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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Running During The Time Of Covid-19!

Well, 2020 certainly was a very strange and difficult year. I normally choose to run 4 days a week now and do weights and a short spin on the Exercycle at Crunch fitness, but by mid March, my fears over covid caused me to do my floor stretches and exercises and skip the gym. And lots of puzzles! So therefore, to keep my sanity, I ran 4, 5, and sometimes  6 day run weeks. My goal for the year was to hit 1613 kilometers or 1000 miles. That was a goal of 32 kilometers or 20 miles a week, assuming 2 weeks off for illness or injury.  What I ended up with is 1956 kilometers or 1213 miles. Doubt I’ll see that level of mileage again but who really knows? Hope vaccines get rolled out faster than they are starting out, and then all my old loved ones stay safe and healthy in 2021! 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Failed Triathlete!

In my late 30’s, I tried to become a triathlete....I failed. Also, possibly from the riding and swimming, weight training, and over eating, I reached the apex of weight in my entire life....I hit 192 lbs. this is just a picture from a 5K at that weight.
I learned to swim as a child in Lake Erie with my head up. Not the way to learn. Even becoming a certified life guard didn’t change that much at age 18. Anyway, I was reasonably competent on my red Fuji, and had the running background, but decided to enter a triathlon on a whim. 1K swim, 30K ride, 10K run. I practiced doing weekly bricks where I rode an hour and then ran an hour. The race I entered had a 2 lap swim of the perimeter of the lake. When you completed the application they seeded the swim start based on anticipated swim time. I purposely listed a slow swim time thinking I would catch people on the ride and run. Turned out to be a critical mistake. Swimmers were set off every 40 seconds in ten waves. I was in the 2nd last wave. While I was  standing there awaiting my start, I noticed the leaders were 2/3rds of the way around their first lap. The gun went off and I started leisurely swimming along. I got about half way around the lake on my first lap when people started swimming over me and  trying to drown me....had to fight thru people until I completed lap 1. Had taken on so much water and my bruised  and battered body was sore as hell.
I got out of the water and on the bike and started to push. Got to the run about mid pack. Once in the run, I probably passed about 60 people. Ended up in the top third, but when they adjusted time for your start group, ended up in the top 20%. But no where near the leaders in my age group. Attempted 2 other races where I seeded better for the swim, but never felt I was gonna dent the age group awards. So, at 39, I started upping mileage, dieting, and came into age 40 at my normal racing weight of 168.....

Monday, July 6, 2020

My Favorite Race Ever!

Ivans Utah is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is west of St. George near Keyenta and the Shivwitz Indian reservation. I know it sounds Jewish. Actually a band of Paiutes. So anyway, it is at altitude and hilly and rocky as all hell. Anyway, they advertised a race that sounded about as perfect as you could imagine. The race was in late April, right when Ernie was due to visit. What I absolutely loved about this race was that it was a handicapped event. Runners were released based on age/sex categories. For example, 75+ and -7 year old females....20 seconds later, same men and boys. Delayed starts ranged from 20-40 seconds early, and up to a minute for those in late 20’s early 30’s. Was a copy of the system used for the Dipsea road race in California. The first 25 finishers got a trophy. That was it. Very large field of all ages and sexes. Ernie and I were released (50-55 male) with women 35-9. Course was straight down hill, around a parking lot circle, and back up. I went down way way too fast. Climb proved to be a gasping crawl. This agony picture is with about a third of a mile to go. Got past quickly by 2 20’s flying back to the finish. Ernie got his award, ending up 23rd. They butchered the shit out of his name but I’m not sure I have ever seen him happier. I ended up 11th. I would love to do one of those in a year and a half if I was still running at age 70!

Mesquite Senior Games!

In the spring of 2004, My bud Ernie the attorney was visiting and I told him we needed to do the heptathalon.  just for sheer yucks! I promised him he would medal! He reluctantly went along. I had entered 7 swimming events at the games even though I couldn’t do a flip turn, I won 6 medals, 2 gold (50 and 1000 turn on the fifty and pure endurance on the 1000). I was also disqualified in one race cause I fell off the platform. I had entered them all cause I was in swim shape from lifeguard training and k new there wouldn’t be much competition....

So, Ernie and I began our completely untrained unskilled task. 100 meter, quarter, 1500, javelin, discus, shot, and  long jump. Long jump was funniest. Don’t think we covered 4 feet. Guy who won just missed being disqualified because he barely stuck his javelin on his 3rd try. So Ernie and I ended up 2nd and 3rd. He got his medal. I used this same tactic to get him to run a 5K race a few years later.....we’ll cover that next!

Last Great Race!

 After retiring in Mesquite NV and going thru 4 months of PT for my back, I set my sights on one last attempt at a great race. The Huntsman World Senior Games Half Marathon. I also began to train with 2 really talented older triathletes, Stan and Sarah Laidlaw. They got me to add swimming and biking as a supplement to running. (I would later go on to get my lifeguard license for the 2nd time because of them) .  I went to St. George Utah in the spring to scope out the course. The games are held in the fall. I ran the course and it damn near killed me. Two huge loops that went 3 miles plus of substantial climbing with 3 plus down, go past the start, and repeat. So I had my work cut out for me. 2nd complication is that from mid May thru mid September, temps reach 105-125 in that crazy desert heat. So, I laid out my plan. I had to do 2 hour weekly long runs starting at 9 at night and finishing around 11. Usually covered around 12 miles. I put fluid on ice on the deck of my downstairs neighbor Marge, and would come back at 4 mile intervals and drink as much as I could. Other 2 weekly workouts included a set of mile repeats around 7:30 pace on the track, and one day a week with Sarah taking me north of town to do long sand hill repeats. She damn near killed me with those.
In early October on a perfect day, a few weeks before my 52nd birthday, I towed the line with about 60 other runners 🏃 of various ages. I only knew one....he and I had battled back and forth in a few St. George races over 2nd or 3rd in our age group. No way to tell anyone’s ages. Stan and Sarah had run earlier and placed in theirs in the 10K. They stayed with Deb. Gun went off and I ran the first mile to the base of the rise in 11th position. The one guy I knew was in a group of 3 in the front, alongside the guy in the picture with me (yes, too much lemon juice in my hair in the summer!) . I tried to pace the climb easy. Passed 2 guys at the top, and started down. 9th place. When I got down and was on the flat section, I passed 2 more guys ....7th. The top picture is me coming thru on the first lap. Stan yelled out that one guy dropped out. 6th place. As I got to the base again, I saw the guy in the picture way out ahead. The guy I knew was struggling to stay with the other guy, and I was about a quarter behind 2 guys running together. I pushed harder on this up and came alongside those 2 guys. They asked my age and I said 51, and they said go ahead, we’re in the next age group up. 4th. Coming back down to the final turn toward the final mile, I fought the guy I knew. As I tried to pass him, he tried to stay with me. He looked like death. I did a pick up and got about 100 feet ahead of him. When I hit the marker for a half mile to go, I just assumed the 2 guys that had probably already  finished were in my age group, and just said fuck it and ran as hard as I possibly could and came thru the finish line in 1:40 and change. I then walked about ten feet, by the base of a pine tree and puked. Only time in my race history I ever did that. As it turned out, the guy in the picture was in my age group and ran a 1:23. The next finisher turned out to be 55 by 2 weeks and had run a 1:36. So I won silver. Tried to repeat a year later and ended up 2 minutes slower and 4th in my age group....

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The First Time I Was Beaten By A Woman!

In the early days of my racing career, there were few women, but when they were in a race, they competed. I’m making no judgement about the fact that women now make up more than half of all fields in a less competitive way, and a more social and fund raising fashion, but that is just the reality of races from the 80’s and 90’s.
At the age of 41, I could still straddle a sub 6 minute paced 5K. I had begun to take Terry to my races,  and on out and back courses, get to see him run with the leaders. In this summer race in the flats of Cleveland, we ran out a quarter mile or so, flew straight downhill to a turn around cone, and came back up, turned that quarter mile, and ran to the clock. When I neared the bottom, Terry was in 5th, and on his way back up, and I was in 11th, right behind the woman you see in the photo. As we turned, she hit a patch of oil and went down. I stopped, pulled her up, and we headed up. I forgot all about her and focused on two competitors ahead of me, and worked to catch them. Terry had finished 4th and was waiting for me at the to to run in with me, which became a custom for us in races. As we neared the finish line, she got to me and sprinted in ahead of me. Found out afterward that she ran for Team Ohio, and was a previous women’s winner of the Revco marathon, so that took the sting out of it. Don’t think I was beaten by another woman until I was in my fifties, but by then, the floodgates opened. Won’t tell you the first time I was beaten by a woman pushing a stroller...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Best 6 Weeks Of My Running Life!

At age 42, I ran the 2 greatest races of my life over a 6 week Period. On my 40th birthday, my love 😍 and her friend Mary threw me a surprise birthday party. Three of my running buddies were there. I told them I had researched the best age group for qualifying for Boston and we were in it. Never got them to try to qualify with me, but such is life. As I had 2 years before the eighteen month window would open for qualifying for Boston, I began looking at some potential race sites. I settled on Atlantic City for weather and a flat course. In anticipation, I ran a half marathon on the course one year before tackling the marathon. Race went perfectly, I set a half marathon PR. The course was out and back, with 2 bridges being the only hills on the course. 4 miles of the race on the out and the back were on the wooden boardwalk. Was like running on a trampoline.....
A year later in September, I towed the line for my first attempt to qualify. I had to run 3:20. I ran cautiously early, and at 10 miles was about 2 minutes ahead of the needed split. At the half turn around, was up 3 minutes. After that I sort of just ran and didn’t concern myself with pace. When I hit the boards for the last 4 miles, my friend Billy was there to drag me in. He said I was way early and safe. I was too brain addled 🥴 to even try to figure pace. When I saw the clock with a half mile to go at 3:06 I was stunned. I went thru at 3:10 and change. I sat down and cried for ten minutes...I had done it on my first attempt....
6 weeks later I was at the foothills on the Appalachian trail with 620 runners. preparing for the sun to come up and the start of the JFK 50 miler. Had no real time goal or expectation, other than to get in under 12 hours to be an official finisher. The first 6 miles were all uphill onto the trail. I really forced myself to walk and jog And just relax. Once up on the trail, I jogged pretty slowly. It was congested with runners 🏃 so didn’t want to trip or expend too much energy. At mile 16, you come down a switchback that’s is also very dangerous and congested. I just walked. A 33 yr old guy came up behind me and said yah, just walk....we’ll get to run the best section soon....26 miles on a smooth dirt towpath ......Deb met me, gave me fluid and food and the guy stayed with me till I took off. He asked me what time I was aiming for. I said just to qualify as a finisher. His goal was 7:30. He asked me what my recent marathon time was, and I told him my AC finish time. He said you’ll finish around 8:22.....the next 17miles went easy. Felt wonderful and yakked  with the young guy. At 33 miles, I hit my first wall, and he took off and I walked a bit. Met Deb at 35 miles and she filled me  and provided me fluid. The picture above was at 42 miles. I was in 25th place, but hit wall Again pretty hard. Ate and drank a lot and headed out for last 8 miles. It was all road and just rolled up and down. I jogged down and walked passed a lot. Finally finished at....guess what? 8:22. Placed 61st.  My time qualified me for my age group for the western states 100. Never made it there as I ended up with first back surgery and by 2 years later, my decline had begun. Deb took me to McDonald’s where I ate 2 Big Macs, a pie, and 2 chocolate shakes, and slept the first 4 hours of the drive home ....