Thursday, February 23, 2012


Yes, I'm back in the saddle again. It seems that every now and then the running gods strike me down, reminding me of something I've been known to say: there's nothing more miserable than a runner who cannot run. After the Jacksonville disaster, I took a week and a half off. I needed it. But Debbie would tell you that I was bouncing off the walls. Now the PF pain has subsided, at least enough to allow me to run a few miles yesterday and today. I don't know why the running gods do this to me. Do I get too 'uppity'? I do know this much: its a long road back. But at least I'm in the old saddle.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Breast Cancer Marathon / Jacksonville Marathon / 26.2 With Donna

The race has three names, so I listed them all in the title. No matter what you call it, it's a great event for a good cause, and a lot of fun.

Fun, unfortunately, wasn't the first thing that came to my mind for most of the race. We drove up from warm, sunny Sanibel, where we'd gotten used to temperatures in the low 80's for most of the week... and found howling winds with near record low temperatures in Jacksonville. It was 26 at the start, but the wind made it feel much colder.

I met up with Debbie and Michelle before the start. We got into the corral and jumped and ran around to keep warm. I talked with Bill Rodgers a bit. I told Debbie and Michelle that I'd had a bad week of running although I didn't mention my PF problems in detail. I was hoping that I'd have a reprieve for the day.

It was just getting light when we started. I tried to keep up with Debbie, but gave up after the first mile. I then fell in with the 3:20 pace group. I was having difficulty even staying with them. Then I realized that they were running faster in order to take walking breaks. This routine was definitely not going to work for me. So I fell behind them too. It's funny that I've been so speed impaired lately. Maybe it's the PF, but I also seem to be short of breath a lot.

Not that it mattered. My PF began to ache big-time by about mile 3. This is as much pain as ever - even including last year's Mohican run.

The three miles we spent on the beach as the sun was rising were spectacular. And with the hard-packed flat sand, it wasn't overly difficult. For most people, that is. I was in pain at the time. I saw Bill Rodgers again, and we said exchanged pleasantries as he was about to turn off for the half-marathon. I strongly considered turning back as well, but something made me keep going.

As the course took us on beach roads and nice neighborhoods, I was slowing down more and more. Now I was really beginning to wonder if I'd be forced to drop out. It would be a shame to come all this way and wind up with a DNF, but the pain was practically unbearable.

Somewhere around mile 12 an aid station was handing out ibuprofen. I know that taking Vitamin I during a run is a big no-no (and they probably shouldn't be handing them out). But I couldn't think of any other way to get through the run.

Half-way went by in 1:59:30, and I had to push the pace to manage a sub-two hour half. I was starting to think that I'd have to walk the entire second half to hope for a five-hour marathon.

But the pain subsided, a little. This was, however, enough to allow me to keep going and even maintain a nine-minute pace. The math was telling me that I'd have to stay at or better than that pace in order to beat 4 hours.

Mile 20 went by in 3:04. I was cutting it mighty close. Then somehow I actually picked the pace up a bit (only a bit) for the final 10K. I passed Michelle in the final mile and a half, hoping she'd be able to make it under four as well.

I crossed the line in 3:58 and change. It probably tied my Personal Worst time. Michelle made it under the Four-Hour wire as well. Debbie had finished with a very fast time.

They walked, and I limped, for a bit before we got on our respective buses out of there.

This blog has been focused on my own problems. The people who have been through breast cancer, including a dear friend for whom I ran this race, have been through problems on an entirely different level that puts my puny problems to shame. The event itself is a wonderful one on a great many levels. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Now I need a rest. A lot of rest.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sanibel Sauntering

For some reason, I much prefer loop courses to out and back ones. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that men don’t like to turn around and retrace their steps. And why that is, I’ll never know.

On Sanibel Island, however, there is mostly out and back running. Not all, but mostly. This is especially so if one wants to explore the running up on Captiva Island (separated from Sanibel by Blind Pass, which is also the name of our condominium complex).

During my first run on the island, I slowly made my way up there, crossing the bridge to Captiva after about 30 minutes. Captiva is quieter and more residential. Rich folks type residential. After 55 or so minutes, my PF began to ache a whole bunch. This doesn’t usually happen during a run; even when the PF is really bad, the aching almost invariably occurs whilst I’m not running.

But this time it was so bad that I was forced to turn back. The pain subsided enough for me to make it, and even do a few extra, enabling me to call it 15 for the day.

For my next trick I managed to explore Ding Darling park from the back end. There is a one-way road through the park, and I found myself going into the exit and against traffic (one car the entire time). I stopped to look for gators, but no luck. After going back out I ran down Troon Court. This Troon was substantially ritzier than ours.

You would think that a fairly easy run followed by a day off would allow me to run fast, strong, and/or long. It didn’t. There are only four days to go before Jacksonville, and things are definitely not boding well.

The PF was as bad as ever as I ventured out early Wednesday morning. Even so, I felt like I was doing a pretty good pace as I ran east on the main drag, and then south on Rabbit Road. Then I turned right to go to the end of West Gulf before turning back. This leg took me about 59 minutes, and I was guessing that it was about 7 miles.

I got back faster – something like 57 minutes. I was still hoping it was 7. Then I checked it on gmap-pedometer: 6.2 miles each way. That’s pretty darn slow, considering that I thought I was keeping a good pace. I did manage to run about 3 additional miles for the morning to make about 16 in all. It’s just too bad it wasn’t a faster 16.

My last couple Sanibel runs were on the beach. These weren’t very fast. The PF wasn’t as awful, but it was still there. And of course I’m eating way too much. Way too much. I’m not very confident about Jacksonville.

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...