Saturday, March 27, 2010

Running in Connecticut

Barry and Veronica's last place in Norwalk eventually turned out to be not too bad a running location. I never found any real parks, but the hilly neighborhoods were decent. Barry and Veronica recently moved to Trumbull, and we visited for the first time. (Their new big house is quite nice, by the way - I have dubbed it, "Potential".) Now it was time to plot some new running courses.

On Friday I decided to try to get to the high school track. I'd located it in Google maps, but wasn't entirely sure I could remember the route correctly. It was up to Church Hill Rd, then down to Daniel's Farm Rd, then up, up, up to the school area. Once near the schools I became a little disoriented in the cold rain, and, as it turned out, ran right by the stadium and kept going. I found a decent bike trail and wound up doing a couple more miles before I circled back and found the track. It was *open* - what a pleasant surprise. By this time I only had time and energy left for 3 x 1600, but at least I did something of substance. And the best news is that now I know where to find an open (for now) track.

Saturday would be trail day. After some further Googling, I found a trail very close to home. It's called the Housatonic Rails-Trail / Pequannock Valley Greenway. It's a wonderful trail - hard packed crushed limestone with a very pretty creek along the side. And the start was only a very short mile away. The trail head is just off Church Hill Rd. The trail goes on for 3.4 miles to another park. I went on even a bit more from there before heading back. It felt good to pick the pace up for those latter 5.

Considering these runs and a few additional parks and trails that also seem to be nearby, I have to say that this part of Connecticut is outstanding for running. For this reason, and maybe a couple others (like visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandson-to-be), we'll need to visit more often.

Just one other thing. That makes ninety (that's a nine, followed by a zero) miles for the week. I've done that much before a couple times, but I think those were all weeks that included an ultra of some sort; this week it was simply a lot of training miles. I'll try to ratchet it back down to only 70 to 80 next week. What I really need is quality, but that's another story.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Tuesday is track day. With it being in the evening, for some reason I become intimidated about it - thinking about it all day. Yesterday I was ready... but wound up having to work during the designated track time. And after all that anticipation... What to do? Run longer today (Wednesday), of course.

Longer meant doing 24 on the Lester Rail Trail. That's Atonement with a capital A. I've done the 4 x 6-mile loop many times, but not recently at all. It went slow, but steady. I like to be able to run each 6-mile segment faster than the previous one. I did manage that today, but it was really quite slow.

All those miles on my old legs hasn't helped my speed much just yet. It was another busy weekend. Since we didn't go to Connecticut due to Kathy's surgery (it went fine, by the way), I had no excuse not to run. Along with various friends, I did 16 at hilly Hinckley on Saturday, and then 22 at the same location on Buzzard Sunday. That's a lot of hills and a lot of miles. But it's actually even less than the previous couple weekends.

Maybe these 70 and 80 mile weeks, not to mention all these Hinckley hills, will pay off someday. One can only hope.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Dangerous Affair

Of course this is about my efforts towards increasing intensity and volume whilst reducing weight, all at the same time. Any other kind of dangerous affair would be more than dangerous for me. The word, deadly, comes to mind.

After that trip and upper respiratory illness, it's been a long, tough road back, so to speak. Yes, Green Jewel went OK, but I'm sure I could have done better had I been in any kind of shape at all. So of course I'm trying to do everything at once, and therefore none of it very well. OK, I suppose I do have my mileage back up. The 70-mile or thereabouts weeks are back. The last few have been 60, 80 (including the Jewel) and 69. The battle of the bulge is so-so. I have lost a bit, but still have a long way to go before I'm back down to racing weight.

It's the speed that scares me. This is, of course, because it kills. That is to say that it's tough, but also that it is more associated with illness and injury than pure volume. On the other hand, I haven't been doing too much just yet - some 1200's on the treadmill, and one track workout so far. The track workouts, however, are only beginning. We plan to be out there every Tuesday evening, just like last year.

Since the weather's been so much nicer, I've been able to keep off the mill and on the roads. And that's a good thing. And speaking of volume, I got a lot of it over the weekend: 19 on Saturday on the Valley Parkway (which looked much different with no snow than it had the previous week) with an all-Boston training group - Dan, Debbie, Debbie, J.B., Jess, Pat. I finished fast in order to get to the store on time. On Sunday we did the usual Hinckley training group run. This time there were only about six of us, but it went well. I did the big 9+ mile loop, and 4 lake loops that I declared had to be 3.14 miles each in honor of pi day.

Today's attempt at 15 turned into 10 due to general fatigue. The only reason I felt compelled to try 15 was that it's the Ides of March, and you just *have* to do fifteen on the Ides. Hey, wait a minute: I really did do 15 kilometers... and a bit more...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Green Jewel 50k

It's been two years since my Green Jewel 100k run. I missed last year's event because I was out of town. No such excuse this year. The 100k option was removed after the first year. I can understand some of the reasons why, but I still would've preferred that distance. 50k is just too short. Or so I thought.

I started with Ladd and Chuck, and also ran some early miles with Tim McGinty and Joe Salwan. Nice company, all. Dan DeRosha was our crew, and Suzanne had also come along to run. That start was a cold one - it was in the low 20s. As the sun rose, the temperature did too, eventually reaching 40 or so by the time I finished.

As always, the run takes place primarily on the all-purpose trail through the Cleveland Metroparks. Those parks have to be the best anywhere. Their beauty on this cold day, with snow piled everywhere except the path and the roads, was unsurpassed. In fact, there were a few places where there was snow and ice on the trail, but that didn't slow us down much.

After about 12 to 15 miles, I got ahead of the other guys, and would wind up running the rest alone. The wonderful aid stations were about 5 miles apart, but even so, it was great to have Dan as our crew. I was able to take my weird Vitargo mixture, and it certainly didn't hurt.

I ran a fairly steady 9-minute or so pace. I tried to not waste too much time at the aid stations, but there was indeed some time lost there. I believe I passed the marathon distance at something on the order of four hours. Just a little while later I crossed Broadview Road, and I knew it was all downhill from there. I did my best to pick it up and finish strong. As it turned out, I did pick it up a bit, with those last five miles faster than 9 minute pace. In the process, I passed some other runners, and no one passed me. Except for Chuck. He had picked it up even more, and passed me with about 3 to go.

I finished in 4 hours, 50 minutes. That isn't too bad, but two years ago I think I came through this point in about the same time, and went on to run another 50k!!! Such a thing simply wouldn't have been very possible Saturday. I was something like 19th, which means that 18 or so people were faster on this day. Oh well - I'm still happy with it.

For some odd reason, I was able to get up again on Sunday morning and do the Sunday Hinckley run thing. It was a slow one, but sometimes I amaze myself.

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

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