Saturday, January 17, 2015

Running in French Polynesia



01-05-15 10m

'The ship leaves at 5, please be back by 4:30,' says the bleary-eyed security guard as I take off running away from the ship in downtown Papeete. Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, and is located on the island of Tahiti. It's a sleepy little town, especially this early on a Monday morn.

I only have time for about two miles of dodging occasional cars and wild dogs, as well as trying not to trip on the dark, uneven sidewalk, before it's time to get back aboard.

Now it's time to get some relatively serious miles in. The fitness center won't open till six, so I hit the track. The deck is wet from rain and I have to be careful not to slip. Ten laps per mile. Can I hold my sanity together enough to do eighty?

I can and I do. Most of the laps take me about a minute each, but I do pick it up as the run progresses. I dodge around the guy swabbing the deck and the occasional walker. Eventually another couple runners come out, but by then I'm about done. Well done.


01-07-15 10m

Last time it was eighty laps; how hard could one hundred be? The answer may surprise you. Pretty hard. With only ten to go, I am beginning to struggle a bit. What to do? Run faster, of course. I let loose on a scintillating 8:20 miles, my fastest yet. It's still over nine minutes per mile for the entire ten mile run, but all's well that ends well. And pulling into Bora Bora lagoon and anchoring just as I finish doesn't hurt either.


01-09-15 5m

Having a cold here on vacation isn't the greatest situation. But I suppose it beats having a cold at home. I do feel fairly miserable this morning, however, so I start out ultra-slow. Guess what happens then? I taper off. Only five miles today.


01-12-15 5m

That cold turned out to be a sinus infection. It's bad news. Today I did only five, but they were better than the five I did the other day.


01-13-15 10m

Still have the infection, but this wasn't quite so bad today. I begin my run pondering the stars and dancing around the guys swabbing the deck. Soon it begins to get light, and I am treated to a spectacular sunrise. I also notice that the ship, moving towards Rangiroa, is nearly surrounded by rain.

Of course there are rainbows. The deck swabbers are gone, and a few runners and walkers have now joined me; I am no longer alone.

I also pick up my pace a little. Now I am at and sometimes below nine-minutes per mile. I finish strong - infection be damned.

Who says running around in circles - even 100 of them - is boring? Even 380 total for the trip.

To read about the trip itself, including a link to the photos, click here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Well Here's Mine

It seems that everyone's posting year end summaries, so here's mine. It sounds like one of my race reports: I did okay for a while, and then the wheels fell off. Even my 'okay' running wasn't as good as last year's, but it sure beat not running at all for two months in the summer. I'm doing just slightly better these days. Finishing BW50K was an accomplishment.

2,074 miles for the year (the least since 1987). Total time for this madness is 13 days, 4 hours, so my average pace per mile is about 9:10 (the worst since forever). But the best part about the year is doing this along with all my running friends, new and old. MCRR is the best. And 2015 can only get better, right?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Twelve Good Miles

When discussing our anniversary, and/or how long we've been married, I'll often say, "we've had ten good years of marriage." And then I'll add that we were actually married in 1975. The math speaks for itself. I did run twelve good miles today, but it's too bad that the length of the run was eighteen.

The three-forty-five A.M. alarm came early. After figuring out where I was and who I was, I also remembered that it was Christmas Day. I also remembered that I was about to do a long run, since that's what I do on Christmas; at least some Christmases. I've actually had some epic 20 to 25 milers in the cold and snow on Christmases past. I'd be happy if I could get 18 on today's relatively mild (about 37F with very light rain/snow and wind) Christmas Day.

Why so early? Well, it takes time to run that far, especially at my slow pace. And I had committed to meeting women in dark places once again. This had been the topic of conversation at last night's Christmas Eve Party. Today it would be Brunswick Lake at 6 A.M.

The lake is about two and a half miles from my house, but I take a four-mile route in order to avoid running on route 303. After a slow start, I gradually picked up my pace, getting to the lake in time to do one loop before Lisa Eliason and Debbie Scheel showed up.

The path around the lake is exactly one mile long. We did five loops together, and then Lisa had to leave. Debbie stayed to do two more, and those were the fastest of the bunch. I would then do two additional lake loops before heading back home.

But those two were much slower. And the final four were slower still. My Achilles was hurting badly, but I'm not entirely sure whether that's the cause or the effect of the slow pace. I hadn't felt it at all for the first twelve.

I'm going to have to do something about this pain thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zero Dark Thirty, the Run

It's necessary to clarify the post title. We're not talking about Zero Dark Thirty, the Book, or Zero Dark Thirty, the Movie. No, this is Zero Dark Thirty, the Run. If I understand the term correctly, a Zero Dark Thirty Run is any run that occurs extra-early in the morning. Brian Rosenstock uses the name for the runs he organizes in Brunswick on Tuesday and Thursday early mornings.

Did I say early? How does 4:30 A.M. sound? I joined the group for the first time today, sort of on a whim. Whilst preparing to run from home (which is rare these days since I usually run when I get to work), I found myself exchanging Facebook messages with Patti Tomisello at about 4:10. She informed me that she was about to meet up with the group when I wondered what in the world she was doing up. I wound up running towards Brunswick Lake and almost literally bumping into the Zero Dark group as they came towards me in the early morning darkness.

Today's group consisted of Brian, Patti, Caitlin Oblander and about six women that I didn't know. We moved at a brisk pace up and down route 303, and then did several Brunsick Lake loops at an even brisker pace.

For my part, it was good to be able to keep up, especially after those last couple days of stinker-type runs. Once again, taking a vitamin I pill the night before helped.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

TW3

TW3 is the abbreviated name of an old TV show called, That Was The Week That Was.  It was a 1960's funny show about the news, not too dissimilar to the Daily Show and SNL's Weekend Update.

Since this blog is about my running, I suppose I ought to explain a bit further. Yes, I had a pretty good week of running: a couple ten-milers mid-week, and then eleven in Brecksville yesterday and thirteen at Hinckley today. So I'm getting the miles in. The best part is that my pace is also generally improving. I now average around nine-ish, and sometimes I can run somewhat, though not a lot, faster than that.

Although it was a good solid week by modern standards, I still have a ways to go.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

BW50K, and Some Potential Subtitles

The main start of the BW50K.      John McCarroll photo
I ran the fifth annual Buckeye Woods 50K on Sunday, November 30, 2014. For the title of this post, I had planned to also add a subtitle. But then I started to come up with too many. So instead I decided to list them all here in the body of the post.

Here they are, in absolutely no particular order, along with explanations...


 
Subtitle 1: Falling for the Course

I double-dog-dared myself to fall when I told Ron Ross that I most likely had run this course more than any other person on the planet, and that I had never fallen, even once. The reason I believe I hold this distinction (most runs, not not falling) is that I've run all four previous BW50K's, and also several training runs. So guess what? I fell on the very next loop. It was right where we never expect to fall, but so many of us do. I'm talking about the section where we turn onto the pine path out and back section. Yes, there are roots under those pine needles. And then I fell once again on the last loop, just for good measure. Nothing was broken either time. Except my pride, of course.

One of the early loops with John Pavlick and his daughter Katie.
I don't know the doggy's name. Photo by John McCarroll

Subtitle 2: I am the Reason I Could Run at all

Yes, the reason is I. Ibuprofen, that is. It's sometimes referred to (by runners, of course) as Vitamin I. I take some on occasion, trying hard to not ingest more than three or four tablets during a week's time. And I almost never take even so much as one before or during a run. But what with all my recent problems, including pain in both feet these days, I took a couple I's the previous day, and also some today before and during the run. And yes, I think that was a major factor in being able to run at all this day.


Subtitle 3: We Almost Cancelled it

Having made the promise that the weather was guaranteed or your money (it's free) back, new RD(she took over from I founded and directed the race for four years) Suzanne Pokorny and I almost cancelled the race. It was 61 degrees, for Pete's sake. The weather most definitely did not cooperate for this event for the past years. I wanted to announce that today's run would still be held, even if the weather's nice. Which it was. We did apologize to anyone who would listen,


Subtitle 4: A Timely Start

About eight of us took the 7:00 am early start option. Early starts are generally supposed to be for folks who may need extra time to complete the course. While that really wasn't a concern for some of use, it was for others. Including me.


Subtitle 5: Not the PW

There wasn't any kind of cutoff, and with the shape I was in, I really didn't have a time goal. My 50K Personal Worst time of 6:30 (at Buckeye Trail about 12 years ago) did loom however. After averaging roughly ten minutes a mile for my first three loops, I actually picked it up for the fourth. It helped to have Renee Harden as a companion for that one. She had won the 25K by averaging about 7:10 per mile, and then did a cooldown 5 miles at a somewhat slower 9:30 pace with me. Then it was time to gather my wits and change my shoes for the final ten miles. I knew they'd be slow, and of course they were - something on the order of 12 minutes per mile. I was extremely lucky to have two companions for these laps as well, however: Michelle Wolff and Maureen Oblander. We completed the fifth lap and began our sixth in 4:59. I suddenly realized that a goal of sub-six hours had been thrust upon me; I had an hour to run these final five. Looking at my watch with about a mile to go, I mentioned to Maureen and Michelle that we could do it, but we'd need to book. And book we did. I pulled ahead for that final sprint (such as it was), but all three of us made it in 5:59.


Subtitle 6: It Didn't Kill Me

Of course I was tired and sore. And of course my injuries hurt. But I remained vertical, and as of a couple days afterwards, I remain away from the morgue.

Yes, it really was warm out there. This was somewhere in the middle of the run.
That's Caitlin Oblander, on the way to her first ultra, with me.  Photo by John McCarroll

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks to the Grand Old Deity

Today is the day we're supposed to give thanks, so I'll give it a go.

Thanks to the Grand Old Deity - for this new pain. Yes, the agony in my right foot wasn't enough, so I got the one in my back. And just as that has been subsiding, just in time for Thanksgiving, just in time for Sunday's Buckeye Woods 50K, I've become blessed with a brand new affliction, this one in my left foot.

It hurts a great deal. I began hobbling last night during our pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday night family gathering. Hoping that a good night's sleep would help, I didn't give it too much thought as I went to sleep last night. But when I got out of bed this morning, I... wait for it ... could hardly walk at all.

This pain is different from the Achilles pain in my right foot in that it's on top and a bit towards the outside of my left foot. But it's similar to the other ache in that it causes me to hobble like Grandpappy Amos.

I did make it to the early morning run with friends, and the pain actually eased slightly during the run. My new hope is that if it feels better after six miles, it ought to feel just wonderful after thirty-one on Sunday.

Things can only get better. Where have we heard this before? Probably right here in a previous post.

So thanks, Deity of Mine. But next time, how about if you give someone else a reason to say thanks?