Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Running 2013: Weeks forty-four and forty-five

It was sunny and in the mid-30s on Sunday, Nov. 3. I had skipped the cold and wet day before, knowing this was going to be a decent day. I plotted a new loop – 7.25 miles, out onto some new roads.

A really hilly stretch in miles 4-6 took a toll, and I slowed up pretty significantly in the last half, but let myself focus on enjoying the run and taking in the distance. Average pace: 9:43.

Saturday, Nov. 9, another gray and mid-30s day. Four pretty steady road miles:  8:46; 8:50; 9:06; and 8:39.

Sunday the 10th, was gray and cold again, but much, much windier – which made it a great day to be in the Quail Hollow woods. 3.5 miles, 9:36 pace.

On the year: 319.9 (know, I know – I’d have added another tenth if I’d realized that was going to happen). Today is the 316th day of the year, so I’m right where I need to be.

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November 12, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week forty-four

Three-and-a-half trail miles on Saturday, Oct. 26, and four road miles on Sunday the 27th.

Cold enough both days to warrant long pants, a sweatshirt, hat and gloves, but not nearly enough to get out the long-sleeved Under Armour shirt.

I ran in the woods on Saturday because even though it was 37 and sunny, it was really windy. Being in the trees made a huge difference. I pushed through two decent miles, just over nine minutes each, but really hit a wall toward the end of mile three, so even though I had been wanting to bank some extra distance, I settled for 3.5.

Sunday was similar, temperature- and sky-wise, but with very little breeze, so I did a casual four-mile loop, during which I spent a good amount of time juggling some writing ideas, getting super-excited about them, and trying to run faster while speaking the ideas out loud to myself so I wouldn’t forget them when I got home.

Miles on the year: 305.15. Today (10/30) is Day 303.

October 30, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week forty-three

Yet again, I found myself needing to tackle a week in a day, which didn’t go so well for me in Week 41.

This time, I decided I’d rather try my longest trail run by far and not worry about my time, so long as I just kept moving above a walk.

Gorgeous, sunny morning it was, and just below 50F, so I wore my shorts and a long-sleeved shirt.

I covered 7.5 miles – all but a quarter-mile of it off-pavement – and experienced pretty much all the environments of Quail Hollow State Park, finding myself taking a few new paths and way out in suprising parts of the park I hadn’t really come near before. The fastest mile I did was my first – 9:03 – and my slowest was Mile 7, at 11:48 (which included a lot of climbing). I only paused twice – once to get my bearings, and once to figure out how to get across a rain-swollen creek.

For the first time in awhile, I got post-run soreness in my legs the next day, but it was well worth it.

Miles on the year: 297.65. Monday (the close of my running week) was day 294, so I’m right in the zone.

October 24, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week Thirty-seven

Two three-and-a-half mile runs this week – so I didn’t make up any of my 2.7-mile deficit, but I did enjoy myself.

I went out for another trail run at Quail Hollow on Saturday, just after 9 a.m. Covered some of the same wooded trails as last weekend, but in the opposite direction. Then explored some new territory in another part of the park, running the sedge marsh and meadowlands trails. In a few spots, these were a little more difficult to follow, and at one point, my pace slowed nearly to a walk, since the planked walkway across a swamp was almost completely overgrown by the grasses alongside.

I encountered a few other runners, and some people walking their dogs, and it was a great morning to be out on the paths. Found a few short but challenging climbs, and inadvertently turned myself onto the mountain bike trail for a bit, too. (Despite the number of cyclists I saw getting ready to ride upon my arrival that morning, I didn’t actually see any out on the trail.)

As before, I felt like I got a really good workout even though my pace is nowhere near what it is on the road: a 9:10 first mile, 9:16 second, and a 10:13 third. (That’s the mile which included the partially-obstructed walkway.) The last half mile covered pavement, so I managed to pull my overall pace back to 9:23 by pushing a little at the end.

While I’m really digging the trail run, I wanted to push my lungs and speed a little bit on Sunday, so I did a 3.5 mile road loop a little after 7 a.m. Gorgeous morning, pink sunrise. Felt good with an 8:18 first mile, felt better with an 8:13 second mile. Had to work for my 8:18 third mile, but for the last half mile, I averaged a 7:25 pace, which pulled my overall pace down to 8:08.

And I’m very pleasantly surprised to learn that looking at my year to date, that’s the best pace I’ve done for 3.5 miles yet. Progress has snuck up on me.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running, Sports | , , | Leave a comment

Running 2013: Week Thirty-six

Finished off August with a mid-morning four-mile run on Saturday. Somehow felt like I was running into the wind in every direction. Not a really strong wind, but enough to make me think, “Oh, come on.

Didn’t push things really hard until the last third of a mile, but that was enough to keep my overall pace at 8:50 per mile.

Sunday, Sept. 1, I went for my first trail run.

I’ve run on trails from time to time, but never for any significant distance, but I figured I’m going to try one of the Ohio Outside races by year’s end, I should probably give it a shot. The downside is that trail running means driving – just a few miles up the road to Quail Hollow State Park, but that also means I’m putting on the running belt so I can carry car keys. And if I’m wearing the belt, I’m bringing water – which was a good idea on Sunday anyway, since it was warm and sunny.

So, here’s my run as tracked by Garmin:

turtlesporttrailmap

And here’s what that area looks like on Google Maps satellite view:

20130901trailrun

From my parking space to the end of the paved “Nature for All” trail was about .6 miles, and I did that at the beginning and end of my 3.5-mile route, meaning I ran about 2.3 miles on pure trail: soil, rocks, roots, and the occasional wooden-plank walkway.

What I learned: Holybejeepers, trail running is work.

I really enjoyed my ever-changing surroundings and being in the shade of the woods, but I was unprepared for the toll the terrain would take on my pace. For most of the time, I was close to ten-minute miles, held in check by the need for short strides, the need to constantly watch my footing, and the lack of downhill freewheeling opportunities. (Okay – technically the opportunities were there, but for a new trail runner, they came with too high a risk of additional opportunities. You know: full-on face plants, crunched ankles, opportunities like that.) The opening and closing pavement stretches were the spots that allowed me to keep my overall pace at 9:33.

And while the park paths are clearly marked, including numerous loops and offshoots, I did lose track of direction at one point, and got to experience the surprise of approaching a landmark only to realize I’d already been there once, and didn’t think I was anywhere near it again.

If I’m going to do a five-mile trail run, I’ll need to put in some serious time at Quail Hollow, but I don’t think I’ll mind.

Year-to-date: 243.3 miles. Today’s the 246th day of 2013, so I’m 2.7 miles short of my goal, but barring disaster, I should be able to make that up this month and get myself back into a surplus.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Ohio, running | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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