Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Rise Up First: Morning Frog

Keene, Joel, and Dominic emerge from the Oaklands Time Warp Loop during a tepid July Rise Up Run. "Morning Frog" notched another first: first Rise Up Tri as he ran 8 miles, then biked to St. Michaels, logged an hour swim, then rode the rest of the way to Wittman.

It was only matter of time, really. This morning Keene aligned his schedule and emerged from the Bay Hundred area to get a Rise Up Easton Run in with Joel, Dominic, and Valliant.

Wood Frog and I met along Rails-to-Trails at around 5:15 a.m. and ran up to our 5:30 a.m. meeting at da corner of Aurora and Idlewild. We discovered that this was the first official meeting of Keene and Dominic. The route for the day was Oxford Road, into the Time Warp Oaklands loop that has been made famous by both its chill scenery as well as being the course of the Hospice 10K (formerly the Wild Goose Chase) on the day after Thanksgiving each year.

She was close out this morning, as Dominic and Joel logged roughly 6 miles, Keene roughly 8 running, and I cranked out about 10 miles. Keene then showed everyone up by biking to St. Michaels, logging his hour-long morning swim, then hopping back on the bike to Wittman. I Rise Up Tri workout.

This was our first 4-person run in some time and it was nice to get everyone together in the morning. Hope to replicate it often and soon.

Editor's Note: Dominic and Charlie are not off the hook. They've had a number of options thrown at them. We'll hope for an update/decision soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Fall Race Call-Out...

To preface this call-out, we must point out a couple things:

1. Running, and particularly Rise Up Running, is not about racing, but rather just getting out to run. Racing is gravy.

2. As a group, the RUR peeps are not generally inclined to call someone out...(yeah, right ;)

Well, one out of two ain't bad... As the fall racing season inches its way closer and closer, I'm throwing out a challenge. Lori, Don, and Derek routinely have target races lined up for every season, so this challenge doesn't so much apply to them. Landy has pulled himself off the fall racing torture circuit he had lined up for himself, to allow his torn meniscus to mend. Keene is finding races for every means of human propulsion conceivable. And Joel has a trail 10K on the books, which we will let stand...even though he already routinely runs farther than that AND did a trail 10K this spring...:)

I think we all know who that leaves--ahem, Dominic and Charlie. The challenge is simple: sign-up or put a target fall race on your calendar. Doesn't matter what, when, or how far, just give yourself something to shoot for; something to keep you honest and consistent in your running.

Now, generally I'd say 5K is too short--you all run farther than that every time you run--but trying to run a 5K fast is work. You also both bust out 10Ks easy, but if we are allowing it to stand for Mr. Shilliday, we can't really play favorites now, can we?

That leaves 10 milers or half-marathons, as the next incremental jump. Now, I'm all about saying that it's more fun to train for and run a race with someone rather than solo, but schedules can be tough. BUT, it'd be cool to get a number of RUR's out to a run.

Joel and Derek's The North Face Endurance Challenge in D.C. is sold out. On the same day, September 6, there is an off-road (trail) marathon being held outside D.C. by the folks at EX2 Adventures. Keene and I have run one of their trail 10-milers and it was well organized and a great course. They also have a series of Fall 10-mile trail races.

Road races are certainly acceptable as well. There is the Baltimore Half-Marathon in early/mid October. Landy has pointed out the Rehoboth half later this fall. And Lori has talked about the Bottle and Cork 10-miler in Delaware (I think is a September race).

Now, of course there are schedules, children, families, etc. involved, and it has to be something that works. We'll look around for some options and send em your way, but the challenge stands at one fall race. Simple. Once you've got one in mind, throw a comment or send an e-mail (Charlie is comment-challenged :) and we'll post them and hold you to them.

For me, racing is not the goal, but it gives me a goal, and makes me stay more consistent with running, and even beckons me out of bed on a day(s) where I would opt to sleep.

Good luck, gentlemen. The gauntlet is thrown!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Rise Up Story

Everyone has heard of a bed-time story...so how about a Rise Up story for a change? One that goes back to the RU roots...

It all started with an e-mail:

I'm trying to get into a little bit of a running routine, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in a trail (or road) run sometime. I can go early (like 5 am) almost any day or a bit later on Wednesday or Thursday ams and some weekend mornings. Let me know if you're interested...

It seemed like a harmless enough e-mail. Sent by a different person or landing in a more indifferent inbox, maybe nothing would have come of it.

Meanwhile, about the same time the e-mail was sent, Diving Dog Productions was having a meeting with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum about redesigning their website. Two of the three attendees of said meeting talked afterwards about running and hiking at Tuckahoe State Park.

A week or so later, the first Rise Up run took place--Landy, Joel, and Mike V. took a 5-6 mile jaunt out at Tuckahoe State Park. And that spilled into the first REAL (as in way early) Rise Up runs, with Landy and Mike meeting and running through Easton's dark streets.

I recall meeting Landy and Joel at 5 a.m. on Easter Sunday for a cold stroll around town and thinking how awesome it was to have three fathers of young kids meeting to run before their families woke up to find eggs.

We've had 3:30 a.m. starts (as well as the much easier 3:40's :); we've run to St. Michaels; we've taken interstate road trips to run Delaware trails; we've added members and had a streak of 5 runners meeting at 5 a.m.!; we've completed the first Trans Tred Avon run on record. We've added two new baby girls to the family ranks. And recently, we've had runners dealing with injuries.

But mostly, when we can, we meet in the mornings and run. It's pretty simple. And pretty remarkable. I've never been involved in anything quite like it.

And one more thing, while you're reading: we've had birthdays :) I was able to sneak my 36th birthday by folks, almost. Landy will have no such luck. July 08, our pal Landy flips the biological clock to 36 himself. You can tell he's getting older by the gray on his head becoming more prominent (which is much different than Joel's ;) Happy birthday, big guy, I am quite certain we'll have you back out here before you realize it!

So we live, we get older, we celebrate, we expand our families, we get to know each other better, we run races, we try new things, and when we're able, we run. Pretty simple. And pretty remarkable. It's good to Rise Up...oh yeah, and we drink a fair amount of coffee :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Highlander....There Can Be Only One

Sean Connery as "Ramirez" in the cult classic film, "The Highlander." As we all know, there can be only one highlander at a time...

After a few months of early morning running, you begin to notice some peculiarities...call them coincidences. One that Landy picked up on was the fact that Dominic and Charlie never ran at the same time. Oh sure, there was the whole Charlie stress fracture thing, and the fact that you have to be willing to meet at no later than 4:30 a.m. to run with Charlie. They passed each other in the middle of our two loop "shift change," but never hit the roads at the same time. I called this phenomenon "The Highlander" problem, wherein there can be only one speedster on the road at a given time.

We're not sure who has the fastest wheels in our RUR group. In this case, the line of speculation concerns only the sprint to the finish of a run. This is not a fixed number either--from a block, .25 mile, or more, depending on who is trying to get themselves across the line first. Dominic, Charlie, and Landy are all quick. Current thinking maintains that Dominic and Charlie might have the high performance wheels for a good end sprint. But we couldn't set up the showdown...

Until this morning. Amped and awake from evening/night espressos, Dominic posted for a 4:30 a.m. start. He, Charlie, and I did our "Charlie Loop"--Washington Street, out to 322; 322 to Oxford Road; turn around at Cedar Point; back down Oxford Road, past the YMCA, through 5-corners light, then overdrive up Idlewild to "da corner" at Aurora.

This morning (the first loop) was one of the quickest paced group runs I think we've done. I knew I had to keep something in the tank for a total of about 13 miles, but you can't not run quick with Charlie and Dominic. The pace moved well up to the Y and I tried to spread the field as we were coming through 5-corners.

I opened up a decent run (but not a sprint) with Charlie next to me and Dominic right behind me, where I could hear footsteps--my goal was to instigate the showdown and let 'em go. Just beyond Hanson Street it was on. Charlie took off and Dominic wheeled out from behind me. Truly a blur as the hammer dropped and they cranked towards da corner. And the winner was...


Now that would be mean, wouldn't it :)

Charlie let out a YAWP as Dominic edged him out to win round 1 of the showdown. Somehow, I don't think we've seen the end of the competition. As the three of us were catching our breath, Joel came over from the track where he had been warming up to start loop 2 of our morning run.

"Nice to just see this big BLUR of runners go by when I'm out here!"

Thankfully, Joel took it easy on Dominic and I for the second loop around town.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

EARLY or LATE running?

RUR/Team Slug runner Derek Hills doing one of the only things that makes sense in summer distance running. Photo courtesy of Team Slug.

5:30 a.m. departures qualify as late starts by Rise Up Runner standards. At this point in the year, it's already light out and you don't even need a reflective vest or head-lamp. That's when I left my house on Sunday morning, turned up Rails-to-Trails and emerged on Idlewild to meet Dominic at "da corner" of Idlewild and Aurora.

Just over a week removed from the Booty Rumble 50K, I figured to get in about 12 miles and Dominic hopped aboard for 8. We started up Oxford Road a bit before 6:00 a.m. As we passed Cookes Hope and Oaklands, I saw a familiar face and stylin' socks coming towards us, so we switched sides of the road to say good morning to our RUR pal Derek, who I correctly guessed was returning from a 20+ mile run to Oxford. I figured, man, Derek must have gotten up in "the 3's" a time of day/night that Joel reserves for nefarious activities/motivations, such as crack.

Later Sunday, with a little e-mail banter, I was chastising some of our later-sleeping friends and lamenting the heat/humidity, when Derek revealed the true nature of his "morning" ramble:

"Early? Shoot folks, I was out the door at 1:15, headed out to Oxford. Does that rank? Moist, yeah, especially when the rain started falling 6 miles in. Made it out to the strand for a quick dip, took a turn at Almshouse and meandered a ways down Island Creek (I was actually feeling well at the time), then back out to Oxford Road. . .past y'all, and home by 6:30 ish..."

(pause for double-take/dramatic effect)

Uuummm....holy crap. And here I thought Landy and I were kings of the early morning run in these parts with our 3:30 a.m. roll-outs! Though I am not sure I could pull it off, I love it. I dig the whole attitude--get to Oxford, jump in at the Strand; allow the route to take some new twists. A night-time epic adventure on the solo tip. I've read semi-celebrity ultra runner Dean Karnazes write about this same idea as one he calls "Runabout."

Like many of our RUR crew, Derek has young kids, and it's a real motivation to be able to be finished running and have the day with your family. Early mornings are the path to making that happen.

But on the technical side of things, I'm not sure if Derek's run counts as an EARLY run or a LATE run. Sure, he left in the a.m. hours, but did he go to sleep first? :) Or is a 1:15 a.m. run one that you just stay up for and then hit the road. And then, doesn't that make it a late run? I think the qualifier for an early run is that you have to peel yourself out of bed after some attempt at sleep!

Whether early or late, that's a pretty damn impressive accomplishment. Not at all sane, mind you, but impressive. I have three ultra distance races under my belt, but I am far from considering myself an ultra runner. Why? Because I'm not ready for the "1's" yet. I'm not sure what Joel would say about that hour ;)