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 amazon.com 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.

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...