up their miles. These people have issues.”

That was Connie Gardner.

Although I pretty much agree with this assessment, I must sheepishly admit to occasionally engaging in this activity myself. And yes, that’s what I am doing now: running around the Hinckley Spillway area parking lot as well as a little on the all-purpose trail. I need that half-mile to get my total up to fifty for the week. Never mind that:

  • Fifty is a pretty small number compared with my mileage a couple months ago, when sixty was the norm.
  • Although I’ve lost about half of the twelve pounds I brought home from the cruise, I’ve still got a way to go.
  • Today’s Hinckley nine actually seemed to go fairly well, after some slow miles in the beginning as well as that slow plod up the hills. All’s well that ends well. But it was the standing around and talking for twenty minutes in between the two runs – and getting cold in the process – that did me in.

There. I did it. Now I can go back to being issue-less.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Running from Cape Town to Singapore

Morning run on deck - that's not me however, it's some real runner

This is not quite as epic as it may seem. It’s not that I’m actually running the entire way. I am on a cruise ship that is en route between those two locations. And a great deal of said running is not even on shore. Some consists of circles around the deck of the ship, and other miles are done on the treadmill. Here are a few story snippets anyway.

We’re docked in Cape Town, S.A., and I do manage to get off the ship and go for a run. It’s very early, and almost no one is about. I go by some tall buildings and make it over to the V & A Market area, where we walked the previous day. Cape Town is cool. Too bad I don’t have more time here. As I return, I go up to the top deck to ogle a lunar eclipse. It’s occurring just as it gets light, and with the moon setting.

Now I’m running in East London, S.A. I hadn’t expected to have any time to run here, but that changed, so out here I am. There is litter everywhere, and the neighborhood isn’t so good. But I shortly make my way over to Orient Beach. This is indeed a nice recreational area. They’re setting up for a major event: an Ironman Triathlon.

Another place that I hadn’t expected to run, but where I do manage to do so is Richard’s Bay, S.A. This time it’s a matter of getting out and back whilst it’s still early. I do, but before that I encounter something I never in a million years expected here: other runners. Several of them. I believe they’re not from the ship, but are staying at a nearby resort hotel.

On one of my ship-bound runs, I’m having a rough time. I start running clockwise because no one else is around at this early hour. It’s 12 to 16 laps per mile (depending on inside or outside the track, and what kind of mood my garmin is in), and that’s a lot of turning. I normally have to go with the flow (counter-clockwise), but lately, I mix it up when I can. And speaking of mixing things up, I usually can’t stand too many of these on-deck miles, so I find myself completing many of my runs on the treadmill. Not that that’s a picnic either. But This day, even with the unusual direction, I’m feeling extremely sore, and more so with each mile. I complete this ten mile run on the treadmill, but it’s not pretty. Not sure what went wrong here. Is it too much mileage? Too much turning, regardless of direction? Or could it be something else? I had just begun taking Malerone for prevention of malaria; maybe this fatigue and soreness is a side-effect? On top of that, I have blood in my urine, and some related difficulty with urination. Could that be the Malerone? A kidney stone? Dehydration?

It must have just been dehydration. I’m better now, really. Until this happens: I’m doing my third consecutive daily ten-miler, and my hip begins to hurt. As nearly always, I’ve combined treadmill and deck running, and dislike both. The pain runs from my back to my left hip and down my left leg. I nearly stop, but somehow complete the ten. Now it’s time for a day off.

I know you’re tired of hearing about these maladies, so I’ll endeavor to talk about other things. Something else that happens today: I spot the Southern Cross. I also see Venus and Jupiter in a bright array with the crescent moon. This is why I run. Even when it hurts.

After two days off, I slowly begin to run again.

It’s 4:20 AM, but it feels earlier because of the time change; we’re heading east, and we have crossed into a new time zone. Passengers and crew are often few and far between at this hour, but that’s not the case today. A Super Bowl party is going on in Horizons Lounge, where I go to get my pre-run coffee.  The TV is on, the sound is turned up, and there are a couple dozen people watching. After the outdoor portion of my run, I complete the run on the treadmill, where I watch the fourth quarter.

“Squaaaaaak!” Well, that sure made me jump. I am running my loops on deck, and it’s just getting light. I stop and look around to see what made that godawful noise. It’s a seabird that’s in the eaves of the forward part of this deck. He squawks at the other runners as well, and we’re now all trying to figure out what to do with him. He tries to fly, and we try to shoo him to a place where he can do so, but nothing’s working. So he continues to squawk at us as we go by. Time passes. It gets lighter. Our friend eventually can see the sky and the horizon, manages to waddle to a place where he can take off, and does so, not even looking back. I hope he enjoyed the ship’s buffet.

I said I wouldn’t discuss my maladies any further. I lied. This back/hip thing can attack at any time, and when it does, it’s debilitating. I have now completely sworn off running on the track. Yesterday I manage a two-mile run in Sri Lanka, and today it’s five on the mill: the ship is rocking and rolling, big-time. It makes mill running kind of fun and it adds some measure of challenge to just stay vertical.

Okay, it’s my final rodeo on one of these treadmills. Since I no longer do laps (that hip is still hurting), and since I no longer do ten-milers (I don’t have the time because the Fitness Center doesn’t open till 6:00 AM), I’m relegated to these slow three to six-mile mill runs. I hate them, but I suppose they’re better than not running at all.

I sure hope this hip heals by the time I get home and start running for real again.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2019 Brunswick Marathon

Just because the Brunswick Marathon is also known as the BM, please don’t expect any tasteless jokes. We here at Dan Horvath Running Blog Headquarters have high standards, and would never, ever stoop so low as to say anything like, 'Join us for the first BM of the year,' or, 'This BM will be BIG - Really BIG,' or 'The BM the morning after New Year’s Eve is always great.'

That out of the way, we should say that the January 1, 2019 BM came about because the Landis Loonies Marathon did not. LLM took place in New London, OH, and it was one of those small, friendly races. Unfortunately, Kevin and Keith Landis decided not to hold it this year. The BM would be a similar format: four 6.55 mile loops on New Year’s Day morning.

Race Director Dan was gratified to see eighteen starters show up at Brunswick Panera. He (and they) got lucky with the weather; it was about as good as it can get in January.

Several runners stuck together for the first loop. But several dropped out after that, and Larry Orwin, Pete Kostelnick, Frank Dwyer, and RD Dan stayed together for one more. After that, it was only Pete and Dan. But there were only two more loops. Piece of cake, right?

By the fourth loop, Pete was getting tired, but RD Dan pulled him along. Editor’s note: We suggest someone fact-check that last statement.

Pete and Dan finished together in 4:18. Angela Demchuk, Felicia Fago, and Michael Kazar also finished the race.

Seemed as though everyone had a fun and satisfying BM.

Heart of a Champion, Post 1

Not only did I have a lousy day at the 20-Mile Drop , but since then, I’m running as poorly as ever. I’m not sure what it is, because I ap...