Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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 would be really nice, but he will still settle for ten as he'd planned.


Danny Boy is out the door and on the street at 4:39 AM, which is a little later than planned. He should never, never, never check Facebook before a run. Just a quick minute, he'd thought. Enough time for the coffee to kick in, he'd thought. It never works out as planned. Now he may have to settle for even less than ten miles. What will this do to his weekly total?


There is still a glimmer of hope, he thinks. If he can only run really fast, he might still be able to get his miles in, and still get back in time to get off to work.


Danny Boy is running as fast as he can go, and that isn't so fast. But it's still early in the run. Maybe he can still do it.


Early miles give way to middle miles, and Danny Boy is still not running very fast. It's not for lack of trying. Maybe he's still recovering from Sunday's almost longish run. The one where he had intended to run more, but ran out of time. Yeah, that one.


On one of the deep, dark side-streets near home, Danny Boy approaches a pile of branches and other debris that someone had thoughtfully placed in the road. He easily scoots around the pile, but as he returns to his running lane, he finds himself falling. The fall took several steps and at least one very bad word. He has time to break the fall with his hands and right leg. Once on the ground, he looks over and determines that he had tripped over one tiny stick that had escaped from the nearby pile.


Danny Boy often makes fun of his running partners who fall. But who is laughing now?


Danny Boy also looks around to make sure no one saw him. And also to make sure no one heard his expletive. Danny Boy is not known for using bad words. At least not very often. At least not by people other than his wife. At least not when he's not engaged in some wayward home improvement activity.


Danny Boy finishes his run with nine miles. He's not in any more pain than usual. Maybe he can over, rather than under-achieve tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tales of Danny Boy: Ouch


We here at Blog Central made a sincere promise a while back. We agreed to never again post stories of The Kid. We still plan to stick to our solemn oath; the Kid Chronicles are no more. However, in the spirit of Great Third-Person Literature, we now introduce the Tales of Danny Boy.



“Ouch!” Danny Boy says out loud. It’s 9.3 miles into his 10-mile run. He thinks he may have once again done something pretty darn stupid.



The thing is, running had been improving once again for Danny Boy. To review, a couple months ago, he was ramping up his mileage and his intensity in anticipation of running two and a half marathons this Spring. Then he had his SETBACK. In the ensuing weeks, besides dealing with the intensified Achilles pain, he lost gobs of fitness. Due to that lost fitness, Danny Boy decided to opt-out of Marathon Number One, the Canton Hall of Fame Marathon. But now, over the last couple weeks, he was beginning to feel better again, and was clawing his way back up to 50 miles per week.



Until today.

He hits the road at 4:25 AM, and immediately runs into Neighbor Runner Rita, who is running with her dog. Kind of weird talking with a neighbor at that early hour, but after a few nice words, they each run their separate ways. Danny Boy runs over to the track at his usual easy, slow, loping pace. Once under the fence, however, he lowers the hammer.

 

It turns out that that hammer is not of the sledge variety, but more like a 6-ounce ball pin type. Having run 10-minute miles to get here, he’s now doing four miles at 8:20 or so pace. He supposes that this fast-feeling is sort of like a tempo run, such as it is. This poor excuse for Something of Substance will have to do today. Danny Boy only wants to survive the run without re-injury. He had been thinking that the soft track surface would be good for him. The constant turning may be stressful, but at this extra-slow pace, there shouldn’t be much torque, he thinks.

 

Towards the end of the track run, Danny Boy’s Achilles begins talking to him. “I’m here,” it says. It talks more during the run home, until Danny Boy makes his “Ouch!” exclamation. Danny Boy feels stupid.

 

Maybe it’s not totally dumb. Maybe Danny Boy will easily recover.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

More or Less

I've lost my base, and don't know where to find it.
...

More

It's Saturday, and it's the usual gang, more or less: Debbie Scheel, Theresa Wright, Harold Dravenstott, Michelle Wolff, and, somewhat surprisingly, myself. My Achilles injury got so bad a couple weeks ago, that I've done almost no running at all of late. Even though I was beginning to feel better, I had informed the group that although double digits would be nice, anything at all would be better than nothing.

Fast forward an hour and a half, more or less. The others want to do more, but I ~~wisely for once~~ decide to quit early. I got ten and change in, and I am feeling pretty darn good, relatively speaking. In fact, I could do more. I've just chosen not to. I feel so darn smart.

Less

It's Sunday, and it's the usual gang, more or less: actually the same as yesterday, minus Harold and Michelle, but plus Frank Dwyer. I got through the rest of yesterday without major mishap, and as we begin today, I am still feeling pretty okay.

But today is Sunday, and so this must be Hinckley. Hinckley, as in hills. Hills that we did not have yesterday. I fall behind right away on Bellus Hill. It gets worse. Even as I battle back, the others get far ahead of me again on other hills, but stop and wait for me at times. Sympathy for the old man, you know; he lost his base, more or less, and can't seem to find it.

Then comes Effie. I'm behind again, except more than ever now. It occurs to me that this day, I could have done less.

I do manage to complete this, and get another double digit run under my belt. The base will come back, won't it? In the last couple downhill miles, Debbie scoots up ahead, and I mention to Theresa that she (Debbie) was doing the right thing for her upcoming Boston run. Theresa, who is going to Beantown as well, sprints hard to catch and even pass Debbie. Never, ever challenge Theresa, or even kid her to say that someone else is doing some training that's 'good'.

But now I'm really tired. And my Achilles hurts more than yesterday. I feel so darn dumb.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Superstition

From Dictionary.com: [soo-per-stish-uh n] noun
1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
...

I don't consider myself any more superstitious than the next person. But I did pause a little as I posed a question to the Canal Corridor 100 Mile Endurance Run Facebook Page. The question itself isn't important, but my thoughts at the moment were: am I jinxing myself by simply asking something and thereby implying that I am even considering running 100 miles?

I wouldn't have been considering it at all, except that things had been going so well for me. In preparation for my Spring races - two marathons and a half - I'd upped my mileage, and my speed, strength and endurance had all been going the right direction. It had taken an extremely long time to get there. The Achilles pain had finally subsided enough to let me run 50, then 60 and more miles per week, including long runs on the hills of Hinckley. If anything, the increased mileage had knocked the pain down a notch or two.

That was when I stepped on the mill and did some speedwork. It was only a day or two after the question. And it wasn't extremely fast; only a bit more intense than other recent runs. Of course the Achilles hurt afterwards - that's fairly normal. I took the next day off before tackling the Hinckley hills for an attempt at a long run that failed badly.

The pain has only become even more intense in the past week and a half. So much so, that I've only done a smattering of miles, and it hurts even to walk.

Now comes the most painful part of being injured: admitting it. And part of that is admitting that you probably can't run the races you've registered and trained for. The first one, scheduled for the end of April, is out for sure. The other two, in May, are in serious jeopardy.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Until I Wasn't

I was planning to get a long run in today.  Until I wasn't.
I was running fairly well. Until I wasn't.
I was feeling pretty darn good during the run. Until I wasn't.
I was actually enjoying myself. Until I wasn't.
I was even having a good week, running wise. Until I wasn't.


And finally...
I was even even starting to think that this Achilles thing was finally beginning to get better. Until I wasn't.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Don't Think About an Elephant

Another Hinckley loop; another adventure.


We're loping along in the dark, and a male runner who is not me (let's call him 'Prank') stops to go into the woods. I notice that he's not too far off the road, so in the interest in preserving Prank's privacy, I tell a female runner who is also not me (let's call her 'Veresa'), "Don't shine your (headlamp) light on Prank." Naturally, that's exactly what Veresa does.


In retrospect, I suppose this is akin to telling someone not to think about an elephant.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Roadkill

Michelle Wolff was running alongside me... and then she wasn't.

For the second time in two runs, she did a faceplant. This one was more sudden than the last. For a moment, I thought she'd disappeared. I am allowed to make fun of Michelle's falling adventures only because I've had my own share of difficulty remaining vertical. You could almost say that I'm vertically challenged.

What was it that tripped her up? This time it was a rather large dead raccoon. I actually had noticed it, but of course I didn't say anything; I'm the silent running-mate type. Just ask my friends.

Later on, several of us nearly became roadkill ourselves. Not long after turning onto Kellogg Road (motto: it's all downhill from here), an extremely large rottweiler jumped out and surprised us. We stopped, but the dog still seemed threatening, even as the owner came out and tried to keep us still whilst she wrangled her animal. The thing wasn't happy until it gave Debbie Scheel a very good all-over sniff. Only then did it decide that we were probably okay, and allowed itself to be wrangled.

Our second Hinckley loop was no less eventful. First, Frank Dwyer decided to kick the raccoon off to the side of the road. He said it didn't smell too bad, and it wouldn't stink up his shoes. I was a little dubious. Then a different Kellogg dog attacked, paying particular attention to Theresa Wright, and then me. This one was much smaller, but I still didn't like being nipped at. When I yelled, "go home", the owner found this hilarious. I am still trying to understand the joke.

Just one more story. The raccoon fiasco reminded me of an incident that occurred around about twenty-five years ago, in Michigan. I was running alone in the early morning darkness, on the left side of the road. A car approached from ahead, and came to be even with me at the same point in time that a large dead raccoon appeared in the middle of the road, in between us.

I have since long pondered the probability of all three of us (the car, the raccoon, and I) all occupying that same twenty square feet of road at precisely the same moment. I've decided that only in a Dan Horvath Roadkill Nightmare could such a thing happen.

The result? SPLATT!! The car had decided to run right over the carcass, spraying me with blood and guts. So much so, that when I got home and removed my reflective vest, and interesting geometric pattern appeared on my white shirt.

Roadkill Cafe, anyone?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I've Lost 2 Minutes per Mile and Don't Know Where to Find Them

Before it was one minute a mile. Now two. Where did they go?

TRACK!!!!!!!!!!

The thought occurred to me as I hit it the other day. It was my first time on the track for many months. In my (much) younger days, when doing track workouts, we would yell 'TRACK!' at anyone moving slower than us that were in our way. Do track runners still do this?

I love the track. I love speedwork. But with injuries and all, speedwork doesn't love me.



Nowadays, if I can do my mile intervals in under eight minutes, I'm a happy man. In the olde days, six minutes was good. I could whine some more, but I will spare you.

The good news is that, in spite of the non-cessation of the Achilles pain, I'm running more, and even slightly better. I should. I've got marathons to train for.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Free the Hinckley Nine!

This is another one that required an explanation. I will get to that.

The usual gang, Debbie, Theresa, Frank, Dennis and I, complete our 9-mile circuit. There are other runners, some of whom I know, hanging around in the parking lot. We chat a bit. Suddenly dozens of others come running into the lot; they had just gone around the lake. Presently, more running for everyone but a few of us, would ensue.

My thinking, such as it is, is this: wow - lots of runners. Cool!

Why do I think that a lot of runners, as opposed to just a few, is such a cool thing? I have no idea. I'm actually happy to run with anyone, be that a few or a lot. I've been posting these Hinckley runs as Facebook events lately, but it's nearly always the same usual suspects that make it each week. I'm okay with that, since this bunch I go with are fine people. But bigger crowds are fun as well.

Tomorrow's run should involve a bigger crowd. It's the monthly Medina Half-Marathon training run, and the weather is looking fantastic. In fact it was today as well. One of today's runner's said, "it doesn't get any better than this," and I agree wholeheartedly.

The Hinckley Nine? Well, that's the name of our usual road loop. But it also sounded to me like some kind of notorious group of people. Maybe outlaws or terrorists. Or maybe people who are more innocent, but are being unjustly persecuted. In the event that you can think about the name in terms of people instead of miles, freeing them would seem like a good idea.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Old Bull and the Young Bull

When you have to announce that a joke is completed, that’s a sign that either it’s not funny, or you didn’t tell it right. I think it was the latter this morning, as my running-rattled brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Theresa Stephens Wright, Debbie Scheel, Dennis (don’t know his last name) and Frank Dwyer had actually asked for a story. Here it is, (told perhaps a little better).

An old bull and a young bull were in a pasture, looking down at a lower pasture filled with comely heifers. The young bull says, ‘Hey old bull, the farmer left the gate between the pastures open! Let’s run down to those cows and smooch a couple of them!’ The old bull says, ‘Nope. Let’s saunter on down there slowly, and smooch the whole lot of them.’ Author’s note: verbs other than ‘smooch’ may be substituted here.

Running friends from a couple generations ago used to have some fun with that one. I'm thinking of old bull Brian Peacock, and young bull Geoff Chase. Being between those two in age, I'm not sure what role I took on. Maybe one of the heifers?

I would also like to say that my Achilles pain is subsiding a little, and that has enabled me to pick up the pace and mileage ever so slightly. I would also like to say that I am very rich and famous, and that I get younger each year.

The pain had actually been a little more manageable, and I really have been running a little faster and farther... until today's sixteen-miler. Now it's back to normal. And that's not so good. You would think that I ought to ease up a little. You know: take it easy.

But no. I am committed. Or need to be. At the Medina County Road Runners Club Banquet a couple weeks ago, I won a free entry to the Medina Half Marathon, and registered immediately. Last week I learned that a friend wanted to sell her entry to the Canton Hall of Fame Marathon - for only $20! I jumped at it and got myself registered for that one as well. Then, with all that money I saved, I splurged and paid a high price ($105 plus fee) to register for the fortieth Cleveland Marathon. Yeah, fortieth. I had run the first, in 1978.

So I guess I can't stop now. You would think an old bull would know better.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One a Day

It's been three weeks now, and I still shudder. So much fear and trepidation. It went something like this.

We got back last Friday, and it's now Tuesday morning. That's getting back from 17 days on that cruise ship. 17 days of gourmet cuisine, fixed the way you like it, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks, every day. For 17 days. Okay, okay. I guess I said that already. And don't even get me started about the unlimited wine with meals package that we had. Debbie and I joked about how we were putting on a pound a day. Yeah, I managed to run a little on the ship, but nearly enough to compensate for those 17 days.

Now it's time. I don't want to do it, but I really can't put it off any longer. As I step on the scale I think about how I've been pretty good. It's been fairly normal eating over the weekend, followed by my usual partial-fast yesterday. Furthermore, I got some running done over the weekend. It was tough to go out against the cold, but I managed, with the help of some friends. Sure, I can still tell that I'm a couple pounds north of where I ought to be, but surely not too much awfully so.

It is too much awfully so, The scale nearly busts, and then tells me that I weigh 172 pounds. That's around 12 more than three and a half weeks ago. Not quite one a day... but then I think that at some point over the weekend or previous week, I likely did tip the scale at 177. I can hardly believe my eyes. I don't think I've weighed this much since my high school football days.

Nowadays, I'm only beginning to get over this. One may have hoped that if one can put on a pound a day, one could also take off a pound a day, right? No, it doesn't appear to work that way. Oh, the weight is coming down. But only gradually. Very gradually.

Here's the silver lining. I've been running okay (once again, friends help), and my AT pain doesn't seem so bad these days.

Thus it's not all gloom and doom. There are some bright spots on the horizon. Heck, we even have a brand-new, shiny president. What could go wrong?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Running and Cruise Ships Don't Mix

You have exactly three options:
1) Go ashore and run
2) Run on one of the Fitness Center's treadmills
3) Run around the perimeter of the ship

Numero uno is the preferred choice. But it's also the most problematic. It usually involves taking a tender boat or bus from the ship to a place that's runnable. And with only a matter of hours at most ports, it isn't possible most of the time because we're usually going somewhere or doing something for that brief time. This leaves only the ports that we visit overnight (so I can get out and back early). And the boat / bus thing is undesirable as well.

Treadmills generally fill me with dread. But they do provide a good workout. The biggest problem - and it truly is a big one - is that the fitness center doesn't open until 6:00 AM. Don't they know that the day is half-way gone by then?

And then there's the gerbil thing. Ten laps per mile. Round and round. Last time we were on this ship (it's the Oceana Marina), I did a couple ten-milers. That's 100 laps if you're keeping count. And yes, count them I did.

...

This particular Marina cruise is traveling around the southern part of South America. We start in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and finish in Valparaiso, Chile. Buenos Aires is a huge and wonderful city, but the port area where we're parked is awful. It's all big-time stacks of shipping containers being loaded, unloaded and moved around. It's impossible to simply get off the boat and run; one must take a bus about a mile through the maze of shipping stuff, over to the terminal.

I am quite alone as I wait on the bus for it to leave at 5:30 AM. I wait for what seems like a long time, but eventually I make it to the terminal, and head out for my run.

It's not entirely pleasant. Bad sidewalks, gobs of traffic, and eventually - as I get to the bus station - tons and tons of people. I only scoot around for a few not-so-great miles, before going back to the terminal, bus and ship. At least I got out. That won't happen very much, if at all, for the next couple weeks.

...

A couple days later, we're moving towards port. The sun is just rising, and yet it's still early. The it occurs to me: it's summer solstice. Since we are moving, I try to run a ten-lap mile with the GPS going. I learn that I ran a 3:30 mile! I run a few more miles before getting booted off. The winds are too strong, I'm told as they close the entire area.

I just give a dumb, disbelieving look. Yeah, the winds are strong, but they always are when the ship is moving. Luckily the fitness center has just now opened. I do a couple more on the mill.

...

A few days after that - Christmas Day - I am once again flummoxed. The closing of the upper ten-laps-per-mile jogging track due to strong winds seems random to me. Yes, sometimes they close it when the winds are indeed strong, but other times they close it when they are relatively calm. One day it was open, and I actually, really and truly, totally on my own, determined that it was unsafe to run up there, and terminated the run myself. Debbie was proud of me.

This day doesn't seem bad at all however, and yet the track is closed. How in the world am I going to get today's planned double-digit run in? Wait two hours until the Fitness Center opened at 6? That is not going to happen.

I run one deck lower, in the central part of the ship, above but around the pool. I figure that this course is 14 laps per mile. Yes, that's a lot. But sure enough, I do manage to count out 140 slow laps. By the time I am done, the Fitness Center is open, so I even run a few more miles on the mill.

...

More days pass, and I get an unexpected gift from heaven: we arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina at 3:00 AM, and this means I have time to run onshore before today's planned hike. Yes onshore. As in, on land, off the ship!

Trail Running in Ushuaia, Argentina
It's 5:00 AM, and I decide to head toward Glacier Martial. It's supposed to be up in the hills above town. Town, actually the southernmost city on the planet, is on the island of Tierra del Fuego, and at the base of the mountains. Finding a glacier, or at least the route up to one (I knew it was a ways) shouldn't be all that difficult.

So of course it is. I am chased by wild dogs several times, go up and back down roads that head up the foothills, but peter out. Finally, four miles and about an hour of running and hiking and being mixed up later, I do manage to find the park-like area with trails leading to Glacier Martial.

I run a little bit on the trails, but now it's too late to keep going to see the glacier. I had better return to the ship. I do manage to admire the mountain scenery and view of the city and the bay. And I even manage to take a few photos, since I am carrying my pocket camera.

Getting back is much easier, since I now know where I'm at in relation to the ship. And down is often easier than up. I'm back in no time. Except now there's a hike to be done.

...

Days pass. I run more on the mill, and a little more on ship's jogging path. My Achilles Tendonitis is really hurting - probably the combination of extremely high weight being applied to an already injured body part. So I decide to try acupuncture.  For the first time.

This is a new experience for me. I am open-minded about it. And it is somewhat painful, as needles go into my opposite wrist, but also in a couple spots on the foot where the pain was (notice the past tense, since there is now new pain).

Unfortunately, it does absolutely no good, whatsoever. Except that it helped me forget the AT pain for a while - since the needle pain was there to replace it.

...

It's the 17th day of the trip, and we are due to disembark in a few hours. I am sure I've gained at least 17 pounds, in spite of a decent amount of running. Most has probably been on the mill, but today I run on the jogging track. I'd hoped to be able to run on land here in Valparaiso, but since it's necessary to get bussed to the cruise terminal to get out, there isn't time.

So around and around I go - 30 more times, just for fun.

Now that that's done, it will be homeward bound.

Ten Laps on the ship's "jogging track". It's funny
how Google maps doesn't understand that there's a ship there.

Lost, looking for the glacier in Ushuaia, Argentina. The lost part is the upper-right. Finally got
on the right track (left side of pic), but by then it was too late.

For more about this trip, see the Travel Blog Post.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2441.51

Every January I typically post my mileage for the previous year. Here it is. Gotta work on that speed! Incidentally, the one statistic that didn't get caught was the number of steps. I like the number, so here it is: 3,989,922.

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...