Friday, August 14, 2015

run4FUN2 - Running in 2015

Run for Fun Too

This year has been a cut-back year in my running.  Last year I got tired of the longer races and the training time they require.  I was especially unhappy toward the end of my goal marathon and decided to take a break until I was sure I really wanted to do another.  I have been running since 2007 and pushing for longer distances and better race times.

This would be a year to run for fun too.

So my weekly mileage and the related training time has been about 40 percent less this year.  I allow myself the option to go back to bed on most any morning that I had planned to run.  Plans that include meeting someone to run are easier to keep than the plans for running alone.

Early in the year I had my 60th birthday and invited friends to meet me at a park where we would run together and combine our miles to complete at least 60 miles.  The weather on that Februay Saturday was pretty tough - temps in the 20's, zero windchill, blowing snow.  A hardy group did come to run and we doubled the milage goal.  Some brought cupcakes, coffee, cocoa, balloons.  I felt warm fuzzies on that cold day.

I get to run with friends almost half of my runs.  That's a big increase from when I was focusing on training for marathons and longer.  One of those days each week is a track workout led by Tim, the president of our local Road Runners Club organization.  We have a small group, but most of us a collecting age group awards at local races.

In the winter I "deliver" snow angels to friends along my run routes.  This summer I am delivering "No-snow angels" to add some fun to my runs and encourage smiles for friends.


And I still go to races, especially those where I expect to see local friends:

Mar 7 Chbg Half 1:53:47
I ran this hometown race as a training run to try to identify a goal pace for another race in a couple of weeks.  Was planning on a long tempo pace for about 10 miles, then a progressively faster race effort finish.  By the 10 mile mark it already felt like race effort.  Continued to push but could not increase my pace as much as I had thought would be possible.  3rd in my age group - my first race as a 60 year old.

Mar 22 Shamrock Half Virgina Beach 1:46:40
Lots of friends were doing this race and we met up for dinner the night before.  I stayed over with running friend Jim who was hosting a couple of others from the Chbg area. I planned to aim for a 1:50 or better finish time.  My race started faster than intended by about 15 seconds per mile.  I ended up running with a young navy guy running his first half marathon.  We ran together till about half way when his early pace forced him to slow down.  I was able to slightly improve my pace through the second half and finished strong.

Apr 11 Donut run 5k 26:35
This run (not officially a race) was organized by a young lady from our church and I signed up to support her efforts and the fundraiser.  There were mostly college age runners and a dozen or so post college age types (probably moslty parents of college students).  I may have been the oldest.  I had warmed up with about an hour (6 miles) on the railtrail and got there to pick up my race number about 15 minutes before starting time.
I intended a tempo effort since it wasn't a race and most participants appeared to be new runners or non-runners.  By the one mile mark I was on pace and closing in on the lead runner.  We ran together from that point and had to stop at one turn where the course wasn't marked well enough to immediately know the right way.  A couple others joined our meeting of the minds before we decided on the correct route.  As we continued through the Shippwnsburg University campus we were picking up the pace a bit yet continued out chatting.  The final mile included an strong uphill section, then a downhill to the finish.  I had decided I would finish strong but would not race this lady to the finish.  She pulled ahead a few steps as we approached the line.  She got interviewed/photographed by the college paper since she was first.  And then there were donuts at the finish area.  I may have raced someone to those!

Apr 19 Shape Up Somerville 5k 32:24
Ran with son Keith and Jillian.  Keith had started running a couple weeks prior to prepare for the race.  We started a bit too fast to maintain, so eased up and even walked some. 

Apr 20 Boston Marathon as a spectator
I was so impressed when I ran this race that I have been wanting to be there as a spectator.  There are always local runners who go to this race, so cheering for them would be fun too.  I helped get Amy and Brooke connected to hang out together on race day by driving Amy to the runner's village shuttle in Hopkinton.  Then I headed back to the hotel, got my raingear and drove to the metro to meet Keith and Jillian to watch the race together.  We had planned to watch from about mile 22 and found a spot there next to a Dunkin Donut store.  After a few hours or rain and wind, I saw the first of local friends go by.  It's really amazing to see the steady stream of runners pass by.  There are so many different looks and experiences visible.  I missed some people I was watching for and even those I saw didn't hear my cheering to glance my way.  Everyone who does this race is a star to the Boston community.

June 5 Race Against Poverty 5k 22:31
Helped as a volunteer most of the day doing setup and handling the watermelon table.  Then ran the race.  I was close to some fast runner friends through the race.  I was first old man - 60 to 64 age group.  This was a fun event with a race start/finish area that resembled a block party.  (Stayed late to help with take down)

June 6 PMI 5k 20:39 (2.8m)
This small race is a fund raiser for a local crisis pregnancy ministry.  Their course was different than I expected based on other races at the same park.  I just followed the leaders and kept as strong a pace as possible having raced the previous evening. When the volunteers said we had made the last turn and pointed to the finish, I was confused because we should have had a longer distance to the finish.  Someone had marked the course turns incorrectly, but everyone raced the same distance.  Again I got the first old man award.

June 19-20 Ragnar Trail Relay
A fun trail race with 8 member teams and 3 forest trails.  Team members take turns until each one has run each trail.  It goes around the clock so everyone gets a night-time run.  There was heavy rain before and during the event.  So lots of mud and even wading thigh deep stream/swamp water.

July 4 Firecracker 5k 21:52
It had been 5 years since I ran this race.  I think it was the first time I received an age group award at a race.  It was a little cooler than normal for early July, overcast with light rain.  I hoped to run 7:05 to 7:10 for the first miles then speed up for the final mile.  My splits were 7:02, 7:13, 6:54, 0:43.
First place 60-64 males.

July 25 Chuck Lesher 5k @ Shippensburg Fair 21:52
I wanted to run 7 min pace on the slightly uphill "out" part of the course and faster on the return. I thought my fitness should be improved a bit and recent races should improve my tolerance of how racing feels.  Sunny warm day.  Legs felt tired when I jogged the course as a warm up.  My splits were 7:02, 7:05, 6:58, :46 First place 60-64 males.

Aug 8 Tom Ausherman Memorial 5 Miler 36:30
This is one of the top local race of the year.  I wanted to run 7:10 to 7:15 pace for 3 to 4 miles then speed up. I didn't manage to do it.  Good weather for August.  splits: 7:18, 7:22, 7:24, 7:17, 7:04.  Third place 60-64 age group.
Age group award winners Jill, her son Donovan, Chuck

Three more age group 1st place awards to finish 2015...
Aug 22 Race for the Nation 5k 22:02 7:07 average pace
wanted to average 7 min miles for 2 miles and speed up. on pace for the 2 miles, but faded in mile 3 uphill. I noticed another runner hanging just off of my shoulder through the second mile.  He greeted many of the runners I knew but I didn't recognize his voice.  As my pace began to fade he moved ahead and I saw it was David Dymond.  Later we talked and he was pacing with me since he was running without his watch.
splits: 6:58, 7:01, 7:11, 0:51

Sept 19 Peace 4 Paws 5k 22:26 7:15 average pace.
I tried for 7:15 pace considering it was a regular training week and I did a 1 hour "warmup" run.  The race field was rather small.  I noticed some younger runners running together who seemed to be moving easily when I passed them going into the halfway turnaround.  I supposed they would have a kick at the finish and doubted I could hold them off.  In the last quarter mile as I began pushing for the finish, I started hearing footsteps.  I supposed they would be passing soon but decided to make them earn it.  I managed to stay ahead to the finish, but don't really know whether they gave it all they had at the finish.
10/18/15 RW Half Marathon  1:42:26 7:50 average pace
This race was an out of town with friends event.  Sisters Jill and Lisa shared a room, friend Billy and I shared another one.  We traveled together and hung out together at the expo, for dinner, as well as on race day.
I was aiming for a 1:45 finish (8 min pace) and ran with pace group for 9+ miles then moved ahead to finish with all I could manage.  It was fun to see a church worship band on the course and to join them in praise for a little while.  I had been keeping an eye out for other gray hair guys who might be in my age group.  I saw a few candidates but was able to move ahead of them without getting outside of my pacing plan.  After about 9 miles the course shifts to downhill and them flat running.  I saw my friend Jill ahead during mile 11 and surged a little to come along side.  I just felt happy to see her.  I thought she would help me push to  the finish, but she was not picking up the pace yet so I went ahead on my own.  Maybe there was one more gray head that I passed in the last mile.  There were several other younger runners too. I think one runner passed me in the last mile or so. I was pressing pretty hard for the last quarter mile but managed to go "all out" for the last 50 to 75 yards.
Pace per mile from my garmin 7:52, 7:50, 8:05, 7:37, 8:05, 8:19, 7:39, 8:14, 7:53, 7:40, 7:40, 7:08, 7:16, 6:14 (0.18m)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On turning 60 - My life by the decades

Today is my 60th birthday and I am thinking about the good things of those years.  I am grateful to God for each thing along the way.
So here is a quick review.  Most of these lines have their own story.  Feel free to ask about them.

(I hope to return to insert some photos and I suppose there will be things I want to add)

1st decade (to age 10).

Childhood as fourth of seven children in small town of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

Family and neighborhood fun, picnics, backyard sleep outs, playtimes with neighbor kids.

Visits with grandparents.  Summertime family reunions with lots of old people and kids our ages who we never saw any other time.

Summer swimming at community pool, fishing at the pond or in Pine Creek (crick).  Winter sledding, ice skating.

Family church habit. Sunday school, children's church, summer Bible School (VBS).

Early school experience.  One spanking in kindergarten for goofing around during naptime.  Two spankings in 2nd grade for neglecting homework.

 I develop into a left hander for writing and eating utensils.  I am right side dominant for sports and hand tools.

2nd - Into and through my teens

First job as paper boy delivering newspapers on bike or foot.  Later jobs as diswasher, busboy, farm field worker (de-tassling corn), bakery laborer.

I played Little league baseball, YMCA youth basketball (got my first trophy ever as last person on the championship team), youth wrestling program (2nd place in my first tournament).

More neighborhood and community fun times.  Bike rides to the "dead end" and "the hollow".

Once I stole a candy bar from the shoe shop on the way home from school.  Mom knew about it before I made it the 2 or 3 blocks home from there.  My life of crime was pretty much shut down right there.

Our parents got divorced, it felt to me like everyone at school knew and whispered about it.  But we younger kids then spent more quality time with Dad on weekends than before this.

I come to understand and accept the Gospel.  Church membership and being 'good' cannot give eternal life. My depending on Jesus' death in my place gives me His righteousness and a place in God's family.

Transition from elementary school to junior high to senior high.  Elected class officer in high school.

Join junior high wrestling and football teams.  Continue into high school sports, eventually college wrestling.

Learn to drive, buy my first car for $95, an old blue Plymouth with manual shift on the steering column.

I was too shy to ask a girl out.  But I wanted to.  Met a girl on a blind date for her prom. Soon Rose and I were "going steady" but I didn't know it until she told me.

Hurricane Agnes and the flood of 1972 hit our town.  We had 5 feet of water in the first floor of our house.

Graduated high school (top ten class rank, award for athletic and academic excellence), married that blind-date girl, went off to college where Rose would have a secretarial job.

Being married and my Messiah College experience was a time of great growth for me in spiritual things.  And just growing up.  The switch from high school to college academics was a big adjustment.
It was about this time in my life that I realized I had grown up in a poor family.

I joined the college wrestling team even though I had finished high school with no intentions to wrestle again.


3rd - my twenties

The birth of our son Keith when I was 20 (college sophomore) was a remarkable thing.  Such an amazing gift from God to be a parent.  The first time holding him was a humbling and touching experience.

Rose was off work for a while and we were kept going financially through the generosity of the church and college community.

Some wrestling success with 3 National Christian College championships.  But I choked in the first match at NAIA nationals in Spokane and was out of the tournament just like that.  I cried in the shower that day.

Graduated college with BA in Behavioral Science in 1977, got my first professional job at Stone Mountain Village, a home for delinquent/dependent teen boys. 

We moved our trailer home to Belleville PA.

We took our first real vacation, driving to Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia and staying with family and friends.

I became a hunter, mostly focused on whitetail deer, both firearm and archery.

Accepted my first volunteer position in the church working with teens.  I have continued working with teens through my fifties.

The birth of our son Matt was another moving experience.  I remember holding this child just after his birth, praying for myself as his Dad and dedicating him to the Lord.

There were some job transitions after the boys’ home closed, odd jobs and factory work, then technical school for computer skills.

Was on a summer wrestling team with Athletes in Action that travelled to Panama and Peru.  Panama Canal and Machu Picchu were sight-seeing highlights.

We moved to Harrisburg New Year’s Eve 1982 for a live-in job in another group home, this one with former state mental hospital patients.

Traveled to Gabon in western Africa in 1983 as part of a short term mission team that helped build a house for missionaries.

Moved to Chambersburg in 1984 to work for Nibble with Gibbles in a new career field – computer operations and programming


4th – my thirties

We bought our first house and learned lots about home repair/renovation since this was definitely a fixer-upper.

Did outdoors things with Keith and Matt - fishing, hunting, camping.

Taught wrestling at the YMCA.

Made the first of several fishing trips with Dad to Canada - this one with Keith and Matt, later ones with brothers and brother-in-law.

Eventually was promoted to Manager of Data Processing at Gibbles.

Went to South Africa in 1991 as part of a Rotary Exchange Team.

Started a new job after 10 years at Gibbles.  (the company had been sold after bankruptcy, leading to a big pay cut).

Mom died in 1994 from breast cancer about 5 years after her surgery.

Short term mission trip to Lebanon and Syria the spring following the 9/11 attack to build church pews for a church near Damascus.  Visited Bible places Tyre and Sidon, the Street called Straight, church at site of Paul's Damascus Road vision.

I was surprised how difficult and emotional it was for me when Keith went off to college.


5th - my forties

Joined World Kitchen (then named Corning) in 1995 as contract worker, then employee.

Inducted into Messiah College Athletic Hall of Honor.

Dad died in 1998 from esophageal cancer a couple months after detection.  I was the executor of his will.

Rose's Mom Betty came to live with us when living alone no longer worked for her.

We visited San Francisco (and sister Mary, neice Sharma) and Hawaii (and brother Carl and sister-in-law Toni) for our anniversary.

I got a motorcycle - Suzuki GS850.

We sold our house and bought one on the other side of Chambersburg. More DIY work here.


6th - my fifties

Tried other hobbies after the motorcycle: fly fishing, motor boat.  Mid-life crisis symptoms?

We made two trips to Italy to visit Matt at his Air Force duty station.  Venice, Rome, Florence - WOW.

Mission trip to Honduras in 2006 to help build a craft store building and see veterinary missionary work.

In 2007 I became a runner and made some great new friends - since then I have completed races from 5k to 50 miles.  I have run 13 marathons (Boston Marathon twice) and a dozen races longer than a marathon.

Moved down a pants size for the first time in my life.

Celebrated forty years of marriage.  (It looks like it's gonna stick with that blind-date girl from way back when.)

We also celebrated Keith’s graduation and Ph. D. from Harvard University.

I accepted increasing responsibilities in our local church as board member, assistant treasurer then treasurer, and elder.

I ran to retrace my ancestor's route of the Walking Purchase of 1737 - 70 miles in 2 days in August 2013.  My support team was Keith and Matt, cousins Harv and Dale.

The last day of my fifties I ran for about an hour in 10 degree temps and made a bunch of snow angels before daylight.


And now for my sixties... I welcome them cheerfully.