Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running in Peru

Here is a chronical of my running during my trip to Peru in April and May 2009. It may not be as Exciting or exotic as you may think based on the subject. On the other hand, I don't want it to get too Exciting.

For more on Peru, see the old travel blog.

That travel blog will also help explain the sudden stop in my running (hint: it rhymes with food poisoning).

Tuesday, April 21
Eight miles in 2 loops of the golf course. See my separate post on my first run in Peru.

Wednesday, April 22
I did 3 loops for 9 miles total in 78 minutes. Each 2.8x mile loop was about the same: 24:4x. Not too bad. Don't like all the concrete on the sidewalks though.

Thursday, April 23
This time I got an early did 4 loops. Woohoo. The lap times got better with each one, and this is something I ususally try for. It's still a little discouraging that it's so difficult to run any faster. I guess I'm just an old fat bald guy who tries to run, and there's nothing I can do about it. So it wound up as 12 miles in 1:45.

Friday, April 24
Decided to try something new today. It appears that it may be possible to get up the mountain that the hotel is built into, but that the road is from the other side. I tried to find it by running around the mountain, and I think I did find it. I didn't go up, however, because it looked too dangerous - no sidewalks or any other place to run but the road. I did a bit more around the side of the golf course and headed back. Call is a slow 5.

Saturday, April 25
Waking up with nausea in the middle of the night? Diarrea in the morning? Not good omens for a long run. But it was now or never - I had to go. I suppose it could've been worse. It was certainly slow, but surprisingly steady, with most of the 2.85 mile lap times within a minute of each other - even the last few. It was getting very hot at the end, but I made it. Six of the loops and then extra on the mountain road. 20 in 3:02 or so.

Monday, April 27
I didn't feel well most of the weekend, but this morning wasn't so bad. I proceeded very slowly, however. I did some back and forth on the mountain road and then one loop around the golf course. 6 miles in 57 minutes or so.

Thursday, April 30
Finally feeling almost human, I went out and ran 2 miles on the mountain road. Slow, but at least I could run.

Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3
At 11,000 feet, running in Cusco would be a challenge. Especially for me, having just arrived and breathing heavily just while sitting around. And having just gotten over being deathly ill. So this wouldn't be my best running. In fact, all I did was shuffle around town, walking and running. You could hardly call it running at all, but I will. Call it a walk-run mile for each of the two days. Took the camera and some pics too.

Monday, May 4
I've heard that you need 3 weeks at altitude to begin to achieve positive training effects. I had 3 days. Did it help? Well, I did have an excellent run today - my best in Peru so far. But then maybe it was just that I hadn't done a serious run in a week. Anyway, 4 loops, 12 miles in 100 minutes. Pretty good going! Loop times were: 25:02, 24:00, 23:25, 22:27. The last two were PRs.

Tuesday, May 5
I was a little tired and just a bit sore. But I wanted another good run today. Too bad I had a later start and only had time for 9 miles instead of 12. I did it in 75.5 minutes, so I'm still doing well. Maybe 12 tomorrow. Two golf course loops of 24:24 and 23:17. For the last three I did the mountain road loop (about 2.5 miles) and some extra. All in all, things are looking up, running-wise.

Thursday, May 7
I did 11 miles in 90 1/2 minutes. Pretty good going. See separate post for more on this one. The 3 loops were: 24:11, 22:55, 22:50 and the last 2.5 was 19:17.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My First in Peru

"Don't run there. They'll kidnap you." That was the word from two of my coworkers who had come here before me. Since being held for ransom is not being high on my list of life's enjoyable activities, I naturally took notice. I did some research and learned that there is a lot of crime in Lima, but mostly robberies and non-violent stuff. I talked to a runner who sat next to me on the plane, who had run here before with no problems, and who also said that the area around my hotel, the Hotel & Spa Golf Los Incas, is safe. Finally, I talked with the hotel folks, and they also said it was safe.

So armed with that information, and my own, "I don't not run" attitude, out I went for my first run this morning. It may not surprise you that the Hotel & Spa Golf Los Incas is near a golf course. It's actually built into a hillside overlooking the links. I can see the entire course from my 14th floor room.

The first thing I notice is the smog. Lima is on the coast, and is shielded by mountains to the east. It’s not unlike LA. And like LA, the smog is trapped by the surrounding mountains. Also like LA, but maybe more like Phoenix, it’s hot and dry here. It’s been in the 80s during the days and upper 60s and 70s at night. This morning it was probably well above 70. So that morning warmth is the second thing I notice.

I run down the hill to the road that loops around the golf course. I can’t see the course from here. It’s entirely walled in. Most of the neighborhoods on other side are walled in as well. So there isn’t much to see, other than the sidewalk, the road(s) and traffic, and some pedestrians. The pedestrians, surprisingly, include several other runners. And they don’t appear to be touristas either. This is good to see. I wave and say, buenas dias to the oncoming runners. Most respond in kind.

I only have to cross a couple streets during my loop around. I did run through one shopping area and around one traffic circle. I finish the loop in a bit over 26 minutes, so it must be about 3 miles – just about what I thought. I loop around again, and this time the traffic is much heavier. I do this one in 24 minutes, so it must be shorter than 3. I finish going back up the hill to the hotel, and then another couple miles going further up the hill from there before heading back down. I’m pretty hot and sweaty by the time I finish.

No kidnapping to report. In fact, it was pretty much an average old run, except for the pollution. I’m just happy to be able to run. Here's a link to the map of one loop:

Map

Later in the day I mentioned my running to some of my clients, and one lady told me about a race here in Lima. The conversation went like this:
Liliana (and/or others in the group): Do you run marathons?
Dan: Yes I do.
Liliana: There’s going to be a marathon here in Lima on the 3rd of May.
Dan: The 3rd of May? I’ll still be here. I’m going to do it. Are you?
Liliana: I may. Some of my friends are doing it. It is for, how do you say it? Women’s rights.
Dan: Do you have to be a woman to run it, or can men run too?
Liliana (and everyone else): Lots of raucous laughter. (I hadn’t intended it to be a joke.) Yes, men can run too. There are two categories: runners and those who aren’t serious runners.
Dan: Oh, you mean walkers? It takes a long time to walk a marathon.
Liliana: Yes, five kilometers is a long way.
Dan: Oh. You mean it’s one of those 5K marathons?
Liliana: Yes.
Dan (a little dejected): I guess I’ll probably run anyway.

This conversation could have happened in the U.S. 25 years ago – before everybody and their mother started running the 42.2K type marathons. It may be fun anyway. If I do run the race, you’ll hear about it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twenty-Four

Yes, it's the number of hours in a day. It's also the number of hours that will be run for the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run that I (along with several others) have been working so hard on. And it's official now: our run is also the U.S. 24-hour run national championship. For more, see the website: www.northcoast24.org.

And twenty-four is at least one other thing: it's the number of miles I ran today. This is a big deal for me after such a terrible winter of running. I believe it's my longest run in about 6 months.

With temperatures rising from the upper 30s to the lower 40s as the sun came up, conditions were perfect for a nice long run. The Lester Rail Trail was as pretty as always. I did 4 6-mile loops.

It was slow, but steady - most miles were between 8:30 and 9. The last few were a struggle, but I made it intact. Very encouraging.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Week of April 12, 2009

Sunday
After yesterday's fairly long run, I had some grand plans of another one today. Didn't happen. I was EXTEMELY tired. Not sore, just tired. Almost sleeping on the run. I only made it 8 slow miles on Substation, followed by another 2 on the mill.

Tuesday
I was tired after yesterday's all-day trip to Amish country with Dave and Carol. So once again I had planned to do more, but wound up with only 10 very slow miles.

Wednesday
I was bound and determined that come hell or high water, I was gonna run 20 miles today. I took one step outside and realized that there was indeed high water - a cold rain. My favorite. So I stepped on the mill. And I done fairly good - 20 miles at a steady sub-8 pace (zero elevation). I didn't have to hold on too much and I even felt like I coulda done more.

Friday
20 minutes of old, tired running on a nice day at noon. Don't know why the old body's so tired today. Must be spring fever.

Saturday
24 on the Lester Rail Trail. See separate post.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Week of April 5, 2009

Sunday: After all that travel... I didn't feel all that bad. I even woke up early. So I hit the old 16-mile route. I started off at a bit better than 8 1/2 minute pace, and managed to hold that most of the way. I did slow some for miles 11-14, but then picked it up once more. Splits were 67, 68, so I finished in 2:15, the best in a while. Nice Ohio morning, even though it was cool. Nice sunrise.

Wednesday: There's been snow and cold lately, so I haven't been running. This was to change today, as I planned a 20 miler. Since it was still cold and yucchy, I just got on the mill. Turned out that I started a bit late and ran out of time. Not that it was a stellar performance anyway: after starting well and even doing some 7:30 miles, I hit the wall at about 12. After that I was just limping through. I got to 18 before calling it quits. This was a little disappointing.

Thursday: Yes, of course I was tired and sore. But I did make it through my 6-mile course at 9-minute pace. I'll take it.

Friday: 3 tired miles on the mill. Nuthin much else goin on.

Saturday: I met Dave and Amy in the valley for our usual Saturday run that hasn't been so usual lately because I've been out so much. Today was back to normal - at least for today - I'll be out some more starting next week. It was good to get on the ole towpath once again. We also ran up to Brandywine falls and did the bike&hike trail and the old carriage trail. All of it was fairly slow but nice. I'm calling it 17 to make 60 for the week.

Wailua Falls! Slowly I Turn...


I still remember the old Three Stooges skit. Someone inadvertently says, “Niagara Falls”, and another person (Moe?) goes bonkers, saying, “Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn. Step by step. Inch by inch…” and then he beats the bejeebers out of the first guy. Come to think of it, this routine may be even be something that was old when the Stooges got hold of it. Maybe it’s from the Vaudeville days.

Wailua Falls is taller than Niagara, but has a teensy bit less water. There was some discussion about this in my guide-book, and that’s what got me thinking about the skit. It’s one of hundreds, or perhaps thousands here on Kauai. Some are bigger, some smaller. Wailua is famous because you can walk-up, paddle-up or drive-up to it. In fact, the road goes right up next to the top of the falls. And this, of course, is the object of today’s run.

I venture out into the early morning darkness from the Kauai Marriott and onto Rice Street. I’m immediately faced with a huge hill that will take me up into the town of Lihue. There isn’t much traffic this early, but I know it’ll be getting busier about the time I return. When I do see some cars coming towards me, I head onto the sidewalk, and bleccch, face-first into some rather strong cobwebs that had been strung across the path, between some bushes. Strangely, I’d had this exact same experience whilst running this same course last Sunday. Even though I was going the opposite direction, it seemed like it was this very same spot. Hey, maybe it was the very same spider. If so, I’ll bet he’s mighty P.O.’d by now.

I make my way through town and down a big hill just before Ma’alo, the road to the falls. Based on my measurements when I ran this course four years back, I know that it’s 3 miles to this point, and then it will be 4 more to the falls at the end. When I ran this way the other day, I got here in 26 ½ minutes. Today it is 25 ½.

Relative to the volume and intensity of my running before coming to Hawaii, I’ve been running my ‘Okole off since then. It’s been two whole weeks of running each day, including a pretty solid mid-distance effort at least every other day. This run will be a solid one if my ‘ole legs can continue to handle this pace.

Now I’m on dark, dark Ma’alo Road. There are no residences the entire way, just shrubs, trees and an occasional happy cow-in-paradise. I brandish my little flashlight to see where the heck I’m going. The initial big hill slows me down for the first mile, but then I manage to pick it up again.

After 3 dark miles, I see some lights. They are coming from pickup trucks driving slowly and shining flashlights into the bushes on the sides of the road. I don’t quite understand – are they hunters? I’ve heard it’s wild boar hunting season. If that’s what’s going on, is it legal to hunt with flashlights? I do my best to not look boarish, or boaring. But I do try to be seen, and I say, “morning” as I pass by. I hear some response from a couple of the trucks, but I can’t quite hear what it is. I keep running.

Finally I reach the falls at the end of the road in 59 ½ minutes – 2 faster than the other day. Oh, what measurement and motivation can do. It’s barely getting light at 6am, and I stop to admire the falls and stretch just a bit. The wild chickens-in-paradise, of which there are many, have started to crow. Other birds have started to sing their exotic songs. I reflect a bit that Debbie and I have been to six out of the seven inhabited Hawaiian Islands. Kauai is fantastically beautiful, and full of bountiful wonders like these falls. Yes, it definitely ranks in the top six.

Now it’s time to go back the way I came. Down, mostly, into town, and then down to the Marriott. I pass by the hunters again, and there are even more of them now. Many are parked, but some are still “patrolling”. As I pass by the mile markers, I can tell that I’m almost achieving “eight-ness”. That’s no small feat for me these days, especially on these tired legs.

Going back up the hill into town slows me down, but once again I’m able to recover. I stop to admire the wonderful sunrise. The sky is aglow with pastel colors – blue, pink and peach to name a few. Now it’s back down the hill to the Marriott. My legs sure do ache, but I’m getting there. I reach the hotel in 57 ½ minutes – pretty solid.

Time to pack and return home to Ohio. With thoughts, of course, of returning yet another time.

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...