Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Runs in the Park

Tuesday, November 24, 2009:

Blacktop trails in the park again today, because of the crummy weather and wet grass. 3.6 miles in 33:58, for a pace of 9:26. Hmmm - seemed faster than that - I was pushing pretty hard - wonder if I should re-measure that route.

Oh well, it’s good enough. A half hour of pretty good exercise. No pains.

I wore the Brooks Launch shoes - they really are the shoes to which other shoes will have to measure up. My last pair of Brooks Burns are wearing out, but that’s OK, because these will do the same job.

Monday, November 23, 2009:

I love running in the park. This time I ran on the blacktop trails because the grass was wet from the rain. 5.8 miles in 55:50, for a pace of 9:38. Humph. Well I guess that’s good enough. I ran most of the way, walking only for a few hills. Pace was consistent, the first half taking 12 seconds longer than the second half. And I saw my sweeties several times.

Just a slight pain in the right knee. Not enough to worry about, but I do wonder if that knee will give me real trouble someday. Meantime, though, it’s a masterpiece.

Saturday, November 21, 2009:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles in 52:06. Uffda. Not too speedy, but an enjoyable run nonetheless. We had at least 9 runners today, probably more. Paul, George, Gauss, Dave2, Candy, Wayne, Charley, Kent, myself, any more? Gauss and I brought up the rear, plugging along steadily.

We ran Wayne’s route today, taking us across a wooden bridge over a lake, and through some neighborhoods. It avoids the 55-mph roads entirely, and I like that.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Catching Up on Blogging

Wednesday, Nov 18:

I worked on a computer problem ALL DAY Tuesday and didn’t get my Tuesday run in. But today I did get in a nice run after spending a couple of hours collecting leaves first. Grass trails in the park, no walking except up a few small hills when my breathing became too fast. Pace for the first 4.3 miles was 9:16, not bad for a hilly grass trail. I didn’t time the next 0.7 miles.

No problems with the knee that locked up Sunday. It’s a masterpiece!

Sunday, Nov 15:

St Croix Valley Runners Sunday run, this time 11.3 miles in 2:06:22, for a blazing-fast pace of 11:11. We had a good time though. Gauss, Steve, Tom, and myself. Steve and Tom really had to rein it back for Gauss and me, but they seemed to enjoy it anyway. From Gauss' house to Pine Point Park, the near end of the Gateway trail, then on the trail to Manning, to take a look at the bridge construction there, and back by a slightly different route. We didn't go all the way to the Mile 16 marker on Gateway, so maybe the distance should be 11.1 in stead of 11.3. Doesn't make much difference.

I did have one problem: Near the end of the run, running downhill in the last quarter mile, my right knee suddenly almost locked up. It was quite painful, and I stopped immediately. I tried to run again and it still hurt. But a couple of minute later it was OK and went from OK to "just fine." I don't know what that was. The pain was on the outside front corner of the knee, just at the bottom of the kneecap. Definitely not ITB, seemed like something got stuck in the meniscus. I was wearing the Brooks Launch shoes - the first problem I've had in those shoes, and of course I have no idea whether different shoes would have made a difference.

I had this same problem several years ago while running in the "bubble" in Stillwater. Back then I put it down to the many, many unbanked corners. This time the only strange thing I did was to run backward for a few seconds, perhaps five or ten minutes before this problem happened. I'll have to look back and see what I did when it happened before, because it went away for a long time.

Otherwise, it's a masterpiece!

Saturday, Nov 14:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles, nice run. I finished with Gauss and Wayne at about 47 minutes, for a pace of about 9:24. Lots of people running this morning. Drizzle overnight, but this morning was just fine, about 50 degrees. I overdressed with an extra layer on top - just wasn’t paying attention. But we had an enjoyable run. Dave1 was there, did a short run. Hope he doesn’t re-injure his knee.

No pains, no problems. Longer run Sunday?

Wednesday, Nov 11:

Nice 4-mile recovery run on the grass trails of the park, watching the sun set in the 52-degree evening. I brought a flashlight, in case it got too dark, and did use it in the last few minutes. I couldn’t believe the number of cars in the parking lot tonight. People were walking their dogs, and just enjoying the evening, no doubt one of the last this fall. Time 37:33 for 3.9 miles, pace of 9:38, which is not bad for that hilly grass trail. I ran almost all of it, walking only up a few of the hills. I feel great!

Antipasto, mostly organic.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

OBX Marathon, North Carolina Outer Banks

OBX Marathon, Kitty Hawk to Manteo, on the North Carolina Outer Banks. Very, very nice. State number 24, marathon number 40. No plans for any more marathons this year.

Good stuff about the OBX Marathon:

  • Incredibly, most (meaning more than half) of the course is shaded, either in neighborhoods or on wooded trails or roads.
  • There WERE spectators! And they were enthusiastic. I taught a few little kids how to high-five, or I could hear their parents teaching them after I had swished by with my hand out.
  • There are some small, rolling hills on a road that goes through the woods, and there is a tall bridge, but otherwise it’s really quite flat.
  • There is a REAL expo. Not a huge one, and some of the booths were selling real estate, but running gear was plentiful too.
  • They started the race in corrals, honor system, two minutes apart, which worked fine. I like that, even with just 1800 runners. My corral started 10 minutes after the first one, but it was the right place for me.
  • Transportation is an issue in point-to-point marathons, and they did it well. We parked at the finish and took a bus to the start, but you could do it the other way too.
  • They had put out “Burma Shave” signs along the way, telling facts about the area (highest sand dune in the USA, first flight, whatever, even some bad jokes. If you don’t know what a Burma Shave sign is, your youth may be a minor hindrance in reading this blog :-)
  • Example series of signs:
    • First successful flight
    • in motor driven heavier
    • than air machines by
    • Orville and Wilbur Wright
    • December 17, 1903
    • Kill Devil hills, just south of Kitty Hawk
  • There is a lot of history here, including the first powered flight and Roanoke Island. It might be worth an extra day (or several) just enjoying the Outer Banks. The beaches are delicious - be sure to get a motel with access.
  • The race goes right through the Wright Brothers Memorial.
  • And it goes along the waterfront for some distance (unlike Kiawah Island, you can actually SEE the water!).
  • There is a swashbuckling pirate theme to the whole marathon (arrrrgh!).
  • Nice booty bag (expo bag), nice long-sleeve tech shirt.
  • People were very nice to my sweeties, even though they were near the end of the race.
Other stuff:
  • At least seven miles of the marathon are on a coned-off lane of US 158, a 50-mph 4-lane highway that goes the length of the island. There is quite a bit of traffic, and no shade.
  • Officials at the expo were a little bit arrogant about the lack of a chip-check ("no need"), and the information person didn’t know anything at all.
  • The start area featured the seemingly obligatory, meaningless, high-volume noise (music), which meant that most people didn’t move to the start corrals until the very last moment.
  • The medical stations didn't have any salt, which is often the best remedy for cramps. Why don't marathons figure that out? Grump, grump.
But, the overall experience was wonderful. I would highly recommend this marathon, especially in comparison with the Kiawah Island Marathon. Bring your own salt packets.

My Race:
  • No serious pains AT ALL, just the normal sore muscles that are supposed to come from a marathon. I'll be running again by Wednesday;
  • This was my first marathon in the Brooks Launch shoes. They seem perfect for me, a midfoot-striker, just like the old Brooks Burn shoes. Other shoes will have to measure up to these;
  • I ran two minutes and walked one, as in other recent races;
  • That works best in a flat race like this one;
  • I felt stronger toward the finish than in the middle. That’s new. I did use Clif Shot most of the way, then a Hammer Gel at Mile 21 - could that be it? I doubt it;
  • I started two minutes behind the 5:00 hour pace team, then got a couple of minutes ahead of them, fell behind at a potty stop, passed them again, then watched them gradually fade into the distance ahead as I took photos.
  • I finished in 5:05:00, about five minutes later than I had hoped. But who cares?
  • I loved this marathon, had a great time, was grinning and high-fiving most of the way.

Reasons why I didn’t run this marathon in BQ (Boston-Qualifying) time:
  • I can’t run 4:15 any more;
  • This is the third marathon in five weeks;
  • It did get a little warm today, 70 degrees in the finishing miles, and it felt even warmer with the sun beating down on the Hwy 158 pavement;
  • I didn’t care if I ran any faster (oops, sounds like a motivation issue);
  • I stopped dead still to take about 130 pictures with my new toy, a cell phone with a 2 MP camera. I think that may have had something to do with it. But I got all of the Burma Shave signs.

Splits: 20:50 (2 mi), 10:33, 53:03 (5 mi), 11:33, 26:28 (2 mi + potty stop), 10:40, 13:42, 21:54 (2 mi), 11:26, 1:00:39 (5 mi), 37:45 (3 mi), 13:35, 11:12, 1:38, total 5:05:00. Overall pace 11:38. It’s a masterpiece!

That water is Currituck SoundOne of several trails
Boat dealer in ManteoHomeowner gets into the spirit

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Computer Crashed!

Thursday, Nov 5, 2009:

And so did my watch! I had a blog post almost ready, and then BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH! About a week ago now, accounting for some of the delay in posting. This has happened before on this laptop. There is a flaky connection between the motherboard and the hard disk, and eventually the hard disk gets corrupted and the boot files are overwritten with junk. Or so it seems. Repair doesn’t work - the only solution is to wipe the disk and do a complete reinstall of Windows XP. It’s a six-year-old laptop, crashed several times now, and I responded to this latest crash by ordering a new laptop. Ten times the disk, ten times the speed, twice the screen area, about the same price as six years ago. Meantime, this little old clunker is limping along again. I might try to keep it running, because it’s a lot smaller and lighter than the new one.

The watch crashed Tuesday. Tsk.

Today’s run was 3.3 miles in 33:11, pace 10:03. Some walking, but apparently mostly running, or the pace would have been slower. The watch worked OK today. I hope it keeps working - I don’t have time to get a new one right away. Brooks Summon shoes - gosh they felt clompy compared with the Launch shoes I’ve been wearing. Even compared with the Nike Lunarglides.

Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009:

My watch crashed! Not a good week for hardware. I finished a 4.2-mile run, pushed the button to record the finish time, and the watch went blank. Then it started up again, midnight, January 1. Darn. The time for this run isn’t important, but I just replaced the battery in this Timex watch and now it looks like I should probably have replaced the watch itself. It is six years old, almost seven. Probably time.

Before the crash, though, I clocked myself doing two of the loops at a 9:22 pace. I suppose the overall pace was in the vicinity of 9:30. Or so. I felt very good this morning. Except for the watch, it’s a masterpiece!

Sunday, Nov 1, 2009:

St Croix Valley runners, “standard” eight-mile Sunday run. We haven’t done this run in a long time, though, at least I haven’t. Cool at 7:00 am, 30 degrees or so, but great for running. Gauss, Candy, and I took it fairly easy and enjoyed the run. Time 1:31:49, pace about 11 ½ minutes/mile. It’s good.

Saturday, Oct 31, 2009:

BOO! St Croix Valley Runners, the usual five miles, but mostly in the dark. I was surprised how dark it was at the start, because I had run with these folks just two weeks before and it sure didn’t seem so dark then. But sunrise is racing forward about ten minutes per week these days. New guy Kent joined us again for the second time, and took off in front with Dave2, himself just back from a very successful 50-mile trail race. Then George and Paul, and finally Gauss and myself. We had a nice, easy run, finishing in 49:43, for a pace just under ten minutes per mile. Dave1 showed up after the run to let us know how his surgery went. He won’t be running for a while but seems cheerful..

Beautiful morning, enjoyable run.

Thursday, Oct 29, 2009:

North St Paul Community Center upstairs track, four miles running & one more walking. I felt a little pain in the bone just below the right kneecap, so I stopped running. No problem later - false alarm. But I was wearing the Nike Lunarglide shoes, and will stop wearing them for a while, after that maybe only on trails.

Splits: 9:06, 8:43, 8:58, 8:51, total 35:38, pace 8:55.