Take Your Kid for a Run

I have started taking Cole with me on runs, and I’ve discovered I really enjoy it for a number of reasons. He is 8, and today we stretched his range to 3 miles. We’re not breaking any speed records – maybe eleven to twelve minute miles. It gives us time to hang out, which is good. Also, he is just so proud of himself. I’m proud of him too. I think we’re going to run a 5k in a couple of weeks.

Another thing I have noticed is how pleased adults we pass on the trails and streets seem to be when they see him out there. I suppose there is the Midwestern thing of being pleased to see a kid working at something; anything. There is probably a cuteness factor of seeing Dad and son doing something together. And, I suspect, there is a level of happiness whenever our kids are getting some exercise; primed as we are to be concerned about sloth amongst “kids these days.”

Anyway, half the battle of running distances is simply knowing for certain that you can, in fact, do it. When your body is nagging at you to give up, it’s very helpful to have part of your brain telling you, “nah, we can do this; we’ve done it before.”

The Paul Ryan Running Thing

So, last week, Paul Ryan told Hugh Hewitt this:

HH: Are you still running?

PR: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or yes.

HH: But you did run marathons at some point?

PR: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.

HH: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?

PR: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.

HH: Holy smokes. All right, now you go down to Miami University…

PR: I was fast when I was younger, yeah.

Hewitt observed, “I was also surprised to hear Ryan has run a sub-3 hour marathon. Add another interest group to the list of groups like Catholics, hunters and Miami of Ohio grads who are going to connect easily with this candidate.”

This apparently caught the eye of Runner’s World – a sub-3 marathon is pretty fast. Call it 26.2 miles in 2:55 – that would be like a 6:40/M pace the entire way. So, they went to look it up and couldn’t find the race. They pressed a little, and, turns out, he never ran “marathons” plural – he ran one marathon in 1990 with a time of 4:01:25.

I wouldn’t make too much out of this. It’s just weird to misremember running multiple marathons at advanced speeds when, really, you ran one in a workmanlike time. Politically, though, you never know what is going to catch on. Remember the “Al Gore lies” narrative? Combine this with the politically calculated false claims Ryan made in his convention speech, and you have to think he’s on thin ice; not too far from people being able to tag him with unfair assertions that he claims to have invented the Internet and whatnot.

Indy Monumental 2011

Last year, I posted about running the half marathon at the Indy Monumental and just missing my goal of finishing under two hours. (At the time, it looked like I only missed it by about 3 seconds, but they had some timing snafu and it ended up being more like two hours and a minute.) This year, I am pleased to say that I cracked the two hour mark — finished in 1:57:46, a 9:00/M pace. That kind of surprised me because my training has not been as extensive as in previous years, and my longer training runs had been more in the 9:30/M range.

As I ran, I kept checking my time and knowing that the 2 hours was within reach; but kept waiting to hit that wall where I started slowing down dramatically or some body part started feeling injured. But, I just kept steady. Having the Garmin to help me regulate my pace really helped, and I fell in behind one of the 4 hour pacers for the full marathon (they split off at about mile 7.)

Once again, the course was beautiful (and flat), and the weather was excellent for running. It was about 35 degrees when the race started, some wind but not much, and it warmed up into the 40s during the race. I’d definitely recommend the event for anyone who is into such things.

Wabash Heritage Trail 15k

I took part in an interesting race today. Planet Adventure put on an event at the Wabash Heritage Trail. The trail head starts behind the Tippecanoe Battlefield, heads across Burnett Creek then over the Wabash River and, if you keep following it, into Lafayette. They offer a variety of distances: 5k, 15k, half marathon, and marathon. I went with the 15k (9.3) because: a) my level of training is a little lacking for a half marathon these days; and b) I’d never done that distance.

It was a lot more challenging than your average flat, paved track. This was dirt path with lots of ups and downs, root dodging, the odd plank bridge, and even some (mostly not wobbly) stepping stones over the creek. The coolest part, in my opinion, is the foot bridge over the Wabash which was, I think, a converted train trestle. The most aggravating is that there are a few spots near the water with soft sand. When your legs are dead, the last thing you want is to hit a patch of soft sand.

But, the weather cooperated – it was a chilly start (37 degrees), but there was no wind to speak of. So, once we got going, I thought it was about perfect. It helped that I went with my buddy, Chris. He blew my doors off, but it was helpful that he said he never felt comfortable either. It was just a tougher run. I ended up in the middle of the pack – about 20 of 40. Glad I did it. I was well organized. I can’t say with confidence that I’ll be doing it again though. Maybe if they can get a liquor license and serve up beer at the end.

Running

Back in February, I hurt my foot running (fracture of a metatarsal, I think – never went to a doctor, so I’m not entirely sure); then, I just got lazy. So, I went 6 months without running a whole lot. The past couple of weeks I’ve been gearing up again; and it’s a little like starting from scratch.

Having reached a certain level of conditioning and lost it is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it’s easier to work through a certain level of exhaustion because, from past experience, you know it will get easier. On the other hand, it’s annoying because you know how much ground you have left to make up.

Today was a good run – I went 4 miles and felt pretty good throughout. I needed that because the previous two runs (a 3 miler yesterday and a 4 miler last Sunday) were awful. I suspected that the heat was mostly to blame, but a couple in a row makes you start to wonder if maybe you’re not further out of shape than you thought. It was about 10 degrees cooler this morning, and I ran faster and with negative splits. So, all is well. Long term, I’m planning on running a half marathon in Las Vegas in December. But, I should probably get something a little sooner scheduled for better motivation. The Indy Monumental is a good one.

But, I’m intrigued by a 15k trail run on the Wabash Heritage Trail — the event also has 5k, half marathon, and marathon distances. Last year, as I recall, I had considered the same event, but one thing or another cropped up; and, as it turned out, the weather was awful. (Parts of the trail can get awfully soupy when it starts to rain.)

1,000 Miles Running

Today, I passed a milestone – almost literally. Since I started keeping track on April 22, 2007, I have run 1,000 miles. 1001.87 to be precise. That first recorded run was 5.5 miles at a 12:00/Mile pace. Today’s was a 4.66 mile run at an 8:19/M pace.

That’s only about 250 miles per year. Averaging less than 5 miles per week during that period, I certainly haven’t been one of the most active runners. But, I’ve been slogging along and have really come to enjoy the activity more and more over the years. I’ve gone through a few long stretches of inactivity from injury and then some drop offs due to not wanting to bother with cold weather. Either my body is getting more used to the activity or I’ve been lucky, but the last couple of years, injuries haven’t been a huge factor. (Knock on wood.)

Like any other exercise, it can be a bit of an effort to get going, but in the middle and after I’m finished, it’s a good feeling. I remember trying to run a couple times over the years before 2007, but I always ended up feeling miserable and basically hating it. Pacing made all the difference. I’d just had no idea what speed I had to go if I was going to sustain the runs for any distance. Knowing people who ran a lot made all the difference – my wife and her sister, most notably. In the past several years, I’ve run 4 half-marathons and a variety of 5ks and 10ks.

Hopefully, I can keep it going. I’m not a speed demon by any stretch, but I like the fact that I can run a lot faster and further now than I’m pushing 40 than I ever could as a younger man.

Indy Monumental

I ran in the Indianapolis Monumental half-marathon today. (The real runners ran in the full marathon – but I’m not up for that distance.) It is really an excellent event. Plenty of people, but not nearly as crowded as the Indy Mini. The course is also much nicer than the Mini. The Monumental goes north and features downtown, Meridian Street, and some nice neighborhoods on the near north side. It ran smoothly, and the weather was fairly nice – a little cool at 30 degrees, but sunny with no wind to speak of.

For me, the good news was a PR for a half marathon; the bad news – my time was 2:00:02. I really need a Garmin. Had I known, I could have cut 3 seconds off to break two hours! Still, it was a good time, and I definitely recommend the race to those who are into such things.

2010 Mini-Marathon

Yesterday, I had the honor and the privilege of participating in the 2010 Indy Mini-Marathon with approximately 35,000 of my closest friends. I am happy to say that I finished in the top 10,000. This race really is a pretty remarkable undertaking. It’s billed as the largest half-marathon in the world. The 35,000 spots traditionally fill up well before the race – I think sales closed in December this year; though Thanksgiving isn’t unheard of.

The organization, at least from my ground level perspective, is very well done: not much waiting around, plenty of water, times are posted promptly, lots of entertainment along the course. I guess the route doesn’t go through very appealing scenery, but if one end of the course is downtown Indianapolis, and if the other end of the course is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there just isn’t a lot of unblighted territory to run through. I’m honestly not a big fan of running on the track. There are a lot of bottlenecks and I don’t much like running on the banked turns. But, given that the event is part of the 500 festivities, you pretty much have to do it. My understanding is that the Indy Monumental race goes through much nicer territory.

I ran the 13.1 miles in 2:00:45 which is better than I anticipated, but agonizingly short of breaking that two hour mark. The temperature was a nice 50 degrees, but the wind was blowing out of the west at something like 20 miles per hour. That stiff wind made the pre-race wait in the corrals unpleasantly cold, but once we got moving, things weren’t too bad. To make things better, the wind was at our back for almost all of the second half of the race. What was really spurred me along was catching Amy in the crowd with an awesome “Go Doug” sign at two points along the course. (Apparently at least one other “Doug” was happy to see her sign and let her know.) Then, at the very end, my friend John who is much, much faster than me – but who started in a corral further back, caught up and gave me a little tap on the back as he zipped past. That gave me a nice burst for the last 10th of a mile or so as I tried to keep up with him.

Fortunately, I seem to have come out of this race relatively uninjured. Last year, I was taken out of commission for six weeks by some fairly significant tendonitis in my ankle. After taking that much time off, my conditioning had really suffered which, in turn, reduced my motivation. By the time I got back to running in any serious way, I had lost a lot of ground. With some luck, maybe I can build on what I’ve done so far this year – maybe set some personal records in a 5k or 10k in the near future and then hopefully beat two hours in the Lafayette half marathon this fall.

Running in the Streets

Ivy Farguheson has an article in the Muncie Star Press that isn’t probably too important in the grand scheme of things, but I’m flagging it because it’s something I’ve experienced directly lately. Apparently running in the street because of the snow is not an isolated phenomenon. It’s what I have been doing and what folks in Muncie have been doing. In particular, it appears that the Indy Mini-Marathon is such a massive event that it influences behavior all over the state and months in advance.

The problem is that to get ready for the run, you have to start training well in advance. With the snow, the sidewalks are pretty treacherous. So, you have to run in the streets which are, by and large, clear. Fortunately, around here anyway, it’s not too tough to find streets that have low traffic.

Lafayette Area Half-Marathon

The Journal & Courier is reporting that the Lafayette area will be getting a half-marathon next October.

Organizers announced the race Friday and hope to draw about 1,000 participants in the first year.

The half marathon and 5-kilometer races are set for Oct. 24. A Kids Fun Run will be held on Oct. 23.

The event is being organized by the Lafayette-West Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Lafayette Family YMCA and Reinke Sports Management.

Apparently the event will start at Riehle Plaza, go into West Lafayette, head up to Linberg Road, then go back to Lafayette and Columbian Park, then down to Central Street and back to Riehle Plaza. Or maybe the reverse. But, that’s the basic ideas of the course as I understand it. Just thinking out loud, I guess I’d be inclined to start things at Columbian Park simply because there is more room to organize the runners, I would think.

In any case, I’m pretty excited about this. Might have to get back running again.