Baseball Memories and a Tough Run in the Sun – August 14, 2021

RunLog – August 14, 2021

Over the course of a day, there are sometimes themes that come about. This week has been about Field of Dreams. Yes, the baseball movie.

Baseball was my first sport and I could be found during the summer at some point on most days with my friends throwing batting practice, hitting, fielding, playing 500, and just having fun without any adults getting in the way or bothering us with how we were supposed to play the “game”.

The first time I watched the movie Field of Dreams, I was like a damn leaky faucet and my then wife couldn’t understand the emotions that it brought out in me. When you have the relationship I had with my Dad growing up, it was difficult. However, we always had baseball and later men’s league softball. There are two scenes in the movie that get me every time. James Earl Jones’ speech about baseball,

and when Costner’s character plays catch with his Dad.

Playing catch with my Dad and Grandfather growing up were chances to do something with them, they were taking time do something with me. They were opportunities to talk, laugh and throw heaters (when I got older) and make each other smile. Baseball was my first sporting love and it will always be a part of me. The crack of a bat on a ball, the constant chatter “swing batter”, the camaraderie of teammates, learning little tricks, the frustration of striking out too much and not having enough talent to keep playing, after I discovered that I wasn’t one of the cool kids and that the track team was a better place for a misplaced geek.

I don’t think my father ever forgave me for giving up as a baseball player and becoming a runner.

Still what I would give to play catch with father and grandfather – one more time.

What am I thinking about this morning?

It is going to be one of those days I have a feeling. The weather will be unsettled as we go from the heatwave to cooler temps, so I hope to get my run in before the bright lights and loud booms get here. Especially since with all the humidity lately, my hair is curly enough. Today, I am scheduled to do my week’s longest run and would like to get at least 6.0 in my new Deviate’s, so we will see how that goes.

Another of my birthday presents arrived (2-pair of Balega socks), and they fit great, but they are a bit thick for summer running, so I will put them in the back of the drawer for next month and see how they work with the different shoes in my rotation.

I am excited about running in the Deviates this morning but am concerned about how much the left leg will complain after 4-5 miles. It seems like that is about my limit lately, but I will take it as significant progress from a couple of months ago. I must continue to be patient, keep doing the prehab and rehab stuff that has been working, and not attempt to do too much too soon. I know that I will be running better in 2022, but I have to keep being smart in 2021.

Planned Stryd Challenge Description: 

40:00 – Long Run @ 175-186W (Easy) – I plan to do at least 6.0 miles versus the 40:00-minutes on the plan. During the first 3-4 weeks of Stryd’s 5K plan the second time around, I will be adding time/mileage to their recommendations to maintain the fitness level that the 5K plan gave me the first time around. 

I am adapting it to my needs, not the generic canned plan that Stryd gives me. However, it does give me guide rails to use so that I don’t go out and do too many stoopid training tricks or some interesting workout of the day that sounds great but that I am not ready for.

Per Stryd: “The long run is a main staple in training and is your longest continuous effort in the training week. The goal for this run is to practice extending duration and increasing your time spent running. Over the course of the training plan this run will build in duration and slightly vary in intensity.”

Today’s Running Focus

· Get it done.

What I Did Today: 

  • Course: Augusta Rail Trail and the Park Loop
  • Location: Augusta, ME

Primary Workout – 40:00 minutes easy (or my preference at least 6.0 miles)

Target RangeDurationDistancePowerHeart RatePaceCadenceStride Length
175-186 40:004.402141469:051671.03

Unplanned 

Target RangeDurationDistancePowerHeart RatePaceCadenceStride Length
None15:371.632011579:36166.99

While waiting for my stuff to come out, I got to thinking about the Cony-Piggery 10K course. It doesn’t have a whole lot of shade, and it was only getting hotter. As I was driving along Water Street, I decided to run the Rail Trail because I knew it had some shade on it.

It turned out to be a wise choice. The Augusta end has grown up a lot over the years, and it was even shadier than I thought it would be.

I started out comfortably and ran down to the slight bump before Hallowell and turned there. Around 20:00-minutes, my body started to tell me that it needed privacy for about 3:00-minutes. So instead of doing a couple of laps on the Rail Trail, I went up towards the “Y” because I knew they have a port-a-potty set up by the parking lot. I even pushed the hill a little harder than I have in a while because I needed to get there rather quickly. It was a relief to see the green box, and I stopped to visit.

Actually, I was delighted with how I was running this morning, at least until I had to stop at the friendly green box. After that, I was like the proverbial slowly leaking balloon. I did a lap around the Capitol Park to see how the Deviates did on the dirt path – great. How bad I was starting to feel might have had something to do with the bright sun, along with the heat/humidity winning the battle.

When I got back on the Rail Trail, I had a choice turn right to head back towards Hallowell and get my 6.0 miles in or shut it down and turn left back towards the truck. I turned right, and looking back with that 20/20 hindsight – I chose poorly.

Just before the 5.0-mile point, my left leg started to act up. Not too badly, but enough that I would probably have to shut it down at 6.0. Although I had about another mile to get to the parking lot. I really didn’t want to walk it in and continued running, using all the mental tricks I learned through the years to keep running in hot weather. However, when my hat started to drip sweat like a leaky faucet, I knew that it was really going to be a struggle.

After what seemed like an eternity, I got to the little hill that led to mile marker zero and needed about .05 to finish up. I quickly thought about getting the .2 for a 10K, but the leg was getting grumpy, the heat/humidity was kicking my arse pretty hard, and sweat was raining off my hat brim. So, when I got to the building support at the bottom of the hill, I shut it down. It was time to stop running when I did.

Did the workout go as planned?

If you look at the Strava graph, I started well, wilted in the heat, and struggled to finish, but I did finish. I was happy with the run that I had battled through a couple of tough points to keep running and finished the run in pretty hot/humid conditions.

Injuries/Niggles: Even though the leg bothered the last mile, it is still progress, compared to where it started to bother last week. The higher drop shoes allowed me to get a little further. 

Weather: Scattered clouds, 82°F, Feels like 87°F, Humidity 76%, Wind 2mph from WNW. Yeah, and the feels like on that last tar/open section felt a LOT worse.

Shoes: Puma Deviate Nitro – During the run, they were great. Lots of bounce, and they were very comfortable. There was some slight rubbing on the Achilles, but not severe or even a distraction. I noticed it more because I was hyper-aware of the issue from reviews I had read than it being an actual problem. 

However, while doing my cool-down walk, I noticed the Achilles rubbing that so many others had complained about, and while it didn’t result in the dreaded blister, it would have been very distracting on the run. It is something that I will keep my eye on, and I won’t be walking too much in them, that is for sure. I will also brainstorm strategies to resolve this issue because I like the fit and feel underfoot when running in the Deviates.

What did I learn today?

Heat/humidity wins when it is in the ‘80s, and I either slow down or suffer even more. I slowed down today.

The left leg is improving, and I got about a mile further than I did last week before it became an issue during the run. Slow progress is still progress, and I will take what I can get. However, for now, my long runs are capped at 10K.

I really like the Puma Deviate Nitro’s, but the heel cup issue is a lurking problem that I need to figure out a pre-emptive solution to the heel cup issue before it becomes a blister factory. While it had no effect on my run today, just a short walk afterward let me know that I need to get a handle on it, and I am sure that I will.

Worst case scenario, put some athletic tape on the back of the Achilles until the shoe stretches out a bit more or maybe some moleskin in the heel cup to give a bit more padding in that area and a little distance from what is rubbing. Whatever I decide, it is a design issue with these Pumas, not a Harold issue.

Today’s run was one of those character-building runs where you get on the struggle bus to finish and feel good about finishing.

Yes, I watched the Field of Dream game on TV and yes, my shirt got pretty wet when I watched the pregame show. There is just something powerful to me about the players stepping out of the cornfield on to the baseball diamond. I think the James Earl Jones speech says it perfectly.

You can click the link below to the watch the pre-game show. It was to me about as perfect a moment for baseball as it could be. They done good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbmZ1Oz_nTg&t=334s

Yeah, what I would give to be able to go back and play catch once more with Dad and Gramp, all three of us did play catch a couple of times when I was growing up and I still remember the smiles on all of our faces while we were “playing catch”.

Dad and Gramp
My little league photo at Nana and Gramps kitchen — The Newport Orioles

Baseball, the stuff of dreams and memories or is that memories and dreams. Someday I will go to Iowa and it will be perfect and who know maybe some ghosts from my past will materialize out of the corn field and I will ask them to play catch – again. Yeah, someone turned on that damned leaky faucet again and my shirt is get a bit damp. 🙂

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