Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cool(er) Runnings

A Chronicle of Dan's Running and Other Stories Since Returning Home from Jamaica


Really Cool Runnings

Debbie and I got into the house at 1am Sunday, and darned if I was going to miss another Sunday morning run at Hinckley. Now I wasn't quite so silly as to try to make the 5:30 loop, but 7am seemed doable.

So a few hours and 75 degrees later, I was there at the Spillway looking for all my running companions. Nary a one showed up. What, was 9 degrees too cold for them? Hey, if I can go from Jamaica in the mid-eighties to Cleveland in the upper single digits in a couple hours, they should've been able to make it too.

But they didn't. So I did the big loop (only one of them, thank you) alone. It was actually a pretty peaceful, nice run. The cold didn't bother me at all.


Later That Week

It got a wee bit warmer. I ran at Hinckley a couple more times. Once I did two of the big loops including the first one with Mandy (whew, that was tough). The other was my Boxing Day Run. More on that one later.

In the mean time, I did a few other runs, including a 15-miler from home and ten with Dave on the parkway on Christmas Eve day.


Family and Friends

There is Life Outside of Running, and sometimes *I* even have some. Veronica, Barry and Malcolm came for almost a week, and Valerie made it for a day. At my suggestion, we had an open house on the 23rd in order to show Malcolm off to family and friends. Besides everyone else, Dave and Carol brought Mom so that she could see the Baby as well.

Sandy and Nancy's Christmas Eve Party was fun as usual. Christmas Day itself was rather quiet. We visited Mom and prepared for our trip to Connecticut, which included taking down the tree and decorations.


The Great Snowstorm of 2010

We knew it was coming, and we knew that our plans had us driving into the thick of it. Should we leave a half-day early on Christmas night in order to beat the storm? We decided against driving all night. Should we simply leave extremely early on Boxing Day? Yes, but in retrospect, it should've been earlier.

I did manage to get in one Hinckley loop with the gang. I really wanted to do the second 7am loop as well since I had set the thing up and there were more folks ready to go at that time. But I didn't want to be the one holding everyone up with us driving into the storm.

And wouldn't you know it? We drove into the storm just when it was at it's worst. It got so bad that we had to stop and get into a hotel in Middletown, NY. Luckily it was a fast moving one, and Monday was cold and extremely windy, but, by mid-day, generally drivable. That is, assuming one has four good tires. Somehow Barry's Ford Edge had gotten a flat, and the tire needed to be replaced.

So it was an eventful trip, but it wasn't quite over yet. We had to dig our way into the driveway. And with drifts several feet high, this wasn't easy at all.

I should say that out of the five human beings in the car, the one least troubled by all these events was the smallest one. Malcolm just seemed to take it all in stride.


Running in CT

I tried to take running in Connecticut in stride as well.

Who was Daniel, and why did he put his farm at the top of such a long, arduous hill? That is, of course, what I was asking myself as I was running up Daniels Farm Road. It's quite a hill, but the worst of it was that the footing was so bad. With all the traffic I was relegated to the sidewalks, which had been plowed, but were nonetheless still snowy and very icy. It was even tougher coming down than going up.

Hearing from new Ohio resident Dave James that he was in Connecticut caused me to send him a message wondering if he was close by and if so, whether he would like to go for a run. He responded that he was and he would. In fact, we'd be meeting a group of runners at the Housitonic (or whatever you call that durn thing) trail head - the place I run all the time.

Well it didn't work out. Dave got sick - just like everyone else around here - and I decided to just run around and get back a bit earlier than planned.

Speaking of sickness: Veronica, Barry and Malcolm all had colds, and Debbie got some kind of stomach illness. They're all recovering while I'm knocking on wood.


2010

This morning's run here in Connecticut is my last for 2010. The grand totals:

3,465 miles, the most ever in a year for me. don't know why..
8:31 per mile average. not nearly as slow as last year, but my second slowest ever. don't know why.
gobs of races, including 4 or so marathons and 5 or so ultras.

Hey I've got an idea! Start 2011 off with a marathon!! I'll discuss this one in my next post.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cool Runnings, or Sorry, but I don't smoke and run

I suppose it had to happen. It still surprised me when it did, however. Of course I'm talking about someone offering to sell me ganja as I ran by. What was so comical was that it happened so early - probably 1/4 mile into my first run of this trip to Jamaica. The seller's thought process must have been something like, "here comes a rare white American or Brit (one of the few in the entire town right now) who also happens to be running. How can he not want to buy some herbs from me?"

As always, I was polite and said, "no, thanks", just as I said hello and good morning to everyone else on the streets at 6am that wsnted to talk to me. And it seemed as if most of them did.

We stayed in Ocho Rios for three days, and the running wasn't what I'd call idyllic there. Pollution, traffic, bad sidewalks and worse roads. Puddles, potholes and trash. Chickens, goats and dogs. Oh my.

I did manage to get some miles in whilst in Ochi. It was mostly easy stuff, but there were a few hills thrown in for good measure. I also ran on the hotel dreadmill once in order to get some speedwork in.

Running on the beach in Whitehouse was a different story. The Sandals Whitehouse resort owned a large portion of the approximately 2-mile long beach. Of course that's where I'd be doing a good part of my running.

At the end of the Sandals property I encountered a security guard. The beach kept going, but it was deserted beyond the guard. He actually told me that he couldn't allow anyone to leave the property. What was this, a prison? I pressed him, and he said, well, at least stay in during the dark hours (it was early morning). After a couple more laps back and forth, it was light, so I went through - after leaving my name and room number. I understand why they have the security, but this was a bit ridiculous.

The running in Whitehouse was generally good. I ventured out on the roads a couple times, besides an additional run on the beach. All good stuff.

Okay, enough running. Now, where was that ganja guy?

For more on this Jamaica trip, see the 'ole travel blog.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Chasing Connie with a Banana in My Pocket

It wasn't really in my pocket, but it *was* a real banana. I'd been trying to run her down for the entire third 5-mile lap of the Buckeye Woods 50K, and almost caught her before we reached the aid station. The trouble is, she most assuredly *did not* want me to catch her. She knew that if I did, I'd leave her with some smartass remark that she wouldn't like. That's pretty much what happened during other races when I've managed to pass her up. You know, the ones where she had just run a grueling 100-miler the week before.

I had organized the Buckeye Woods 50K (BW50); it was *my* race. And dad-burn it if I wasn't gonna run it well. We had about 20 starters, and many others showed up later on to run a lap or two. The weather in early December was frightful, however. The snow never let up, although it didn't accumulate to more than an inch or two. But the snow-covered trails weren't much of a problem. What *was* much of a problem were the wind and the cold. Temperatures never made it above 24, and the wind chill was in the low teens or worse.

Despite the conditions, everyone was running well and having fun. Ahead of Connie were Jon Brenenstuhl and Bob Pokorny. I didn't care about them; I just wanted *her*. We talked briefly at the aid station, and she tried to pry open a tupperware type container of bananas. "Here, let a man do it", I said. When I couldn't do it either (my hands were freezing), some nice volunteer did it for us. But by that time Connie had spent all the time she could handle at the station, and took off sprinting into her fourth lap. The volunteers mumbled something about how would they ever get the half-banana to Connie. "Don't worry, I'll catch her and present her with the banana", said I.

All of this transpired within a few seconds, and before I knew it, I was sprinting after Connie with half a banana between my fingers. As I mentioned, I never really put it in my pocket, but I did joke about the whole thing as I passed Debbie, Brad and Ladd coming the other way. I was going full-tilt, but I never made up any ground on my prey. Shortly after I passed those three, I felt it. The pulled calf tugged again.

Until that point, each lap was getting faster than the last. But now I had to slow down drastically in order to keep running at all. Connie was long gone. I was left with the banana, so I eventually ate it myself so as not to let it go to waste.

Now the fourth lap was done, and I was struggling. I bumped into Rachel at the aid station, and we began the fifth lap (her fourth - she started a little late) together. I had thought I'd never get back into the groove again, but whilst running with Rachel, somehow I did. We ran a pretty decent lap.

By the time I started my sixth and final 5-mile lap, I was hurting again. This time it wasn't the calf so much as *everything*. I let Rachel go by and ran slower and slower. Then I came upon Dan, who had been walking. "Let's jog together", I said, and we did. That sure helped me get through it, as did the couple cookies he shared.

My last 5-mile lap and the final mile were excruciatingly slow. But despite everything, I got myself a PR at 4:46. I won't mention that that time should have easily been more in the neighborhood of 4:30. Finishing fourth amongst this group of ultrarunners, is quite an honor however.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better Just Shoot Me

Yup, lame again. Reminds me of the jokes I heard back when we got a Polish Pope. His first miracle? He made a blind man lame. Secondly, he cured a ham. But I digress..

Yes, I need to be put down for the good of all. This should have happened a week ago after the CWRRC Fall Classic Half when I pulled my right calf. After that incident, I (uncharacteristically) wisely took a couple days off before hitting the roads again. The problem is that when I did hit them, I hit them a little too hard: 10 with Dave on Wednesday, 22 on the mill on rainy Turkey day, 9 on the mill the next day, and then 16 in Buckeye Woods Saturday followed by 18 at hilly Hinckley on Sunday. That's a heap of running, and my calf paid the price. It was swollen Sunday, Monday and today - Tuesday. Monday was, I think, the worst day. It seemed to be double the size of my left one. This didn't seem good.

The not-so-bad news is that it's a bit better today. I'm concerned about Sunday's Buckeye Woods 50k/50 mile run. Time will tell. I'll try to run tomorrow, and we'll go from there.

I do need to add that these extra pounds do not help this situation. Our traditional Wednesday night dinner with the family was pizza this time. Thursday's turkey was as good as ever, and then there were the leftovers. Not to mention the Cousins' Brunch on Sunday. When will it ever end? (Maybe a bit now that Debbie is back in Connecticut.) Of course the best part of this holiday is family. It was wonderful as always, but Debbie and I miss our Daughters tremendously. We will have them here for Christmas, so that's some consolation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CWRRC Fall Classic

This once little half-marathon in the Cleveland metroparks now fills to capacity at about 800 runners plus many hundreds more in the 5k. It seems like everything fills up these days. But the crowd wasn't too much of a problem for me. I've done this one many times, and I pretty much know what to expect. It's a fairly fast course, and I usually do well here. Moreover, I've done well at my last two halves. So expectations were high. (Read: Danger, Will Robinson.)

A bunch of us MCRR folks carpooled down there. This is always fun. It was cold, probably in the upper 30s, so we didn't even want to get out of the car for a picture. We did, eventually, however. But as we lined up and started running, the temperature, now rising into the 40's, felt fine. Things started well for me. I got right down to the solid pace that I'd intended to maintain throughout the race. I saw several other friends before and during the race. There are several turn-arounds in this double out-and-back course, so that helps everyone see everyone else.

I said the crowds weren't much of a problem for me. Actually they were, but it was the 5k runners, not the half-marathoners, that were the problem. As we came to about the 5-mile mark, we bumped into hundreds of 5k runners, who took up large chunks of real-estate. It was challenging to try to get around them. I managed, and came through and around Bonnie Bell Park for at a still-solid pace - right where I wanted to be.

Around about mile 7, my right calf began to hurt. I hoped to run through the pain, but it got worse instead of better. By mile eight I was hurting to the point of limping. By mile nine I was hobbling horribly. Of course lots of folks were passing me, and of course I didn't care - I had other concerns, such as survival.

At some point the level of pain reached a steady state, and so did my now-very-slow pace. I finished in 97-something, about 10 minutes slower than I'd hoped. I still managed third in my age group.

Now I'm hobbling around with this pulled calf muscle. It's been a while since I've had a major injury, and even longer since it happened during a race. I can only hope it'll heal quickly.

The irony is not lost on me. It was just a couple days ago when I posted this little gem: What if Eleanor Roosevelt Could Fly?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where’s the Dang Statue?


It’s cool and windy as I turn onto Beacon Street. That wind is right in my face, but the temperature isn’t really so bad, and I’m dressed for the occasion. It’s also dark, but I know that here on the eastern end of the time zone, it’ll get light soon. My hotel is at about mile 23 to 24 along the Boston Marathon Course. I’m running in the opposite direction of the race. This means I’m running uphill for a couple miles until I pass Boston College. Before I reach BC I must turn right on Chestnut Hill at Cleveland Circle, and then left on Commonwealth Avenue. The rest of my run will take place on Comm Ave.

It’s starting to get a little lighter as I reach the top of the hill. Now, about 3.5 miles into my run, I’m looking down Heartbreak Hill. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it from this perspective before. It occurs to me that this would be the best time to find the statue.

In 1996 a statue of Johnny Kelley was unveiled here on Heartbreak Hill. The hill is named after Kelley because during one of his 61 Boston Marathons, he had earlier passed the leader, Tarzan Brown, but was then in turn passed by Brown near the top of the hill. This reportedly broke Kelley’s heart. But here’s the thing about the statue: I’ve never seen it. I’ve run Boston 10 times, and probably seven of those were after the statue had been placed there. I guess I just don’t know where to look, but Heartbreak Hill really isn’t all that long (or steep, for that matter – but it’s enough to slow you down at mile 20). I figure it to be in the median area somewhere.

Now I’m usually fighting to keep my head up, and I’m usually aware of the crowds and the other runners at this point. So it may be at least a little understandable that I keep missing it. But it’s not for lack of looking. In any case, I’ll find it this time for sure. I head down, looking all around me. There are no cheering crowds. There are other runners, but most are running in the opposite direction: up.

I get the bottom, and I never see it. I’ll have another chance when I run back up however. I go on for another mile or so, including the next of the Newton Hills before I turn back. I’ve gone five miles out. Now the sun is starting to shine, so I’ll see the statue for sure.

Guess what? No statue. I head back to the hotel, enjoying the run and the memories of this great course. I suppose I can go through the rest of my life not having ever seen the statue. The run was nice enough anyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What if Eleanor Roosevelt Could Fly?

Whilst on the Towpath during last Thursday’s early morning run, Dave hit me with a hypothetical query: what if I could no longer run? It was a good question, and it gave me pause. These types of questions also do something else to me: they remind me of a good old series of SNL skits based on extremely silly what-if hypothetical problems. Two that come to mind are, What if Eleanor Roosevelt Could Fly, and What if Napoleon had a Nuclear Bomb at the Battle of Waterloo?

For his part, Dave, good and serious runner that he is, would be just fine if he couldn’t run. Having a young family tends to help focus one’s priorities. Me? Oh, I’d be fine too. Running isn’t *that* big a part of my life.

I’d probably no longer work at the store, but that would be all right. The income is small, and I wouldn’t miss the friends I’ve made amongst my fellow workers and customers.

I would quit being involved with the Medina County Road Runners. No problem there. Oh, maybe I’d miss my many close friends there a little, but this still wouldn’t be a problem for me.

I would probably stop directing races, including NC24. This would give me lots of extra time and relieve me of some extraneous stress. I’d also no longer volunteer at races, freeing up even more time.

I’d have to find something else to do with my Saturday and Sunday mornings. This shouldn’t be a problem. I could start by sitting around and reading the paper. For that matter, I’d have to find something else to do with almost every early morning and maybe try sleeping in.

There would be no more racing every two or three weeks. I wouldn’t miss the competition and pressure to train and perform well at these events. And I wouldn’t miss seeing all my competitor friends at them. No, in fact I wouldn’t miss that competition at all.

Of course I wouldn’t have running to keep me in mental and physical shape. These are both of equal importance, and running is one of the best, if not *the* best thing for them. But I’d find alternatives. Sure.

Yeah, I would be fine if I could no longer run. Perhaps my life would be even better. Any more hypotheticals?

After last Thursday’s run, I ran Saturday morning with some of the usual bunch at Lock 29. We went south on the Towpath for a change, and wound up doing the 5-mile Perkins loop just ahead of the Bill’s Bad Ass 50K on the same course. What a blast that was?

Brian and Ginny came to visit Saturday and Sunday. I took Brian to Hinckley and we did the big loop together, a bit slower than the rest of the gang. More fun.

After two relatively easy weekend runs, I thought I’d be ready for a strong 11-mile training run on Monday. Think again. For reasons I can’t figure out, I failed to get down to tempo pace that morning. To atone, I hit the mill to do 3 miles at 6 minute pace, as I’d done last week. Monday night Connie, Ladd, Bob, Janet and I scouted trails at Buckeye Woods Park. I think we’ll be able to pull off an ultra there.

Tuesday was better: I did two tempo runs – four out of the six-mile loop, and then the entire Presidents three-mile loop.

What was that question again? What if I couldn’t run? I’d just ….. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two Tempo Trots Today, Track Tonight

This was actually last Tuesday's Title (Hey, I could've prefaced the above title with "Tuesday's Title:"! But the point is that I've been running fairly hard lately. And based on the result at Stomp the Grapes, I think it's working. It's not that I'm running all that much faster - I still have terribly slow leg speed - I've just been doing more of my runs at a faster pace, including several tempo runs per week. Oh, I'm still taking rest days and getting occasional slow stinker runs. I will be trying hard to run next weekend's Fall Classic Half even faster than STG.

Other news:
1) I'm managing to survive without Debbie. But I don't like it. I think I said that right.
2) Brian and daughter Ginny are coming to visit tomorrow. It's been years.
3) My consulting work is picking up. In fact I've been downright busy lately.
4) There's most likely other non-running stuff going on in my life, but I can't for the life of me think of any of it right now.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Grapes Well Stomped


I don't know when or if I'd ever beaten Ron Legg before. Perhaps when he was injured; perhaps never at all. But I had begun to see him ahead of me between miles 10 and 11, and eventually overtook him a bit before the 12-mile mark. There were some big hills remaining, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to maintain my advantage, but I had been coming on strong since mile 10, and Ron looked to be slowing. We grunted good luck to each other as I went by, and I did manage to stay ahead, as I also passed a couple others.

Yes, I was having a good run at the 2010 Stomp the Grapes Half-Marathon. I had also been entertaining thoughts of breaking the 55-59 age group record of 1:27:4x. When I hit mile 12 in 1:21 flat, I thought there was still a very slight, itsy-bitsy possibility. Although I'd been running faster and faster, the last mile would need to be my fastest of all - a low 6 minutes, considering that the final point-1 would need to be factored in as well.

But then I hit the hills. They weren't that much worse in the last mile than anywhere else in the second half of the course, but they were enough to ensure that there would be no record in the geezer age group today. I finished in 1:28:25. Best in years, and good enough for First Grand Geez... I mean Grand Master. Not too shabby.

The race was high on the hassle factor scale: 12 noon start, being bussed to the start after the finish (and waiting a long time), having to arrive very early, etc., etc. But, the rewards were good: wine, good shirts, socks and a hat, and then a $25 gift certificate for my win. That would only buy me one bottle of wine and a bit of cheese, but that was better than nothing.

As always, the best part was the fun being with the MCRR folks. As usual, we had a good contingent, and you just can't beat the camaraderie. The icing on the cake? I beat my arch-rival Jan!

Okay, one more thing. I have to tell the story of the shoes. Connie came into work shortly after me on Friday. She tried on a pair of shoes that she had special ordered for herself, some Mizuno Ronin racing flats. They were much to big for her, and we realized that she'd ordered and received a men's and not a women's shoe - they are unisex sized. So of course I tried them on, and they fit perfectly.

I tried to pay Connie, and she wouldn't take the money. She said that if I could run a minute faster than my best 1/2 marathon of the year using the new shoes, she would allow me to pay her for them. What if I can't? "Then I'll just take them back," she said. Never mind that returns weren't allowed, I just wouldn't have deserved them. Also never mind that my incentive was kind've backward. Wouldn't I have tried harder to run fast if it would *save*, and not *cost me* money? Never mind. This was Connie logic at work.

With my 1:28, I did indeed earn the honor of paying for the shoes.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Stop the Fun!

Yes, the fun is getting to be too much for me. It needs to stop.

Last week Debbie and I "Hiked Ohio", by going to Mohican one day, and then to Hocking Hills and Salt Fork another couple days at the end of the week. Wonderful hiking trails, all. And we were lucky to have great fall weather too. But the fun was only beginning.

Saturday, after my morning run on the towpath with my MCRR friends, after putting in a few hours at the store, we attended a clambake/get-ready-for-Jamaica party at Sandy and Nancy's. Now the fun was really getting going.

Sunday, of course, was the most fun of all. Debbie and I were in charge of the Pine Hollow aid station for Run with Scissors. Arriving before 5am, we, along with a great team of helpers, set everything up and prepared for the onslaught of runners. The crowds of runners thinned out quickly, and tapered down more and more as the day wore on. It felt cold and raw, so we had a huge bonfire going in the pit. That saved us! We were done by about 5pm and then hurried back to the start to unload our supplies and head home.

Why the rush? It was trick-or-treat night, silly.

Enough fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flying at 9:40 Pace

After doing 14 on the towpath Saturday and 19 at Hinckley Sunday, I thought I'd feel pretty lousy on Monday. But I didn't; I actually felt really good as I burst out the door and started sprinting up 303. Chalk those good feelings up to the protein.

There was only one minor problem: That sprint up 303 took me 9 minutes and 40 seconds. Granted, it's a big hill, but sheesh. It felt like 6:40. The rest of that run went downhill from there. So to speak.

Today's run was better: I did my 11-mile loop in 86 minutes. The problem with today's run was that in included an NTE. That's Near Tempo Experience. I couldn't maintain a sub-seven minute pace for 3 miles. Close, but no cigar. It was still decent overall, however.

It's time to start getting a little more serious; I have two upcoming half-marathons to attend to.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Protein

When you consider how awful I felt Sunday and Monday, it's pretty amazing that I was able to run so well, and feel so good doing it, on Tuesday and Thursday this week. I am giving the credit to clean living and protein powder mix.

I've been doing the protein shake thing off an on most of the year, and all along I had a strong suspicion that it was helping my recoveries. Helping a lot. After Cbus, I'm more sure than ever that it's helping; there's no other explanation.

Another interesting diet/nutrition happening, one that's in conflict with the observation above, is an ongoing discussion with John McCarroll and others about veganism. John's a vegan, and he has had pretty amazing results from that diet change. He also believes that protein is over-rated.

My take is that I'm interested in vegitarianism, but I am still convinced that the protein is helping. I'll continue to listen to other ideas however.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cbus



I'm not sure when or why people started calling Columbus Cbus, but it does seem to work. So of course the Columbus Marathon can also simply be called Cbus.

Well over 20 Medina County Road Runners made the trek, and as predicted, it was a blast. Our little carload included Debbie, Brad, Michelle, Nancy and Dan Daubner. Brad was able to get all of us, *and* all our stuff, into his SUV. We were able to adhere to Debbie's *rigid* schedule for the trip and our time on Saturday. That meant getting to lunch, the expo and then dinner as planned. Dinner at Buca's was still more fun.

We lined up for the group photo, then lined up for the race and were off. The weather was almost perfect: upper 40s at the start, and mostly 50s during the course of the morning's running. I never felt too warm or too cold.

Except, that is, for the arm-warmer problem. Charles and his family made tie-died arm warmers for everyone from old tube socks. A little reluctantly, I wore mine for the first several miles. They actually felt great for most of that time. By about mile 8 or so, they started feeling too warm. I mentioned to Debbie that I didn't really want to throw them away, so she suggested I stuff them in my shorts. My response was, "people might think I have a problem." She suggested the back of my shorts, and my response was, "people might think I had a *different* problem." With no better options available, I did toss them. At that point I did feel fine again, temperature-wise.

Several of the early miles were with Debbie. I made a pit stop, but caught her again. We saw the governor in beautiful Bexley at about the 4 mile mark. The plan was for Brad, Debbie and I to stick with the 3:20 pace group, at least for most of the way. Brad wanted to try to qualify for Boston with a 3:15, however, so he started to get ahead of us fairly early on. Debbie and I were just ahead of the group when they caught us at about mile 8 or 9. I stayed ahead of them, but Debbie fell back.

I picked it up a bit more, and was probably a minute ahead of the group at the half-way point in about 1:38:40.

A few weeks ago I ran some pretty good late-summer races, including the Crim 10-Mile and the River Run Half. Based on my times at these races, I thought I was in pretty good shape, and had a shot at improving on my spring marathon times. It would be tough to beat the 3:13 I did in Cleveland, but I thought I had it in me. But then I found myself in Romania. I always seem to eat too much when I travel, and this trip was no exception. To atone for the increase in calories, I tried to run more, and of course this just exacerbated the tapering problem. So my plan for Cbus was to try to run with the 3:20 pace group and "see what happens".

By the time I'd reached 13.1 miles, however, I was starting to think 3:15. That would take pretty good negative splits, but I thought it was possible. I picked up the pace a bit, and caught Brad when we were going through the OSU campus at about mile 16. We stayed together for a while, but he was struggling and fell back. I hit mile 20 at pretty close to 2:30. I would have to pick it up even more in the final 10k.

I did manage to run still slightly faster than I had been. I didn't quite do 3:15, but I did the next best minute: 3:16 (and 13 seconds). In that second half, and especially that final 10k, I'd given it all I had.

3:16 is pretty good, and I'm happy with it. But would it have been better if I didn't travel? If I wouldn't have run 40 miles the previous weekend? It's hard to say.

After a fun after-the-race get together at Max & Erma's, it was back into Brad's vehicle, and onto the road again. Amongst other things, we discussed burnout. Several MCRR runners were at least somewhat unhappy with their runs, and a couple had to drop out with injuries. Debbie especially felt Burned out (notice the capital B), after all the racing she's done recently, she had a tough time in the second half. Brad was a bit disappointed too. Michelle, Dan and Nancy, on the other hand, were fairly happy with their runs. What about my 3:16? I could try for a faster marathon at Inland Trail next week, but considering the burnout factor, am thinking better of it. I do have Stomp the Grapes Half in three weeks. That should be enough.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

(Another) Rhapsody of Running in Romania




This is my fourth trip to Bucharest, so by now I know some of the best running routes. In some ways, they’re actually quite good, and in others, such as the dog aspect, not so great.

The parks are really wonderful, and there sure are a lot of them. On the minus side, most of these city parks are quite small, so I’ve got to run several loops. For example, it’s only a mile around the closest one, Parcul Izvor. One of the next closest ones, Parcul Carol, is only slightly bigger. Parcul Tineretului is the biggest one that’s anywhere close – I can get a couple miles when running around the lake and on the bike trail above the lake there. Of course the biggest minus is still the stray dogs. They are still a problem for any run through any and every park or neighborhood.

As usual, besides Parcul Izvor, I do a lot of loops around the Palatul Parlamentului. I managed to do two consecutive sub-13 minute 1.85 mile circuits of the palace the other day, so I can call it a tempo run. My loops around Izvor haven’t been so fast. Yet.

I have to run though scenic Parcul Carol to get to the also scenic Parcul Tineretului. I do this for my longer runs. It’s tough to beat Tineretului for good running. It’s big and hilly, with a decent sized lake, and lots of asphalt trails. I can get a lot of miles in there, as I do on my longer runs.

Saturday’s long run was a case in point, I did 4 1-mile loops around Izvor, then, as noted, went through Carol and over to Tineretului. There I ran around and around, finally figuring out how to make a complete circuit of the lake. That took about 14 minutes, but there was plenty more running to be had there. Altogether I was in the park for about an hour and forty-five minutes. The dogs in a run-down neighborhood on the way back spoiled my overall fun a bit, but it was a good one, all in all. I’m calling the entire run a twenty.

I figure that I’ve put on between five and ten pounds during the week I’ve been here. And my stay ain’t over yet. This does not bode well at all, not at all, for my upcoming Columbus Marathon. It usually takes me several days to get back to normal, and I won’t have several days. I’m now giving serious thought to doing the Inland Trail Marathon, and doing Columbus only as a training run.

To try to atone for my awful gluttony here, I did a second long run over the weekend. It had been a while since I’d run 40 miles over a weekend, but I sure felt like I needed the mileage this time. The second weekend long run didn’t go nearly as well as the first. I started slow and finished slower. Most of the miles were in Tineretului, whilst the last few were in Izvor – kind of the opposite of yesterday.

Addendum – For my last couple runs, I’ve been mostly running loops around the now familiar Parcul Tineretului, and especially around nearby Parcul Izvor. It’s fun to explore new areas, but I never run as fast when I’m doing so. Izvor appeals because it’s almost exactly a mile, and there are no major curbs to negotiate in the dark. Tuesday I managed to get down to tempo pace for three of these miles, followed by some other decent running half-loop (800m) pickups. Wednesday I explored Tineretului a bit more. I guess I got the miles in, so things could be worse.

For more on my running and daily life in Romania, check out this post from my 2009 trip, A Day in the Life. I think you will like it.

And for more general information on my travel adventures to Romania, see my travel blog entry.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Akron Marathon


"That's the last hill. You're at the top. It's all downhill from here." I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that, or something just like it, over the last 10 miles.

After missing a couple days of training due to NC24, I jumped back in last week to try to get right back to where I had been. I also decided, with only a few days to left, to go ahead and run Akron. I'd heard that it was *wonderful*, and I thought I'd find out for myself.

So I found myself lined up with a few thousand of my best friends on a nice and relatively cool Akron morning. After the gun, the hills didn't take very long to materialize. It was down for the first mile or two, then up, up, up for the next several. After a while, I found it impossible to keep up with my training partner Debbie Scheel, and instead ran and talked with friend Kevin. It was good to see so many friends before, during and after the race.

It got a bit easier as I hit the towpath just before half-way. The TP and Sand Run are very pretty areas, and they make this race memorable. Hey, woudn't it be great to have a race that's entirely on the TP? Oh, I forgot. There already is one.

I probably did pick it up a little for those 4+ miles. Then came Sand Run: several miles - almost all of it uphill. Tough for everyone, including me. Brad caught me for a while, but then I pulled away again. I eventually began to spot Debbie up ahead. When I caught her later on I tried to get her to go with me, but that didn't happen. I went on to pass Connie, who was just less than a week recovered from her 141 NC miles. Seems that's the only time I can beat her is right after a hundred or more miles. Of course I had yet another smart remark ready for her when I did: "You need to learn to run while drinking water," I said as she stopped at an aid station.

From about mile 15 to about 23, the trend of the race is up, up, up. Only the last two are back down a bit, but by then I was fairly shot. I came in at 3:23. I had only wanted to do a training run here, so the time, and the even splits, are fine with me. But I never thought it would be this hard. Not even with all the warnings I'd had from friends. It was really, really tough.

Would I do it again? The race organization was as wonderful as advertised. Very good attention to detail. And I may consider it as part of a relay. But run the entire bird again? One of the toughest I've ever done anywhere? What do you think?

2010 NC24


It's over. Has been for a week and a half. And I thought things were supposed to ease in my life now. They didn't.

We had a volunteer/organizer party at our place Saturday. Yesterday I went to the MCRR meeting to talk about the race, only to learn that everyone there, except Lisa, had actually been at the race in some capacity. Tonight is our organizational team wrap-up / post mortem. On top of all that, we went to Shannon's last week to get all the race equipment and supplies, so we could bring them back home. Now Debbie has inventoried and deposited everything into containers, and the next step is to build some shelving for it in the garage (last year we'd stacked it in the basement). And on top of all that... I'm dealing with a never-ending barrage of emails about the race. This in itself is a full-time job.

I must say that the event itself was another huge success. Not that there isn't room for improvement, mind you. That, of course, is one of the main subjects for tonight's meeting. But thanks to the fantastic volunteers and great organizers, NC24 was a great experience for all of us - including, even, the runners.

By far, the most important thing to do when organizing an event like this is to get the best possible team. And I did that. Without a doubt, Shannon, Roy, Frank, Joe, Debbie Horvath, Debbie Horn, Charles and several others that I'm probably forgetting, were the backbone of the event. We couldn't have been successful without them.

Like last year, when I saw it all unfold, it was truly amazing. And gratifying to the n'th degree. Of course it was hard work - not only during the 24 hours, but for several days before and after. But it was, as they say, a labor of love.

Think I'll do it all again next year? Stay tuned..

Monday, September 13, 2010

River Run Double Half-Marathon


10 miles in just under 69 minutes. That's in between the finish times for the two ten-milers I've done in recent weeks. Would I be able to keep that same pace, or even pick it up a bit for the final 5K?

It had been a couple years since I was able to dip under 1:30 for a half-marathon. For the River Run Half, I made a point to tell everyone that 1:29 was my goal, and after the Crim, I felt I was ready.

Several of my MCRR friends were there. The weather was decent - low 60s, and a little humid. I ran the early miles with Debbie Scheel, but by mile 3 I was mostly alone, and stayed that way for the rest of the run. I knew I needed about a 6:50 pace, and I did manage to get to the half-way point in about 44 and a half minutes, give or take.

It took a great deal of concentration, but I did manage to make those final three miles my best ones. The last 5K was about 20:40, so I finished in 1:29:31. Some faster old geezer showed up, so I was only second in my age group. But I'm happy with this one. There may be a way to squeeze out another minute or so in some future race, but by and large I feel like I'm running to my potential. And that's a good thing.

After kibitzing with my friends at the finish, it was time to run back to the car. Yes, Jack and I had parked at the start with plans to jog back afterward. It had sounded like a good idea at the time. But those additional 13 or so miles were pretty darn tough - even though they were at a slow 9-minute pace. I think I was bonking due to lack of nutrition, because I felt better when I took a gel. We did eventually make it back to the start. It was a lot of running for one day.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tremendous Training Trail Trots: Twenty-Two, Twenty-Two, Ten. Tempos Too.

Probably don't need to say much else; the title says it all. Almost.

The story should probably start with last Tuesday's speed sessions. Yes, sessions with an 's'. I ran well at both, but afterwards my right knee seemed abnormally tender. This didn't seem like too big a deal.

Thursday I met Dave at the towpath, and I wound up with twenty-two terrific towpath training miles. It was a pretty steady eight-minute to slightly slower pace. After this run, the 'ole knee hurt more - especially going down stairs. I learned that it may be patella tendinitis, or possibly bursitis. Either way I need to treat it with ice and ibuprofen, which I'm doing.

On Saturday I drove to Connecticut for a visit (Debbie is still there, and will stay another week because although Malcolm is fine, Veronica is still recovering). I ran on the Housitonic Trail on Sunday (22) and Monday (10), and did well. I managed to get down to tempo pace for two slightly downhill sections on Sunday, and one on Monday.

So the running has been good. But what the heck do I do with this aching knee?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

E.N. Hines Drive


This is a parkway just west of Detroit. I've run here many times, but am always impressed that there's so much of it. It's sort of like our Metroparks parkway in the Cleveland area. Some of my past running here includes the Martian Marathon (a couple times), the Detroit Free Press Marathon training run (a couple times), several runs with friends Paul, Doug and Keith beginning at Paul's in Novi, and more.

Today I was staying at Six Mile in Livonia, and I wanted to get a long run in before heading home. I ran west on Six Mile, south on Haggerty (forgetting that the bike trail runs north/south along I275), to catch Hines Drive south of Plymouth Rd. I figure that was a good five miles right there. I decided to go west on Hines, rather than the slightly more familiar easterly direction. As noted, I was surprised at how far it actually went on. I was also surprised at how nice and peaceful it was. Back to the direction and distance: at some point I believe I was going north before heading back to the west again. At another point it felt as though I was making a big semi-circle, coming to Northville Road twice.

Although I was fairly tired, I felt like I was proceeding at a decent enough pace. I turned around after another 45 minutes, figuring that this was a good 10 miles total each way. After I turned back, I tried to pick it up some. Surprisingly, I did. My last few miles were probably the best.

Another 20-miler in the books.

Better than Perfect


This is familiar territory in more ways than one. I pass mile 9 in something just under 62 minutes. It is a minute or so faster than this point in the Perfect 10-Miler a couple weeks ago. At that race, I had very little left, and I finished with a fairly slow final mile. Do I have anything left this time? This time it’s the Crim 10-Miler, and I’m in familiar territory not only with the time and challenge of the final mile, but also because I’m back up in Michigan, running a race I’ve done many times with old friends.

Where were all those old friends this time? Perhaps it’s been too long. I had FaceBooked a couple folks who would be there, and I thought that I’d simply know just about everyone else, as seemed to be the case at all those previous Crim races in the 80’s and 90’s. This time out, I did see a couple familiar faces, but none of my closer friends, including Jim Karner, whom I’d FB’d. I nodded to some of the folks, but hardly said two words to anyone. Did I mention that there were over 10,000 runners? The sheer numbers may have been a factor in the ability to find folks.

The reason I’m back in Michigan is to attend the wedding of Erich Watry, son of old friends Mike and Linda Leinius. I’d spent the previous night visiting Greg and Dot Worley, who conveniently live closer to Flint than the location of the wedding reception in Livonia. I’m doing all this on my own, since Debbie is still in Connecticut, helping her daughter and new grandson.

It had been a cool night, with temperatures in the fifties and low humidity for a change. By the 8am start the sun was warming things up to around 70F, but the humidity was still low. These were the best race conditions I’d had in months. The start was as crowded as I’d expected. I was seeded into a corral with other sub-7 minute runners. Since I’m now just *barely* under that pace, I did place myself at the *end* of that corral. The first couple miles appeared very familiar to me; it was starting to seem like I’d never left.

Those early miles are fairly flat and indeed fast. I tried to keep them at just under 7-minute pace without working too hard. As the race unfolded, I couldn’t quite remember where the Bradley Hills were. I remembered that they were somewhere in the middle, but I was reminded of their location soon enough. Although the Crim is a fast course, those Bradley Hills do make it challenging. They turned out to be from about mile 4.25 to about 6.25, give or take. And once again, they did indeed slow me down some.

The Bradley’s are probably tougher than the hills I’d experienced at the Wooster Heart and Sole Half-Marathon the previous week. The hills at that race are more constant, but not as steep. I’d made the trip to Wooster with several MCRR friends, and we had a blast there as usual. My time for Wooster was 1:33 and change, including a strong finish. This was better than last year, but slower than the one before. The heat and humidity didn’t help at all.

The weather for the Crim was still comfortable as I came through that tough hilly section. The second half is quite scenic, as there are generally parks on one side of the road, and large old beautiful homes on the other. I did manage to get the mile split times back down to sub-7 after a couple slower miles through the hills. This is where the race truly begins.

After mile 9 I try to run faster. My legs are barely responding, but I suppose that I have indeed kicked it up a notch. Then with about a third of a mile to go, I turn onto Saginaw Street. I see and I remember that it truly is all downhill from here. Now I pick it up even more, passing a few runners as I go. One or two pass me as well, but I’m doing as well as can be expected. I get to the brick portion of Saginaw for the final couple blocks and pick it up once more, to ramming speed. I cross the line in 1:08:30 or so. I believe that the difference between the gun time and my chip time may be on the order of 15 seconds, so my chip time may be closer to 1:08:15. That final mile was a fast one. At sub-6:30, it was my fastest of the day.

This is indeed better than Perfect. I’d done 1:09:55 at the Perfect-10. Here I was better than that by a minute and a half or more. The low humidity probably made all the difference, as this is surely a tougher course.

After the race I continue to look for old friends, but only found a few familiar faces. Later on at the wedding, who should I see but Jim and Debbie Deren? It turns out that their daughter was in the wedding party, and is close friends with both Erich and Michelle. How ironic to finally run into an old running friend where he wasn’t at all expected. More ironic than that, Jim had done the Crim this day as well. You can’t make this stuff up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Malcolm Dancer


This little post is not about running at all. It's about being a Grandpa.

Malcolm Dancer came into the world Friday, August 13, 2010. Veronica and Barry, and the new kid on the block are all doing quite fine. Debbie has been in Connecticut to help for a couple weeks already, and she continues to do so. Everyone's home now, and doing fine.

I made the long trip to visit for a couple days, and I was very proud and happy to hold Malcolm. I'd forgotten what it was like to hold a baby. What a joy!

The Perfect 10-Miler and an Animal Farm Concept


I've run every one of these Perfect 10-Milers since the race's inception in 2003. And every year I've done well there. Even though last year's 1:08:40 was my slowest ever, I was still happy with it. With all the hard running I've been doing, I thought I could beat that time this year. Heck, I even tapered a wee bit.

Seven of us MCRR folks squeezed into Debbie's vehicle to head up to Lyndhurst for the always fun camaraderie. It was warm and extremely humid. But I wasn't about to let that get the better of me. Or would I?

As planned, I started at just under seven minute pace. I saw Debbie and Connie, and a few others, early on and at the turnaround. After running this one so many times, I knew about the uphill sections in miles 5 and 6. Half-way went by in 34 and a half minutes - about the same as last year. Those hills slowed me a little as expected, but I was going to lower the hammer for those last four. Sure enough, downhill miles 7 and 8 were pretty good (although not as fast as expected). Even then, If I could've managed a really fast final two miles, I would've been okay. I couldn't, and I wasn't. The last two were around seven minutes, so I finished in 69:55. Very disappointing. As expected, this was tempered by the fun of being with all my MCRR friends.

I'm not disappointed because I ran a dumb race, or because I feel like I didn't give it my all. And it's not because I didn't place in my age group, whereas I won it last year and in previous years. I ran it just as I should have, but of course I wanted to go a little faster in the second half. And I was totally spent, especially in that high humidity. Regarding placing, you just never know who will show up. My disappointment is due to the slowing of my times here and at other races. This, in spite of the fact that I'm working so hard to run hard in my training. Maybe I should just not train so hard?

This weekend I've got the Wooster half-marathon, and next weekend the Crim 10-Miler. After this one, I'm not very hopeful about those.

A little more about the training: yes it's been pretty decent. 70 mile weeks; Speedwork here and there (including two sessions last Tuesday); some Hinckley hills and other long and medium-long stuff. It seems like it should be enough to evoke some improvement. I suppose that like the Horse in Animal Farm, I'll just have to say, "I will work harder."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tendinitis? Shin Splits? Whatever You Call it, it Hurts

Yesterday Ladd, Janet, Charles and I did a slower paced run through Buckeye Woods Park and Chippewa Lake via roads, dirt and bike trails. It was a beautiful day for a run and an enjoyable course, but I was in pain the entire way.

My right shin had been acting up for a week now - ever since a long run with Jeanine the previous Thursday. There's been a noticeable lump at the source of the pain, and my entire ankle was swollen with edema at times. The pain itself has come and gone a couple times during the week. Dr. Joe seemed to have it cured completely, but it came back with a vengeance during that run yesterday.

I was therefore very concerned about today's Hilly Hinckley long run that also promised to be at a faster pace. A good bunch showed up, including Michele, Ladd, Debbie S., Jack, Brad, Dan, and probably a couple others that I can't remember. I tried to stay with Mandy for the first 9+ mile loop, and then Debbie, Jack and Ladd on the second one. A few of us followed all that up with a 3+ mile lake loop. Two surprises: 1) I ran ok. 2) I had no pain whatsoever, even with the hills and fast pace. Whatdoyaknow?

This afternoon was the MCRR picnic, organized with great care by Debbie and Nancy. It was a fun event, even though I had to enjoy it without Debbie H.

Addendum: I have been feeling much better - almost 100%, but the pain came back a bit today (Aug. 19).

The 100-Mile Party


Suzanne Pokorny is the volunteer coordinator for the Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run. She's done it for a couple years now and by all accounts does a wonderful job of organizing over 20 aid stations and hundreds of volunteers spread out over the 100 mile point-to-point course. This year Suzanne worked her usual wonders of organizing everything, but then went on to run the race. Who would step in for her on race day itself? Hmmmm. I couldn't think of a good enough excuse not to, so I became Volunteer-Coordinator-For-The-Day.

It turned out that Suzanne did such a great job ahead of time that I wound up doing precious little more than show up at each aid station and ask if they needed anything. A few did, so I actually did add some value. Most of the time, however, I felt like just the window dressing - just appearing and accepting at least some of the praise for a great event.

Actually, RD Joe Jurczyk, Suzanne, and all of the other volunteers deserve all the accolades they can get. At least they do get some - mostly from the runners, who have been just about unanimous in their praise for the race and the volunteers.

Each aid station operated like a small city with it's own mayor (the aid station captain). They all took their jobs very seriously, yet managed to inject a great deal of fun into the event as well. That's why I call it a 100-mile party. How better to spend 30-plus consecutive hours of a weekend.

It was actually more and less than that. More in that I had arrive in Willoughby Hills well before the 5am Saturday start, and I had to be on hand for the awards over an hour after the 11am Sunday finish. Less in that I unexpectedly managed to break away for a 3-hour or so nap during the night. Joe was, of course, extremely tired and losing his voice, so I took over the announcing duties. That was a great deal of fun - seeing everyone, including many that I know - cross the finish line in Cuyahoga Falls all night and morning.

Does all the enjoyment I had make me want to go and, for the second time, do such a thing myself? Not on your life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Burning and Baching

Burning refers to Burning River, as in the BR100, in which I'm becoming more and more involved. I'm not complaining - I'm happy to be of help. This weekend will be a looong one for me however. I'll have to be around the entire 30 hours beginning Saturday morning. This after the Friday dinner and packet pickup festivities.

Batching refers to bachin' it, since my wife has left me. No, I don't think it's permanent; Debbie went to Connecticut to help Veronica and Barry with the soon-to-be birth of their son. The plan is for me to pick her up Labor Day weekend. That's a long way away. This leaves me with the cats, the garden, the house (to clean and cook), etc., etc. I'm not complaining - I'm happy to be of help. My workload is such that I should have enough time to take care of these things, but this could change in a hurry. We'll see.

For some reason I *have* been finding time to run. I got some good running in over the weekend. Saturday was our NC24 training run. As expected, I only had time for 11 miles or so. But I did manage to get a tempo run in the mix. Sunday was the club's Double Trouble race. This year I volunteered to help the entire time and not run. So I got a track workout in before the race: my 20 x 400/100 for 6.2 miles workout. It went very well, as did the volunteering for the race.

Of course Monday's run paid the price for two good runs in a row: it was 11 VERRRY SLOOOW miles. But I bounced back yesterday for 8 x 800 with the usual Tuesday track group. That was yet another good workout for me. I may run long with some MCRR folks tomorrow, or I may do it on my own on Friday. Time marches on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Hear That Train A-Coming....

Yes, I heard it coming. But my brain was in denial. After all, funny stuff such as getting caught by trains and drawbridges only happens to other people, right? As I approached from the road and saw the train barreling down the tracks in front of me, I decided that denial would no longer work for me. Instead, it was indeed time to assess my options. And of course there weren't any, other than to stop and wait.

The race was the Wellington Cheese Festival 10K. After some really awful race times, I'd decided that I needed to get a fast 10K in, and that this was the race to do it. It would be small (actually, tiny), and flat and fast. After the 10K runners split off from the 5K'ers, things got spread out very quickly.

When I got to the train, there was one guy already standing and (anxiously) waiting. He said he thought he was third (but one of the folks ahead of him was Chelsea Oswald, who happens to be a woman). After I got there, Al King arrived, and I think one more came in after him. We had a nice conversation for a couple minutes. How many minutes, you ask? I didn't know at the time because I stopped my watch. We were past mile four and I think I was at about 27 minutes at that point.

Time passed. The caboose eventually came by, and the race resumed. The fast guy, Al and I quickly got into the same order that we'd arrived in. Some other stuff happened in those last two miles, but we still managed to finish in that order.

So my finishing time (43 something) isn't so bad if you consider the train time. I figure it at 41:24, which would indeed be a decently fast 10K.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saved by the Track

Last week's track session wasn't so hot. I take that back. It was hot. 93 degrees or so. It was my running that wasn't so hot. In fact it was awful. No one felt like pushing it in that heat, so we just did some straightaways. But I couldn't even do very well for those. Even though it was still hot and humid, I hit the track again on Thursday morning to do some mile intervals. Lo and behold I managed to get a few decent ones in (but I really struggled to get home in the heat). Then I hit the track again on Saturday and managed to do an unexpected 3-mile tempo run. Yesterday it was a little cooler than last week (80 vs 93) and the 6 x 800 session went very well for me. And today I was having a rough time getting the miles in after only 10 hours rest, so I went to the track just to gauge my pace. And guess what? I was able to get back to a decent pace by doing so.

What do these runs (except for the first one) have in common? The track, of course. It's a wonderful place!

Other happenings include a run at Hinckley on Sunday that went really well, and then there were some other junk miles here and there.

The Jessy and Veronica weekend parties were lots of fun. Now come the cleanup and dealing with the leftovers.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Doldrums

Doldrums are the area near the equator where, due to low pressure, the winds are calm and sometimes nonexistent. In modern lexicon, doldrums refer to, according to Wikepedia, "being in a state of listlessness, despondency, inactivity, stagnation, or a slump". That pretty much sums things up for me for this summer. It's happened in the past as well, so I'm not overly concerned.

But lookyahere: I've done several shorter races where I couldn't even manage a seven minute pace. Notable inclusions would be my last two races, the Medina Twin Sizzler 10K at the North Canton YMCA 5-mile. There were plenty of others as well. Now I've had a couple half-way decent races lately as well, but only a couple: the Wadsworth 4-mile and the Medina Twin Sizzler 5K. And it's not only my races. My last two training runs, Tuesday Track and a Fifteen today were stinkers as well. Nine-minute per mile pace is the new Eight.

There's nothing mysterious about the causes: extreme heat and humidity for most of the summer (although it was cooler for the two decent races I noted), as well as my own gluttony and sloth (two out of seven deadlies aren't bad). The gluttony includes eating multiple hot dogs and potato chips - things I never, ever eat normally - over the last several days from our 4th of July cookout. This weekend, with Jessy's Graduation and Veronica's baby shower promise to include more bad stuff. And the sloth? Well, maybe not really, because I really am trying. I just like the concept.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Good, Bad and Ugly

That's the result when you run two races within 13 hours one weekend, and then 3.5 races within 25 hours a week later.

I've been trying to ramp up the intensity by doing even more speedwork (now twice per week - once with the gang and once by myself) and also by concentrating even more on these ubiquitous shorter races. The ubiquitous shorter races I'm referring to?

Start with the Wadsworth 4-miler. The Friday evening temperatures were very decent - probably under 80. They had a good crowd, including some very serious talent. I think I ran well, but it's a little hard to tell. In the midst of some good-sounding 6:30 or so miles came a faster sub-6 mile for mile two. I finished with something like 25:12. It turned out to be too good to be true - mile two was short - by as much as .25 mile. Even so, it was a good run for me, and I won the geezer age group.

The next morning Ladd and I drove to the Green YMCA 10K race. Once again it was fairly cool for this time of year. I ran a steady pace and finished in about 42:55. This was a minute or so better than my other 10K's of the year so far, and I was pretty darn happy with it!

The weather got even cooler and nicer for a few days, I it sure was a relief! The Tuesday's speedwork was downright pleasant! Difficult as always, but I felt good as I was heaving!

This past weekend included the July 4 holiday. I usually do the North Canton YMCA 5-miler because it's part of the Subway/Ohio Challenge series. Because of this, I generally miss out on the Medina Twin Sizzler 5K/10K. This year, since the 4th was on a Sunday, they held the North Canton Run on Monday even though the Medina races were still on Sunday. Of course this meant that I was able to do all of the above. How did this come out to 3.5 races? Read on..

The only other time I did the Twin Sizzler, I ran slow in the initial 5k, hoping to do a fast time in the 10k. I wound up with very slow times in each of them. My strategy for 2010? Go for it in the 5k, and just try to hold on during the 10k. When the 5k began, it was still early, and the heat hadn't really set in yet. I did go for it, and I finished with a 20:01 - about as fast as I've done in the last couple years - I did a 20:01 last fall as well. I had some time so I ran a couple miles with my friends in between the two races. By the time the 10k got going it was sizzling hot - well into the 80s. A seven minute per mile pace would've been nice, but I couldn't even manage that. I did 44:30 - not the greatest - but at least it was a fairly steady pace on a tough course in tough conditions. I won the geezer age division in both races. It was great to see all my MCRR friends out there!

The next morning I found myself driving to a race with Ladd once again. We picked Matt up and drove out to North Canton. I'd been telling the guys that I always do the 2-mile as a warmup for the 5, and Ladd and I did this once again. I joked that the second mile of the 2-mile is always my best mile of the day, beating any of my miles for the 5-mile actual race. We started the 2-mile several minutes late because of a long restroom line. After a few minutes we began to catch the slower runners. After about 9 1/2 minutes we hit the 1-mile mark. A few minutes later we started to think about the start of the 5-mile. I don't know why, but I had it in my head that we had gobs of time. Turned out that we had five minutes. Given that the distance to the finish was about 3/4 mile, we were in for some speedwork.

"On your mark, get set, boom." Ladd and I had just sprinted 3/4 mile, and were about to get into the line when we heard those words. Totally spent from my speedwork, I tried to get going at a steady pace. I suppose I did so. Too bad that steady pace was, once again, so darn slow. Once again I couldn't even manage seven minute miles after that 1/2 race. The heat and humidity were unbelievable. I finished in just under 36 minutes.

So there are a few isolated flashes of brilliance among some very slow racing. A little more consistency would be nice, but for now I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Felt Like I Was Gonna Puke

You know the feeling. You haven't done serious speedwork for a while. You've raced some, but mostly at longer distances. Then you try to introduce some speed into the equation. Add in the fact that this is during a period of time where the heat and humidity is really starting to settle in.

The Tuesday speed sessions at the track have seemed grueling, especially in the heat. Then there was that hot 10K I did with Ladd a week and a half ago. I really did feel like puking at that one.

This week started even a bigger push. After some fairly slow running during our trip to the Finger Lakes, I did mile intervals on my own Monday, followed by a tempo run Tuesday morning, followed by another tempo run Tuesday night as part of the weekly speedwork. I took today off, and tomorrow should be fairly easy running Chuck and Lillian's farewell run and party. Then comes more races: Wadsworth Friday night and Green Saturday morning.

I've also registered for the Twin Sizzler 5K AND 10K on the fourth, followed by North Canton on the fifth.

So many opportunities to run poorly! Or at least until I feel like...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Another Dam 50K Run


It's something like mile 6 of the first loop, and I'm dying. Ladd had set out at a very fast, it seemed to me, pace, and I simply couldn't keep up. I'd been soaked with sweat from the high humidity since mile two, and now we were running through another section of wall-to-wall, thick, deep mud. Between huffs and puffs, I try to tell Ladd to go ahead and leave me. He stubbornly eases up a bit so that I can (barely) continue to keep up, replying that he won't leave me.

Soon we finish the first of four 7.9 mile loops in 68 minutes, and have a breather at the start/finish aid station. Once again I implore Ladd: "Go on without me. I'm just having a bad day today, and simply can't keep this pace up. Don't know if I can finish at all." He continues to insist that we can run together, even if it's slow.

After hanging around a minute or two longer than we should have, we start the second loop. I start very slowly, but within a mile or so, I'm feeling and running much better. Maybe it had something to do with the energy gel, caffeine, electrolytes or gatorade. By the time we reach the middle part of the second loop, I'm running as fast as ever, and feeling just fine. Now Ladd is having to keep up. Even with the slow start, we finish the second loop in 69 minutes.

I'm feeling more and more confident and strong after another couple minutes at the aid station. I start loop three at a fast pace. My theory is that I should go as fast as possible on the parts of the course that are runnable. There are plenty that aren't. Although the mud doesn't seem to get any worse (I'd thought that it would), it certainly isn't getting any better either. The humidity is high, but since there is no sun, it never feels too very hot. Although there have been a couple raindrops, the rain seems to be holding off. The best part is that I'm feeling and running so well. I wish I could understand why and how I could feel so lousy one minute, and so together the next. It's fun to see the other runners, especially Marsha and Charles at a couple points. Ladd is still having a slight amount of difficulty keeping up, but he's still in there with me. It seems best if I stay in the lead however.

The time for loop three is 70 minutes. Once again we spend another couple minutes getting ourselves together before starting loop four. Now we're both starting to feel the accumulated miles in our legs. We slow it down just a bit. All we need to do is get through this one. We pass by the main aid station the first time and see Marsha! Ladd gives her a big smooch and we continue on our journey. Now the hills and mud are getting tougher for me. Ladd takes the lead for the first time in a while. I try mightily to keep up. With about three miles to go, Ladd begins to pull away. I reach the aid station again, and Ladd had already left. That's ok; there are only two miles to go now.

I run slower and slower. I'd come close to falling in the mud about three times, and I'm not going to let it happen now. A time of 4:50, my time at Green Jewel this year, and the time that I think is my best, has been out of the question for a while now. At this point I can beat 5 hours if I just continue running. I do. My finishing time is 4:56.

That last loop was by far the slowest: 1:19. Ladd had finished a minute ahead of me. We ask if I'm the first Grand Master and are told that I am. It turned out later that I wasn't. This isn't too big a deal; there are no prizes or anything. Marsha finishes in a very good time, and was smiling the whole way. Charles had a very rough patch on his third loop, but did well to finish.

Ultrarunners like to play a little joke on their uninitiated "normal" running friends. "Ultras are much easier than marathons," they say. "You run at a much slower pace, and the runs are usually on soft trails that are easy on your body." The they go off and laugh their heads off every time someone naively believes them.

The ride back from Dayton is an uncomfortable one. The four of us talk about the run the whole time. It had been Marsha and Charles' first ultra, and they are justifiably proud. Ladd had also run his best time. And I'm pretty happy myself. I'm mostly happy that it's over!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

For My Next Trick...

It's Another Dam 50K. I entered at the last moment after a severe bout of peer pressure from Ladd. Marsha and Charles are also going. The reasons for my procrastination are many, but two of the bigger ones are: a) I've had a heckofa time recovering after the Emerald Necklace 100K, and b) It's kind've dumb to run a 50K when I'm trying so hard to get faster for these shorter races. But I've never been accused of being the sharpest tack in the box.

The recovery has indeed been slow. I don't know why this surprised me - it was, after all, a very long way. And that run came only a week after the Cleveland Marathon. After a perfectly awful week, I celebrated Memorial Day weekend with an extremely slow 10K in Wooster on Saturday, followed by 22 Hilly Hinckley miles on Sunday, and 15 Towpath Miles on Monday. Through it all, I was finally beginning to feel like a runner again. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were at least as good. I finally had a decent speedwork session with 6 x 800 on Tuesday, and did my 12-mile run to and around North park today.

Now I've got to settle myself down for this here 50K. I'm duly scared.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why I Do This

The other night the Medina County Road Runners honored me with an award for completing my 100th race of marathon length or longer. It was a very nice event, and very special to me; much more than I thought it would be.

After Lisa gave me the award, I mentioned that for me, setting a tough goal for myself and actually achieving that in something so tough as a marathon happened very infrequently, but that that small percentage of cases made it all worthwhile. I realized last night that there is something else that's least as important: having friends and 'running family' like everyone in the MCRR, along with Dave and Debbie who also showed up. In fact, they make it all worthwhile more than anything!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bugs, Sweat and Fears: the Journey of Gnatty Dan (at the Emerald Necklace 100K)


I was the Emerald Necklace 100K organizer and race director, so I'd sure as heck better finish the darn thing. But it was pretty tough out there. The on and off rain wasn't bad, but the humidity and the clouds of bugs were. It turns out that the combination of sweat, rain and bugs is not so nice for the eyes. By the time I finished, I was covered with unhappy gnats.

The first half wasn't too bad. I was joined for much of it by Dave, and even Amy, whom I hadn't seen in months. The second half, heading up to Rocky River, was much tougher. The miles and the humidity were taking their toll.

It was good to see Debbie and Kathy at the Rocky River turnaround. I got my pbj sandwich, turned back, and then it *really* got tough. The clouds of gnats didn't help. I was slowing down further and further, wondering if I'd have to walk, when something wonderful happened: Ladd showed up.

He parked his scooter and ran the final 9.5 slow miles with me. They were really, really slow, but they would've been much slower still, had I not had the company.

I finished in 10:47. This is in between my two other 100K times of 10:25 and 10:59. I'm now pretty sore and beat up. My next run is going to be a painful one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Number 100


There was some amount of fear and trepidation (can there be one without the other?) as I lined up for the Cleveland Marathon. Twenty-six miles is a long way no matter how you slice it. I enjoyed seeing the sights of my home town. I enjoyed the crowds cheering me on, and the perfect marathon weather. I responded by running better than expected for much of the race. At eighteen miles I felt so good that I picked up the pace even more. At twenty-two miles, I was almost completely shot. I hobbled in with a time of 3:04 and they placed me in the medical tent. My wife, Debbie found me there. I said, not for the last time, “Never again”.








The date was May 14, 1978. It was the first Revco Cleveland Marathon, and it was also my very first marathon. Here I am coming in, just before they took me into the medical tent.












On May 16, 2010, I lined up for the Cleveland Marathon. It’s now sponsored by a different pharmacy, and the course has changed completely. I wasn’t quite as fearful as that other time, but I still had a few butterflies. Twenty-six miles is still a long way. I enjoyed the sights of my home town and the magnificent marathon weather. I saw, and ran with, some friends, including Ladd, whom I ran with for most of the way. We sauntered past the RR HOF, GL Science Center, Browns Stadium, across the Hope Bridge, through the Tremont, Ohio City, and Edgewater neighborhoods before going by Edgewater Park. We returned on the Shoreway, coming back into the Warehouse district. This was just the first half. We then ran east along the lake and into the wind for much of the second half. It was a relief to turn out of the wind and into beautiful Rockefeller Park. I thoroughly enjoyed the different ethnic gardens. We emerged from the park and onto St. Clair Avenue at mile 21. At this point Ladd was hurting a bit and needed to ease up on the pace. He told me to go ahead and I did. I only hoped that he’d make it, perhaps with the help of some pacing friends. Although it felt like I was picking up the pace, in fact I was only maintaining it. But this was fine. Overall, I ran better than expected with a good solid pace, even in the last few tough miles.




I finished with a time of 3:13 and change. It was my best marathon time in a few years. At this point it appears that this may be good enough for second in my age group. I saw many more of my friends after the race, including training partners Debbie Scheel and Dave Gajewski. Ladd accomplished his goal. Of course we all congratulated one another. I must say that these races are more fun now than ever. I also must say that I absolutely love the Cleveland Marathon. For some reason, many local runners don’t share my views. It would be nice if they did, but I can’t seem to change their minds. That’s Ok.


























In between that first one and this last one, there have been exactly ninety-eight other races of marathon length or longer. It’s strange that I have several friends who have probably run this many or more, but who have not bothered to keep track of them. That’s fine, but I’m happy that I have managed to keep track of all of mine. This observation makes any celebration and congratulatory remarks do seem a bit surreal however. I’ll take all the praise and congratulations anyway, thank you.

Here is the list. To be exact, there have been 87 marathons and 13 ultramarathons.
Marathons:

Number Marathons I've Run Date Age Time
1 Revco Cleveland 5/14/1978 25 3:04
2 Athens 4/5/1981 27 3:21
3 Athens 4/10/1983 29 3:23
4 Detroit Free Press 10/16/1987 34 3:16
5 Sy Mah 3/27/1988 34 3:12
6 Chicago 10/30/1988 35 3:33
7 Sy Mah 3/19/1989 35 3:10
8 Revco Cleveland 5/21/1989 36 2:59
9 Scotty Hanton 9/2/1989 36 3:25
10 Detroit Free Press 10/15/1989 36 3:01
11 Boston 4/16/1990 36 3:19
12 Revco Cleveland 5/19/1991 38 3:16
13 Scotty Hanton 8/31/1991 38 3:29
14 Detroit Free Press 10/20/1991 38 3:05
15 New York 11/3/1991 38 3:27
16 Glass City 4/12/1992 38 3:29
17 Revco Cleveland 5/17/1992 39 3:23
18 Scotty Hanton 9/5/1992 39 2:59
19 Detroit Free Press 10/18/1992 39 3:03
20 Boston 4/19/1993 39 3:50
21 Ohio/Michigan 7/11/1993 40 3:24
22 Scotty Hanton 9/4/1993 40 3:01
23 Detroit Free Press 10/17/1993 40 3:01
24 Ohio/Michigan 7/10/1994 41 2:58
25 Scotty Hanton 9/4/1994 41 3:23
26 Boston 4/17/1995 41 3:04
27 Scotty Hanton 9/3/1995 42 2:59
28 Detroit Free Press 10/15/1995 42 2:59
29 Boston 4/15/1996 42 3:16
30 Ohio/Michigan 7/14/1996 43 2:58
31 Scotty Hanton 9/2/1996 43 3:21
32 Toe to Tow 10/13/1996 43 2:59
33 Detroit Free Press 10/20/1996 43 3:17
34 Boston 4/21/1997 43 3:05
35 Ohio/Michigan 7/13/1997 44 3:05
36 Scotty Hanton 8/31/1997 44 3:24
37 Air Force 9/20/1997 44 3:29
38 Detroit Free Press 10/19/1997 44 3:08
39 Scotty Hanton 9/7/1998 45 3:04
40 Chicago 10/11/1998 45 3:05
41 Detroit Free Press 10/18/1998 45 3:22
42 Honolulu 12/13/1998 45 3:14
43 Boston 4/19/1999 45 3:16
44 Bayshore 5/29/1999 46 3:06
45 Scotty Hanton 9/5/1999 46 3:11
46 Detroit Free Press 10/17/1999 46 3:24
47 Austin Motorola 2/20/2000 46 3:12
48 Glass City 4/16/2000 46 3:13
49 CVS Cleveland 4/29/2000 46 3:07
50 Eriesistable 9/10/2000 47 3:38
51 Towpath 10/15/2000 47 3:06
52 Martian Marathon 3/31/2001 47 3:23
53 CVS Cleveland 4/29/2001 47 3:09
54 GCM Cleveland 5/6/2001 48 3:23
55 Towpath 10/13/2001 48 3:19
56 Ocala 2/3/2002 48 3:19
57 CVS Cleveland 4/29/2002 48 3:14
58 Detroit Free Press 10/6/2002 49 3:04
59 Columbus 10/20/2002 49 3:09
60 Boston 4/21/2003 49 3:17
61 Green Bay 5/18/2003 50 3:12
62 Columbus 10/19/2003 50 3:12
63 Ocala 2/1/2004 50 3:20
64 Martian Marathon 3/27/2004 50 3:15
65 Rite Aid Cleveland 4/25/2004 50 3:10
66 Towpath 10/10/2004 51 3:15
67 Detroit Free Press 10/24/2004 51 3:18
68 Boston 4/19/2005 51 3:32
69 Rite Aid Cleveland 5/22/2005 52 3:18
70 Tahoe Triple Day 1 10/6/2005 52 3:42
71 Tahoe Triple Day 2 10/7/2005 52 3:49
72 Tahoe Triple Day 3 10/8/2005 52 3:58
73 Huntington Marathon 11/13/2005 52 3:12
74 Boston 4/17/2006 52 3:09
75 Columbus 10/15/2006 53 3:18
76 Rite Aid Cleveland 5/21/2007 54 3:22
77 Chicago 10/7/2007 54 3:35
78 Inland Trail 11/4/2007 54 3:14
79 Prague International 5/11/2008 55 3:28
80 Erie 9/14/2008 55 3:28
81 Towpath 10/12/2008 55 3:21
82 Inland Trail 11/2/2008 55 3:17
83 Rite Aid Cleveland 5/17/2009 56 3:35
84 Towpath 10/11/2009 56 3:25
85 Inland Trail 11/1/2009 56 3:20
86 Boston 4/19/2010 56 3:17
87 Rite Aid Cleveland 5/16/2010 57 3:13




Ultramarathons:
Number Ultras I've Run Date Time
1 Olander Park 24 hour (51) 1992 39 51 miles
2 MI Fat Ass 50 (50K) 1995 42 5 hours
3 Roadkill 6 hour (28) 1996 43 28 miles
4 Roadkill 6 hour (32) 1997 44 32 miles
5 Mohican 100 2001 48 26.5 hours
6 Chicago Lakeshore 50 2002 49 8.5 hours
7 Buckeye Trail 50K 2004 50 6.5 hours
8 JFK 50 2007 54 8.5 hours
9 Green Jewel 100K 5/3/2008 55 10.5 hours
10 Green Lakes Endurance 100K 8/30/2009 56 11 hours
11 Run with Scissors 27.5 Mi 10/25/2009 56 5:35
12 Freedom Park 24-Hour 12/31/2009 56 93.66miles
13 Green Jewel 50K 3/6/2010 56 4:50

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Concrete and Strip-malls and Four-lanes, Oh My

Run 1
I step out of the Fairfield for my not-so-early morning run. I go past the Home Depot, past the Best Buy, past the Cracker Barrel. I run alongside the Walmart, the Toys R Us, the Sams Club, the Fazoli’s. By the Red Lobster, the Applebees, the Menards, the Office Max, the Golden Corral. I turn onto the main road before hitting the Kohl’s and the Hobby Lobby. Next thing I know, I’m out on the busy four-lane highway. You’d think that with all this concrete, they could’ve found some for making a few sidewalks.

This could be Anywhere, USA. In fact, it’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, just across the Missouri from Omaha, Nebraska. I’m taking it fairly easy this week, trying to take my own tapering advice. The older and probably wiser tapering advice, that is. The tapering advice that says you should actually do a taper. The Cleveland Marathon, you see, is looming.

Interlude: More on (or moron) Tapering
As part of my tapering regimen, I only ran 81 miles last week. This is true, but it’s also a tiny bit misleading – most of those miles were accumulated during the previous Sunday’s 28 and Tuesday’s 24. The rest of the week was easier. Except, that is, for the Friday night 5k in Medina, where I saw all my friends and ran 20:40, which was about as expected. And also except for Saturday’s 14-mile run on the towpath with Debbie, Dave, Brad, Dan and a couple others. 14 miles wouldn’t have been so bad, unless you race them like Dave and I did.

After all that, and after a nice Saturday night dinner with Rita and George, I was determined to take it easier on Sunday. And I did, a little. I ran the big Hinckley loop once with Debbie, and then only most of the way with the rest of the bunch, winding up with 17. That’s a little better than 28. I also wanted to get finished in time to pick Mom up, take her to Mother’s Day Brunch at Thyme with Debbie, Carol and Dave, and then get to the airport for my flight.

Run 1 Continued
So today would be an easy run. It’s just too bad that the environment doesn’t favor running. After a mile or so, the four-lane changes to two-lane, and then dead-ends at a lake. I’d seen this on a map, so I wasn’t totally clueless about where I was headed. I start going clockwise around the lake and manage another mile or so before realizing that I’d better head back. I do some pick-ups along the way.

I’m calling this run a seven miler. As the week goes on, I’ll get some other runs in, where for some I’ll actually make it all the way around the lake.

Run 2
This time I’m gonna make it around the lake or die tryin. Gmap Pedometer told me it’s only about 4.7 miles around, so with the mile to and from the lake I should get a bit short of 8 miles in. I really want to get well over 10 miles in, so maybe I’ll take a detour or two – maybe even over to the Missouri River.

Heading out of the hotel an hour earlier, I ought to have plenty of time for this longish-run-to-be. Foul weather is predicted for today, but it’s dry so far. About three minutes into the run I feel the first raindrops. At least it’s not raining too hard. I hate a cold drenching rain. Six minutes or so into the run it’s pouring. At least there’s no lightning. I hate running in thunderstorms. Nine minutes into the run I’m ducking for cover. I’d seen a few distant flashes of lightning, but now it seemed to be all around me. I hesitate to say that at least it’s not hailing or tornadoing.

Turning back isn’t an option. I need to get this run in, dang it. Maybe it’ll subside. I keep running around the lake. The rain and lightning isn’t subsiding. I feel like I’m sprinting through this storm, but now that I know the distances, I calculate that I’m only doing eight and a half minute miles.

I manage to get around the lake and back to the hotel. I’m freezing from the cold downpour and still ducking from the lightning. I’m not gonna get ten in (it’s barely eight), but that will have to do. At least I made it around the lake.

Run 3
This time I have enough time to run a decent amount of mileage. And this time there doesn’t appear to be any kind of storm looming. So I head south toward Lake Manawa once again. I huff and puff and go as fast as I can to the south end of the lake, which I know is 4 miles. 32 minutes and change; felt like faster. Instead of continuing the lake circuit, I turn south and run a short distance to the Missouri River. I’d had thoughts of running along it for a short, or possibly long while. There are some trails, but they appear to be muddy from last yesterday’s deluge.

I head back toward the road, but before I reach it I take a paved bike trail that goes on through the woods to the west. That trail goes on and on and on. I believe I had been on it for well over 4 miles before I hit a road crossing.

I take the road back east, taking one more detour towards the lake. By the time I get back to the hotel, I’ve got enough time in to call it 12 miles. Not bad.

If/when I return, I certainly have many more trails, both asphalt and dirt, to explore in these parts. Western Iowa ain’t all concrete, and therefore is not so bad after all.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Little Too Long? The Tale of Two Twenties

I mean 20-plus-ers. In fact, these 27 milers are killing me. Actually, last week's wasn't so bad, but this week's was a bit tough. The difference? Last week's long run was after a day of rest; this week's was the day after the Hudson Race for the Parks 15K.

Last week's run began with 3 loops around Hinckley Lake. Then I did two of the big 9+ mile loops with everyone else. It went swimmingly well. On Tuesday I hit the track and did Yasso's - 10 x 800 in about 3:15 or so. Now *that* was a tough workout. Of course there were a few other runs during the week, but I thought I was fairly well rested going into the 15K.

On the other hand, I suppose maybe the long run and the speedwork were still in my old legs. Whatever the excuse, the 15K did not go well. The first 3 were mostly uphill, but I held a decent enough pace, all things considering. The next 3 miles were on mostly uphill trails through a nice park. I didn't mind slowing down some, but was surprised by how much. The last three miles were back on the roads, and they were mostly uphill (see the trend here?). I thought I'd pick the pace back up, but despite my most fervent efforts, could only manage 7 minute miles. I finished in 65 minutes and change. Pretty darn bad indeed.

The funny thing is that I didn't feel all that horrible for Sunday's run. I did all three big Hinckley loops this time, and at least they were fairly consistent. Not particularly fast, just consistent.

That will be my last really long run before Cleveland. Or will it?

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...