Monday, August 28, 2017

Emerald City Half-Marathon Race Report

When does this get easy?

The short answer: not yet.

Our family spent the weekend in a cabin in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. We had a wonderful time hiking the hills and enjoying the tranquility. I had the brilliant idea of stopping in Dublin to run the Emerald City Half-Marathon on the way home Sunday morning. It wasn't too far out of the way, and I needed another race or two to get ready for the Erie Presque Isle Marathon.

I left the cabin at 4:30 AM in order to arrive in time to check in and loosen up for the 7:00 AM start. I was on my own; Debbie would return with the Dancer family. Although I had no trouble finding Dublin, the starting area was confusing, and I was disoriented. Parking was at a large shopping area adjacent to a hospital. I wasn't sure where to park or where to check in. I managed to get everything done in time for a little warmup run. Good thing, too: it was cool (pleasantly so), and I was tight from the trip. Not to mention yesterday's hiking.

I started with the 1:45 pace group. Since it was such a huge race, there were several pace groups, but this one suited me. 8 minute per mile pace could be a stretch, but I did manage an 8:10 pace at last week's race. That one had been about a tenth the size of this race, and much hillier. Regardless of the hills, I decided that I definitely like small races better. Much better.

The first few miles weren't bad, but then I discovered that I was working pretty darn hard to keep up with this group. By about mile 4, I was beginning to fall behind. A little before half-way We reached Glacier Ridge metro park, where we'd spend most of the rest of the miles. Note that there is neither a glacier, nor a ridge there. This is C-bus, you know, where it's as flat as can be. But I enjoyed this part of the run, nonetheless. Half-way went by in around 53 minutes. Now if I can only manage negative splits like I did last week, I'll make it to 1:45.

I couldn't. Almost, but not quite. Whereas last week, with the downhills in the second half, I could pick the pace up quite nicely, this week things only became more difficult.

Well, I did pick the pace up, but only ever so slightly. My finish time was just over 1:45. I suppose that's okay. It's two minutes faster than last week. Alright, maybe just a little better than okay. But just a little. I'm still waiting for it to get easy.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Buehler's Heart and Sole Community Walk and Run Half-Marathon Race Report

I'm tired just from typing that subject line.

I'm also tired from running this Hilly Half in Wildly Wonderful Wooster. I had no time goal, or other expectation going in. A steady effort, which on this course should translate into negative splits, would be nice, however.

Why negative splits, you ask? The course begins and ends in downtown Wooster. Almost immediately after the start, runners are going up. And up. And up some more. After half-way, it's back down towards the start on the mostly out and back course. I've done it before; I knew what to expect.




It was warm and humid during the early miles. I'd thought it would be cooler. I was doing 8:30 miles, but they were tough. The steeper the uphill section, the slower I ran. Funny how that works. I saw a bunch of friends before and during the race. Unfortunately, one of them was Doug Hradek, who is a good runner and who also happens to be in my age group.

I hit the half-way point (6.55 miles) in 55 minutes flat. Breaking 1:50 now sounded pretty good, and I picked it up a little. The downhills got better over the final five miles, so at that point, I picked it up a little more.

That's when the thunderstorm hit. It hit hard. I had been watching the clouds from about mile 7 on, and they looked scary. There were layers upon layers of dark, foreboding clouds, and I could see the rain coming down in the distance. By mile 8, huge drops were splashing down, and there was thunder all around.

Mile 9 had some steep uphills, so I slowed back down for a while. But the storm soon ended, about as fast as it started; the downpour only lasted about fifteen minutes. A light rain persisted afterwards. Mile 10 was a psychological boon this day. I hit it in 1:23:30 (that's about my half-marathon PR by the way), and began trying to run my fastest miles of the day. Would I be able to?

The short answer is yes. I ran the final 3 in 23 and a half minutes, for a time of 1:47 flat. I was second in my age group, two minutes behind Doug. First would have been nice, but I'll take it.



Saturday, August 12, 2017

Coming Up Short

I needed 24. Isn't it funny how we need mileage like this? Anyway, I only got 22. I will choose to blame this one on today's running partner, Larry Orwin. We were running on the towpath, and he was generally leaving the decisions up to me. When to turn back towards home, how much to add on, etc. Well, let me tell you. Larry let me decide to settle for 22 instead of going on for another two. It's therefore all his fault that I came up short today. Never mind that I was tired. That had absolutely nothing to do with it.

While we are at it, I may as well blame last week's running partners, Frank Dwyer, Michelle Wolff, Harold Dravenstott, and others, on coming up short that time. We were at Buckeye Woods, and I got 4 or 5 in early, before our 12+ mile loop, causing me to only come up with only 17 for the day, 1 mile short of what I call a long run. Never mind that I was tired that time, too. And never mind that they mostly kept going, and I could, if not so tired, have gone further with them. No, that stuff had nothing to do with it.

Also never mind that I'm probably still recovering from Burning River. I do, however, have a marathon to get ready for. The Presque Isle Marathon in Erie is only four weeks away, and I had better stop coming up short then. To do so at that race itself would be a bad thing.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Orion Rise 2017

It happens every year, and each time it's a very pleasant surprise. I am running in the early morning darkness, and quite unexpectedly, for the first time this season, spot Orion rising above the eastern horizon. The rise of the Orion constellation portends the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. It means cooler weather and shorter days. It heralds the start of the harvest season and good eating. I am in my element. It's Dan Season.


It had only been a couple weeks since I'd first seen the Pleiades. Of course that was exciting, but nothing compared with this! This is extra special.


The occasion was a pace run at Mugrage park with Frank Dwyer and Harold Dravenstott. I was alone at the moment, but I looked up, beyond the pond, there he was (Orion is a man, you know). What a glorious sight!


The rest of the run was solid, but fairly uneventful. The pace was about nine minutes per mile, and it was pretty steady. Things are good. It's Dan Season.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Details about my Chafing

I left this out of my BR50 report, mostly because it was too painful to relate. But I'll relate it now... but it will also be painful to read. Okay, you've been warned.

I am a little past the mile 45 aid station, the last before my finish. A few minutes ago, I'd climbed up the impossible "piano key" stairs that lead away from Snowville Road. At the aid station I had rubbed half a handful of petroleum jelly on the inside of my upper thighs. It isn't humid, but I always seem to be on the verge of chafing in that sensitive spot, so I've been spreading an ungodly amount of the goop at nearly every aid station.

Never mind that there's better stuff than old-fashioned Vaseline these days. Never mind that it could ruin my clothes. Never mind that it may not work quite as well as some of the newer type stuff. I figured that if I just put enough of the stuff on often enough, things would be okay down there.

I step off the side of the trail to pee for the first time in several hours. Earlier in the race, I'd have tried a little harder to find a tree or bush or something to hide behind. But at this point, any thoughts of modesty and discretion are distant memories.

A woman runs by and announces her presence. I have my back turned, but I think she merely doesn't want me to turn around, in which case neither of us would be happy.

After she passes by, I resume trying to pull my shorts aside. That's when I realize there's a new and unexpected problem: my skin is sticking to the shorts' lining. When I tug harder, it rips. Not the shorts, my skin! On the most sensitive spot a man can have!! It hurts so much that I let out a short, audible wimper. Luckily, my lady friend is out of earshot by now.

Yes, I'm a bleeder. Just like in There's Something About Mary.

I had been aware that chafing can and will occur anywhere that skin rubs against material or other skin. And I'm aware that this happens in the places you least want it to. As it has now.

I suppose this too will pass.

It was dark in the park

It was dark in the park, Goes the snark remark. Today’s runner tried to be quick off the mark, But with the dark so stark, H...