Saturday, April 14, 2018

County Line Trail 10K

There was a time when I used to eat 10Ks for breakfast. Sub-39 minute 10Ks at that. Today's goal was to run a steady 8-minute pace. If I could do that, I'd be happy.

The County Line Trail is a rails-to-trails all-purpose asphalt path in Creston, which is close to Seville. That's Seville, Ohio, not to be confused with Sevilla, Spain. It's a friendly little race, with lots of MCRR participation. And we finally had a fairly warmish day to run.

Everyone got out ahead of me, but that was okay. A lot of them were doing the 5K, anyway. I kept my splits just under eight minutes each. Until, that is, the 5K turnaround. Then a funny thing happened: I slowed down. Good thing I had Ladd Clifford to run with for those late miles. He kept me from slowing even further.

I finished in 50:30 for about an 8:07 pace. I was 2nd in my age group.

And now I'm gonna pay. The old Achilles is talking to me already.

Like There's no Tomorrow

Run Like There's no Tomorrow. That's the not-so-secret secret to a great race performance, isn't it?

Except there is. There always is. You get home, rest up, and then tomorrow you begin training for your next race.

Last week I ran that half-marathon like there was no tomorrow. Today, I am preparing for this morning's County Line Trail 10k, going through the usual pre-race preparation that I make up as I go along. For the first time ever, I try Bio-Freeze. It's like the old smelly Ben Gay stuff that we were all familiar with in my younger days. I almost never used the stuff myself; I just smelled it on other people. Similarly, Bio-Freeze smells bad, and I never used it. Until now.

I'm using it because my Achilles Tendonitis is acting up again. Yes, it's the same AT that I've been dealing with for four or five years now. The pain never goes away completely, but it does subside, to some extent, when I don't push things too far.

The trouble is, I have been pushing things too far. I wanted to get some of my speed back, and the way to do that (to run faster) is to run faster. I have indeed been doing a lot more racing, and also some speedwork. And the trouble with that is, it's taking its toll. Especially when I race like there's no tomorrow.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Union Hospital Run for Home Half-Marathon

1:50. It had a nice ring to it. I did better than that at a couple halfs last year. But that was last year. I had no idea whether it was in the cards this year or not.

After seeing several running friends - some unexpectedly - we got going. I started with the 1:50 pace group, figuring that would keep me on an even keel. It did. Together with me were Doug Hradek and Ray Miller. I learned that Doug has graduated from our age group, so I thought I would only need to beat Ray.

The group held together until about half-way. At that point, the leader stopped to use a portable toilet, and Doug and I kept going. Ray had fallen back. Doug and I were back and forth. He would get ahead on the uphills, and I would catch up on the downsides. At one point, I yelled from behind, "What do you get when you kiss a canary?" He didn't know, so I answered myself: "Chirpies." Then, after a moment's hesitation, "Chirpies is a canarial disease."

I think it worked. Not right away though. We ran together a while longer, but I pulled ahead in the final mile. My time was 1:49, good for an 8:16 pace, and third in my ancient age group (I thought I'd be first). As usual, I'll take it. I have a way to go before I get back to where I was at last year. At least the pace was steady.

L to R before the start: Tim Pepe, Ladd Clifford and me

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Run to the Beach 5K

It was a beautiful morning in Portage Lakes State Park. Although it was in the twenties when I arrived, the rising sun seemed to be warming things up nicely. This is a cute little race that is entirely inside the park on roads and trails. The finish line is directly on the beach.

How did I do, you ask? First of all, thank you for inquiring. I don't get too many interested parties wondering about my race performances anymore. Secondly, I am happy to report that I won my ancient age group. My prize was a large glass contraption that holds a fake candle in the middle. I gather this is for hanging outside and lighting the way for various outdoor get-togethers. With that and $1.50, I can buy a Coke. Thirdly, regardless of the nice day and dearth of faster old runners, my personal performance was pretty darn awful.

I didn't even achieve eight-ness. That's okay for a half-marathon, but definitely not for a 5K. The first mile was on the road, and it wasn't bad: seven-fifty-something. The second mile started well, but I slowed way down then we started on the trails for a 8:15 or so. The third was mostly trails and slow as well, but maybe a little better, at something like 8:06. My overall time was 25:17. That 8:05 pace is about as bad as it gets. At least up till now.

Next week I do have a half-marathon. Maybe it can get worse?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Every Day

Every single darn day (that I’ve gotten out to run) over the past four weeks or so, seems the same: temperature in the twenties, relatively little wind or precipitation, but that bone-chilling cold. So cold that my hands won’t work when I get home, despite the use of gloves. Except for yesterday. And today.
Yesterday there was a cold rain. I hate cold rain. I stayed on the mill. It wound up as a half-way decent interval run. But today, I was ready to go. Got up early. Heeded the forecasts and current weather (forties, no rain) according to Had coffee in the belly and burst out the door.
Into a cold, misty, windy, wet rain. I almost turned right back inside. But no, let’s give it some time, said I. Maybe not go for the 11-mile route, or the intervals at the track route; just the 10-miles at North Park route.
It wasn’t pretty. Besides the dark, cold mist, I ran lousy anyway. One of these days, I need to get into shape. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

St. Malachi Run

I've done this five-miler several times. This year it's a little special, as the church was able to wrestle its own name away from Hermes Cleveland, the company that was "managing" the race for them. "Managing" is in quotes because the church received a relatively tiny amount of donation from the event. When they fired Hermes, Hermes tried to sue the church, alleging that the company, not the church, owned the name, St. Malachi Run. There was a predictably massive backlash against Hermes, and they dropped the lawsuit. But would a lot of runners show up for today's run? Would they support the church?

You bet. There was a huge number of runners out there on this cold but clear morning. It was heartwarming.

It was also good to see so many of my friends out there. It seemed like there were very few who actually were not running today. I warmed up with a few of them.

Eight-minute pace is pretty good, isn't it? I know. This used to be my training, not my racing pace. I remember when a six-minute pace was the goal for this sort of thing. But even though I do some speedwork at eight, I didn't know whether I could maintain it for the whole five miles.

Turns out that I could. Barely. I finished in something like 39:26. I think I was slowing a little towards the end. I was fourth in my ancient, soon to be ancienter age-group.

Last year I did some 5Ks at an eight-minute pace. But then I also ran a half-marathon at that pace as well. I still have a ways to go before they can declare me the greatest runner who ever lived.

Saturday, March 03, 2018


The oncoming flashing salt truck startles me. It's 4:45 AM, and I'm driving to Medina in order to meet Debbie Scheel. The reason for my surprise has nothing to do with the early hour and my state of stuporness. Okay, maybe a little. Mostly, however, I hadn't expected ice today. It's plenty clear, but the snow and cold had combined to cause roadways and sidewalks to re-freeze over.

In fact, ice there is in abundance once we begin running. And black ice on black pavement in the dark is a little tough to see, even with a headlamp.

We return to the square at 5:30 to pick up Theresa Wright, and the Wolff family of runners (that's Michelle and Andy for the uninformed). Since the ice seems to be everywhere, I tell them that it appears as though ice-nine has been released, and has taken over the planet. And then, of course, I have to explain the reference.

Ice-nine is a fictional material that appears in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle. In the story, it is invented by Dr. Felix Hoenikker and developed by the Manhattan Project in order for foot soldiers to no longer need to deal with mud. The project is abandoned when it becomes clear that any quantity of it would have the power to destroy all life on earth. A global catastrophe involving freezing the world's oceans with ice-nine is what we seem to have this morning.

We come and go from the square eight or nine times, or so it seems, but the fast and slow running between icy spots appears to me like interval or fartlek work. Notice that I am avoiding any fartlek jokes today.

There's been a lot of icy runs this winter. But I suppose it could be worse. Maybe we're only experiencing ice-eight.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Three Runs in PCB

St. Andrews State Park: would I be able to get in without paying the entrance fee? It's 06:00 AM; maybe there won't be anyone attending the gate. Would I be able to get around the park circle road? Find a bathroom? These and many other questions went through my head as I emerge from my hotel in Panama City Beach, run four miles down Thomas Road, and approach the park itself. Of course, the answers are: yes, yes (there wasn't), yes and yes.

It's just beginning to get light as I enter the park and run around for a few miles. I appear to be the only person in the entire park, but that's not entirely true; there's a camping area down one of the park roads. Still, it's pretty eerie. I run down one of the boardwalks to get a peek at the ocean. It's eerie too. But even despite the gloom, I can make out the pure white sand dunes surrounding the entire area.

Now, there's just one remaining question: can I pick up the pace for the trip home? The answer is, once again, yes. But traffic is picking up as well. I keep to the sidewalks as I complete the round trip on Thomas.

I'm back. That was fairly exhausting. And yet it took me all of two hours and ten minutes. That's a long time for twelve miles. I do a couple more miles for penance.

Now it's day two. Same loop. In fact, everything is about the same. This time it gets done in two hours, five minutes. Okay, that's a little better. I still do a couple more miles as penance.

Day three. Same loop. In fact, everything is about the same, except for one thing. This time, we will be leaving; I only have two hours and no more. Can I do that? I guess that's yet another question. And yes, I can, and I do. Each four-mile split is a little better. The result? One hour, fifty-eight minutes.

No penance is necessary; I don't run any further.

County Line Trail 10K

There was a time when I used to eat 10Ks for breakfast. Sub-39 minute 10Ks at that. Today's goal was to run a steady 8-minute pace. If I...