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.


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.

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

Since I have participated in the Ohio Challenge Series many years, I've done this race many times, albeit many moons ago. It's a fun...