Hi, I am Randy from the flatlands of Superior, WI. Back in the day just might be an appropriate title for this. For my 30+ seasons of running I hope to share some regional running history, trail running information, and observations about our sport / activity / pastime.
Happy trails or roads,
September 28, 2011: -CC-> Randy, installment two.
Tuesday was the Superior High School Alumni meet. I did graduate from SHS, but never ran as a student for the Spartans. My entire cross-country background came as a UW-Superior Yellowjacket harrier and track runner during my final terms at the institution. Twenty-seven years later it’s time to enter the -CC-> fray with some Spartans.
Going into the race I was hopeful that I would be running for a DFL position (nothing political intended here so don’t interject related comments please) DFL as in Don’t Finish Last! At 52 you tend to pick-up on the energy that a well trained team brings to a meet. I would be extremely lucky to put any SHS team members behind me. My hope was for some alumni runners to compete with. I was glad to see John Hogan show up to run his first -CC-> meet at 60+ years. He’s an original Northshore Strider and has been a fellow competitor for as long as I can remember. He has always seemed to be one of those folks that runs and races for the pure joy of training and competition. I guess we share that outlook, thirty plus years of racing for both of us. I hope I still have his game at 60+.
The start, well almost. The SHS harriers gather a down from the starting line for the team cheer. They sound and look serious, Spartan blue and all. The best we alumni can come up with is a mantra that John gladly provided “right foot, left foot, right foot …” Simple can be good. My contribution to the rag tag alumni group was: “You all remember how fast a meet goes out, we will be hanging on by our fingernails for the first half mile, guaranteed.” The whistle sounded once, then twice, and my track brain says restart! No, it was just coach Conway making sure everyone heard the start whistle.
Sure enough it’s a race to the first turn and then to each of the next few corners before the group established the familiar -CC-> train of runners. I’m glad to see a pretty good mix of SHS runners and alumni ahead of me and a few behind me too. My DFL fears are put aside for another year. I thought of my race plan of maintaining a 4:30 per K pace for a 5K. If I accomplished that goal and don't bring up the rear it would be a successful day. This was to be a confidence builder for my first USATF CC meet in the Twin Cities.
It seemed like the inner loop of the three loop course took a bit longer than it should have and then we started on one of the two outer loops. Finally it’s a mile marker! I have just gone through mile one at 6:32 pace. It felt more like 127 Hours! The good thing is that I wasn’t in oxygen debt. From there it was settle in, hold pace and start running folks down. Somewhere between mile one and two I manage to chase down a young SHS runner and make a pass. Down the next fairway he passes me back and complements me, “wow you’re an animal.” I think he was racing my psyche too! Then he opens a gap. Really, an animal? I think it was my inflated head and the added wind resistance that must have slowed me down. What kind of animal was he refereeing to a wounded gazelle or rabbit? I’ll just think of it in the general sense as a running animal of some type that doesn’t give up. Maybe he sensed my running injury and I’m a Plantarfasciitisapuss. I pass him back and this time it sticks.
Well back to the race report. I managed to keep picking off runners in the train and then it was down to the next two, they were way down the fairway. Keith Thompson (late to the race) drops in to run with me and we / I share some single syllable conversation ( grunts...) while he warms-up. Sizing up the two runners and the gap to be covered, I wondered if I had enough time and distance to catch them? I managed to accomplish the task. One of the two runners that I caught sits on me running my pace up to the last 100 yards. Then he gets then drop on me with his finishing kick. I lose a position on kick timing.
Overall it was a good race, 17th and 22:22 for 5K. After the race a number of runners poke fun at me for my ancient Reebok -CC-> spikes. It’s time to upgrade. By the numbers it’s 4:28 per K and I feel like I had a 6 or 8K race in me. Up next Hyland -CC-> on October 8th in St. Paul. NMTC trail folks should put this race on the calendar as a for fun to do race. It’s an annual event and had a good mix of running abilities and ages.
Time to think about installment three.
September 22, 2011: Brown's Point.... or drive and then reverse!
I happened to notice that blogville has been a bit quite lately. It's time to start getting things going. We have fall marathon season upon us, the NMTC series and an abundance of races until the snow files. Let’s hear some stories.
I hope everyone was satisfied with the Brown's Point change-up and not having to be on Billings Drive. The reverse option on the green and blue ski trails was improvised in the 11th hour. Brown's is just being cut for skiing now. The reverse loop that we used was cut and in great shape up to Wednesday. Had the race been one day earlier, it would have been firm and not so slippery. I ran it on Tuesday to check ribbons and it wasn't water saturated ground yet, the route was magnificent. It was still a tough 3.8 miles. On Wednesday it felt good to be around some familiar runners in a race again. My race brain and legs are still coming back.
Blog fodder: I'll start. To update, I have been off from running for most of the summer with a plantar fascia issue that is finally coming around. My year was spent doing about one triathlon per month as a participant and not so much as a competitor. For the first time in 30+ years it doesn't look good for any marathons or longer events this year. I'm a bit short on mileage to be running 26.2 or more, or lots of hours on the trail.
It's time to reinvent myself. I'm going to be -cc-> Randy now. Notice the nifty emoticon / symbol, had I done XC that would be skiing. Semantics aside, it's time to figure what to do for this fall. My plan is to try to find as many golf course cross-county races as possible and do it old school (like when I was in college). I found my spikes and they still fit! Unlike my singlet from college that fits like stretch tri-top. I wonder...is there a Yellowjacket tri team, is it too late to join?
My fall is looking like the SHS alumni meet next Tuesday at Nemedji Golf course in Superior. The event times will be 4:30 for men, 5:00 for women (that's a plug for SHS -cc-> and Dan Conway) the USATF MN CC series of: Jack's Run at the U of M, Hyland CC in Bloomington, USATF MN Championship Meet at Apple Valley and then Rocky's Run 6K at the U of M.
From time to time I'll be sharing some race results and stories about the process of being old and doing it... old school. I'll be running cross-country with the Northwoods (mpls group) / 50+ nearly AARP / grand masters team. I'll share those adventures too.
Let's see how the SHS alumni run goes.
June 8, 2011: Not getting ready for Grandma's
Well its’ been awhile since I have blogged. Let's start where I left off with my last entry, sort of! It all started with the Millennium pavement / trail race, that was the first step in my undoing, then the Get in Gear 10K eroded a bit more, with the final nail in the coffin being the Western Waterfront 5 mile. The world of Randy’s running has become very quiet due to injury.
So what's my ailment? It's an encounter with Plantar fasciitis. It’s amazing what your training log can tell you, when you look for the how and why. When I read between the lines, here is the story. This year Grandma’s was clearly in my cross-hairs as a more serious road marathon. It's the 35th renewal of the event you know. The problem was my 26 year old brain forgot to tell my 52 year old body that you aren't supposed to train like you did as a 35 year old. Way back before my trail ultra days I was a confirmed “roadie,” all events and preparation involved lots of encounters with the pavement. That lasted up to about age 35. I thought that I could just step back into that form of training again. My bad!
What my training log uncovered was the absence of early season trail runs. As I reviewed my log entries from recent years I found that I noted how tired and weak my feet felt in March and April after my trail workouts on the Superior Hiking and Voyageur trails. The more I did the stronger they felt and the better my training came together, I made a point of noting that too. This year it was about 3-4 days of single track trail running and lots of pavement up to the Millennium "pavement" run. They say hindsight is 20/20, confirmed!
Considering all that I have read about resolving and preventing PF it seems that a common theme is keeping your feet strong. Well now I’m in recover mode, getting better too. I have a few more Triathlons on the agenda this year. At least I can be two thirds effective, it's heavy on the cross-training. I discovered that running is a solid cornerstone for the other two sports, at least for me. Not running has most definitely hurt my overall endurance for swimming and cycling. Running seems to be my foundation sport by hours and effort. Don't get me wrong, I'm not lamenting, having two other things to do, I'm grateful for that.
Well it would take a small miracle to put me on the starting line for Grandma’s this year, If so, it will be an ultra-style slow run that involves lots of breaks, some walking, and a very low-key informal see what it's all about from the "Back" perspective. I might just have to visualize some trees, single track, wood ticks and such to pull it off. A small meal will have to be included try to authenticate the ultra-ish experience. Hey! Jolly Rancher's at mile 18. I'm almost there. The time involved will be much more like a 50K, or more. This years Grandma’s was to be my 99th marathon or longer event, with the ½ Voyageur as my 100th. It's up in the air now.
For me the score card has been 27 full Grandma's,1 Irving 5k (my Western States 100 year) and 3 Bjorklund 1/2's in 31 years. What's in store this late in the game... only time will tell if I add another category to the score card. If you happen to see a North shore Strides reunion shirt, with "Back" on the back... that's me. I give it a 30% chance of happening as of today...tomorrow perhaps 33%. Let's hope for more recovery
April 26, 2011: Millennium trail / bike path run!
A quick update: wet conditions will have us on the paved trail for a out and back 4.1K run. Bring your road flats and make some tracks. It's billed as a 5K, where did the mile go? Give it to Clint from the Running Company for going the extra mile, and for working through a number of issues to give us a 1st NMTC spring series event.
So to be optimistic, everyone gets a PR at 4.1K. You will be done earlier and cleaner than in years past. With that in mind be sure stop in to one of our fine Superior establishments: The Anchor, Shamrock, VIP, Sammy's... for a bite and a beverage. Enjoy the trail as an urban planner would like you to and for the course as it was intended to be run!
For some it may be a welcome rest from the CM 50K and a tune-up for Get-in-Gear this weekend. Considering the way the weather is trending we just might be running in snow! See everyone on Wednesday evening. I'm glad you will have an opportunity to visit my running neighborhood. Technically I don't really live in Superior, but a neighboring community, with that in mind.
Happy trails ... or roads...or paths...or snowy footprints...