Race #107 – Warbird Run 5K

Last night, it was time to get my Trekker geek on the road.

The Moon Joggers posted this race last year as they were building out their 2016 schedule.  Once I saw the medal, I knew I had to run this race.  I’ve been a Star Trek fan for most of my life, reading the books, watching the episodes and films, and collecting a raft of knickknacks over the years.  The medal for this race is just the latest part of that lifelong pursuit.  (Obsession?  :-) )

After Sunday’s run on the snowy Wildwood Greenway, I returned to the Greenway today after work to put some miles on my Hoka’s. It was windy, and about 15° warmer than Sunday, which meant the snow was largely gone.  The pretty, quiet trail had returned to being a noisy trail, next to a busy road at rush hour.  That’s one of the biggest reasons I run with headphones.  Running is my “me” time, and hearing the cars and trucks go by is simply intrusive, so I jam.  In this run, I jammed, and enjoyed a nice run, despite being out during one of the busiest times of the day.

I’ve tried a couple of runs on the Greenway this winter after my workday was done.  Unfortunately, those haven’t gone well, with finishes in very dark conditions, and having to do too much scrambling to get the miles I wanted under some kind of lighting.  Last night, I had almost perfect timing.  I rolled out about 45 minutes ahead of sunset, and rolled back up to the Jeep a few minutes after sunset.  Despite the clouds, there was still enough light to finish, and that bodes well for more runs after work!

This race benefitted O.U.R. – Operation Underground Railroad.  Their mission is to rescue kidnapped children from slavery.

Race Course

Race #106 – Trooper Nicholas Dees Memorial Run

Today, somewhere in Oklahoma, a race was held to honor an Oklahoma State Trooper who lost his life in the line of duty almost a year ago.  This has been a labor of love by his mother, and is laying the foundation for the establishment of a scholarship fund in his honor.  When I heard about this last year, I knew I had to run this virtual race.

Originally, I’d planned to run 7.31 miles, which is the distance chosen for the race — Tooper Dees badge number was 731.  However, the snow on the Wildwood Greenway made for a tough slog, so I ended up only completed 6km.  Still, I was happy to have helped honor a life ended too early, and in a senseless accident that was likely preventable.

I loved going out in the snow today, and I definitely learned that I need more practice in the snow before I’ll have any kind of speed in those conditions.  It was clear, and snowy, and icy, depending on where I was on the trail… And it was beautiful.

Race Course

Race #105 – MLK 5K

With new snow having fallen — a dusting or so of dry snow — I thought I’d go out yesterday and enjoy a walk, taking care of an errand on my way, and then scooting home.

Little did I realize how awful the conditions were!

I left the house bundled up, knowing that it was very cold outside.  Generally, my torso stayed warm, but the farther I got into my walk, the colder my legs got (I was wearing jeans), and the colder my hands  got.  I was wearing some new running gloves I’d picked up around Christmas, and they just were cutting it in the biting cold and slight wind.  I suspect I’ll need to think about some better gloves for these really cold days, as well as layering a bit more on my legs!

However, what I didn’t expect was for the course to be so slick.  That light snow was actually the best traction I had!  There were places where the radiant heat from the sun melted the snow, with ice forming during the cloudy times.  But the worst was on Wren Trail.

I’d mentioned a week or so ago that the city had done some renovations on the trail, smoothing it out, and turning it into a really nice surface.  However, there was a thin coat of mud left on the trail from the work.  That hadn’t been a big deal… until you put a little snow and re-frozen ice on it.  That little bit of mud turned into a slick-as-snot surface that was awful to walk on.  I ended up walking on the newly planted grass next to the trail, because that was a more gripping surface.

After getting my errand completed, I started toward home, and was getting colder and colder.  The wind chill index was down to about 3°, and the closer I got to home, the more I realized I was fighting an uphill battle to stay outdoors.  I clocked just about 3.5km, and threw in the towel.

However, in the spirit of trying to make this race as close to 5k as I could, I rode a little over three miles on my stationary bike, which translates to about another mile, giving me the overall distance I was looking for.  This was a clunky, clunky way of doing things, and if I hadn’t been so cold, I wouldn’t have even thought of doing it this way.  Obviously, Mother Nature had other ideas for my miles yesterday!

Race Course

Race #104 – Resolution Run 5K

Winter.  Global warming.  Maybe some of both.  Today, it was  68°, and Sunday, it’ll struggle to get to  15°.  Welcome to winter in the Midwest!

I’d been jonesing to go for a run all week.  I had a good running weekend last weekend, and I knew I was in a good place with my stride.  However, life, the universe, and everything conspired to get in my way, making today my first opportunity to get out and chug along.

As soon as I logged off from work, I headed out the door… and quickly realized that my legs weren’t what they were over the weekend.  Ya see, when I don’t run for a few days, it gets hard for me to get my feet moving.  And I know it’s all in my head.  I forget how it feels to run effortlessly, how it feels to cruise up and down the hills, and it takes a few kilometers to remind me that running feels good.

After a few kilometers, things got easy, and I got into my groove.  Life was good… the sun was setting, the air was pretty neutral, and I watched the distance fall away.  It was, once again, a great running day.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll remember how that felt!

Race Course

Race #103 – PTSD Awareness Virtual Cycle Race

Tonight, I rode my first virtual cycling race — a short one, just 10 miles — on the stationary bike in the basement.  I had no idea virtual cycling races existed until I started poking around a bit, and found this one through Races for Awareness.

The medal is really cool, too.  Many, many virtual races are trying to stand apart from the others by adding some kind of motion to the medal.  In this case, the inner gear spins, making this a huge, unique medal on my shelf!

This race benefitted PTSD Survivors of America.

Race #102 – Celebration Run 5K

We were finally blessed with snow yesterday in Da Lou — the first snowfall of the season.  It made an early arrival, however, and I mistimed some running around that I needed to do.  When they started falling, the flakes were mammoth — hamster flakes, as one of the meteorologists calls ’em — and it was beautiful to watch.  I’d intended to be home, and ready to run when it hit, but it just didn’t work out.

With that timing fail, I ended up waiting until later in the day to put my running kicks on.  I had (and still have!) some virtual races to complete from the end of last year, so I plucked one off my virtual shelf, and put myself on the road.

With the snow, and some bizarre melting and re-freezing in sub-freezing temps, I decided just to walk, rather than run, as I wasn’t sure what condition the sidewalks were in.

We’re very fortunate to have plenty of sidewalks and trails here.  In fact, I got on Wren Trail for the first time since it was renovated late last year.  The new surface is amazingly smooth, and so much nicer to be on.  Before the renovation, the surface was “lumpy” from the growth of many tree roots over the years, but now… wunderbar!

Despite the chill in the air, and the windy conditions, I stayed reasonably warm, which is encouraging as we get more winter weather this season.  I really don’t wanna fall off the wagon due to crazy ol’ Mother Nature!

This race benefitted Action Against Hunger.

Race Course

Colin – 4, Colon Cancer – 0

Lately, much of my writing has been focused on running.  And more running.  And the occasional technology write-up.  (I need to do more of those!)

Today, the real world encroached on my fun world, and I had my scheduled colonoscopy on my fourth anniversary of a colon cancer diagnosis.

I know folks don’t wanna talk about this kind of cancer.  I mean, it’s icky.  And pretty invisible — outta sight, outta mind.  And the process for finding it is really icky.  But this cancer can be preventable.  Do the colonoscopies, and you’ve got the best chance to find and beat this awful thing.

Today’s results were great.  Nothing of any concern found, and with that news, I am now on a regular schedule for every five years.  Best birthday present ever!

If you want to join me in the fight against colorectal cancer (CRC), I’ll be running in the Undy Run/Walk 5K in St. Louis on March 19th.  Please, join me if you’re inclined toward running or walking.  You can also donate to my fundraising for the race on my Undy page.

Regardless of whether you join me in my race, pay attention to what’s happening with you.  If you have a symptom, say something to someone.  If you need to get your colonoscopy, do it.  Yeah, it’s icky, it really is.  But it could just save your life.  It saved mine.

 

Race #101 – Eight Krazy Kilometers 8K

I’d been putting off this race since Christmas.  The longer distance had me a little funked up, I think, and that funkiness helped me rationalize this race to the back of the upcoming race medal drawer.

It’s finally warmed up here, and I knew today would be a great day for a run.  I geared up, and headed to the Greenway.  I wanted to use my regular 5K course, add a little distance in the middle (up to the photo studio on Pond), and then add whatever distance I needed to fill out eight kilometers.  Easy plan.

I set out, anticipating that I’d be walking some of this distance as I got beyond five kilometers, as I usually do with longer distances.  I did put it in a slower gear between three and three-and-a-half kilometers, and somewhere along the way, I found a great second wind.  I ran the rest of the course — about four and a half kilometers.

I don’t know what clicked, but it felt awesome.  I know I could’ve run a much farther distance!  The only way to describe it is to say that each step felt easy.  It wasn’t effortless, but the effort came easy… probably the coolest run I’ve every had.

So, I put another five miles in the books today, which is probably good.  The next two days are a little bit of a dope slap of reality.  Tomorrow, I prep for my next colonoscopy on Monday.

I always get the jitters when it’s time to scope my semi-colon.  I have no symptom to be concerned about, but it’s a reminder of the fight I had with colon cancer four years ago, and of course, you do the scope to ensure everything’s still okay.

It’ll be radio silence for a couple of days, and no racing until at least Tuesday.  Enjoy the break!  :-)

Race Course

Race #100 – Resolution Run 5K

Being the first day of the new year, it only makes sense to take on a Resolution Run event, and commit myself to yet another year of running.  This is the beginning of my fifth year running these crazy races, and I’m so excited about how far I’ve come, and what’s yet to come this year.

Today was the first time I’d run on the new route I’d mapped out and walked last week from the house to the east end of the Greenway.  It’s a nice change of pace from the trail I’ve been running on the other end of the Greenway, and eliminates the need to drive to the trail.

It’s been so crazy rainy here over the last couple of weeks, and finally the weather’s turned cold.  However, the last couple of days have been damp, cloudy and windy, making the conditions pretty tough.  This morning though, it was still, sunny, and a wonderful day to enjoy and begin new year.  The fact that I’m still here, still running, and still enjoying it was just a bonus.

Race Course

Running Through 2015

If you’ve been reading my ramblings this year, you’ve probably picked up that I’ve taken to this running thing pretty heavily in 2015.

As a kid, I couldn’t run a bath, so when I ran my first race three months after I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, it was a pretty unlikely outcome.  But run I did, and that first year, I ran two races, and completed Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries program.

The next year, I ran six races, and in 2014, I ran thirteen races, feeling like the top of the world.  I wanted to average one race a month, and I hit that goal.  Woot!

When 2015 began, I set out to do six races in six weeks to kick off the year, and pulled that off.  The year took off after that.  This year, I’ve run 78 races, smashing any kind of expectation I had.

So, how’d the year break down?

Distance

2 – one mile fun runs
69 – 5K races
1 – 5 mile race
1 – 10K race
1 – 15K race
1 – half marathon
3 – cumulative races

Location

9 – destination races
18 – local races
51 – virtual races

Factoids

  • 6 – PRs set:  5K (twice!), 10K (twice!), 15K and half marathon
  • 28 – coldest race temperature
  • 41 – Lowest bib number
  • 88 – highest race temperature
  • 408 – total miles run
  • 1822 – Longest road trip for a race (Philadelphia PA)
  • 6016 – Total miles driven for destination races
  • 54114 – Highest bib number
  • Firsts – first 10K, 15K and half marathon

2016 begins tomorrow, and I’ve already started building a pretty busy race calendar!

I have to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all the folks that inspire me, and particularly to Darla and my Mom, who have been behind me, for every race.

can·a·peel (noun) ˈkan-ə-pēl – A meal with a lot of variety, where each participant finds and cooks their own food.