Saturday, August 12, 2017

I'm Dame Nature, Not Cause I Hate Ya!

Mother nature is apparently fed up with this baseball season just as much as I am. So much so she replaced Ohio's usual 85 degree August temperature (and electric blanket-like humidity) with a taste of fall just as preseason football began. And just like that, it suddenly became late September/early October as we watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame game and had a week's worth of 70 & 60 degree temps.

The August week that wasn't. Mother Nature took
a vacation - and it was weird
It has been odd to not only turn off the air conditioner, but to also close some windows at night because it was just too August. I'm sure a return to reality is just around the corner, but this proves Mother Nature can do what she wants, when she don't mess with her (hey, Sharknados can happen man!).

And I'm not going to complain because it does make it more comfortable to train and run without feeling like you are melting or having to peel sweat soaked clothes off like the removal of a second skin. Still, though, I really don't want to see October know...OCTOBER.

This unexpected weather break proceeded the Columbus Half Marathon 10K + 5K on August 12th. Now, I took part in the 10K portion of this race - which shouldn't come a surprise - but there is reasoning behind, just follow along.

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This was also a return to the same location as the "THE" It's NOT the Hilliard Classic Half Marathon 10K & 5K  which took place in June and was ridiculously hot & humid. We traced portions of the same route, but instead of an out and back process - the course for this race was manufactured into a loop. Which, in my opinion, is best because retracing the same route can get old and make the race seem longer, messing with your mind.

The 10K race route, along the banks of Alum Creek.
I have focused on races of 10K and shorter, to go along with my running routine, to prepare for an upcoming half marathon. I just don't want to run 13.1 miles, I want to challenge myself to do the best I can and not just be "a finisher". Working on pacing, stride and strength at shorter distances can help with what needs work at longer distances - or at least that's my thinking (I'm not a trainer, nor do I play one on tv).

Most of those long training runs have been comfortable and I'm happy with the progress, as well as how they could relate to a 1 hr 30 min.-ish half marathon. I believe I still need to work on better pacing to reach anywhere near that time frame. This is where the 10K comes into play.

This was also a bit of change. I typically attend races by myself: I warm up, run, finish, recover, people watch, then go home. This time, however, the new-ish girlfriend asked if she could come along. I don't have a problem with this, but in my thinking just going to watch isn't exactly a blast. Though, she was interested and being a sports fan in general she knew it would be a lot of waiting around with only a few handful of chances to yell at me to pick up the pace and get my a** in gear. But she was game and hanging out in midsummer next to Alum Creek, the beach, race day activities and flood wall with excellent vistas left her plenty to take in while waiting for my lankiness to finish. It would be a different, yet welcomed, change.

Columbus Half Marathon 10K + 5K
race shirt and bib
I was hoping there would be a few more rabbits to feed off of in order to assist with reaching a decent pace and maintaining it. And a Traffic Panther teammate from last April's The Buck Fifty 24 Hour, 150 Mile Relay was on hand, but Gary was running the half marathon portion, so assistance from him wasn't likely going to happen. Luckily, there were a couple of super fast half marathoners who led the way pulling the rest of us along.

Two of those guys disappeared almost instantaneously into the morning horizon, a third pulled up along side of me and we fed off of one another until we reached the 10k turnaround at about the 3 1/2 mile mark. This helped tremendously regarding keeping a decent pace (5:56, 6:09, 6:15, 6:16). He continues on as I high five him, reverse course and pass the remaining 10kers and half marathoners on my way back.

From this point on it was up to me to attempt keeping a decent pace and it was not easy trying to get the stragglers to understand I was heading back towards them. At times, it was like trying to part the Red Sea - except the Red Sea didn't want any part of it. I just kept my head down and watched, from my peripheral, runners & joggers dodge me at the last moment.

I was able to sort of keep myself afloat at the pace I wanted the last two miles (6:29, 6:31), but was obviously slower as I was on an island and finished the better part of five minutes ahead of the next 10k participant. My official finish time of 38:58 ended up being my second best 10k time (the PR took place at the Columbus 10K earlier this year). My Traffic Panthers teammate, Gary, finished 7th overall for the half marathon in a time of 1:26:52.

So, it has come to this - it is now all systems go for the Scioto River Run Half Marathon taking place next month. I knew I had to break the seal sooner or later. Its like the unexpected relationship that pounces when you least expect it. At first you aren't sure its something that should be cultivated (since your past relationships scream 'this has no chance to succeed!'), but the more it evolves - the more you realize it cannot be denied and you want it to happen (and it has with tremendous success thus far).

Toothy fish out of water (picture taken while I was in Costa Rica
a few weeks ago). Is this how I'm going to look in September?
Now will this 13.1 mile albatross I have my sights set on work the same way? Or will I forever damage my relationship with running by pretending a half marathon - and one at a semi-competitive pace - is simply a matter of letting it happen?

Come September 23rd...break me open...

The night makes promises
that daylight cannot keep…I know.
Just like the haunted dreams
that taunt me in my sleep…you know.

I can barely breathe.
Can't make a sound.
Every wall comes up
when the sun goes down

Break me open.
Crack the code of my emotion.
Break me open.
Cut the vein that's kept me frozen.

I'll surrender.
I've been drowning long enough.            
Break me open.
'Til my heart is bleeding love.

I see those stubborn rays
force their way through dark window shades.
Lyin' in bed I pray
The light in me escapes the same            

Gotta let it out.
I don't wanna hide
the solitary man
locked up inside

Break me open.
Crack the code of my emotion.
Break me open.
Cut the vein that's kept me frozen.

I'll surrender.
            I've been drowning long enough.            
Break me open.
'Til my heart is bleeding love.

A soul awakening
that's what I'm searching for
Shine a smile in the shadows
and I'm forever yours

Break me open.
Crack the code of my emotion.
Break me open.               
Shock my body into motion.

I'll surrender.
Go ahead, invade my space.      
Break me open.
Baby, you can change my fate. 

Break me open.
Crack the code of my emotion.
Break me open
Break the spell that kept me frozen.

I surrender.
You're the one to pull me through.
Break me open.

Love me into lovin' you.

Randomness: During a discussion on lack of artistic
ability, Lauren (the girlfriend) challenged me to draw
Ben Franklin playing catch with a chainsaw.
This was the result.
Runnin' Summer 2017 Tour

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