Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feeling (a little) Better

I went to the Chiropractor yesterday. Even though I'm a runner, I think I was more or less a typical case for them. After the twists and the electrical/ice therapy, I didn't feel any better walking out the door. But this morning, I did in fact feel better. Now I had already been feeling a bit better - probably because I haven't been running or doing much driving. But there was definite improvement today. I'm going back Saturday.

A couple inches of new snow and howling winds greeted me as I stepped out the door for my first run in a week. As noted, I was feeling better, but definitely not 100%. So was this a good idea? Who knows. I sure didn't push it. With the conditions as they were, that was impossible anyway. I ran about 7 miles at about 9.5 minute pace. The pain was coming back during the run, but it was fun to frolic in the snow anyway.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Outta Here

The fact is simple: I'm in too much pain to run. It hit me in the face during today's 11-miler, and of course I didn't like it. Running defines me. I'm afraid of what will be left of me if I don't do it for a while. Not to mention the simple loss of fitness.

The fitness, however, is being lost anyway. It's truly amazing how poor my running has become in such a short period of time. So of course I'm worried about getting the fitness back. But that won't begin to happen until I heal. And I'm certainly NOT healing now.

Running and driving have been giving me almost unbelievable pain, and it seems to get worse all the time. Running injuries and pain have been the story for the entire second half of 2008. It started with the slight case of plantar fasciitis that seemed to give way and morph into morton's neuroma. Whilst I was battling that pain, the back problems began. I seem to be able to trace the back/leg pain to the day of moving heavy tables to/from our house for the clambake in October. Although I didn't feel any immediate pain, that's when my lower back began to hurt. This was followed by butt and right leg pain. I remember not being able to sit through a movie or for long rides in the car in the days right after that. As time went on the pain intensified, and it's now gotten to the point where I can't drive more than a few minutes without excruciating pain. The running pain is almost as bad; it hurts just to lift my right leg in order to plant it ahead of me while running. Every step hurts.

So it'll be no running for now. Debbie's almost got me convinced to see a doctor or chiropractor. Money is the main problem here. We can afford a couple hundred dollars (our health insurance is worthless), and I'd gladly pay that if I was sure that I'd be cured as a result of seeing someone. It's been my past experience, however, that I don't get cured from our medical folks. Time is probably the only thing that will help me.

Sorry to be such a downer on this happy day.

Christmas Festivities

Just a quick note about what's been happening.

Last night was Nancy and Sandy's Christmas Eve bash. Good food and fun as usual.
Today we will be going to Jen and Cliff's house for the Horvath family Christmas.
Tomorrow Valerie will be coming in via Megabus, and Veronica and Barry are driving in. They should all arrive late afternoon, and then we'll have Debbie's gala vegetarian dinner.
Saturday? Don't know yet. That's a long way off.
The kids head home on Sunday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Week of December 21, 2008

Sunday: 30mph winds and temps in the upper 20s. It was going to get much worse, so I went out whilst the going was good. There was some snow on the roads too, so this was an interesting one. Still in pain, I shuffled around the neighborhood gingerly. I also got onto some of the rarely run trails around the subdivision. I ought to do that more often. Too bad I couldn't have enjoyed the snow more than I did. I'm calling this six miles at ten minute pace.

Monday: I'm fighting this pain with all my reserves. I know I should take it easy with the running, so I backed off a bit today. Instead of running many many more miles, I only did 7 on the mill. The good thing here was that I wanted something of substance, and got it. I did 10 1/4 mile hills at 6%. Coulda bin worse.

Wednesday: Ladd and I had planned to run together, but as I was getting into the car, I noticed that the driveway and street were still completely covered with ice. This, even though it had been getting warmer overnight and still raining. Instead, I just ran a couple on the mill.

Christmas: Dave and Carol were over, so I hadn't planned on a long one - I wanted to be back for breakfast. I did want to get something in, however, so I did my 11-mile route at 9 to 9.5 pace. Naturally that's extremely slow, but it was a nice, enjoyable Christmas run, except for the pain. See separate post about that.

During the run I was reminded of Christmas runs past. For some reason, the ones I remember most are the ones from the nineties, when we were living in Michigan, but staying at Kathy and Mike's. I'd always make the Christmas run a long one out on the country roads. It was often cold and nasty, and I didn't run very fast. But I still have those fond memories of those runs.

Today's 11 was still enjoyable, but what I'll remember most was the pain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frequency, Volume and Intensity

Roy Benson writes about masters training in Running Times. He likes to call us old guys (and, I guess, gals"geezers" and "grizzled veterans". I don't mind this name-calling at all. In fact, I revel in it. What I don't like, however, is the way Coach Benson is always telling old folks that they must slow down.

I understand that runners slow down as they age. But I don't need people to keep reminding me of this. I'd rather hear from the experts how to run more and faster, rather than less and slower.

That said, I do like this month's (jan/feb 2009) article. Coach tells us that we can experiment by manipulating our frequency, volume or intensity. He says that if training isn't yielding better performances, then it may be time to experiment by varying one of the three factors. Of course he says that us old folks should be varying them *downward*. But here's the important part: try *not* to reduce intensity. I think this makes a lot of sense, especially as I wind down a bit at the end of the year. I've got to try to keep the intensity, which has indeed been slipping, from going down too far.

Valley Forge

A year or two ago I toured Valley Forge National Park, taking in the historical significance and scenic beauty of the place. For this trip to Philadelphia, I'm staying closer to the park and am enjoying it by foot. Although I'd had an idea of the general direction, yesterday's winding run through interesting old neighborhoods turned out to be the most direct 2+ mile route to the park. Whereas yesterday I only ran a bit inside the park, today I had more time to explore.

At 44F or so, it was cooler than yesterday's record of 66. But it was still breezy, and there were a couple raindrops here and there. All-in-all, it wasn't a bad day to run (is it ever?). The park was erie in the early morning gloom. It was easier to see the sights as it became lighter.

It's a wonderful park, whether explored by foot or by car. The rolling scenery is great, and to be in the area of such history gives me goosebumps. I'll have to take Debbie here sometime.

I ran as far as I could on the hike/bike paths that wind all over the place. The paths do link up, but not always as expected. As a result, I had to backtrack a couple of times. But that was ok. And did I mention the hills? They're not insurmountable, but there are plenty of them.

This all added up to another really enjoyable slow run. I'm calling it 16 miles at 9 or so minute pace.

That very evening I drove to the city center to explore the historical area there, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. There is a separate post about this in the horvaths travel blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Week of December 14, 2008

Sunday: I'll be flying off to Philadelphia later, and the weather was decent, so it was a good day for my long run. It was in the 30s, and the wind fromt the south was very strong. I felt sluggish starting off, maybe because of all the chicken paprikash I had last night, when we'd had the Gajewski's over. What a hoot it is, watching those three kids tear around our house, and watching all of us adults trying to keep up with them. But I digress.. It's been years since I did a long run where I just ran out the door and didn't come back until I had 20 or so miles under my belt. My other long runs have either been with others and where water stops were available, where I keep coming back to the car (Lester Rail Trail) where water is available, where I run several shorter routes from home, but where I keep making pit stops, or just on the mill. Well today I did it the old fashioned way - running and staying out for 3+ hours. And it was a really nice run. Extremely slow (I don't know why at all), but nice. I ran on nice country roads (Sleepy Hollow, Plum Creek, Hamilton, Hamlin), saw a beatiful sunrise, chased a rainbow for 20-30 minutes, and simply loved the run.

Monday: There was a nasty delay for my flight to Philadelphia last night. I arrived at my hotel at nearly 1am. Naturally I didn't feel like running this morning. But as luck would have it, I wound up having much of the afternoon off, so I managed to get a run in at that point. And what a nice run it was. I'm in a different hotel than usual - this one is close to Valley Forge National Park. I found my way over to the park, and then ran around in the beautiful park for a while before heading back. I'll call it 6 fairly slow and extremely hilly miles. Also - interesting weather - a record high here at 66F and real windy.

Tuesday: 16 miles at Valley Forge. See separate post.

Thursday: After all this long, slow distance, I felt the need for speed. And although the weather wasn't the greatest, I didn't want to do it on the mill. Claggett MS track was covered with 3/8 inch of snow, and there was a cold wind. I did 4 x 1600 for an average of 6:57. This is funny - less than a month ago, I averaged 7 minute miles for the 13 miles of a half-marathon. Today 4 almost killed me. Of course the conditions weren't the best, but I think the biggest factor was *my* condition. I even tried a 5th repeat, but that one was slower than 7:30, so I won't even go there. Every time I think my leg/butt/back is getting better, I do something like this and it feels way worse again. Last night's painful traveling didn't help either.

Saturday: Ladd and Chuck joined Amy, Dave and me for our run on the towpath. Mike George picked us up and ran the last 5 with us. We ran on the road for a while but picked up the towpath at Vaughn and then did the usual. It was fun to run with the bunch, but the conditions - ice for several of the towpath miles - were tough. Coming back from Peninsula the pace had picked up. I was having a bit of trouble keeping up, but it got harder to do so once we hit those last few icy miles.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MCRR Spotlight

I had the honor to be the Medina County Road Runner spotlight runner for this month. This means that I answered some questions and my answers were sent out with the monthly newsletter to all the members. Here it is:

Spotlight Runner
Name: Dan Horvath
Birth Date and 5 year age group: May 2. Age group: 55-59 - the "geezer" division. But I'm one of the
"young guys" in the group. Really.
Occupation: My day job is being a Software Engineering Metrics Consultant. I'm self-employed and
have some flexibility, so I also fill in part-time at the Second Sole store in Medina. My wife, Debbie tells
me I come home from *that* job with a smile on my face. That's a switch. One other thing: I do some
freelance writing, including one or two articles a year for Marathon and Beyond.
Children/Grandchildren: Two daughters, both married. One in Connecticut, the other in Chicago.
Debbie, and I are always singing, Stuck in the Middle with You, except our kids aren't clowns or jokers;
they're great kids, er adults. No grandchildren.
Any interesting facts about your life we should know? This is not the least bit interesting, but Debbie
and I have moved many, many times. I'd say how many, but I can't count that high. We're from NE Ohio
originally, but have also lived in Gallipolis OH (on the Ohio River) and in Farmington Hills, MI, suburb of
Detroit. The most recent move to Brunswick was in 2004, and it is the second last. Last will be into a
rectangular box. One other uninteresting fact: I travel quite a bit - both for work and pleasure. I've been to
Europe many times over the last few years especially. Debbie and I are headed for Hawaii (our 10th trip to
the islands, I think) in March.
How many years have you been running? Too many to count. I started during the first running boom in
the 70s. I suppose it was 1976 or so. So that makes, what, 32+ years? Sounds about right. I do have logs
for most of them. Someone please ask how many total miles I've run in my lifetime.
How many days a week do you run? 5 or 6. I always take at least one day off per week, whether I need
it or not.
What’s your average weekly mileage? In the 60s these days. It was in the 70s last summer. Funny thing
about that. It seems that there are many folks who run faster than me in races, but do fewer weekly miles.
I don't know why, but maybe I should increase my mileage some more?
Favorite Running Shoe ASICS 21xx. I've tried others, but I keep coming back to this one - it always
works for me.
Favorite Running Magazine I guess I'd better say Marathon and Beyond.
Morning or evening runs? Morning. After coffee, my drug of choice.
Prefer to run alone or with someone Yes. Really - I like it both ways. When given a choice, I do always
run with others, however.
Where do you run, neighborhood, park, treadmill, etc. Yes... I know I'm a smarta$$, but I can't help
myself. I really do run on all of the above. I have a treadmill that I hate, but use when I can't get outside. I
run in my neighborhood, but usually I head farther out on the country roads. I meet friends and run on the
towpath on Saturdays. Sometimes we do more technical trails. I sometimes drive to Hinckley or the Lester
Rail Trail. Finally, I try to hit the track at least once per week, as long as it's runable.
What’s your favorite race distance? Yes. OK, now I'm really being a smarta$$. I've done everything
from one mile to 100 miles. I suppose I've enjoyed the longer ones somewhat more than the shorter ones,
but that's not always the case. I suppose my specialty is marathons. They've given me a few very
satisfying moments, but *much* more often they've caused me extreme consternation. I suppose I'd have
to say that ultras are really the most fun.
Any future running goals? I want to become the greatest runner who ever lived. Haile Gebrselassie is
shaking in his boots, er runnning shoes.
Ipod or Purist (no music)? Purist.
If Ipod, what music? Yes. I've been answering yes so much, I don't know how to say N/A. What's an
IPOD, anyway? I do like classical music when I'm not running.
Favorite running gadgets ( Forerunner, heart rate monitor, etc) I had a Garmin Forerunner 305. You
may think this is strange for a purist, but as someone who measures things (namely software) for a living I
loved the durn thing. Until it broke. Something like a day or two after the warranty expired. Now I'm too
cheap to pay the $99 to get it fixed. Somehow I'm still able to run without it again. The way I used to.
I also have a True Treadmill. Did I mention that I hate the thing?
Favorite or most memorable running moment: I'm usually somewhere in the middle of the pack. Once in
a while I do a bit better and contend for an age group award. But I've always said that I wanted to win a
race, no matter how small, no matter what competition there is. I'd only won one race in the distant past:
an *extremely* low-key ultra in Michigan. I didn't have high expectations heading into the Green Jewel
100k in the Cleveland Metroparks on May 3, 2008, one day after my 55th birthday. I just wanted to finish,
and I needed to do it by a certain time in order to make it to the airport for a flight to Europe. To make a
long story short, I got lost and ran an extra 3 miles, but made it just in time to get to the airport for the
flight. And I also finished first!. Now this was also a very low-key event, but even so, it's my most
memorable moment. For further reading, see: http://greenjewel.org/,
or my blog entry for the race: http://danhorvath.blogspot.com/2008/05/345.html.
Any superstitious rituals, ie. favorite race socks, shirt, etc.? I stand on my head for one hour before each
run. Just kiddingL I really can't think of any.
Favorite post run indulgence? Being horizontal for a long period of time. For some reason I usually can't
afford this luxury in terms of time. For you newbies: I'm generally kidding here - there are better post-run
activities like walking, stretching and massage. Lately, after big races, I often seem to find myself heading
somewhere far away on a plane (see above). I don't recommend this activity either. Sometimes I do go
for a walk with Debbie a bit later in the day.
Runner Personality Profile – Dan Horvath
1. Race t- shirts sold out on race day, your thoughts.
a. That’s ok I just want to run. This happened most recently at the November 23 CWRRC
Fall Classic. No shirt, no problem.
b. I’m disappointed but don’t really mind.
c. Those bastards!
2. Someone passes you in a race, your thoughts.
a. I’m happy for them.
b. It inspires me to try harder. !
c. Bastard. ! All of the above. Really.
3. You’re feeling a little stuffy mid race youL
a. Have a tissue tucked in your sleeve.
b. Use your sleeve!
c. Hope people stay to your left because snot rockets fly to the right. ! I'm not pretty when
I run.
4. Your breathing during a race would best be described as.
a. Quiet and controlled.
b. Labored but contained.
c. The equivalent of a heavy breathing obscene phone call. I'm not pretty when I run.
5. Your on pace for a PR and notice another runner sitting off on the side of the road, you.
a. Stop to help. If necessary. But if anyone else shows up to help, I'm outta there.
b. Notify the next aid station as you pass.
c. If they look to be in your age group they are on their own!
6. You have another commitment on the day of a race you’ve really been looking forward to, you.
a. Go to the commitment, there’s always next year. I will usually try my best to make both
the commitment and the race, no matter how much the time conflicts. Maybe it's just a matter
of having to run extremely fast this time.
b. Explain that you’ll miss the engagement due to a race and hope they understand. if a)
really won't work - the race would probably take precedence.
c. Feign illness or blame your lack of showing on your kids. If a) and b) don't work.
7. A friend wants you to wear his business T-shirt in an August race to get some free advertising,
it’s a heavy weight cotton, you.
a. Wear it, it’s just the one time and it’s a friend. Only if it's 5k or shorter. But what do I get
out of it (other than friendship)?
b. Tell him you wore it so his feelings aren’t hurt.
c. If it’s not dri-fit it’s not touching your body!
8. Has running ever negatively affected your work or life due to fatigue or scheduling?
a. no I've made it one of my life's priorities to not let this happen. I think I've done a good
job, but I'm not sure how Debbie would answer this question for me.
b. yes
c. Why, who’s asking?
9. You chose your races based on.
a. Challenging course and competitive fields.
b. Scenery, location or cause.
c. You looked up previous years and realized you had a shot at some age group bling. All
of the above. I'm not picky. I do travel to some races, but I generally prefer those close to
home.
10. You’re getting ready for a long run when your Ipod battery dies, you.
a. Go anyway; you enjoy the run more than the music. Once again, what's an Ipod?
b. Are annoyed but will still do the run,
c. Absolutely freak out, what will drown out the voices in your head now?

A Pain in the Butt

That back pain I've had for the past month and a half has moved down. It's not overly painful except when I drive; then it's unbearable. If I have to go anywhere in the car for more than 15 minutes, I know I'll be in excruciating pain. If Debbie's with me, I can let her drive.

I'm fighting this every way I know: strengthening my back, crunches, stretching, light weights, etc. I'm taking glucosamine/chondritin and zinc. No improvement yet.

Coincidentally, I had a physical yesterday. I'd had one a year and a half ago, but that one was worthless. Prior to that it had been 4 or more years. Of course I told the doctors about the pain. The prognosis? Take ibuprofen and it'll probably go away in a month or so. I could also have a muscle relaxer if I wanted. I didn't. If I hadn't had this whole thing before a few times, I'd be upset. But based on my experience those other times, I think they're right.

Notice I said doctor*s*. After the nurse/assistent took my BP, pulse, Ht, Wt, other initial info, another female person walked in and asked me a bazillion questions, trying to get my medical history. At one point the exchange was this:

**Are you sexually active?
-Yes.
**With men or women?
-Women.
**One or more than one?
-One.
**Are you married?
-Yes, and it's the *same* one.
**Sorry we have to ask you some of these personal questions sir.
-I was only making a joke. I was concerned that my wife may see this record. Ha ha.
**No laughter.

It turned out that this person was a doctor in training of some sort. She had me get into the gown and then came back in with my real doctor. He explained that she was and intern being trained, and that they'd be doing the exam together. I said fine.

And it was fine. I had no problem with it. The only strange part was the prostate exam. They seemed to spend an awful lot of time taking turns probing, pounding, pushing, prying, prodding and poking. And having a jolly discussion about it the whole time.

I'm glad I made their day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Race Fee Rant

Sent to drs...

I've been quiet lately, but I just have to vent this one out. Yesterday I signed up for the Cleveland Marathon, which is in May. The current fee is $65, but they sent me an email with a coupon for $10 off. Being naive, I thought I would be able to register for $55, assuming my math skills haven't deteriorated as much as my running skills over the years.

The website informed me that the current $65 fee is the online fee, and that the mail-in fee is $75. I can understand why a race would want to discourage the effort that goes with paper entries. I prefer to register online anyway. EXCEPT, that is, when active.com adds on their exorbitant fees. And dad-gum it if they didn't do it for this race. I had to pay something in the neighborhood of four clams to get the $65 fee. Lees the coupon, I paid about $59.

What upsets me is that although they advertise the current fee as $65, it is completely impossible to register for the race and pay that amount. Why don't they say the fee is $59, which includes a ridiculous fee for active.com? Not long ago, whenever I would see that active.com was involved, I'd invariably send the thing in the mail, even though it was more trouble. It seems like just this year (the same thing happened to me at Erie), they add $10 or so for mail-in entries. I want to shake them and tell them that NOBODY is able to register for the race at the posted rates!


Follow-up exchange the next day:
Geof Newton writes:
> Active allows race directors to:
> - charge on-line registration costs to the event
> - split registration costs evenly between the event and the participant
> - charge on-line registration costs to the participant

Good information. It makes sense.

> I think Active is ok but some of the race directors may need some
> guidance. I've setup on-line registration for directors who felt
> strongly both ways about who should be responsible for Active's cut. At
> the end of the day, the director decides how much goes to whom from
> where ...

Regardless of how the race director decides to handle this, IMHO,
the Active fees are excessive. I understand that they
provide a service and should be paid for it. Just not so much! As a
runner, I would be willing to pay them the cost of a postage stamp,
but they charge in excess of 10 times that much.

Another complaint: They make you enter all your personal information
before they tell you what their fee is, or even that there is a fee.

Active is the Ticketmaster of racing registration. Methinks they need
much more competition!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Week of December 7, 2008

Sunday: I was more tired than I should've been. There was more snow and cold outside, so I just stumbled through 6 miles on the mill. Then, after shoveling, I did shuffle through one more mile outside.

Monday: Determined to do a long one on the mill, I got on and did 24, generally at 7:30 pace, finishing at 8am.. It wasn't nearly as good a run as it sounds however. I was trying to do 8 miles each hour so that I could finish at a decently early time. The first 16 were fine, but those last 8 - yechh. I'm happy that I did finish this one, but I've got a very long way to go. I was pretty darn sore for the rest of the day.

Tuesday: I took some Aleve yesterday, and felt pretty good today. So I had a slow, but decent 9-mile run in the morning. The relatively warm - 40s - weather helped. We'll see how I am for tonight's "speedwork".

In the evening I did hit the track. Patrick, Frank and Dan were there, and we did four 800s in the driving light rain. It felt good to run fast on the track after several weeks of snow and ice. I don't think I could've done too many more however. My times were: 3:05, 3:07, 3:04, 3:08.

Wednesday: It's hard to imagine being more sore, but I wanted to get some miles in, and managed (barely) to get 5 in on the mill before my physical.

Thursday: I felt slightly better, but had an early meeting and did 4 at lunch at 8:20 pace. Felt like I was running through jello, but I'll take it.

Saturday: After running a bit before the rest of the bunch, I met up with the MCRR folks at Panera and ran over to and through Reagan Park and back. I'll call it 8 miles total. This was the first time I met up with so many MCRR folks, and I'm glad I did. This was a fun event; now I've got to try harder to get to the regular meetings.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Week of November 30, 2008

Sunday: I got out late, after Barry and Veronica left. I didn't expect much, but I actually did a decent 6 at 8-minute pace in decent 40-degree but breezy weather. That weather will be deteriorating for the rest of the week, so I'm happy I got this one in.

Monday: It looked like it would be lousy weather, so I planned to do 24 on the mill. Bored as usual whilst running on the mill, I almost immediately started thinking about how to get off again. Based on the tv weather reports, it appeared that the cold rain and snow would be holding off for a bit, so after 8 (at 8mpm) on the mill, out I went. It was cool (low 30s) and breezy, but otherwise not too bad at the start. I zig-zagged all around the presidential streents, and then went across 42 to and around Hopkins park. Eventually I wound my way south across Laurel to Sleepy Hollow. About half-way through these 12 miles, it started to snow and sleet. The last few were a struggle. At least I got 20 in.

Tuesday: I slept really really well. Of course it was tough to get out of bed and do 4 on the mill, but somehow I did. I may get out again tonight.

I did get out, but with the cold wind and chilly (27F) temperature, it was tough. Dan and Patrick showed up, and we did one mile on the track, Since it was covered with ice and snow, we moved over to Reagan park and did some hills. Those two are fast! I just took it easy. I'm calling it 4 miles based on the time.

Wednesday: After 10 hours of rest, I got out and did my 11-mile course. It wasn't all that bad - mostly 8 1/2 mile pace, except a bit slower for the last few. The wind was wicked, but at least it was dry.

Thursday: This time I had over 30 hours of rest, and I was still tired. I got out about 4:30 pm and shuffled around a bit and called it 5 miles at 9-minute pace. This got me to 50 for the week going into Saturday. Friday will be my first day off for a while.

Saturday: I felt pretty decent after finally taking Friday off - and did 14+ on the towpath with Dave and Amy. It was cold, but there were only a few icy spots. As usual, we had negative splits on our journey to Lock 29 and back - about 1:02 going out and 59 coming back. Not bad.

Later Saturday I had to work, and then drive to Canton for the Subway Challenge awards banquet. I was 3rd in my AG this year - worth only a couple shirts and $10 at Raisin Rack. I redeemed that right away. But all that driving (in bad weather) hurt my hip more. For some reason, driving is the most painful thing in the world for me these days.

Thanksgiving Weekend

The girls (and Barry) have packed and left, so once again, the house feels empty. Of course Mom is here - that helps. But as always, it was sad to see them go.

It was a wonderful weekend, as all our thanksgivings are. I made the regular and vegetarian lasagne on Wednesday night for the extended family. Veronica and Barry came in late that night, while Valerie got in Thursday morning.

The turkey and all the fixings were great. Some things were different, as we broke (only a bit) from traditions: got a fresh Costco turkey, and brined it, made REAL cranberry sauce, did not stuff the turkey, but made separate, fantastic vegetarian dressing. But then most of the stuff was normal: the desserts, the other fixings, the bread, the massive quantities. We had a record 17 people at the table this year, including Nancy's mom and sister Margie. Everything turned out as good as could be.

Friday we did some shopping, and then drove to Amish country. Something different. And fun. The best part was the grocery store in Walnut Creek. The funniest was the candle lighting ceremony that we couldn't stay through in Sugarcreek.

Saturday it was more shopping, lunch at Mustard Seed, and the movie, Four Christmases.

Today we're straightening everything out and getting back to normal. Then we go to Dave and Jill's christening party for Enzo. Should be more fun.

But someone please make the fun stop!

My achin' back, part 2

About a month ago I posted something about my back and foot problems. The good news is that the foot is way better; almost 100%. The bad news is that the back is the same, or possibly worse. The pain seems to shift around, and most recently I feel it in my right hip. The extra weight I've put on over the weekend doesn't help, nor does the time spent driving to, around, and back from Amish country the other day.

I'm going to beat this thing however. I've had it before; I called it sciatica then. Whatever you call it, I don't like it and I'm not gonna put with it any longer. I'm working harder on various exercises, and I'll keep at them. I'll keep running (of course) because that doesn't hurt it at all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Week of November 23, 2008

Sunday: CWRRC Fall Classic Half Marathon. See separate post.

Tuesday: These half marathons have been taking a lot out of me. Once again, I was extremely sore for a couple days, but in spite of that I went out for a medium-long run this morning. The weather was decent for this time of year: low 30s, windy and some snow starting up. Did the 15-mile course at mostly 9-minute pace. Faster for the first half and slower towards the end. I was getting tired, and the footing was starting to deteriorate. I may do the speedwork tonight, but it's sort of doubtful.

Wednesday: I didn't run Tuesday evening. The snow has been bad almost every day lately. I did run on the mill today: 11 in 81 minutes, with 7 x 1200 thrown in. It wasn't pretty though. Had to stop several times to catch my breath.

Thursday through Saturday: Kind of a blurr because of all the weekend festivities, but I'll do my best. On Thanksgiving Thursday I did 10 slow miles in the cold. Only the last few were decent. On Friday I had planned to do 10-12, but ran out of time and only did 6 at about 8 1/2 minute pace. Saturday I had even less time (had to drive Valerie to the Megabus stop), so I only did 4 to get my 60 for the week.

OK, none of it was great running, but at least I got *some* miles in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CWRRC Fall Classic Half-Marathon

Parking for this race is always a bear, with "Bear" being the best "b" word I could think of here. I arrived almost an hour early thinking that I could get one of the few close spots. No luck, I was told - drive up the hill to the secondary area. 1/2 mile away, I thought this wouldn't be too bad, until I saw that people were trying to pull out with as much frequency as they were trying to pull in; this lot was full too. The 3rd area - the RTA Park & Ride - is extremely far. So I finally got smart and simply parked on the shoulder of the parkway. Other than the parking, however, I do always enjoy this race, along with its spring version.

Expectations, Schmecpetations: the only one for today was that I wanted to avoid a PW at all costs. I think my PW is 1:41, and when I saw the temperature of 11F as I got out of my car, I thought that the cold, combined with my declining conditioning could put me in that kind of territory. On the other hand, it was bright and sunny, and all indications were that the temperature would rise quickly. It wasn't too windy, so the sun actually felt fairly warm. So if a miracle were to happen, there would be another sub 1:30 today. But I wasn't holding my breath... no, actually I was - it was too cold to breathe for that first mile.

That first mile was probably short, because it went by in just around 6 minutes. And I'm not capable of that - even in warmer weather. I did settle into a decent pace soon afterward. Most of the early miles were just under 7 minutes.

The familiar course is a double out and back on the closed-to-traffic parkway. You get to see all your friends - and I had many there - several times. The woods were very pretty with all the snow illuminated by the bright sunshine. Most of the course was free of ice and snow, but there were a few bad spots. The worst was the solid icy spots on the 1/2 mile of bike trail at near the half-way and finish area. I started the second loop at about 45 minutes - right on pace for a 90 minute run. But after all that ice, I never picked my pace back to where it was. I was now running miles that were slightly slower than 7-minute pace.

Somewhere in there I took an energy gel, and it helped a bit. At least I didn't slow down any further. But by mile 10, which I hit in 1:09:30 or so, it was beginning to look like 90 minutes was out the window. This was in spite of the fact that it was actually warming up nicely. A bit too nicely: my hands were so hot I threw my ski gloves off at mile 7, and picked them back up at 11.5. Of course this meant losing precious seconds. Those seconds weren't about to make the difference of a sub-90, but they had the chance of affecting my age group place. When I picked them back up, a fellow geezer (I mean that in a nice way - especially since I don't exclude myself from that classification) caught up with me. I'd seen the guy from time to time previously, and I had the feeling that he may be in my division.

I ran side by side with him for a half-mile. We were both too winded to talk. By about mile 12, I was beginning to pull away. But I had to keep pushing until the icy finish. I crossed the line in 1:31:57, a few seconds ahead of the other guy. They immediately gave me the first in age group award. I love those races with immediate awards. The other guy came in a few seconds later, and he did turn out to be the same age.

So it was another solid effort, but another one where, in retrospect, I would've liked to have done a couple minutes faster. At least it wasn't a PW.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mom's Here

Ed and Betsy are heading to Florida a few days too late - the yuchy weather has definitely begun. They dropped Mom off yesterday, and now she'll be with us for a couple months. Although she just turned 94, she seems to be doing just fine. The only concern is her teeth - the dentist wants us to have several pulled. We hate to put her through that, but we'll be looking into it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lovely's Wedding

It's not every day that you attend a combination Italian and Indian wedding, but that's what this one was. It was, to say the least, a unique event. It was a blast, too.

Week of November 16, 2008

Sunday: I took the day off, as we drove back from Detroit to Cleveland.

Monday: I was gonna get a 20+ miler in no matter what. And I did - on the mill. Had to step off quite a few times for various pit stops, and I almost quit a few times. But I did managed to get 24 in - 3:11. Now I'm *really* tired and sore.

Tuesday: Just 6 on the mill. More awful weather. I'm also not gonna run tonight. Maybe tomorrow will be a decent one.

Wednesday: It was cold and nasty - about 21F, windchills in the mid-teens, and plenty of leftover ice and snow, but durnit - I was tired of that dreadmill and I was gonna run outside no matter what. And it wasn't all that terrible. I wound up at the track, and after deciding not to do the speedwork yesterday, I did manage to do some today. That is, of course, if you call 7:30 miles speedwork. The track, like everything else, was covered with ice and snow, but it turned out to not be quite so bad as the roads. So after a slow start I did a few of those speedy 7:30 miles there and headed home. Altogether 11 miles in 93 minutes.

Thursday: Today I wanted to do my usual 11-mile course on the country roads that I enjoy so much. The one that winds up going through the new subs. The footing would be much better today, and it was warmer - in the mid-30s. But the northwest wind was very strong. The result? Not bad at all. I held an even 8:20 or so pace throughout the run, and finished in 92 minutes. It's encouraging to think that I'm not slowing down any further. Yet.

Now I've gotta figure out what to do, running-wise, this weekend. There are three possibilities on Saturday: the usual running with Amy and Dave (altough the towpath may not be runnable), a 5k race in Medina, and the club group run at the store at 1pm when I'm supposed to be working. And then there's Sunday. That's when the Fall Classic half marathon occurs. What with the upcoming cold and otherwise lousy weather, either or both of the races could result in a PW for me. Wouldn't that be exciting?

I got out for another run at lunchtime. 3 on the presidential streets in sub-8 minute pace. Not bad.

Friday: In order to get up to 60 for the week, I banged out 5 on the mill. Wasn't pretty, but I managed. Now I probably will not run tomorrow, and save myself for the half on Sunday. Of course, plans could change.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Week of November 9, 2009

Sunday: Before heading out, I watched the one-hour recording of last week's NYCM. It takes me that long to wake up before heading out the door anyway. This gave me a bit of inspiration, and I did my 11-mile course in 96 minutes. Not speedy, to be sure, but at least it was steady. Beats having the Sunday blues.

Monday: More tired than I should have been after yesterday's run, I just stepped on the mill and did 10 today - 7 at MP. It wasn't pretty.

Tuesday: My morning run wasn't too pretty either. I had thoughts of 10-12, but I only jogged at 9-minute pace for 7 or so. Tonight's speedwork should be better. Shouldn't it?

It was better. I got to the track 20 minutes early and Pete was already there doing 800s. I did one with him (actually way behind him), and then warmed up some more with Ladd, Marsha and Kyle. Ladd and I did a 1600/1200/800 with pretty good results. It felt good to open her up now that my marathon recovery period is over. Glad to get this one in.

Wednesday: Based on past experience, I thought I may be able to get another speedwork session in - just 10 hours after my last one. That past experience really is in the past, because it didn't happen today. It was slow 9-minute miles over to the track, and then 4 8-minute miles there. This was the "speedwork". Then I took a longer route home at 9-minute pace once again. At least I'm getting my miles in this week.

Thursday: 3 slow late afternoon miles on the Presidents streets.

Saturday: I kind of wanted to do a 20. That way I'd have 70 for the week. But as soon as I stepped outside the hotel in Livonia, I knew today would be a challenge. We're here for Lovely's wedding. It had rained all night, and it was still raining. A cold, 40 degree and windy rain. About as bad as running weather can get. Off I went, slowly, into the awful early morning darkness. I stepped in puddles galore - some ankle deep - that I couldn't see due to the darkness. I made my way south on Haggerty, then west on 5-mile. I got over to Northville Road, and then Hines Drive. I'd run here many times on both training runs with the Wrights, and also as part of the Martian Marathon and some 20-mile Running Fit runs. When I got back up to 6-mile, I turned back to the hotel, and after some dipsy doodles, made it back there at 90 minutes. Would I be able to do it all again to call it 20? Didn't know, but I was about to try. This time I didn't want to be heading north when I was tired however - the wind was from that direction, and it was wicked. I had gloves, but they were soaked and my hands were almost frozen solid. I made it back to Hines and went north at that point. More familiar territory. At about 36 minutes out, I was suffering way too much and had to head back. I'll call it 18 miles total for a run as miserable as it gets.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

No Running... Until Today

I've been pretty well burned out. The trip to London came at the right time because I was not in a good running area there anyway. I planned to only run if I really felt like it. I didn't really feel like it.

So today I found myself running on the towpath with Dave and Amy after having taken five whole days off. It felt good. A bit sore, but good. Maybe I'll be re-energized now. We'll see if I have the usual Sunday blues tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Day

Awake at my usual 4am, I immediately turned on the tv in my London hotel room. John McCain was on several channels, making his wonderful concession speech. It reminded me of why I voted for him. In the 2000 primary, that is.

A short time later I watched Barack Obama give his now famous great Chicago speech. It reminded me of why I voted for him. In 2008.

What a great and historic time this is. This must rank with the other historic events I've witnessed in my lifetime. It's a new day. And it's exciting to be alive.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Inland Trail Marathon


Sub-3 is still the gold standard. It’s been 12 years, but I still haven’t totally given up; I still have sub-3 as a goal, albeit an increasingly unlikely one. Once upon a time, achieving this gold standard wasn’t so unusual. I got there seven times, sometimes two or three times in a row.

3:00 to 3:05:59 is a near miss. Don’t ask why it isn’t 3:00 to 3:04:59. 3:05:59 is the upper limit here, and that’s just the way it is. At some point over the last couple eons the near miss became a more realistic goal than the gold standard. Without a doubt I’d get back to sub-3 land, but for the time being a near miss would be fine.

As the near misses became more and more difficult, there had to be a new category. 3:06 to 3:10:59 is a near, near miss. Still respectable, and still a chore, this standard may now be slowly slipping away too, however. I did a 3:09 in 2006, and I was on sub-3 pace for 20 miles later that year before becoming injured and walking in for a 3:18.

Now I need a name for 3:11 to 3:15. Near, near, near miss just doesn’t sound that great. Yet this time still isn’t all that bad, especially as a stepping stone back to near, near misses, near misses and sub-3’s. I did manage a 3:14 in 2007. And this year I weigh less and have recorded faster times in all non-marathon distances. The cards just haven’t been there for a sub 3:15.

Until today, that is. By gum, today would be the day and Inland Trail, site of last year’s 3:14, would be the event. It’s do or die. Well, let’s just say it’s do.
I make the short drive to Elyria in a half-hour. Destination marathons can be exciting, but how can you beat sleeping in your own bed, eating your own food, and driving a half-hour to your race? Not to mention not having to pay more than $55 for the race, with no expense at all for any other travel.

The weather, a negative factor for so many of my marathons, is perfect today: low 40s for the start with a few clouds, light breezes and only slowly rising temperatures. It would be about 50 by the time I finished.

I arrive and talk with Dan DeRosher, who would be doing the half, Greg Dykes, who wanted a 3:10 BQ very badly, and my arch-enemy, Vince Russo. Make that double-arch enemy. Vince is a good friend, but he also happens to be in my age group, and he also sometimes comes across the finish ahead of me, so that’s how he achieved double-arch enemy status. I also said hi to Lloyd Thomas, who just finished MCM in his first sub-3 time. I’m jealous, but of course congratulatory. I don’t find Ladd and Marsha before they hop on the bus to the start of the half. Those of us doing the full wait around for another half-hour before the gun goes off. I talk with Vince some more.

It’s a small, friendly bunch who toe the line. I do the first 5 or so miles with Greg and a few other guys. The Inland Trail is a rails-to-trails asphalt bike trail, where the scenery is very nice, but almost always exactly the same: colorful trees on both sides, with an occasional bridge, fence, or road crossing. Some runners miss the crowds and excitement of big city marathons, but not me. This, and the towpath are almost heaven. Marathoning just doesn’t get any better.

Eventually the half-marathoners are coming in the opposite direction. I see Dan, Ladd and Marsha, all looking great along the way. Greg and those other guys are getting ahead of me, but the 7:15 to 7:20 miles are fine with me for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to pick it up in the second half and finish strong?

The mile before and after the turn-around is on a road that provides the only slightly rolling hills. couple guys had passed me before the half-way point. Before I turn, I see them, as well as Greg, Vince, who’d gone out very fast, and several other familiar faces. I reach that half-way mat in just under 1:36. Perfect. If I can only do even to slightly negative splits, I’ll have a great finish time today. But as I turn back onto the trail, I get a strange and unexpected sensation: wind in my face. I’d been aware that there were some gentle breezes about, but I wasn’t aware that they were at my back. Now I know differently. It’s ok, I tell myself. This little bit of wind won’t slow me down.

I do pass a few folks in the next couple miles. I start to take a Gu every two or three miles. It seems to help, but I think I’m slowing just a bit as I reach mile 20 in 2:28. I’m working harder and slowing more, and I’m starting to figure out that 3:14 to 3:15 may be the best I can hope for today. Even so, I still pass a couple more, some of them walking. I hope to catch double-arch enemy Vince, and I think I see him up ahead. I do pass the guy in the late miles, but it isn’t Vince. By mile about mile 24, I realize that I probably won’t even make the 3:15 standard. My foot (the one with the Morton’s Neuroma that had been feeling better) hurts. In fact, everything hurts.

As the trail is nearing the point where we turn onto the road and back to the school and finish, I see Ladd, who runs those last ¾ of a mile in with me. It’s a tremendous help. I probably would have slowed much more without this companionship.
I cross the line in 3:17:05 or so. I immediately get my second place in age group award, a second medal. You’ve got to love a race where the awards are this quick. I see Marsha, who’d run a P.R. in the half, Greg, who’d gotten that BQ by 15 seconds (!), and Vince, who’d run 3:12. I wasn’t even close!

I’m in great, general pain. I’d given it all I had, but still came up short. Yes, it was my best time in my four 2008 marathons, but I still wanted that sub-3:15. I go inside to get some food. They have Chicken Paprikash! Beat that, Boston, New York and Chicago!

As is often the case for my marathons and ultras these days, I find myself on a plane a few hours later, this time off to London. It’s a painful flight.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week of October 26, 2008

Sunday: I somehow thought I could get a decent run in today. Don't know why - I didn't sleep much the night before, and Dave and Carol had stayed over. Still, I wanted something of substance. I didn't get it. Best I could do on my 11-mile loop was 91 minutes. It only felt like it was faster. Much faster.

This was my first run in my new $165 (minus discount) Saucony Progrid Paramount shoes. They feel wonderful - especially with my neuroma problem.

Monday: Had to take Kathy to the airport at 5:30, so I did 6 on the mill before going and then 4 more along with weights after I got back. Not bad for a dreadmill run - I included 3 at tempo pace.

Tuesday: There was a cold rain, so once again I stayed on the mill. Feeling a bit better, I did 6 miles, 5 of them at marathon pace. I guess the vitamin I (ibuprofen) is doing the trick for both my back and my foot. We'll see how tonight's speedwork goes.

Both the middle and high school stadiums were in use, so Marsha, Brittany and I ran to and around Reagan park. I put in a few beforehand, and then 4-5 with the ladies. It was cold and blustery, but an enjoyable run. My foot continues to improve.

Thursday: News bulletin: Almost no pain today. Yes, my back still aches. And yes, my foot is still tender. But it's so nice to be able to say that both have improved a lot. So I got out for just a 6-mile run this cold (sub-30) morning and did well: 4 of the miles were at sub-7 tempo pace. Just what I wanted to do.

Friday: I weighed in at 151 today! Nice noontime run - 3 in 22 minutes. Felt pretty good, but a few sore muscles for some reason. The foot is much better now.

Clambake

Friday's Classical Mystery Tour concert at Severance was fun - even more than I'd thought it would be. We went with Mike and Iris and went to eat at Lemongrass in Cleveland Heights prior to the concert. All good.

My Achin' Back

At Friday night's Classical Mystery Tour (Beatles) concert my right leg was killing me. It hurt to just sit still. At the time I thought it was a slight hamstring pull because that's where most of the pain was. But I don't feel it at all whilest running. Today the real cause hit me. I was moving the extremely heavy tables along with the chairs for the clambake. We picked them up and set them up on Friday, and returned them today. The more I think of it, I'm sure that this is the problem. Now my back as well as my leg are sore.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Morton's Neuroma II

It's really just being continued. The pain is pretty bad these days, and it doesn't seem to subside the way it used to. I'm going to try something drastic and run easy for a few days.

The gel pad feels weird. It actually seems to hurt more for the early miles - maybe because it makes the whole shoe tighter. But then it seems to feel much better. I only wear it sometimes. Don't know whether it really helps or not.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week of October 19, 2008

Sunday: A slow painful 3 miles at (gasp) nine and a half minute pace. May try a long one tomorrow.

Monday: This was to be my only long run between the Towpath Marathon and the Inland Trail Marathon. A good quality one would be great, but barring that, any measure of 20 or more miles would suffice. I was still pretty beat up from Stomp the Grapes. Seems like more so than I was after the Towpath. I had a tough time even getting out the door. No problem, thought I; once I get moving, things will be fine. They weren't. I did my 11-mile route at a 9-minute pace and never really felt good the whole time. I almost quit, but instead ate some food and did 9 more on the mill at 8-minute pace. Even at that I stopped to eat some more. So not a pretty long run at all. And my neuroma still hurts.

Tuesday: I showed up for the evening speedwork exceedingly sore and tired. So were Dan and Jim. So we took things really easy on ourselves. 4 x 400, all in the upper 90 seconds.

Wednesday: I was still beat up of course, but of course I headed over to the track for more speedwork on 10 hours rest just like I did last week. And also like last week I did better than expected: 4 x 1200 at about 4:55. Slow, but fast enough to call it speedwork. I limped home, foot and body hurting.

Friday: I took Thursday off because I was so sore. I thought I'd feel better today, and I did. But not that much better. Not as much better as I wanted to feel. I managed to do 6 miles at 9-minute pace. Running's a chore these days. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Naaah.

One positive thing: my weight. It had been good anyway - in the 154-153 range. And now the last few days it's been pretty consistently at 152. Tomorrow's clambake will take care of that.

Saturday: 14 on the towpath with Dave and Amy. Easy does it - 9 minute pace going out towards Peninsula, about 8:20 coming back. I feel a wee bit better.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ninety... (Race Report for Stomp the Grapes Half)

Why can't I break ninety minutes for a half-marathon any more? That's easy; it's because I can't even break ninety-one. Sad but true: my last three have all been above 91 minutes. Not that any of them were without excuses, mind you. At last year's Stomp the Grapes I'd run four or five miles as a warmup (a bit much) and it was hilly and I was still recovering from the Chicago Marathon warmth. At this year's New Philly 1/2 the weather was absolutely abysmal - tremendous wind, rain, sleet and snow, all at the same time. And most recently at the Wooster Half it was hilly and I was still recovering from the Erie Marathon warmth.

So I wasn't overly hopeful for this year's Grape Stomp. It's only been a week since the towpath, and the hills there in Navarre haven't gone anywhere. On the plus side however was the weather - cloudy with light breezes with temps in the 40s. Absolutely perfect. Also on the plus side was the fact that I really wasn't feeling all that bad, all things considered.

It's called Stomp the Grapes because it begins and ends at a winery in Navarre, OH. It's a very scenic location, and most of the race is very pretty. Most of the first few country road miles are very hilly, and are mostly downhill. After the village of Navarre, the middle part is fairly flat, and miles 6-10 are on the towpath. 10-13 are back on those same hills, up, up, up and back to the winery.

I hit mile 5 in 34 minutes and mile 10 in 68. I'd picked up the pace some before half-way, but then slowed a bit on the towpath. Although it wasn't steep, I'd swear that we were going uphill on that towpath trail. I'd been following a few folks on the towpath, and caught a couple before we got back on the road. Once on the road for those last three I knew that I'd slow at least a bit. The goal was to not go much slower than seven minute pace. Those first 10 had all be sub-7.

So mile 11 was 7:03. The good news was that I passed one more in here somewhere, and he (Don Cassidy) was in my age group. I hadn't beaten Don since... ever as far as I knew. Mile 12 seemed to be more down than up, but it was nevertheless slow at 7:06. Mile 13 was very up. The last few feet leading up to the winery driveway seemed like a mountain. Those last 1.1, hilly as they were however, weren't too bad: 7:15.

This all added up to a 1:29:20 by my watch. Since I beat Don and Vince Russo, I may have possibly captured first in my age group. Chuck and Ladd are picking up any award I may have won, so I'll soon find out.

What's next? I may do the Cleveland Fall Classic 1/2 in late November to see if I can improve on this time. Of course I'm also thinking more about the Inland Trail Marathon. That's two weeks away so it's time to rest and recover and then start training again before the big taper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Week of October 12, 2008

Sunday: Towpath Marathon - see separate post ("catch a falling leaf").

Tuesday: I managed to do some speedwork on the Tuesday after the last marathon, so I showed up for the Tuesday evening thing. I was extremely tired and sore, but it sure helps to have others around. Bob and I were coming down from our race and Dan was tapering for his. We also had some newbies. Slow running was in order. We did some striders and then 3 x 400. That was it. That was enough.

Wednesday: Ten hours and one Aleve later, it was time for more speedwork. After a slow run to the track, I did 4 x 1200 in (4:54, 4:53, 4:57, 4:49). This was much better than expected, so I'm happy with it.

Thursday: I wasn't expecting much, and it was raining, so I hit the mill. Turned out not so bad: 7 miles with 5 at MP. I'll take it.

Saturday: Stomp the Grapes Half-Marathon. See separate post.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catch a Falling Leaf ** Towpath Marathon

Ever try to catch a falling leaf? While running? It’s not nearly as easy as it seems. I did today on my first try. This was during the first mile of the Towpath Marathon, one of the most beautiful marathon courses in this part of the solar system. I thought it was a good sign.

Another good sign was the weather. I had some trepidation when I heard the forecast high of upper 70s. This would be too hot, but the good news was that nights in the Cuyahoga valley are often very cool. This morning’s temperatures were in the upper 40s for the bright and sunny 8am start. If only they’ll stay this nice for a while, I said to everyone around me. Many agreed, but others couldn’t wait for the inevitable warm-up.

So things were boding quite well with the cool start, the gorgeous foliage and my ability to pluck that leaf out of the air. The towpath is my home turf; I run on it weekly and love it to death. In mid-October, the leaves are at their prettiest, and the entire valley is ablaze in glory. I’ve done this marathon several times and I never get over the wonders of it. It’s as different from other marathons as night is from day. With all this good boding going on, I decided this would be a good solid race performance for me. I’m in 3:15 shape, but I just haven’t done a 3:15 since last November. At least that’s what I’ve been telling anyone who will listen. Now, unlike my last couple thons, I’d have no excuses.

A 7:30 pace it would be. The whole way. Maybe I’d even be able to pick it up for the last few. Wouldn’t that be grand? The early and middle miles felt pretty darn easy. We went south for 8 miles to Ira and then turned back north. I hit half-way in 1:37. Perfect. I think we went by the Boston start/finish area at about 16 or so, and things were still going quite well.

It was not long after this that things did become more difficult, however. I was working harder to keep the same pace, and that pace started to slip towards 8-minute miles anyway. Things were warming up fast, but that wasn’t a factor. Yet. I hit the 20-mile mark at exactly 2:30, which is still 7:30 pace. But I’d been slowing already, and this trend would continue.

That 20-mile area was just north of Station Road, where I usually start and finish my Saturday runs with my training partners. So this was really home turf now. Too bad I wasn’t feeling so strong at the moment. Between 20 and 21, we turned and headed south, back past Station Road, Red Lock and toward the finish at the Boston Store. The sun was now directly in my face (I suppose we must have been headed a bit southeast, and not due south for much of this part), and it was getting quite hot.
Even though the miles were taking their toll, I continued to pass a few folks. Two passed me the final, painful mile. The finish in Boston doesn’t match the finish in that other Boston, but this one was exciting for me.

I finished in 3:21. I’m not sure if I placed anywhere in the geezer division. I wish I knew why I slowed down. Maybe I never recovered enough from Erie? Didn’t taper enough? I refuse to believe that I’m not in 3:15 shape. Now I’ve got to decide whether to do another one in a couple weeks (Inland Trail). We’ll see how I feel by Tuesday or so.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Week of October 5, 2008

Sunday: I was headed down to the Fox River 5k/10k, a low key race. I made a low key effort to find it (it's south of Medina) and got there with 5 minutes to spare. Or so I thought. Turned out I was late - the race had started 15 minutes earlier. As I was driving out of the subdivision, I saw all the runners coming back in.

So I went to the Clagett track for a speed workout. And I done pretty good. It was a beautiful October morning. I did the old 20 x 400 / 10k workout. After a shakey start, I consistently hit the 400 times, and didn't take too much time resting during the 100s. First 5k in 22, second in 21. Altogether 43:09. Almost as good as a race. Maybe better.

94(35),91(37),92(39),91(40),92(39),90(37),91(39),91(40),90(38),89(38),91(39),93(37),89(43),91(36),91(37),92(38),90(40),89(39),90(40),86(25) - average about 90.

Monday: Just 5 on the mill - all I had time for. Weight is still at 154.

Tuesday: After work and then work, I managed to get to the Tuesday speedwork location. Only Dan showed up, but he's a good partner for me - we're pretty close in speed. Actually, he's way faster, but I think I may have some advantage in distance. Dan's getting ready for Columbus - a week later than the towpath. We did 6 x 800 in: 3:13, 3:13, 3:11, 3:07, 3:10, 3:06. An average of 3:10. Pretty solid.

One thought: I told Dan that we should leave the track feeling like we could do more. Then I started wondering where I heard such a thing and who it applied to. I suppose it was advice from some coach to recreational runners who hit the track once a week or so.

Wednesday: After 10 hours rest, I was out running again early in the morning (had cancellation). It wasn't one of my fastest or best, but 10 miles at 8 1/2 minute pace wasn't bad on tired old legs. I then did some weights and 3 more on the mill.

Looks like Sunday's marathon weather won't be so great: mid 70s. Could be worse, but generally, yucch.

Thursday: 2 on the mill, then some work, then 3 slow ones outside. So-so running. The good news? My foot is generally better, and my weight is down to 153.

Saturday: I was in the valley anyway; I'd volunteered to represent the MCRR at the towpath expo. So I arrived a bit early and went to Station road almost like a usual Saturday run. Except this time I was tapering, so I only did 4. They were a good 4 however - the first mile was 8:30, and the rest were 7:30, which is my intended race pace. Not bad.

I'd be much happier if the cool weather would continue into Sunday for the race, but instead it will be warm. High will be in the upper 70s, but maybe the morning hours will be at least decent.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week of September 28, 2008

Sunday: I figured I'd be tired and sore and so I was. My foot hurt a lot. I tried a bunga gel forefoot pad and it seemed to help a bit. But there was still a lot of pain for the first 8 or so slow miles. The pain subsided for the last 3 miles, but I got more tired and slowed down even more. At least I go the 11 in. Averaged about a 9-minute pace.

Monday: Work is busier than ever, and I'm trying to get enough sleep. 10 tired terrible treadmill miles today.

Tuesday: Work is even more busy. Woke at 2:45 to run 5 on the mill. 3 at tempo pace. Maybe more with the run club tonight. I did get out a second time, but not with the MCRR and not with the speedwork group. Greg was coming over (we went to dinner) so I got out about 4:30 and did 6. It was a steady 8 minute pace but not the speedwork I wanted. Got caught in a sudden gully-washer.

Thursday: There was a brief respite in my workload, so I went out for a long run. The conditions were perfect: just under 50F, with a slight breeze. I did my 16-mile course in about 2:13 at a fairly even pace. This was good, but not fantastic. After a gu and a drink I went out for another four. Now I wanted to hit these hard, and I did. The last 3 were all under 7 minute pace. Just what I wanted. My foot (and the rest of me) doesn't feel too bad.

Friday: I was surprised that I didn't feel too bad today. I could've taken the day off, but instead did 3 on the mill at tempo pace. I felt fine and could've kept going.

Saturday: 15 on the towpath. Not with Dave (he and Jill are busy with their gaggle of kids), and not with Amy (we missed connections but saw each other for coffee later), but with Lloyd and Janet. Pretty solid 8-minute pace. Looking for something faster tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Morton's Neuroma

After some extensive web searches, I've determined that that's what I have. I'd thought it was plantar fasciitis. But Morton's Neuroma is more in the front of the foot, in back of the toes, exactly where my pain is. It's an inflammation of a nerve, and that nerve is - guess what - connected to the plantar fascia.

Morton's Neuroma is caused by any one of a number of causes, including too tight toe-box shoes, too much running in general, and high heels. I plan to stop wearing the heels right off the bat. I plan to keep doing the strengthening and stretching that I've been doing for PF. It seems this is good for Morton's Neuroma as well. Another thing I might try is a gel pad. I have some.

The pain continues to come and go. It's really here after today's half. And it had just been feeling better. Oh well.

Wooster Heart and Sole Half-Marathon

90 minutes. It used to be such a no-brainer for me. If I didn't do mid eighties, something had to be wrong. Even for some occasions over the last few years I've managed 86, 87 or so. But more recently it's been even tougher. And I've slipped into 91 territory.

But this had been mostly a half-way decent year. Even though I still haven't recovered from Erie and yet have been training hard again, I thought I'd have a very good shot today.

There were only 60 of us. Everyone else was running the Akron Marathon or half. The weather was decent enough with temps in the 60s.

It was the hills that did me in.

The hills and the lingering soreness. But mostly the hills. There were several small to medium ones, and some long grades. It was mostly up in the first half, and then mostly down for the second. Negative splits seemed like the order of the day.

And they were. They just weren't negative enough. The early ups proved themselves too much to overcome in those last few. Here's the breakdown:

6:49
6:48
7:20
6:55
7:17
6:31 (maybe about 46 at the half)
7:14
6:47
6:43
6:50
7:06
6:50
7:33 (last 1.1)

Final time was 1:30:50. 6th overall. I almost caught Jim Wilhelm for 1st in the 50-59 age group. He had gone out real fast to try to get more points for the 10K time that was scored for the series.

Now my foot hurts some more, and I'm beat up again. Just when I was starting to feel better.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Week of September 21, 2008

Sunday: After yesterday's debacle, I was scared. I wanted to get a long one in sometime, and I wanted it to be on dirt so it would be like the towpath marathon. The obvious choice would be my Lester Rail Trail 24-mile course. On the other hand, I was still tired and sore - probably still from a week ago. Could I even get through it at all? I started early, and it was a nice, cool autumn-like morning. I started at an 8:30 pace, and managed to maintain that the whole way. The last four miles were a bit faster at abour 8 minute pace. I'm very pleased and encouraged now. It wasn't my fastest run on this course, but it certainly was solid. Here are my 6-mile splits: 51:31, 50:54, 50:12, 49:24. Altogether, I did the 24 in 3:22. Solid. One problem though: My left foot's been hurting more again.

Monday: I am beat up, and my foot hurts a lot. I'm also busy with my two jobs. Only had time for 2 on the mill.

Tuesday: I am beat up, and my foot hurts a lot. Tried to squeeze in some miles today. After 3 quick ones on the mill, I went out and did 7 more on the roads. Started ok with a sub-8 pace, but petered out and could only do them in 57 minutes. Was going to do the speedwork tonight, but I'm just too beat.

Wednesday: I am beat up, and my foot hurts a lot. OK, maybe the foot's a wee bit better. I wanted to get that speedwork in today, but it didn't happen. I ran out of time, and when I DID get some time, I was unable to run fast at all. The good news is that I am still at 154 pounds. Gotta stay there. And hope that my beat-upness subsides. As it was I did 3 on the mill in 28.5 and then 9 outside in 72.5. 3 of those were at the track, but once there I couldn't even manage to get under 7 minute pace.

Thursday: 6 more tired old miles on the mill today. At least I wasn't quite so sore. And the weight's still at 154.

Saturday: heart and sole half marathon. see separate post.

Mr. Horvath Goes to Washington

I went for the company meeting and IFPUG conference. It was a real pain to stay at my Marriott Courtyard and get to the host hotel - had to ride two metro trains and catch a hotel shuttle through National Airport. I guess I managed.

The highlights were the National Archives and the Spy Museum. At the Archives I got to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Magna Carta. Turns out that there were four original copies of the Magna Carta on parchment from the 1200's, and we wound up with one. It was the precursur to the Bill of Rights. The Declaration was badly faded. The Spy Museum was very interesting and lots of fun.

Not much to report about the conference and meeting. I ate a lot.

Saturday, Debbie, Jessy and I worked with folks from the city to clean up the streams around Brunswick Lake. It was good clean, dirty fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week of September 14, 2008

Sunday: Erie Marathon - see separate post.

Tuesday: Speedwork 2 days after a thon? I sure didn't feel like it. I did the usual: 7 x 1200. Of course they were super slow - slower than I wanted. It was tough and slow, but I managed to get through it. I averaged 5 minutes flat for the 1200s and did the entire 13 in 1:46. Now I'm really really beat. But it's good that this one's done.

Wednesday: I'm in Alexandria, VA. Lots of traffic and busy roads around here, but I found a really small park to run around. The path is only about 3/4 mile - I did several loops. Very tired loops. 5 in 44.

Thursday: Not much time, so... 10 on the hotel mill. 9 at MP. Not too bad.

Saturday: I wanted to get 15 in to make 70 for the week. I wanted to run them at a decent enough pace. I wanted to feel recovered and strong throughout the run. Instead I felt tired and sore from the outset. Not sure if this is due to Sunday's thon or the week's training. I had thought that taking yesterday off would help. It didn't. I had a stinker of a run, and only managed 8 in 71 minutes. Now I'll try for a better run tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Erie Marathon

I did this race in 2000. It was hot - very hot. I started too fast for that kind of heat, slowed down a lot and finished with a very poor time. Up until that point, it was one of my worst marathons ever.

I did this race in 2003. It was hot and extremely humid. I started way too fast and was hurting badly by about mile 11. Since it was so easy to drop out at the half-way point of the two-loop course, I did so. It was my only DNF and of course my worst marathon ever.

I did this race in 2008. It was hot – probably even more so than the other times. Would it end in disaster as the other two had? Or would I somehow atone for those races and post a good effort?

The previous night was so uncomfortably warm that I hardly slept, and awoke well before the 3am alarm. At 3:40 I started out. Picked Dave up a bit after 4, and Bandon another 45 minutes after that. By 6:15 or so, we had arrived to find a good-sized parking related traffic jam at Presque Isle, PA, the site of the Erie Marathon. Presque Isle (meaning "almost an island" in French) is a large peninsula in Lake Erie.

By the time we checked in and got our packets, there wasn't much time left to warm up. Not that we needed much warming. Temperatures were in the upper 70s, and the humidity was oppressive. The only saving graces were the breezes, which felt nice, and the lack of sunshine - it was just rising as of the 7am start.

Bound and determined not to repeat the mistakes of my previous two runs here, I had decided to run conservatively. Although I felt capable of half a minute per mile faster, 8 minute pace sounded about right for this day. The early miles were indeed at that 8 minute pace. I ran with Brandon and a fellow from Berea named John. We had some nice conversations, but even this “easy” pace wasn’t so easy for me in the heat. Thank goodness the sun was still low in the sky and there was a good amount of shade for most of the first half.

Brandon dropped back, but I stayed with John for most of that first half. John turned out to be an unbridled optimist. While I could only grumble, he was thrilled with the “pleasantly warm” early morning sunshine and the beautiful scenery. All right, I do have to admit that Presque Isle is a wonderful place. As he pulled away from me just before the half, two thoughts came to my mind: 1) Maybe there really is something to this “positive thinking” stuff, and 2) When a runner drops back from a lead pack, the announcers always say that he’s done – he’s out of the running. Now this wasn’t a lead pack, but I wasn’t doing all that great. Besides the heat, there was the concrete. I would say that about three-fourths of the race is on concrete roads; the rest is on asphalt roads and trails. After about 11 miles of this, everything hurt from all that pounding. In fact, every step seemed to hurt.

Just before the half, however, I inexplicably started to feel a little better. I’m not sure why, but this better feeling seemed to coincide with a gel packet that I took. I know that the gel provides energy, but relief from pain? That’s a new one. Thusly energized, I crossed the half-way point in 1:44:30 or so – exactly as planned - and actually feeling the best I’d felt all morning to that point. Now there was only the small problem of doing it all again, not to mention putting up with the rising sun and rising temperature.

I passed optimistic John and several others by about mile 16. Taking a gel every 3 miles or so really seemed to be helping. Not to mention the conservative pace. I was still in some pain from the concrete, and I was now suffering a great deal from the heat. Mile 20 went by in a time of 2:38:45 – I was still feeling and running strong. I wasn’t passing too many people any more, except for some who stopped to walk at the aid stations.

It would have been great to pick up the pace at this point. 7:30’s the rest of the way would be neat. But as the sun, now much higher in the sky, bore down on me, it was all I could do to maintain the 7:45 to 8 minute pace that I had been doing. I even slipped to a little slower that 8 minute pace for the last three, but never crashed completely. The heat (upper 80s now) at that point was almost unbearable.

I crossed the finish line in 3:28:39 by my watch. This was almost exactly even splits; they were perhaps negative by a couple seconds. I found Dave and we immediately walked over and jumped in the cool lake. This was, by far, the best part of the day.

Learning that I was second in my age group was a pleasant surprise. We didn’t wait around for the award however; they said they’d mail it. Erie is a nice, friendly, well-run little marathon. The scenery really is great, too. Maybe it’s just me that gets snake-bit by the heat up there, but now with the demons of the past exorcised, I don’t feel the need to do it ever again.

This of course means that next year they will have a cloudy, calm, low-humidity 45 degree day.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Week of September 7, 2008

Sunday: I signed on to volunteer at the Buckeye Half Marathon. As such, I didn't have much time to run; I squeezed in 3 on the mill before heading out, and then 2 more on a stop on the way home. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better. I didn't run the race because I'm trying to taper just a bit for next week's marathon: Erie.

Monday: I was in need of some encouragement. I felt like my times have been slipping higher, and that my weight has as well. That bout with PF didn't help, but I've also been eating more. Today I weighed in at 158. This after being 156 for several days, and bottoming out at 154 a couple weeks ago. Gotta work on all this. But today I did get some encouragement: A good speedwork session. I did 7 x 1200 at a pretty decent, and progressively faster pace. This was just that I wanted and needed. Here are the split times: 4:48, 4:47, 4:46, 4:44, 4:39, 4:39, 4:29 for an average of 4:42. Not bad. The entire 13 miles took me 1:41.

Tuesday: I hadn't planned on much, so I only did 4 at mid-day in 33 minutes. Felt like much slower, so maybe that's good. Weight's back down to 154 - that's good too.

Wednesday: Today's goals were to get a tempo run in, and to do the entire New Subs 11-mile course in a decently fast overall time. I exceeded expectation for both. The weather was perfect (low 50s), the weight was good (154), and the stars were aligned (Orion is rising). I did the first mile in 8:40, then the next three in 20:36, then the NEXT three in 20:26 (for a 6-mile tempo run in 41:02), then the last 4 in under 32. Overall time was 81 and a half. 2nd best ever on this course. Too bad I won't have weather this good for Sunday's Thon. It looks like it'll be awful at this point. If that's the case, it'll be a long training run.

Thursday: Funny thing. I did one on the mill, and then went out to do the 10 miles to and around North Park and back. I'd done it a couple weeks ago and it sounded like a good one for today. Didn't sound like it'd stress me out too much. The funny thing is that it isn't 10 miles, it's 12 miles! It's 4 to the park, and then I do two 2-mile loops, and then head back for the official course. I didn't realize until about mile 7 that I wouldn't be back in 10! It was another fantasticly beautiful cool fall-like morning. There was a mist on the lake, but the sky was crystal clear. I managed about an 8 and a half minute pace. A bit faster heading back, but I was generally pretty durn tired. Legs are sore too.

Saturday: I'm tapering for Sunday's thon, but I'm not going to run it hard; it'll just be a training run. The weather is going to be horrible once again. I refuse to kill myself there, only to die anyway. Today it was 4 tired miles on the mill due to the rain. Good pace, but some holding on. I'm calling it a 3-mile tempo.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Dave and Carol came, and along with Mom (who's been staying with us) we went to the Hungarian Festival Sunday. Good food, but had to wait HOURS for the chimney cakes. Had fun anyway.

D&C stayed the night because Kathy and Mike invited everyone for a barbeque for Monday. Great food and fun.

Alliance Rotary Castle 10K

Last year I did 41:44, this year, after 2 41 minute 10k's, I was hoping to beat 41 minutes, and maybe approach 40. It didn't happen. I started conservatively enough, and I ran a fairly even pace, but I never had it when I needed it. Final result: 41:28. Disappointing. I watched Dave's back the whole time, but couldn't catch him.

Week of August 31, 2008

Sunday: On the theory that I the neutral, cushioned shoes were causing the PF, I did my first run in the Nike Air Structure shoes and I think it helped. I'm hopeful... Today it was four very easy ones at 9 minute pace.

Monday: Rotary Castle 10k race. See separate post.

Tuesday: 7 on the mill at a good pace. Included a tempo run. Couldn't get myself outside though.

Wednesday: The goals were to do the 20 in about 2:40, with the last few at marathon pace. Things were going quite well - I did 8 in about 66 minutes, then 6 in about 49. I had high hopes.. Then After about 2 more miles the chafing started. It was terrible, and it may have been the reason the wheels fell off. I think it affected my gait such that my entire body hurt. Those last six were in a painful 53.5 minutes, to finish in 2:48. Not so awful, but the way it happened couldn't have been much worse.

Friday: I took Thursday off. I was so tired and sore it was impossible to even walk. Today was a bit better, but not much. I almost didn't make it out the door for a run. Once I did, I ran very slow, but it wasn't so bad. The first mile was at about 10 minute pace, but then the rest (of the five) were a little better. I hope I'm getting better. One thing is for sure: the PF is definitely on the mend.

Saturday: I was tired and slow at first, but this medium to long run turned out ok. It was all on the wet and muddy towpath and mostly with Dave. Done a mile in 10, then 7 to Peninsula in 62.5, back in 57.5, then 2 more in 7:20 and 6:20. Been a bad week for running (62 total miles). But...Alls decent that ends decent.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PF Update - as of 08-30-08

I've been doing the boot and the exercises. I think these both help a lot. No pain at all getting out of bed. I can't help but think that this was all caused by the ASICS Nimbus (cushioned) shoes. I bought some Nike Air Structure Triax shoes, which seem to have a lot of stability, and a pair of Keen Sandals, which feel great. I'm working in them - they're wonderful for standing.

I ran in my 2130s today, and it was definitely better than the runs in the Nimbus'. Maybe there's hope.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week of August 24, 2008

Sunday: I did 12 miles along the Chicago lakeshore in about 92 minutes, with negative splits. Nearly down to tempo pace. Some of the miles were on the dirt next to the all-purpose trail. Very nice running there. If I lived there, I'd be on that path all the time.

Tuesday: I have to work tonight, so I did my speedwork in the morning. And a good speedwork session it was! I ran to and from the track, and whilst there I did the old 10K training run - the one where I do 20 x 400 with 100 recoveries to make 25 laps total. It'd been a while for this one. I watch both the 400 meter times as well as the overall time. So today the overall time was a solid 44:18, and the 400 meter times averaged 92 seconds. It was a good steady workout with consistent quarters. I hope I can improve on this further, but it'll be tough.

Wednesday: 12 miles in 100 minutes. OK, but nuthin spectacular. The good thing, however, was the course. I wanted to do some dirt, and there just ain't that much around. By heading up to North Park for four and going around on the trails twice for two each and then getting back, I got my 12 in, but four of them were on the dirt trails there. It was a very nice course. I think I'll make it a keeper.

Thursday: It was cool and very damp (we severely needed the rain), so I stayed indoors and did more mill work. It wasn't too bad - 11 x 1200 at 4:44 (9.5 MPH). Buckets of sweat. I held on, but not terribly so. I weighted in at 154.

Saturday: This was the day for a long run on the towpath with Dave and Amy. Too bad it wasn't one of my better ones. Maybe it was the weather - warm in the 70s and extremely humid. I was hurting, big time, after 20, then Dave made me do one more. So we got 21 in, mostly at about 8:30 pace. Not the greatest.

The bad news is that I'm beat up pretty bad and I have a 10k coming up. The good news is that my PF isn't any worse. Maybe it's just the overall pain.

Chicago

Debbie and I visited Valerie and Dan for the weekend. We went to the Greek festival (good music and food) and also attended the Jersey Boys performance. Everyone loved it. I thought it was pretty good. Good weekend overall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

PF

The good news had been that my running has been going well and, not coincidentally, my weight is down. I could elaborate, but it's all there in the blog. The bad news is that the ole plantar fasciitis appears to be back. The bottom of my left foot had been hurting, but not in the same area. Me achilles area had been nagging me a bit on and off, but I didn't think much of it.

But then yesterday I really felt the classic PF. This is bad news. I'm fighting it with extra stretching and strengthening as well as the boot.

Monday, August 18, 2008

News Items

Here is a note I sent to Dave, Amy and Dena. Since it contains a few news items that I had not necessarily mentioned here in the blog, I'll paste it in here.

Hi folks:


1) I did the Perfect 10-Miler yesterday in a decent 66:10. I've now done this every one of the five years they've had it. If you want to read more, go to: http://danhorvath.blogspot.com/2008/08/perfect-10-miler.html.



2) I recently joined the Medina County Road Runners, and I've run with them a few times, mostly for their Tuesday evening speedwork sessions. Friendly group.



3) Since my day-job type work is slow, I started working at the Medina Second Sole store in my spare time. If you're ever driving by, stop in to say hello. By the way, I'll keep you posted about sales and stuff. I should be even better informed now than ever.



4) I won't be there for Saturday's run once again. We're going to Chicago to visit Valerie and Dan. I DO plan to run with you guys the following Saturday (the 30th). I also plan to do a 10k in Alliance the following Monday. I need this break from racing...



5) But speaking of racing, I guess I should decide about Presque Isle on September 14. I'm sure Mr. Dave won't decide till the last minute, but I'll need to make up my mind myself pretty soon.

Week of August 17, 2008

Sunday: The Perfect 10-Miler. Check out the separate post on this. Jim F. and I did a cooldown run of over 4 miles, so combined with other cooling down and warming up, I'm calling it 17 altogether today.

Monday: 3 tired miles on the mill. I actually didn't feel as bad as I thought I would.

Tuesday: My first run of the day went well: 10 miles in 77 minutes, including a 4-mile tempo run at the track. The 3 miles to the track were slow ones, but the tempo run felt pretty easy. I think I could've kept it going. But I had to think about tonight's speedwork, so I stopped and headed home at 8 minute pace.

Tuesday night's speedwork went really well, despite my bout with PF (see separate post). Besides some striders and other warmup and cooldown stuff, we did 1600 (6:16), 1200 (4:28), 800 (2:55), 2x400 (85, 83), 2x200 (39, 36). That's movin'!

Wednesday: I took the day off. We did go for a nice long hike at Mohican State Park.

Thursday: Twenty-Six (26) solid miles today!. I started well before 4am and did the 16 mile course in 2:17 (just over 8.5 minute pace). Then after a short pit stop, I did ten more. It was three slow ones over to the track, four at the track (including 3 at under 7 minute pace), and three slow tired ones back again. Altogether this works out to 3:38 for the whole thing. Not my fastest 26, and I wanted a longer MP portion, but I was happy to have it under my belt.

Friday: 7 on the mill at a decent pace to complete the week. PF is marginally better.

Perfect 10 Miler

The Perfect 10 Miler has been run for the last 5 years now, and now including this one, I've done each of the 5. Here are my times for the first 4:

2004: 66.5
2005: 67.5
2006: 64
2007: 67

2006, of course, was my good year in recent history. 2008 has been shaping up fairly well recently. I've lost some weight and am down in the 154-155 range. My times are better than last year, with a couple 41 minute 10K's. With the tuesday speedwork sessions to boot, I feel like I'm on the upswing. This race would be a good test.

On the downside, I feel pretty well beat up much of the time. And the bottom of my left foot has been aching even more than the rest of it, and me. I tried to get some amount of rest before the race. But even so, I felt a little sore during my warmup.

With starting line temps in the 60s, it was warm, but not really hot. I'm fairly sure that I've always done negative splits at this race, and I wanted to do the same. So I started conservatively.

The first three miles were at 6:25, 6:39 and 6:35. Some of us missed a turn on the next mile but probably only lost a few seconds, but I'm not really sure. The split was 6:44. The next two miles (5 and 6) are on an uphill grade, and are usually slow ones for me. It turned out that they weren't as bad as I anticipated: 6:48 and 6:47. Half-way went by in 33:13.

At this point I was hoping to really pick the pace up. I'd been able to do that for past races, and I thought I could today. Sure enough, Mile 7 was my best at 6:07. But Mile 8, which is also downhill, was a disappointing 6:44. I had remembered that mile 9 was slow and tough, and it didn't disappoint. It was my slowest at 6:50. The overall time at this point was something like 59:45 Now I had to really turn it on to try to come in at 66 minutes or better. The best I could do was a 6:25 to finish in 66:10.

I believe this put me in 12th or 14th place overall. Something like that. And more importantly, 1st in my age group. Got a canvas duffle bag for that.

So this was my 2nd best of these, but nowhere near my first best. Still, it was a good indicator of my fitness. We'll see where it goes from here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mom's Here

We've had Mom for the weekend. Did a picnic at North Park Saturday, and then went to dinner today (Sunday). Been watching a lot of the olympics.

Week of August 10, 2008

Sunday: It was the day after a race, so I didn't have my hopes up high for a great long run. But I decided to meet some folks from the MCRR that I'd met for a run on the trails at Hinckley. For some reason I arrived early and did two loops around the lake. Those were MUCH faster than expected, with loops of 23 and 20 (tempo pace) minutes. Then we (me, along with Ladd, Marsha, Chuck and Lilly) took to the trails. They were slow miles, but that was to be expected on the rough and hilly terrain. 2 hours, 44 minutes. I'll call it 17.

Monday: This was another one of those days when I almost didn't get out the door. I was just sooo tired. I finally did manage to get out to run 4 in 33, but had planned to do something more like 10 or 11. I got out again at lunch time for another 4 in 31. The bottom of my left foot hurts again.

Tuesday: I didn't want to run much in the morning, with the evening speedwork looming. But then I did wake up early enough to catch the Perseid Meteor show, so I went out to the 11-mile course. And I stunk up the joint. Could not get better than 9-minute pace, and even then I stopped to walk several times. Just never woke up. I did see 5 or 6 meteors.

In the evening I met up once again with the MCRR group for Tuesday speedwork. This time we just did 6 x 800. I averaged 3:05. Not too bad, but I'm still one of the slow guys in the group. These sessions are good for me though.

Wednesday: I thought this would be tough, and it was. I only wanted to bang out 4 on the mill. But I was, once again, sooo tired. I somehow did manage, and did weights too. I'll be better tomorrow. Weight at <155!

Thursday: The goal was to do a solid 11 with a tempo thrown in. Mission accomplished. My legs were still tired, but I managed just fine with the tempo and everything, completing the 11 in 84 minutes. The only thing was that I sort of tried to include a second tempo run for the last 3, and that didn't happen. I'll take it anyway.

Saturday: I met up with Rita, George, Bob, Laura and Bob at the usual haunt - the Rocky River Nature Center. We did the usual 6-mile run on the trails to Cottonwood and back. Nice day for it.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Green Carribbean 10K

I wanted to do something around 41 flat - about the same as last week. And I did. 41:04 - within 5 seconds. Better than last year but not as good as the one before. Good for 2nd in my age group and 11th overall. Not bad. Now if I can only improve on this..

More good news: I weighed in at 156 this morning. It was 155 yesterday.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Week of August 3, 2008

Sunday: Medina Double Trouble 10k. See the separate post.

Monday: 24 miles on the Lester Rail Trail. Felt like I was running through jello. I was tired, but not especially sore. I just couldn't get moving! Seems like this is always the case the day after a race. At least I got the long one in for the week. 6-mile splits: 54:42, 54:21, 52:40, 51:55. Total time: an agonizingly slow 3:33:40.

Tuesday: 3 slow, tired morning miles on the mill. Maybe I'll be able to do more later. The MCRR speed work is today.

Yes, I did show up for the first time for the MCRR speedwork at Claggett Middle School at 6pm. I figured that I'd be one of the fastest there, and the opposite turned out to be the case. But then, I was tired from all the previous running, and I did do better as the night wore on. We did a mile of striders, 4 x 200 @ 40 (as a relay race with teams of 2), and then 4 x 800 @ 3:11. It was good to get in with the bunch there. I think it'll help me.

Wednesday: 5 very tired miles at 9 minute pace. Couldn't be much slower.

Thursday: OK, this was a pretty good one. 14 miles in 1:48. Most of the miles were @ 8 min. or better, and I did a 3-mile tempo run at the track. A lot of good and bad (tired) running this week - lots of yin and yang.

Saturday: Green Carribbean 10K. See separate post.

Geneva On-the-Lake

We spent the day there on the beach, walking, and hanging out at the resort town. Cool place, even though it's a bit dated. The beach is small compared to Headlands, but it's nicer.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Medina County Road Runners Double Trouble 10K

I joined the MCRR. Gonna be part of an organization in spite of the fact that they will allow me to be a member. I'll try to show up for their Tuesday Track workouts.

The reason I signed up is that I participated in their race today. It was called Double Trouble because it is also a 2 x 5k relay. Of course I just did the 10k. It was nice and close.

It was a nice morning - fairly cool and not very humid. I probably started too fast, but I did feel fine. I did the first mile in 6:21 - right on for a 40 minute 10k. By the 5k half-way point, I was at about 20:15 or so. I thought I might still have a chance for a 40 minute day.

But alas. I was getting tired and slowing down just a bit. I hit 5 miles in about 33 minutes and then came in at 40:59 by my watch - 41 flat by theirs.

Yeah, 40 would've been great, but it certainly wasn't in me today. Even so, this was my best in 2 years, so I'm happy with it. Oh, and I placed well too. I think 6th or so. There were also some teams ahead of me. I was 1st in my AG, but not the first master.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Week of July 27, 2008

Sunday: We were at the hotel in Norwalk and I was about to head out the door when the thunderstorm hit. Big time. So I stayed on the mill and did 10 x 1200 in 4:44. Not the greatest run though - I held on some.

Monday: I was tired, but I did manage to do 10 on the mill, with 9 of them at MP. Then I did 1 more outside just for the heck of it. Quads were really sore afterwards.

Wednesday: My quads were constantly sore, and it was a rough ride home anyway. But even so I still did manage to run ok this day. I did the 4-mile course twice (34.5, 31.5) and then did 2 more in 16. Hoping the quads improve for tomorrow.

Thursday: My long runs had been getting better and better. Until today. I wasn't feeling that great and the weather (70s, very humid) wasn't very good. So my run wasn't the greatest this time. I had only planned on 20 instead of the usual 24. Even so I was feeling very tired after the initial 16 (in 2:17). Then I had some GU and stepped onto the treadmill for the last 4. I did manage sub-7 pace, but I held on, so it still wasn't so great. Maybe I'll get back into it next week.

Saturday: I did about 18, maybe more, on the towpath with Dave and Amy. Most of it was at about 8:30 pace, but some was slower. All in all not that bad. It was exciting to see the Burning River 100 going on.

Connecticut

We drove with Dave and Carol to visit Veronica and Barry. Had a nice but busy weekend. Saw 3 movies: Little Miss Sunshine (on a DVD), Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D) and Batman. All lots of fun. We also drove to Mohegan Sun Casino for an afternoon. We'd had plans to also go to the beach and hang around the Mystic Seaport, but the rain and traffic put a damper on things. Oh well. The next day we did manage to get out to Stewart's Island. Had a nice easy boat ride and picnic.

Not much else happening. Had a nice visit with the kids though.

Other Running for the Week of July 20, 2008

I'm going to begin doing weekly posts for the normal training. I think that will make more sense. Too late for this week, but here is a summary of the last couple days:

On Thursday and Friday I did 8 and 11 respectively, but they were very slow miles - in the 9 minute range. Friday's run was a disappointment.

Saturday was a different story. I HAD to run fast - we were taking off for Connecticut. And I did - the 6-mile course in 42 minutes and change. A 4-mile tempo in there somewhere. Good going.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today's Long Run

Things were going ok during today's long run. Not great, just ok. It was warm (about 70) and very humid. Most of my miles were steady at about 8 and a half minute pace, or just slightly better. My hamstring is still tender, but I don't think it's a major tear. I'd just better watch my speed. I'd decided to run from home rather than the rail trail, but I was still gonna do 24 no matter what. I was just hoping not to die at the end. A fast finish would be really nice.

After doing 9-mile and 11-mile loops at that steady pace, I now had 20 miles completed in 2:47:30 or so. Pulling out all the stops, I took a GU on top of the usual liquids. The last 4 would be on the president streets. I did the first of those in 8 flat, and then I was actually able to pick it up. It's been a real long time since I've been able to finish one of these long runs at marathon pace, but that's what I managed to do today. I did the last 3 in 20:45, and the whole run in 3:16. That's improvement.

It was dark in the park

It was dark in the park, Goes the snark remark. Today’s runner tried to be quick off the mark, But with the dark so stark, H...