Friday, November 21, 2014

A Solitary Runner Goes Social: Hug A Runner 2014

Caught on a compression sock day
It was odd yesterday morning. Even though the trails are clearing from the weekend's snow, I just didn't want to head out. I thought about the wind. I thought about the treadmill. I thought about not running. I thought that maybe the evening run, a Hug A Runner event at the Boulder Running Company in Cherry Creek would suffice.

Then, I watched The Runner in Winter, a short movie featuring Anton Krupicka. If you have yet to view Joel Wolpert's classic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjDLorXfkao, it is the tale of one man's quest (promise, maybe) to get out there and do it despite the conditions, despite the lack of company. You get out there mostly because that's what you do (and because you're Tony Krupicka you do it like no one else). So, I went anyway (thanks, Tony). And I went they way I have gone for a little over forty-eight years: alone.

I have run a lot of miles since 1966 (105,000+). Despite being on teams my first seven years and despite a corral full of wonderful training partners, I have easily run at least 95% of those miles with no one but myself. The Runner in Winter, and Spring, and Summer, and Fall, indeed.

I am certainly not complaining. I get a boatload of stuff done out there. I clear the slate, I clean the slate, I add to the slate. Mostly, I nurture the slate. I am so much a better me that I can be when I have logged the miles. Those thought provoking, escaping, creative, wonderful miles. So off I went. AND..... I lived to tell (write) about it. Needless to say, I was less than enthusiastic as the sun set and it became time for my wife, Linda and I to head to the Hug A Runner Event at BRC CC. 


Kara Goucher and Linda
A little background is needed here. In August Linda attended Kara Goucher's Podium Retreat in Napa, California. It was there she met Kara, husband Adam and Tim Catalano. Arriving home she bubbled for weeks about how fun it was and how wonderful the dynamic trio were. We thought it would be great for her to see them again at this event of Adam and Tim's making, say HI, and catch up a bit. And it was just that ..... great.

Talk about three wonderful people. In a world where many professional athletes have no personality, are rude and completely self absorbed, there are Adam and Kara Goucher. Accessible, sweet, caring. Yeah, that pretty much says it. And Tim...... OMG what a fantastic guy (and not too shabby of a runner either). 

The evening's objective was to run a 5K with the group, celebrate Girls On The Run (a fabulous cause http://www.girlsontherun.org/), Hug 5 runners and be able to hang out with Kara, Adam and Tim. Linda and I had a blast. We ran our 5K with Mandy Eberly, a visiting landscape architect from the DC area who had rolled into town two hours earlier. Sub-groups based on pace popped up as the run moved on, all with one consistent dynamic; chatting. So many runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and speeds sharing a common thread: community.


The Hug A Runner Community BRC CC Style!
Runners are a community. I run alone so often, I forget that. Some of my best times were participating in that community, whether it was on the Wyandotte Roosevelt High School team, the Wayne State University Cross Country team, or the Boulder Road Runners Monday night splinter group. Other runners are cool, AND I have to tell you, they deserve hugs the other 364 days of the year as well. And the group last night, completely huggable.

After a run, prize drawings, pictures and community, we headed out the door. As we hit the door a voice from the Boulder Running Company Cherry Creek staff said, "You're welcome to join us every week for one of our group runs."

You know what, I just might do that.

Some important links to cool stuff:

http://www.girlsontherun.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/hugarunner2014/
https://www.facebook.com/BoulderRunningCompanyCherryCreek
http://www.karagoucher.com/
http://www.runtheedge.com/


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2000 Down and Still Going..... Slowly

La Luz Trail, Albuquerque, NM
In Springfield, Missouri, on a boring, run-of-the-mill 5 miler in the early morning darkness Wednesday, I passed 2000 miles for 2014. With roughly seven weeks left in the year, I would expect to peak out at close to 2300. Not too bad for being pretty unmotivated most of the year.

My running has taken an odd turn over this year. I have really become one of those "run for the sake of running" kind of guys. I'm certainly not complaining. I like being able to not be training for something yet still be committed to the activity. And that IS what I am committed to, the activity.

At this point, I am in the SSD training program. Haven't heard of it? Surely you've heard of LSD (long slow distance). Well, I have invented SSD (short slow distance). The beauty of SSD is that you are rarely worn out, seldom injured and most often cannot wait for the next run. On the hand, and they DO come in pairs, you don't get any faster, stronger or lighter. Oh well. Tradeoffs.

As I said, I'm not complaining. 2300 miles will be a good year and the sixth in a row over 2000. The years of 3000 have probably passed but so have the eight years of <2000 when I worked at Coldwell Banker (something about that whole full time job thing that makes mileage a challenge). 

Also on the upside, I still have goals; dreams of places and events in which to participate. In fact, that keeps getting stronger as the year winds down. A 50K is coming soon, some mountain races will populate 2015, and someday, yes someday, the Mont Blanc Marathon.

Until then, just yell "coming by" as you approach, and "good job" as you go by. I'm just happy to be out there.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Good Week!

Scared the daylights out of this little guy
coming around a curve.
70 miles. Not bad. In fact, it's the best mileage week of 2014 and the last time I logged that many was the first week of October last year. No particularly long runs, just a steady stream of good days. The highlight, I suppose, has been feeling decent while running. This is something that just began in the last week and is highly welcome.

With the runs going better, there is the temptation of tempo runs, longer runs and some track work. I will do everything I can to resist (but I guarantee nothing). Ultimately, I guess, the goal if the November marathon. Maybe Savannah, maybe something else (although I have unfinished work in Savannah). With that on November 8, it opens the possibility of my first 50K run in Huntsville, Texas on the 22nd. Hope to make both those decisions pretty soon.

In the meantime, the plan is to continue consistency in training and avoid the little (and big) injuries. My work schedule in July and August is perfect for base building and I intend to take advantage of it.

Keep running.....

Monday, June 30, 2014

Small Dose of Redemption

After the debacle that was yesterday's long run, I was expecting little from today's morning effort. I figured to be sore, sluggish and generally apathetic. Instead, I was mildly tired and feeling not so bad. If the truth be told, I was feeling pretty okay (please note the toned down evaluation of how I actually felt). Maybe this getting serious thing is actually beginning to work out.

Early in a training program, the discomfort of not being in shape and/or weighing too much makes most every run unpleasant. Slowly progress is made and there is the OCCASIONAL run that feels good. Sometimes it comes when it is unexpected: like this morning. Seven miles, clipping along nicely, no adverse effects from the previous day. I like that.

Looking forward to more. By the way, halfway through the year and at 970 miles. After a poor beginning, 2300-2400 seems doable.

Keep on moving!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Long Run Does NOT Go Well!

This little guy is a bit too close to Parker Road.
I shushed him away.
Okay, I confess: this was probably a little more than what I should have done. I was supposed to go 13 and I was actually going to do it at the Heart and Sole Half in Boulder. Glad I didn't drop THAT $80. I chose to run at home (home meaning Cherry Creek State Park).

The first four mile loop was run with my wife, Linda. We loped along at around 11 minute pace and while my heart rate stayed fantastically low, I sensed two bad things: it was getting HOT and my legs were not happy after going 13 on them yesterday. Once at the end of the loop it was time to head to the seven mile loop.

My seven mile park loop is a staple of my running. The first two miles into the park woods is a nice downhill. I enjoyed it but noticed I was drinking liberally. Once in the woods, even the shade didn't help much and then stupidity happened. After three and a half miles of the loop, I decided to turn around and make it an out and back creating an uphill tenth and eleventh miles. To top it off, by the ten mile mark: out of water. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

It sucked.

Luckily (I guess), at the 11 mile spot, my son Ryan was waiting with fresh water and hopefully the ability to carry me through the last four miles (I was hoping for being carried physically, if not at least mentally). I'd love to report that the influence of company and cold H2O turned the entire experience for the better. Unfortunately, I'd be lying if I wrote that. It was awful. Ryan must have thought we were walking most of the time, but remained a supportive trooper.

Nevertheless, 15 miles in the books. This was supposed to be an easy week but ended up at 64 miles, the second consecutive 60 mile week. Will drop this one down to 50. I promise.

All in all, with the exception of today's fiasco, I'm running easier than I have all year and have now officially dropped 9.6 pounds. Bring on the next 40......... and an easy week.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Long" Run Goes Well!

Finished off a great mileage week today with a 12 mile "long" run. I parenthesize the word long because under normal circumstances a twelve mile run would barely achieve the status medium long. But for now, I'll take it. It was great!

Spent pretty much the entire run on the trails of the Cherry Creek State Park; so close to home and so awesome. The run basically had four parts: The pavement to the park, the woods, the singletrack and the sunny open spaces.

The pavement is the two+ miles to arrive at the woods. It begins uphill but quickly becomes a nice gradual downhill trip to the park. Today I didn't seem to have the sluggishness that normally seems to be a staple of my June runs. Enjoying the semi-fresh feelings and capitalizing on a bit of focused anger to sharpen my early edge, it went fairly quickly.

Once in the woods, I am in heaven. It's one of my favorite places to run (anywhere). Unfortunately, it lasts a mere one and a half miles. Next comes the singletrack that winds through the trees. Extremely overgrown, as mentioned a few days ago, it's still a nice stretch. Unbelievable how many mosquito like bugs were swarming along the trail this morning. Never seen/felt/swatted at so many. Nonetheless, still felt pretty good.

The second half of the run begins on the West side of the park and is without shade.  Luckily, or whatever, some cloud cover kept it from being too hot. The hills on the west side are long, but not too bad and the pace did not suffer. I consciously backed off a bit the last three miles to avoid having the run turn bad (don't need no bad at this point - suffering comes later).

Very happy to have recovered nicely throughout the day. Used my Roll 8 and went for a walk. Ready to go tomorrow.

62 miles for the week. Backing off a bit next week, probably fifty-ish. Also dropped 6.6 pounds since beginning the "get serious" campaign. On target.

Till next time, keep running.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Get Serious: Part 2

Phase two of the Get Serious program begins tomorrow with a return to the basement. Some sort of isolation, torture training? No, that's where the strength and core equipment resides.

After establishing a nice little running habit again during the past few weeks, it's time to take the next logical step which is to train the rest of the body. Historically, I am not good at the whole lifting and abs thing. I tend to get in four or five workouts, then miss one, then miss another and ultimately decide that the walk to the basement is WAY too long. Hopefully, this time is different.

Beginning simply is the order of the first workouts. Six basic lifts, 2 sets of each, each set of anything followed by a core movement of some kind. No rest for the wicked between lifts.  After a "breaking in" period, other exercises will be added and before long..... presto..... I'll be ripped (get the scotch tape handy).

So, I'm excited for this next step. It's going to be a 60 mile week and the extra workout will give me something to do in the evening. Also contemplating a 13.1 mile easy long run at the Heart and Sole half marathon in Boulder on the 29th. Nothing with any other intention beyond starting at the start and finishing at the finish. We'll see.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

High (Low) Fives All Around

For the third day in a row no tornado warnings, no hail, no rain. Must be living the charmed life. Today's 9 mile run was the best of times and the worst of times. In my mind, it was a piece of cake ("never say piece of cake" - Billy Crystal in Forget Paris). In my body... not so much. 

Tired...... sluggish..... just plain exhausted. Not sure the origins of this yucky day, either. Maybe the moving and lifting of boxes for Alicia Sunday (probably). Maybe some cumulative tiredness from last weeks runs (hope not). Nonetheless, I made the best of it and kept on plugging away. Mentally, it was easy as the Cherry Creek State Park woods were in dazzling form. 

The woods is my favorite place to run within 25 miles of the house (and it is rapidly displacing some of my most treasured Boulder area trails on the rave list). The trees are awesome, the trail possesses a medium firmness, and it is SOOOO peaceful. Just a great place to run. Luckily today, I hit the woods (normally around the 3 mile mark of the loop) still in a positive state. 

Upon emergence, however, things changed. The tired, sluggish feeling set in. Add some heat to the equation and we've got trouble. Once I hit the long singletrack section, I was looking for any semblance of positivity. So, as often happens in a marathon when I have lost focus, I took to the high five (well actually, the low five). In the doldrums of the marathon's final 6-8 miles, I can find solace and a little inspiration in low five-ing the little kids along the course. Their energy is addictive. Today, however, no kids to be found. Obviously, a suitable replacement had to be found. 

2014 has not been the year of trail grooming in the CCSP. Maybe they are busy with more important tasks. Maybe they are just busy. Without the attention, the side weeds of the trail have become overgrown (or maybe, given the nature of nature, just grown). Either way, they are up to about three feet tall. Perfect height for some low fives. Problem solved!

What could be more inspiring than Mother Nature her very own self and the constant low five-ing of her weedy offspring? And to tell the truth, it wasn't too bad. The tops of the tunnel-creating weeds was soft and I could imagine the universe supporting the finish of my mediocre effort. That lasted until the pavement. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

All in all, I made it and while I could complain..... I won't. 9 miles in the books. On the way to a good week.

Low fives all around.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Video Report #1



A nice 8 miles in the woods today after 12 yesterday (went over 104,000 miles on the twelve miler). Surprised I could walk. The key was water and my Roll Recovery. Ending the week at 50 which is okay given the poor beginning Monday - Wednesday. 

Love running in the Cherry Creek State Park woods. It's a touch of the forest in the middle of the city. Peaceful. Today I could run to the piano music in Julia Bleasdale's Ethiopia run (which serves two purposes in my life: it motivates me and at the same time gives me peace). Here's the link to it..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY1yPlCUTdY

This coming week the plan is to log 56 - 60 and bring back the strength and core work. Lots to do and highly motivated to jump back in. 

More to come.....

Friday, June 13, 2014

Get Serious

After a half year of putzing around, gaining weight, being injured and being busy. It's time to get serious. I guess after almost 48 years of running, I deserve a break, but it didn't feel like that. It's been awful. So I'm back and this time it's serious.

Goal #1: Fifty pounds gone by summer's end. Eating healthier (cutting out the grain for two months, then we'll see), running more and pounding the water always work.

Goal #2: Back in the mileage groove. After a pathetic six months (will end up with about 850 miles for the halfway point), it's time to crank it up. 53 miles two weeks ago, 39 last week and 50 this week is a decent beginning. Will go after 56 this coming week.

Goal#3: A fall marathon that I am not ashamed to report about (nuff said). 

Goal #4: To do more "racing" this fall and winter. love races and don't do them nearly enough.

Goal #5: The elusive 50K. Shooting for the Texas Trails race in December near Houston. Maybe hang out with my brother too (whom it's been AGES since we've been together).

So that's it. I took a "before" picture three days (and by the way, 3 pounds) ago. But no way I'm posting it until the "after" shot is ready.

I'll keep you posted.