Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland 102 - Miami 90!!!!!  What more needs to be said?  A few things to think upon:
a) Hustle , hustle, hustle - it is hard to beat
b) Perseverance - a great way to survive
c) Confidence - take no prisoners.

I could go on, but damn, it feels good to be a winner!

Pepper and I ran a slow 6 miles today.  She is still limping a bit and I notably slowed for her.  It gives me time to think about our endeavors together.  I really can not imagine . . . fathom . . . wish, to run without her.  I didn't run yesterday, and I think it was partly out of concern for her.  But, I have to face the fact that she may need a rest.  I feel guilty as if her injury is my fault.  Perhaps I tugged too hard on her harness?  But when she runs full bore out the back door, chasing a squirrel, I'm sure there are other possibilities.  She is young and should be able (will be able) to recover.  Maybe I just need to give her a rest.  It's almost inconceivable how I could possibly walk out the door without her.  Habit, and love, is a powerful thing.

I need a job!


Bottle Feeding My Niece

Nephew Finding His Own Way (a few years prior)

Family is a wonderful thing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Home to Kent

I ran a nice 8.5 'er today from my house to Kent Roosevelt HS.  My niece had a lacrosse game, so I decided, it would be a perfect point to point run.  I ran without Pepper for the majority of the run since she has been limping after our long runs.  I'm not sure what's wrong, but I don't want to push it.  Jennifer and Pepper caught up to me in the car with about a mile to go, so Pepper got out to join me for the remainder.

The run was pleasant with a solid effort from me.  The sun was shining with a slight wind chilling in the open areas.  I ran city streets to water works, then the bike path to Kent city streets and the HS.  I'm fighting a cold that I caught this week while visiting my sister and B.I.L. in NJ.  They have two little ones who attend what she calls "a petri dish with a smile."  I hate to blame the little ones, but what are you going to do?

While in NJ, we visited Longwood Gardens.  That was a treat.  They have their orchid show this weekend, so the orchids were in bloom and on display on our Tuesday visit.  We walked the entire indoor and outdoor gardens.  What I would give for a few of their greenhouses.  The outside gardens were not in bloom, but it was interesting to see the layout and imagine the flora when in full bloom.  One note: they are NOT barefoot friendly.  One of the attendants told me to put on my shoes, and when queried, offered the reason was for my safety.  I asked if they had broken glass laying about, but he pointed to the wood mulch under the flowers and said it could cause injury.  I complied and noted the security guard he called following us to insure danger was avoided.  After leaving the indoor gardens, I promptly took off my shoes again and wandered about the outside gardens for a couple of hours free of incident and injury.  Status quo be damned.

Our NJ visit was filled with kids playing and smiling, long conversations, beer drinking, some running, cooking and eating.  You couldn't ask for a better vaca - unless it was on the beach and filled with the same.

Go Cavs!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hampton Hills Happiness

Pepper and I ran Hampton Hills barefoot again today.  It has been a very long time since our last visit here.  We ran the 3.2 mile loop twice for some extra hill work.  If you run it, the cc direction provides some significant climes for the first half and you're rewarded with a comparatively flat second half.  The "hills" of the Blue Ridge Marathon are freaking me out a little and I've been looking for some serious hill work to train on.  Hampton Hills is close, and I figure I'll try it a couple of times a week and try to get a few minuets off each time.

It was a wonderful day today: 60's; my YUT-C tech shirt and shorts; sun warming the run; breeze cooling the sweat; and leafless forest allowing distant visibility.  This is another of my favorite runs.  Oh, and Pepper likes the creek too.

A few shots:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Barefoot Fun

Today's barefoot run was a good effort.  Pepper and I ran to water works (WW), around Silver Lake, to Front Street, then home for 6.85 miles.  We ran it faster that ever before while allowing the occasional (read frequent) sniff and mark stop.  Pepper was excited to chase the geese art WW, but we came home sans dinner.  She needs more training.  We started at 43 deg F and by the end it was 49 - nice.  The sun came out on Front street and warmed us up a plenty.  The first few miles were wet, but the sidewalk and pavement after WW was mostly dry.  This was the first time we ran through WW in a month - it was closed due to flooding and ice for our last few outings.  The water was high on the path through the fences and just east of the hill near Silver Lake City Hall, but we made it through.

This winter has been a little tough on the feet.  I've put them through the ringer - as is to be expected for a Great Lakes winter running season.  December was 5 of 12 runs barefoot.  January was 3 of 20 barefoot.  February was 9 of 20 barefoot. And, so far, March has been 6 of 11 barefoot.  I think most of the remaining month will be barefoot - yeah!  Rain and wet pavement has limited my barefoot running as much as snow/crusty ice.  The following pics show current conditions:

Bloody Toe.
When I get distracted, I somehow forget to pick up my toes.  I dragged the bloody one on the pavement - and it always seems to be this one.  There were no bumps or pot holes to blame it on.  I just didn't pick it up and dragged it.  More explanations: The taped toe is to prevent further blistering.  I have suffered from the blister on this one since my big blister session in January.  The blue toenails are from running in aqua socks (right foot) and smashing a rock (left pinky). 

The Pooper

The feet - post shower (see, it ain't so bad)
My Love

 Here are some shots from our Ledges run on Monday:

The Ledges are one of my most favorite places to run.  The scenery, sandy trail, and such make for an enjoyable barefoot run!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Celebrate Snow

It came back today.  We got a couple of inches, the news said 5, but they exaggerate.  There was, at most, 2 on the trail today.  Pepper and I ran Glens and Gorge trails.  It was picturesque, though I didn't take any pictures.  The Gorge trail was partially closed due to a land slide on the upper trail.  When I passed it on the lower section, the amount of material that sloughed off was impressive.  The water in the lake behind the dam was high - only about a foot below cresting above the top.  The water impact on the energy dissipators at the bottom of the spillway was incredible.  The water was jumping up almost half the height of the dam.  I've never seen the energy that high (but I'm young.)  We ran a slow 7.2 today and the trail footing was slick at times.  The conditions were sloppy about a third of the tome, but not unmanageable.  I'm glad we did it.  I've been too long from these trails - some of my favorites.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shamrock 15k Race Report

The Good
I set a new PR!!  At 1:27:38 my time was 1 min 07 sec faster than last year.  I had expected a little more, but what are you going to do?  The weather was "good."  It was 31 deg F with a light wind.  The wind was not really a problem since the road through the park provided good protection.  The runners around me were wonderful and upbeat, the aid station volunteers smiled and offered encouragement and the police were friendly and helpful.  The fare at the end was O.K.; I grabbed a banana and an apple.

Our race booty was a long sleeve tech shirt.  It was the same as last year except yellow.

My First mile was at an 8:16 min/mi pace (or should this be under "The Bad" heading?).  Here is the breakdown:
1st 5k - 8.4 min/mile - a lot of downhill (and start of race exuberance)
2nd 5k - 10.2 min/mile - a lot of uphill
3rd 5k - 10.0 min/mile - a lot of hip soreness and fatigue
overall - 9.4 min/mile (last year was 9.5 min/mile)

Most of all, I enjoy running races because the people I get to run with are upbeat, committed and pushing it just like me.

The Bad
I ran in aqua socks because the temps were low and the pavement was wet (a perfect combo for blisters.)

My leg almost fell off.  After the first 10k, my hip got sore and I the pain radiated to my thigh and calf.  There was mental anguish comparing my left and right legs - If my left felt as good as my right, I would be unstoppable.  How will I fare in a marathon?  I got through this race O.K.  And I can still walk - the pain now is just the usual dull ache.  I'm a little worried.

Getting passed is never fun.  Since I started out fast, I got passed by all the 8.5 to 9.3 min/milers.  However, with this course, I think starting fast is a smart move because the second 5k is tough, and by the time you get to the 3rd 5k, you're just hanging on/working it.  To me, starting fast doesn't seem to thwart you in the end.

The Ugly
At mile 2.5 (+/-) the 500 of us were running 4 wide taking up one whole lane of Quick road.  I was trying to find my own pace, running on the edge at the center of the road.  The cars were passing us on the right in the other lane.  We were running in the correct lane, facing oncoming traffic.  Then, an asshole in a ford truck decided he was a traffic cop and straddled the center line, forcing all the runners to the left to avoid him.  He was waving from his comfort seat indicating that we were in his way and should move to let him through.  This race takes place once per year on this road and is an impediment to traffic for 1.5 hours at most.  I reacted as usual when confronted by a bully, and stood my ground (ran it actually.)  I was left of center, and pointing back to him to move to the other lane.  As the dick that he was, he stayed half in our lane, half in the other.  When he was a few feet in front of me, I dodged to the left to avoid his bumper.  I did not move enough to avoid his side rear view mirror.  I shoulder checked it and it collapsed - as it is designed to do (and I new that it would).  Mr. Dick decided to stop, jump out and berate me claiming that I hit his truck.  My responce? - You're a dick wad, fuck you, and you hit me, you bastard!!!  There were a few more dw's and fu's thrown out by me.  One of my fellow compatriots ahead of me turned around and came back in my defense.  He was equally peeved by the dick.  I regret that he probably lost 30 sec off his race time due to my actions.  I do not regret standing up to the bully dick. 

It turns out, he followed other runners ahead of me throughout the race while looking for me.  I had slowed by that time and found him waiting at mile 8.  What a dick!  Then he drove to the finish to wait for me there.  What a dick!  What did he hope to accomplish?  What a dickwad!  I wasn't worried as I had 500 runners on my side.  There is no reason for a person in a car to impose his presence over pedestrians with his car.  he wasted an hour and a half of his life for revenge?  What a dickwad!  I emphasize the dw word because he must have had an extra shot of testosterone today.  Was he returning with his son after church, feeling the wrath of God?

As my wife said, I need to be careful because I might get in trouble sometime.  She is right!  But, I WILL NOT BACK DOWN FROM A BULLY!  When we tolerate them, we all lose!  My only prayer is that the bullies don't have a concealed  license to carry - as is "our" states "preference."

Why is the ugly section bigger than the good?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good Running

We've had a few good months running.  I've put up two 100 mile months - a pittance compared to Jesse or Dan
- but more than I've done consistently.  My goal this year is 12 consecutive 100+ mile months.  Two down, 10 to go.  I had this goal in the back of my mind since the new year, but was not sure of myself.  After Jan and Feb, I'm quite sure I can do it, and will commit myself to that goal.  It's funny, but I think the cold and snow motivate me.  I love the cold and snow and always want to be in it.  So, even if I'm tired or not in the mood, the great outdoors call to me.  The lack of desire or fatigue are secondary and somewhat inconsequential.