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.

Coming Up Short

I needed 24. Isn't it funny how we need mileage like this? Anyway, I only got 22. I will choose to blame this one on today's running...