Sunday, November 09, 2014

I Think I Can

The Little Engine That Could - that's me. Yesterday I shuffled around the Buckeye Woods lowlands 1.4 mile loop four times and then some, in order to have about seven when the Big Kids arrived at 6:00 a.m. Then I ran two of the five-mile loops with them, followed by another very slow three at the end. If my math is correct - and my GPS will back me up on this - that makes 20 miles.

Twenty miles is longer than any run I've done this year. It's the longest since last year's BW50K. And that's ironic, since that's where this run occurred, and it's also where I may try another 31 miler in a few short weeks.

This training run had been a test, and I guess I passed. Not that the running wasn't slow. It was. Especially that last painful mile. I say painful, as that should be a caveat to this whole thing. My Achilles is killing me. It's as bad as ever.

So I don't really know whether or not I'll go for the whole enchilada at BW50K. But I think I can.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Dreams and Reality

I'm running with the lead pack. It's kind of a goofy race, because we've come to a building with a glass front, and we've got to get through the door and up some stairs before continuing to race back on the roads. My friend Dave Gajewski is among the other runners that I'm running with. I feel good enough to take a lead on the stairway, and as we get back on the road, I accelerate and power on in to capture the Big Win. I haven't won a whole lot of races in my time, and to do it at my advanced age is icing on the cake.

I'm running in the park in the early morning darkness. I started fairly slowly, and slowed further for the uphill mile, but now I try to pick up the pace. I can't. My Achilles Tendinitis hurts so bad that I'm almost limping, and this prevents me from running with any kind of efficiency. I do finish the run, but it is most definitely not pretty.

Both runs happened within a few hours of each other. Guess which was the dream, and which was the reality.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Magic

I was having an awful run. I'd started slow and was getting slower and slower as I trudged through the park in the early morning darkness. I wasn't too upset though - I'd had two relatively decent runs the day before - a morning seven, and an evening four, all at a decent pace. But now I was paying the price. I was just plain tired, and my AT hurt.

Then the forest began to glow. I was on the final path back when I noticed it. The pinkish/orangish sunrise, combined with the beautiful autumn leaves made the entire world look magical. In order to see it all unfold, I turned back to the east, directly away from the direction I needed to go in order to get back. Being so tired and sore, this was indeed a run that I needed to get finished.

Yet I didn't even think about the pain and fatigue for that instant when I made the decision to turn around. You don't get to witness magic every day. And this was the real deal. Worth every step in the wrong direction.

Only days when you run.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Imperfect Ten

Ten miles, ten-minute pace.

The attempt at recovery continues. Most of my runs are at about ten-minute pace, and my longest ones, which I do two, or sometimes three times per week, top out at ten miles.

I was going to add the usual caveat: but they haven't been pretty. But a couple of them really weren't all that bad. Like the time I was working hard to get my pace down to nine-thirty, and I suddenly literally run into Dave Gajewski in the park, switch directions, and then start doing eight-thirty miles instead. Or the time I witnessed a bright pinkish-orange morning sunrise, giving the already red and orange foliage a positively beautiful glow and lighting up the whole park.

The non-pretty side is that I still have the back pain, the leg pain and the Achilles pain. And now I'm getting a cold. So I did today's ten on the mill.

Maybe tomorrow will be a bit less imperfect.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dem Splits be Negative

It's about 7:10 AM, and 35 and a half minutes into my run as I hit the turnaround point. It's a beautiful, cool, clear morning for my seven-mile run in the park. Assuming I can make it back, this will be my longest run - by one mile - since the injury. And at this 10-minute pace, it'll also be my speediest.

For the first time since the injury I've somehow developed a time goal to go along with the distance goal. Sub-ten-minute pace is nothing to sneeze at. Maybe one to blow your nose at, but not sneeze.

I am able to run some miles in the 9:50's, and then finish up with a 9:28 for an overall time of 1:10 on the nose (which is not sneezing or blowing at this point).

After not running at all for so long, and then only being able to do a couple painful ones, this run was most encouraging. I was probably inspired by NC24, which took place just a couple days before. All that work race directing, and all that lack of sleep didn't kill me after all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rather be Running

180 steps per minute, no matter how fast or slow you go. It's a tough thing to do, especially since my normal inclination is to move my feet much more slowly. But now I'm counting my steps, moving the old legs as fast as they'll go. Counting the right-foot-forward movements, trying to get up to 90 of those in 60 seconds, I begin by dividing things up. I try for 45 in 30 seconds, 30 in 20, and so forth. The pain in my back, my left leg, my right Achilles are all a distant memory. Did I mention that I'm gasping for air? That's my concern at the moment, and it's so much better than dealing with pain. This is anaerobic exercise to the hilt.

Okay, that was yesterday, and it was in the pool.

I've been hitting the pool regularly, swimming and pool-running, and I'm sure it's doing me good. At least it feels good, and it's certainly better than nothing on one side, and hurting myself further on the other. And I'm doing other stuff too: more weights, pull-ups and core work than ever. It's all good. But there's one problem: it's not running. I'd rather be running.

Today's workout is beginning slowly. I put one foot in front of the other and begin moving. It's not too painful, so I begin moving a tiny bit faster.

This time I'm outside, running on terra firma, and loving it. I'm in the park, noticing the deer, the dark woods, the fields of goldenrod, the sunrise.

The run was just a shuffle, and it was only for a distance of two miles. And it was painful. But it was a run.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aquarunning II (This Time It's Serious)

I'm no longer the Aquarunning Virgin I was a couple days ago. I discovered that the Rec Center actually keeps several aquarunning vests on hand for people in need. Like me.

Now I aquarun for twenty minutes. That's nineteen more minutes than I could do the other day, sans the belt. And I count my steps. I had read that one should aim for 180 steps per minute - about the same as for running at a good cadence.

It actually seems pretty easy. That probably means that I'm doing something wrong. Contrast that with swimming. I know I'm doing that right, because I can't hardly go more than a half-lap without a huge amount of huffing and puffing.

The best news is that I'm slowly getting better. I still have good minutes and bad minutes, but generally more of the former and less of the latter. I'm hoping that pattern holds.