Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Only Fell Once Today

There was a good patch of ice underneath the couple inches of new snow. More importantly, only one person - training partner Dave - saw it happen. That's always my concern when I fall - who saw me?

We're now getting our long lost winter weather. It could still be worse, and it could certainly be colder, but over the last few weeks, often as not, we get a couple inches of the white stuff for the day. Most of the time it melts away fairly quickly, but it's starting to get annoying.

I backed out of the last two Saturday group runs (that I was organizing myself in FB), but I did make it out today. Today the group was just Dave and me. And the snow was bad enough, and getting worse as we went. I could've easily missed this one as well as the others, but I didn't. We made it around the big loop okay, snow covered roads and all. We then ran around the lake in the now deeper snow. Still no mishaps, although we were slowing down due to the bad footing.

It was that last two mile loop that got me. Solid ice - Big fall. And it sure hurt me right in the pride.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In and Out Part Deux

Somewhere in the distant past (maybe a year ago), I blogged about running inside and outside during the winter. Here I go again.

The overly mild winter weather is now gone, and things are back to normal for Cleveland in January. I'd go as far as to say that it could still be way worse. But we are finally getting our fair share of snow and cold. Not that I like it, but I'm not complaining. Wouldn't do any good anyway.

What I am trying to do is to not let it hamper my running. At least not too much. On the one hand, running outside in awful weather helps make us mentally tough. I also prefer not to be too much of a weather wimp (or, if you prefer, 'weather wienie'). But on the other hand, I like to keep at least some quality workouts in my schedule. That's where the mill that I love to hate comes in. So you have toughness on one hand, and quality (read: speedwork) on the other.

What to do? Some of each, of course. I managed to do two pretty good mill speed workouts this week. Unfortunately, the other runs, mostly outside, were pretty poor. They were either lousy because of my fatigue or because of the weather. Perhaps some combination.

The good news is that the sinus infection is cleared up. I've got another day and a half to go on the antibiotics. I'm not in as good condition as I'd hoped for Jacksonville, but it (my current conditioning) will have to do. Things could be worse. Oh yeah. I said that already.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm Not Proud of This, But...

...But I ran 27 miles on my dreadmill this morning. I'm almost never proud of my mill runs. I hold on too darn much. I don't step on the mill any more than I have to; it usually (but doesn't always) depends on the weather. I've had days worse mill runs than today however.

During the run I'd actually had thoughts of doing thirty. I suppose 30 would be something I could be slightly more proud of than 27. But three problems arose: 1) I was beginning to run out of time (although I probably could've still done it), 2) There was only the same old junk on TV, and 3) I got a little tuckered out.

The plan before I had started thinking thirty was for twenty-four. Looking at things this way, I suppose you could say that I exceeded expectations.

The plan before I began thinking of twenty-four was to do fourteen. Outside. And now we get to the heart of the matter.

I set it up myself: a fourteen-mile group run on the Parkway - the last part of the Green Jewel 50K. Several had signed up, so it should have been a good, albeit not so long, training run. Naturally, I like to actually show up for the runs that I set up. But I wimped out. Here's why.

Reason #1: the weather. The winter has been so incredibly mild that when we get a little cold and snow - what would have been a good day last winter - we, including me, go a little crazy with fear. I just didn't want to drive on snowy/icy/slushy streets in order to run on snowy/icy/slushy streets. But I still feel a bit wimpish about not making it.

Reason #2: my wellness. Or lack thereof. I came down with a cold the week before Christmas. That's over three weeks ago. It slowly got better, and then proceeded to get much worse right after New Year's Day. The much worse part is when the sinus infection took hold. Running, and everything else, has been a struggle ever since.

Finally realizing that it's not going away on its own anytime soon, as well as after some nudging by Debbie, I went to the doctor yesterday. So today I'm on amoxicillin. And still running, although many of my recent miles were on the mill. Why take a chance on things getting worse when the outside weather's so lousy anyway?

Unproudly moving foward. That's me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

According to Plan

In running as in life, some things go according to plan, and some don't. In both endeavors, it's pretty important that we learn to adapt when the detours occur.

Here's a plan: I'm in a race, and at some point I simply run faster than everyone else and win the whole dang thing. Naturally, this plan is only a pipe dream for all but the very best runners at any given race. And it's almost never come to pass for yours truly.

On Saturday I lined up for the first annual MCRR New Years Eve 5K, looked around, and realized that my competitors were mostly kids and older folks. I found myself running with Bob Pokorny, Ladd Clifford and Alan Dravenstott. Ladd wasn't racing, and peeled off. Alan, who I believe is in the eighth grade, slowed just a bit at the turnaround, and Bob (who certainly could've beaten me if he'd tried) fell back to run with Alan. Suddenly there I was, all alone at the front. What do I do now? With Bob coaching Alan to try to catch me, I had to try to run even faster.

I beat the kid, Bob, and everyone else. It was a great victory. Well, I'll call it that anyway. What made it even better was the PR factor: my time was 17:49; I'd never even broken 18 in a 5K before. How did I manage this feat, you ask? I ran the course Jeannine Nicholson designed, and it turned out to be short by about a half mile. I suppose I can't count it as a PR after all. But it's still a win. And it was surely according to plan.

The plan for Sunday was to run Ladd's 5-mile New Years Day Hangover Run. That was all I was going to do because I'd also had plans to do the second annual Landis Loonies Marathon the next day. But then the weather warnings began.

We've been blessed, so far, with an extraordinarily warm and mostly snow-free late autumn / early winter. Everyone's been remarking about it, many saying things like, "We're gonna pay." When we did receive the weather warnings about January 2nd, everyone, including yours truly, was that much more afraid. The storm warnings didn't sound that dyer - just typical winter stuff. But they were enough to freak everyone out.

I began to think that I wouldn't want to drive the hour plus out to New London Ohio in a storm, just to run a little unofficial marathon. Since I'd be running five with the bunch a little later on Sunday, I decided to hedge my marathon bet and also run earlier with Debbie, Debbie and Michelle. Good to see Debbie Fernandez again. This earlier run amounted to ten parkway miles.

This put me at fifteen for the day. I could still conceivably still run the next day's marathon if the weather held. I'd been anticipating going into Panera at the end of the five as we'd done the previous day after the race. That's when Jeannine suggested that I run another hour with her and Bob.

Not that I've ever had any, but this was against my better judgement. It would eliminate any chance I'd have of running a marathon the next day, even though I'd been leaning more and more against the idea anyway. The extra seven or so miles actually went quite well.

I didn't, unfortunately, feel quite well Monday morning. Nothing special - just sore and tired. Certainly not well enough to run a marathon. And the funny thing was, the snow wasn't so bad. I think I could have made it out to New London fairly easily. But the damage had been done. It turned out that I couldn't get myself to run at all yesterday. So I went from a plan to running a marathon to a goose-egg in my running log.

Today is Tuesday. I ran twenty today to atone for yesterday's non-run. Ten out (in the snow which has finally arrived) and ten in (on the mill). It wasn't the greatest running, and it wasn't according to plan.

Monday, January 02, 2012


That's the most miles I've ever run in a year. An average of more than ten per day, it beats last year's total of 3,465 by 211. And last year had been the most miles ever to that point by 75. All this becomes (sort of) bad news when combined with my average pace and race results.

My average pace was 8.53 minutes per mile. This is nearly the slowest pace for all the years I have on record. For some reason I managed to run slower (8.7 minutes per mile) in 2009. Last year's average was 8.31, and I thought that was slow.

My best 5K time was about 21 and a half minutes. This compares with times right around 20 minutes in previous years. My best ten-miler was about 71 and a half minutes - several minutes slower than last year. It's the same with the half-marathon (1:33 or so).

Surprisingly, I did manage to run a decent marathon time in 2011: 3:16. This didn't beat my best 2010 time, but it does compare favorably with most of my 'thons of recent years.

I suppose the best news is my ultra times. I ran a 50K PR of 4:24, and actually beat that by a minute en route to my 100K PR of 9:31. I ran some other decent 50K times as well.

So what am I saying here? That I'm running more and running slower? I suppose that's the easiest way to put it. I'd better start hitting the old track.

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...