Sunday, April 26, 2009

Recovery week / 4-20-4-26

This is my favorite time of year to run. Most of the year, my early morning runs are in the dark, forcing me to wear a headlamp. In the spring, the headlamp is less of a requirement as the sun begins to rise by about 5:45 a.m. There’s an 8-mile loop on country roads that I love to run this time of year because I can look out over a field and see the sun rising through the far-off trees. The view is spectacular. For some reason, I think of Noah when I see the sun rising.

One of the many benefits of living in Chagrin Falls is that you are afforded access to so much natural beauty—wooded areas, grassy fields, trails, wetlands, the river and plenty of hills. Almost every morning I encounter deer, turtles and frogs. During the day, you can see birds of all kinds, from red-tailed hawks to Baltimore orioles. It pains me to see wooded areas and wetlands around our community destroyed to make way for new homes and residential communities, especially as there are plenty of nice existing homes for sale in our area.

I fear that many of the remaining natural areas will be bulldozed by greedy developers as more and more people choose to make Chagrin Falls their home. There’s a retirement community being built atop wetlands along Franklin Street, outside of the Chagrin Falls village, that really angers me every time I pass it. Wetlands! Why couldn't it be built at a previously developed site?

Anyway, this is part of a much larger problem. Flight from urban areas starting a few decades ago (which was really a disgusting function of racism) coincided with out-of-control sprawl while hemorrhaging urban areas continue to bleed and serve as hotspots for crime (have you seen the many pot-hole-infested streets, condition of housing and scores of abandoned buildings in Cleveland, where you'll also find a beautiful, state-of-the-art baseball park, football stadium and basketball arena?). Meanwhile, after years of "good times," the sprawling areas are now being hit hard by foreclosures because borrowers took on too much debt and overextended themselves buying "stuff."

All the while, big-box retailers, given the green light by local "planning" boards, demolished natural area after natural area building stores for the sprawlers. In a given square mile, you now have a Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.--all once thriving but now desperate for business in the wake of urban areas and exurbs in financial crisis. And if you're hungry, you can always venture to your "local" Applebee's, TGI Friday's, Outback Steakhouse or any other chain restaurant where you'll surely be served sh*t on a plate (pardon the language!). We've sacrified quality (mature neighborhoods and mom & pop operations) for quantity (McMansions and WalMart). But rather than fix the problem (community moratoriums on new developments), let's just take down more trees and damn the wetlands because there's money yet to be made!


My plan is to go for a sub-3-hour time at the Cleveland Marathon on May 17, potentially running with Steve H. and Frank D. Although my endurance is really strong right now, I have too much respect for breaking 3 hours in a marathon to say for sure whether or not I have a shot. I will certainly give it a shot. Breaking 3 hours requires both endurance (which I have) and good leg turnover (which is an issue for me right now). These next few weeks I’m going to be on the track and will have a better idea of how things look for Cleveland based on my interval times. The plan for Cleveland is just a sub-3-hour time. I do not want to overdo it going into the Mohican Trail 100-Mile Run. The time for an all-time marathon, where I go for a new PR, is yet to come.


A quick diet note: A few weeks ago I gave up my daily ritual of a diet pop with lunch. Now I just drink a diet cranberry juice. I feel much better--no bloating, stomach gassiness, etc. after lunch. I still drink a pop now and then, but I drink them much less than I used to. Now I just need to cut down on the amount of coffee I drink!

Another diet note: Several months have passed since I gave up pork in all forms. I don't miss it. Not one bit. Red meat, which we eat 1-2 times a month, may be next.


I saw that Brendan Brustad broke the world record for miles run on a treadmill in one week, completing 455.2 miles (previous record: 455.19) on a treadmill in Oklahoma City. Breaking the record of Friday, Apr. 24, he ran in honor of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. That’s a heck of a feat.


The primary goal this week was to recover from a week of high mileage culminating in a hard training run at the Forget the PR Mohican 50K (5th overall, 4:49). Mission accomplished. I took Monday off and went pretty easy until my tempo run on Friday. By Saturday I was feeling pretty fresh.

Here’s how the week went:


AM: 7 miles easy on the treadmill

AM: 8 miles easy in and around the Chagrin River valley

AM: 8.3 miles easy in and around the Chagrin River valley

AM: 9.4-mile tempo run on the treadmill. I headed out the door at my usual 5:25 a.m. and started running down Bell Street when I noticed dark clouds, lots of thunder and lightning and a few raindrops. Not wishing to risk my life, I turned around and headed home, where I’d get in my tempo run on the treadmill. As for my run, it was at progressive pace, peaking at about 6:15 pace.

AM: 16.04 miles in South Chagrin Reservation with the Southeast Running Club. Tim C. and I did our usual trek through South Chagrin, including the loop with four nasty hills. The weather was spectacular and the sunshine abundant.

AM: 18 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club. Once again, the weather was beautiful—60 degrees at the start and about 75 at the finish with nothing but sunshine. As soon as I got up to SOM Center Road (a.k.a. 91) from Hawthorn Parkway I dropped the hammer and went hard down 91, averaging about 6:20 pace for the next 4 ½ miles before going into a 2-mile cool-down. My leg turnover felt pretty good.

Total miles for week: 66.7
Total miles for month: 326.9
Total miles for year: 1,238.29


The goals this week are:
  • 100-110 miles
  • 3x1600 at balls-to-the-wall pace
  • 5-7 miles at tempo pace

Onward and upward!


  1. You're right...this is a great time of year to be a runner. We experience the changing of the seasons more viscerally, not just looking out a window. Its one of the joys of running.
    Good recovery week after the Forget the PR. Really nice job on Sunday.

  2. You should try going vegan. I love it.