Wednesday, February 19, 2014

There be Dragons

4:30 am – I’m doing my morning pushups in front of the TV, and Holly Strano tells me that the temperature is in the forties. This, after that huge snowstorm yesterday. I finish my exercises, petting Rosy, who’s curled up almost underneath me, in between sets.

5:00 am – Still waking up (those pushups and crunches had been in my sleep) I am now putting on my outside running clothes. It would’ve been faster to put on the inside running clothes that I’d had ready, but dang it, it’s in the forties!

5:15 am – Pulling out of the driveway, I realize I’ve gotten a later start than I wanted. My goal is always to get going by 4:45 so that I can arrive just as the fitness center opens at 5:30. This has yet to happen, however. The most common exit time is 5:00 straight up. Today is a little on the late side of that.

6:15 am – I am finally running (hooray), heading north from the fitness center. The road is clear, but snow is piled up three to four feet high on the sides, and right over the berm, so if any cars come, I’ve got nowhere to go to get out of the way. Luckily, traffic is light at this hour. I reflect that this is my first outside run in a week and a half; it’s been all mill. Of course the reason is fear of (more) wounded knee. Strange that I seem to be able to run at any pace or distance on the mill without encountering problems, but when I push the pace out in the cold, there it goes. A new theory presents itself to the inner workings of my brain: maybe it’s not the pace or the cold by itself, maybe it’s the shuffling through the slippery snow and ice I do on other runs, followed by the days of pace and cold. Then again, maybe not.

6:45 am – There aren’t all that many miles of roads in the park, and I don’t want to shuffle on the snow covered all-purpose trail, so I’m doing a little back and forth, out and back type stuff. It occurs to me that I could make this a worthwhile training run by running down and up Ox Lane a few times. As I’m almost about to turn down that road, I encounter a couple runners coming up. After a brief greeting, we pass each other, but one of them yells back, “Are you headed down the hill? There’s a pack of coyotes down there!”

6:46 am – Did I mention that it’s still dark? And that I’m afraid of large carnivorous wild animals? I decide to not tempt fate and simply go back and forth on the north-south road, Buttermilk Falls Parkway. The hills can wait.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

((fill in the blank)) of life is just showing up

I've had some very good excuses, but I still felt a little bit bad about not making it to so many of my own scheduled Sunday morning runs at Hinckley. The excuses ranged from biblical snowstorms to being out of town. But since I had arranged the darn things, I still felt that I was a bit lagging in fulfilling my obligations. To me, you see, just showing up is pretty important stuff.

Today's excuses would've been no less valid. My wrecked knee from the previous day's run, and more biblical snow could've/would've/should've kept me at home once again. But they didn't. I did show up, although I didn't run the usual 5:30 am nine-mile loop with the gang. Nope, I bid my friends adieu, and then proceeded to shuffle around in the snow for a few miles.

The old knee was okay today. Shuffling agrees with it.

9:34, 8:22, 8:10, 8:05, 7:58, 7:50, 7:40, 8:13, 9:05, 9:00, 12:00, 13:42

Yes, those were my splits from yesterday's run. I was with friends Dave Gajewski, Chris and Larry Orwin, Kevin Jones and Chris' friend Colin (I don't know his last name). They tell a bit of a story. The crash and burn occurred suddenly, as usual, just as we made the turn onto the parkway with a couple miles to go. Larry very graciously stayed with me as we walked and jogged our way in.

I've mentioned this knee thing before. Now, unfortunately, I am afraid I have to mention it again. Sorry about this.

It was near 0F, and I was working pretty hard to keep up with the fast kids. We were lucky that there was no wind, and only a small amount of snow and ice on the roads. As we drove up the hill on Barr Road, the 'ole knee began to talk to me. Ease up, or else, it said.

I did listen. Larry and I went from eight minute miles to nine minute ones. But as we made that turn, I learned quite suddenly how inadequate my slowdown had been.

Dad-gum it. It had been a couple weeks since I'd had any pain at all. Except for my perpetual PF, I was beginning to think that I was going to be okay,

Okay, bear with me a while longer. Here are for my sudden knee blowout common denominators.

1) It's always cold. Often extremely so, like yesterday.
2) I'm always pushing the pace, at least somewhat faster than I would be otherwise.
3) It's always at the far end of a long run, or a long couple of runs.
3) It's almost always when I least expect it.

Okay, I'm done. For now.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Effort Miles

My friend and running partner Dave Gajewski does not own a GPS running watch. He prefers not to measure his running as precisely as some other runners. When running slower than usual (and therefore not as far) due to challenging weather conditions, he tells me he ran so many effort miles.

As someone who shuffled and slid through extremely deep snow for an hour today, and will call it five miles because he didn't wear his GPS because he didn't really want to measure anything accurately today and who has been known to do this shuffling and poor measurement in the past, even more so during this 'winter from hell' although it's not quite appropriate to call it that because it is kind of an insult to hell, but then hell is associated with heat and not cold, so it's not quite appropriate for that reason either... like the Dude, I can abide.

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...