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.

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...