Cornfield Meet

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Eighteen Saturdays: Canton Marathon 2012, Week Three

Week Three was marked by two significant runs: A return to the middle-distance pacing run on Wednesday, and the 13th annual running of In Like A Lion at midnight, on Thursday, March 1.

The week’s first run (Treadmill Tuesday – blech) was a 29-minute struggle, during which I had some drifting problems. We will speak no more of it.

Wednesday morning called for five miles at my race pace goal, which is roughly 8:23. During week one, I had a tough time coming in at 9:02 for five miles, so my hope was to roughly split the difference and improve this week to an 8:45 or so. I’m also really aiming to improve my ability to maintain a pace, and not vary too much mile to mile. It was about 40 degrees outside. Adam and I ran our first mile in 8:29, and I felt OK with that, but in mile two, the light mist we’d been running in turned into a steady rain, and my legs started to get sore, and we slowed to an 8:49. The rain continued to come down harder, but somehow we pushed through the rest of the run with mile times of 7:58, 8:14 and 8:28 – and when we crossed the 5-mile mark, we were at 42 minutes – which averages out to an 8:24. Awfully close to race pace, and an improvement I felt good about. (Next Wednesday, we’re scheduled to do a 6-mile loop at pace. Urgh.)

So: That run was at 5 a.m. I went to work, then drove home and almost immediately headed out with Kelsey to a mandatory school meeting about orchestra. Afterward, we grabbed some dinner, and once we were back at home, I packed up and headed up to my friend Keith’s for In Like A Lion.

A storm front moved through that evening, but by midnight, the thunder, lightning and rain had stopped, and though it had cooled significantly from the afternoon’s stunning high near 70 degrees, it was still close to 50 degrees at midnight, so I wore shorts for the run. It was windy in the Cuyahoga Valley, but the temperature was comfortable, and we had a dozen people out there, and the 3-mile run fit perfectly into my training schedule, since it was technically Thursday. I didn’t push things at all, since we were in groups and talking most of the way. And yes, we finished once again with the traditional round of Shamrock Shakes.

I stayed at Keith’s, got to bed about 2 a.m., then got up and went to work from there at about 7 a.m. Crazy good times.

Saturday’s long run with Adam was only a 6-miler, but the first mile-and-a-half was into the most brutal headwind we’ve encountered in awhile, so it took a longer time than usual to settle into the run, even though we managed a decent time, finishing up with an 8:58 average.

By the numbers:

  • Tuesday,  Feb. 28 – Schedule: 3 miles. Actual: 29 minutes (approx.) on the treadmill.
  • Wednesday, Feb 29 – Schedule: 5 miles. Actual: 5.01 miles. Time: 42:00. Pace: 8:24/mi.
  • Thursday,  Mar. 1 – Schedule: 3 miles. Actual: 3.12 miles. Time: 28:30. Pace: 9:14/mi.
  • Saturday, Mar. 3 – Schedule: 6 miles. Actual: 6.05 miles. Time: 54:17. Pace: 8:58/mi.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering Ralph McQuarrie: 1929-2012

I wish I had gotten to meet Ralph McQuarrie to thank him in person.

As a little kid who hungered for all things Star Wars from my first viewing of the movie, learning about McQuarrie and seeing his visions of George Lucas’ universe were a way to see even more of its unexplored corners, and to get a glimpse into its creation and evolution.

McQuarrie’s works took me places – and still do, in ways that I couldn’t have imagined as a kid: While they still provide those windows to a galaxy far, far away, they’re also lightspeed trips back in time, thanks to powerful memory associations.

One of my favorite Star Wars-era McQuarrie paintings is from The Star Wars Portfolio, which my friend Mike had. It was also reproduced on a set of German Star Wars cards:

Two other McQuarrie favorites come from The Empire Strikes Back:
His matte work on the Millennium Falcon at Cloud City landing platform still has the power to touch the part of my brain that holds the 8- or 9-year-old me who was eagerly awaiting the second Star Wars movie.

And at least once or twice every winter, there’s an afternoon where the sun and clouds mix with just the right color notes to make me think of this painting from The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio:

My other favorite McQuarrie piece is one that I only learned was his when I saw it in person at the Ralph McQuarrie exhibit at Star Wars Celebration V:

Oh, man: Totally triggers the goosebumps and a mental playback of John Williams’ slow, mysterious and foreboding Lost Ark theme music. “Lightning. Fire. Power of God or something.” Indeed.

I’d thank McQuarrie for far more than his art’s impact on my own memories, though: Several of my closest friends are blessed with artistic talent, and they’ve often said over the years that seeing McQuarrie’s work as kids was a huge inspiration and motivation. In turn, I have been inspired and awed by their own creativity and passion.

Thanks for your visions, Mr. McQuarrie. I see differently because of them.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, geek | , , , | 2 Comments


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