Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm Mad as Hell, and I'm not Going to Take This Anymore!

The subject line comes from one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, that occurs in the movie, Network. If you haven't seen it, or even if you have, you should definitely take a look.

You may possibly be wondering why I'm mad as hell, and what I'm not going to take anymore. Okay, gotta come out with it. It's injuries. 

I am well aware that no one likes to read about injuries, and believe it or not, I don't like to write about them. Of course the worst of all is actually having an injury. So I will keep the actual injury details brief...

This time it's the old left knee. It hurt a little after a Thanksgiving Day training run on the Buckeye Woods course, and then much more during the BW50K itself (although I still managed to get through it). It wasn't too bad during the two weeks in Hawaii, but then got much worse during my first morning run upon my return.

I have been babying myself since then. Most runs have been on the mill, and speed and mileage are both way down. That's helped; the pain has mostly subsided. But it's not completely gone, and I'm scared to death that it may return.

Pain and suffering take the fun out of running. The only thing I fear more than pain is getting more out of shape than I am now.

That is why I have declared this the last injury. 2012 has indeed been the year of the injury for me, and good riddance to that. That's why I too am mad as hell, and that's what I am not going to take anymore!

The only question is how. I'll let you know when I figure that out.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Maui Meanderings

To the End.. almost
I am up at 2:30am. It's that whole jet lag / travel thing in spades. We'd only arrived and gotten to bed 3 1/2 hours beforehhand and that was after 23 hours of travel. But  I'm wide  awake - moreso after the Kona coffee - and out the door by 3:45.

I head south on the Wailea beachwalk. I never ran much here on previous trips, and now I remember why: it's very curvy and uneven. Kind of like trails as opposed to roads, but without the nice soft surface. But I'm committed, and I take this sidewalk to its end, past the Grand Wailea, the Four Seasons and the Fairmont, all the way to the end of the Wailea resort area.

Now I find that I can continue straight on a coastal road that was new to me. I am still going south, and this road takes me a couple more miles into Makena. I am enjoying the solitude of this quiet area- but of course everything is quiet at 4:30 am.

The road ends onto the main one, if you can call it that. I continue south past the last of the resorts of Makena. The  side of the road bike trail is now gone for good and the road itself becomes more and more narrow. And less straight. There are a few beach access areas, and a smattering of homes.

The turnaround is at the end of the road, just at the entrance to La Perouse Bay Park. My watch tells me that I've been running for one hour, ten minutes. This route used to be 6 miles. The earth really is getting smaller! I suppose that my route this day is a bit more circuitous than usual, so maybe I can call it 7 to this point. As I turn back it also occurs to me that anyone reaching this point with thoughts of circumnavigating eastern Maui would, about now, determine what a huge, 30-mile mistake they have made.

It's still dark as I head up all the small hills on the way back. It was on one of these where I had my famous collision with a bicyclist who was screaming down whilst I was running up in the darkness. That time (about 12 years ago), I wore a reflective vest that was no help since the biker had no light. This time I have a flashing light attached to the vest.

Just as I get over those thoughts, I hear some large animal thrashing about in the woods/scrub nearby. Kind’ve scary, but it seemed more afraid of me than the other way around. I couldn't figure out what in the world it could be... until the next day when Debbie and I saw some wild goats during our hike in the area. Who knew?

I make it back in 63 minutes; a bit better, but only a bit.

To the End, Really

This time I didn't turn around at the usual 6-mile point, but kept heading south on the road leading through the lava flow. I had done the usual 12 a couple times now, but this time it would be the whole enchilada. Picture that black asphalt road surrounded by desolate black lava almost as far as you can see - which isn't too far - in the early two morning pitch darkness. That road continues on another two miles before it really and truly ends at a trailhead parking lot. Debbie and I have hiked here, most recently a couple days ago.

If I was to go straight back, I'd only have 16, whereas my goal was 20 today. So I did some extra dipsy-doodle type loops in Makena on the way back. By the time I pulled up into the Marriott, I was moving pretty slow. But I got my 20.

Still More Meanderings

I finally saw the Southern Cross – at least I think so. Partially obscured by clouds, it was as low as you can go on the southern horizon. I still don't know why it's important for me to spot it, but it's somehow a good omen.

As I was watching the stars during those early morning runs, I also spotted six meteors one day, and three the next.

As it turned out, I ran every day on Maui, and the miles piled up. In those 14 days, I logged 164 very slow miles.

For more, take a gander at the Rita Cognion tried to kill me post.

And for more on the Maui trip in general, including some photos, click here.

Rita Cognion Tried to Kill Me

First it was Jarrett going up the hill... Rita and Sharyn wisely hung back, letting us guys battle it out. But then at the top, I unwisely waited for Rita as the other two peeled off to where their cars were parked. Jarrett and Sharyn would meet us for breakfast, but Rita and I had another mile to run.

at Beach Bums
And run we did. This final ninth mile of our point-to-point Sunday morning sojourn would get a wee bit competitive. Rita kept pulling ahead, but I generally managed to keep reeling her back in, most of the way. We came to our end point at Maalaea Harbor with a final downhill mile of 7:45. That's pretty darn fast for me these days, and it was far and away the fastest mile of the day.

The second time Rita tried to kill me was a few minutes later in the parking lot. The peer pressure got to me - I had to try to match her with three one-minute planks. I somehow met that challenge too. Barely.

I met up with Rita for a couple other runs as well. During one very early morning encounter, I had no sooner mentioned that I don't like to run on sidewalks in the dark, when she goes as far as to trip and fall on one, just to prove me right. So here was an instance of Rita trying to kill me by falling down herself. Incidentally, she bounced right back up, and was fine.

Even at that, Rita still wasn't through with me. After a Wednesday evening group run she tried to kill me by beer at Pizza Madness. Someone had to try to keep up with her.

And finally there was the Lahaina Pali hike. After shuttling the cars to have one at the start and the finish, she tried to kill both me and Debbie on that tough, extremely windy trail.

For more on Maui Meandering, click here.

And for more on the Maui trip in general, including some photos, click here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Buckeye Woods 50K, or, I Hear That Train A-Coming Part III

Here comes Verrelle!
Photo by John McCarroll
Last time it was a real train. This time the train was called Verrelle Wyatt. Everybody knew he was fast. But this was ridiculous. He was running those six 5-mile loops around Buckeye Woods County Park as if possessed by demons. It didn't surprise me when he lapped me once. But dang if he wasn't coming up fast (very fast) behind me again as I was completing my fourth lap. It was Verrelle's sixth and final one.

I was fairly tired at the time. I'd begun to slow down more than I'd have liked at this point - 21 miles into the run. I'd been starting to wonder if 10 additional miles were feasible for me this day. But all those thoughts went out the window when I rounded the lake in the final 1/4 mile, looked back, and saw, approaching insanely fast, one Verrelle Wyatt. I just had to sprint. Being lapped twice would simply not be acceptable.

So sprint I did. This was to the cheers of the throng of spectators, which consisted of Dan DeRosha and one or two other folks. I actually managed to not get passed as I nearly collapsed at the aid station.

Somewhere in the middle - I look like I'm still okay at this point.
Photo by John McCarroll
Verrelle finished his 50K in a phenomenal 3:07. I had now run that time for 21 miles and still had another 10 to go. Those last two laps would prove to be much tougher. But on two more occasions I went back around the lake, around the Windy Circle of Doom, the Woods part of Buckeye Woods and back. Each lap got slower and slower. But I never stopped to walk.

I came to the finish in 4:57. That was good (or bad, depending on your perspective) for eighth place out of only 13 finishers. Not to mention the 47 starters. It was about 7 minutes slower than last year, which in turn was about 4 minutes slower than the year before. 

Now my knee is fairly well wrenched, and the rest of me is shot as well. I think I'll give up running for the rest of the (pick one: day, week, month, year, decade).

Note: the official results and story are at the event website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hot Coco 5K - Not Your Father's Race Report

No, it's not your father's race report. But it is your father-in-law's race report.

My son-in-law, Barry, trained for his first 5K by following the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. He asked me to run the race with him as he was completing his training. This plan has helped many a beginner through their first 5K run. And Barry followed it as much as possible. Fairly well in fact, until some life impacting events managed to get in the way. Things like Hurricane Sandy, and the birth of a second son, Vincent. Stuff like that.

But we had registered for the Hot Coco 5K in Cheshire, CT pretty early on, And a commitment is a commitment, right? Well... Barry didn't feel as well prepared as he'd have liked, and had been having some leg pain. I would have let him off, but Veronica wouldn't. She told him he had to go.

So we went. Debbie had been staying on to help with the newborn and now 2-year-old Malcolm. I was there for the weekend - to visit, but also to pick her up and bring her home.

I felt that a fairly large race like this would actually be pretty good for a beginner. There were over 600 runners in the 5K, and more for the kids run. It started and ended at a school, so there we could keep warm before and after the run. And there was plenty of food and - get this - hot coco!

Barry wanted to run the first mile, and then play it by ear after that. Sure enough, we did run that first hilly mile at an easy pace - about 11:30 or so. But that included the 40 seconds it took us just to get to the start.
Barry wanted to walk right after that. No problem. Except that his calf was bothering him again, and he said it actually hurt more to walk than to run.

I wanted to say, "well, then run," but I bit my tongue. Eventually we did do some running during that second mile. It probably wound up about half and half, and we came to mile two 24 minutes into the run. I mentioned that the winners had been done for quite some time, and Barry got a little depressed. I didn't mean for that to be the result.

But we did start running again just after the two-mile mark, which was at the start of a bike trail. The funny thing was that we started running faster and faster as we approached the finish. It was kind of fun to pass so many people on that trail. We turned onto the road just before the mile-3 mark, and I realized that we ran that mile in under 10 minutes. That's cooking!

We crossed the line in 35 minutes flat (so our real times were about 34:20). Here's a short video of our spectacular finish! (I've got the yellow jacket, and Barry is just ahead of me in gray.) We've already started talking about our next one.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Dan Horvath: Trail Runner Extraordinaire

That's meant to be a joke. I consider myself a particularly bad trail runner. But perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on myself. Looking on the positive, glass half-full side, I can actually do okay on trails, except when there are any rocks, roots, mud, streams, ravines, swamps, wildlife or anything else to get in the way. And yes I'm also aware that, slow as I am, there are some people who are even slower.

With Scissors now behind me, and the Buckeye Woods 50k just ahead, I ventured onto some trails this morning. It's nice that I don't have to go very far to get to some. The trouble is that the ones close by don't go very far. Behind the subdivision is a city park that consists of an old farm with a large field of weeds and tall grass. This is where I do some of my trail running - getting out there once a month at best. Hey, you don't become extraordinary unless you put the time in! (I actually do some other trails on occasion as well, but those I have to drive to.)

The city mows paths through the field, which would be otherwise almost completely un-runnable. The loop they've mowed most of the time is about a half-mile. I call it that, because it takes me about 5 minutes to get around it. That's usually it for this Trail Runner Extraordinaire - 1/2 mile loops in the grass. And it's probably short.

Today, after not being back there for a month or so, I noticed some additional paths. The city had mowed some newer areas to make use of more of the field. Now I could do longer loops - 7 plus minutes for about a 3/4 mile loop (probably short), and 8 and a half minutes for about a one mile loop (probably short).

I like these one mile trail loops much better than half mile ones. Maybe I'll even get out there more than once this month.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I Hear That Train A-Coming...Part II

This is Part II because Part I was a while back during a 10K.

Oh, the things that bounce around in your head during a run. Well, my head, anyway. Usually I can't figure out how they got in there to begin with. But this was a little different. Those things sometimes include music of various sorts. Today, for no immediately apparent reason, I started singing Folsom Prison Blues to myself.

But there was a reason. It's just that that reason registered itself in my consciousness about a minute after the song began. Yes, there really was a train coming. Isn't it funny that my subconscious knew it first? There was no danger of being hit by a speeding locomotive; I was safely on the road away from any tracks. But I was scared nonetheless.

The incident occurred 7 and a half miles into my 16-miler this morning. It was the first time I'd run this course in something like a year. Not that I haven't been putting in the miles; I did two tough 9-mile loops at Hinckley on Sunday, and then of course there was My Run With Scissors last week. The reason I haven't been doing this run is because until today, is that I haven't been able to get out the door early enough. I love those rural Medina County country roads, but not when there's even a little traffic. There's never all that much, but it is certainly reduced at 4 to 5 am compared with 6:30 to 7:30 am. The cars that I do see go very fast, and there isn't always a lot of room to get off to the side of the road. Today traffic wouldn't be a problem; I started at about 4:10 am.

And, sauntering at about a 9-minute pace, I was enjoying my run. Until that train started a-coming and made me a little afraid. The course crosses the tracks three times after going underneath a train bridge for a fourth. I had gone under the tracks and was now on the other side for the first of two times. Now maybe my irrational fear is becoming apparent: I fear getting "trapped" on the outer side of the tracks.

I understand how irrational it is. If I got caught:
a)  I could simply stop and wait the train out. They are never that long.
b) In this case I could also run back the way I had come, and go back under the train bridge.

But I also wanted to complete this course. What to do? Run fast, of course. Try to get past the next set of tracks before the train comes so as to be back on "my" side. It worked. I beat the train. And I finished the run as planned. Thank God for small victories.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Phoenix

In my never-ending quest to find irony and meaning in the random coincidences of life and running, I herewith submit this little tale of my running here in Phoenix. And my running in general has seen a rebirth from the ashes of injury and failure.

Granted, I’d been starting to get better anyway. And granted, I did all right – better than expected, even - at the Run with Scissors Marathon the other day. What’s rising like a phoenix, however, is my overall fitness. I know this because I was actually able to run again the very next day after scissors. It was an easy five-miler from my downtown Phoenix hotel and over to a small park, and it wasn’t super fast, but I felt surprisingly well – sore, but well - much better than I’d have predicted.

For my second run in Phoenix, I ventured out a little further. It’s always a challenge to find the best places to run whilst on the road. I usually start by looking at google maps. From this location in Phoenix, things didn’t look all that promising; no long bike trails or large parks nearby. Last time I was nearby, it was in Scottsdale, and there were some very nice areas to run there. Here there only appeared to be major roads and traffic. Sidewalk running on downtown city streets is okay – it beats not running at all - but I can think of better things. I did a lot of back and forth, up and down, zigging and sagging, yin and yang, dipsy doodling, etc., all around North Central Avenue. In spite of myself, after nearly an hour of wandering, I actually did find something.

It was a bike trail along a canal. Or maybe it was a Phoenix style river. It wasn’t a bad place to run at all. Unfortunately, after only a couple of miles on that path, it was time to head back. This run was somewhat slower than Monday’s however. That may be because of the aimless wandering. It turns out that that bike trail meanders all across the city.

Now for the third and final run, I finally had a destination. I’d go east on Thomas, catch that same bike trail, follow it northwest, and then come back on Central as I did yesterday. I managed to do just that, for a run of about ten miles. Just like Tuesday’s run, this wasn’t quite as many as I’d wanted. But like Tuesday, I ran out of time. And gumption.

The perfect weather here in Phoenix – extremely clear, with low 60’s for these early morning runs, and upper 80’s for highs - is in stark contrast with the devastation caused by storm Sandy in the east. The difference is almost surreal.

So yes, I’ve risen from those ashes. I’ll need to rise further as I get back, but that’s another story.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Run with Scissors

Finishing in the pouring rain - Photo by John McCarroll
When the race started, the trails were cold and damp, and there was a slight breeze. The other runners and I....


There are just too many race reports that proceed sequentially from start to finish. Once in a while I get a wee bit creative - or, you could say, brain rattled - and try something different. One such example is my Cleveland Marathon Report, which was written in backwards order so as to have a happy ending. Other times I've started the report in the middle of the race and worked outwards.

For this report I'll just provide a bunch of totally random thoughts, just as they appear in my brain in order to rattle around. How and why they get there, and who puts them there, is a mystery.

- Run with Scissors is Roy Heger's and Shannon Fisher's baby. It's a double marathon, marathon and 10K, all on trails within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I count myself as one of the many who have an undying love affair with "our" National Park. Even in the cold rain, wind and gloom, the park's beauty is the star of the show. It's breathtaking.

- I saw Josh Stucky at the first aid station, which was about 6 miles, roughly one hour into the run. We had talked the previous day about how muddy the trails would be, and so he asked how they had been so far. "Not nearly as bad as I expected," I answered. After only few steps past the aid station however, I learned how much I had just lied. There was an unbelievable amount of mud and muck. And it was only beginning. I'd had no idea how muddy these - or any - trails could get.  From that point on, they were almost unfathomable.

- There is drizzle, there is light rain, there is heavy rain, and there is windy rain. We had them all. Oh, and did I mention that that rain was cold? Rain and 60 degrees isn't so bad. Rain and 42 degrees - colder than it was at the start, certainly is bad. Throw in darkness, mud and more mud, and you get the picture,

- All that slipping and sliding around take a huge toll on the body. Especially an old one like mine. By about mile 20, everything hurt. I caught up with Jim Fisher, and we walked and jogged together a bit. He was hurting too. We had run the whole thing together a couple years back, and here we were doing it again. That other time we'd planned on doing the double marathon, but dropped down to the single after being totally spent in the five hours and forty minutes that it took us. This time we were not even thinking of such a thing. One muddy marathon would be plenty today, thank you.

- The volunteers were great, as always. It's hard to describe how much work they go through, and the ones who do ultras do it for a whole lot longer. Cold rain and wind doesn't make it any easier for them. But there they were - doing everything possible to make the runners' race experience as good as it could be. And while I'm at it, let me also say that my hat's off to RD's Roy and Shannon as well. No one does it better. Okay, just one more thing. I've said this before, but here it is again: ultrarunners are the best people, period. It's so good to see them all out there, many of my best friends, running or volunteering. They're the best.

- How come I keep referring to this as an ultra, even though this here single marathon is only 26 or 27 miles? Because it is; that's why. If you have done RWS, you understand.

- I suppose I should wrap this up sometime, so here goes. I picked it up a bit after I'd run with Jim for a mile or two. I was still hurting - in every way you can imagine - when I finally got back to the Pine Hollow Aid Station. I was 5 hours into my run, and the portion from the start/finish to here had taken me an hour in the darkness. But the way back was shorter. I finished in 5:26 - 14 minutes better than last time. I suppose you could say it was a PR!... At least for this course.
With Jan Roe and Jill Kahle - Photo by John McCarroll

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Thousand Mile Journey

Yes, of course you know about that. It begins with the first step. But this really isn't about running. At least not yet.

We got the call a little before midnight. It was Barry. Veronica's water had broken, and she was in labor. This was two weeks early. Debbie had planned to be with them when the baby arrived. She had a flight booked one week before the due date so that she could get there in plenty of time. Baby had other ideas.

By 12:45 am, we were on the road. The plan had been for Debbie to stay with Veronica and Barry for a month or so as to help out. I was to pick her up the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. Now we needed to get her there as soon as possible so that Barry could be present for the birth. Otherwise, he'd have to stay back home with little Malcolm. As it was, he did drop Veronica off at the hospital. Debbie doesn't do well driving in the dark; that's why I was taking her.

Along the way, I stopped to get some dreaded gas station coffee. I don't usually fool with the stuff, but this was a necessity. I got a gallon (or so it seemed), figuring that I'd make up with quantity what the stuff was lacking in quality. This didn't work. It was the most foul tasting stuff ever, and on top of that, it didn't even work for me. I was still sleeping along side Debbie who was doing likewise for the entire trip. Remember the National Lampoon's Vacation scene?

We did make it in one piece, but alas. We were an hour or two late. Vincent Charles Dancer had already come into the world. I got a short nap, went to visit Mom and Baby, along with Debbie, Barry and Malcolm, at the hospital. All were extremely fine. And so, having done my job, I began the long journey back home. Yes, it would be another 500 miler. All the same day.

For some reason, that part went okay, and I was able to be home and in bed by about nine pm. Now that was a long day.

Now the running part. Of course I'm a bachelor once again. Nothing to do but run, right? Well there is work, including preparing for a presentation and class at the ISMA7 conference in Phoenix. But being a bachelor, even though I don't recommend it, is somewhat good for running. Not that I recommend such a thing. In fact, I really can't wait until Debbie gets back.

But I am running more. And slightly better. This trend had started a couple weeks ago anyway. Now things are picking up even more. Too bad Shannon Fisher may ruin everything. She cornered me and made me sign up for the Run with Scissors trail marathon for tomorrow. If that doesn't ruin me, nothing will.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Glutes Aren't Firing

And this is causing my hamstrings to do all the work. And this is causing - or, better to say - has caused my piriformis syndrome, otherwise known as "runner's butt". I found all this out by seeing a sports medicine professional. The good news is that I'd been feeling a bit better anyway, and I'd started running again. Now, with some good exercises to do, I'd say I'm definitely on my way back.

But it's a long way back. 10-mile runs now feel like my 30-milers of only a couple months ago used to. I'm only doing 25-25 miles per week. Maybe this week will be better. This is going to take a while.

One thing I'm trying this time is to bring the intensity along with the increased volume. This is because when I used to do only the latter at first with the former coming later, I'd invariably become injured at that point. Maybe this will work better.

In the words of the horse in Animal Farm, "I will work harder".

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2, 3, 4, 5, 11

No, this is not an attempt at some new number sequence. It's my running miles for the last five days. Low mileage, but not a bad trend. After being out for nearly two weeks after that debacle in Connecticut, not to mention my mom's funeral, it was tough getting back. And the pain is still around. It's subsiding, but slowly.

It's hard to believe that just two months ago, I was putting in 70+ mile weeks. Today's 11 felt like 30 used to. Except it was slower. More so as the run went on. But at least I got through it.

So now it's only a matter of getting back into shape and also staying injury free; no small task. Got an appointment with a chiropractor for tomorrow. Maybe that will help.

Other random thoughts:

Naturally it was tough on me (and us) when mom passed away. But the good part of it was seeing Valerie, Barry, Veronica and Malcolm again. I say again because for the latter three, it was the third time in recent months, and once again a joy. In that earlier post I mentioned how Malcolm actually likes me, and what's more, he likes to run with me. What could be better?

The NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run was last weekend, a day after mom's funeral. I had originally planned to run it, but took a DNS due to the injury. It would've been tough with everything going on anyway. I was lucky that John Hnat had all but assumed the entire role of RD. I was still officially the co-RD, but John did most of the duties just before and during race day. So I wound up just helping out. The run itself went great - despite some very challenging weather. Now I'll be stepping down entirely and only helping.

I was also a DNS for yesterday's Akron Marathon. It was tough seeing everyone at the expo but planning on not running.

I saw a shooting star yesterday! Must be a good omen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


From the latest MCRR Newsletter:

Achievements. You’ve been hearing about Connie running 149 miles for a 24-hour record. You heard about Roy running 50 100-mile races. And Ron finishing the Mohican 100 17 times. If you’ve been around long enough, you even heard about me running 100 marathons. Yes, except for that last one, those are all great achievements. You may wonder what kind of achievement you will ever be able to accomplish.

Every running club has some super-fast runners, some marathoners, some ultrarunners and some legendary old-timers. So do we. But our club, for some unfathomable reason, has much more than its share of great ultramarathoners. Yes, it’s safe to say that we’re a little skewed.

The interesting, and really great thing about all this is that the achievements of our members inspire others among us to accomplish great things as well. At least things that seem great to us.

And that’s the key. Certainly Connie’s mileage would be world-class for anyone, but for the rest of us, our achievements are pretty darn personal. Remember your first 5K? Your first Marathon? Those must have seemed like great achievements at the time. There’s a reason for that. They were (and still are).

Now your 5K or marathon may seem like old news, and you want to do an ultra. After you accomplish a 50K, you’ve got to try a 50-miler. After that? Well, you get the picture. It never really ends – there’s always something more.

I’m writing this because some of us may feel inadequate if we haven’t managed to achieve the same types or levels of things as others amongst us. I’m here to tell you that you most definitely should not feel that way. If you’re goal is to reach 5K, and you managed to do that, your achievement is a great and wonderful thing. You may want to run a 5-miler or a 10K, but you certainly don’t have to. Your 5K achievement will stand on its own.

Every one of us has our own Mount Everest. If you’ve made it, that’s great. Pick another mountain (or planet for that matter) if you want. But still be happy with what you did. If you have yet to make it, keep trying! The joy is in the journey.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tale of Two Halves

On the theory that things could not possibly get any worse in my running experiences, I entered a couple half marathons in preparation for the upcoming NC24 and Akron Marathon.

The first one, the River Run, actually went better than expected. This is not to say that it wasn't a PW, but it was a PW in a good way. I ran a fairly steady pace, and finished just under 1:43. Although this was a minute or so slower than my previous worst half, I was actually encouraged. There wasn't an undue amount of pain and suffering, and anytime the pace is even, you feel pretty good about it. On top of all that, my friends were all there, and it was good to see everyone.

After that race I went to work, where I almost always spend all my time on my feet. That's usually not a problem after a run or race, but it was this time for some reason. By the time I got home, my right knee was killing me. That's strange because this was a first - in recent history - for this kind of pain. My back/butt/hip pain had been on my left side, and as I mentioned, it didn't bother me very much during the race.

So I took a day or two off, and sure enough, the knee pain subsided. I ran 20 on the mill mid-week, and it didn't hurt much. In fact, even though that run was simply awful, I wasn't in pain. I was just board and tired.

Thursday was another off day as we drove to Connecticut. On Friday I ran an easy 7 on the Housatonic trail there. I like that trail, and things were looking up.

For Saturday, I'd signed up for the Sam Alpern Half Marathon in Norwalk, CT. I did the same race a year ago, and I'd enjoyed it. Since I was there by chance on the same weekend, I thought: why not? It's small (<200 a="a" and="and" believe="believe" bucks="bucks" by="by" can="can" club.="club." fifteen="fifteen" i="i" it="it" local="local" love="love" on="on" only="only" p="p" put="put" run="run" runners="runners" s="s" you="you">
Things started off fine, as I settled into a nice 7:30 - 8:00 pace. All I wanted to do is keep it steady, and better yet, pain-free. Just like last week. There was just one problem: it wasn't pain free, This time, the pain was in my right hip. And it was on the side, and sharp! The previous hip problems had been with my left side, and generally more toward the back.

Maybe it was from running so much on the side of a slanty road. Maybe it was over-compensation for my other pains. Whatever it was, I kept going. As I started the second loop, I was beginning to think that I could cheat death and make it through this race in one piece. I hit mile nine in 1:10:40 - just about like last week - and then the wheels fell completely off.

I felt something snap in the hip that was already in pain. THIS pain was really sharp. So sharp that I suddenly had to stop completely. I tried to walk a bit, and it hurt like hell. I stopped and then tried to walk some more, and I could hardly make forward progress.

A friendly biker came by and radio'd my position in, so a car could pick me up. A while later, a red Mustang convertible picked me up and took me to the finish. At least I DNF'd in style.

So things have in fact gotten worse. Worse than I could have imagined. And I'm sidelined again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, a great man, and personal hero of mine, passed away. He was extremely quiet and humble, but showed a great amount of courage to become a war hero, test pilot, and eventually the first to walk on the moon. He was most recently involved in trying to prevent our space exploration program, including exploration of the moon and mars, from being completely eliminated by short-sighted budget cuts.

RIP Mr. Armstrong.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Runners know that DNF means Did Not Finish. Many to most also know that DNS stands for Did Not Start. But not everyone knows that it also means, Dispense No Sympathy. Or, Dummies Never Saunter.

The first one, Did Not Start, applies to my entry for the Moebius Green Monster 50K that's scheduled for this Saturday. Whatever I did to my butt/hip/leg/back ain't getting better fast enough. As I've already noted, I've not only slowed down tremendously, but I've also lost any strength I had. Now I can't even seem to get more than about 5-9 miles at a time. You're hearing this from the guy who was doing 30-milers just a couple weeks ago. So I have now removed myself from Moebius. Too bad. And I don't know what I'll do about all the other races I've so stupidly pre-registered for.

As far as Dispense No Sympathy is concerned, I definitely don't want sympathy from all my running friends. But that seems to be all I get these days. I want fear instead. But that just ain't happening now. Another consideration: maybe I wouldn't get so much sympathy if I didn't spend so much time crying.

Regarding Dummies Never Saunter, I'm not sure what that means, but it sure sounds good.

Did I talk about Personal Worsts (PW's)? They're not quite as exhilarating as their brethren, the Personal Records. But I'm sure getting them in spades now as I run my regular routes WAY slower than ever.

But please: Dispense No Sympathy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reduced Speed, I'll Grant You. But Strength?

Debbie's Grandma was in a bar with a bunch of us other family members. At one point, a guy asked Grandma if she was truly a grandma. She answered, "I'm not only a grandma, I'm a great-grandma!" The guy thought about this for a time, and then said, "Good, I'll grant you. But great? aren't you taking that a bit too far?"

And then there was the time Archie Bunker met Sammy Davis Jr. and asked, "I know you couldn't help being colored, but why did you have to go turn jew?"

Running with Bill Henry at about mile 4.
Photo by  Larry Orwin
Had you asked how I thought I'd do at the Perfect 10-Miler a month or two ago, I'd have answered that I'd be lucky to hold a 7:30 pace. Had you asked a week ago, I'd have answered that I may be able to do most miles in the low 7-minute range, and maybe even go sub-7 for some. Had you asked a couple days ago, I'd have answered that I'd be lucky to hold any pace at all. This sort of reflects my ups and downs of recent times. My strength and speed improved dramatically in recent weeks to the point where I had been doing tempo runs of 3 and 4 miles at sub-7 pace. And then a few days back, it all came crashing down as my butt injury came back with a vengeance.

My 7:30 pace in the early miles should have been conservative. I reached half-way in about 38 minutes. A 75 minute finish wouldn't have been half bad. I'd run each of these 10-milers, and almost all had featured negative splits. Even though I was injured, I ought to still have all that strength I'd built up in recent weeks, no?

No. Of course mile 6 - the uphill one - was slow, and mile 7 - the downhill one - was decent. But I wound up slowing for the rest and finishing in 78 minutes. A PW. By a lot.

So that's the reason for the title and the initial story. With this here injury, Reduced Speed, I'll Grant You. But Strength? It hurts to bring my leg forward, and this reduced range of motion surely reduces my running speed. But why did the strength have to go as well? Why couldn't I have just powered my way through?

And to paraphrase Archie, I know you couldn't help being slow, but why did you go and become weak?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Pity Party Time Again

I had about three to four really good weeks in a row. The PF was all but gone, and the butt pain had also mostly subsided. My most recent blog post, Miles and Miles, about all these miles I've now been able to do, reflected this new-found optimism. I also mentioned my new, miraculous ability to run long when I wrote about one of my 30-mile training runs. I had even managed to do a bit of speedwork and some tempo runs.

You guessed it. Something snapped, and it all came crashing down the other night at the track. And now I am once again wallowing in self-pity. Here's how it happened:

1) Last Thursday I did another 30. It went well - I managed a nine-minute pace throughout, and the last few miles were the fastest. I was pretty durn happy with myself.
2) After taking Friday off, and with plans to also take Sunday off, I decided to meet up with MCRR friends at Hinckley Saturday. 10 miles would get me up to 80 for the week - way more than my usual 70. Instead of one nine-mile loop, peer-pressure got to me and I wound up doing two. Even though the 'ole legs were a little tired, the run itself went really well.
3) Now my legs were really tired. Instead of a long run on Monday morning, I only did 10. Tuesday morning should have been really easy since the Second Annual MCRR Track Meet was scheduled for the evening. But... I felt pretty good and actually got down to tempo pace for 3 of the 8 miles.
4) Then came the Meet. Before that tempo run, I'd been hoping that I could put up a fast time for the 5K that was on the schedule. Now I wasn't so sure about it. But no matter - I'd just do the best I could. No worries. Except when it hurts... Bad. It was during the first event, the 1600. I didn't feel a snap; the butt pain - just like I'd had earlier in the year - just came on, and it got progressively worse.

And wouldn't you know it? With all that optimism, I had registered for a bunch of races, including the Moebius 50K and the River Run Half. I'd previously registered for a bunch more, like NC24, Akron Marathon and the Perfect 10-Miler. That Perfect 10 is tomorrow, and it is definitely not going to be pretty.

Stay tuned for more self-pity.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miles and Miles

I'm back. Back to doing long runs - and reasonably successfully - that is.

My most recent little injuries are beginning to subside, and once in a great while, the miserable heat subsides too. But that heat and my mom's medical problems have made it challenging. I tried to work in some quality earlier in the week. It wasn't spectacular, and I wound up shuffling home those times.

But Friday, despite high heat and humidity, I got out early and did another 30-miler. Like the last (good) time, I did many of the miles at the track. And also like that time, I averaged about 9 minutes a mile, with the last few being the bestest.

I'll take it.

Overall weekly mileage is still hovering around 70. That's okay, but with NC24 coming up, I'll need to step it up sometime.

Speaking of miles, I was the generator delivery man for the Burning River 100-Mile race this year. It felt good to be helpful, but I'm not so sure I want to keep spending so much time volunteering. I may cut that back some.

My Mom (Absolutely No Running Content)

Sorry about this non-running-related post.

We knew it had to happen sometime. Mom would either fall and break a hip, come down with pneumonia, or have some kind of major heart problem. It was the former. But why did it have to happen when I was responsible?

A week and a half ago, Dave, Carol and Mom came over. We went to lunch, and then sat at our house and talked. I had to go to work, so I said I'd drop Mom off at her assisted living home since it's on the way. She and I went into the garage, and I let go of her for one second so as to close the door behind us. Mom tripped over our board as she tried to make her own way between the two cars.

I've played the scene over in my mind a million times. It's almost like a dream. It was only for a second that I'd let go of her. She fell so slowly and almost gracefully. I almost could have reached and caught her, even though I had been reaching back to close the door. Right away, she said, "I broke my hip". We got EMS to take her to SW General.

I can't even say how terrible I feel about all this. Everyone has been extremely understanding, saying it could have happened to anyone at any time. I know. But why me? A few days earlier I had visited her at her assisted living place, and when I was leaving, she told the lady sitting nearby, "He's such a good son".

After a couple days in the hospital, she had surgery. This was scary because no one knew if her heart could take it. It did, and the operation was successful.

The recovery has not been as good as I thought it would be. We understood that it would take time, and that it would be tough for her to walk again. But she's having trouble with just about everything that requires movement. A week after the surgery, she was moved to a nursing home. We had done some extensive research to find a good one for her.

She's getting good care now. They are very intent on getting her back to her former level of movement and independence through physical and occupational therapy. If she can get at least mostly back, she can return to her assisted living home. If not, she'll probably need to stay at the nursing home.

The recovery is still problematic. She has good days and bad days. Since the surgery, she has been more confused than ever. They say it's due to the anesthetic. We've been visiting every day.

All of this happened in the midst of our visitation from Veronica, Barry and Malcolm. As much as Debbie and I were worried about Mom, and as much as we had to go and visit, we thoroughly enjoyed that visit. We did some fun stuff, like the beach, a family picnic and the Great Lakes Brewery. But we mostly had fun with Malcolm.

He is a real joy. And he seemed to have fun too. But here's the thing. He likes me. This is quite unusual, for kids are sometimes a little afraid of me. Other times, they are just cautious and standoff-ish with me. I don't take it personally; I just accept it.

Not Malcolm. He actually seeks me out to run (yes, run - walking always turns into running) with him, or to play in some other way. He seems to light up when he sees me. He calls both Debbie and me "Momma"!! (There's only the one "Dada".) What a joy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Not to do a Long Run

My last post was about how to run a 30-miler. I wrote that after a fairly successful long run, which resulted in me being reasonably happy with myself. Today I'll let you know how not to do such a thing.

0) Plan to do thirty miles, just like last week.
1) Don't visit with friends, eat wings and drink a couple glasses of wine the night before.
2) Don't take a couple prunes before bed in hopes that they will help move all the mail through.
3) Don't get an awful night's sleep the night before - partly due to the warm and humid conditions and partly due to those prunes on top of all that food and drink.
4) Don't get up at 2-something because you can't sleep.
5) Don't get out the door at 3:20am - well earlier than even *I* had hoped for.
6) Don't stumble back home after the first seven miles in search of a bathroom and more refreshments. This is already not going like last week's run.
7) Don't go out and do an 11-mile loop after the first 7.
8) (This one's important) Don't step on a stick with one foot, simultaneously hitting it head-on and tripping over it with the other, causing a sharp pain in the butt. This was an instant pull of some glute or upper hamstring muscle. Ouch. This is *definitely* not going like last week's run.
9) Don't let an incident such as the one in 8 rattle you. Or stop you dead in your tracks. Like it did to me.
10) Don't walk / stumble / struggle home after the incident described in 8. Of course there was no other way.
11) Don't only do two more miles at an 11+ minute pace because you're shot.
12) Don't resolve never to have a lousy run like this again.

The end.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Run 30 Miles ~or~ Dan the Man with the Plan: Out the Door Before Four for the Track Attack

Plans are usually good things to have. As Dan always says, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. The funny thing about plans is that if you don't follow them, they really aren't always all that great. But then once in a while, the new, improved plan still works.

But I'm sure you tuned in because you want to know how to run 30 miles. Here's how I do it, in cookbook format:

1) Wake up and get out of bed 25 minutes before the 3:20am alarm.
2) Plan to get out the door before four (am, that is).
3) Drink 2 cups of coffee; eat 2 nectarines.
4) Take some water and Endurolytes.
5) Struggle mightily to get the compression shorts and socks on.
6) Stumble out the door at 3:58am. At this point, things are still going according to plan.
7) Wander the three miles over to Brunswick High School. Notice along the way that OH-303 is still closed at the intersection of Troon due to yesterday's water main break.
8) Find the track <>. This is significant because up until a couple days ago, I hadn't found it open for something on the order of a year. I did manage to run there Tuesday morning, so I knew that this was a possibility.
9) Re-plan. At this point I am already *not* according to plan: the part of the plan that said that the 30 miles would be made up of five six-mile loops. This was so that I could keep returning home for short breaks and proper hydration and nutrition. Once I stepped on the track, I was already more than three miles away from home. The re-planning resulted in a new plan to do three ten-mile runs. Each one would include the three miles to the track, four miles on the track, and the three back home.
10) Wander around the track.
11) After running a bit over four miles, re-plan. This time decide to run two fifteen-mile runs. This means nine miles at the track plus the three there and three back each time. Don't ask why the decision was made to stay longer, because I don't have an answer.
12) Wander around the track some more. Do almost all these miles at just under nine-minute pace. Switch directions to avoid turning the same way all the time. Stop for h2o once or twice.
13) After nine miles at the track, run home to complete the first fifteen, feeling pretty beat.
14) Get more hydration and nutrition, a bottle of Heed, and head back out the door.
15) Wander over to the track once again. Now it's getting light. Decide on a whim to (instead of hitting the track) run around the high school and across 303 to near Brunswick Lake and the Nature Center. Who knows why?
16) Re-plan. Decide that the most recent two-fifteen miler plan wasn't all that bad, so go back to the track to do as much of that as possible.
17) Wander around the track.
18) Try to pick up the pace just a bit. Actually manage to do this successfully - at least down to 8:30-8:45 pace, thanks to a little help from the energy gels and Heed.
19) After seven or so track miles, determine that the total is 27, so begin to head home. The last two had been the fastest. Fancy that.
20) Stumble home, arriving four hours, twenty-nine and half minutes after the start.
21) Strest. (That's a combination of stretch and rest.

Friday, July 06, 2012

There once was an ancient runner in Brunswick

There once was an ancient runner in Brunswick
Who in past years fancied himself quite quick
But those days are long past
For today he’s not so fast
And to run at all is some kind of trick

When you wake up before 3am and are out the door running before 4am, things like this begin to bounce around in your head.

Among the other things bouncing up there were the "Questions Without Answers". You know the type. Stuff like:

How did I manage to gain seven pounds over three days?
How could Wednesday's 5K be so fast, whilst the associated 10K is so slow?
What's with those flying pink elephants I'm seeing?
And of course the kicker: Why am I doing this?

This, of course, is running at the ungodly hour of 4am. But I do actually have an answer for that one. Sort of.

I've got Moebius (maybe) and then NC24 on my horizon. This means I need to begin adding some miles. I'd been planning on about 24 today, but when I awoke 40 minutes earlier than my alarm, I started thinking 30. And with the heat index forecast for 110+ degrees today (real temps on the order of 97-98 up in cooler Cleveland), it's best to get going early.

So was it 24 or 30? Neither. I did three 6-mile loops, returning home for refreshments each time. At that point my legs were beginning to tire and it was getting hot, but I started running with friendly neighbor Rita Annes. That was helpful, as it's almost always better to run with someone else, and I did indeed need the company at that point. We did 6-7 together, and then I did a couple more to make 26 altogether.

I'll be sure to post something when I have the other answers.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Fourth 'H'

During the summer months, runners often note that this or that race was subject to the Three H's: Hills, Heat and Humidity. The Medina Twin Sizzler 10K has them in spades, as it was especially hot and humid for this edition. I would like to add a fourth H to the mix: Humility.

The Sizzler is held on the 4th of July every year, and the entire Medina town square is buzzing with activity. Besides the 10K, there's a 5K, a 1-mile kids run, a walk, and various bicycle races. Just about everyone from the MCRR, and it seems, everyone from Medina is there.

You probably believe that I'm done talking about Four H's, and am ready to begin some long and boring description of my race(s). You would be almost right. But first there's at least one more instance of Four H's,

As I was getting out of my car to pick up my 5K and 10K bibs and shirt, a gentleman approached and asked me about the wording on my shirt. The front has the MCRR logo, and the back says, "Hinckley Hills, Serious Runners Only." I explained who the MCRR is, and that we run the hills in Hinckley almost every Sunday. I naturally tried to recruit him. He said he'd look us up. He was with a younger looking woman, and he said his name is Dennis.

After the 5K but before the 10K, I bumped into Tom Bieniosek, who happened to be talking with Dennis, whom, I'd met just 45 minutes before. It turns out that Dennis also has the last name of Horvath. The young woman was his daughter, and his wife was there as well. So there we were, four Horvaths, or another instance of Four H's.

On to the races. I haven't done very many of these 5K/10K type things of late. There's a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is my plethora of injuries along with the resulting lack of fitness, over the past year or so. Now that I'm beginning to feel better, even though I've still lost so much speed and strength, I have to begin again somewhere. And the Sizzler was the ticket; you just gotta do the Sizz.

After saying hello to gobs of my MCRR buddies before the start of the 5K, we were off. Everyone screams down that first hill, and then pays for it next mile and a half. Not me. I took it fairly easy for the first mile, and then tried to pick it up for the second. Well, that didn't quite go as planned, as both miles were a couple seconds over seven minutes.

Did I mention the heat? The 5K start was at 7:45am, so it wasn't too terrible yet. There was plenty of shade along the way. The humidity made it tough however. And of course, the humility.

I tried to pick it up some more for the third mile, and I think I actually succeeded this time. It's mostly downhill, with the final uphill at the end. My time was 21:02 on my watch.

That really isn't too terribly awful. It's better than last year (when I was still hurting from Mohican), but a minute slower than 2010.

For those that run the 5K in the 20 Minute range, there is a wait of nearly an hour before the start of the 10K. Some people hang around and talk, and take in refreshments during this time. My plan was to keep running, albeit easily, in order to stay loose and also get in some extra mileage. Well, that didn't quite go as planned, as I did jog a bit, but mostly talked with people such as the aforementioned Tom and Dennis, among others.

Now that the 9am 10K start was rolling around, the temperature was getting up there. In my mind, I could see the mercury shooting up to the top of the thermometer, and then exploding out the top. Or, as someone in FaceBook recently said, someone set the thermostat to 'hell'.

The 10K features more hills and less shade than the 5K. What's not to like? My plan for this one was to take it easy, and just run a steady pace. Well, that didn't quite go as planned. My mile times varied by as much as 20 seconds, but I think this was mostly due to the hills. I mostly averaged about 7:30 per mile.

And did I mention the heat? Oh yeah, I guess I did.

I came in at something like 47:15 on my watch. That's fearfully slow for the Dan of a couple years ago, but once again better than last year. No matter how you slice it, this 10K is always a tough one.

I took third in my age group for each race. The awards always seem to take forever, but it's a good time to kibbutz even further with friends.

The next day Joe Herbert informed me that my photo had appeared in the Medina Gazette. It's actually quite telling.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


Guy on his wedding night starts by taking his socks off. "What happened to your toes?" asked his new bride. The guy answers, "Toelio." She says, "You mean polio." "No, toelio," he goes on, "It's a childhood disease I had that leaves the toes all mangled and bent like this."

Next he takes his pants off. "What's wrong with your knees?" asks the bride. "Kneasels" he replies. "You must mean measles." "No, it was kneasles, a childhood disease that leaves the knees crooked and malformed like this."

When he takes is undershorts off, she says, "Don't tell me. Let me guess: you had Smallcox."

Now back to toelio. I call my black toenail that. It's my left big toe, and it's good and black. And painful. The worst part is that I seem to keep injuring it further, driving it to become even more black. Now I can put up with that little bit of pain, but last time I lost a big toenail, it wound up - six months later - becoming a *large* amount of pain. That would be when I had to extract it with the pliers because it was coming off anyway.

One root cause seems to be my Salomon XR Mission shoes. Gotta stop wearing those for anything more than a few miles.

Speaking of a few miles, I did do a few in them yesterday: 23 towpath ones to be exact. I've been hitting the TP fairly regularly for my Saturday medium to long runs. And of course there's always Hinckley on Sundays.

I think things are looking up a bit. The fact that my main malady of the moment is toelio, and not severe butt pain or PF, is telling. Those other problems haven't been 100% eradicated, but they have improved. 

It doesn't hurt to run any more!!! (in a small voice, at least not too much.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Innarguably Innaugural - The Canton Marathon

Michelle Wolff, Debbie Scheel, Dan Daubner, Dan Horvath
and John Pavlick after meeting at 4am and driving to,
and arriving at Canton
Thanks to Dan Daubner for the photo
They spelled inaugural with two n's on the bib. Twice. But then they spelled it correctly on the ribbon attached to the medal. The medal, by the way, weighs in at about seventeen pounds. I'm going to donate it to the US Olympic Committee so that they can use if for hammer throw practice.

After answering the question, what were you thinking when you scheduled a medium-sized city marathon mid June? about a thousand times, the race committee's big day had finally arrived. The race was only a couple minutes away from the start. There were long porta-potty lines going right across the road that we believed we'd be starting the race on. We thought this because they had the pace signs all along the road there in front of the stadium, and because that's where everyone else was beginning to line up. So what if we'd trample the poor potty-goers.

That's when I got into a disagreement with Verrelle Wyatt. He told me that the start was way down and around the bend in a park. "No way," said I, "it's right here in front of us." And that's when a race official called out for all of us to follow her, pied-piper-like, to the actual start which was 3/4 mile away - right where Verrelle said it would be.

We arrived at 6:01am for the 6:00am start. Then they announced that the 6:00am start would actually occur at 6:20am, so I went for a jog to keep loose. I was going to say, keep warm, but it was already warm and humid. I was jogging back on the adjacent sidewalk at 6:15am, when the gun went off, sending the runners towards me, but on the road. I scuttled over far enough to go over the timing mats and then begin running in the desired direction. I suppose they figured that a delayed start followed by an early start at the same race equals an on-time start.

I don't mean to be overly critical. Some rookie, or should I say innaugural, mistakes could be expected. By and large, everything worked very well.

Even the weather. Going in, everyone was concerned about heat. At Cleveland, Boston, and gobs of other spring marathons it had been a major factor. The forecast for Canton wasn't hopeful either: the sunny high was to be in the mid to upper eighties. In fact, the skies stayed cloudy, the air humid, and it never got all that hot at all. There was even a misty rain and a brief downpour late in the race.

The other things that went well had to do with organization and planning. The aid stations, traffic control and finish line were all done exceedingly well. I know that runners come to expect these things at big races these days, but I appreciate all that went into the day.

How did my run go, you ask? I started out at an 8-minute pace and held that fairly well until mile 12 or so. That's when the hills started to take their toll on my pace. Half-way went by at just about 1:45.

The second half wasn't quite so spectacular. I slowed and then slowed some more. 20 miles went by at about 2:45. Even that isn't so awful, but I still had a 10K - and yet more slowing down - to go. 10-minute miles ensued as the hills only seemed to get bigger, I finished in 3:46 and change.

I'm pretty sure that all the hills caused me to run a slower than expected time. Yes, they were tough, but I've run tough ones before. I just don't like it when I slow down like that.

Even so, it was my least bad marathon in a while. Things can only keep getting better, right?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Endless Summer

This May they had to cancel the Madison, WI Marathon due to record high temperatures in the mid-nineties. This followed other events that were either canceled while in progress, or had to offer deferments or had to take other measures to deal with record high temperatures.

The Canton Marathon is tomorrow, and we'll see temperatures close to ninety. I'm not looking forward to that. Why O Why did they think that a big (okay medium) city marathon in June would be a good idea? The ones in April and May couldn't even manage. Okay, that's it for complaining and feeling sorry for myself. That's also it for running content.

2012 was already set to go down as the year with no winter. And now there's no spring, either. That's not all. There are tornadoes, flooding and drought galore. Hurricanes began well before hurricane season. And everything that grows, hibernates or seasonally migrates here in Ohio is very much ahead of schedule. All this after 2011 was one of the hottest years on record. The Climate Change Deniers are generally keeping quiet these days.

It baffles me how there can be anyone who denies that things are out of control. Their fallback position is that even if it is happening, we human beings aren't the cause of it. Sorry, but they're wrong about this as well. The link between our greenhouse gasses and the warming of the planet are well established. This consensus had been reached years ago, but the deniers had been fighting it with what I call the Big Lie. At least in those cases where fossil fuel industry money is behind the notion, it's a Big Lie. I'm aware that there may be a few deniers who simply don't know, or won't accept the truth. But now, as I say, they've piped down.

Surely most non-scientific types have to rely on what they hear from the scientific community. It's too bad that they also hear the 'other side' in the media. What isn't disclosed is that the other side  - the deniers - are almost entirely made up of people with a vested interest in the status-quo.

If we now accept that climate change is indeed happening, and that human activity is the cause, why do we even consider electing politicians who will only add to the problem? There is no shortage of ideas to at least curb some greenhouse emissions. We need more of these, not less. Some politicians want to kill any renewable energy ideas in favor of the narrow-minded, short sighted and short term policies that have gotten us to this point.

Humanity will survive climate change. Even some other species will do so. The planet will actually even recover some day. The only questions are how well, and when. How well will we survive and what quality of life will we have? And when will the planet be able - or be allowed to - recover? Or at least begin to turn things around.

Some day we'll all have to face our grandchildren who will grow up in a world much different from our own. Will we be able to say that we at least tried to keep the planet in decent shape for them?

For more on this topic, see my debate with Dave.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Long and Shorts of It

If you like this blog, I'm happy about that. I hope you'll keep reading. If you don't, well, sorry.

Back to you folks that do. Naturally, you can read through these new posts as well as the older ones for free. But if you want to see it in book form, and also see some additional stuff that's not included here (because it's older, was intended for a different audience, etc.), you can go to and get hold of my new book, The Long and Shorts of It. Please check it out; it's pretty cool.

Thank You. We will now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Smashmouth Running

Here’s the sequence of events – complete with causality - as best I can describe them.

Dan with Angelina Lips

  1. I started running about forty years ago. In the process, I also managed to get old. This caused
  2. Plantar Fasciitis (PF) every now and then, including the latest bout that began a year and a half ago whilst attempting some speedwork on a treadmill. This caused
  3. Slow Disease (SD). SD is insidious in that it enables me to continue running, albeit only very slowly. Time passed, but the SD continued. This caused
  4. Disappointing times in races and workouts and general frustration. This caused
  5. An attempt at a speed workout on the track about a month and a half ago. It was my first time at the track in months, so the SD was rearing its ugly head. I forged on anyway, and this caused
  6. Me to pull something in my butt. It could be piriformis syndrome or some form of sciatica, but I prefer to simply call it Butt Syndrome (BS). This caused
  7. Me to change my gait, however little, since I no longer had a full range of motion. This caused
  8. Even more SD, and even more disappointing race results. Among these was the Cleveland Marathon of last week. This caused
  9. Me to take several days off, something I hadn’t done since my previous debacle, the Jacksonville Marathon. This caused
  10. General malaise, but then I actually began to feel a bit better. The PF was subsiding, and even the BS became a little better. Too bad the SD only got worse. All this caused
  11. An urge to get out and run again. So I did six on Thursday, took Friday off, and then met up with some friends for a nice little run on the towpath Saturday. The plan was to run from Lock 29 to Station Road Bridge and back for an easy 14-miler. Patti Tomasello and Shari Geiger had turned back earlier, whilst Donna Hofmeister, Dave Gajewski, Jack McDaniel and I continued on to the Station Road Bridge area, took a break and then began to saunter back south to Lock 29. Things were going swimmingly, except for one minor, itsy-bitsy little problem. I still didn’t have full range of motion in my left leg due to the lingering effects of the BS. This caused
  12. My foot to find the one board that was one-sixteenth of an inch above the rest, on the small wooden bridge we were traversing about nine miles into our run. This caused
  13. Me to stumble forward. This caused
  14. Me to grab onto the handrail on the side of the bridge to avoid falling directly, face-first, onto the bridge. This caused
  15. Me to swing around to the right, smashing my face - especially my mouth - directly into the side of the bridge, rather than the floor. It also caused
  16. Me to twist my butt, further hurting my BS. Naturally I was now flat on my back (how did I get there?) looking up at my friends, who all seemed very concerned (why weren’t they laughing their heads off?) This caused
  17. Me to pause. Points 12 through 16 had taken all of a half-nanosecond, but had seemed to take place over hours or days. Now time was passing normally once again. I got up and hobbled back to Lock 29. My friends were nice enough to run slow to stay with me. This caused
  18. Me to take some more time off, beginning today.

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...