Today was a bit weird; my only exercise was an easy 2 mile jog in the morning.
I caught part of the women’s basketball game over lunch (game started at 11 am; had class at 1) and I needed to eat lunch. They had a ton of elementary school kids at the game so eating there was impossible.
The women trailed Illinois 52-41 at half but came back to win 98-92.
Now I’ll catch a lecture tonight, make part of a men’s game and then …tomorrow.
I don’t know how it will go. But it won’t be all bad. I hope.
I was a bit sore from yesterday’s hard 8 mile road race but decided to do a few more McNaughton miles. I made a mistake: I ate leftover pancakes a couple of hours prior to getting to the course; hence my body was still digesting food when I started.
So, I found jogging difficult and had a hard time keeping moving. I was already a couple of minutes off my usual pace at Tanner’s pass and then was at 43 minutes at Totem Pole. Not good; the next stretch (through Bluebird prairie) didn’t feel good at all; I was walking at a 3:30 loop pace (if that fast).
So I called my wife and told her that I’d be late (anticipating a 3:30 loop). I was over 1 hour at the stream crossing and 1:18 at the foot of golf hill; 1:34 at the “half way” bridge.
But I noticed that my next uphill went easier and the Heaven’s gate section started to feel good. I was 2:08 exiting Heaven’s gate.
Evidently, my body was done with digesting; I was at 2:28 at the 8 mile plus bridge and 2:34 at the creek and 2:50 upon exiting the woods. So, it was 1:23 for the second half; I am usually slower on the second half of the course.
This wasn’t a great loop, but I was relieved that I am not in as poor of shape as I thought.
The day was lovely and the trail was in pristine condition.
Yesterday was the Farmdale Trail runs, which was moved to Jubilee State Park due to the government shutdown (Farmdale is an Army Corps of Engineers property). I’ve done the Farmdale series a few times (33 miler once; 8 miles and the 10 miles a couple of times)
I am glad that I didn’t try that race. Here is why:
1. It rained and slick mud really makes my knee ache.
2. My slowness: though I was never a good runner, I have slowed down even more. Farmdale usually has several events starting at different times: 50 miles at 5 am, 30 mile (50K) at 7 and 10K/half marathon at 8. So, unless I started with the 50 milers, i would be guaranteed to spend much of the time getting out of the way of faster runners who are lapping me.
So, you see, my issues are with my OWN body in my current condition. Were I faster and if my knee were better equipped to handle slick mud, I’d probably be still interested in the event. The event itself is well run; trails are marked well; there is lots of aid and friendly people helping out.
I like the road event that I ended up doing. I had time to think about it some more and here is what I liked best: the 8 mile course was interesting, both athletically and mentally.
You start near a ball field and run through downtown. Then you run through an old neighborhood, then do a small (.6 mile) stretch through a shaded bike path, and then do a very hilly 5K loop through a cemetery which features two very tough hills. Then you leave the cemetery, reverse your path except that you enter the stadium and finish along the warning track of the baseball field.
In difficulty: it is 1.3 miles shorter than the Steamboat 15K but in a way, it is tougher. The Steamboat 15K has you going up a huge hill twice, but each time, after the uphill, you have about a mile (maybe more) of flat prior to going downhill then back uphill…then a flat then downhill.
The Forward march gives you no “flat” between the tough hills; that is where the distance comes from.
You THINK that you can use the remaining 2 miles of flat to stretch it out a bit, but by then your legs are rocks; it is challenge enough to keep moving.
Workout notes: easy 10 mile run/walk/hike at McNaughton Park (2:41); it was cool but I felt the effects of yesterday’s 5K. I was 1:18 at the bridge and never pushed it; 2:08 at the final woods bridge, 1:51 leaving Heaven’s Gate; 1:00 at the foot of Golf Hill and 51 at the first Lick Creek crossing; 38 at totem pole, 11:30 at the foot of the hill leading to Tanner’s pass. I only saw a few people out there.
The wife gets home early tomorrow morning (1 am) so I will sleep, wake up, sleep.
I saw this photo on facebook and recognized her; I took yoga-lattes and yoga from her.
I had a hard time getting off of the couch this morning. I just was tired and listless, and strangely enough, feeling a bit down.
So I felt that a trip to McNaughton Park for a 10 mile loop would help; it turns out that I’ve been going there for over 10 years now. I finished in 2:35, which was once my “quick but not all out” walking time.
Though the bottoms were still a bit wet the course was 90-95 percent dry; the first Lick Creek crossing, which is typically knee deep or deeper:
The first 5 miles were empty; then came hikers, kids and a couple of people walking/running. That got me to push it a bit; 1:20 at the bridge and 1:15 for the back half; 45 minutes for the last 5K.
I felt better when I got back. Now to do a little grading (not try to get it all done).
Today’s race and workout
Cool conditions, and my overall result was similar to what I was able to do at this time last year.
5K: 25:42. Splits: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51.
Place: 124 out of 320
Yes, the first mile, while it felt easy, was too fast.
BUT, I noticed that while warming up, I felt better than I did in a long, long time. Running almost felt “easy”; the gait was much freer than the painful, slothful, “almost running in molasses” slog that it had become.
I think the reason is that my new back exercises (McKenzie) has really “freed” my pelvis, so to speak. I am spending less energy fighting my own body and more moving forward. I just need to practice this motion some more.
I got 2 miles of warm up and about 1.5 miles of walking to cool down.
Then I drove to Jubilee State Park and hiked the trails…and yes, got lost. I ended up with about 90 minutes of walking which I estimate to be 5 miles. But even this walking felt much easier than before.
At the race I talked to Art Harris; he was someone who ran cross country in high school and burned up the area races (3:10 marathon at 50 years of age; 20:00 5K at 60 years of age). He is now 78 years old and his capacity has diminished with age. He still ran just over 31 minutes though.
At the end, I found myself (again) yelling encouragement at the older runners; well, at least a the few that were behind me. Bill Holmes (mid 60′s) passed me in the last .2 miles and though I caught Mike Rucker (70) at about half way, I wasn’t able to sustain it…today.
Still…I feel energized and encouraged; I just need to keep at these back exercises and to let my body adjust to the newer, freer stride.
I’ve done 20:50 for this course but that was back in 1999.
5K (or close)
Note: So far, at the 5K, 2012 has been 23 seconds faster (per race) than 2013. But when we compare similar courses,(7 of the events), the difference is 13 seconds per race. However, the post marathon 5Ks have been remarkably similar (4 seconds per race).
best: 24:34 2012, 24:56 2013 (22 seconds)
median: 25:14 2012, 25:45 2013 (31 seconds)
PS: this is from 2005, when I was whining about not being able to break 23 minutes for a 5K.
So, I took my car in for service and walked just over 5K (easily) along a sidewalk and bike path.
Then on the way back, I stopped and did the outer loop at Forest Park Nature Center: 58:43. This wasn’t my fastest, but it was hard enough to make me sweat just a tiny bit. I was 38:xx at Bee Tree and 48:xx at the start of Wilderness; 20:47 at the start of the first big hill on Wakerobin and 13:35 at the intersection of Deer Run and Wakerobin.
Of course, 10 years ago, this was my easy pace…but never mind that.
I am at that age where 10 years makes a difference.
But my back felt fine.
Weather: 75 F, 79 percent at the start….and yes, the later readings are relevant; very relevant.
So, 5.15 mile run in 56:50, quick breakfast, 2:28 for the Forest Park Nature Center (via the Peoria Heights Tower) hike.
1:12 outer loop; 31 minutes (!) back; 9 minute walk on the roads to the Tower.
Challenges: heat, humidity, fatigue from yesterday and the “changing weather knee ache”.
Note: when I get the “change in weather knee ache”, it is reasonably distinctive. It is almost as if someone took a syringe and injected just a bit of “air” into my knee; it is almost a “internal pressure” feeling. This is real; a conjecture is that this happens because scar tissue expands at a different rate than non-scar tissue. There are other conjectures.
The run I started close to 7:30; there was a younger (30′s?) woman who ran by, seemingly slowly. But I couldn’t catch her; (she ran to Cooper and Bradley intersection). I continued and spent much of the first 2 miles (21:25) gasping for breath….I eventually took two short walking breaks.
On Heading, I saw Tracy and STOPPED to talk; this is very unusual for me. I welcomed the rest. I was 44:0x at 4 miles and managed to shuffle through the 5.1x mile run, or whatever you call it in 56:50.
I got juice and 2 bananas and then drove out to the Forest Park Nature Center for my conditioning hike (7 miles). I was about 28 minutes from the trail head to the outer loop, 1:12 there (saw a few people) and 31 minutes back. (2:11 for the trail part; 16-17 for the rest).
The weather knee ache started toward the end of the outer loop.
Oh well; I just never felt “great”; I was kind of dead.
My legs were still a bit heavy from yesterday so I skipped running.
I did a 7 mile hike instead: .5 miles from Tower Park to the start of the Pimiteoui Trail, do the Trail (1.25 miles), do the outer loop (described in an earlier post), and then headed back.
Time: slow 2:20, but I didn’t put a lot of effort into it; the outer loop part was 1:10 and the two segments were 26:43 and 26:49.
At the tower I saw there very fit young male runners, including a former student. They had done 19 miles, and I assure you they were FAST miles. During the hike I saw a few older hikers (like me) and 3 runners; two young guys and one beautiful young woman. On the way out on the Pimiteoui I saw another hiker; we chatted a bit. She likes to time herself; she says that the segment takes 40 minutes. While she wasn’t fast, she didn’t need rest going up the hill and I complimented her on that.
Also, one leg I saw Burt Rabee. He is a former athlete who was once a 47 second 440 yard runner (46.x for the 400 meter). I remember him cranking out a 64 second 400 meter at over 50; he has finished several long distance races including a marathon. But now injuries have taken running away from him, but he still hikes.
I bring this up because, at times, I get annoyed at how doing things like hikes and runs have become more difficult.
I forget a mantra that older runners and walkers should remember: “Celebrate what you can do; don’t lament what you can’t.”
I’ve gotten to the point where aches and pains are more the norm than the exception and wonder if I quit working out, would these go away? The answer: “no, they’d probably get WORSE”.
I have to remember that there was a two year period in which I was woken up every night by either shoulder or knee pain; that hasn’t happend in the past 3 years. That is something to be grateful for, and my modified workout routines probably have something to do with it.
Yes, there are times when I curse the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
But, I can still enjoy a limited number of runs, walks and weight lifting sessions per week, and I really, really enjoy these. So I’ll do them as long as I can and savor each one.
The good news about a bad race is that I put little effort into it. Hence I felt good enough to eat some breakfast and take a short leisurely hike; the day was too pretty NOT to.
I chose: the Forest Park Nature Center: This is the facility.
I did the outer loop: A, D, L, V, Q, S, T.
Distance: if you add up all of the “little distances” as recorded on the park map, you get a distance of: 3.25.
By one of those old foot pedometers I got 3.5.
Though the 7 individual legs were each wheel measured to .0x, I wonder about round off error. Also, I measured it as a full loop; instead of stopping at the parking lot at the end of the Wilderness trail, I continued on to where I started. So that might account for some of the discrepancy.
Surface: mostly dirt. There is a small stretch of parking lot.
Trail difficulty: there are a couple of small “groomed” stretches and the parking lot. But mostly, I’d call it “easy forest path”; while there are a few roots, rocks and railroad ties, this doesn’t approach a technical trail.
There are three short but steep uphill sections to this loop (60-70 feet?) and a few small rolling inclines.
Time so complete: given that I am a 53 year old man with 5 knee operations and given that I run 5K races mostly in 25-26 minutes (8-8:20 mpm), my times to complete this loop are:
running: 45-50 minutes
walking hard: 55-65 minutes
leisurely hike: 70-80 minutes
A decade ago, my runs and fast walks were 7 minutes faster; my leisurely hike was 10 minutes faster.
A fit, non-elderly person will have no problem. A couch potato will suffer.
About running the trail or walking it fast: it is a fairly big park and the rookies/families tend to stick to the “easy” to “moderate” sections. Hence you’ll have no problems most of the time and have it “almost to yourself” during the early morning hours.
Serious trail runners can get a workout if they do this loop multiple times or if they, say, add the hilly 1.25 mile (each way) spur.
Mud: after a rain or during the spring thaw period.
roots/rocks: some; not a problem if you pay attention.
leaves: in the fall, leaves can hide railroad ties, rocks, roots, etc., and can be slippery.
snow: this is an appropriate place for a snow hike. But it adds time.
Wildlife I’ve seen squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, deer, wild turkeys and rabbits. There are also foxes though I’ve never seen them.
I start at the main building:
This leads you to the Valley Trail (groomed; handicapped accessible): leg 1 (A on the map)
You stay on just a short time; you pass an opening to the right which contains an apartment building. Note: you sometimes see wild turkeys or deer there. Shortly you come to the first turn;
you go right on the Lower Deer Run Trail: leg 2 (D on the map)
Eventually you come to a parking lot. Cross it; you can see the entrance to the trail continuation on the other side.
You gets some honest to goodness single track on this section, though it is pretty flat:
And there is a “new” bridge.
This eventually meets Deer Run:
Deer Run is leg 3 (L on the map); this section is slightly more rugged but the outer loop misses the hardest part of it.
There is farmland to your right. There are small hills here.
And about .9 miles into it, you come to the intersection of Deer Run with Wakerobin. If you turned left, you’d tackle the toughest hill on the course. This is the start of the Deer Run hill; the outer loop does NOT go this way:
If you go straight, you find the longest stretch with 2 good hills.
You are now on Wakerobin, which is leg 4 (V on the map)
At first, Wakerobin is like Deer run; some flat, some minor inclines, and a bridge or two.
Eventually, you near the entrance to the first of 3 good hills:
This is the start of the hill.
Note: beware of the bridge railings; a lose nail can tear a jacket (as it did mine), especially if you are running or walking fast. This hill goes up and up and up:
But the crest eventually comes. And yes, there is a “rest area” about 80 percent up the hill, but fit, non-elderly people won’t need it. But it is nice to know if you are with a rookie hiker.
Here is the crest:
You stay on a ridge for a while; this is “sort of” single track.
Then you start to descend
Another new bridge marks the bottom of the hill (the park people have gone soft; these bridges weren’t here a few years ago)
Now you head back up again; it is as high as the first hill but not quite as steep.
You can see the crest from here; you’ll be turing right (follow the arrow “to the trail head” sign)
This takes you to a very short segment on Bee Tree: leg 5 (Q on the map).
Bee tree continues to the left. Go straight to Possum Path.
Possum Path: a downhill leg; it starts “sort of technical” and becomes “groomed” at the bottom of the hill.
This is leg 6 (S on the map)
You go down a ways:
And yes, it is runnable:
Eventually, you see the bottom of the hill:
And it turns groomed; it looks a lot like the Valley Path.
About 3 miles into it (by my measurement), you see a hilly path heading off to the right. That is Wilderness; you will take that to get hill number 3.
You are now on Wilderness, or leg 7 (T) on the map. You have about .5 miles (800 meters) to go.
This is basically an “up the hill, down the hill” leg; the uphills and downhills have railroad ties. This is a good sized hill, but isn’t quite as steep as the first one.
The uphill goes on a while:
While going up the hill, you sometimes see small memorial markers:
Here is another runner (from a pack of 3 that I saw)
You are near the end.
When you see the bridge, you are almost at the parking lot, even if you can’t see it clearly.
The end is now in sight:
At last, the end.
However I usually stop and start my loop at the same spot to make it a complete loop. Often I start where the grassy area in the front to the parking lot meets the sidewalk and end there as well.
Hike: Forest Park Nature Center; untimed 3.5 mile hike, just for pleasure.
This was after my weight workout. Then, I got the idea…and sure enough, my “secondary” paper fell apart under my examination. This is a case in which I thought that a clever calculation would get me “something for nothing”; but my geometric intuition wasn’t buying it. And it is a good thing too…this time my geometric intuition won out, “at infinity”, so to speak.
That isn’t that important though, as I still feel good about my primary paper and have a more realistic lead on how to extend another paper.
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