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.

Ouch II: Danny Boy Falls for Nothing

Danny Boy is awake at 3:30 AM, which is a little earlier than planned. Good, he thinks; he may be able to get an extra mile or so in. Eleven...