Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I'm shaking it over here

As a little kid I always had good wheels.  It just did not seem hard to out run most people.  However, at 12-13 as elementary schools come together you quickly learn there are faster folk.  As the gun cracked from Socs Russo we smoked out.  Like a kid "going long" to get behind the secondary I soon found everyone had the same plan.  Whatever juice propels you in your first race quickly had me at the half mile mark.  A quick inventory told me that only a handful of us were at the front, but soon enough Genova a senior and Heasley a junior seemed warmed up and just kinda twinkle toed ahead.  I tried...I really did try to go, but there was nothing to pull from.  My reserves were severely eroded and at the half way mark I was in a special pain zone I was unfamiliar with.  

The thing is I just assumed everyone was in this much pain and I was mostly right.  This must be how racing longer distance feels.  It was the only experience I had to this point and no one else told me any different so I marshaled on.  Past 2 miles the leaders had a huge gap, but being in 3rd overall wasn't wasted on me.  There was no way I was letting anyone pass me and just to make sure I probably glanced behind me a dozen times.  The last quarter mile of the course you turn and run up up a nice little rise.  I was thankfully safe at this point and crosses the finish in 17:50 for 3 miles.  It was a really good feeling doing okay and a few people congratulated me.  Fred was just behind me and our first race was in the books.  Let's cheer the others in and be on the bus home.  I wondered how bad we were beaten.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

How hard could it be?

But I was no Kenyan.  Our team was a collection of all sorts of individuals wanting to try something new.  Shop jocks, battered football players, and guys typically at the wrong end of the pecking order made up the roster.  Our coach was a young guy who's job was to watch over students serving suspensions.  Essentially no one had a clue, so we jogged a few miles and did wind sprints.  After two weeks of this, I could see Fred (a senior who ran the 880 in track and last name was McMurray) and I were probably the better runners because of our speed.  We would run our first dual meet against Union HS on their course.  All day at school I had butterflies thinking about the upcoming race.  I'm sure the newness of it all played a part, but I was more jacked up over the pain one had to face.  If the two weeks taught me anything it was to be up front meant to suffer.  I did not want to fail.

Flying your HS colors is an awesome honor.  The year is '76 and soon I will turn 15 years old.  I'd grown up watching all the older neighborhood kids play varsity.  Now it was my turn and as we walked over the course at Union it occurred to me that 3 miles was a long way to sprint.  That's the only strategy we basically knew.  Go out with the leaders and stay up front as long as you can.  It was that simple.  I tied my white Puma sprinters spikes to my feet and got ready to strap it down.  No advice, no pep talk, no strategy discussion on what was about to take place.  In modern terms, "Grip it and rip it."

Put some bacon on a biscuit

Growing up in the 70s has left many of memories colored as the old pages of Sports Illustrated.  Random athletes (Dennis Menke, Dave Osborne, Essex Johnson, or Bernie Parent come to mind) who's uniform colors or action photos are still in my head.  That they were all successful athletes was reason for us to emulate them for whatever reason.  An odd batting stance, a great Topps card, or an odd name easily might get you mentioned in one of our ball games.  Sometimes people ask how do you know these random sports facts about skiers, horses, or even boxing?  The answer off course is we had limited channels to surf, so the Wild World of Sports was consumed often.  That and reading the Sporting News at the school library.

Like most kids I wanted to excel in a sport like baseball or football, but it just didn't happen.  We started a XC team my sophomore year and I was on board immediately.  I had plenty of colorful images of Bayi, Jipcho, Ryun, and especially a cat named Keino in my head.  Sure, I knew many other track athletes because in the day you also read the Guinness Book of World Records.  I loved those old school Kenyan uniforms and the way they went after it.

I gotta go run now...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Put your helmet on

After 30.6 miles over the weekend I'm glad to report a solid Monday workout.  Sometimes I'll try to jump the week early and get a good one off the tee box to start the week.  I achieved my goal already before vacation by taking down all three 2017 watch PR's (for those hardy 3-4 people who look at this) with a 6:36.9 mile, 21:30 5k, and a 43:58 10k.  I jumped out the door and tried to stretch it a bit and ambled through the first mile in 8:23.  From there I fired up the mothership through 14 mph winds and slowly wound it up.  I averaged 7:08 pace the next 7 miles which is acceptable.  I seem to be cracking up oxygen easy enough.  Need to working on jamming the gears.  Probably a bit early to start racing myself several times a week, but honestly at this point it doesn't seem like I can create enough debt to worry about peaking.  Besides, not sure I'd call reaching for 9:23 pace on the Ice Age trail a firestorm.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rawhide in A

This was a good week for me.  A few ups and downs being on the road in Georgia, but I mustered a good week.  The tempo was a bit soft, but with a cold 18 mph wind I'll take the result.  Saturday's long run was brutal the first 10 miles, but I rallied the last half and ran reasonably well.  I stayed of the trails again based on a few muddy reports.  Sunday turned out to be another impressive running day and the body responded well to the fair temps and sunshine.  Leave late this coming Tuesday for a week in Arizona.  I'll go to the if you ain't blastin' you ain't lastin' mode and enjoy whatever result this yields.

Christine and I discussed a few of our Top 10 all-time running moments.  It was great hearing a few of her inside stories on some wins and what motivated her.  My range is all over and also includes training runs and adventure runs.  However, the one thing I always come back to is tying for first with my brother Bryan in the 1600m my senior year of HS.  It was a dual meet (remember those) against Union.  If I'm ever out on a run with you let me know and I'll give you my version.

2/13 = 9.0 (8:38)
2/14 = 8.0 (8:13) w/ 3.3 @ 7:08 pace
2/15 = 7.0 (8:54)
2/16 = 8.4 (9:52) Men. Park w/ Dewey and Tim
2/17 = OFF
2/18 = 20.6 (9:27) Fox River w/ Christine
2/19 = 10.0 (9:11)
Total = 63.0

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's a gas gas gas

It is 12 weeks from today that the Ice Age 50 mile begins.  I have completed 15 of these jaunts and I constantly remind people it is my favorite race.  I guess now-a-days I can call it my favorite event rather than race.  Covering the distance in as short as time as possible is generally the goal which means more emphasis on speed these days.  So the idea that most of the chips left on the table will be pushed into trying to run a fast half on 4/1 has been entertained.  The thinking goes as such.  Speed/strength will be enhanced and with a half dozen target type runs (course specific speed efforts and general 25 - 35 mile runs), getting to 7:50 may seem attainable.  The other reason is seeing what type of time can be produced in a half.  If way over 1:30 then forget about lining up at Lakefront and forget 7:50 at Ice Age.

The watch I wear has a feature that chronicles your best efforts.  I zeroed them out this year.  Running through the first couple I see 6:46.9 for the mile and 22:14 for the 5k.  As disheartening as these are I won't even list the 10k and half.  Then it dawned on me.  Next week we are going to Arizona for a week of vacationing (and looking for retirement ideas) which means I'll run 50 - 80 minutes a day first thing so it does not interfere with anything else.  This being the case I'm thinking of trying to break all my 2017 watch PRs of 1 mile, 5k, and 10k.

Yeah...this is what it gets to. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Barn fodder

There is a little handheld game that has a bunch of little holes and bb's under glass and you try to roll them all in place.  It was not a gimme and it took a bit of concentration and luck to get 'em all in place.  Running has been a lot like that now-a-days.  Just when it seems you have it going in the right direction something else falls out of place.  Winter can be a cold, wet, and icy environment in the upper Midwest.  Honestly, I have so many friends getting hurt in this crap that I'm not up to shortening my last few running years.  Another phenomena are the twists and niggles from out of no where.  Add in the travel for work and I sit here far short from placing all the bb's.  This is what I mustered:

M = PM, 7.0 w/ 5.0 @ 7:13 pace on t-mill.
T = AM, 4.0 (9:20) t-mill.
W = PM, 7.5 w/ 7 x 880y w/ .25 jog.
R = PM, 7.3 @ Menomonee Park w/ Dewey and Tim.
F = Off
S = AM, 18.0 (9:18) in The Sha w/ Christine.
S = AM, 9.1 (10:37) Minooka (wet/muddy/icy trails) w/ Dean and Andrea.

Total = 52.9

On Tuesday I was up in the UP and it was icy.  I put 4 in on the mill and I was done.  I hate those things.  I was going to run again later in Green Bay, but it was just nasty on the sidewalks.  On Friday I had planned to get in 4-6 for a shake out run, but my hip flexor (or some BS muscle) had me limping.  I had to fight every urge not to go out on a useless run.  Turned out to be a good call because I had no pain Saturday.  I have to lose this 10 extra pounds.  I'm taking down sandwiches like a German shepherd on a rib roast. 

When Christine and I started to run Saturday, three middle aged Mom's (30-35) went right by us.  They were doing about 10 miles.  We just kind of looked at each other.  I know what she was thinking.  "Is this what it has come to?"  Indeed.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Another bum from the neighborhood

To keep training alive and active I believe I will run the South Shore Half on 4/1.  Basic plodding at 9:00 to 10:00 on the roads and perhaps slower on the trails no gonna get me to 7:50 on 5/13.  I believe breaking 1:30 is a bit of a stretch goal, but if I wanna get reasonably close to 3 on 10/1 I best start figuring out what that pace feels like.  I ran 5 on the mill today in MI @ 7:13 pace and I was ready to blow my brains out.  I have to cap tempos at 4 miles on the mill because I just can't take it, plus it is stuffy in there.  At this point I'll do a variety of 8 x 600 or 6 x 800 and 3 or 4 mile tempos.  I think occasionally I'll do a 2 mile lightning workout to tingle my racing senses.

At some point I should introduce hills once a week.  It just seems right, but it's hard to pour in everything.  Plus hills have always been a strong point for me.  You see that there?  I'm trying to skip hill work for Ice Age.  Is anyone checking on me?  I'm over here trying to make a go of it and no one says jack.

Shooting for 55+ this week.  Faster workout to happen Wednesday and 17 on Saturday.  Not sure where, but possibly the trails.  I'm having no problem getting guys to agree that we up tempo some longer runs on the Ice Age course (when the snow is gone).  I'm guessing some 9:00 work or better, but that sounds easy typing it.  F-F-F-Flashbacking can be dangerous...there is no pain you are receiving....the dream is gone.  Any time you throw sub 8 out there for Ice Age we come out of the woodwork.  The final question is getting to be...am I no longer capable?

Pack a lunch.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is that X?

It felt good to get back into the running groove again.  By my accounts it was a good week, but it looks skinny.  It didn't feel skinny, but on paper it doesn't look like much for a guy training to race a trail 50 mile.

M = PM, 6.0 w/ 3 x 1mile on T-mill w/ .25 jog (6:49,44,40).
T =  AM, 6.5 (10:20 pace) through slushy snow roads
W = PM, 6.0 w/ 6 x 880 w/ .25 jog (3:20,18,16,14,11,09)
R = PM, 7.5 (10:34) @ Men. Park w/ Dewey & Tim
F = Off
S = AM, 16.1 (10:19) @ John Dick through snowy trail
S = AM, 8.0 (10:10) Monches
Week = 50.1

45 has indicated he is up for a run at the roses come 10/1 @ Lakefront.  He also agrees with the Beck program.  I'm going to have to send an email to 46 and his coach to see if we have interest.  I believe these guys have the sub 3 wheels.  I believe 3:05 would be a stretch goal for me, but most would understand what I'm trying to cash in on here.

I did punch in 2:59 on a calculator and looked for times I should be able to run at various distances.  The mile said 5:36 and I'm pretty sure it would be hard for me to get near 6:00 flat now.  That's just stuff for me to toy around with for now as I have learned to embrace the t-mill while traveling.  Mainly because good runs are hard to find at the crack of nuts in MN, WI, and the UP when on the road.  Also, for all the fun I made of these things over the years they are much easier on me physically.  I am bored quickly with them, but doing mini speed workouts seem to make it go by fast.

By most accounts I believe I'm a fairly jovial guy.  As a native of Pennsylvania we are kind of known for that.  You know...You have a friend in Pennsylvania license plate.  What is up with folks these days?  Three things from my rural road run today:

1. As the car comes towards me there is plenty of room everywhere.  Out of habit I run on the berm. The car goes by and at my estimate is 3.5 feet from me.  What gives?  Seems some people love the fly by.

2. I see this other guy running towards me for about a half-mile.  As I run by I raise my hand and say hello.  He doesn't even acknowledge my presence.  Like it never happened...I was invisible.

3. Guys German Shepherd appeared from no where and after a brief encounter he calls him off me.  I'm fine though the dog nipped me on my hand.  No apology...no I'm sorry...nothing.

I know.  I'll stop.