Evel Knievel passed away today, age 69. He had an assortment of serious medical problems in his later years. To honor his memory I've posted footage of one of his great jumps in Portland. I used to watch him on ABC Wide World of Sports all the time as a kid and me and my friends would try to emulate him by doing dangerous jumps on our Schwinn Stingrays and Choppers. The '70s rocked with rock star-like sports icons such as Knievel, Pistol Pete Maravich, Joe Namath, Wilt Chamberlin, and Prefontaine.
The Club Nationals cross country championships will be next weekend at Voice of America Park in Cincinnati. From what I have heard the course is pretty flat, but gets muddy really easily. The photo above is taken from a past race at VOA Park. My club, Team Good River, is entering an A Team and a B Team in the masters race. I'm on the B Team. Both teams are really solid. I think our A guys will do especially well, though we'll have to contend with last year's masters champions, Front Line Racing Team, who are from Michigan and include in their ranks Paul Aufdemberge who hold the masters national record for 10K on the track and Tracy Lokken, who won last year's individual title.
My race prep has been going well. I did a really good 14 miler on the bridle trails in Mastick Woods last weekend and on Wednesday I did 4 x mile on grass w/ 2:00 rest breaks @ 5:52 average. Those felt really comfortable even with the heavy winds. I wore my spikes for the first time in a while and they felt good. All systems go!
I'm well stocked on cushioned neutral trainers as I've won pairs of New Balance 882's and Nike 30/40s at two recent races, but I was kind of hurting for lightweight trainers now that my Nike Zoom Elite 3's are getting near the mileage limit I put on shoes. My favorite local running store, Second Sole in Rocky River, Ohio just got in the newest Nike lightweight trainer, the Jasari, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Wore them on an easy run today and I have to say they feel pretty good. For an 8 ounce shoe they have a lot of cushion. This will be a perfect shoe to wear for tempo runs and track workouts or even in a longer race like a 10 miler or half-marathon. For you older guys and gals out there, the Jasari's remind me a lot of an early 80's Nike classic, the Terra TC. Knowing Nike they'll probably get discontinued pretty quickly, since that seems to happen with a lot of their best shoes. Rumor has it the Elites have just been axed.
The best song from the Dandys best album, their 1995 debut Dandys Rule OK. This beats the British shoegazers at their own game.
This is my new favorite frozen pizza courtesy of the fine folks at California Pizza Kitchen. I loaded up on these while my wife is out in California visiting her mom. Here's the description from the website:
"Blackened chicken and spicy Andouille sausage with a Creole sauce, roasted red & yellow peppers, mild onions and Mozzarella cheese. Topped with green onions."
Yes, those were the prizes I won for being the top master at today's Home Run For The Homeless 4 mile race in Akron.
I had a great race this morning and ended up being the first Master and 28th overall in a very deep race, which had a lot of fast high school and college kids in the mix.
My time was 23:12 (5:48 pace) on a REALLY difficult course, definitely the toughest one I've run on all year. That combined with nasty weather (just above freezing, windy and rainy) made this a real 'character builder' so to speak. The middle two miles of the race, which went through a hilly cemetery with some serious climbs (which of course were followed by quad blasting downhills) was especially challenging.
My splits were 5:41 for the first mile, which was pretty flat after a 200 meter downhill start. After 800 meters or so there was a long gradual climb up a freeway ramp (I think?) to the mile mark before going down a sharp downhill into the cemetery. There were three big climbs on the paved paths in the cemetery and one big climb right after we got out of the park. Didn't catch my 2 mile split as at this point I was glued on to a pack of kids I was gaining on and in a total zone. The three mile mark was just after the hill leading out of the cemetery and I hit 17:24 there. My lungs still felt strong, but my legs were feeling trashed from the hills. I forced myself to bear down and just focus on the line of dying high school kids ahead of me. In an act of revenge for getting out kicked by two kids in the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot, I out kicked two high school kids in the last homestretch here!
Had a good post-10K race training week. Took three days easy after my race on Sunday and then had a nice session of 3 x mile on Thursday. It was super windy and pretty cold, but I felt good and hit the times I wanted to hit more or less. Had another 'key' workout on Sunday -- a solid 15 miler in Rocky River Metro Park. Gotta keep up those long runs all year round! Nothing keeps you in shape better than that. This week I'll be racing a 4-miler in Akron on Thanksgiving Day and I'll do another long run on Sunday. Everything has been going really well this fall so I just need to stay rested and ready to roll at nationals in December.
The New Led Zeppelin best of Mothership got me thinking that more than any band I can think of, Led Zeppelin is a young man's gateway drug into the world of rock 'n' roll. Seems like almost every junior high boy gets into Led Zeppelin at some point -- especially those in the Midwest -- and they're usually introduced to the band by some guy who has a 'cool' older brother. This has been going on since the '70s with no end in site. A 25-year-old co-worker just bought the complete Led Zeppelin on i-Tunes and as I could hear "When The Levee Breaks" cranking from his desk, I thought at least good rock 'n' roll will last even as the industry is on its last legs. I can guarantee that in 20 years time no one is going to be playing freaking Rogue Wave at their desk at work.
Just got back from Michigan where I ran in the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot yesterday. I ran a masters PR of 36:24 and was first master and 8th overall. In case you're wondering, Ann Arbor has their turkey day race early because they don't want to compete with the big race in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Anyway, this was my first race as a 43-year-old (my birthday was Friday) and my first race wearing the Team Good River colors so I wanted to do really well. Going into the race I was feeling a little beaten up as work has been very hectic the last 2-3 weeks. During this time period I did less overall volume that I wanted to, but made sure that I was fresh for my key workouts. Kind of a Bowerman/Kenny Moore strategy if you will.
Conditions for the race were pretty ideal, maybe a tad too cold and windy at 40F but no complaints. I took out the first mile pretty conservative in 6:09 and felt great so I decided it was a good time to gun after all the folks who were already rigging. The second mile had a nice downhill portion and I hit that in 5:42 -- perhaps a little too fast -- but I felt very good rolling into the 2 mile at 11:51. The third mile was a little up hill so I settled into a nice groove that I thought I could hold for the rest of the race. I caught a lot of people on this mile and hit 3 miles in 17:42 and 5K at 18:20 on the nose. It was nice that they had a 5K marker -- races don't always have this. I felt strong here and up ahead I saw a high school kid who looked like he was slowing down so I focused on him and tried to maintain pace. I hit 4 miles in 23:30 and soon after I caught him. We fought it out through the 5 mile mark (29:20) but soon after that he pulled away and ended up running 36:10 to my 36:24. I couldn't feel too bad about it as I think he ran the typical high school race of going out really hard, resting in the middle and then finishing with a huge kick at the end. Speaking off another kid came out of nowhere and ran me down in the last straightway and finished in the same time as me. After the race the kid asked me what age group I was in and I said I'm 43! He was like, oh I'm 16!
Fun race and I'm really psyched to run a big masters 10K PR. My previous best was 37:27 at this race last year. I feel like I'm ending my season on a nice roll with my 5K PR 2 weeks ago (17:22) and now this race. Hopefully I can maintain this fitness through club nationals XC.
I'd also like to give a shout out to my BMLC brother Stephen Magee who ran a masters PR of 37:31 and less than an hour came back to gut out an 18:41 5K to finish 6th overall in the Iron Turkey Division (combined 10K/5K race times). I did the Iron Turkey last year and vowed never to do it again. I think Stephen probably feels the same! His girlfriend Jennifer Kirk was second in her age group in the 10K -- her first race after running a marathon PR in the far-from-ideal-conditions in Chicago. Our other BMLC brother Tom Sisson ran a solid 10K in 38:45 -- impressive considering he was on antibiotics and pulled his hamstring less than halfway into the race.
I had a really good week of training. Took two very easy days after my 5K race last Saturday and did three quality workouts this week. On Tuesday I did an 8 mile progression run on a course with rolling hills with the last 4 miles @ 6:25, 6:20, 6:17, 6:15. Felt very relaxed and strong -- hopefully the kind of pace I would hit in a half-marathon. On Thursday I did 3 x mile cutdowns w/ brisk 400 meter jogs inbetween in 5:56, 5:49, 5:43. Felt very strong on this workout too. Today I ran 14 miles easy on the horse trails in Mastick Woods. Really nice trails. I've been re-reading parts of Kenny Moore's Bowerman biography and trying to really pay attention to Coach Bowerman's message about optimal training -- i.e. running quality workouts, but finishing feeling like you could have done a bit more and save the 110% dry heaving stuff for the races. Also really stressing his hard/easy philosophy and taking the easy days super slow. Seems to have been working for me lately. Next up is a 10K in Ann Arbor on November 11. It will be my first race as a 43-year-old as my birthday is this coming Friday. After that I think I'll do a Thanksgiving Day race somewhere and then it's Club Nationals cross country on December 8.
Yesterday's Olympic Trials marathon in New York City was one of the most exciting marathon races on US soil as Ryan Hall (left), Dathan Ritzenhein, and Brian Sell finished 1-2-3, which guaranteed them spots on the team for Beijing next year. Hall's performance was ungodly. His finishing time was 2:09:02, a US trials record, but even more impressive was the way he demolished the field with a 4:35 mile surge on mile 17. He beat Ritzenhein by more than two minutes and ran the second half of the race just under 1:03. Ritz, who had a disappointing marathon debut at last year's NYC marathon ran a solid race. There has been talk that if he makes the team for 10,000 meters next year he may opt out of the marathon. Third place finisher Sell was probably everybody's 'blue collar' favorite to make the team. A 10:06 two-miler in high school, Sell went on to have small success in college but really began to shine when he started running marathons and began training with the Hanson's group in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Sadly, these great accomplishments were undermined by the untimely death of Ryan Shay (right). The 28-year-old Shay had a heart attack and collapsed five miles into the race. Shay had finished 9th in the 2004 Olympic trials and was a high school star at Central Lake, Michigan and a 9 time All American at Notre Dame University. This summer he got married to former Stanford distance star Alicia Craig and by all accounts was poised to run a good race. It's shocking to see this happen to an athlete in his prime. The last time anything like this happened was when Athletics West distance star Jeff Drenth collapsed and died after a training run in 1986. I remember the Drenth incident well because he was just a few years older than me and I used to watch him race in meets at the University at Michigan when he was a runner for Central Michigan Univ.
The only thing I could do when I heard about Shay's passing was to lace up my shoes and go for a run. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Team Good River is Ohio's premiere running club for post-collegiate open and masters runners. Three of their runners will be running in the Olympic Trials Marathon in NYC on Saturday. I was finally able to hit the masters qualifying standard for 5K with my 17:22 on Saturday, so now I'm a member of the team! You can read my profile on the roster section of the TGR website. I'll be running on their masters team for Club Nationals cross country in Cincinnati on December 8 as well as sporting the team singlet at a bunch of Ohio races next year.