I’ve got three races on my calendar in the next few months that I’m excited about.
This is a 100-mile race through the trails and back roads of Northeast Ohio from Willoughby Hills to Cuyahoga Falls. It runs Aug. 2-3, with a 30-hour time limit.
No, I’m not running 100 miles. As much as I’ve daydreamed of running long ultras, it’s not in the cards for an old guy like me.
I’m running the relay on an eight-person team.
I’ll run the last leg, 10.5 miles from Botzum Trailhead to the finish line, probably in the dark. To see all the legs, including maps and elevation relays, check out the Information Guide and scroll to page 12.
The name of our team is Friends and Strangers. Because that sums up the eight of us.
I’ve run 16 half marathons over the years. But this was my first ever, way back in 2002.
This is a beautiful course, slightly downhill, along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio, from Berea to Rocky River.
The first year I ran it, I made every stupid, rookie mistake. I started out too fast. I gulped down Gatorade by the cupful and got terrible stomach cramps. I had to stop and walk three times.
I missed my goal of two hours by 10 lousy seconds. (See summary here.)
But I learned my lesson. I kept training and racing. I came back to this race twice more in the following years, and got my time down to 1:38.
So now that I’m making my comeback, this is the half-marathon I want to face again. It’s on Sunday, Sept. 7.
I need to know: Am I a rookie again? Will I make the same dumb mistakes? Or maybe different dumb mistakes? Will I shuffle or will I race? Will I beat two hours? (Answer: I damn well better.)
I love the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which stretches for more than 80 miles through some of the prettiest parks and woods in Ohio.
I’ve logged thousands of miles on this dirt and crushed-limestone trail. It’s an old friend. It has shaded me in the summer and dazzled me with unbelievable colors in the spring and fall.
I have run it for fun and for serious training.
But I’ve never raced the towpath marathon or half marathon.
I need to fix that. So on October 12, I will run the half marathon. Just for fun. And for a challenge.
If these races go well, I will think about going up a level in distance and intensity. If they don’t, I will re-evaluate, and modify my training, and maybe try something new to heal my iliotibial band.
For the past three months, my leg has done well. I’ve stretched it, iced it, babied it and prayed over it. Now I just hope it’s up the job of taking me back to racing heaven.