Monday, September 19, 2011

Slow Disease

NC24 is now history. It was another insane weekend (not to mention week, month, year), and another successful race. The thing took a lot out of me. But that's not what this will be about, and it's not an excuse. This is about a condition that I seem to be having lately: Slow Disease. Having had this plantar fasciitis (PF) injury all year, it shouldn't be a surprise that I lost some fitness. The only questions where, how much, and when would I take notice of it.

In spite of the fact that I acquired the PF in January, the first half of the year was actually pretty good. My speed did suffer, but I made some of that up with mileage. I made good showings at the Mad City 100K, the Cleveland Marathon, Another Dam 50K, and a couple others. And then came Mohican.

Although I was by no means fast before that debacle, I have definitely been a different (read: slower) runner afterwards. I've had a couple not-so-bad moments, like doing okay at the Moebius Green Monster 50K, and winning my age group (with a fairly slow time) at the Perfect Ten-Miler. But I would still say that I'm in a downward spiral. Those times/results would have been better a year, or even six months ago. And then I tried to run the Sam Elpern Memorial Half-Marathon a week ago.

I'd been in Connecticut all week again, and working my butt off again. Last time it was mostly painting; this time it was virtually all painting. I'd never thought that painting was that strenuous. But it wore me out, and my training runs that week sure showed it. On one occasion I hit the track, and the best I could do for mile intervals was the 7:30 range. That's pretty bad for me. So I shouldn't have expected much when I showed up at this Norwalk, CT club half-marathon.

It started and finished at a school. I started well enough, going well under 7 minutes for the first downhill mile. Now, if I could only keep this up, I thought. I couldn't. I couldn't even come close. Almost all my miles were in the 7:30 range again, with a couple slipping almost to 8 minutes. That's pretty ridiculous. The course was hilly, so of course that and the heat slowed me down a bit. But 7:30 miles? I finished in 1:38 for an average pace of... you guessed it: 7:30 per mile. The course was no more hilly than the Stomp the Grapes Half I did last year, ten minutes faster. Ridiculous. Oh. Said that already.

Since then, the downward spiral has continued. I've only run a few miles a day for the last week now. I did get one 15-miler in, and that almost killed me.

I'm not sure I know where the mojo went. I have to say that along with the ability has come the desire. I just don't have the will to train hard any more. For now, anyway. We'll see what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What If the Best Runners Came, and Nobody Cared?

The title applies to the IAAF World Championships that I wrote about in my last post, I Don't Get It. There, the best track and field runners in the world showed up, and no one seemed to care.

The title also applies to the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run. This one's my baby, and it's only a week away. And since it's the USATF National Championship, the best ultrarunners in the country show up to compete, and once again, no one seems to care.

Oh, some do. Virtually all of the participants, volunteers, families and organizing committee care very much. But where is the media coverage? Why doesn't the city come out and support the race? A National Championship event coming to Cleveland? Why isn't the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission at the forefront of promoting and garnering support for the run? Why isn't the Plain Dealer covering it?

You got me.

Hinckley is Back

Okay, okay. Hinckley never really left. But a lot of us did; we hadn't been meeting there for our Sunday morning runs for quite some tim...