Running Companions

Sometimes it’s the smallest, almost imperceptible things that remind you of how lucky you’ve been. That life lesson was proven true again on a recent run. The run came on a day following a tough workout, a run on which I was struggling to keep up with my two running companions. At about two miles into the run we hit a nasty little hill, one that I don’t like even on the best of days. Part way up the hill, almost simultaneously, both of my companions realized I was struggling and each, without a word being spoken, eased back on their pace just a little to match mine.

It wasn’t a big thing, yet it made me smile to myself. At the end of the run I thanked them for going easy on me. Later that evening, when I recalled what had happened, it got me thinking back over my almost 30 years of running and how many different running companions I’ve had. Companions is certainly the right word for them. Even though we were often competitors in races, it was always different on runs. Runs were for companionship, for sharing the experience of the run, sometimes even confiding important details of our lives.

How I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid those runners who view so many of their runs as a race I’m not sure. Possibly I was a quick learner and after one run that turned into a race I avoided that runner on future runs. The companions I’ve spent most of my running carreer with have been like the two the other day, tuned into each others running and adjusting the day accordingly. Their subtle move going up the hill was a nice reminder of how fortunate I’ve been.

The New, New MHRRC Website

For a number of years the MHRRC had a website. As all the members were aware, it was a website with multiple problems. It was rarely current, sometimes even wrong. The web master (although well intentioned) was hard to contact and often took a long time getting important information on the site.

Fortunately for the MHRRC, there was a new member willing to take on the monumental task of being the new web master. In a short period of time she was able to develop a site to replace the old one. The new site had wonderful new features, current information (including race results) and a nice new look. The whole MHRRC was ecstatic.

However, even this site was a static site with major limitations and problems. The biggest problem from the web master’s standpoint was the large number of hours needed to keep the site up to date. She envisioned an active site that would become a living part of the MHRRC community. A site that runners themselves could add to (members’ kudos, blogs, etc), a site that qualified other members could update and add information to (race results, important announcements, member musings, etc) and one that even when she was away or was no longer web master could still be kept current and active.

Human nature being what it is, never liking too much change, a number of people have been taken aback by all of the vast, dynamic improvement. Yes, it’s new. Yes, it’s different. Yes, it might take a little work on your part to get comfortable with all the possibilities. There’s a lot there, with more to come!

Give yourself and the website time. Before long you’ll wonder how we got along without it. And next time you see Deborah Schwartz thank her for the countless hours she has put into making the MHRRC better.

Winter Run

With the Winter Run coming a week after the Miami Marathon it seemed like the perfect race to get in some volunteer work for the MHRRC. It’s fun to sometimes be on the other side of the operation and help make a race happen instead of running it. Working the registration table is great because you get a second to say hello to all the runners as they come in to register. There are lots of names I see in results but have no idea who they belong to. If you’re handing out numbers you get a chance to put a face with some of those names.

From there it was out to mile three at the corner of Stringham Road and Noxon Road to do some traffic control. Marisa Hanson joined me, helping make the task much easier. It would have been a tough spot for one person. Most of the motorists were quite patient with waiting their turn to get out of the end of Stringham onto Noxon or to make the turn onto Stringham. What was scary was how little the drivers on Noxon Road slowed down as they were driving next to the runners. Even waving a flag in front of their speeding cars had little effect. To make matters a little scarier, the bridge over Sprout Creek was under repair and the shoulder that the runners needed to run on was barricaded off, forcing them to move out onto the road. Happily no one was injured.

It was interesting getting to watch everyone go by and to cheer on those we knew. If you haven’t volunteered for a race in awhile (or ever), why not get in touch with Linda Stow and volunteer for the Ed Erichson run in March. Pictures from Chris Walsh here. You can also see pictures from Bob Kopac here.

Marathon Redux – Miami 2008

The unfathomable passage of time always takes me by surprise. Somehow my age now starts with a six, this year will mark my 40th wedding anniversary, I have two grandchildren with another due in a month, and it had been more than 21 years since the last time I ran a marathon. This one came about innocently enough with the suggestion back in September, by a couple of people that I coach, that instead of just writing workouts for them, why didn’t I train with them for Boston. There was one minor problem with that idea. If I were going to run Boston I would need to qualify. It didn’t seem that there was any way they would take my time from the last Boston Marathon I ran back in 1983 or even the last marathon I ran, which was 1986.

With all this starting in September and Boston seven months away the plan was to find a warm-weather marathon in January to use for a qualifier. This would give me enough time to get ready to qualify, take an easy week, which would then give me three months to train for Boston. I also needed to find a marathon that would provide a nice vacation opportunity after the race (it’s always important to keep your support person happy). The first place I looked was Disney, but it was already full. Miami was the second choice and in retrospect I’m glad Disney was full. Miami was great. From there we would go to Key West and spend three days in nice, warm, southern-Florida weather.

Right from the start we were very impressed with the organization of the race. The check-in at the Miami Convention Center could not have been any smoother or the people any friendlier. Race morning was the same way. Start time was 6:15AM. We were at a hotel about four blocks from the start and one block from the finish. At about 5:20 I left the hotel and moseyed my way toward the starting line, eating my Powerbar, a banana and drinking a Gatorade in the pre-dawn darkness. There were portable toilets everywhere. At about 6AM I entered my corral and immediately bumped into Mary Veltre. We chatted until about two minutes before the start when she really put her game face on, stepped a few steps away and got ready to run. Once the gun went off I never saw her again, she was GONE!

It was a little over two minutes to get to the start line. By then we were running pretty free and easy. The temperature was 66 degrees with a nice cloud cover. It stayed that way the whole time I was running: perfect marathon weather for Miami. My plan was to run very comfortably for at least the first 20 miles, then sometime after that, if there was anything in the tank, pick up the pace. Following that plan, every time I felt myself pushing even a little bit I pulled back on the effort. My splits were nicely under the qualifying time I needed so there was no need to push. They had twenty-two water stops with water and Gatorade. Some of the stops also had energy gel packets. The crews at the water stops were outstanding. Since I was a little worried about the humidity I probably made use of twenty of the twenty-two water stops.

The toughest part of the course for me was from mile 22-24, where, as you’re heading back toward the finish, they send you out a mile on a causeway, then you do a u-turn and head back toward the mainland. It’s basically two miles that seem to go nowhere. Once you’re off the causeway and hit the 24-mile mark, the tough mental stretch is over and you know you’re almost home.

My qualifying time for Boston was 4:00, so my finishing time of 3:41:02 was a nice surprise. In looking at my mile splits the next day I knew I had run a smart race. In the first thirteen miles there were only three splits under 8:20 per mile pace. In the second thirteen miles there were ten splits under 8:20 and my splits from mile twenty-four to mile twenty-six were 7:45 and 7:41. All that added up to a negative-split of 3:34.

We didn’t stay for the post-race festivities. Vince and Mary said they were really great. Instead we headed out for Margaritaville to see if we could find Jimmy Buffett.

Miami

We got home today after spending a few days in Key West to recover from the marathon. In case you haven’t heard my time was 3:41:02. I’ll write a longer summary of the race and the trip tomorrow after a good nights sleep. I also have to figure out this new blog that Josh set up while I was away. He says it’s easier and more efficient. Thank you all for the well wishes and congratulations.

Steve’s Miami Marathon

Hello,

I don’t usually do this but I am usurping my dad’s web page while he is away in Florida. I’ve changed it around a bit, and made it easier to manage (since I am the one who has to do the managing). I hope you like the changes, and I’m sure when my dad gets back from vacation there will be some more changes.

For those of you who are curious here is a link to his results. Steve’s Results!

THE GRANDKIDS!

Sadie (2 1/2) and Madison (7 months)
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Dont Miss This!!Before going to the meeting I suggest you read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.
Guest Speaker at February MHRRC Club MeetingMHRRC member Paul Fitzpatrick went on the Lhotse/Everest Climbing Expedition in Spring 2007. On his two month long expedition in the Himalayas, he took many photos and had grand adventures. He will be showing a video, talking and taking questions about his experiences.Feb. 7 at 7PM, K of C Hall in Wappingers Falls
Even if you can’t do this yourself, here is a chance to hear, firsthand, what it was like. Bring a friend.——————————————————————————————————————————
Track workouts on Wednesdays, 5:30 pmTom Storey and Matt Adams invite all interested runners to join them at the Spackenkill High School Track on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. They do about 8K of various interval work (e.g., 5×1600, 10×800) plus a warm-up and cool down.
You can email Tom (storeyt@us.ibm.com) and he will keep a master list of participants to keep you up-to-date or call him at (845) 226-2812.