Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Summary

August was a great month for running. The predominant weather was sunny, hot, and humid, with a little cooler weather sneaking in toward the end. I was running relatively injury free, with the exception of the ITB flare-up, which is about already healed and feeling fine. I attributed the ITB problems to biking, so you'll notice in my summary table that the biking miles are way down. I took nearly two weeks off the bike to let myself heal, and I adjusted the seat to the correct height which seems to have helped as well. While letting the bike collect some dust, I kept running, motived by the need to get my training miles in for the Punxsutawney 50k, which is now just a five days away. I regret not having done a long run of 22 miles or more, but I am happy that I was able to run through the ITB issue so I could keep my total miles up. I ended the month with 244 running miles.
Yesterday was interesting. I cut my usual long Sunday run down to only 12 miles, with Punxsy less than a week away. After finishing, I went immediately to the soccer field and played for two hours. I played right back, but I regularly sprinted forward to try to create some pressure on offense. After two hours of running in cleats on very hard, dry ground, my legs were ready for a rest. It did feel good to kick the ball around. I made a couple of well-placed passes, but I missed so many opportunities because I could not put the ball where I wanted it to go.

Plan for the next few days is for low low mileage. I won't push too hard, rather I'll let my legs recover and get ready for Punxsy.


It was a warm, muggy, foggy Saturday morning. I arrived at Lock 29 about an hour ahead of the group, allowing me to run Pine Lane loop and take a few photos.

The forest has nearly completely reclaimed this disused brick road. Picturesque, but those bricks are very slippery on a damp morning.

Moss-covered log

A blue blaze on the Buckeye Trail

A little, white house just south of Peninsula

Friday, August 29, 2008

Separated at Birth?

Thanks to Lil Sis for sending in this brilliant observation. She was watching the Olympic Beach Volleyball, and for a moment, was convinced that our own Steve Hawthorne was in the competition. It turned out to be Phil Dalhausser, but I have to agree with Lil Sis, he definitely stole your look Steve.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Long Run..Weekly Review...Back on the Bike that Bit Me

Quick review of the miles for the week It was a good week overall. I did get back on the bike for the first time since the ITB flared up last week. Felt good. Tuesday at the track I was back on track with 3 x 1 mile intervals, all in the 5:50's. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful days. The trail run on Saturday was wonderful. (Details from the Sunday run to follow.) I did a few early miles with Paul R. Later, Steve Hawthorne, Bob P., and I broke from the group and sprinted back to Peninsula. I say sprinted because our last three miles were all in the 6:45/min range (mostly on the roads.)

I wanted to put 20 miles for the morning, and my plan was to do about 7 miles miles before the group run started at 8:00 AM. I knew I'd catch the sunrise at about the perfect point for a photo from a spot under the power lines, so I took the camera along.

I got my early miles in, and got to the meeting place at the shopping plaza in Solon a few minutes early. Wyatt was there, chugging a RedBull, or, as he said, 'Going Godale'.

Speaking of Godale, I ran ahead of the group and got some nice photos, among them this shot of Mark, smiling with the sun rising behind him. I ran with Mark for a about a mile before he decided to pick up the pace. I didn't see him the rest of the morning.

Before I post the other photos, I wanted to mention that I ran the first eight miles in my Nike Free's, but felt a little twinge in my Achilles. The Sunday morning route takes us within a block of my house, so I took about a quarter mile detour at about the eight mile mark, and changed into my new pair of Pegasus. I though a more traditional shoe with a bit of a heel might help ease the stress on my Achilles.

Here's Dave P., with Wyatt signaling that the field goal was good.
Paul R. and E-speed, already putting some distance between them and the rest of the pack, as usual.

So, I mentioned my little detour to swap-out shoes. Well, I wanted to catch up to the group, so I put the hammer down just a bit, and caught them about four miles later. After that, I ran the rest of the day with Tim C., who just two weeks ago won the Burning River 100 mile. He was in good spirits, and we had a good long talk about running, and living, and where we want to be (in our running lives) in ten or twenty years, or more.
I did get my 20 miles in for the morning, and was back home by 10:00 AM. In order to prepare my body for the Punxsy 50k and Chicago, I took my electrolyte pills about every half hour, and a Vivarin at 15 miles. I want to be sure that I won't have any negative side effects, and I am happy to say, I did not.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful...part 2

  • The niggling ITB hip pain is almost gone now.
  • The weather for the last week has been beautiful.
  • On Sunday, I ran eighteen and a half miles with the SERC group, and felt good. I had tried some No-Doz before the Buckeye Trail 50k as a test, but it upset my stomach. On Sunday, I tried a Vivarin at about thirteen miles and I didn't feel any discomfort. I think I'll try it a few more times, and if all goes well, I can use it in Chicago.
  • I am thinking about trying to run the Punxsutawney 50k in the first week of September. I know I can improve on my Buckeye Trail time. If I do this, it will probably reduce my chances of doing well in Chicago, but what the hell.
  • I had a very god workout at the track on Tuesday. Two and a half warm-up miles, followed by three one-mile intervals with about two minutes recovery between, and two miles of cool down. The interval miles were all under six minutes.
  • I am going to buy some new shoes, very soon. The two primary pairs in current rotation are at about seven hundred miles and five hundred and fifty miles respectively.
  • The Boston Marathon is only eight months away.
  • Yesterday, I rode my bike to work (watched a spectacular sunrise), ran at lunch, then rode home for twenty-six bike miles and about six running ( I forgot my Garmin.)
  • It's another great day today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Great Day for Running the Trails

I arrived at Lock 29 early, so I warmed-up with a slow run toward Pine Lane. I was struck by the unabashed verdant celebration of summer that surrounded me. Trees so full of deep green leaves, they seemed about to burst. A thousand varieties of plants muscling for room at the forest fringes. Birds chattering and calling and flitting from limb to limb. Remarkable and inspiring.
After lingering for a while and taking some photos, I circled back toward the train station and saw that the group had started to gather.

I was in feeling so good, I vaulted the steps put out for boarding the train. Jeff U. and Steve Hawthorne gave me the look, you know, the "WTF is up with you?" look. I told them I'd had too much coffee, but really I think it was just the fun of running on a beautiful Saturday morning. We talked for a few minutes, then Steve G. took the lead and we were off.

About a dozen of us hit the the tow path, heading south, following Steve G. As usual, he was not inclined to tell us where we were going. That's why it can be dangerous to get to far ahead or behind him. If you don't keep him in sight, you may be left to your own to find you way back.

Too bad photos cannot convey the noise we produce. There are usually three or four concurrent conversations, over the sound of a dozen feet hitting the ground. Also too bad photos can't show the mocking and ball-busting, by far the most common theme. No, I take it back. It's good that the camera can't capture that.

Within the first mile, we had moved off the towpath and on to the trail. Steve G. led us on some trails with which I am unfamiliar. It was a good choice, very scenic. We did a bit of back tracking at one point when Steve took us on a trail that simply stopped being a trail. Rather than bush-whacking, we turned and backtracked until we could pick-up another trail.

There plenty of hills, including a particularly steep downhill which had me about one step away from a head-over-heels tumble. I was able to regain control just in time. I decided to turn and try to take a photo of the rest of the group coming down the hill. Flying down right behind me was Steve H., in full stride and only slightly under control. This is a close as a still photo can get to showing that moment. That is Marc A. and his sister Larissa in the background. I decided to move out of there before I got trampled.

One bit of bad news, Mark G. still isn't right. He ran with us for a while, then took an opportunity to cut the run short and head back. He has five weeks until the Spartathon (153 miles) in Greece, and it is looking less sure every day. It would be a huge disappointment for him to be unable to run it.

With Mark, Connie, and a few other having departed, we were a smalled group when we arrived at the quarry. Someone suggested a group photo, and we all scaled the wall to make it interesting. Of course, Hundred-Mile Hawthorne had to one-up everyone. After this, we headed for the station. With my early mile or so, it was about 13.5 miles for the day. Not too bad, and I felt better than I have in weeks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday...with Cherries on Top

I've been slowed by an iliotibial band strain, where the band joins the hip. I think I injured it last Monday, riding my bike to work. I was pushing too hard up the hills. (Why was I in such a hurry to get to work? I could understand doing that on the way home.) Regardless, I've been reluctant to do any speed work for the last two weeks, because it is much more uncomfortable when I stride out. It is tolerable when I keep a moderate pace.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that Tuesday is speed-work day at the track. I needed to substitute a different work-out, something that would not risk further staining my ITB. Bike riding is right out, since that's what caused the injury. Hill work is also off the table since even a slow uphill pace cause lots more pain. Then, I thought of the perfect thing...

ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everyone has a preferred marathon training plan. Some follow Hal Higdon, others use the Pfitzinger method, many follow the Galloway schedule, I am following the Hagen Daz plan. I believe marathon training should include an Ice Cream workout at least once a week. Today, I made a banana split with cherry vanilla Hagen Daz. I topped it with the whipped cream and some fresh cherries, followed with a drizzle of dark chocolate. Cherrylicious! Bananatastic! And since I wisely chose to do 6.5 miles at lunch in case I was not up to the speed work, it was completely (almost) guilt-free.

So I have taken three of the last seven days off. Here are the days I did run. Notice there are no bike miles shown. I will not ride again until the ITB quiets down. Also, the number 1 and number 2 pairs of shoes in current rotation are at 650 miles and 500 miles respectively. I need to buy new shoes. I think some of the 'dead leg' issues I am going through may be due to 'dead shoes'. I've got my eyes on a few new shoes, but I need to get down to Vertical Runner and try them on.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Burning River 100 Wrap-Up

Saturday was a great day. The weather was sunny and warm, and there without a chance of rain. Sue and I got to Boston Store (photo by Mark Shelton) early. After we had unloaded the car and grabbed a load of ice from 'The Iceman', Elizabeth and her army of family and friends arrived. We had chosen a Hawaiian theme for the aid station this year. Once the aid station set-up was well underway, I ran and re-mark the loop from taking runners to the north and east then back into the Boston. I put out additional streamers with reflective tape to make them more visible at night, since many of the runners would be coming through at dusk or later.

By the time I got back, the set-up was done and the place was ready for the first runner to come through. We were actually much too efficient, as were were ready about an hour before the first runner actually arrived. So we had time to talk and make sure we all knew the drill when runners arrived, and take a few photos. Here is the crew. (photo courtesy of Elizabeth).
There is a reason for the look on my face in this photo, and it has nothing to do the fact that my cup of ice cream had melted while I was working. Elizabeth was explaining to me that her camera has a 'smile' mode which will only allow her to snap a photo if it detects a smile on the subject. I was trying to prove that the 'smile detection' technology was not reliable, and I think I made my point. That's the renowned tri-athlete Papa Lou to my right, trying to maintain a more professional demeanor. I've known Lou for a few years, and I was glad to have the chance to work with him at the aid station.

I should exactly where our little aid station was located. Boston store is tucked up against the canal tow path, at the 56 mile mark in the Burning River 100 mile course. It is also on the 60.7 mile mark, since the runners enter from the west then make a 4.7 mile loop to the north and east east after leaving the store, coming through again before heading south through my favorite section of the course, Pine Lane. That meant that we would have runners coming at us from the east and from the west. It made us a very busy little aid station once the runners started coming through.

The first one through was Tim Clement, the eventual winner.
He looked good, as good as you can look after having run 56 miles, with 44 more to go. I picked him up about about 30 yards from the aid station, asking him what he needed and offering him various food and drink. Tim, and some of the other runners, had his own little crew waiting for him with his food and drink, so he really didn't need much assistance from the aid station crew.

As the afternoon wore on, the runners started coming in just a few minutes apart. We developed a routine, with another greeter running them in from the east, then I would send them off to the north , giving them directions for the loop that would bring them back in about 45 minutes. On their second pass through the aid station, I would run them in and get them taken care of, before steering them south on the tow path. With runners coming from both directions, I was busy most of the afternoon.

I love this photo. It shows three of the best runners I know, in one of the few scenes where none of them were actually running. Barb (in the grass skirt) was working the aid station all afternoon, then she got on her running gear and headlamp and paced another runner for about 15 miles. Kam (asleep in the camp chair) who won the Buckeye Trail 50k a few weeks ago, was going to be pacing Mark Godale, last years' Burning River 100 winner, for the last 40 miles. Unfortunately Mark had to drop due to an injury, so Kam got the day off. Wayne, who was running strong at the track on Tuesday, broke a bone in his foot right after that workout.

And of course, my blog would be incomplete without a reference to and image of Steve 'Hundred Mile' Hawthorne. This was his first 100 mile ultra and he finished in 25:41. CONGRATULATIONS STEVE!

For the complete results listing, go to the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run website.

Friday, August 1, 2008

July Summary, Trail Marking, Steve Hawthorne

August sneaked in under cover of darkness, and pushed July out the window. Sorry to see July go, it was a good month of real summer weather: hot, humid, lots of thunder storms, hot, humid. I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, including riding my bike home through many of those storms. Every time I rode my bike to work in July, it rained on the ride home. On some days I got only a sprinkle, on others it rained so hard I could have paddled rather than peddled.
I didn't do much speed work in July, mostly due to trying to get enough miles in to prepare for my first ultra. I did go to the track on Tuesday of this week. Despite the nagging thoughts that I hadn't given myself enough time to recover from the BT50k, I was pleased to clock three miles as follow: 5:56, 5:55, and 5:54. That is probably the best, most consistent interval session I've had. It was reassuring to know that I could bounce back from the 50k so quickly. I went right home and had a beer to celebrate.

Totals for July 2008
- 206 miles running
- 175 miles biking

I marked trails for the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run for 8 hours on Saturday (with Paul R.) and four hours on Sunday, I met up with Paul R. and Jeff U. yesterday at 5:00 PM and we marked trails until around 9:30 PM. The race starts tomorrow (Saturday, August 2) at 5:00 AM, so we had to be sure to get this last section done. On Saturday morning, I'll run sections of the trail to check for storm and/or vandal damage to the markings. During the race, Sue and I will be working the Aid station at the Boston Store. Among all the other things going on, I'll try to take some photos to include on the next blog post, because this blogging thing gets a bit tedious without colorful, fun images.
Steve Hawthorne, an extraordinary human being.