Saturday, July 30, 2016

2016 Friendship Day 5K

Last time we were in town for the annual Friendship Day, only Bob and I headed out for the 5K. This year, almost the entire clan did. Not to cheer me on, but to participate.

The wife and kids ran the one mile. The girl came in first, running 7:47.8 with the boy following at 9:27.

This was my wife's first race, and I am very proud of her. She had to walk a bit during the middle, but came in not very far behind the kid, completing with a sprint.

My brother also ran, with my niece (he was the only one in a seersucker shirt) and my sister-in-law walked it with our mom.

My cousin JT, whom I wrote about in And Then You Die came in third overall, breaking twenty minutes. I have only done that once, it has been some time.

I did place third in my division, though I neglected to find out what I placed over all.

And I got a trophy!

They got my number.
23rd Annual Friendship Day 5K
Start: 7:45 am
Official time: 22:22
Place Men 41 & Over: 3rd

Three years ago I had no idea where the race headed before I ran it. The course heads down to the harbor and back, which is to say down to sea level then back up. The second half of the race is almost entirely a steady incline.

In spite of this knowledge, it was arduous. I used headphones this time out, they aren't forbidden and it's not a crowded pack. I regret nothing. The beats kept my feet moving and I was pretty successful at lengthening my strides with minimal effort heading downhill, and keeping it steady all the way back.

It would have been wise to get my heart rate up before the race began, as I was pretty winded at the start before steadying my breath. The last mile was a bit stressful. Today I ran as fast as I could. Honestly, that was pretty much all I got.

But I also got a trophy!

Friendship 5K 165-169 bpm Playlist
All You Pretty Girls - XTC
In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry
Hounds of Love - The Futureheads
Throwing It All Away - Genesis
About You Now - Sugababes
Too Dramatic - Ra Ra Riot
A New England - Billy Bragg

Friday, July 29, 2016

You would always come running to me.

Pemaquid Lighthouse
As much as I enjoy running, and as exciting as it can be to have a race to look forward to, I cannot adequately express how relieved I m not to be in training for a marathon this year.

When we drive the length of Rt. 220 between Friendship and Woldoboro I am reminded of the many runs I took last year in preparation for St. Paul. They are memorable, they were beautiful, but they were also exhausting, with all the many rises and falls, and also dangerous, with the cars suddenly appearing from around blind bends in the road.

Then there was that fateful sixteen mile run down Hell Road which haunts me to this day. Really, it was harrowing, and I will never forget it.

Yesterday was a very full day, Denny's family and ours and cousin Lydia all went for a two hour-plus kayaking expedition where we were fortunate enough to see many seals, and also eagles and herons and loons.

We also visited Pemaquid Point, got ice cream at Round Top, and other side excursions. My brother and his family headed off to Boothbay today, but our team decided we were a little exhausted (we also stayed up late to watch Hillary's speech) and have chosen to stay close to the cabin today.

The boy and I were in a tandem kayak yesterday morning, which was a great experience. We are both bullheaded and I have shaped him into an irritating smart-ass in almost entirely the same mold as myself. Negotiating the kayak together was an exercise in "bonding." That's the way he put it.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Avg Pace: 8:00
Duration: 20:00
Route: Martin Point

Why Me? Playlist
Silver Rainbow - Genesis
Catch Me Now I'm Falling - The Kinks
Get It On (Bang A Gong) - The Power Station
Freeze Frame - J. Geils Band

Temperature: 79°
Climate: overcast & hot
Mood: good

Tomorrow is Friendship Day. Last time I was present for that 5K was three years ago. Would have preferred to get a run in yesterday, but the past two days have not been without activity; the kayaking, and Wednesday's line dancing.

Yes, there was line dancing at nine in the morning on Wednesday at the community house on Martin Point. You can keep your yoga, I'll take my Cupid Shuffle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

All this energy calling me back where it comes from.

Photo: Chuck Thompson
This is how my brain works. We're packed, we're driving. I'm driving. It's hot, and I am wearing shorts, new shorts which I had just purchased, nice new shorts for the vacation. Generally, I avoid shorts when I want people to take me seriously as an adult. I'd just as soon wear jeans than khaki shorts. But it's vacation, and I have learned to calm down, I am an American on the highway and I can wear shorts.

Only the air conditioning is on full blast and I am cool. My arms are cool and my legs are cool. I am thinking these things, as I am driving. We're talk about brain time, these thoughts, from the beginning of the post and through the next paragraphs were thought in the time it took to type "This is how."

My arms are cool, did I pack enough my hoodies, for evenings? Yes, I have, but I know it's going to be hot and I only have two pair of pants, and will that be enough but I also remember I have long pajamas as well as short, and if it does happen to be cool in the morning, I can wear those.

But what about my feet? I have flip flops but not my cold weather slippers, will I regret that? But no, because when I get up in the morning I can come downstairs and keep my feet warm in front of the fire because Dad will have already --

And my eyes well up because I have surprised myself again.

We hadn't even left Cleveland Heights.

Father passed in February. Upon learning of his death, the proprietors of Flood's Cove made the trip to Friendship to pull the chair he would sit in out of storage and place it on the porch in his honor. That was beautiful. It meant a great deal to know it was sitting there for him.

We're all here, Mom, my bother and his family, and even my niece from England, on her own. It's very hot. I have all I need. I am glad we are all here.

Distance: 3 miles
Avg Pace: 8:31
Duration: 25:33
Route: Martin Point
Temperature: 79°
Climate: hot
Mood: good

Yes, It is my birthday. Today I am forty-eight years old. Big first day, much reading and resting but also an excursion to mackerel fish from the motorboat. I manned the boat, the boy did the fishing. In the old days he was content to fish from the dock at high tide, but now we must trawl. He is eleven, he can manage is own line, entirely, and any fish he catches.

I manage the boat. I can manage the boat, but I find it stressful, so much so that I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. Before my birthday dinner we had our first wine hour of the season (our last wine hour was Dad's birthday) and by the time the meal was over I was headachy and very sore.

What to do? Take a run. It was either that or go to bed, right? After two days of driving and all the time not running lately, it was arduous and invigorating. Very glad I went out.

Did not go all the way the end of Martin Point, just far enough to log three miles. It's too darn hot.

My co-workers have made a tradition of going out for ice cream on my birthday ...
... when I'm usually on vacation. Thanks for the photo, guys!
Why Me? Playlist
Save It For Later - The English Beat
The Boys Are Back In Town - Bus Boys
No Way Out - Jefferson Starship
Eyes Of A Stranger - Payola$
Rock of Ages - Def Leppard
Destroyer - The Kinks
Cleveland Rocks - Ian Hunter

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Public Square

Shortly after my trial run, my foot began to ache again. Not much, just a bit. So once again I found myself wonder what the best course of action should be. Do I have a stress fracture? I committed myself to contact the doctor, but also told the wife that I would refrain from running, at all, until I knew for sure what my condition was in.

That's good, she said. What will you do instead of running to keep yourself from getting depressed.

I said, I will ride my bike.

Bought this thing in the mid-90s. Had it tuned up two months ago. Haven't used it yet. ast week Mark had this crazy idea about cycling downtown during the Republican National Convention. I loved that idea. So today we actually did it.

Distance: 20.6 miles
Miles Per Hour: 9.7
Route: Public Square Loop

"Life Is Sharing The Same Park Bench" (1969)
My general practitioner, who is going on vacation today, agreed to see me at 7:30 am, bless her heart. They X-ray-ed my foot and sent it to a sports medicine doctor. At 9:30 Mark stopped by and we headed out.

The first half was familiar, practically the same route I take when I run to Lakewood for marathon training, down Mayfield to Little Italy, through the cultural gardens and onto the Shoreway. Once we got to Ninth Street we had to figure out the best way to get to Public Square.

Lakeshore was a Security Zone, and St. Clair. Passes only. Superior was clear, and we rode past the library to the square, which was bustling with protesters, onlookers, officers, and a ridiculous amount of media. The media were the sketchiest looking people, because everyone else was clearly identified as to who they were and what they were doing. Some reporters had stations ID'ed on their mics or cameras, but many did not, and any guy with a camera on a selfie stick and professional-grade mic attached could be broadcasting images to absolutely anywhere in real time.

We watched a few staged events. Many of the protesters were handing out water, sports drinks, fresh fruit and handmade breakfast burritos. Mark and I each had one of those, and though I would have asked for hot sauce had it been offered, they were really good, with a lot of egg, peppers and potato. They were also not poisoned or drugged. I know this because I am writing this blog post.

Playhouse Square
I needed to get back to take the boy to an event, and so Mark and I parted. He wanted to hang out a bit longer. He recommended I try Euclid to save time, and I did and it was great fun. The bike lanes that start around East 30th Street are very helpful and though I made a few errors in timing I felt entirely safe. We took about an hour to get downtown, and it took forty-five minutes to get back -- and much of the last part was uphill.

Climate: clear skies and hot
Weight: 165 lbs.
Goal: 160 lbs.
Mood: very good.

I had received a voice mail from the sports doctor on the trip and listened to it when I got home. There are no stress fractures or any other fractures or dislocations in my foot! My foot is not broken!

Love using that, bike though.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let me go.

Gentle run around the block. No, I have not seen the doctor. I also have not been in pain for several days. Just thought I would try it out, and so far I feel fine. Yesterday I was on my feet a lot, a full day of social justice related activities in advance of the Republican National Convention.

Yes, we participated in Circle The City With Love because the wife and I are actually hippies, and you didn't know that, did you. Jacques Brel notwithstanding it was a very positive event, and surprisingly well-attended. These grassroots things do not always work out as intended, gun nuts call for a massive display of open-carry on Public Square, there's a million cameras present and one gun.

Distance: 0.85 miles
Avg Pace: 8:45
Duration: 7:25
Route: Around the block.

But we spanned the bridge, held hands, and were silent for a half-hour. And it wasn't without its drama, standing in place in the hot sun can be a trial and there were those who passed out. I know my tired legs were tingling, and my back acted up, though my feet were fine.

It was a positive celebration of Cleveland and its people. We also headed to the Wolstein after for an event sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and starring The Roots. We knew little of the organization prior to attending, the wife really wanted to see Dr. Cornel West speak, and early in the proceedings we saw him in the house, listening to the gospel act Mary Mary. West was accompanied by a gaunt woman with short, silver hair.

Yeah, it was Jill Stein. I almost thought we'd been punk'd into attending a Stein rally, which would have been hilarious, but that did not come to pass. West introduced her but she wasn't permitted to speak because that would have violated all kinds of election regulations.

Temperature: 73°
Climate: hot & humid
Weight: 168 lbs.
Goal: 160 lbs.
Mood: all right

The music was good, the speeches were great, The Roots were amazing. Not the day I had expected when I'd gotten up yesterday morning.

Boyz Playlist
Boyz - M.I.A.
Brand New Colony - Postal Service

All right, I have eaten freely, this season, but it has to stop. This is the way it happens, slowly and then all at once. Controlled portions, more vegetables, etc. And easy on the ice cream

Friday, July 15, 2016


"Run I" by Sol Lewitt (1962)
Did you know ..? I actually started this blog in 2005. I had been applied to the New York Marathon (I would not make the lottery regardless) and started training in earnest, even running a spring 5 mile in Akron before getting sidelined by a bizarre work-related injury (don't ask) and suffering a hairline fracture in my right heel.

I tried to ignore the pain, and pretend it was like a bruise or something, and ended up developing a lot of additional injuries as a result of trying to run anyway, and pulling a hamstring and just generally not being able to walk very well.

I assisted my son's childbirth on a broken heel. I performed I Hate This a few times like that. It took several months before finally seeing a doctor and getting recommended physical therapy.

Anyway, I had started this blog, but stopped, as I stopped running, because what I had to write was depressing me and a pathetic way to start. I tried recording my runs again in January, 2006, and have never stopped since.

Sunday I reported, "I got a kink in my ankle." Well, by that evening it had gotten worse, feeling less like a slight twist, and something more like a stress fracture. It just hurt to put direct pressure onto my heel. I have made it through the week with pain reliever and ice, and the pain has subsided from it's height on Monday.

However, last night it felt as though I was on the mend, as they say. The pain had localized, it was in one spot and I had nearly convinced myself that this was just some kind of sprain, and that perhaps I could resume running soon. I did some light foot stretches and believed that that was helping. Friday I would run! This morning it still feels as though my entire ankle is messed up and I have to walk carefully upon it.

I remember that madness which possessed me, eleven years ago. It was spring, and then summer, good weather, and I was unable to run. I would try anyhow (this was long before I was even very good at it) and compensate by running lightly on my injured foot, and as a result totally messing up the rest of my body.

It was months before I sought physical therapy. Just a stubborn man. I tried calling the other morning but their service never picked up. I believe I need professional advice and therapy, and will do the mature thing by calling the doctor today.

Last weekend the wife and I took our (postponed) wedding anniversary by visiting the art museum and an extended walkabout the Uptown district for dinner, dessert and drinks.

The image above is from the Converging Lines: Eva Hesse & Sol Lewitt exhibit, now through July 31.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Keeping up.

The boy wanted to take one of those eight mile runs through Uptown, unfortunately that was before I knew bicycles are prohibited in Lake View Cemetery. We could head down Forest Hills Boulevard and through East Cleveland to Uptown, and maybe next time we will.

Distance: 5.15 miles
Avg Pace: 8:30
Duration: 43:49
Route: Boulevard-Noble Loop

Not as hot as last time, but still hot. A lot of gradual inclines and he, himself, took them easily on his bike, keeping my pace much higher than I probably would on my own, in this heat.

Sometimes he will tell me about something he is very interested in, and we will speed up and I will check out as my breathing increases, I have to remember to ask him to slow down a bit so I can breathe and think.

He's much bigger and stronger than when we took these runs together last summer.

Got a kink in my ankle. Ouch.

Temperature: 77°
Climate: bright & hot
Weight: 166 lbs.
Mood: good

After the run, the boy was telling his sister about the route, and about how I let him ride in the side streets, but only if he learned and practiced his hand signals. He's so proud of the things he accomplishes.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Keeping physical.

Twelfth Night (As Told By Malvolio)
Why would I choose to run in the middle of a blazing, eighty-something degree day?

Because I am a good father, that's why.

Distance: 3.3 miles
Avg Pace: 8:50
Duration: 29:09
Route: Forest Hill Loop
Temperature: 84°
Climate: HOT
Mood: uncertain

Like a lot of boys, mine is addicted to the screen. Minecraft videos, Clash of Clans, Battle Bots, just everything. It's summer vacation, I watched a lot of television when I was his age - a lot. However, I did it in the living room, where Mom could see me and remind me to get the fuck out of the house.

Just kidding. I have never heard my mother say fuck.

Today was the first performance of Twelfth Night (As Told By Malvolio), and so this morning I first took him to the art museum (where he was more interested in playing on screens in Gallery One) while his sister was in classes and where the wife met us to head off the see the show at the MLK Jr. branch of the library.

Before this excursion he was on his screen, and returned to it immediately after returning home. I asked him to find something different to do than lying in bed watching Minecraft videos to soon after find him watching Battle Bots.

We need to do something physical, I said. We do.

He suggested a bike/run through Forest Hill, so that's what we did.

Monday, July 04, 2016

2016 Bay Days 5 Mile Run

Bay Days 2016
Big empty tent.
42nd Annual Bay Days Run
Start: 8:30 am
Official time: 35:28
Place in division: 4/35
Place overall: 99/526
Pace: 7:06

Previous Best: 36:16 (Bay Village 2013)

Rose at 6 AM, my last night alone for a long while, I hope. Breakfast, two fried eggs over toast. Brought a granola bar for the drive across town.

The time has come, I now know absolutely no one at this race. I do not recognize any of these people, not even the doughy, graying guys cheering us on from the sidewalks, the ones that are probably in their late 40s, they didn't go to school here, they moved here after making it, to raise kids, when Lakewood got too ethnic.

Decided not to use headphones this year, which I regretted almost instantly when the pack thinned out. I was just bored. But I wanted to run fast, so I did. I crushed it. And for my efforts achieved a personal best.

But dammit, I came in fourth in my division the last time I ran this race.

It was pleasantly overcast until the second mile when the clouds opened up and it got hot for a while. I was thirsty, this in spite of drinking a lot before the start. Both water stops almost choked me, because I tried not to slow down, at all.

By mile four I started feeling a little ill. Probably a hydration thing, maybe a running too fast thing. I wasn't keeping my own time, and there was only someone counting off pace at the first mile (7:22 at that point, not bad) so I just kept pressing on, and apparently getting faster.

We get fans.
Around the four and a half mark, I saw and heard Chelsea, Chennelle and Shaun on the sidewalk with a big sign reading, GO OFFICE DAD! (Dave's replacement kid squad).

Big, happy sigh. I am very grateful for supportive friends. We met up at the finish line, I choked down one of those electrolyte drinks (chocolate mint, sounds gross but much better than the fruit flavored ones) changed into some dry clothes and headed off to Bob Evans for breakfast.

On my way across town I stopped in at Mom's place. She'd been to the Lakewood parade and told me about that, and we just talked about everything we'd been up to, memories of the past, just the whole thing, just sitting out on her porch. No idea how long I was there, at least an hour. Very relaxing.

Dad ran the Bay Days Five Mile many times, and so I made a special effort to be there today. But I don't think I'll be running this race again. My favorite things are no longer there. They haven't been for a very long time. Perhaps they never were.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

What are you running from?

Interesting day yesterday, spent the afternoon on my own, cleaning house for guests who will arrive today, old friends from college. Spent some time editing the play. It's hard, moving from oblique to obvious, such a fine line. Fine, wide line. I wrote something angry. I think it's entirely pointless. I put it down so I could take it away. It's that line I mentioned yesterday. Maybe it's just the right line. Right now I can't be sure.

Distance: 3.6 miles
Route: Forest Hill Loop

It has truly been an existential morning, picking up, sweeping, mopping. Alone.

In the old days we would labor to clean the house only to invite in thirty or so of our closest friends, spill food and drink and cloud the entire house with smoke. The next morning it was like we hadn't cleaned at all.

God. Did that really happen? I know it did. There are pictures. Pictures not for social media. Alcohol and smoke and ridiculous acts. Desperate play. I am glad those days are past. Not because I don't miss those people, I do. I don't miss the person I was.

Temperature: 70°
Climate: overcast and Humid
Weight: 163.5 lbs.
Mood: good

I have eaten a lot of ground beef this week.

College Music Playlist
Rise - Public Image Limited
Starfish & Coffee - Prince
She's Got a New Spell - Billy Bragg
Don't Believe the Hype - Public Enemy
The Pleasure Principle - Janet Jackson
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask - Robyn Hitchcock
All Night Long - Peter Murphy

Friday, July 01, 2016

Another day.

Your Public Square
Yeah. I am totally ready for my family to return home to me. I am very happy they are having a good time at the beach. The photos are glorious. But I miss them very much, and want them to fill this house again.

The past several days the excitement continues to flood through the streets of Cleveland. Yesterday, they officially re-opened Public Square, and it is something to see. A multi-use space, with a field and a fountain (the kind you can play in) with a cafe and all the traditional features; Soldiers & Sailors Monument, Moses Cleaveland, Mayor Tom Johnson.

And the Tribe has won thirteen in a row. Thirteen in a row. That is a streak which stretches back to 1951. What the hell is happening to my town?

I have taken several walks up and down Euclid Avenue the past few days, not just to stretch my legs and look around but also the meet with folks at the library to discuss final preparations for our tour of Twelfth Night. Yes, there are things happening, and in my small way I am contributing to them.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Route: Forest Hill Loop

I need one line of dialogue which explains almost everything, without just saying everything. I know where it goes, and who says it. But I don't know what it is yet.

However, I did figure another exchange that will clarify certain other things in a manner which remains oblique.

This is why I run.

Temperature: 66°
Climate: light rain, humid - sweaty!
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Mood: good

Go Playlist
You Used to Hold Me - Calvin Harris
Breathe - Télépopmusik
Marvo Ging - The Chemical Brothers
Heart of Glass - Nouvelle Vague
Take California - The Propellerheads

Oh, you confounding, unnamed first decade of this millennium.