Monday, October 30, 2006

The debate on the Ohio smoking ballot issues...

Very light on the running front this weekend. Only one lazy run this weekend coupled with sleeping in on both days. Normally, I love to rise early and get going on my Saturdays and Sundays. With the help of the windy rainy weather, I ended up devoting more time for rest and catching up at home.


The election awaits in 8 days and there are two smoking issues on the Ohio ballot. With two issues, it would seem logical that there's a debate between the two issues.

Issue 4 - Smoke Less Ohio (dubbed as the Common Sense Smoking Ban)

Issue 5 - Smoke Free Ohio

I contend there is no debate. Rather, its legal jockeying and I fear that big tobacco's lawyers have out-lawyered the good guys.

Issue 4 (SmokeLess) is funded by a coalition of groups led by R.J. Reynolds and the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association. Their motivation is more about their companies' bottom line and not in the best interests of Ohio citizens.

Issue 5 (SmokeFree) is sponsored by a long list of organizations, including the American Cancer Society in collaboration with the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Ohio Health Commissioners Association, and the Ohio Hospital Association.

Many people will vote for Issue 4 because it's the "Common Sense" smoking ban. In reality, its an amendment to the state constitution that will supercede Issue 5.

I fear that Issue 4 will pass. If it does, it doesn't matter what happens with Issue 5.

I don't think that most Ohio voters know that Issue 4 will ease current smoking restrictions and is really the "smoke more" amendment. Issue 4 will expand smoking by repealing tough city ordinances such as the one in Columbus.

I can't remember being this fired up over a ballot issue. I'm incensed. Lost in this legal shuffle is the fact that "workers' rights" to clean safe air is being undermined by the tobbaco lobby and their fight for "smokers' rights." Huh?

Stay tuned. For the next 8 days I'm tempted to change the name of my blog to: No on 4, Yes on 5.

I feel a need to get the word out: Issue 4 does not protect workers' rights to safe clean air in the workplace.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Click here for Dave's (Nirvana91) Chicago Marathon race report

My favorite definition of character is "what one will do, even when no one is watching." I just read this Chicago Marathon race report by Dave that brought tears to my eyes. I imagine everyone has battles to overcome in life, but Dave's story is truly amazing. Life has thrown him several curveballs and he seems to keep knocking them out of the ballpark.

I couldn't help but reflect to my own life after reading about his incredible journey to the starting line in Chicago. Nevermind that this man ran extremely well in his debut marathon--my first thoughts point to Dave's strength of character and how he's coped and lived in honor of his late mother.

My mom passed when I was a teenager and I often lean on her when the going gets tough--during life as well as during runs and races. I credit Dave, at such a young age, for having an incredible self-motivation and the wisdom of a man many years his senior.

To me, this is a part of what marathoning its all about. For me, its become a lifestyle of setting goals and acheiving them. When I read a story like this, I can't help to reflect upon the curveballs that life has thrown me. With examples like Dave, it helps to know that no matter how tough life gets that there is always a way to keep on working and striving towards a positive future.

Thanks Dave, for showing me your admirable character and how to be a good son.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Race report: Running in circles at the Presque Isle 12 hour

As I write this, in many ways I remain stunned on how this turned out. I didn't do this alone. Runners, and more specifically ultrarunners, never hesitate to share their experiences and knowledge on the "how to" of going long. I give credit to community over at the's Ultra & Trail forum for the insight on the 12 hour loop run. Ask any question of these folks and you're sure to get a solid answer. Thank you, Coolrunners.

The event: PRESQUE ISLE PERSONAL ENDURANCE CLASSIC Saturday, October 21, 2006 Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA hosted by the Erie Runners Club. Per their website:

PURPOSE: The purpose of this unique event is to invite any person to run/walk a distance beyond that which he/she has previously achieved, and thus establish what will be referred to as a Personal Endurance Record. This event is designed to support and assist individuals in their endurance efforts by creating a comfortable, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Promotion of cardiovascular fitness is the prime purpose of this event. This is not a competitive race. You will be competing with yourself and your own limits and abilities, not those of others. The intent is to challenge each individual's personal stamina by exceeding a previous distance or endurance record.

My purpose? I'm considering moving up to the 100mi distance in 2007. A 12-hour run seems like a logical step in that direction.

Preparation: Running-wise, I averaged 40mpw for the preceding 12 weeks. One 3-5mi tempo or speed workout per week, to go along with a long run on the weekend. In September, I added weekly races including 4 races of marathon or longer. The highlight was a back-to-back 50k and marathon weekend. Leading up to the 12-hour, I tapered the long run for three weeks, yet continued the speed workouts.

Pre-race disposition: Last week I started a new position within my company with new hours. By Thursday, I was beat and exhausted. I planned to go up to Erie on Friday night, but was not ready. Instead, I stayed home Friday night to prepare my aid station. Saturday morning became an early 3:30am wake-up call in order to hit the road by 4am and the 110 mile drive to Erie. Although not ideally rested, my gear was good-to-go.

The course: A one mile loop, rectangular in shape with the length about 3 times longer than the width. A flat, scenic loop around a lagoon and with partial views of Lake Erie on both sides of the loop. The surface was an unforgiving concrete paved road (85%) except for the dirt parking lot (15%) which was the start/finish area. On one side of the loop, runners could opt to add another 2-3 tenths of a mile on the grass. All-in-all, there was scenery to break up the monotony but the flat hard surface took its toll. The event was chip timed and every participant was provided mile splits of their performance.

Aid station: My buddy Faceplant and I shared the tailgate of his truck as our aid station. We parked directly in line with the course and we accessed our "aid station" without losing too much ground. I had a cooler, a gym bag full of clothes, and a stool. I found a tool box with compartments that worked just fine for all the odd-and-ends such as gels, capsules, mp3 player and the like. The box gave me quick and easy access to everything, including the all important S-caps. My main liquid was the CLIP, which I prepped on Friday night and kept chilled and ready to go in 20oz bottles.

The goal: Earlier this year, my furthest run was 70 miles at the Laurel Ultra. I wanted to surpass that. I picked the arbitrary sum of 72 miles since it equaled the round number of 10 minutes per mile pace.

The plan: A run/walk ratio of 25/5 minutes. Stay on 6 mile per hour pace. Do this for 4 hours and go from there.

Index card: I made a "cheat sheet" index card and taped it to the top of my tool box. It simply read:

- 200-250 CAL
- 1 cap per hour
- 20oz H2O
- Have fun

Nutrition: Imagine all of your favorite foods set up at your own personalized aid station. I picked out all of my favorite ultra foods and beverages and set it all up. My magic number for ultras is 250 calories per hour. So for 12 hours I needed to consume about 2750-3000 calories. Here's what I had:

CLIP2 - 5 pks (750 cal)
GU gels - 7 pks (700 cal)
Trail Mix - about 2/3 bag (approx 1200 cal)
Pretzels (150 cal)
Sugar Free Red Bull - 3 cans
Chilled grapes - 3 lbs
Coke - 20oz
Turkey Wraps

For sodium, 1 Succeed capsule per hour (12 total)

I prepped smaller portions of the trail mix, pretzels, grapes, and wraps into sandwich bags, which made it easier to grab and keep moving. Along with the CLIP and gels during the run, I managed to eat some solid food (mostly trail mix) during each and every walk break.

Medications: 2x Tylenol 8hr (3hr mark) and 1x 200mg Ibuprofen (10hr mark.) Depending on how you look at it, I'm blessed (or cursed) with a tolerance for pain. No major injuries or pains and I only use meds during the long ultras. I feel lucky that that is all I needed on this day.

The 3-mile cycle: It didn't take long to fall into a routine. From the very first hour I employed a 3-mile and sometime a 4-mile cycle. After a 5-minute walk (0.3mi) to start the cycle, I ran the rest of the 3 loops (2.7mi) before walking again. Repeat. The cycle took about 30 minutes each. One of the coolrunners gave me a tip that I used as a mantra in the early miles. The fella assured me that walk breaks were, "Money in the bank."

Miles 1-10: The weather was mid 40s with light winds and ideal for a long run. I didn't quite have my bib pinned on when the run started and got going 90 seconds behind everyone else. That suited me just fine as was able to say my first "good morning" to everyone along the way on the very first loop. It was dark enough that I wore the headlamp for the first 4 miles. These early miles went by fast. As I approached mile 10 in 1:28, I did the quick math and discovered I'm on an 80 mile pace.

To the marathon (26mi): I forgot to stretch at the first hour, but at 2 hours I took my first stretch. I used standing static stretches of each of the major leg muscles and the ITB. Then self-massaged with "the stick" to keep the muscles limber. Once per hour, I invested 3-4 minutes on stretching. I reached 20 miles in 2:58 and still on good pace. Using the cycles, it was easy to pick out simple intermediate goals in 3 mile increments. As I approached mile 26, however, I picked up the pace a bit. Over the course of the day, I found myself more motivated to move forward as I approached milestone numbers such as 26, 31, 40, 50, and 62. The day became a numbers game. First marathon done in 3:50.

31mi in 4:34: At 4 hours I finally added my Ipod. The tunes must have energized me as some of my fastest miles of the day were between miles 29-31 in 7:51, 7:38, and 7:29. I didn't get an exact split at the 50km, but I would have broken my previous best of 4:39 at Punxsutawney.

40mi in 5:59: I reached the 5 hour mark at the end of lap 34 and decided to change shoes to a new pair. Yahoo. I was still working the plan, eating and drinking on my walk breaks, and moving along okay. I pushed on knowing I was still less than halfway complete. I reached 40mi in 5:59 and although I remained on 80mi pace, I knew I could not keep it up for another 6hrs.

50mi 7:37: One of the pleasant surprises of this event was discovering the 5oz flask. Normally on the trail, I carry one or two 20oz bottles. Not needed on this day. I went with the 5oz flask and it became easy to fill on each lap. I made it a point to drink it all before the end of the lap. It seemed to work. Quick math: 6mph x 5oz = consuming 30oz per hour. Not bad for a cool day. The pace started to slow a bit, but not much. I reached 50mi in 7:37 (another PR) and still on 79 mile pace. It helped having these intermediate checkpoints.

Caffeine: Having only 4 hours sleep, caffeine became my friend early on in the day. I took a Red Bull at the 4hr, 7hr, and 10hr marks of the run. A 20oz Coke pulled me out of a low point at the 9hr mark.

62mi 9:43! I've yet to run 100km, but I'd be hard pressed crack sub-10 hours anywhere else. Miles 50-62 were the slowest of the day and I had several moments where I questioned my existence. I asked some familiar questions of myself. Why this was important? Why not just pack it up and call it a training run? Why this, why that? Late in the day, the field of runners started to thin out resulting in less people to feed energy off of. The run became hard.

This run was never a race, but the timers made sure I knew my position on the course. At mile 54 I was informed that I was the leader. Faceplant was only a couple laps behind, but wasn't feeling too good and took a nap in the truck. (Oh, the pitfalls of a cozy loop course.) There were a handful of us who ending up with over 60 miles. While I had just met each one of these fellow runners, it felt like I knew them like old friends. I've never participated in a non-competitive running event and was pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie displayed for each other in striving for our common goal.

At some point near the 60 mile mark, I told myself that it's not every day I get to this point in time. When the brain is telling me to stop, my heart is telling me today is the day to do something great. I relied on my marathon mantra in the late miles, "You gotta want it." I had two choices: To pack it in, or to take part in The Gift.

10 hours and beyond: The worst part of the 3-mile cycle is starting up running after the walk break. The legs are most noticeably sore in the first few minutes coming out of the walk. After about 10 minutes running they start to feel okay again. It's funny how it works. Approaching the end of loop 3, several times I had to talk myself out of running a fourth loop. Money in the bank, money in the bank. I continued with the stretching and eating throughout each and every hour.

70mi 11:05! I reached mile 66 in 10:28. After 10-and-a-half hours of running in circles, I finally knew I was going to make my goal of 72 miles. The question now was how many. Something happened here. I don't know if it was me smelling the barn with a mere one hour to go or the Red Bull/Motrin combo kicking in, but I got my ass in gear during the last hour. I hit mile 70 in 11:05 and never looked back. No more walk breaks and I ran the last 7 miles on a mission.

Miles 70-73:

I arrived at mile 73 with 30 minutes left on the clock. Some of the participants had called it the day and were assembled in the parking lot. Their applause fired me up. I saw 11:30 on the clock and said out loud, "Going for 76." Each lap, still filling up and drinking from the little flask that I carried for the entire race. I ran on:

Miles 74-76:

Unreal. I just ran 76 miles in 12 hours. No finish line, no winner, no medals, but the reward was plenty. To run for the sake of running a personal record. And to witness another do the same. It made it all worth money in the bank.

The people: By running in circles like that, I got to meet almost everyone in the field at some point in the run. Folks came of all walks of life, but it didn't matter on this day. It was a coolrunner gathering like no other--we met for 12 hours! I got to meet Michelle from Buffalo, who filled us in with course details, and Frank from the ultrarunning hotbed of Medina, OH. I felt priviledged to not only chat with, but run aside the likes of Ohioans Leo Lightner (age 78,) Art Moore (69) and Fred Davis during the course of an ultra. *I'm not worthy*

Whew. That's a lot of running in circles. On pavement.

Will the trail running gods ever forgive me?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Presque the numbers

What a day it was. I'm wiped out, yet soaring on an adrenaline high. Most people, myself included, cannot believe it. 76 miles in 12 hours.

Catching up with sleep and real life is calling now, but I'll be sure to write a report soon. I've never been involved with a run like this and there's lots to tell. This was no race. Everyone involved strived for a common goal: To push further and towards a personal record. With the loop course, I met and chatted with folks that I would never meet in the course of a race. Everyone was very supportive of each other.

In the meantime, here's a little numerical breakdown of my Presque Isle 12 hour Personal Endurance Run, hosted by the Erie Runners Club. I can't wait to tell the rest of the story...Lloyd


11:57:xx - Elapsed time
76 - Miles travelled
9:27 per mile pace

Since it was chip timed, complete mile splits will be posted on the Erie website soon. I'm interested to see the splits because I never concerned myself with my pace, nor did I keep splits.

Time hacks at selected mile marks:

10mi- 1:28
20mi- 2:58
31mi- 4:34
40mi- 5:59
50mi- 7:37
62mi- 9:43

After this point I knew I would make my goal of 72 miles and just ran the best I could to the end.

By the marathon:
1st 26mi- 3:50
2nd 26mi- 4:07
Last 24mi- 3:59

By the 10s:
0-10 -- 1:28:07
11-20 -- 1:29:54
21-30 -- 1:29:07
31-40 -- 1:32:52
41-50 -- 1:37:20
51-60 -- 1:48:08
61-70 -- 1:39:41
71-76 -- 0:52:36
67-76 -- 1:28:56

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday fun

If you're in Cleveland today:

- Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band at the Barking Spider Tavern on the campus of CWRU. Sets from 9:30p-1:00a.

- Dean Karnazes visits Cleveland today for stop #34 of the Endurance 50. Run starts and finishes at the Galleria downtown at 8:00a and finishes sometime during the noon hour. My office is nearby and I might just check out the finish. The Endurance 50 is a fund raiser for Karno Kids and underwritten by the North Face.


At the Cleveland West Road Runners trail run last night, I ran with folks I haven't seen in ages. For me, the Rocky River Metroparks' Nature Center are the best closest trails to downtown. Running here, its hard to believe that I'm only minutes away from the city.

After the run one woman asked me, "What's next?" I responded that I'm running JFK 50 Mile in November. She continued, "Are you going to become the next ultramarathonman, Dean Karnazes?"

I had to laugh. While DK is making ultrarunning more visible to the mainstream public, there are quite a few Cleveland-area ultrarunners that I would rather aspire to be like. Two notable, and long-time CWWRC members come to mind: Arthur Moore and Leo Lightner.

My coy reply was, "No, I wanna be like Arthur and Leo."

I cannot confirm this stat yet, but between the two of them, Arthur and Leo have close to one-thousand marathon or longer races completed. When I last asked about 2 years ago, Art had 579 official marathons or ultras, including 18 of the first 20 years at the Laurel Highlands Ultra.

Hopefully, I will see Art or Leo tomorrow in Erie.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Running in circles, Part 6

Tonight's track workout (Tue):

8.5 miles total
2.5 warm-up
4.0 intervals (8x400 @ I-pace; with 400m recovery jogs)
2.0 cool-down

400m splits: 89/87/85/83/86/86/83/83


I can now say I used to work evenings.

It's been a long time. Way too long. Tonight was the first Tuesday night track workout with Second Sole in almost two years. Not by choice, but by a matter of my work. It's not as if I haven't seen, nor run with these peeps. Just not on Tuesday night.

This week I started a new role with my company. For the last 18 months I've worked on Pacific Time, or 11a-8p. I'm thrilled to be back to days, excited about my new research position, and most of all ready to return to life. In some ways, I've felt like a hermit since I've missed out on all weeknight activities for quite some time.

Only a small track group tonight as most everyone else is either recovering from, or prepping for a marathon. My group of four ran quarters and I was the slowest. I don't mind though. I like having to chase. So I ended up running a bit faster than the 85-88 second range of two weeks ago. And it felt good to be back. Amongst friends, night felt less like running in circles and more a class reunion. It felt good to be back and training with a larger group of much speedier folks.

When I started blogging back in August, I named my weekly speed workout Running in Circles as a parallel to this Saturday's 12 hour Personal Endurance Run. Yet this week has not felt like I've been running in circles. Just the opposite, in fact. As of this week, I'm an eight-to-fiver and I don't feel at all like I'm stuck in a rut this week.

As for the 12-hour run, I'm ready as I'll ever be. Its going to interesting to see how long I can go before I crack. I'm concerned about the lack of terrain and having to run on pavement for such a long time. Unlike trail ultras where the hills offer a chance to walk, I will have to voluntarily employ walk breaks throughout. With food and drink readily available on each and every mile, I will be tempted to sit and take a break.

In last week's Running in circles, I offered my goal: To run further than ever before. For me, that target is 70.5 miles. Yet I know that anything can happen over the course of half-a-day. We'll see what the day brings. I have a run/walk strategy for the first 4 hours: Run 25 minutes and walk 5 minutes.

With running distances over 50km (over 5 hours,) I have to consider consuming more than just carbohydrate. The nutrition strategy will be similar to what I consumed at Laurel Highlands: A foundation of CLIP2, GU, and S! Caps as needed every hour. I'll make sure to add solid food such as trail mix and pretzels throughout. Late in the run, I'll turn to a dose of caffeine in the form of a Red Bull or cola.

This weekend while running in circles, though I have a goal in mind I'll remember to have fun and smile. Gulp, here goes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Weekend update

I spent more time spectating than running this weekend.

Woke up Saturday morning intending to race the Cleveland Race for the Cure. Note to self: Its almost impossible to register for this race on race day! I arrived amongst the masses with 40 minutes before the gun. There was no way to register AND warm-up, so I bailed on the race and just went for a run. I watched a friend Dee win the women's race for the second time, then we went for a cool-down. Seeing cancer survivors and/or their supporters was indeed a very inspirational scene.

Congrats to all the runners, including Papa Louie, who ran the Columbus Marathon on Sunday. Columbus was my first Ohio marathon back in 2003 and this year was the third year I've watched on bike. At the start it was clear, sunny 35F with little to no wind--in other words, perfect marathon weather. It warmed to 50F by the 3.5 hour mark of the race. I followed along watching a group of locals who were targeting 3:00-3:25. My spectating system is getting better and this year I got to see much more of the front-runners. After watching the start, I was able to get to miles 3, 6, 9, 14, 20.5, and 25 to view my peeps. What fun!

My (old) training bud Tara scored a huge 12-minute PR and ran 3rd woman overall in 2:53!! Just insane. I say "old" training bud since I can no longer keep up with her.

I didn't get many photos of the race, but here's a clip of the start. After a perfect rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Army Band and a C-130 flyby, the race was underway.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Running in circles, Part 5

This week's track workout (Wed):
8 miles total
2.5mi warm-up
2.5mi @ I-pace (5x800m Intervals; with 2:40 rests)
3mi cool-down

800m splits: 2:55/2:58/2:58/2:56/2:56

As I chased Andrew around the track, I thought about what I'm getting myself into. See that thingy up there in the upper right-hand corner? "Dreaming of running further than ever before. Next attempt: Presque Isle 12 hour run."

Well...its crunch time.

The Presque Isle Personal Endurance Run is now 8 days away. And I have no earthly idea on how I'll do. Yesterday, I sent in my $5.00 entry fee (I can't remember the last time I wrote a five dollar check) and now it seems a lot more real.

So what is the furthest I've ever run? Seventy-and-a-half miles at the Laurel Highlands Ultra. I'd like to go further. 12 hours is 720 minutes. Seventy-two miles at 10-minute mile pace sounds somewhat doable. Hmmm. Someone broke it down to me like this: think 3 four-hour marathons. I did the quick math...3x26=78. This doesn't sound as doable, but at least it sounds possible. Well, distance isn't everything. Good thing there are secondary goals as well. If I can run for over 10 hours, it will be a great last long training run for the season ending JFK in four weeks.

Why I am concerned with the 12 hour run?

- flat loops, no hills.

- it is not considered a race, but rather a Personal Endurance Run. No winner or places. No finish line. Just everyone with their own personal endurance goal and running for the sake of running. In circles.

- my car will be parked there. I have a chance to pack it up and drive away about every 9-10 minutes.

- my weekly milage is down. Way down. Coolrunning has a nifty online running log. In the last 11 weeks since the BT50K, I've averaged barely 40mpw. In contrast to my past seasons of marathon training at 55-65 mpw, its interesting to note that I'm running less miles. While I'm a bit concerned about the lack of volume, I've never hesitated to take an extra day off this season. I've needed it to recoup from the longer training runs.

How do you train for a 12 hour run on a 1 mile loop?

I dunno either.

The best I could figure out is that you make it up while you go along. Its now 8 days away. I do have some run-day strategies to work out. (I've had a hard time not calling it a race.) There's no telling how long, or how far, I will be running in circles on that given day. But having my little goal is giving me something to shoot for. We'll wait and see. I'll make sure to taper well and get my strategy and food together so I can keep on the move. I'm sure the weather may be the determining factor, but we'll see.

One thing is for sure, at the end I will pledge allegiance to the trails. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Christmas Ale and other fun stuff

Today is the day. This year's batch of Christmas Ale is ready to go at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Its on tap starting today and the bottles are supposed to hit the stores sometime next week.

Other fun stuff coming up:

Over the past few years, I've focused on the marthon. Running a 5k race used to be a despicable idea. Not so this year as I'm having fun trying some shorter races. I'll try once again this weekend at the Cleveland Race for the Cure.

Its appears to be a Columbus weekend. It just so happens Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band is playing Columbus on Saturday night. How convenient. Then its over to watch the Columbus Marathon on Sunday. The set is from 10p-2a at Sunset Negril and the marathon starts at 8am. Good thing I'm just spectating and not running!

My favorite professional team of all time, the Oakland A's, are in the ALCS. Now that the Yankees are out, is it possible to make it to the World Series?

Perhaps I'll grab one of those Christmas Ales tonight and catch a part of game 2.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend update

Marathon season is in full swing. And in Ohio, we have good ones nearby in each of the first three weeks of October.

What a great fall weekend here: Clear skies, brilliant sun, and relatively cool morning temperatures. I joined my Boston training bud Andrew, who's training for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19, for both weekend runs.

Andrew needed a time trial to determine his fitness and I needed a faster paced workout. He picked the Nature's Bin 5k road race at Lakewood Park, sponsored by the local natural food store Cornocopia Nature's Bin.

(Cornocopia's mission since 1975 is helping people with serious disabilities to secure their place within the workforce by developing work skills leading to employment and by providing job placement assistance and support services. "The Bin," was "Cornucopia's first and most enduring average of 12 people with mental retardation trained there each year.")

It felt good to run a race at home in my town. Doc Louis and Denis joined us for the warm-up.

From the opening gun, Andrew darted to the front and gapped the rest of us right away. As he disappeared off in the distance, I just tried to maintain a relaxed feeling thru the two mile mark. The race was large enough where there were plenty of runners in my vicinity, all whom helped pushed me to the finish. (Those competitive juices never wane, do they?) Andrew's 18:02 finish confirmed that he's getting much faster than me. I have some catching up to do.

Mr. A is following the Pfitzinger marathon training schedule, which calls for a long run the day after a race. On Sunday, we joined up for a hilly tour of Brecksville and northern Summit county on this 17 mile route. Afterwards, I hustled down to the Boston Store and the finish line of the Towpath Marathon. Three Cleveland masters runners took the top three spots led by John Paull in 2:50. In one of the most gracious acts I've witnessed in running, John's pacer and friend, Pellegrino allowed him to go ahead to win the race. Roger Wilder was third in 2:52. Congrats JP!

Great weather, great weekend. I hope it stays for at least one more week for all those competing next week in Columbus. I know Papa Louie is running. Any other bloggers?

Weekend runs:
Sat- 9 miles total; 5k race (19:11) Splits: 6:15/6:21/5:57/0:37
Sun- Long run 17 miles; ran the hilly roads of Brecksville with Andrew (2:15 total run time)


Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Photo

This weekend I hope to post new stuff over at the photo blog: Roots Pics. Meanwhile, a little somthing for a Friday...

Roxi the SuperDog

first love, food. second love, ball.

Running, by Carlos Jones: Live at the Rocky River Brewing Co. (Carlos wrote this song in 1986 and has been Runnin', runnin' ever since!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Running in circles, Part 4

Carlos Jones this week:
Thursday- Rocky River Brewing Co; early set from 7-11p
Saturday- Mocha Maiden (new Akron venue); 9p-close

Today's workout:
6 miles total:
2 miles warm-up (16:09)
2 miles @ I-pace (8x400m; with 80 second recoveries)
2 miles cooldown (15:48)

400m splits: 90/90/87/86/84/85/86/86

It hit me all of a sudden on Monday.

I. Am. Not. Indestructable.

Mentally, I'm feeling a bit out of balance. Not sure if its burnout coming on, but I'm going to pass on another marathon this week. I don't know the exact cause, whether its apprehension from starting my my new job or trepidation from the upcoming big ultra run later this month. Yes, its true I've accepted a new position with my company. After working a late shift for the last 18 months, I have some worries about the lifestyle changes involved with going back to days.

Physically, I didn't recover as quickly from the Akron Marathon like I had in past weeks. Even with a recovery trail run on Sunday and a day off Monday, I found myself with lingering quad soreness. Come Tuesday, when I snuck in an afternoon run around downtown and Ohio City, I've accepted that I am a bit tired and need a couple extra days of recovery.

I've been on a bit of a roll with the marathoning in the past month. Look over at my sidebar. Five races in September, two personal records, and four races marathon or longer. Yet, in my head, I want more. Last year I pulled off the Akron/Towpath marathon double. At the time, two marathons in two weeks was the zaniest marathon streak I had accomplished and I even surprised myself with a solid run in the second week at Towpath.

Naturally, I was looking forward to Towpath Marathon again this year. Its one of our local marathons, and one that runs completely within the splendor of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 2-in-2 weeks. No problem, right? In my pea-sized brain I was even thinking of giving BQ (3:15) a go. Now that its later in the week and I'm feeling more recovered, I still feel confident enough that I could pull it off again this year.

But what's the point? BQ? Someone asked me this, "Why not just run Columbus then?"

In the moment, as an athlete and competitor, I've found it hard to take a step back to take a look at the big picture. It seems like I always have something to prove. Yeah, running another 'thon would be a challenge. And qualifying for Boston again would be fun and possibly attainable. But today I've decided to take stock in my season's goals. I still have the 12-hour run in 2.5 weeks and JFK 50 mile in 6.5 weeks. There's still a lot ahead to look forward to. As I reflect now, its plain to see that if the 12-hour run is important to me, that racing a fast marathon while I should be tapering is a dumb idea.

While its tough to take a voluntary step back in training, the good news is that I'm not injured. Just a small adjustment, extra rest and I'll continue forward towards JFK. It seems my training needs a new direction. I'm going to meet up with my old track buds Andrew and Denis this Saturday at the Nature's Bin race here in my neighborhood at Lakewood Park. I miss them. And Sunday, I can still participate in the Towpath Marathon by volunteering my time or showing up along the route to cheer the runners on.

I knew at some point that I'd be writing about "running in circles," as less about running and more as a metaphor for my life. As eluded to earlier, I'm out of balance. There's something aside from running thats missing from my life. I dunno, not enough roots reggae? It's possible. Kidding aside, there are many days I wish I would pour my enthusiasm and drive into a career or relationship in a similar way as I do with running. Part of me is excited about the mystery of what's to come soon. I think I have a lot to look forward to when I change back to days. When I took my last postion I knew it was a 18-24 month gig and I'm somewhat shocked that the time has come and gone so quickly. I've missed out on so much over the past year-and-a-half. No doubt I've missed the evening group runs with Second Sole and Cleveland West peeps. There's that to look forward to. And I imagine I will soon have time to volunteer an hour or two at the VA hospital once again. Take a class? Now I'm talking.

So am I edgy? Perhaps. I'm coping with some new beginnings. And its exciting. Its clear to me that I have plenty to look forward in the near future--at home, work, and at play.

I'm starting the rebalancing tonight by lifting my spirits with a Carlos Jones sing-a-long. See you there?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Quick weekend update

A couple quick notes on the Akron Marathon:

- Weather: perfect 45F and overcast for the first 5 miles, then the rain came. Never a downpour, the drizzle started gently and turned to a relentless cold rain that continued for more than 2 hours of our race.

- It was a better day for marathon running rather than relay running. No standing around to wait in the cold.

- Time: 3:40 (8:23 per mile)

- The event has grown! This was my third time leading the 3:40 marathon pace at Akron. In each of the past two years, the group started with about 10-12 runners and it normally falls apart with only 2-3 runners remaining by the 20 mile mark. This year my group rocked. We were over two dozen at the start, ran together through the half and picked up some others along the way. At mile 20, I counted 18 of my 3:40 peeps formed in two strong groups within 50 yards of me. There's no way to know, but I imagine over 15 people that started with me broke the 3:40 time goal. Way to go!

- Running a track workout is NOT a good idea two days before a marathon. I felt dead legs and hit a bad stretch myself from miles 19-21.

- Its really a shame that the weather spoiled the post-race fun. It was just too cold outside to hang out and party.

- Bless all the volunteers than spent the day in the rain. Akron is a classy race. Even in bad weather, we as runners enjoyed a fabulous closed race course and aid station support with plenty of volunteers.

- I met lots of new folks at the expo and during the race...even a couple new people from blog land. Thanks for saying hi!

- On Sunday, Roxi and I hit the Buckeye Trail in the Brecksville Reservation after stopping by at the Cleveland Tri Club picnic. My quads are more sore than in weeks past and I was happy to get a short recovery run on the trails.

Akron splits

Goal to finish in 3:40 on a 8:23 per mile pace. Note that this course is rolling, so the varied splits. It was a joy to pace this group of runners. After mile 3, they were locked in a hitting every mile marker in good time. Pacer dude was very happy today. Splits:

1- 8:40
2- 8:31
3- 8:06
4- 8:03
5- 8:34
6- 8:25
7- 8:32
8- 8:42
9- 8:20
10- 8:25
11- 8:02
12- 8:32
13- 8:23 (13.1 in 1:49:58)
14- 8:15
15- 9:04 (pee break , then played catch-up for next two miles)
16- 7:38
17- 7:59 (caught the group just after the 25k relay exchange)
18- 8:38
19- 8:31 (My group rocked it going up Sand Run parkway. I was stunned that there were still 18 of my runners in my vicinity as we headed to mile 20.)
20- 8:40
21- 8:30
22- 8:28
23- 8:18 (Most of my group went had already went ahead at this point. I was in awe. It was so cold that I think most just wanted to get it over with.)
24- 8:20
25- 8:20
26- 8:25
.2- 2:08