Saturday, March 29, 2008

Running to Lunch with Landon

Rocking in Ohio CityDid you know that I have a slight control problem? I can’t control my speed. I can’t control my mind. I can’t control my urge to overdo everything. No joke.

But that’s why I’m friends with people who wisely advise me. Like Landon.

Summary: Landon and I have known each since eighth grade, when our close-in-alpha-order last names paired us for school life and I forced him to be my friend. He’s run marathons, half marathons and everything in between and was the one person—without him knowing it—who pushed me to run.

While Landon wasn’t a runner growing up, he started casually running a few years ago and then racing after that. A couple marathons into his career, I realized that, well, if he wasn’t a born runner and could run so well, then I didn’t have to be born into the sport either.

See, at that point I had been tri-training for nearly two years. I just wasn’t running; I hated running. And I thought I was predisposed to stinking at it. Here was Landon, however, tearing it up on the concrete. Where was my excuse then?

Silly me.

Now I’m a little over a year into running and he’s back in Cleveland for a few months. It’s been way rad running with him the past couple weeks. Not only have a learned what it’s like to run with someone (he’s housebreaking me for future running buds), I’ve totally dug running with the friend who got me started in the first place. Thanks, Landon!

Edgewater Park in ClevelandWhat’s even better? He makes stellar running routes. Today we started at Johnny Mango on Fulton and Bridge in Cleveland. We wound through the hip Ohio City streets before hitting Edgewater Park, where I always read about people running, but have only visited twice in nearly 30 years of Cleveland living.

And while I’m a consummate Eastsider who just bought a house in Euclid, I’m not gonna lie to you: the near West Side, particularly by the lake, wasn’t too shabby. There, I said it. No, I'm not switching sides. But I liked the way the land turns and you get an uninterrupted view of the water and the city. Sigh. Nevertheless, I adore my lakefront community, and that’s for a different blog.

I also dug the hills and dales we took on this route, which ran us into Lakewood before we turned back. I’d tell you where exactly we ran, but my consummate Eastsiderness prevents me from really having a clue.

One of many running-with-Landon perks: talking. Sure, there’s my idle gab about work, gossip and Neil, but it’s neat catching up and learning how an experienced runner paces himself, takes downhills and trains in the winter. Plus, keeping up my gab forces me to run at a reasonable pace—that’s neither pokey nor break-leg—if I want to finish a sentence.

Johnny MangoAnd it helps that Landon keeps me honest: I had the bright idea of running about 14 miles to Johnny Mango, which wouldn’t have been a bad trip. Last year. But I’m still rebuilding my legs, my confidence, my endurance, my running-brainpower. After my huffy-puffy last run in the Heights, I was a little nervous about taking a 14-miler so soon. So, I didn’t. It’s cool to have a running buddy who will support the decision.

Isn’t that what friends are for? Support and running for 90 minutes around the near West Side. I couldn’t quite get a grip of our pace, but it must have been between 9:30-45/mile (it was slower than Wednesday, but only a touch). That puts us around 9-9.5 miles. Ish. I couldn't believe the precision of Landon's route-planning—we rounded the corner onto Bridge Avenue at 1:30:47. If I had planned it, we'd still be running. And I'd be crying.

John Heisman in a very Heisman poseThis run gets two thumbs up—I felt great during the run and I’m feeling even better after it—and the company gets three. We completed our workout with a few minutes walking down Bridge Avenue, where we passed the birthplace of John Heisman (yes, the Heisman) and then ended up back at Johnny Mango, where I had a post-run/body-rebuilding meal of grilled chicken and black bean quesadillas. And about three pitchers of water.

Once we move, I think I might run for my meals more often. I might get a reputation as the stinky diner, but it will be worth it. It’s been a good time getting back to Cleveland, and I have to admit I’m getting a little crush on the city. I’m glad I’m coming back.

Even the weather has been cool too. I can handle these chilly-(upper30s/lower 40s)-but-sunny days for running. Today was a hat-and-gloves kind of run. But it was almost all frozen lakefront and 100 percent sunny. Marathon training is finally looking up.


tracie said...

i can almost guarantee that cleveland is happy that you are coming back too!

keep up the good runs. :)

Dana said...

Just when I thought you could lose the gloves for good..;-) I was using the Galloway method(I was up to 5min run/1min walk) before I met my running partner late last year. She helped me realize that I could run for at least 30mins straight(we were so busy talking that I forgot to look at my watch & take the walk breaks). I've been considering using the method again to rebuild my distance after my run "hiatus"(starting right after my 10k this week) & my leg is more healed. It would be interesting to hear if you think this method does help/hurt your endurance.

Running buds are the best. Built in therapy & they definitely make those long distances more enjoyable(or at least tolerable)..;-)