Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hudson

Just to recap: I was running through Hudson last week when an approaching car, which was about to blow through a stop sign, almost hit me when I was in the middle of the street, in the middle of the crosswalk. It was almost the second time a car struck me, but that Jag had some good brakes.

The other incidents I described (the meanies in Stow, the nicies in Euclid) weren't car related at all, but just me, losing my sidewalk grip with two left feet.

Strangely enough, I can dance!

Most of the past week’s training, however, took a backseat to my continued battle against stress. It was all self-induced, really, and, therefore, my fault. But would it win?

The hardest part was shaking off the stress-battle fatigue and getting my butt outside. And I knew with the Cleveland Half speeding up on May 18, I should really consider getting in some miles before race day. What a bright idea!

So, I woke up early on Saturday and took a Stow-to-Hudson 16-miler (we move in two weeks, so it was my last one here) on what turned out to be a near-perfect morning. It started out super chilly—higher winds, bigger clouds and temps in the upper 40s—but warmed up to the lower 60s about 30 minutes down the road.

It was yet another good exercise in running with a jacket, without a jacket, with a jacket and getting stuck halfway out of it too. One of these days I need to invent some type of force field that can cover and uncover me when I hit x degrees. Put it on the to-do list!

But a funny thing happened when I was crossing Oviatt and Aurora: I saw a police officer ticketing a driver for running the stop sign and hitting, you guessed it, a runner. No, it wasn’t me! It was, though, the same intersection where I was almost bumped on Thursday.

I didn’t really stop to talk (it pulled a crowd), but as I slowly trotted by, I heard everyone saying that drivers have to start acknowledging runners and that pedestrians have to learn to stand their ground, follow traffic rules and take their right of way—lest drivers forget they must yield. Within reason for pedestrians, obviously.

That last part came from the police officer. And I think that as communities like downtown Hudson try to attract a pedestrian crowd, getting drivers not to run over those pedestrians will be key!

Instead of eavesdropping at that scene, I stopped for Vitamin Water at Heinen’s and practiced drinking on the run. I’ve toyed with walking through race water stops the past couple races and have gone pretty much stitchless on race day since the middle of last year. Knock on wood.

And on Saturday, I managed to drink (I’d walk, sip and then run) sans stitch for most of the run and then belly-breathe my way out of an almost stitch right around mile 10.

The only real problem, which is a regular on my long runs, was my foot aches around miles 12-13. Every time I run 11+ miles, I get achy feet. Even in new shoes. When I first started feeling the pain last year, I thought it would subside with time and conditioning, but it seems to have an 11-mile trigger.

Granted, it’s not a painful experience and, therefore, not a real concern. It’s just more of an annoyance. Perhaps at mile 10 I’ll change shoes. We’ll see.

I finished the 16-miler around 2.5 hours (9:30/mile), ran upstairs, showered, dressed, moved boxes into my car and sped to Cleveland for my brother’s graduation. (Congrats to Nino on his big college graduation! Here’s to his bright future and imminent world-changing!) Let me tell you that carrying boxes down three flights of stairs after a 16-miler doesn’t feel remotely as peachy on the knees as you might have guessed. At least it wasn't up three flights of stairs.

Yet my legs didn’t feel remotely as stiff when I woke on Sunday as I might have thought.

I woke up around 6:15 a.m. on Sunday to run a few miles with Landon (6.25 miles to be exact) for our last outing before the Cleveland races. Landon’s going the full 26.2; I’ll quit halfway. It was incredible to see how desolate a cloudy 6 a.m. Sunday can be. We saw maybe 2-3 people and twice as many cars.

We started the run pretty fast (after I warmed up to our meeting spot), but had to slow down once my legs woke up and stiffened up around mile three. I managed to keep rolling at the speed of stiff, but mostly enjoyed the trip with Landon out to the park and back before taking a walk break to his house and then making the stiff, stiff, stiff run back to my house before it started to rain.

So, my outlook for the Cleveland Half is good. While I don’t feel as prepared as the Akron Half, I’m confident in my ability to finish 13.1. But I don’t know that I’ll have a time goal. Maybe just to beat my last time (1:54:10) or just have fun doing it.

Marathon Training Week 5: 33 miles


tracie said...

thankfully you weren't the runner laying in the middle of the crosswalk!!!

good luck this weekend! :)

TrainingtoTri said...

Good luck this weekend! I'll be working a water stop at mile 17, so I won't get to see you finish, but I'll be thinking about you!

Landon said...

Your finishing time is the icing on your cupcake, the race itself is the cupcake. *Enjoy* the race!

Dana said...

I definitely vote for most of all HAVE FUN while you're doing it,but it sounds like you're going to be in good shape for it either way.

JenC said...

Sounds like you are more than prepared for Sunday! I hope I see you out there, although I have no hope of keeping up with you.