Saturday, May 23, 2015

Soft

Get thee to a softer surface, say my trail running friends. And I don't disagree. I used to get about a third of my miles on trails, although much of this was on that trail I call the towpath. At the mention of that name, my trail running friends fall all over themselves to be the first to blurt out (think Crocodile Dundee here), "That's not a trail!"

But it is fairly soft, and that's the point.

Why am I thinking soft these days? It's the same old story: the Achilles Tendinitis pain. The level of pain has waxed and waned over the past two years or so, but it's never gone away. Lately I've learned that running fast, relative as that is, aggravates it more than most efforts.

A month or so ago, I was beginning to feel a little better, and I ran the 20-mile drop. Although it hurt afterwards, the pain was manageable. Then I did a couple 5K's. Reaching speeds approaching 7:30 per mile (did I mention that speed is relative?), I felt like I was running quite fast. At least I was moving. But then, the old AT really let itself be known.

Okay, it was time to back off a little. Then, guess what? I started feeling a little better and running a little better, and I followed that up with another 5K a week ago (the Hyland HY-5, 22:49 or so, no placement in Age Group). Guess what? Pain again. Big Pain again.

Now I'm back to slow running once more. And of course that makes me soft, but this is not the point. In fact, I forget what the point was...

Oh, now I remember: soft surfaces. I ran 10 of today's 16 miles on dirt, cinders and grass on the old, almost non-existent track behind the middle schools. Around and around I went, slow and not too steady. At least it was slightly decent mileage.

And guess what? It hurts.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Fairy Tale: Better. Worse. Better.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Dan. Dan used to be an okay runner, but then he got old and injured (note that cause and effect are beyond the scope of this fairy tale). The injuries lasted for quite some time, but the Achilles pain (the longest-lasting of Dan's injuries) began to subside, little by little. All this happened a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away.

Feeling a bit better, Dan began to run a bit faster and farther. He even entered a few little races.

But then the Big Bad Pain returned. This time it was Mr. Pain-in-the-butt Piriformis, along with the other villain Achilles Tendinitis. ,.. and Dan was unhappy.

Over the last couple weeks, Dan worked on his exercises in order to keep those bad people at bay. Maybe it's working. A little.

Dan had a nice run with friends this morning in the Chippewa Lake area. Time to pick things up again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Watch Thinks I'm...

In some ways, my Garmin 620 thinks I'm really slow. All it sees are my daily slogs where I either a) run very slowly but manage ten or so miles, or b) run much slower still for only a few miles. Occasionally, it sees me running somewhat longer on weekend days. But now that I've done at least a couple races, it can observe some slightly faster running. 'Slightly' being the key word.

A week ago I ran the Victims' Rights 5K in Medina. This free event is tiny in numbers and takes place during a weekday evening. My time was about as expected: 24:30 or so. That's close to Personal Worst territory, but I wasn't totally unhappy with it. One must take what one can get these days, and I would have been happy with anything at all.

And my watch was happier still. 'New 5K PR!', it exclaimed. Since it and I have only been acquainted since mid-January of this year, I suppose that that's about right; I never have actually run faster than that this year.

If it was happy then, it was positively extatic on Sunday, when I ran the Race for Brunswick Blue Pride 5K in 23:19. 'New 5K PR!', it exclaimed for the second time in four days. And once again I felt it was about right. Nowhere near the race times I managed a year back, but one must, as they say, take what one can get.

So yes, my watch thinks I'm slow. I get it. I am. But in some ways, it thinks I'm actually better than I am. I only wish I knew why. It calculates my VO2 Max on an ongoing basis, and it has me at 56 now. I don't know what that means, but it's the best it's been for the year. Good to see that steady improvement. I think it bases it's race prediction times on VO2 Max, although I'm not sure.

My race prediction times are: 19 minutes for 5K, 38 minute for 10K, 1:24 for a half-marathon and 2:57 for a marathon.

I have a lot to live up to.

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

Streaker!

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.