Friday, November 27, 2009

Not the decision I expected to make

ORN:  14.6 miles, R2/W1
Today was supposed to be a day of confirmation.  It was but not the way I expected it to be. 
The plan was to do a 22 mile run today, the final check up to clear the way for registering for the HUFF 50K trail race three weeks from Saturday.  I was really looking forward to this event...I've run the trails there twice and wanted to finish my first bona-fide ultra. 
Yet, in the back of my mind, I had to re-test my knee after the issues it showed me at Portland and then again two weeks after that.  So, I had not registered for the HUFF, figuring I would do the run today and then sign up. 
All was well until the 14.5 mile mark.  In a hurry, my LEFT knee gave me a bunch of twinges, the very same pain I felt in my right knee at Portland and then again later.  Whoa, where did that come from??  I took a walk break, tried again, and, yep, that same hard-to-describe knee pain.  I decided to shut it down.
My wife, a very insightful woman, had asked me to stick my cell phone in my fuel belt before I took off today.  "You remember you got stuck a long way from home last time you did this long a run."   Today was the first time I have EVER run with a cell phone.  And I needed it.  The knee let loose at the far point of the route.  I called, she drove...thanks, hon. 
So, what now?  I've seen pain both knees now.  I think it is best I forget the HUFF.  Maybe next year.  There is a spring marathon lurking...I think I scale back and ramp up for it. Lots of work I can do this winter on core strength too.
On Thanksgiving week, I have much to be thankful for.  Doing or not doing races is not the central thing.  Good health is and boy, have I been blessed on that count.  This will all be fine. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wear Reflective Gear when you Run in the Dark

ORN:  7 miles total, 5 x 1 mile intervals, average 8:15/mile
Another gorgeous fall Saturday on which to run.  Sunshine, 53 degrees, no wind...I'll need to remember this during February. 
The schedule called for mile repeats, a workout I am coming to enjoy.  Times were solid; 8:16, 8:12, 8:21, 8:16 and 8:08.  Technique felt smooth. 
But that's not what I wanted to write about.
I left work on Thursday a bit after 6:00pm.  The sun goes down just a little after 5pm these days, so it was fully dark by the time I was driving home.  My favorite running trail crosses the street along the way.  As I drove, my mind still on a couple of vexing issues from the work day, I suddently saw a runner, in the street, crossing right in front of me.  I hit the brakes and nothing happened.  But it was way too close; I was truly rattled.
Why didn't I see the runner?  It was dark.  And when I finally saw the runner, all I saw was dark shorts, dark shirt and a pony tail.  She was virtually invisible.  Nothing to reflect my headlights. 
Don't do this.  Be responsible for your own safety.  During the long winter, many of us do most of our running during dark hours before or after work.  Here's some simple ways to be reflective. 
Pass this on to other runners or your local running clubs. 
Please be safe as you persevere. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Running Multiple Marathon makes Wall Street Journal Front Page

ORN:  5.1 miles, R5/W1, 10:48/mile
Folks, we made it.
No less a light than the Wall Street Journal published this article this morning, on Page One, no less describing folks who run not one, not two but multiple marathons each year. 
It's well done.  I was sorry Marathon Maniacs didn't get a mention but Marathon Guide,  the 50 State Club and Bob Dolphin both made the cut. 
So, maybe we're not crazy after all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Can I put this day in a Bottle?

ORN:  18.4 miles, 3:21:15, R2/W1, 10:57/mile
It's a beautiful thing when a perfect fall day lands on the Saturday when you have a long run scheduled.  And oh how rare for such a thing to happen in Indiana. 
Yet today was just such a day.  In addition to the sunny, 58F weather, there was a Big Ten football game.  The underachieving Michigan State Spartans were in town to play our frustratingly inconsistent Purdue Boilermakers.  With a noon kickoff, activity was rolling early.  During the first five miles of the run, the south wind carried the Purdue Band's pregame show to my Indian Trail loop, enlivening the run.  There is a special sound to a college marching band.  Interestingly, since we don't have a music school at Purdue, all the band members are Biology or Communication majors.  What we lack in musical finesse we make up in volume. 
Grinding the run closer to campus got me in the flow with a lot of folks walking to the game.  Looping around the crowds tailgating, the smells made me realize why so many "fans" don't even bother with the football game.  By the time I got home, the Boilers were already ahead 10-7.  Alas, they could not hang on and lost the game.
Yet the run was good.  I had decided earlier in the week to seriously pursue entering the 50K trail race on December 19.  After my knee issues at Portland, I had thought about scrapping it.  Yet several of you urged me to not give up on it yet.  After the successful half marathon last week, I sat down, reworked my schedule and realized I needed a long run this weekend to have a shot at 50K.  So I threw in the 18 miler, and went out at a simple 2/1.  It was fun.  Just knocked off the miles...nothing hurt, nothing twinged, it was just enjoyable.  I'll do a 22 miler sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend and, if that goes well, it's game on for my first bona fide ultra.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Race Report: Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon

ORN:  13.1 miles, 2:06:51
Quick Summary:
The race turned out to be an enjoyable 9 mile tempo run, followed by an easy 4 mile training jog.  As this was the first race I've ever run not feeling 100%, I was pleased.  The social interactions of the day carried the event.
The Gory Details:
When I got home from work on Friday, my wife asked me "So are you really going to run that race tomorrow?"  Like a stubborn runner (or maybe one who had already paid the entry fee and was determined to get his money's worth), I said "Sure.  What else would I do?"  I'm fortunate...she loves me anyway.
Last week was a long one, as I contracted what was eventually identified as a dandy upper respiratory infection.  After hoping to deny it all week, I relented and went to the doctor on Thursday. He told me it was a good thing I came in, as it could have morphed into walking pneumonia in a few more days.  (I resisted the urge to ask him if I could make it "running pneumonia") Some generic antibiotics and industrial strength cough syrup turned the direction of the fight on Thursday and Friday.  Yet, I knew I was not 100% for running on Saturday. But, hey, it was going to be a nice day, so I still ran. 
Race day came and Social Event #1 took shape.  Former work colleague and running pal Chris S. emailed me on Friday, asking if he could have a ride to the race.  We met up and had a marvelous conversation all the way to downtown Indy.  It was terrific to catch up and discuss items of substance all the way.  Chris had his best HM ever, finishing strong at 2:07:47. 
We scored a great parking place a half block from the start line by 6:30am and I headed for Social Event #2.  Mike is a blog reader and was in town to run the marathon.  He and I have emailed quite a bit about applying Galloway's methods.  I used the half mile to his hotel as a nice warm up and we had a terrific chat for about 20 minutes.  It was fun to meet up.  He had a solid run, finishing in 4:49:34. 
Back to our car (where my wallet was well secured) and I had to decide Which Shirt Or Combination Of Shirts To Wear For This Race.  It's getting ridiculous...I packed six shirts for this race...and changed my mind twice more on race morning.  Ended up choosing a single LS tech shirt from Rocket City.  The weather was amazingly warm for early November in Indiana...the high for the day ended up being 70.  The choice was still wrong...I should have gone short sleeved. Boy, do I over think this subject, though. 
The sound system for the starting grid was very good and I laughed out loud when one of the pre-race songs was "Billy Jean".  I had no illusions of running at a pace of 8:20, but there it was.  Just before the start, I saw ahead of me in the crush of the grid two work colleagues.  Jeremy was running his second ever HM, shooting for a sub 2.  He made it, at 1:56:12.  Chris F. was doing his first ever marathon.  An accomplished triathlete, he was using this to push the distance envelope of his running. 
The race started on time and 5,700 of us shuffled off.  Somewhere in the first mile, Chris F appeared from behind me and we decided to run together.  Social Event #3 was underway.
It was huge fun to run and converse with Chris from that point to the split up at mile 8.  While we regularly collaborate projects at work, being on the streets, sweating and taking on a big challenge allows us to go wider than mere work.  It was a terrific way to run.  We talked and talked and enjoyed it a lot.  The mile splits were consistent:  9:13, 9:15, 9:14, 9:01, 8:59, 8:51 over the first six.  Both of us were feeling somewhat for the right pace.  With my illness, I had no idea what to shoot for...a very unusual thing for me.  I decided, as Chris and I settled into a comfortable groove, to just see if I could hit 2 hours.  He was not sure just what to shoot for in the full.  I encouraged him to run slower than what he felt he could...and since he often trains at a sub 8/mile pace, 9s seemed reasonable. 
Eventually, the half marathon course separated. I was sorry to not be going with the marathoners but that's how it was today.  I wished Chris well and wondered how he would hold up.  I needn't have been concerned.  In his first ever marathon, he finished at 3:56:27.  Awesome.  I can't wait for the full report on Monday. 
After all the conversation, the rest of the race was rather quiet for me.  Somewhere after mile 9, I began to sense the lungs and legs were not pleased with the tempo I was holding.  Since I didn't have a plan and wasn't really too uptight about the race, I decided to listen to these twinges and set my watch to a 3/1 run/walk for the rest of the way.  The splits then jumped to the low 11s.  And that was OK.  The ego suffered a bit as I had so many people pass me the last four miles.  But, it wasn't a big deal. 
The finish of the race was well laid out...through downtown Indy, around the State Capital building, finishing at a new government center.  The final time was 2:06:51.  Not all that great, but it was "the best race conditions allowed."  Conditions today were governed by the illness all week.  Just the way it goes. 
It was a good day.  I truly enjoyed the time with Chris, Mike and Chris.  I'm trilled how that worked out.  Any race day is a good is a gift to simply be able to get out and run.