Sunday, March 28, 2010

Favorite Numbers

3 - The number of dogs in the house.  We're dogsitting our sisters boxer and new chocolate lab pup.  So with Pepper, that makes a three dog night - also a good band.

455 - The number of miles I've run in my life.  And the cubic inch displacement of my Firebird.

4 - Bobby Orr - need I say more?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So, the last week has been a slow one for running.  My feet were recovering from the CB 50k and therefore I had only one run last week.  This week, I've only run a 5.1'er - more planned for Wednesday.  It was a nice run to Waterworks, the bike path and Silver Lake city streets.  It started raining at mile two.  We saw a six pack on the way - of white tail deer.  Neither Pepper or I gave chase.  They just looked at us as we trotted by.  I think they get very comfortable in an urban environment.  We have yet to chase down a deer or rabbit.  Pepper does have three squirrel kills to her credit.  She got them last year in the back yard.  I would like to see her improve her tally this year - nothing like organic nut fed meat for dinner!

Viper and Barefoot Josh have an elevens challenge with each other.  Sounds great.  I love the idea of pairing with someone for a challenge.  If for no other reason than to push yourself.  This one however, was not for me.  Instead I was checking out Lauren's blog and found a fitting challenge. 12-in-12 - I like the sound of this.  And, I read the same book in January that she did  - "Born to Run."  It's on.  Well, to be honest, I listened to BTR on cd.  I borrowed it last July and have listened to it at least once a month ever since - including January.  Listening may be less involved than actual reading, so I've made a rule: If you listen to a book instead of reading it, you must listen to two per month.  So, I also listened to "The Omnivores Dilemma."   In February, I read:

This was a bit of a tough read due to the names, but very interesting.  A history about the Americas before Columbus.  Our education of why we (the white man) defeated the Indians is incredibly elemental and unfortunately incorrect.  After reading BTR, I found this informative as to the history that lead to the plight of the Tarahumara Indians.  I would recommend this to all who wonder why the Incas (and many others) disappeared, and to those who think tomato sauce is an Italian creation.

This Month I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  I'll give a simple critique when done (if you haven't noticed, I like simple).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Covered Bridge FA

A light rain began about half way through my hour drive to Mill Creek State Park in Youngstown, Ohio.  The weather report yesterday called for rain, rain, rain.  I was surprised how little we got up to that point, but the future was not looking bright.  When I arrived, the rain had more or less stopped.  Maybe we would get the 50k in without getting drenched.  In fact, by the end of the run, only intermittent light rain washed the sweat away.  The conditions were far from perfect, but could have been a lot worse.  This was a Fat Ass after all, so no whining, right?

When I got to the parking lot, there were already 9 cars there.  These guys were serious about starting early.  The official start was at 8, with the option of an early 6 AM getaway.  Most opted for the early.  Not me.  Only a few of us were waiting for the others to make their first 8 mile circuit by the time 8 AM rolled around.

By 8, we were about 15 strong, a good showing for a rainy FA.  The members of NEO Trail club seemed glad to welcome a new member - me - until the start.

As I removed the Aqua Socks I had on, a look of concern crossed many of their faces.  I got the usual questions: Are you going to run barefoot?  Aren't your feet cold?  I assured them I was, and they weren't.  Their assumption that I was crazy was however, would not be as easy to disprove (and probably still is not).

50k would be completed by making 4 circuits of the northern portion of the YUT-C course.  We all started together at an easy pace.  I worked my way to the back quickly - one of my strengths.  The trail was in pretty good condition considering the rain.  It was a little muddy, rocky, but firm for the most part.  I ran with the back of the pack for the first circuit  but was trying to keep up with the guy ahead of me.  There were three behind.  I was loosing distance at about mile 4 and then the guy ahead just disappeared into the woods.  I kept trudging on and came to the monkey hill section.  I had no one to follow, but the trail seemed plain enough.  As I started up the monkey hills, I started to doubt the path.  There were fresh tracks, but the steepness and precarious footing made it seem unreasonable.  After all, there was a perfectly good path along the valley floor.  Wouldn't it make sense to just run along that?  After my third 200' assent at 45 degrees,(or was it 60?) I saw the three behind on the same path, confirming my direction.  I decided to slow down to avoid getting lost.  It seemed that the sensible rout was never chosen.  No, if the path started looking too easy, I could be sure that a turn up a hill was just around the corner.

Near the end of my first circuit, there were just two of us strongly bringing up the rear.  Tank and I were passed by a few of the leaders who decided to run their next circuit backwards.  Note: Tank is my nickname for the one others call Moose.  I don't know why, I just think 'tank' when I see him lumbering along.  We finished the first in just under 2 hours.  Not quick.  But I was having a good time.  We refueled at the parking lot and started our second circuit in reverse.  After the first mile or so I realized the sharp pain in my big right toe was going to be an issue.  After crossing a stream, washing off some of the mud,  the hanging skin of a nice big blister greeted me with a smile.  Well, that would pain me the rest of the way.  And it did.  I could have stopped to tape it up, but wouldn't that be considered whining?  Something not allowed in these races.

Tank and I finished the second Circuit in just over two hours.  My feet were done for the day and Tank had to leave.  Therefore, my ultra debut was only half realized at 16 miles.  That's alright.  I had fun, meet some great people, and got to run around a very picturesque park.  The weather being what it was, didn't make for the prettiest day, but there is a lot of potential.  There are lots of trails to discover.  I will return to this one for another run.

Here are some shots:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Race Time

First off: did I mention how slow I am?  208/278 at the Shamrock 15k.  Wow.

But I have some questions:
1) The time I saw when I crossed is different than the time in the official results.  No d-tag or chip for this race.  Why?
2) The pace reported does not match the time for the given distance - I am assuming the race was exactly 15k.  This may not be the case as I couldn't jive it on mapmyrun.  Does anyone know if this race is actually 15k?
3) What does agegrade mean and why is it different from actual time?
4) What the crap does age% mean?

I think the answer may in the question I first asked: Did I mention how slow I am?

Good thing the CB 50k FA tomorrow is not timed.  In case you're interested, they changed the venue since West Branch is closed due to mud.  They moved it back to Youngstown in it's original location - at the YUT-C 50k course.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trail Tripping

Pepper was whining to see what the trails looked like today. So we headed out to O'Neil Woods.  The trails are in a transition period - mostly snow and ice.  A few sections of ankle deep mud, warm and gooey.
We ran the 1.8 mile trail in about 30 minuets that included a poop stop, pictures and two falls - by me, not Pepper.  Nothing broke or hurt.  Laughter ensued.

Pepper wasn't impressed with my performance - she always seemed to be waiting for me??  So, I got the message and we headed to Hampton Hills to hit the 3.2 mile Adams Run trail. This trail was in the same general shape as the other.  We ran it in about 44 minuets.  It's amazing how far mud will splash up your shorts.

 Another gorgeous day in the parks of North East Ohio.

We also stopped by the Great Blue Heron Nesting area on Bath road.  They were impressive.  All the nests of all the trees seemed to have a Heron in it.  The picture doesn't  do it justice.  You'll have to check it out yourself.

Neither I nor Pepper chased down any of the giant birds - though she really did want to - probably taste like Bald Eagle, I would think.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yes, I remain undefeated.  I have finished 1st in every race I have run barefoot.  1st in the barefoot class that is.  Now I can add the Shamrock 15k to my growing list of awesome barefoot races.  I was the only barefoot runner today.  If a runner were to pick the perfect day for a road race, this would be it.  It was sunny.  We ran roads that wind through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The roads were dry and the temp between 40 and 43 deg F.

As the first run of the first year, I  found it helpful to follow BFJ's three rules.  And I did so for the most part.  1.) I was a gentleman.  I certainly wasn't rushing past anyone.  Most of the people I passed were willing to chat for a bit, so I did, and then moved ahead with respect.  2.) The beginning of the race always has runners finding their pace, so it's inevitable you get some passing.  After the first mile or so, everyone seemed to stabilize in their positions.  It was at the end that I was overtaken by various runners (women mostly).  I couldn't hold them back.  Secretly, I think racers that pass me at the end think to themselves, "I can't let a barefoot runner beat me!"  If I give other runners motivation, that's kind of cool.  3.)  Work is for chumps, therefore, by nature, I don't work too hard.

Another good race put on by the SARC.  We had three water stations.  Everyone gave encouragement.  And a chicken soup at the end.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pain Speed and Pleasure

As you may notice from my week(ness) log, I've bee lazy resting this week . . . for my upcoming race this weekend - The Shamrock 5k & 15k - yea, that's it.  Seriously, my feet were a little sore after my 12 mile run last Saturday.  I've been plagued with a condition that I thought was a drinking injury (the disease of Kings - let's call it the King Krippler), since my last race New Years Eve.  However, King Krippler usually clears up after a week or two and since I've been fighting it for two months now, I'm sure there's some other reason.  After consulting many other sources, my conclusion is TFP - top of the foot pain.  This is an issue Barefoot Ken Bob warns newbies about.  Am I still a newbie?  I've been running since August of 2009 - ages ago.  I've logged 400 miles!!  Why is this still happening to me?  Though I may have logged 400 miles - a cool number - I think I've been pushing it just a bit.  The first time it happened was my first race - the CF 5K in September.  Then in the GNYER, I was hit again.  Some sources blame it on the vff's, believe it or not.  They say if you tighten them too much they can lead to TFP.  I don't know, but I've been keeping them loose ever since I read that and, I was barefoot in the CF 5k.  I wore the vff's in the GNYER 'cuz I was a scardiecat.  I think that my race excitement/enthusiasm is probably to blame.  It's funny, I'm sure every runner has begun his racing career shooting out of the gate like a bat out of hell (though, don't bats like warm temps?).  And every veteran warns that you should start your race slow and if possible finish with a negative split.  Well, I guess I am a newbie after all.  Kind of cool - calling me a newbie at my age.  I don't feel new.  On the other hand, running has brought new life to . . . um . . . my life.

I ran my fastest yesterday.  I wanted to try to run a short distance as quick as possible - I think they call this speed work.  So, sans shoes and The Pooper, I ran my 2.4 mile "Quickie" on the streets of Cuyahoga Falls.  It was my fastest run ever at an 8.5 min/mi pace.  I've never gone flat out like that before - yes, you are supposed to laugh at the "flat out" part- but I'm happy with the result.  I had not broke 9 min/mi previously.  The very first Run of My Life in August '09 on the same trek, was at 15.6 min/mi - I took 3 walking breaks.  Yesterday, it was a gorgeous day of sun and 36 degrees.  The pavement was warm and the spectating kids stared.  I love it when normally outspoken kids can't find anything to say - but you know they want to.  That look of befuddlement is priceless.

Today I took the Pooper on a 5.66 mile to Glen Trail, crossed Front Street to hit Gorge Trail then back.  It was awesome, muddy, crunchy snow, sunny beautiful, slow, and most of all fun.

Here are some post run pics:

Because Barefoot Josh is so enamored with foot pics.  This is a post run cooldown pic.

The blister is old and from a previous run.

Kind of out of focus - I don't seem to have the ankle flexibility as does BFJ.

The Pooper on her snow perch for a post run cool down.