Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Missing Week, Found

Being gone for a week, it now seems almost silly to talk about the runs I had then. There were thoughts I had while I was out there that I would have shared if I had been updating more frequently. My attempt at a semi short wrap up follows:

Last Tuesday: 6 miles on the Santa Fe Dam. Nothing special. I remember thinking that this was actually pretty boring.

Wednesday: before we finished packing for the trip I wanted to do my speedwork. I also had to redeem myself from the weak effort last week. I was inspired by Robb's speedwork session the day before. I planned to add in the 1200 I've put off. I also decided to do the laps as a ladder. I did a 400 in 1:45, 800 in 3:35, the 1200 in 5:29, back to 800 in 3:40, followed by a 400 in 1:46. I was pretty happy that my last 400 was basically the same as the first. Later that night we got on an airplane for our overnight flight from LAX to Cleveland, OH.

Thursday: after only 4 hours of restless sleep on the airplane I planned on running at Findley State Park. When I was a kid we used to go camping there all the time. It is only about 3 miles from my parent's home. We would frequently go out on a Sunday morning and cook breakfast. The proximity of this park to home is one thing I really miss living here in urban SoCal. Here we have to make reservations 6 months in advance and drive for 100's of miles to find a decent place to camp. Anyway, I knew that there was a trail that went around the lake and decided to see what I could find. I parked at the beach on the north end of the lake near the causeway. Almost immediately I ran into a marked trail, the Thorn Mountain Bike Trail. The trail wound around back and forth completely around the park. I had no idea when I started running where the trail went or how long it was. The trail twisted snake-like through the trees. The trees were not yet leafed out so you could see through the woods. I had to run fairly slowly because the trail changed direction every 50 feet or so it seemed. About 30 minutes into the run I was debating whether I should turn back or just keep going. I decided to carry on. The park wasn't that big and I still had plenty of daylight left. At some point I could smell wood smoke so I figured that I was near the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. Eventually I came to a place in the trail where the amphitheatre was. I remembered this from our family camping trips as a kid. This was the first place in miles that I had any idea where I was. I knew it wasn't that far back to where I had started. I followed the bike trail through the picnic areas and back to the car. After I got to my parent's house I looked up the trail on the web and found out that I had run 8 miles in 1:21. I had the trail completely to myself. Except for the constant turns and the mud it wasn't the most technically challenging course, but I really enjoyed being "lost" in the woods. I did come across three wild turkeys.

Saturday: Since I'm ramping up my training for the SEAFAIR marathon, my schedule called for 18 miles. I knew that there was a great trail system in the Cleveland MetroParks System, but I didn't really want to drive 40 minutes or so to get there. Like Drew, I was in OH for the weekend and had searched the internet for places to run. I turns out there there is a closer trail, the North Coast Inland Trail, the "Skinniest Park in Lorain County". The trail is built on the bed of an old railroad. This part of OH is pancake flat and the trail only takes on turn. It was very easy to focus on the horizon far in the distance and just keep moving forward. I really liked the trail because it was a new experience for me but it would probably get old after a while. The weather was cool and overcast for the first 2 hours. Even after the sun came out it was still comfortable. The trail was marked in most places with markers every half mile. The old stone mile markers from the railroad are also still standing in many places. Along the way, I saw many robins and cardinals, a couple of blue jays and tons of other birds I couldn't identify. A possum ambled across the path. There were at least a half dozen woodchucks burrowing into the embankment of the trail. Quite the little nature run. In the 2:45 minutes I was out there I saw 6 other runners, about the same number of bikers and maybe 10 walkers. I ended up doing 18.5 miles. My average pace was 8:55 and was consistent throughout, mile 2 was 8:55 and mile 16 was 8:59. Usually on runs longer than 16 miles I take a one minute walk break every mile. On this run I only walked a couple of times, for less than a minute, to take some gel and get a drink. I finished this one feeling good and even got in some dancing later that night at the wedding.

Sunday: Between church, Easter dinner with the whole family, except for my brother and his new wife, and later a trip to his in-laws house for wedding present opening and more food, I wasn't able to get out for my run until 9:00 p.m. I think my Dad thought I was crazy. I was a little worried about getting picked up by the local cop in town. In Wellington nobody up to any good is ever out that late! I ran the streets pretty much at the perimeter of town for a whopping 4 miles. It is a pretty small town. It is growing though, they even have a McDonalds and a Burger King, but no Starbucks. They are also all excited that a WalMart is going in 10 miles from town.

Monday: we spent the day visiting an old friend on the east side of Cleveland and met up with my wife's college roommate and her fiance in Kent for dinner at one of the bars we used to frequent back in the day. Who knew they actually served food too.

Tuesday: I ran down Prospect Street out through the new development Parkside Reserve (sounds pretty fancy for this small town) and out around the reservoir and back for 6 miles. I saw some old guy up on the reservoir sitting on a bucket. He had a pole with an American flag and a radio hanging from the pole. He was staring off to the north through a pair of binoculars and never moved from that position for as long as I could see him. I'm not really sure what he was looking at or for but he sure was intent on it. Later that afternoon we said our goodbyes and flew back home.

Today: It was back to work and 8 miles afterward, 4 with Celeste at the Santa Fe Dam and then I split the run up because my stomach was a little iffy. I drove home to make sure before finishing up the run with 4 more over at Via Verde.

Now I'm all caught up and I feel better. So much for semi-short. Thanks for hanging with me to the end. Now I'm off to catch up with all of you.


Joe said...

Hey, welcome back to the midwest, if only for a week!! Great report!

Rae said...

It sounds like you got to experience some really nice trail runs! We've had several wild turkey sighting ourselves lately, I think they're so crazy looking. We've been yelling out 'gobble, gobble' to them but they couldn't care less!

Robb said...

I love the blow by blow recap. It's good that you managed to squeeze in the runs and connect with old friends and family. I also know that it sure feels good to get home and back into your own bed.

Thanks for the bit of cross-promotion...I never guessed that you'd find inspiration in my speed work. That's pretty funny.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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