Monday, February 23, 2009

Week of February 22, 2009

Sunday: My cold, side, back, leg, foot, etc, etc, are all not too bad. I did 4 on the mill, and then hit the weights for some reps. First time since the fall. Those were tough with my side still hurting. But I got through them.

Monday: 6 on the mill. Last 3 were at sub-7 pace. Things are better still.

Monday night I ran 40 minutes with the Medina County Road Runners prior to the meeting. That was fun!

Wednesday: I had some time, so I ran a bit longer than usual: 13 miles. Decent route: Substation, Hamilton, Plum Creek, Sleepy Hollow, and back across 42. I was extremely slow - about 9 1/2 mpm. But at least I did get through it.

Thursday: Went out at noon and did 4 blisteringly fast miles - in 33 minutes. That is actually pretty decent for these days. I'll take it.

Friday: Didn't have much time, but I managed to bang out 3 quick miles on the mill before heading out for Connecticut.

Saturday: We were in the Courtyard, not Veronica's place, but I was able to find my usual route from the other side. This usual route is a 5-mile extremely hilly route through New England neighborhoods on East Rocks and West Rocks roads in Norwalk. I used to do two loops and call it 11 miles, including the route to and from the loop. This time it was a bit farther, and I also did some extra at the end after the two loops, so I'm calling it 15. And it was a good 15. Sunny and cool (about 37), it was almost perfect for a run. I did the first loop in 43 and a half, and then picked it up a bit to do the second loop in... 43 and a half (a few seconds faster).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Details About my Colonoscopy

Just kidding - I'll spare everyone. But I will say that the preparation was worse than the actual event. Juma Ikanga is credited with saying, "the will to win is nothing without the will to prepare." I could probably change that around somehow to fit my experience of yesterday, but I'll spare everyone.

Oh, just one more thing. The results were negative. Just like when I went in for that brainscan - the results were negative that time too.

All of which brings me to today's run in Broadview Heights with Amy and Dave. I had to explain that the back/leg problems made me forget about the foot problem, the rib problem (from the fall) made me forget about the leg/back problems and now preparing for the colonoscopy made me forget about the ole ribs. Not that those other problems have completely gone away, mind you - they're still there. Just not at the top of my brain's priorities..

It was the first time I had run, or done anything at all, for a week. And my side still hurts - it's just that I couldn't stand to not run any more. I managed to keep up for an hour twenty-five or so. Just happy to be able to run at all.

On top of everything else, I'm now fighting off a cold (using Zicam). Must've been one of the nurses. Really.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recovery (Maybe)

I know I said I would discontinue use of the "P" word (pain). But that was in relation to my foot and back problems. Now with my rib problems, I have bigger fish to fry.

I don't know if anything's broken, but it sure does hurt. It's funny that the nurse said I'd be in pain the next day (Monday), and on Monday I felt better. I had hope of a speedy recovery. For the early part of Tuesday I also felt better. But then the pain returned big-time yesterday afternoon and evening. Laying down to sleep last night was a real problem. Today I feel decent again. Of course the Aleve hasn't completely worn off yet.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pride Goeth Before the Fall(s)

Another possible title might be, "Dan's Terrific but Terrible Tumble." I’ve taken a few, perhaps more than a few, memorable falls in my time. Today’s ranks up there with some of the best. Those others include, but are not limited to:

1) I was running down a grassy hill (ok, it was a grassy knoll) and onto a parking lot in the dark at Oakland Community College in Michigan. I caught my foot on a curb (who put that there?) and as I tried to roll with the fall, I couldn’t because my foot was still stuck. I semi-crushed my shoulder with a rotator-cuff injury that took a while to recover from. I also had a real lot of trouble getting up and getting home.

2) I was cutting through a small parking lot with a friend when I tripped and fell. I couldn’t figure out what did it until I found a plastic newspaper tie loop around both ankles. I didn’t get hurt, and I laughed a lot taking it off. I guess I caught it when one foot hit the ground, and it must have then stood up and caught the other foot, until both feet were inside the loop. What were the chances?

3) Also near OCC, I was running with a friend down a different hill that was covered with snow and ice. I landed on my butt, and slid for a mile or two. OK, it wasn’t quite that far, but it sure seemed like it. A real “Romancing the Stone” type moment. No injury – I’d landed on a soft spot.

4) Then there was the famous Maui incident. Far to the south, away from any civilization, I was running on a lonely, extremely dark road at about 5am. Heading up a hill, I was suddenly hit hard by something big that had been flying down the hill and right into me. I never saw the biker at all until after the impact. I was knocked down hard, but the biker fell harder. I got up and was in some pain, but it wasn’t too bad. The biker was almost incoherent, however. I helped him get up and onto his now crooked bike, asking all along if I should get help. He didn’t want any, and he continued crookedly on his way. Neither one of us had had any lights, and neither one of us had seen the other at all. Of course my reflective vest had been useless in this case. I sometimes wonder how that biker wound up.

Enough about the past. This morning I awoke extremely early, still being on European time. I plan to stay that way with my early calls next week. I was to meet Joe Jurczyk at Edgwater at 8:30, but had plenty of time before that, so why not go for an early run before meeting up with him? Light snow was falling, resulting in a dusting on the roads and lawns. I did my 11-mile loop at a steady sub-9-minute pace. That’s not bad for me these days. I even had time to do more before meeting Joe, but thought better of it.

Joe and I wanted to check out Edgewater as a possible site for the 24-hour run that we’re planning. He and Dan Fox had done so before, but I wanted to see it, and Joe didn’t seem to mind looking at it again. The snow was still falling, but still not accumulating too much as we started off on the lower .95 mile loop. We ran that loop once in each direction, taking still shots and videos as we went. We had to be cautious, as there were a few icy spots. I felt that that loop was a great option for our run.

Now it was time to check out the upper .67 mile loop. It was perhaps a ½ mile from our cars up the hill to the start of that loop. “Do you want to drive up?” asked Joe. “No” said I, “let’s just run up there.” That part of the asphalt trail turned out to be extremely icy. We had to run parts of it on the grass so that we could have any solid footing at all. The upper loop is a bit more scenic, more secluded, and partly sheltered from the wind. On the other hand, there was several twists and turns on the path, and at least one sharp turn. As nice as that upper loop is to run on, my preference for the event is the lower loop. But both are really great.

We’d seen what we wanted to see; time to quit. As we headed back down the hill on the asphalt trail, we passed a couple walking on the grass to avoid the ice and exchanged hellos. A couple seconds later, Joe went down. About a nanosecond later, I went down, hard! I’d been about 5 feet away and on a different patch of snow-covered ice. It’s amazing how many thoughts went through my head in such a short period of time. Here are some of them:

-Joe fell. Ha ha. (Something I’ve done since childhood is laugh at myself or others who fall down. I know that will strike many as mean-spirited, but it’s what all my friends did whilst playing baseball, football or basketball in our pre-teen and teen years. Don’t get me started on more falling stories from my more distant past. I am a little better about this now – I can usually catch myself from laughing out loud.)

-Dan Fell. Ha ha ha. (As noted, I do laugh at myself too.)

-Whoa. It hurts. It hurts a lot. All on my left side. Joe and the couple are asking if I’m ok.

-I’d better try to answer them. I don’t want them to be overly concerned. That would be the worst that could happen. I try to say that I’m ok, and I can hardly speak at all, making mostly only a pitiful wheezing sound.

-As the seconds pass, I am trying to say that I’m ok, and eventually I get that out. But it’s clearly not even remotely true. Breathing hurts too. I finally figure out that the wind was knocked out of me, and I say so in my wheezing voice.

-Joe was fine, but had stayed on the ground in sympathy. We got up and walked back, thanking the couple (the lady was a nurse – she said I’d be really sore tomorrow).

Hours later, my entire left side is still hurting. And I can feel the pain as I breathe deeply. So now I have yet another physical malady. Can’t wait until tomorrow when it may feel even worse.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Run Along the Thames

This time I’m staying within a few miles of Windsor. I toured the castle during a previous visit. Today I decided that it would be nice to run in that general direction. I had a lot of time - I didn’t need to be at the office until about 10am.

It was a clear, cool, frosty morning, and the temperature was showing nothing at all (that’s zero Celsius, by the way). It didn’t feel nearly as cold as yesterday when it had been +2C, but windy and rainy. Today’s widespread frost was actually quite slick in a couple spots. Most of the paths were fine though.

I made my way down to, and alongside of the M4 motorway, until I found a footbridge that would take me over. Once on the south side I kept heading west, until I found a road going south from there. It was slow going, partly because it was tough to see where I was headed the black asphalt footpaths. As it began to get lighter, I no longer had this excuse.

Still heading south on a different country road, I crossed a bridge that went over the river Thames. I went down the adjacent stairway and ran on the “Thames Path” for a bit before heading back up. It looked to be a great path, but it was muddy and flooded in spots from all the recent rain and snow. And I didn’t want to get my shoes muddy; I have to get them home in my suitcase. The river itself was extremely high – maybe at flood stage. It was flowing fast. If I return here, I’ll definitely do some more running on the Thames Path.

There was still more running to be done for this morning, however. I continued south and came to Windsor. I wanted to go over towards the town center and possibly catch a glimpse of the castle again. I started that way, but the traffic in that direction was getting heavier and I didn’t want to fight it. Besides, the road was now going partially alongside the Thames, and it was mostly scenic and relatively quiet. Continuing along the river, I eventually turned back after another mile or two.

Whilst running back toward my hotel I passed a guy with glasses and a backpack. I figured he was going to work, but to my surprise he began running and was almost keeping pace with me. I didn’t notice whether he had running shoes on, or whether he had been running before I passed him. This caused me to pick up my pace a bit – he shall not pass… He followed me for a mile or so to the next town, where I lost him, but then was passed by him as I was dithering around on a couple side streets. Turned out he was headed for the train station, and only just barely caught his train.

I crossed the bridge over the train and continued on my way. There would be one more area of interest: a small park that I hadn’t noticed in the darkness on the way out. With the sun now well above the horizon, I ran across and around the field, on the frosty grass and the partially frozen trails. I might come back here to run around here again as well.

I got back after about two hours, twenty minutes. I’ll call it 16, but it was possibly less – I was moving so slow. But it was a memorable one.

Here is the route:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Running in London - Week of February 8, 2009

I was too tired when I arrived Sunday morning. I slept too late to run Monday. Tuesday I awoke at 2am, but only got out at 5am after trying to get back to sleep. I did manage to get two hours in. Two extremely slow hours. I did find some decent running - first I went north into and around and through Langly, then I came back. With 40 more minutes to go, I ran west on A4/London Rd for 21 minutes and then came back. The running was a bit nicer in that direction. Did I mention that it was raining, windy and cold (+2 C)? It was so slow I'm only calling it 13 miles. There was a time when 2 hours meant 15 to 16. Not today.

I ran on Wednesday too. See separate post: A Run Along the Thames.

Today I ran along the Thames as well. But this time I decided to run right into the village of Windsor. After running the same first couple miles, I turned right instead of left. So this time I went right by the castle, and ran all over the town. I ran on the Thames promenade that I'd walked on a couple months ago too. I also crossed the bridge and ran a bit into Eton. It was another eventful and interesting 2 hour run. Too bad I'm running so slow - I tried to pick it up at times, but I always slowed back down again.

So besides the slowness, I was a bit bummed to only have 42 or so total miles for the week. 42 is good as an answer for everything (ref. to Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy), but bad as a weekly total of running mileage. At least for me, when I'd been in the 70s for most of last year, and even lately have tried to stay in the 50s.

But then an opportunity presented itself. I got out of work early. I could have done some touristy things with my couple hours of afternoon daylight, but instead I went for another run. I ran around the nearby park. Several loops. I also ran on a fairly long bike and footpath. All this was mostly to avoid traffic. I did almost bump into throngs of school-kids walking on the path. It was a beautiful afternoon - sunny with temperatures in the upper 40s. Of course I still ran slowly.

I didn't get 8 in - I had to head back to the hotel for a bathroom break. I'm calling it 6 in 52 minutes. Then I stepped on the mill and did 2 more at sub-8 minute pace. That "speedwork" really felt good after all the slogging.

So I got my 50 in for the week. I feel better now. Thank You.

Monday, February 09, 2009

In the UK Again

I'm back again. They're going to keep having me return until I get it right.

Upon arrival, I was dead tired as usual. But, also as usual, I had most of the day free, so I forced myself to drive out to Stonehenge. It's about an hour and a half from where I'm staying.

This are some pretty awesome rocks. I learned the entire history of the place: how the henge was rebuilt twice between 3000 BC and 1800 BC. About where the rocks came from (hundreds of miles away), and how they may have been erected. I also learned about the special location of some of the rocks to commemorate summer and winter solstice.

There was still plenty of snow around from Britain's now famous recent rare snowstorm. It's supposed to snow again in a couple days. Driving may get even more challenging.
Back to the henge, the place is mostly just wierd. Kind of erie. Even the wide-open general location is quite erie. I thought it was interesting that the narator on the ear-phone thought so too.
For more pictures and for other general travel information, see the travel blog. It is at

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Last Night's Play and Today's Run

Some of the usual getting together with family and friends is the theme here.

Last night Kathy, Debbie and I went to Nuevo Acupulco for dinner and then went to watch cousin Paul in the Berea community theater production of the Sunshine Boys. Good fun.

Today I ran with Amy and Dave for the first time in a while. The weather was great - 40s and breezy, but there is still tons of snow on the trails, so we hit the roads in Broadview Heights and Brecksville, including the parkway. I'm slow and old, but otherwise mostly p___ - free, so it was a good but tiring run for me. Good to be with the old gang, and also in the old hood.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Week of February 1, 2009

Sunday: When was the last time I could run a decent distance of 10 or more where I was feeling decent (notice: no "p" word), could keep a steady pace, where the weather was ok, the roads were clear, and there wasn't a lot of traffic? I dunno - it feels like it's been years. But the running and weather gods came together for me today, and I had a wonderful run on my 11-mile course.

It was relatively warm for a (big) change - upper 30s. The roads were mostly clear and dry. I got out early and beat the traffic. I ran a steady pace the whole way. It was all I could do to keep it under 9 minutes per mile, but I did. And to top it off there was a pretty sunrise. Running doesn't get any better. Well, maybe a little.

Monday: It was colder, but still not bad. The problem was that I couldn't wake up enough to get out the door at a decent time. So I only did 4 slow ones around the hood.

Tuesday: I started out at 8:30 pace and held it for the first six. But then I slowed drastically over the final four. At least the slowdown wasn't because of my injuries. I was simply tuckered out.

Thursday: It was below zero so I hit the mill. 15 miles, mostly at a decent pace, including a 5-mile marathon pace run. I'm not entirely pleased, because I'm still holding the railings too much. But overall not too bad. Last couple were slow.

Saturday: 14 in 2 hours with Dave and Amy. See separate post.

Cavs Game

Since Debbie is the number one Cavs fan on the planet, I thought I'd better actually take her to a game. So I bought $75 tickets and cashed in a free night at the Renaissance. That hotel is incredible. You just have to see it to believe the opulance. This is the first time we've actually stayed there, but we've eaten at Sans Souci many times, as we did again Friday. Had skate for the first time, and boy was it great. The game itself was a lot of fun, too. We mostly didn't want this to be the first home loss for the Cavs for the year. It wasn't.

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