Friday, January 1, 2016

Goodbye 2015 - Hello 2016

Neighborhood Loop - 4.25 miles - 1-1-2016 - Details

Well, the curtain has closed on another year of running. I started the year with just a couple goals. The first goal was to run 860 miles. After a quick tabulation it looks like I only managed to run 840.31 miles. I now kind of regret some of those trips to the stair climber but they were for a purpose at the time. The second goal was to complete a full marathon. I picked the Tecumseh Trail and happened to attempt it on an 80 degree day. I had some stomach issues and dropped out shortly after half way. 

As I sit here and reflect on a year of running where I failed to accomplish either of just 2 goals, I am filled with gratitude that I am healthy enough to get out and run 840 miles which I am sure enriches my life in many ways. I am also grateful that I was able to travel to central Indiana in October and spend a day in the woods enjoying nature. While my backwoods experience was a little more complete than I had planned, sometimes these things happen. The next time I attempt Tecumseh, I'll pack some TP. 

I'm going to stick with just 2 goals for 2016. I've increased my mileage goal to 900 just to keep it interesting and will leave the marathon goal at 1. I do have the local Donna marathon scheduled for the middle of February. I will just have to see how the condensed training goes. I've got a couple half marathons and a 30K scheduled before then. If I don't think I am ready for 26 by race day I can always drop down to the half.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Searching for Santa - 4.5 miles - 12-24-2015 - Details

Searching for Santa - 4.5 miles - 12-24-2015 - Details

I headed to Jax beach this morning on a hunch that Santa had arrived in the Jacksonville area early and that I just might cross paths with him if I got out and about a bit. When I ventured out to the sand I noticed these birds all looking to the south so, logically, I headed south on the sand.

Many people were out this morning, likely with the same hunch as mine, walking along the beach, I suspect searching for the man in the red suit.

As I headed south I wished all a happy holiday while I scanned the horizon in search of you know who. It was so foggy this morning that I couldn't see the pier until I was about 50 or so feet from it. Then as I went under the pier the fog seemed to clear and what did I see, you guessed it.........

As the man in the red suit waded in to the surf I realized that maybe he was done on his visit to Jacksonville and that my gift was actually the opportunity to spend this morning running on the beach and enjoying nature. Maybe my gift was this moment, my friends and family, this breath and all that I have to be thankful for ......

Peace and Love.......

Saturday, November 28, 2015

G-WIZ - Holiday Run Streak Day #3 - 4.35 miles - 11-28-2015

G-WIZ - Holiday Run Streak Day #3 - 4.35 miles - 11-28-2015 - Details

I started today's run across the street from the Hyatt at the G-WIZ science museum here in Saraspta and was going to link to their web page. When I did a little research I found that they have actually been closed for several years with the city now contemplating new uses for the land.

From the G-WIZ I crossed a little board walk over a marsh area and went right by the front door of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center which stands out because of the choice of exterior color, PURPLE. I then followed the bay front up to 10th street which I took east to US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and then turned right or south and ran right by the lawn bowling club.

As I was trying to figure out the best way around the big construction project (a new high rise condo) on the corner or Tamiami Trail and Ringling Blvd. I ventured along the edge of the Ritz Carlton property. I came across what appeared to me to be a traditional Indian wedding. A large crowd of Indians with most of the women in colorful outfits stood along the edge of the driveway with a young woman sitting on a white horse and holding an old fashioned umbrella. Later I thought I should have ran up and taken a picture, then wondered if it would have been disrespectful.

I figured out my path would not lead me all the way to Ringling Blvd. so I doubled back and all ready the wedding party was gone. I walked around the construction project on the corner and then headed west over the Ringling Bridge for the 2nd time this weekend. This time I didn't go as far west but instead turned around and returned the way I'd come back to the Hyatt, my home base for this long weekend.

So, now that I've made it through the first 3 days of the holiday running streak I feel the momentum starting to build. Let's see how long I can make this last.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ringling Bridge - St. Armands - Lido Beach - 6.5 miles - 11-26-2015

Ringling Bridge - St. Armands - Lido Beach - 6.5 miles - 11-26-2015 - Details

Well, for me, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving in Sarasota without a trip over the Ringling Bridge and out to St. Armands circle. Today I extended the trip out to Lido Beach because I knew the public facilities would come in handy.

As always the wind on the bridge was fierce and by mid morning it was already very hot, near 80 degrees.

Today is of course, the start of the holiday running streak, where we attempt to run at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's day. The way I've been feeling of late I am not sure I will be able to complete this streak, not even sure my heart is in it but I got thru day #1.

I would like to take this opportunity to which all my family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe and make the most of every day.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tecumseh Trail Marathon - DNF - 10-24-2015

Tecumseh Trail Marathon - DNF - 10-24-2015 - Details

On October 24th the Tecumseh Trail Marathon was held in the Yellowwood State Forest not far from Bloomington and Nashville Indiana. If you have read this blog during the year you might recall that this marathon was kind of a bucket list thing for me since I've wanted to run it for several years.

Actually, when I was much heavier and living in central Indiana, I remember hearing about this event, thinking it sounded very cool and also thinking that I would probably never be able to do it.

Well, when I looked at the calendar at the beginning of the year and realized that I would soon be 60 years old, I remembered crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last year and thought, well, Tecumseh is the same distance as Chicago, just on trails. How tough could that be?  (later I found an elevation profile that showed 3,500 feet of climbing/ascent and 3,700 feet of descent)

You guessed it, I signed up for Tecumseh back in March and started training. Now, having a goal, every run had meaning. When it was nearly 90 degrees at 6 AM and I had a run to do, I was out the door. All the yoga classes and strength workouts were done to support my running. 

As I drove into Bloomington on October 23rd the thermometer in my car read 80 degrees. I was really bummed. So much for a chilly fall marathon. I had not slept good in the hotel bed the night before and was looking forward to getting settled in the host hotel, picking up my race number, grabbing a bite to eat and then going to bed. 

I did get to the packet pick up area at the hotel, got my number and sweatshirt and went to say hello to the race director. Turns out his daughter, a little blond girl of 5 or 6, had set up a table and was selling chocolate bars for some little girls group. Of course I had to invest $1.50 in this worthy cause. 

So, back in my room for the night, I had all my gear laid out, my alarm set and my trail shoes near the door. I had read for a while and then I remembered the chocolate bar. I figured I'd break off a piece to see how it tasted. It wasn't long before the chocolate was gone and the wrapper was in the trash. Oh well, it's time to turn off the lights and get some sleep. Except I couldn't sleep. I might doze off for a while and then wake right back up. I remember getting out of bed at 11:30 to go to the bathroom and realizing my legs felt fatigued. This really freaked me out. 

I met Sonny, who drove down from Indy, in the hotel lobby for breakfast the next morning. I didn't mention it but I briefly considered dropping down to the 5.5 mile fun run since my legs were already feeling tired. When the buses showed up to take the marathon runners to the start line I boarded and hoped for the best. 

The fall colors were very pretty but it was near 70 degrees at the start. The trails were very well maintained. I stuck with the fueling/nutrition plan that I had practiced on some of my long runs. I alternated Hammer gel with Hammer Perpetuem Solids. 

I was doing really quite well, running the rolling terrain as well as the down hills and walking the steep up hill sections. Around 12 miles we came out of the forest and had a short section on 2 lane county road. As I was turning a corner, I asked someone if there were any bathrooms nearby. He said the woods.

I passed the 13 mile check point and headed back into the woods and was soon on my way up what I believe was the steepest and longest hill on the course. As I slowed down, 2 guys passed me and asked if I was OK. I said sure and they kept going.

Half way up the hill, at 13.6 miles, the GI distress hit and I suddenly realized I was standing in the bathroom. I looked up the trail, saw no one, turned and looked down the trail, saw no one and then looked left and right. It was during this looking around time that I noticed being dizzy and light headed. I finally got far enough off the trail and ...............................................................

When I returned to the trail I considered that the next check point was probably at least another mile and a half away so I headed back to the 13 mile check point to drop out. On the way back I passed the trail sweep who was following the last two women. A realtor from the Chicago area and a rather frantic looking Asian woman. The trail sweep radioed in my race number indicating that I would need a ride.  

So if my memory is correct, Tecumseh 2015 is my 2nd DNF. Maybe I was right several years ago, when I thought that I'd never be able to finish the Tecumseh marathon. Or maybe I just had a bad day.

I will admit that while in a hotel room in Tennessee, on my trip back to Florida, I visited the Hoosier Hikers Website and read about their race series and started thinking about 2016.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Old Sonny's Birthday Run - 5 Miles - 8-11-2015

Old Sonny's Birthday Run - 5 Miles - 8-11-2015 - Details

I celebrated Shoeless Sonny's birthday today with a 5 mile run after work. Although, now that Sonny has reached an age that would tend to indicate an abundance of life experience, he has concluded that running shoes are in fact appropriate when selected with caution. So, now that Sonny is wearing running shoes, with the other 99.9999% of runners, it seems like the Shoeless nickname needs to be retired.

So that leaves us with just the name Sonny, which of course is a perfectly good name, but really, it just doesn't seem fitting for a man with such an abundance of life experience. A man that has likely very recently put an AARP card in his wallet and can order the senior coffee at McDonalds. 

It seems to me that we need a concise word that describes Sonny's ah...abundance of life experience...and really, what better word than Old. So, I propose that Shoeless shall starting now and forever more be known as Old Sonny. I know, it has a nice ring to it...

So, Old Sonny and I will be racing in Chesterton, IN on 9/27/2015 at the Hero 10K. Sonny has made the bold prediction that he and I should both win our age group. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he's lost his marble.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Race Report - Moon over Croom - 21 mile - 8-1-2015 - (WTHWIT)

Moon over Croom - 21 mile - 8-1-2015 - Details

The link above will take you to the Garmin Details page for my participation last night in the Moon over Croom 21 mile trail race in Brooksville, FL. I actually had signed up for this event several months ago, I believe in April. Several weeks ago, Jackie (like Onassis without the $$$$) from Jacksonville Running Company stated after one of the Sunday morning runs that she wanted to do the Moon over Croom trail race in Brooksville. I told her I was signed up and that if she wanted to go she could ride along.

We both had a room at the host hotel and arrived about 3 pm on Saturday after a 3 hour drive, mostly in the rain. We both ran into several people we knew and since Jackie knows most everyone who runs in Jacksonville, she introduced me to several that I didn't know. Later, as we were walking to the start of the 21 mile, one of the ladies that Jackie had introduced me to asked if Jackie and I were sharing a room. I quickly told her that I didn't think my wife would approve so Jackie and I had separate rooms.

We left early for packet pick up and drove to the race site. Again in the rain. As I was driving and reading the step by step directions, approaching the start area, I saw a note on the directions that said location of 22.5 mile aid station. As we were waiting in line for packet pick up I made a point of asking the race director why he needed a 22.5 mile aid station for a 21 mile race. Let's just say his answer was less than convincing.

Speaking of packet pick up. We were in a wildlife management area over 20,000 acres in size. For some reason the race management company brought like 5 little laptops and a stack of race numbers. The plan was to connect all the laptops by wi-fi, have the runner type in their name, take a race number and assign it to themselves. This might have been a good idea for an urban location but the best they could do on wi-fi was a very weak signal not strong enough to do what they wanted. Finally, after 45 minuets of ah....technical support......with runners standing in the rain, they got 2 of the laptops working and got the race numbers assigned. I hope this system is refined for next year.

As the announcements for the 21 mile race were being made the race director said the only technical portion of the trail was the first 3/4 mile. He suggested that if someone was comfortable with mud and roots that they might move to the front and that those less comfortable with this terrain might consider moving to the back for a slower start. I was already so far back I was near the Georgia state line, I didn't budge.

The start of the race was an air horn and off we went, on a short road section, into the park area and across the timing mat. I very gingerly danced my way through the opening technical section crossed a dirt road and was into a more typical Florida forest trail section. The course was mostly rolling with occasional roots, tree limbs and downed trees to keep it interesting.

At about the 3 mile mark, I started remembering the left over spinach roll ups from Zoe's Kitchen that I had for an early lunch. By 4 miles I was wondering how quickly my GI system could process spinach roll ups, if I would ever see an aid station and if there might be a portable restroom. At about 4.5 miles I finally viewed an aid station on the horizon. A quick survey confirmed what I expected. No portables. I passed one more water station on the way back to the start where I crossed the timing mat and immediately headed to the parking lot where I had seen portables prior to the start.

After an 11 minute pit stop I headed back to the start area where I changed out water bottles from my cooler in the drop area and then started lap #2 of 3. By the time I hit the technical area it was noticeably more muddy since most of the 21 milers had gone through for the 2nd time and the 14 mile run had started at 7PM.

Things were more spread out now but I could see 3 of the ladies from Jacksonville up ahead that I had met earlier. They were taking occasional walk breaks as was I but their walk breaks seemed less frequent and shorter than mine. Even so, I finally caught up with them and said hello. They thought I wanted to pass and I quickly reassured them I had no intention of passing. As we approached the 4.5 mile aid station I heard one of the ladies say to the other, well your just a dirty dirty girl, (everybody was pretty muddy by this point). I told them that was why I was trying to keep up with them which solicited a good laugh. Not long after they pulled ahead out of view. (note to self, next time keep mouth shut)

It was at this aid station that I pulled out my Petzl headlamp. My headlamp is several years old but it is high quality and was fully charged for this event. As the daylight started to slip away the light seemed quite adequate. As I approached the start/finish area it was now pretty dark. I heard someone shout finisher coming, when I crossed the timing mat, the timer asked if I was still going, I would have been very happy to stop; however, I had only run 2 of the 3 laps I was signed up to run.

I knew Jackie was still out on the course so I told the timer that I was going to give it a go on the 3rd lap. So by now, the technical section was pretty much a big mud pit with roots and rocks in it. I knew better than to try to run through this section. I was able to stay vertical and get through the mud pit, cross the little dirt road and get to the more typical Florida forest section. By now my shoes were so full of mud they felt tight and heavy and like I had rocks under my socks. 

By now it was quite dark. I could see the glow lights in the trees which were used to mark the course. I focused my lamp on the trail a few feet in front of me and very carefully started a slow jog. Ok, jogging now, going well, and I was able to get in a fairly good groove. I don't know how long this lasted but before long, my right foot caught a tree stump which caused a more horizontal position eventually bringing me to a position where I could get a very up close view of the trail surface. Nothing new here, it was dirt.

OK, I got up, brushed myself off and started walking for a bit. Now this was going well and I may have even thrown in a few brief jogging intervals. I do know that I was walking when my left foot hit a gnarly root right on the left edge of the trail and again with the horizontal position. This time I kind of rolled on my back and got a cramp in the back of my left leg. I rubbed it out a bit and then remembered that I had told Debbie I would arrive home on Sunday in 1 piece. I decided that since I tend to have a somewhat difficult time staying vertical trail running in full light, that future running at night was not a good idea. From here on out, I walked until I got to the paved road.

As I approached the start/finish area for the 3rd and final time I could see Jackie wrapped up in her beach towel. When she realized it was me she started cheering. Probably because I had the key to the car and she was ready to go back to the hotel for a hot shower.

After a little chit chatting with the folks we knew, we headed to the car, hotel and shower. After eating my veggie burrito from Chipotle in the lobby I headed up stairs for a shower. After my shower I had to get the eyeglass cleaner from my car and by this time there was a crowd of the Jax runners gathered in the lobby. I sat down and chatted for a while and before long it was 1 AM. Way past my bedtime. I excused my self and headed for bed.

I got home today a little after noon, Jackie is already talking about moving up to the 14 mile distance next year and I have this new acronym (WTHWIT) bouncing around in my head. So, just What The Hell Was I Thinking.....maybe 14 miles wouldn't be so bad.

At the end of the day I had a new T-shirt, a moon pie and Croom trail flask to show for my efforts.