Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Only" 8 miles

ORN: 8.3 miles, 1:21:55, 9:54/mile. Cold, windy

As I hit the 7 mile mark on my way back home this morning, I thought a bit about this weeks long, midweek run. "Only 8" I said to myself. "This is week one of the three week taper. Only 8." Ho hum.

Then it hit me. "Only" 8? I recalled that it was just a year ago when I ran 8 miles for the first time. I got home, told my wife, worried about my legs, feet. I ramped "all the way up" to 8 in preparation for doing one lap of the HUFF that I'm doing two laps of on Dec 17.

I went back in my running log. Indeed, on Dec 8, 2004, was the first time I ran 8 miles. I marked it with a star...a new record at the time. It was a big, long, weekend-type run.

Now it is part of a taper, done mid week.

Amazing what can happen in a year's time.



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What a Difference a Stretch Makes

ORN: 5 miles, no watch, windy, cold, pretty miserable

My usual routine is to run about a third of a mile to a spot where a guy has an old box van parked on the street. Makes a nice vertical surface to stretch against.

This morning, I could feel the effects of the 16 miler on Saturday. The achillies, calves and hammies were tight. Slow, gentle stretch, in the dark. Nothing popped. And what a relief when I started running again! Did another stretch at the end. Nothing popped. Good.

Legs still felt heavy, though. The ugly weather probably didn't help. But, I was out there! And this is the start of the taper into the 20 mile trail run.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Learning from a Long Run

ORN: Zero. Rest day today, Monday

It amazes me what running teaches me sometime.

Had a very hectic day at work, got in before 7 and will be going till 6, almost non stop. I've set up a number of "pacing" times for myself and it hit me just how much those are like a pacing band for a race...knowing you hit (or miss) the splits at the mile markers, knowing if you are on track, going to have to push it or adjust your brain to having blown it, early.

And some runs require you just to keep plugging. As do some days.

And plugging along is usually rewarded. Even when you are shot.

You learn a lot.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Longest Run in 25 years

ORN: 16.2 miles, 2:42:07, 10:00/mile

Running Stuff:

This was the long week, now to taper into the HUFF on Dec 17. I wasn’t sure, for several miles, just how today’s long run would go. I tweaked my R calf in Wednesday’s 10 miler, it still felt tender after the race on Thursday. This morning, I just couldn’t tell what it was going to do. Plus, the weather was unpredictable, so I couldn’t decide just what to even wear. Yeah, what a way to go out and run…

I decided to do a couple of 8 mile loops, giving myself a stopping point midway if I needed to. Actually, I couldn’t even make up my mind to continue until I was about 3 miles in. I didn’t want to strain something…yet I needed to get this long run in. Not as schizophrenic as Gollum and Smeagol, mind you, but still.

As I closed out the first 8 miles, I decided to take a brief hydrate/de-hydrate break at home (thanks
Dianna for that example!) and I also added a sleeveless windbreaker and a baklava. Feeling better, I went out for another 8 miles and the calf actually loosened up as I went and was OK by the 10th mile.

Last week, in my 14 miler, I felt I still had some miles left at the end. Not so today. This was pretty much it. But even as I write this at 10pm, the leg feels pretty good. Two days of rest may well take care of it. Only 12 miles next Saturday!

I realized later that this is the longest I have run in one session for over 25 years. I couldn’t recall doing 16 since my last marathon in January, 1981. Cool.

Learning Stuff.

Long runs, especially, teach you things. Today’s lessons:

Push yourself a bit. I was tentative on the condition of my leg. I listened, took it easy and still got it done.

Don’t bore everyone else. Running is an introspective time for me. I’ll put those lessons here on this blog, but others, including my family, can choose to read this or not! I don’t have to subject them to this.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Race Report--Drumstick Dash, Nov 25 2005

ORN: 4.5 miles, 42:51, 9:27/mile

What a fun little race! Entirely unlike what I expected…which made it fun.

I normally wouldn’t drive to Indianapolis (75 minutes, one way) for a 4.5 mile race, but I had to be in Indy early today, as I took my youngest son Matt to the airport to let him fly to Colorado Springs to spend Thanksgiving with our two other sons. So, hey, I’m in Indy anyway, I found this
Drumstick Dash race a few weeks back, so entered.

I expected a small gathering of running enthusiasts on a Thanksgiving morning. HA! 1267 finishers in the 4.5 mile race…which surprised me tremendously but added to the fun.

I got Matt to the Security gate for United and then left the Indy airport at 8:07am, drove halfway across Indy for a 9am race. So, finding parking in a fairly dense neighborhood was no small task. Parked, ran to get the packet and, to their credit, I got in and out of the gym for registration in less than 90 seconds…seriously.
Tuxedo Brothers does a nice job organizing these events. So got the packet, ran back to my car, got the right shirts on for the heavy wind, ran back to the start, found the restroom, stretched and was in the pack a good five minutes before the 9am start. WHEW!

I was concerned about my right calf, after tweaking it a bit during yesterday’s 10 miler, so decided to take it easy and set the Garmin to pace me at a 9:45 pace. I’ve never entered a race with such a relaxed attitude…an odd view for the competitive me. But my current objective is doing 21 miles at
The HUFF 50K Trail Run (2 laps of the 3 offered). So, I don’t need to damage anything in this race…just a training run.

And it went well. My splits were 9:28, 9:21, 9:28, 9:40 and 4:50 (at a 9:24 pace) for a total time of 42:51 on my watch, 42:39 chip time. Quicker than I wanted…but I explain.

This was a truly fun, social event. I just had fun talking to folks. Met a guy in the start pack who was a fellow Purdue engineer learnig Lean Manufacturing!! How many people know what Lean is? And that’s the subject of my
professional blog. His girlfriend couldn’t quite believe that. Then, in the first mile, I got a great rundown of the Marine Corps Marathon from a recent participant. That race is on my wish list…we’ll see.

The best, and most extended conversation, came with Chris, who I met around mile 1.5 and we did the rest of the race together. She’s a talented school administrator and we had a lot in common. Much conversation and insight and the miles really clicked by. So much so, I really have little recollection of the course itself or much more that was going on. Just a comfortable pace with fascinating conversation. She and I both chuckled at that, as we both spend most of our training time all alone…thus the social element was part of the enjoyment and contrast.

All in all, a surprisingly pleasant little race.

Happy Thanksgiving to all…we have much to be thankful for.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

In the snow, in the dark, in shorts

ORN: 10.2 miles, 1:42:36, 10:03 pace

Wow, the midweek long run. This is actually the longest of all the midweek runs, so it is now behind me.

I got fooled by an inaccurate thermometer when I took off this morning...thought it was 40, when it was 31. Did not wear tights. A bad move. I didn't feel so bad while I was running, but as the day has gone one, my right calf has been tighter and tighter. May have strained something slightly and had I kept more warmth in the muscle, perhaps it would not have happened.

That said, it was a great run. No snow when I started, then gradually increasing snow as I went along. A fair amount was stuck to the running path as I got back home. Kind of cool to be out that early, doing something viewed as crazy...I'm sure I got a lot of second looks from cars who drove by. "Is that guy running? Does he REALLY have shorts on? Am I seeing things? Is he nuts or what?" Yeah, whatever.

A week ago today, I learned a lot about doing the hard thing. I thought of that again today. The run wasn't as hard, much more joy in it. And the perspective was better.

And I'm closer to getting set for the 20 miler on Dec 17.

Tomorrow, a small Thanksgiving day race in Indy. We'll see how the calf feels to decide at that time if I run it or not, and if so, how hard.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Quick in the Dark

ORN: 5 miles, solid pace

As the temperature drops (31 this morning) it is interesting to me that my pace quickened. It could be I'm just trying to stay warm, though I was dressed properly. But I kept pulling myself back, not needing to set any major pace records today. I have a mid-week 10 miler set for tomorrow and I need to handle that well.

Cloudy, no moon, not a hint of sunrise, even at the end of the run. Winter is here. Snow tomorrow?? Oh my.


Sunday, November 20, 2005


ORN: Bike, 45 minutes

I'm trying some cross training on Sundays, to give my legs a break from long run on Saturday, yet still be active.

A beautiful day today, though one feels autumn slipping away and winter coming.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Setting Up for 20 miler

ORN: 14.2 miles, 2:21:22, 9:57 pace

Continue to dial up the miles in preparation for doing two laps, about 21 miles, of the HUFF (actually a 50km ultra trail race) on December 17. Today marked the next-to-longest run in my prep.

And the run felt great. I have no time target for the HUFF, as it is a trail race. Last year, I did one lap in just under 2 hrs and that was an 11:00 pace. So, I'm not worried about pace right now. I just want to get the miles in.

I felt a "something might be letting go" type of feel today around mile 5 in my right quad. Boy, that wasn't good. Checking my Forerunner, I noted I had sped up to a 9:25 pace, so I just backed that down. By a mile later, it was unnoticable. I didn't feel any other twinges. Legs were a bit tired around the 11 mile mark but not bad. I did a Gu packet at 5 and 10 mile marks and that seemed to help.

I wondered just how far I could have gone today. I was, in no way, out of gas. I thought about putting on a couple more miles, but thought better of that, in light of the total miles I did this week. But I do think I could have easily done 4 more. Probably could have gutted out 6.

Next Saturday--16 miles. That's tops, then taper for the next two Saturdays into the race.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Welcome to Winter Running

ORN: 5 miles, solid pace

Wow, 18 degrees this morning. Only a 10mph wind today but it was cold. Got to try out the new Brooks Nightlite Tights I got in the mail yesterday...they seemed to work fine. I've been running in navy blue long underwear thhis is a step up, so to speak.

Had a great day yesterday, after the realization of "hard things" about which I wrote in my last post. Will continue to learn more on this.

No run tomorrow, 14 on Saturday.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Very Fruitful (and unlikely) Run

ORN: 9+ miles, 1:33, a little over 10:00/mile. 30mph wind, 36 degrees, 5:15am

Why would any fool go out and do a mid-week long run on a morning like this? A huge cold front coming through, I’m warm in my bed, why go out? I didn’t want to go, yet I did. And I’m glad I did.

I learned more on this run than any I can remember.

Running today was hard. Going into the wind was an exercise in near-futility. It pounded me. It was very early and very dark. Yet, I needed to get the long run in to be prepared for the 20 miler on December 17.

And as I ran, it hit me why I ran today. It was hard. And we have to do hard things.

On my to-do list at work were a number of hard things, probably 10 in total. And I really didn’t want to deal with most of them. Yet I had to.

So, as I piled through the hour and a half run, an idea hit me. I would pick only two of the hard things and get them done today. The rest would wait (hey, they’ve waited for weeks already…what’s another day?). Then, tomorrow, I’d do another two…and so on. Kind of like training. You get the miles in every day. Whether you feel like it or not. And the cumulative effect lets us run long races. Amazingly.

I’m sure I provided some early-morning comic relief to folks out driving as they saw this crazy guy, head down, into the wind and cold. But better was the lesson I learned.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Upping the Ante

ORN: 5 miles, no watch, comfortable pace. Dark and foggy.

Made the decision over the weekend to go for 2 laps of the HUFF race on December 17. Will be about 20 miles, my longest in this current dispensation of running. So, I'm adopting Hal Higdon's Novice Marathon training plan and cutting down a bit on the long Saturday run.

Big test will be doing 9 miles tomorrow, Wednesday. Never have done that midweek. Stay tuned.

It's also supposed to snow tomorow!!!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Nagging Little Twinge

ORN: 3 miles, no watch, windy, sundown

Nice easy run...until almost home at the 2.8 mile mark. Felt a little twinge in my right hammy, just behind my knee. Stopped, stretched. Ran some more, still there.

I then did a very un-Joe like thing. I walked it home.

When I got home, I added up my weekly mileage. 31.3 for the week. I did 17 last week. First time over 30 since late September.

Duh. Of course. The 13 miler yesterday pushed it a bit.

Let it rest. Get set for the 20 miler on Dec 17, Joe.


What is "ORN"?

I lead most posts with an item called “ORN.” I best explain it.

I saw this on John “The Penguin” Bingham’s
blog The Penguin Times and liked it. ORN stands for Obligatory Running Note. Here is his full explanation of ORN and I like its link back to the early days of the Internet. In short, he said:

To make SURE that at least SOME part of the post had SOMETHING to do with running they imposed the "ORN" rule. It stands for Obligatory Running Note. And it required the writer to describe their latest run.

This means that ORN will describe that day’s run…and everything else in the post is my current thoughts on running, life, faith, gadgets and whatever else is on my mind. I hope you enjoy the ride.


About My Running

I hated running in High School, much preferring baseball to anything else. I did run some track, but only did that to assuage the football coach at our small, rural Nebraska school.

After our first son was born in 1978, I became aghast at my lack of physical conditioning and decided, reluctantly, to start running. We lived in southern Africa at the time (another story there!!) and I was amazed to find that I actually began to enjoy running!

About that time, Jim Fixx published the now-famous book “The Complete Book of Running” which was the first time I read about running at all. That hooked me further. I ran more and started entering races in various places in southern Africa. Eventually, I started three and finished two marathons in 1980 and 1981. What a thrill…I still remember it well. Hitting the wall and nearly passing out in my first start (80 degree weather, 3 water stations…bad news), then finishing twice, in 4:17 and 4:16.

We moved back to the US in 1982 and I kept running. With (then) two little kids and a job, I mostly did about 15-20 miles a week and ran the usual 10k/5 mile races and enjoyed it. But another job change in 1996 required 70 minutes of commute time a day and just running on the weekend really didn’t work well. So, the miles drifted off. I missed it but couldn’t do much about it.

Then, in May 2004, I was recruited into a new (and very cool) job at a place 4 minutes from my home. How cool. In the interview process, it hit me that I’d now have the time to run again. At the same time, I discovered that the city had developed the
West Lafayette Trails System. One of the terminations is just three blocks from my house. Boom, I had a place to run with nearly 10 miles of pathway out of the way of cars.

I started in again and it was like having an old friend back after a long absence. It took a few months to find shoes that worked but when I did, I just started ramping up the mileage through the fall and winter of 2004-5.

As of this writing, in November 2005, I’ve had a full year of pain-free running now and it is a joy. I hope you can participate in this enjoyment with me.


About Me

My name is Joe Ely. I’m 52 (as of November 2004), married to my wife of 30+ years, Gretchen and we have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons..

David is 27, married to Susan and they are the parents of twin sons, Andrew and Nathan. Plus, they are expecting another child in June, 2006. David is a medic in the US Army and just returned in August from a year-long tour in Iraq. We were all thrilled to have him back safely.

Our second son,
Nathan, lives in Portland, Oregon. Like his mom, dad and brother, he’s a Purdue graduate. Nathan is an account executive with a temporary help agency in Portland. It is a great match for his skills in communicating and reading people. He’s 25, is thrilled to have a nephew named after him and is enjoying living on the West Coast.

Matt, is 17 and a junior in High School. He’s a deep thinker and a perceptive kid. He is a very good student, active in Debate and considering his college plans.

Gretchen is my best friend and a wonderful woman. She is a remarkably giving and caring person and this shows well beyond our family and into our neighborhood and community. We met while undergrads at Purdue in the early 70s and were friends long before we started dating. That’s a good recipe for a great marriage.

I’ve been doing technical management for most of my career. The most absorbing thing I’ve ever done is to implement a concept called Lean Manufacturing over the past 6 years. It is the best shot we have at preserving good manufacturing jobs in the US and it absorbs much of my time.

My faith is important to me. As a follower of Christ, I seek to have my faith impact the way I deal with my family and work worlds in a positive and helpful way.

The name of this blog, “Run with Perseverance” flows from my faith. This is a phrase from the Bible that says, in full, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1). This is good advice for life and running illustrates this so well. Thus, I’ll mention how I see my faith interacting with my running and life from time to time in this blog. I hope you find it helpful.

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope it is an encouragement to you.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

13 Miles, Whadda ya get?

ORN: 13.1 miles, 2:08:22, 9:48 pace

First real long run since the Half Marathon on October 15. Wow, it felt good. Settled into a good pace and just kept rolling. It was another beautiful fall day…started out at 52 degrees, ended at 62, very unusual for this time in November.

Took my usual long route down around the Purdue campus. With the Purdue-Illinois football game kicking off at noon, there was a lot of action there. Plus, I had police to hold traffic as I crossed the streets there…hey, just like a race!

Also concluded today that I’m going to go for 20 miles in the HUFF on December 17. It is a three lap race around a reservoir. Last year I ran one lap. This year, I’m going for two. So, we ramp up the training. 14 miles next Saturday, 16 the week after that, 16 again on 3 Dec, then taper to the race.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Back Home

ORN: 5 miles, comfortable pace
Wednesday 5 miles, 53:20

Spent 3 days on a business trip and am back home for a while. Ran on Wednesday in a state park in the dark at 5:30am. A nice run, but not relaxing, as I didn't know where I was and had to focus on the road, not the run.

Got home this afternoon and snuck in 5 miles before dinner...nice, gorgeous fall day, temp around 46, sunset on crisp blue sky. Saw Venus and Mars as I concluded the run.

Will go for 13 on Saturday and then decide how much I will run at the HUFF.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005


ORN: Over
Monday 5 miles, early evening, easy pace

Spent Fri-Sun in Colorado Springs with my oldest son David, who is just back from Iraq. He's an Army medic and I hadn't seen him since his safe return. Wow, what a wonderful reunion. He's doing well and I'm sure proud of him.

And I didn't run at all. Had some marvelous weather and I stayed inside. Why? Because of the time with David. My time with him was precious and I didn't want to lose it.

Years ago, I heard a wonderful quote from Howard Hendricks who said "If you own anything you cannot give away, you don't own it, it owns you."

Yeah. Which includes running. It was a good exercise for me to "give away" running for the sake of wonderful time with David.

As much as I enjoy running, it can't become an idol, a "little god" that must be daily worshiped. So, it was good to not run. And it was nice to come home and run again.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Windy 5

ORN: 5 miles, medium effort

Very windy this morning, something I don't see here in the summer. 56 degrees, so only needed a LS technical shirt and gloves to be very comfortable. But the wind is a harbinger of the winter weather to come. Running, daily, in dark and cold and wind.

Which is why I find it helpful to have my spring race schedule worked up soon.

Seasons. They are good teachers.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Workin' out the Kinks

ORN: 3 miles, easy

Always interesting to me how the first mile is the hardest mile. Funny feelings as I crank my bod up in the morning. Creeky feelings, twinges, odd pangs.

And the key is always to just take it easy and keep going. These things always work out. By the first mile marker, they are forgotten.

Good lesson there, way beyond running.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mid-week Hard Run

ORN: 5.0 m total, including 4.66 m @ 8:36/mile

This week a pace run. After a warm up, did 40 minutes at a target pace of 8:40 (on the Forerunner). Beat it slightly.

I want to get my legs used to running quickly, at least once a week. It does help with the total least 8:36 is not completely unknown territory.

Damp but not cold, on this first of November. Dark, though, very dark.