Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ouch! And where was Jenny?

After an amazingly good running week, I thought I would save the best for the end. I thought, somewhere in my twisted mind, that it would be a good idea to run Magnolia Road today. And to make things worse, I decided to run from the West end. I say worse because West to East means UPhill on the way back. Maybe not my best decision. Nonetheless, the decision was made. (now as an asterisk to this West start, I should add that my son Ryan drove and in order for him to get in his own activity - some fishing on the Boulder Creek and Barker Reservoir - a Western start was deemed most practical - by me).

The first few miles went nice and easy (after the initial break in period) with me mostly calculating each downhill I met knowing full well that the downhill would be an uphill on the way back. My run began at roughly 8:30 am and there was pretty much no one else on the road, except car drivers acting like this high altitude dirt road was the Indy 500 track. As I trudged on, more and more runners emerged and the traffic increased. And the drivers acted no better as the run continued.

The run began with a healthy breeze following me from the west. Noting (again) that I would be returning on this same stretch of road (UPhill) I was dismayed to think that the trip back would be UPhill AND into the wind. Perfect.

"The Hill" is that little stretch of road off in the distance
I got into a decent rhythm during miles 4 to 6+ and then hit "the hill." "The hill" is usually the final mile of the return trip when Mags is run from an East starting point. I have to confess that I took this mile long UP better than usual, mostly because I was running it considerably earlier than usual. Once I hit the pavement at the top I kept going a bit to get in 16, instead of the dirt road's out and back 15 miles.

The trip DOWN "the hill" was awesome. I might have even gone a bit too fast. In theory this quick pace should have been the boost needed to catapult me up the steep first hill back. While theory is awesome, reality is different. This began what we runners like to call a "bad patch" that lasted until about the 10 mile mark. Once at 10, I unexpectedly fell into a "good patch" (gotta love those). My good patch lasted until about 13 1/2. BY the way, another upside was that after about two miles of the return trip, the wind shifted. The rest of the way it varied between cross wind and tail wind (awesome climatic break).

At about 13 1/2, every little UPhill became a pain. And some of them were some steep little (big) pains. To say that the wheels came off my little wagon might be an understatement. You see, the thing about Magnolia Road is that there is no flat. At any given time, you're either running UP or down. As the elevation map at the beginning of this offering shows, it's mostly UP going back. So I pressed on, enjoying the occasional down and being reduced to a whining, slogging, jog on the UPhills. Then it happened.

In the distance after cresting yet another hill, I saw a familiar figure walking along the road. Turns out that Ryan had been hiking around some trails awaiting my return. He said, "you have less than a mile to go." (I knew that) I said, "and there's only one hill left, RIGHT?" "Yep." YAY! BONUS: company till the end. So we moved on.

I confess to having walked at the steepest part of that final UP, but was happy to crest it and enjoy the final quarter mile or so of downhill to the finish. All in all, I had lived through a 16 mile run on Magnolia Road.

Unfortunately, I never saw Jenny Simpson. I was hoping for a Jenny encounter to match my last solo Mags run ( And to make matters worse, upon arriving home, I discovered that World Steeplechase Champion Emma Coburn went long and hilly today, but did it on Gold Hill Road. Damn!

So with Magnolia Road in the bank, I logged 65 miles this week, many of which were awesome. I've cleaned up my diet a bunch and actually lost 5 pounds this week. That's a mere blip on the radar screen of what needs to be lost, but we have to start somewhere.

Five weeks to the Eugene Marathon which will most probably be a Half Marathon (most probably means 99% sure). After today, that sounds SO much more appealing.

So, thanks for reading, feel free to converse below and run on. Or as Eliud would say, "Run with the run."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Holding Back?

It's been two weeks since I last wrote about this running thing. All in all, I won't complain (notice I said won't, not can't). After 50 miles two weeks in a row, I logged 55 this week. That was equal to my best week in all of 2017 and it was pretty much uneventful. My knee sits consistently at a 2 on the 10 scale of pain. That would come under the heading of slightly annoying.

I suppose the semi-highlight of the week was the 16 mile long run yesterday. After two weeks at 14, bonking big time on both of them, I was very happy to cruise through the run. Even better was today's 7 mile recovery run during which I had to constantly hold myself back to recovery pace. Not sure I'm used to feeling TOO good, right?

Slowly I'm coming out of slogging pace and starting to actually feel as if I am, at least, kind of running. There is a long way to go, but I like these little jumps in fitness. They're a great motivator.

The Eugene Marathon is six weeks away. I suppose, I'm going to have to quit referring to it as that and call it the Eugene Half. 90% sure I'll be dropping down. Interestingly, this comes at a time when I am actually beginning to believe that I could run the whole thing. While feeling that renewed little confidence to go 26.2, I know that I am much better off in the long run (pun intended) by holding back and just doing the Half. I'm enjoying training right now and don't need the disruption of pre-marathon stuff dimming my attitude.

SO, Eugene HALF, probably Bolder Boulder, maybe Georgetown to Idaho Springs, and whatever.... leading up to October and the Chicago Marathon. Chicago is followed eight weeks later by the Cal International Marathon to close what I hope to be a fun year.

Until next time, as Eliud would say: run with the run.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Turning the Corner?

So maybe, just maybe, we turned the corner last week. First off, it was a 50 mile week. I haven't had one of those since October of last year and actually only had 6 weeks in all of last year at 50+. Next, a 13 mile run on Saturday. 13 isn't 18 or 20 or more, but it's a long run for now and since the word "long" is relative anyway, I'm happy with it.

The real upside is that I'm actually on runs right now, as opposed to the jogs I've been on the last couple of months. The 13 mile run was at 1:30 per mile faster than I have been doing my regular runs and I wasn't really pushing at all. That's a good thing. Probably also means I run my regular runs too slow.

So with a hair less than eight weeks until the Eugene Half or Full marathon, I'm making zero decisions for another month. Just going to run.

Busy week coming with four days of all day teaching and three days on the road. The goal is to keep the mileage up as that is always the business traveling challenge. I have hopes of the 55 mile week. We'll see.

So that's it. As Eliud says, "run with the run." Run on.

Running Bucket List? Yeah, I've Still Got One.

June has arrived and the weather has made a change to FABULOUS. Moisture and chilly was much of May (sounded like Yoda said that), but the w...