Friday, January 24, 2014

Doing Effie Twice. At My Age.

Effie on an earlier winter run                       photo by Dan DeRosha
Yes, people my age are usually happy to be able to Effie once, for Pete's sake. But there I was, trudging up the old hag for the second time. And folks are passing me like I was standing still. But I didn't mind. You see, it had been a real long time since I'd done the hilly Hinckley nine-mile loop twice, and after a rough month, I was happy just to be able to make the distance. Effie, by the way, is the name of the big hill on Ledge Road, about half-way through the loop.

These Sunday morning runs at Hinckley are being reinstituted, mostly by me. And we had a great turnout of MCRR runners. I ran the first loop with Renee Harden and Rick Roman. Even for that first time up Effie, they had to wait for me at the top. But I didn't mind; overall, it was a relatively fast one considering the inch or so of snow on the roads. Not so for my second loop - that one was, I think, a PW.

But as I said, I didn't mind.

PostScript: I should add that in my younger days I was able to do Effie three times. Maybe I'll get back to that level one of these decades. On the other hand, I've heard warnings that if you're doing Effie for more than four hours, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Alone in the Deep, Dark Woods

I suppose I've now done about five outside runs from my new office area, into Cleveland Metroparks’ North Chagrin Reservation. They've all been in the disorienting darkness, and until today, they've all been under the expert tutelage of Dave Gajewski.

Yesterday’s run with Dave and his running buddy Kevin didn't go so well for me. Having just gotten over this sinus infection and the previous day’s excellent Medina Half Marathon group course run, I wasn't up to the task of running that hilly nine-mile course with those guys. I kept falling behind, which frustrated me. They would occasionally run back to me, which frustrated me more. And then I had an even further tough time keeping up, which frustrated me still more. But what frustrated me the most was when, near the end of the run, my left knee decided to give out again. As usual, I screamed out like a girl with the sudden pain.

On top of everything else, I haven’t been completely sure where exactly I've been during these early morning runs in the darkness. So today, running all by my lonesome self for the first time, I decided to explore. It was about time I learned my way around on my own.

And I did. Now, today’s run wasn't exactly stellar either. It wound up as about six sluggish miles. I started slow and ended slower, even feeling a little dizzy as I was finishing up. But I did it. I learned my way around the park. At least a good part of it.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Playing in the Snow

Most adults don't get to go out to play in the snow. Those with kids do sometimes. And runners do.

Yes, we runners get to go out and play in the snow. I did it today, which also happens to be New Year's Day, 2014. And it was fun.

2013 wasn't too bad. I ran my 100th, and final marathon. I barely achieved my goal of getting faster at shorter stuff - mostly by doing better than I did in 2012, but not necessarily earlier years. Picked up some AG awards along the way. And I capped off the year with an excellent (for me) 50K at Buckeye Woods.

The last couple weeks haven't been quite so stellar, however. For some reason I ran really slow for my runs in Connecticut. And then, in a not necessarily unrelated event, I caught a bad cold from the grand-kids. With these sniffles, I ran indoors the last two days, and was almost going to do so once again today.

But then I looked outside. There were only a few inches of new snow, and the temperature, at 19F, wasn't all that bad. So out I went.

It's not really possible to run fast in snow that's more than a couple inches deep. And I sure didn't today. It was 11:30 miles at best; it took over an hour forty to get nine miles in.

But those slow miles were fun slow miles. I'll pick it up again next time I'm on the mill.

Seemed Like Farther

This is yet another variation on my recurring it seemed like faster theme.

After a few easy miles I arrive at Joel Barlow High School and immediately begin doing loops around the school grounds. I've done these things before when visiting the kids here in Redding, CT. Somehow, according to my failing memory, I thought these loops were something like one and a quarter miles. It's too bad that I'm wearing my Soleus GPS this time. That's because that contraption tells me that the loop is only 0.85 miles.

It sure seemed like farther. With hopes of picking up the pace I do another loop. It's faster, but not by much. I do another, still slow. At some point I start to think this measurement stuff is for the birds. I'm averaging ten to eleven minute miles, and had I not been wearing the Soleus, I'd have said they were nine-minute ones. I guess it doesn't matter whether I say felt like farther or felt like faster. It's all the same space-time continuum.

I like the school area because there's not so much traffic in the area. Of course it helps that school's out. It's Boxing Day. Yesterday's Christmas Day run hadn't been much to speak of, but I didn't have much time since we were about to jump in the car for the long drive over here. I do a couple out-and back runs to add mileage, and then, now that it's getting light, start on the dirt trail through the woods.

The dirt trail is actually mostly crushed stone, and the woods are quite nice; I like this route. I remember it to be a mile long, and - for once -my GPS confirms this. I do three loops, each a bit faster.

And now it's time to head back home. No sense picking up the speed now. Saunter is as saunter does.

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...