Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 0 and 2

Two races scheduled, two canceled.  The Dirty Dog 10k was canceled by the race directors - due to weather.  The Oil Creek 50k by me - due to weather.  The OC 50k took place yesterday, but without me.  I was really looking forward to my ultra debut, but didn't want to drive 2.5 hours each way for what would have ended up as a 10 mi hike in knee high snow.  It was pretty, as I heard from the race director of the Oil Creek 100, however, I'm not sure anyone completed the entire run.  That's OK, as it's an FA.  But I really wanted to give the distance a go.  So now I look forward the the Covered Bridge FA.  Here's to hoping the weather will improve next month.

To relieve my disappointment, Pepper and I ran a slow 12.2 miles on city streets.  The roads were pretty clear.  It was overcast as a light snow fell.  31 deg F.  I developed some small cuts/blisters on my feet from the vff's.  This could be due to my ungainly gate.  Or, it could be the cold and wet weakening the skin, eventually leading to a blister.  These abrasions occurred on the side of my feet at the base of the big toe.  This is a new development.  I wonder if the vff's are wearing.  Or did I have them too loose?  Barefoot would have been better, or maybe a pair of sandals -  I need to get busy making my first pair of huraches like Barefoot Ted.

Today is a rest day, So here's to looking forward to a new month of warmth.  I love the snow, but I miss running the trails.

Go Canada Hockey!
Don't the Americans have enough already?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aqua Man

My run on ice trails Tuesday was an excercise in frustration - as well as a strain on the groin muscles not to mention the tiny foot and ankle muscles.  I ran to the 'rent-in-law's' house and back for a 13.1 miler - Cuyahoga Falls to Kent and back.  The trip took me through CF streets to Water Works Park, then the Kelsey Trail into Kent and then a few Kent streets.  It was my slowest run ever at 13.4 min/mi.  Am I getting slower?

Well, the trail was well traveled and therefore packed by previous walkers.  But the thaw the weekend before created a glaze that turned to glass by Tuesdays freeze.  Footing was treacherous!  In my vff sprints, I had absolutely no traction.  I became downtrodden with the expectation of my upcoming ultra debut dissolving to disaster.  I knew I had to make a change.

Should I get a pair of Galosh Barefoot One Finger's as reviewed by Barefoot Josh?  Should I forsake the ultra trail challenge for the comfort of a warm bed and a dog at my feet (and the Mrs of course - but not at my feet)? What to do?

I decided to go to wally world to see what they had.  Got a pair of $7 Auqa Socks.  Ok, so I overpaid by $2 - what are you going to do.  It beats the vff kso treks at $140.  The aqua socks (AQS) had a little bit of traction - substantially more than the vff sprints. I thought they might work on the ice.

So today, the Pooper & I headed out for redemption on the Kelsey trail.  An out and back 5.8 miler from the homestead on the icy cruelness that brought me down two days before.  Pepper of couse is right at home no matter what he conditions.  She's a real trooper.  Nothing phases her.

Since we got an inch of new white stuff and temps ranged into the 34 deg F area, the conditions were completely different than those on Tuesday.  So, the planned test of the new foot coffins was not as scientifically similar to my previous disaster as I had hopped.   The AQS's held up well though.  They are light, flexible and a little sloppy.  I think they preform better than the vff sports on slippery surfaces.  Note to self - Choose races that don't have multiple feet of snow in the forecast.

I felt as if I was warping through the hour long run at speeds I've never attained before.  This wasn't the case.  I finished with a. 11min/mi avg.  Disappointing, given the confidence I felt on the run.  The cool thing is that I can look forward to much better preformances.  I know I'm better than that!!!

Oil Creek FA 50k this Saturday??  It will be interesting.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Sun

Posted on Monday - a day late.  Forgive my tardieness.
It was a beautiful day here in North East Ohio - sun and 40 deg F.  It was a terrible day in Orlando (Cavs lost).

Here are some shots, and click on the pictures to get the full benefit.  For some, you may have to hit Ctrl- to reduce the size:

The High Bridge?  Yes, it's very high!

The High Bridge Trail and old railroad telephone poles and the Pooper sniffing out a mole - didn't catch it

The Gorge Dam

The Cuyahoga Falls power station site and a goose - didn't catch it - power station now removed

The Glen Trail & my running view of the Pooper

The view from the new High Bridge looking upstream of the Cuyahoga River.  The Sheraton Suites Hotel is in the background.
Not to confuse you, but this is a foot bridge across the Cuyahoga.  The blue bridge in the first picture above is a vehicular bridge that carries the traffic of State Street across the Cuyahoga, and the trail that leads to it is called "High Bridge Trail."  By all immpressions, it is a very high bridge, and that's why I thought it was called High Bridge Trail, but apparently not.  The picture to the left is a foot bridge that occupies the R.O.W. of Prospect Ave. crossing the southern section of Front Street.  It's a newly constructed portion of the "High Bridge Glen Trail," which is an old name for the park that was in the area in the 1880's to early 1900's.  The old park had a roller coaster, dance hall, Ferris wheel, and foot bridge that was in the same location and must have been called "High Bridge" since it was suspended 90' above the river.  The park was closed and the public lost the view when industry moved in.  When the park opened last year - sans roller coaster and Ferris wheel, damn penny pinchers - with this new foot bridge, it made this spectacular view of the river and falls available to the public once again.  I am sure the ODNR will soon be pestered with requests to kayak this run.

So Pepper and I had an excellent 5.9 mi run of the trails.  Glen trail starts less than a mile from my house.  I am very lucky.  My time was slow, but it's partly due to taking all the pictures.  On a day like this, it's important to stop and take it all in.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mush Massage

Mush Massage
Winter running can be tricky.  It felt like a spring day in North East Ohio with the temperature at 36 deg F, dry roads and a big ball of fire in the sky.  When you get to the busy streets though, you have to move to the sidewalk.  Manny people shovel, and many people don't.  The sidewalks that weren't shoveled have had plenty of foot traffic leaving a compacted snow base.  The footing was loose due to the temp, but not un-runnable.  The cool thing was that the snow provided a very cleansing foot massage.  Very nice for the tootsies that have been cooped up in Vibrams the last few weeks.  It was like running on very course sand, less abrasive, and loose, but your feet find the stability of the ground quickly.  Near the end of my run, I started looking for these sidewalks, and skipped the streets.

Movie Review
I viewed the movie "Food Inc." yesterday.  I highly recommend it.  Many of the ideas are covered in Michael Pollans' "The Omnivore's Dilemma," but there are some new stories too.  It's nice to see a face to the story(ies).  Check it out from the library.  You may have to wait because it seems to be very popular.  The encouraging thought is that we can vote for change to the current establishment - three times a day!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Screw it! I'm Just Gonna Do It!

I added a few runs to my future list.  Maybe a little ambitious for my skill/talent/ability/mentality.  But, I made a resolution to run a race a month and nothing else is available for free in February, so wtf.  I'm just going to go for it.

50k.  In February.  In Pennsylvania.  In slop, most likely.  What could be better.  Is this more than I can handle?  We'll see!  12 days from now.  Hmmm.  I better see If I can run more than two hours straight.  I'll take some chia seeds.  Some penole.  Water.  What else?  I have no idea what it will take to run that far or that long.  But, what better way to find out since now that I have set this as my goal, I will find a way to do it.

I made this decision on my 6.2 mile ramble yesterday with Pepper.  Why?  I don't know.  I guess I'm tired of sitting around wondering if I'm capable.  Will I succeed?  Will I fail?  I had better go for a run and think about it some more.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How I Beat Viper at Sand Run!

I ran the Sand Run 6 today with Pepper.  I was pleased with the conditions: 29 deg F; Pepper on her leash; a well plowed trail with a little slop; vff's for the first 3.5 and bf thereafter; a spirited thought in the brain; and a poop bag in my pocket!

I celebrate the fact that my time for the run was less than that reported by the Viper, but not what I had hoped.  I stopped the clock when the Pooper had to run off trail and do her bit'ness - and honestly, it wasn't me who left the 3 piles on the path.  I let Pepper bound up to the wilderness area about 50 yards away from the trail.  I left it there, 'cause, you wouldn't want me to disturb the pristine snow covered hillside with my footsteps, would you?

I clocked the run at ~10.8 min/mi.  Much longer than the two teenagers who passed me - twice (they were in shoes though, so they don't count).

I've come to the conclusion that the Pooper slows me down.  I'm not unhappy about it, and she won't let me out of the house without her when I put on the running jersey, but I don't log the time I'm sure I'm capable of when running without her.  I know, I'm just making excuses!  But when she's off leash for the majority of the run,  I don't have to stop every other minute to let her pee. She just hangs back, does her bit'ness, and then comes storming by to catch up and do it again.  She really does love smelling stuff, and marking stuff.

Also, if you look at the week(ness) log, you'll see I'm putting Viper to shame this year. . .  Is that a call out?  Are we comrade runners supposed to be so provocative?  I'm not sure, as I only started running last August.  Perhaps we should shake it out at the Shamrock 15k?  A thought!  I'll bring the brute, you bring the beer!!!


Snow is Deep

The Hampton Hills Adam Run (HHAR) was quite a challenge today.  The 3.2 mile trail was snow covered to a depth of 12" and the footing was loose.  Pepper and I ran mostly in the footsteps of previous walkers, but the compressed, foot trodden snow trail only lasted about a third of the way.  There were snow shoe tracks the entire way, but I couldn't run on them since they weren't fully compacted and therefore proved to be unstable footing.  After the first third of the trail, we used a deer path that followed the hiking trail, and that wasn't too bad.  I wore my vff's without socks so the top of my tootsies got a little cold with the snow cover.  The cold told me not to make the second circuit as my initial ambition desired.  All in all, the run was quite a work out.  My ankles were twisting from side to side; my groin muscles were yelping; a knee was saying "hay, what are you doing?"  And when I got home, I needed a shower and a nap.  I finished the run in a 16min/mi pace - my slowest to date for any run.  I ran HHAR at 13min/mi in September last year - a half a month after I started running.  Time wasn't a concern though.  After the first 1/4 mi, I thought maybe I should just turn around, but I'm glad I persisted despite my time.

It was a really beautiful run.  There is nothing like the quiet of a snow covered hillside, without leaves so that you can see through the forest.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sun Run

Another beautiful run in the sun today.  I wore too many layers and worked up quite a sweat.  The streets were mostly clear and dry, but when I had to run on sidewalks they were pretty snowy.  The tootsies got cold when I had to run through the knee high stuff, but they warmed up pretty quickly when I got back on the sun baked pavement (OK, so maybe 'baked' is an overstatement).  I continue to surprise myself at my barefoot tollerence to the cold. As C McD put it, you are capable of more than you think you are.

The Dirty Dog race was canceled on Saturday, so no race report.  I was looking forward to it (and to winning the barefoot category).  But running in 15" of snow is tough, as I found out later that day.  I ran the streets of CF and went through a park with knee deep snow.  That part wasn't a run as much as it was an exercise in high stepping.  The sun was shining and Pepper and I had a good time as usual, so no regrets.

Last year I resolved to run a race per month.  I count the GNYER as my race for January.  So, now I need a race for this month.  I may have to try the Oil Creek 50K FA Run on Feb 27, but I'm scared!!  What to do, what to do.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snow Training

I treated myself to a 13.6 miler yesterday and found out why training (or should I say running, playing, or whatever you want to call it because I'm not sure anything I do can be called training) in the snow, as opposed to say, a warm beach in southern California or Florida, is better for your form.  I know, lots of people would love to trade snowy roads for sunny beaches.  But truthfully, I love the snow.  I always have.  And I would miss it if it weren't here.  So instead of dreaming of a warm run, or staying inside depriving myself of vitamin D, I embrace the cold and snow.  And I've found a way to turn the slick stuff to my advantage.

Pepper and I started at the Peninsula Trail head on the Tow Path and headed north.  It was a beautiful 28 deg F day with the snow falling lightly and quiet, just quiet.  The trail had a compacted snow base of maybe an inch, and a light, half inch covering of fluff from the night before.  Absolutely perfect!!  We started downstream and started to get into our groove.  After letting her off leash, I was able to get into my stride and enjoy the day.  I had to put her back on when we saw a herd of deer or crossed a road, but that was infrequent.  So, the tranquility allowed me to pay attention to me.  Something I like to do by the way (too egocentric?).  And I realized I was pushing off with my right foot.  I noticed this because, when you run on a slippery surface, you will loose your footing, just ever so slightly, if you push with your toes.  Now, I knew I was prone to this because of the blisters that show up on my right little piggie, or maybe the long toe, when I run on wet asphalt or concrete.  But running in the snow really made it evident.  Without snow, I wouldn't notice the problem until the skin got tender and by then it was too late - the blister would be there by that time.  The snow gave me immediate feedback about my problematic push, and I think I learned (a little bit) to control this by picking my feet up instead of pushing off.  Something I try to do but, in perfect conditions you can get away with a sloppy form.  It still doesn't seem the natural thing to do for some reason - lift the foot as opposed to pushing off.  But then again, paying attention to the feedback your feet are giving you with every step has got to be the way to go.  The tickle/sting of a blister forming is a very powerful and informative indication that something is wrong and should be corrected.  The beauty and truth of barefoot running is that you get that information immediately.

We got to Station Road and decided to turn back.  The total came to more than a half marathon!  We made it in a negative slit, UPHILL!  Our longest run to date.  It was a great way to celebrate the dawning of my new age group.  Based on yesterdays run, I need to cut 3 min/mile to get to 8 mi/mile for Boston.  I'm slow, but happy.

Born to run?  Damn right!  Rain, snow, sleet, sun, whatever you've got.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

4 things to say

I have four things to say:

1. "Deep in the Q for three"
2. "Straight down Euclid"
3. "Get that week stuff outa' here"
4. " Throw the hammer down"


Monday, February 1, 2010

The Pooper Turned Four Today

It's her birthday.  Pepper turned 4.

She did things dogs love to do:

Kissed Mommy

And Daddy
And went for a run.  We were both barefoot , by the way. 
We ran another 4.2 miles through the streets of Cuyahoga Falls.  If there is a shortage of salt in the world, I know why.  Because the city put ALL of it on their sidewalks and streets.  It was kind of disgusting watching the salt dust clouds rise from the trail of passing cars, not to mention the pain of running on the larger crystals.  Harder, I think, than a gravel road.  There is no wonder why the fishies have a hard time.  All that salty runoff will end up in their home.  Ah, well.  We still had a wonderful time. First back to back run this year.

 I also got my first shipment of Chia seeds today - look out all you distance runners!

btw, I'm still figuring out the best way to edit and format posts - this one is probably a little crude to you experts.
ltr, bfjo