Friday, October 26, 2007

San Jose

I've been here in the bay area the last five days. On Sunday I did a 7-8 mile run on the west side of the valley. This is the Santa Cruz Mountains. I went west on Rt9 from the San Jose suburban town of Saratoga up to the Saratoga pass, where Rt9 crosses Rt 35 (Skyline Drive). I ran most of the Castle Rock 10 mile race course. At my turn, I was at this over look where I could see the Pacific Ocean as the sun was going down.
The trails were similar to what I am used to in the Cleveland area metroparks, but with occasional great views that reminded me I was not running hills around the Cuyahoga valley, but that I was about 3500 feet, amongst some mountains. On Tuesday and Wednesday I ran some trails in Mission Peak regional park. These trails are on the other side (east) of San Jose. Both runs started at low elevation, so I was running up hill for first 1/2 of the run. Then serious down hill back to the car. Last night I was running 6:15 to 7:45pm. Shortly after sun set, I was running a switch-back and heading away from the peaks behind me, when I saw something large (size of a very large ground hog) and very close to the ground in front of me, running away from me at what appeared to be similar to my running pace. It scared the CRAP out of me! Seconds later I realized I was running out of the (moon) shadows of the mountain peaks behind me, and the moon was up there casting a shadow - My Shadow, on the ground in front of me. Ok, I have to admit, I was (for a second) afraid - VERY afraid of my own shadow. What a wimp. Here are some phots of me running trails near Mission Peak. This evening I needed something flat! So I went to the Milpitas High School track. Again, it was near and just after sunset. Surprisingly, there were a bunch of people at the track. Most were jogging, and a few were kicking soccer balls up and down the field. Non-running content - I am staying in Milpitas. Most folks here are oriental. One evening I went to a grocery store - 99 Ranch Market. It was packed. Only after I was in the store did I realize this place had lots of products from China, with packaging/writing in Chinese characters. Hundreds of families were shopping. I was the only non-oriental. I cannot describe in words what I was feeling. I noticed all the little ones. The children with their moms and dads. Melancholy. That's about the only word that comes to mind now - several days later. At that time I was looking deeply at the beauty of each child and thinking of my own daughter. And the pain that her natural parents must have/are still suffering. Pain - balanced with our families joy having such a great treasure. Here is a short video clip of our Angie! video

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Old Photo

I found this photo a couple of weeks ago and it took me a few days to figure out when, what and where the photo was from. The shoes, shirt and shorts gave me the first clues that this was my FIRST marathon. The street signs in the background confirmed my suspicions. I was 25 years old. It was the 1985 Columbus marathon. And, like this past weekend, it was 80+ degrees. Many runners were hospitalized. I did have some troubles in the finish area. I searched for a long time trying to find water and all I could find was Gatorade. My stomach was upset and I didn’t think I could keep anything but water down. After a few minutes of looking, I just grabbed a cup of light green stuff and sat by a tent. It cam up as quickly as it went down. The tent I was sitting next to just happened to be a medical tent and a nurse heard my heaving. Next thing I know I’m in a bed and they are getting ready to put in an IV. I quickly convinced the nurse that all I needed was a little water. I avoided an IV by sipping water and holding it down. Whew. Anyway this was a cool photo from my past that I wanted to share.
- Mike

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Running a lot lately

Bad news – I have been way too busy to put anything new up here on my blog. Good news – I have been doing a lot of running and also putting time into home projects. Eight days ago I ran the Akron Roadrunner Marathon. Five days ago I ran a six mile trail race. Today I ran the Tow Path Marathon. Akron Roadrunner Marathon – 26.2 consistent miles. I ran 23.2 miles no faster than 7:35 and no slower than 7:50. I ran three of the up hill miles between 8 and 8:15. Oh, I’m not counting a 90 second potty break I took at mile 17. My goal – I would be thrilled with anything under 3:30. I expected slower as I was NOT focused on this as a race. The race fits into my JFK50 training plan. For those who don’t know, JFK is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving. About a month ago, I decided that back-to-back marathons would be good training for a 50-mile race. Anyway, I was impressed with the Akron Roadrunner Marathon organization and the attention to every little detail that the race organizers put out. I will try not to miss this race in the future. My finish time was 3:26. CVNPA Fall Running Series -Oct 2 2007 Station Bridge – Six mile trail race. I heard about these races last year and put them in my calendar for this year. Guy Gadomski organizes these “fun” races. They remain a secret until the evening of the race. This past Tuesday, Guy assigned each runner to one of three teams. Then he informed us that there would be three race distances. Thunder – 3 mile; wind – 4.5 mile; and lightning – 6 mile. Every one started at the same time and made the decision on which distance to run during the race. At two turnaround points there were posted a bunch of tags. Runners just picked a tag and ran back to the finish line. The six mile option also had a place for picking a tag. I did six miles in 43 and ½ minutes. It was hilly. I finished second in my age group and 4th in the six mile race. Towpath Marathon – This morning. It was HOT. I ran slowly the first 4 miles – each a little over 8. Then 14 miles of about 7:45. Then the heat got to me and I struggled to keep under 9:30 for the last 7 miles. I felt bad that I was running so slow, but hey – I was passing other runners. Just a few passed me, and some of those I caught in the last 2 miles. My goal was to run consistent with last weeks Akron Roadrunner Marathon. I was 11 minutes slower with a 3:37. All 11 minutes were in the last 7 miles. This was HARD. The winning time was 2:59. Yikes, every one had slow times.