Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rise Up Sluggers

The Rise Up Runners had a strong showing at the Team Slug Booty Rumble around Killens Pond, Delaware, as Lori Callahan, Mike Valliant, and Derek Hills (Grand Pooba of Team Slug) completed the inaugural 50K event. Photo courtesy of Team Slug.

A full race report of sorts will turn up on The 4-1-Run before long, and likely more here as well, but wanted to spread the word and say congratulations to Lori Callahan for completing for first ultra-distance run and to Derek Hills for rocking another Team Slug event, and the third 20+ mile rumble/stumble since the RURs have made Derek's acquaintance.

There is a great race report and a slew of photos available at the Booty Rumble race page. In case anyone gets to wondering, we believe Derek was "testing" socks for old people during the rumble ;)

Many thanks to the Delaware Slugs for their hospitality, enthusiasm, encouragement between laps, and for the lunacy to host a 50K event in the middle of June on the longest day of the year. If you ever get a super secret invitation to join in a Team Slug non-event, give it a go. Some great folks!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Are Injuries Just a Part of Running?

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theisman is among those who have lived the "injuries are a part of football" saying. Should we say the same thing about running?

I hate the Redskins. Always have. I can't even stand to hear Joe Theisman do play-by-play for a football game now. However, I would never have wished for the former Washington quarterback's career to end the way it did.

I was over at a friend's house watching Monday Night Football when New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor came around the end of the offensive line, took Theisman down, and I remember wanting to puke watching his leg snap. Then, TV being TV, they replayed it over and over, in case anyone missed it. Taylor jumped up right away, motioning trainers and help over, while both teams and the crowd were hushed as they got Theisman off the field.

It was a big hit, but clean. And everyone agreed and agrees still, injuries are just a part of football. That makes sense--you have 250-400 pound bruisers lining up to put the smackdown on each other every single play. People are going to get hurt, and they know that lining up, hence part of the reason for skyscraper-sized salaries.

But what about running? It's not a contact sport. Most of us never see a dime to go run. We do it because we love it, or because we expect some health benefit from it, or because we are insomniacs, and not being able to sleep, we need something to do to occupy our time...:)

Should we expect to get injured running? We've all heard the advice/admonitions from non-runners, "All that running is bad for your joints, you should take up biking or swimming, or even....[gasp!]...walking." It's much easier on your body.

This line of questioning comes about as various members of the Rise Up Runners have encountered, nursed, and/or come back from injuries during the few/several months we've been running together. Charlie picked up a stress fracture. Joel is day-to-day with foot/ankle troubles at times. Keene faced some big questions/decisions last year on his knee (though rightly, he is kind of old ;). And our latest RUR temporarily on the shelf is Landy, who I hope will post something more about his story, if he's of the mind.

For my part, I don't know the answer to the injury quandary. I am encouraged by older runners, who have run 42 consecutive Boston Marathons. By the 101-year-old runner who wants to become the oldest person to complete a marathon. By the older lady who runs/walks around St. Michaels throughout the year. There are a number of stories of many, many runners in their 70s and 80s, still actively logging miles.

I like to think of running as a positive, life-affirming activity, with the injuries that may come with it as minor setbacks, obstacles, that ought to be rested from, rehabbed past, and returned from, in time, and that the process makes us stronger, smarter runners somehow, and increases our life experience. I've read, and been inspired by, stories of runners of all levels and abilities working through ailments and injuries to do accomplish both great and simple things running.

But I still think injuries suck. And I miss not being able to run with folks when/while they are recuperating. I can guess that six weeks felt like a long time for Charlie. I feel Joel's frustration trying to get his foot/ankle right, and enjoy hearing when he's been out for a good run (since he's too much of a slacker to run early in the mornings these days ;). And I don't at all like not having Landy on the roads for an insane 3:30 a.m. start for an 18-21-mile run. But I very much dig their returns, per Charlie, and look forward to welcoming Landy back very soon. Albeit not soon enough.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reason #11

For those of you who read Landy's top ten list below and thought, "Yeah, you know, I SHOULD get up early and exercise... maybe I'll take up cycling?" I will offer the above photo as a visual for REASON #11: because running is SO much cheaper than biking. Sure it's tougher on joints and ligaments, but think of all the money you'll save up front! They haven't started making $5,000 running shoes...yet.

Easton is way too big for running tag. I determined that on my rare Wednesday Rise Up run this morning. I figured this out because I ran from 4:10 a.m. to 6:05 a.m. and during that time, I don't think I saw a single Rise Up Runner out there ;) Alright, I am actually pretty sure I saw Lori go by on Washington Street, as I was coming up Harrison, but that was a fair distance away.

I like to call my running route for the morning a "Deluxe Charlie TTZZ." For those curious just what a Deluxe Charlie TTZZ looks like, I roughed it out on Map My Run--voila. 13.1 miles from my crib, go up Aurora, wait for a couple minutes at 4:30 a.m. at the RUR corner, then follow Washington Street out to the bypass; bypass back to Oxford Road; Oxford Road up to Cooke's Hope (vs. the regular Charlie that goes to Cedar Point Road); back to Washington Street; Washington Street to Harrison; back up Harrison to Idlewild; Idlewild to Rails to Trails; RTT all the way to the North Easton Sports Complex; victory loop around the baseball field loop; then back to my house. I did a few pick-ups during the run and finished in 1:55, without ever really pushing the pace--the goal was a distance day about 10 days out from our 50K in Delaware.

With no RUR peeps and no ipod, it was an observation day. I startled a fox going out over Papermill Pond, who scampered back into the brush. I likewise disturbed the deer grazing at the Doe Cafe across from Easton Club; I caught a couple Talbot Sheriff cars zipping off to somewhere down Oxford Road, only to return in less of a hurry; saw a dead deer in the ditch by Cedar Point. And then the most memorable man meets nature scene of the morning.

As I was making my way back to the bypass to cruise back into town, a Chevy pickup truck turned onto Oxford Road, as a raccoon decided to scurry across. PLUNK! Front bumper caught him and spun him into a heap. I thought, this will be pretty as I got a little closer. The raccoon was laying still in a pile; I am not sure if he was stunned (I sure would have been) or part possum, but as I came closer, he literally shook it off, looked around and continued his scamper to the other side! As of this writing, his status is unknown, but I was pretty impressed by both his tenacity and his stealthiness. He's got a quite a story for his mates for the mid-morning raccoon coffee break.

With Keene's 70.3 triathlon under his belt, the next RUR runner with a race is Landy, this weekend at the Lake Placid Marathon. His wife Megan is running the half-marathon, so good luck to the Cooks on the road course on Sunday! We'll expect photos and a good report after the weekend.

And after that, Derek, Lori, Landy, and I are off to Delaware for a 50K fun run. Stay tuned and stay hydrated!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Top Ten Reasons to Run with Rise Up Runners

10. Movie reviews from Joel are top notch.

9. Who needs sleep anyway?

8. Coffee from the Rise Up Runners Mug never tasted so good.

7. Brag around the water cooler about how far you went running while everyone else was sleeping.

6. Mike Valliant can talk about anything, and it makes the miles effortlessly glide by.

5. Run with and soak in the wisdom from an ultrarunning marvel (Don Marvel that is!)

4. Discover Easton's back roads and alleys.

3. Few cars, little traffic or gas fumes, or no other athletes to compete with for road or sidewalk space.

2. Beat the heat!

1. Because you can!

-- landy

Thursday, June 5, 2008

National Trails Day

Landy, Katherine, Sam (canine), Dominic, Lori, and Mike, along with Joel (behind the lens) hit Tuckahoe State Park for 10- and 7-mile loops to kick off the month of June.

On June 1, the RUR crew celebrated National Trails Day. Never mind that NTD is actually June 7 (this Saturday), or that we never talked about it--it was a lived experience celebration. Landy, Dominic, and Lori came out to rock the 10-mile loop; special guest star Katherine Binder and I took an abbreviated 7-ish mile loop; while Joel and Sam Shilliday came out to do some hiking while Joel nursed a bad wheel.

We met late in the morning--6:30 a.m. ;)--to head out from Easton, after some good rain and wind that came through the previous afternoon. Once June arrives, the "hazards" of Tuckahoe become more pronounced--poison ivy, ticks, swarming mosquitoes, and black flies. Our runs out there this summer, may get even earlier...

We all started together, and without a doubt, if he knew the way, Sam would own the course record for the Tuckahoe 10-Mile Challenge. As we split our different groups up, it became a nature run for Katherine and me, as we counted off box turtles, frogs, toads, and a happy decorative gnomes in a hollow tree along Pee Wees Trail. Katherine was given wise advice, that when crossing the creek on our loop, NOT to take the log. And as we came to the bottom of Turkey Hill Trail, and mucked ankle-deep to the crossing--the chest high wade across the creek became the highlight of the day. You've gotta enjoy that attitude! She fits right in with our water-splashing spelunkers :)

At the end of our loop, we caught up to Joel and Sam and chatted a bit, with Landy, Dominic, and Lori appearing not far behind us. I'll have to let one of them talk about their loop--the only report I got was of wet shoes and wet bridge spelling a nasty spill for Landy on Pee Wees Trail.

AND congratulations to Dominic, who became the most recent runner to complete the Tuckahoe 10-Mile Challenge, thus earning him the invite for the end of the year Beer-BQ. Others interested in completing the challenge should feel free to leave a comment or figure out another way to get in touch with us for route and times when we'll be hitting the trails.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

36 on my 36th ...aka The Birthday Challenge

For all those of you itching for another Mike Valliant-style challenge, I have one cooked up for you. Though this one is personal, it can easily be adapted to the distance and the theme of your choosing. I have never placed too much emphasis on birthdays, but I am certainly not against them. It is just that I don't like ascribing too much meaning to a given birthday milestone. Sure if something like this (are you reading this Megan) showed up on my doorstep I wouldn't send it back, but I would rather do something that I really enjoy on a birthday than fret about where my years are going.

This summer I am turning 36, and I have decided to mark this birthday with a run to match my years in miles. I have already run the idea (sorry about that one but I couldn't help it) by Mike, who also turned 36 this spring, and he seems game. (Go figure) So now I am opening it up to anyone else who wants to join in for all, some, or none of it. You can join us at any point along the route to run with, walk with, throw stuff at, heckle, or hand off water or food.  Pick your distance and join in.  Don't feel constrained by the 36 theme.  We are running on 33 so you can run 33 miles instead, or 3.3, or just hang out in Oxford to ride the ferry across the river.  You get the idea.

The tentative run date is July 10th which is a Thursday. We will leave early at a time yet to be determined in Tilghman and work our way through St Michaels to Easton, then out to Oxford. We will either end in Oxford or take the ferry to Bellevue then run to my parents' house and take a much deserved soak in their pool. My guess is that we will depart Tilghman in the 3's. That is around or about 3 a.m. for those still with me. Any and all are welcome to join us for some of it. Posting this makes it harder for me to come to my senses and bail on the idea. This will indeed be a challenge for me because I have never run more than a marathon ever. The heat will likely be significant, but running so early in the day will hopefully help.  Feel free to offer support or heckling in the comments.