Sunday, August 30, 2015

Marvelous Moebius Monster Mileage Madness

Sorry about the continuance of my alliterational insanity. I’m trying to stop. Really. This post is actually a race report about the 2015 Moebius Green Monster Trail 50K, which takes place at Sunny Lake Park in Aurora, Ohio.

But first, to the tune of A Horse with No Name by America:

On the first part of the journey
I was happy this wasn’t real life
There were plants and roots and rocks and things
There was dirt and hills and stings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with some clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But I tried to stay vertical to the ground
I've been through the trails without getting maimed
It felt good to be not quite so lame
In the trails you can’t remember your name
'Cause there ain't no root for to give you no pain
La, la
After three hours in the Moebius sun
My skin began to turn red
After five hours in the Moebius fun
I was feeling pretty darn dead
And the story I told of a runner this bold
Made me sad to think there was more to tread
You see I've been through the trails without getting maimed
It felt…...

With the thought of meeting up with Brother Dave and his wife Carol, wife Debbie made the journey to Mantua to crew for me. This was a rare occurrence; I often travel to races with friends, but seldom with Debbie.

Prior to the start I enjoyed kibitzing with several friends from MCRR: Ron Ross, Jeannine Nicholson, Ladd Clifford, Larry Orwin, Chris Thomas and Jack and Suzanne Sharpe. Larry was volunteering; the rest of us would be running. We were all startled when people started running right in the middle of our conversation. Race Director Stephen Godale had started the race on time, much to our surprise.

The sudden start. I'm on the left, starting my watch.

Flock of geese over the lake just after the start

And the sun was just starting to rise over the lake

I quickly fell in the second-to-the-lead pack, which included Chris, Kim Good and several others. Chris likes to talk a lot whilst running, and this was fine with the rest of us; it kept us entertained. During that first of five 10K loops, I hardly noticed the scenery, or even the rocks and roots along the way. I was intent on staying with this group and not thinking too much.

End of lap 1
I came in at 1:00:33. Debbie was waiting with a bottle of Tailwind and some Endurolytes. I had told her to look for me every 60 to 75 minutes, so this was going fairly well. So far.

Our pack broke up a bit during the second loop. Now it was mostly me and Chris and only a couple of the others. I began to notice, and remember from last time, all the rocks, ruts and roots. Not that I tripped over any of them. Not yet anyway.

End of lap 2
The second loop ended with a time of 1:00:14. Pretty consistent, eh? Debbie was waiting with a bottle of Tailwind and some Endurolytes.

During the third loop, I was running with only one other guy, and he tripped and fell. When I stopped to help, he said, “At least I got that one out of the way.”

End of lap 3
I caught up with Jeannine. “What are you doing back here with us slugs?” I asked as we ran together for a while. She told me that Ladd had wanted to go faster, and she had let him go. This was a little unusual, especially because I thought she might possibly win today. I guess she was having a not-so-great day.

I, on the other hand, was having a pretty good day. So far, that is. I came in for the end of the third loop with a split of 1:01:01. Steve told me he had me at just over three hours flat. Debbie was waiting with a bottle of Tailwind and some Endurolytes. And now there were only two laps to go. How hard could that be?

I was mostly alone now, although I did encounter another runner on occasion. I even lapped a few friends, including Blondie Hinton and Barry Smoloff. When I least expected it, one of those many roots along the trails reached up and grabbed my foot. Down I went, but luckily not too hard. The dirt and dust clung to my sweaty skin, but I was otherwise none the worse for wear.

End of loop 4
Along with my loss of coordination, I learned that I was also experiencing a loss of speed when I finished this fourth lap with a split of 1:06:50. Debbie was waiting with a bottle of Tailwind and some Endurolytes. Dave and Carol had made it over and were cheering me on with wild abandon.

And now there was only one lap left. I was still not too far off the pace I’d need to run close to the 5:01 time that I turned in here five years ago. I’d come in hoping only to be within an hour of that, and here I was doing much better than expected. But it was getting quite hot, and I knew from experience that this would be a tough final lap.

It was. I had trouble keeping any sort of consistent pace, walking the uphills, the downhills, and even much of the flat areas. I stepped gingerly over all the roots. Except one. Yup, I fell again. And once again, it wasn’t too hard a fall, but the dirt and dust clung to my sweaty skin once more, adding to that which was already there.

Earlier I had been thinking that I might place pretty well. I was pretty sure there weren’t any 60-year olds ahead of me, and maybe not even any 50-year olds. But now a handful of runners passed me on the trails, including Ron. He and I talked a bit, but I was sad to see him go.

The Finish, at last!
My time for this final lap was 1:22:12. What with still getting over injuries and not doing so many long runs, I guess I got what I deserved. Still a time of 5:30 was pretty good. And it was good to have Debbie there to help me out – she even hosed me off after I jumped in the lake.

A jump in the lake felt great!!
And now it’s on to bigger and better things. I think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tales of the Kid Part IV: The Sweet Smell of Darkness

It's later than you think.

This thought crowds out all the others as the Kid rounds the corner to face east and sees Orion relatively high in the early morning sky. In fact, Omnipresent Orion is higher than the Kid has seen yet this season, and this tells the Kid that either or both (probably both) of the following two statements are true: a) It's getting later in the season, which is to say, closer to fall, and b) It's later in the morning, and with six miles yet to go, the Kid had better get moving.

And what were the thoughts that got pushed out of the Kid's head, you ask?

The Kid is glad you asked. What do colors smell like? Why can't we hear the scent of a flower? How does the sight of a beach feel? And so on. All this while the song, the Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle is bouncing around in the Kid's head.

Why the Sounds of Silence, you ask?

This time the Kid is not so happy you asked. That's because the Kid doesn't know. Usually it's something classical, often awesomely symphonic, but every now and then a rock, folk or other tune will come in and occupy space up there. Perhaps if the Kid had some hair, it would block some of these things from getting in. The how or why of what starts playing when is simply beyond the Kid's understanding.

Where did today's run take place, you ask?

The Kid is greatly gratified to discuss this one. He's on his eleven-mile route to the west of his residence. It's a route he hasn't run in over a year, but one he used to do quite often a couple years back, as a Little Kid. Today it brings back good memories, happy thoughts (and sights, smells, sounds, etc.) and half-way decent running.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

An Adventuresome Attempt at Alliteration: Tale of Today’s Training Trot

Bearded Bob from Berea: I would like to dedicate this post to my friend BBB, also known as Robert Mayerovitch. Bob has a great gift with the English Language, and this is mostly evident in his use of puns. In fact, he’s the funnest punist that I know. But as his self-anointed nickname implies, he’s also not bad with alliterations.

Gatorade, Grass and Grieg: Since I was up relatively early today, I managed to get out the door by 3:37 AM, bottle of Gatorade in hand. It was pretty dark. The area behind the Brunswick Middle Schools includes the remains of an old cinder track. It’s almost entirely grown over with grass now, and it’s rutted and uneven. For this early part, and virtually all of the rest of my run, I had Grieg’s Piano Concerto bouncing around in my head. It’s fun to be able to do that without earphones. And speaking of piano, BBB is pretty decent at that too. Maybe we can get him to play Grieg for us some day.

Seeking Soft Surface Success: The reason I was running here is that for this long run attempt, I wanted to be on softer surfaces as much as possible.

Dirt+Darkness=Danger: What with the combination of the rutted uneven grass, dirt and cinders, the darkness and even the lighting from the schools that seemed to be constantly in my eyes but not on the ground, I just didn’t like this part of the run. So I moved on.

Beautiful but Beguiling Betelgeuse: With Orion, including my favorite start, Betelgeuse (don't worry - I won't say it a third time), rising in the east, I made my way over to Brunswick Lake and ran a couple miles there. This was better, but the surface was hard. So I moved on to the back of the high school for some…

Tremendous Track Training: Those first ten miles had been mighty slow – something on the order of an hour and fifty-one minutes. Now that I was at the track, it was time to get serious. The rubberized surface here was just what the doctor ordered. Round and round I went, getting faster and faster, at least for a while. I switched directions now and then. It truly does matter whether the GPS watch is on the inside or outside wrist.

Expeditiously Exceeding Expectations: After eleven pretty decent miles at the track, I made my way home. I had planned on 24 miles, and wound up exceeding that by a bit. Only a bit.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Long and Hard

Q: What's long and hard on guys like me?
A: The third grade.

I seem to do okay, running wise, so long as I do not run long or hard. I often get into trouble when I do, however.

As things stand (or sit), my piriformis is almost entirely gone, and my Achilles tendinitis is doing much better. But then...

1) I haven't been racing
2) I haven't been doing any speedwork
3) I haven't been running 20-milers

So I definitely have not been running long or hard.

Having said this, things may change. My mileage has begun to creep back up there, albeit kicking and screaming. And I even made it to the track a couple times in recent weeks. On the long run front, I've done some 17's and 18's recently as well.

I think I may be getting close to a decision on the Fall 50 that I've been considering. That will partially depend on any long run I'm able to do tomorrow and/or next week (which may include the Mobius 50K).

Or not.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Meteors and Me

Orion is rising, and the Pleiades are fairly high in the sky. That’s how I know fall is coming. I am aware of the benefits of calendars, but sometimes I defer to my primitive side. Today’s quest, however, is more meteoric in nature.

It’s 4:25 AM, and although I’ve been awake for hours, I’m only now getting out on the road. No amount of coffee, it seems, does a whole lot at 3:20 AM.

The Perseid Meteor shower is all the rage; everyone’s talking about it. And today was the day: it was pretty dark with only a crescent moon, and the sky was mostly clear. I am looking up.
I sneak under the heavy-duty security fence in order to run at the High School track in order to be able to view the sky without tripping or worrying about much else. I do about three miles worth, out of my total of ten, there at the track.

Do I see any meteors, you ask? Nope, not a one. And this has happened before – see my post about Avoiding Meteors, as well as the Postscript. They're never there when you're looking for them. Sneaky, they are.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

I Really Mean it This Time

The Medina County Solid Waste District Central Processing Facility, also known as the CPF, is where we have to take all our recyclables. It's a long way from Brunswick - the opposite side of the county. It seems silly to waste the gasoline to drive that far, just to recycle, so I try to space out my trips there, and also combine them with some other reason to go in that direction, such as running.

Today I first went to Buckeye Woods park driving a truckload of papers, plastic, glass and cardboard. We ran down towards Chippewa Lake and back, and then, as it began to get lighter, around Buckeye Woods on the 5-mile BW50K loop. It was a very nice early morning 11-mile run.

After the run I drove further south to the CPF and dumped all the junk.

The Medina County Solid Waste District keeps telling us that they will soon place recycling bins all around the county, such as near schools and city halls. This was to have happened earlier this year. Then by May. Now it's by August. They really mean it this time.

And don't even get me started on how the county has screwed up on the entire idea of recycling.

It was over a year ago that we Brunstuckians passed a tax levy to fix our roads. Heaven knows they need it. What has happened so far, you ask? Not a whole XXXing lot, I answer.

The big project was to be the resurfacing of Ohio Route 303. It's the main drag through town, and I can't go anywhere at all without traveling on it. Most of the money is supposed to come from the state, but some, including presumably, some of the levy funding, from the city.

The resurfacing was to begin early in the summer. Then July. Now August. They really mean it this time.

And now the story gets a little more personal.

I've been trying to get back into ultra mode. Mugrage Park had been fairly successful, but the recovery has been tough stuff.

I'm thinking about a fifty-miler in October, but at the moment, I'm nowhere near where should be for such an endeavor. In order to train for ultras, you have to run a lot of miles. Including long runs. I haven't been very diligent in following this mantra.

Well, I'm going to do a long run soon, maybe tomorrow. I really mean it this time.

And another thing. For the past four or five years, I've been trying to pass off the directorship of the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run. NC24 is my baby, and I love it dearly. But now the child's growing older, and it's time for someone else to take over it's nuturement (I just made that word up).

Heck yes, I've been trying. And I've even had a little bit of success here and there. One time a person came in to share RD duties with me, but then gave it back entirely the next year. Another one took over exclusively for a while, but then, you guessed it, gave it back. A third person said they would take over after this year's race, but now will not. Obviously the root cause of this problem is that I'm always around to take it back.

I was forced to announce that I would leave the race no matter what, and if we don't find a candidate by September 1, we would not hold the event at all in 2016.

I really mean it this time.

The Moving Cave

When it happened, I was out in the park, enjoying the early morning sunshine. I thoroughly enjoy getting my morning exercise in that beautiful part of the world, and it's even better to be able to do so with my friends.

The sunshine was dappled through the canopy of trees. It was warm, and the humidity was high this day, but that never bothers any of us. And we never bother anyone else either; we simply enjoy ourselves and our surroundings.

Well, that part about not bothering anyone isn't entirely true. I suppose I should qualify it by saying that we never bother any of our own kind.

Yes, we do occasionally like to nibble on the various large mammals that come by. Sometimes we even take in a large bite.

But this day, I wasn't intent on biting anything; I was simply flying around and loving it. Too bad I did so above the open pathway. One moment I was flitting about, and the next moment - it happened so quickly! - I was inside a moving cave!

It was immediately dark, and very moist. The scariest part is that the opening closed right after I was sucked inside. How would I ever get out again?

More moisture came in around me. I thought I might drown. But then, just as quickly, something wonderful happened. There were loud convulsions and eruptions, and I suddenly found myself free again! Covered with this wet stuff, but free.

I looked up just in time to realize that that moving cave belonged to a moving mammal. It was still making coughing and gagging noises as it continued to run down the path.

I will have to watch out for this one next time. My revenge will be in the form of a very sweet bite out of the top of that bald head of his.

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...