It’s been ages since I last wrote anything here… time to remedy that.
Lots has gone on since last update. I’m just going to go back a couple months to May and go from there.
Anyway, the first part of the year found me training for a back-to-back half- and full-marathon weekend, where I would run the Cap City Half Marathon here in Columbus and then head down to Cincinnati to do the Flying Pig Marathon. 39.3 miles over two days. So, I racked up a lot of miles, a good bit of which were on the treadmill before the weather got nice enough to my liking to run outdoors.
May 4 was the Cap City Half. We got downtown without much trouble, parked, and got to the start area. Immediately I noticed the heightened security in the wake of the Boston Marathon incident. More police. Trash cans sealed over. More police. The race started off without a hitch and off I went. I had created a 39.3 playlist in Spotify to listen to over the weekend, but for some crazy reason switched over to a heavy metal playlist that kept me motivated. This affected my performance in a positive way.
Normally, I don’t check my watch a whole lot, but moving along, I looked down and noticed that I was running in the eights per-mile. I told myself to back off, because my goal for the whole weekend was to finish both events, and never mind the time. This meant running Cap City conservatively, at maybe a 9:30 pace, at the fastest, and to just finish the Pig. I felt good running along – found a nice place in the pack of people to be in – and just cruised along. Checks of my watch showed that I was still in the eights, despite my self-admonitions to slow down. I talked briefly with my friend Jodi while on the run, and saw a couple people I knew in the spectators. I wound up finishing under two hours, got my medal and some snackage, and went home to get ready to travel to Cincinnati.
Got down to Cincinnati, hit the expo to pick up my packet (which was only slightly less of a headache this year than last) and checked in to the hotel. We were trying to figure out how to get to/from start/finish areas without too much hassle. Last year, I thought I could walk back to the hotel after finishing, which was a big mistake – I got as far as Newport before catching public transportation that had to go back through Cincinnati in order to get to Covington, which is where the hotel was. So, we brought bikes along, and figured we could ride to a point between start and finish, walk to the start, and at the finish, get on bikes and pedal back to the hotel. So, we did a dry run to see what the timing looked like and find a good place to park the bikes (and grab a bite to eat).
The Pig started off fine. I found a nice pace to settle into and just puttered along. Along the way, I saw my wife and also saw a friend from Columbus in the spectators. Before the nasty hills that started in the fifth mile, I bumped into Laurie, a fellow runner from Columbus, and talked to her for a bit before moving on. At the top of the worst of the hilly section, I did take a moment to notice the view from the park on top of the hill. Incredible. I think it might be the highest point in the city. And so I moved on. Again, heightened security in the form of additional police/SWAT officers along the route. I was doing fine until about mile 21 or 22, and I started to get cramps in my ankles. Never had that happen before, so I slowed down to walk for a bit, and wound up walking/jogging the rest of the way to the finish. I didn’t finish as well as I thought I would have, but finished nonetheless. The weather was off-and-on rain during the race, but had mostly stopped. Got to the bikes okay, and pedaled back to the hotel, where we relaxed for a while before going to get some food and drink. And, that was my 39.3
June had me running a little bit of this, a little bit of that – nothing too major in that I wasn’t training for anything in particular until I committed to run along with a friend for the first (16.something-mile) loop of a three-loop (50 miles) run she was doing (Another runner was going to accompany her on the other two). So, I had to start logging more miles, and getting out on the trails, because it was a trail race. Since then, I’ve come to like trail running a little bit more, except the parts where you have to pick your way through things (like a lot of tree roots, or rocky sections).
The race was called the Dawg Gone Long Run, and it is held down in Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville, OH, which is also where the Renaissance Fair is held annually. No, I didn’t see any knights or maidens. We left Columbus around 4am to get down there on time to get things together and start the race. Getting it together was relatively easy for me, since I had only water and chews to worry about. My friend got her things together for her aid station bag and the rest of her day. We started without a hitch, on time. The course started by running through a grassy section, then a little patch of road, before going off the road on to the trail. There was a diversity of terrain types, from grass to dirt to hard mud to not-hard mud to flooded sections. (There was a creek crossing involved; apparently the first loop, it was only slightly above ankle-deep, but had worsened to knee-deep over the day once the rains set in.) There was a couple unmanned aid stations set up, where there was some water and nutrition set out, and another manned station around mile 9 of each loop where the drop bags were set up also. We completed loop 1 in around four hours, and my friend went off with the other runner after her things were transferred to his car. Yes, she completed, in around fourteen hours.
One of the topics we had discussed along the sixteen miles we covered was the new trend of “fun” runs events, and also events that had other things thrown in in addition to the running, such as the Tough Mudder/Warrior Dash type events. There is the Electric Run (which I did with co-workers a couple weeks ago) and the Glow Run (which I will be doing next month with a team started by a friend), where you do a 5k along a route at night along a lighted course with EDM providing the soundtrack (but I listened to Anthrax’s “Among The Living” to motivate me), the Color Run, a 5k during which you have colored cornstarch thrown on you at intervals so you become a moving palette of colors, the Foam Dash, where you 5k along a course that is covered in foam in some spots, and the Drenched 5k, the “Hottest, Wettest, Craziest Run Of The Summer!”. So, combine all these to make the Tough Electric Color Foam Drenched Run, a 5k where you go along a muddy course over obstacles, have color thrown on you, then through some soap suds, for a rinse at the end, while EDM pumps in the background. Kind of like a three-mile-long car wash. 🙂
Themed runs are nice, but my personal impression is that it’s very annoying to have things thrown on you while running. I don’t mind the mud and muck of trail running at all, but if I were running along and all of a sudden, someone threw colored powder on me, I’d be very, very annoyed. Maybe even angry. This is why I’ll likely never take part in a run where you have things thrown on or at you. The Electric Run (and by extension, the Glow Run) is actually a bit of fun. For starters, they’re held at night, so the sun is something that is immediately taken out of the equation. The courses are lit up enough that you can see where you’re going as well. However, don’t count on getting a PR on one of these – I had to do a lot of people-dodging at the beginning (even more so than any of the other runs I’ve done) in a relatively close area, so it just kills pace. However, it was fun. I would recommend these for someone who wants to get out and run a bit with some other people at an event. For my Glow Run friend, this will be her first 5k, I think.
So, what’s in store for me in the future? First, in September, the Air Force (Half) Marathon, in Dayton. I managed to get a spot. I’m going to try and PR this at 1:45, which means that I really need to ramp up the speedwork and lose some pounds. August is going to be a very long month for me…
Then, in October, the Detroit (Half) Marathon, with my wife. A couple months back, she had the idea of running a half-marathon. She’s been working hard to get up to six miles of consistent running in order to build a base from which to train, and she’s there! Congrats, Sam! Now, do it twice and then some! 🙂 This will be fun, since we get to run in Canada (eh?) and then back to the D along a relatively tight course along (mostly) downtown Detroit. Lots of good eating and drinking spots near the end!
Until next time, keep running…