Ran the Medved Lilac 5K

It's been a while since I blogged — and a while since I ran a 5K race. I ran the Medved Lilac 5K; barefoot, naturally. I completed it in 28:21 "gun time" although they now record net time (from the start line) which I did in 27:56 (which, of course, means it took me 25 seconds to get to the start line.) From the official results, that was 296th of 1,076 overall, 175th of 418 among men, and 17th of 45 among 40-44 year-old males. In all pretty good, I think — and especially so considering how pleasant the weather was.

According to Google's calculations, the net time sets me at 8:59/mile pace which is good although not a personal best. I've been slowly increasing my mileage since I had to quit a while last year, so I don't feel bad about that time. It at least felt good and it was actually just like a morning run. Except that I had to stand around and wait for 15 minutes rather than just doing it.

One thing I thought was funny was the guy right at the end in the gray shirt. I passed him coming up the final hill but he gave a sprint at the end and got past me. I was thinking "I'm going to beat that guy in the gray shirt" and he was probably thinking, "I'm not going to let that barefoot guy beat me!" Kudos to him for pulling ahead by a second!

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The Abrupt Stop to Running

This winter I've been doing quite well without a car. Although the weather has been mild enough to bike, I've mostly stuck to walking. And although mild, it's still cold enough that I put on water shoes to go running most of the time (my absolute cutoff for running in bare feet is 35°F when it's wet out and 20°F when dry; usually I transition when it's warmer). And then it wasn't snowy enough to go cross-country skiing except once or twice. And then I got a dog and we'd run together in addition to one more time walking.

So 20 miles a week running in addition to probably 30 miles of walking started taking its toll. A few weeks ago I noticed my left Achilles tendon was a bit sore. I persevered as this kind of thing happened before and that seemed to be fine. But more recently, I just wasn't willing to push through it to run as the pain became too great. I've dropped to about a mile a week, and will cut back even more. I had heard how the body is typically able to repair damage from normal use as it happens, but if it starts falling behind, the result is a repetitive stress injury. I'm just going to assume that's the case — rest and gentle treatment cause the symptoms to nearly disappear, and aggressive use brings them back.

Fortunately I've found that bicycling doesn't aggravate it nearly as much so I'm switching back to that. In turn, that is motivating me to get the bike projects done that I have partially completed. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to sit out the Lilac 5K this year.

Nonetheless, I see the sexy young women out running these early-spring days and all I can think is, "gosh, I wish I could get back to running."

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Running the Medved Lilac 10K

This morning I ran the The Medved Lilac 10K, barefoot-as-usual. I actually met one other barefoot runner, Carl, who said that he also knows a third guy who looks a little like me named Mike. Anyway, this was my first 10K — about 6.2 miles. I have been averaging 4.5 miles 4 days a week, and recently added a loop one day a week that increases it to 5.2 miles. The 10K, therefore, is the farthest I've run. I decided to hold back and run slowly to make sure I was doing okay. I turned a 1:02:50 official time (10:08/mile) — it's just 3 minutes or so longer than twice my past 5K times so my pace was right on. The competitive part of the race wasn't my strong suit: I came in 966 of 1,258 overall and 66th of 77 other runners in my age group. I finished with lots of energy to spare so I could have run it a bit faster, although I probably wouldn't have moved up much in ranking even if I did. I also felt very good afterward: not short on energy, but also not sore at all.

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Three Firsts

So here's three firsts [say that three times fast!]: first of December, first accumulating snowfall for Rochester, and first run in the snow barefoot.

Last night we got an inch or so of snow accumulation.  I was excited to try running in it.  After all, I've been practicing as the weather got colder.  But, as it turns out, snow — being largely frozen water — takes a lot of heat to melt, and in turn, it feels really really cold. And as a result, this run was spent most focused on running and on the condition of my body, particularly my feet.

It was kind of funny, actually, because I swear I could hear my cardiovascular system curse in surprise as it attempted to boost blood-flow to my extremities. My feet got much colder, much faster than they do even at colder temperatures, and I kept making sure they weren't losing sensation, feeling hot, nor appearing a color other than pink. I wasn't going to push things too far, so I decided to cut my run much shorter and barely covered more than a mile.

After an hour or so, everything was back to normal. Lucky? Not really. Just careful.

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Running in Florida

I decided to go for a run while visiting Ali's family in Florida. I've been eating like it's Thanksgiving, and I realized last night that I couldn't pull it off more than one day in a row. So I went out for a 4-ish-mile run. Being accustomed to 35°F, temperatures approaching 80°F with a 70°F dew-point (thanks, Hurricane Ida), I needed all the extra water I had to finish up. Also, I noticed that there's a lot of dirt that ends up on the roads and sidewalks. I imagine it's because of dust from tires wearing down (my feet were much more black than at home), and because the lack of regular rain to wash it away.

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Pictures from Running

I went for a run this morning and brought along my camera.

Along the canal path a recently painted note appeared on the trail. I always get a chuckle out of it: it says, "JPL Lock of Love" in a heart with an arrow pointing to the guard lock and the date 7/5/05.

Painted tag on the Canal Path near the west guard lock that says "JPL Lock of Love" in a heart with an arrow pointing to the guard lock and the date 7/5/05.

"Lock of Love" tag that appeared about two weeks ago.

Then I get into Genesee Valley Park (Hawthorn Dr.). I've always appreciated Frederick Law Olmsted's designs for paths to be varied in an ornamental fashion without becoming inefficiently winding.

A trail heading west in Genesee Valley Park

Heading West in Genesee Valley Park

For months now, I've noticed that nearly every car parking in the lot by Building 520 on The University of Rochester (Elmwood Ave. at Intercampus Dr.) is in a handicapped-accessible parking space. I commend the University for their progressive thinking to hire people of different abilities. Of course, things weren't always that way.

The University of Rochester Building 520 parking lot shows all but one car parked in handicapped-accessible spaces.

The University of Rochester Building 520 parking lot.

I think it's funny how pervasive cultural norms are. When I say I run barefoot on sidewalks and streets, about 90% of people say, "what about glass?" I seem to be gifted and have an instinct to not step on things. When I run, if I just look toward the ground in front of me, my brain automatically sets my footfalls so I don't step on things — all without thinking about it consciously at all. Of course, when I see glass, I make a deliberate effort to go around it: I'm not concerned that I'll cut myself badly stepping on a big piece, the nearby tiny shards that get stuck in my foot are more likely and terribly irritating.

Broken glass in front of 185 Elmerston

Broken glass in front of 185 Elmerston.

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Running the Fight Against Violence 5K Run/Walk with Ali

Ali and I went to The Stay Bridge Suites (1000 Genesee St.) to participate in the Fight Against Violence 5K Run/Walk. There was a good turn-out — I guess quite a bit more than the organizers had anticipated. The race headed south along the River Walk through Genesee Valley Park (Hawthorn Dr.) then back through The University of Rochester (Elmwood Ave. at Intercampus Dr.) and finally returning to the hotel. I joked that if it were closer to the heart of the 19th Ward, far fewer white people would have showed up.

Anyway, Ali ran it in 36:11 and won 2nd place for her age/gender category out of 6 other runners. There were 6 men in my category but I came in 4th among them with my time of 29:54. It's "officially" listed as 9:39/mile on the PCR Timing site which surprised me because that's slower than my 9:33 pace at The Medved Lilac 10K and 5K Family Fun Run [and this time, I think I was the only person running without shoes … people sure seem to like buying those over-the-counter orthopedics]. According to USA Track & Field (USATF), the course is actually 5.20 km or 3.23 miles, so my per-minute time based on that is 9:11.

I was a little disappointed that the promise of a gift bag from UofR and other post-race items were not available, but I can't fault them too much because the turnout was so high they didn't even have enough shirts for everyone. But you know, it doesn't really matter because we had a great time.

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Running the Lilac 5K with Ali

If you recall, I've been doing some running to work up to the 5 kilometer race in The Medved Lilac 10K and 5K Family Fun Run which was today.

I ran a "long" 5K run on Monday and Tuesday, then a "short" 2 mile run on Wednesday, and another "long" 5K run on Thursday [hmm … like a train whistle warning a crossing] before resting up for the race. Well, I did it. And yeah: barefoot. And I even beat 30 minutes, finishing in 29:35 according to the PCR Timing Official Results for this years race (which placed me 397 of 864 overall and 21st among the 31 male 35-39 year-olds). This is great because I beat my 35:58 official time for the Corporate Challenge in 2001.

Ali ran too and, despite admitting not training enough, ran for the whole race and finished in 37:31.

But the remarkable serendipity of our runner numbers was the amusement of the day. We were each given random numbers and she got #123 and I got #321. The odds that I would get the same digits as her number in the reverse order was (given 864 runners) about 1 in 863. If you figure on the specific combination of 123 and 321, that's something like 1 in 745,632. Pretty neat.

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