Saturday, December 29, 2012

Siete Bellezas

Had some good, chilly fun this morning with Gazelle & Mike B. on a trail outing that I've wanted to do for quite a while.  I've dubbed it Siete Bellezas due to the fact that with a little bit of creativity, you can hit seven substantial bodies of freshwater along state/conservancy lands, many with some beautiful views. Of course, the granite scrambling, climbing, sliding, and falling is not optional --Lazy asses need not apply.  

We parked in the dark at Asheville Pond (trail head of the infamous Narragansett Trail).  We then looped up around along the yellow-blazed single track and hit Long Pond, Ell Pond, and Yawgoog Pond.  We hopped across the road and then picked up the white blazed "Hidden Lake", which despite its lack of size, is really a cool spot. 

After some exploration in Hidden Lake we retraced our steps back down Narragansett Trail until North Road, where we headed east.  A quick view of inaccesible Wincheck Pond (#6) and we then continued on to Canochet Rd.  Here we headed south and ducked in to explore Blue Pond, (or what is left of it after the floods of 2010 obliterated the earthen dam and drained it to merely a ghost of its former self). 

Finally we exited back out of the woods and followed asphalt back around to Asheville. A nice little morning jaunt in 29 degree, overcast skies that took us 2:00:XX

Exactly what everyone should be doing with their early Saturday mornings......

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide

Yesterday Jonny and I ventured to Carolina Mgmt Area for some hill repeats in the woods.  We texted back and forth during the day to set up a track workout but the obnoxious winds left us with the better option of wooded running instead.

After warming up first on the south side to a small, "hidden" pool in Meadowbrook, we crossed back over into the north side and ran Meadowbrook Trail to Jerue Trail, around the summit of Shippee Trail, near Kenyon Hill Trail then back down Haberek Trail, to a "staging area" near the trout pond.  We then began attacking the back side of Shippee Trail (often listed as Essex Trail).  It is a gradual ascent of varying grade (3.5 -7.5%) on an old logging road.  It is about 400 m and, although not a killer, is deceiving and can kick your tail if you're stupid about it.

I was stupid about it.

We ran 6 x 400 with an easy jog back down of about 2:00-2:20.  The first one we ran much too fast and then paid for it (at least I did) in each successive hill.  Splits: [1:28/1:33/1:32/1:32/1:35/1:35].  The best part is an increase in grade and intensity for the final 40m or so at the top.  I was struggling and my legs were really rigging up with that oh so enjoyable sour, heavy burning sensation.

My muscles hated me: "Where is my oxygen? I'm sorry, I've no more ATP to really give you. You're depleting my electron carrier supply--so screw you, here's some lactate to deal with!"

After a nice (dark) cooldown along Laurel Trail, I concluded that my original hypothesis was supported by my data: Biochemistry makes hills awesome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old Mountain 5K Trail Race -- Daddy Got A New Plan

Year two of this awesome series.  As such, my second go around with the first race of the 4th season, Old Mountain 5K Trail Race.  Although it was a new course compared to last year, it still promised the same style of racing: muddy, wet brook crossings, crumbling stone footings, roots, twisty climbs, short decents, open field sprinting, and narrow single track.  Good times!

After a warmup of most of the course with the guys, I talked to Mason (my 9 yr old son, newly into running....sometimes) a bit re: some race strategy over a very short w/u with him. I still can't believe he wanted a piece of the action on this one! Immediately after this,  I lined up in the front with other WTACers, anxious to get started. The Turtles were there again and it was funny to see each side scoping out/sizing up the other.  You could almost hear peoples thoughts: "Gotta beat that guy." "Can't beat him."  "Who the hell is that?"  "Uh-oh.  He's here?!?!" Total Jets vs Sharks.

WTAC mascot is a bird, (I think).  Although not a GBH, we too should destroy turtles.
I made a silent promise to myself to NOT get stuck behind slower runners before entering the single track about 600m or so from the start.  I pushed it in the beginning but got a little tangled with some other runners descending the small lip at the edge of a ballfield before turning down along center field.  As a result, I dropped back about 4-6 places and although I tried to make it up before crossing the water and ducking into the woods, I still found myself 2-3 spots back farther than I wanted to be.  Honest translation: I was separated from Jonny and Jeff.  Oh no!  I did it again, damn it!!

Thus I spent the next mile or so working around the two Turtles in front of me.  I did have to work a little harder here than I wanted to but at least I jumped ahead of two of the enemy (Principe Sr. and Corsi?) and managed to close a little on my teammates.  I quickly tried to mentally count off positions in the competition- TNT vs WTAC but gave up and focused back on footing and effort. 

The second mile was really fun--twisty, muddy single track that allowed us to push it in some spots but choose our footing carefully.  I threw in several bursts and closed in more on Jeff and could sniff Jonny and some blue jacket ahead of me.  After managing to pass Jeff going back up "old mountain" and "the rock", I tried to set my sights on the two guys ahead of me.  However, I quickly realized that I most likely wouldn't be catching them, at least over the rest of the wooded section.  Switchbacks were everywhere/non-stop, which really slowed down my momentum.  Actually, I doubt I could've caught anyone else anyhow at this point.   *[Photos below courtesy of Jana Walker]
Tired Dad....

The best part (worst part?) was cruising back along the parking lot and spectators.  The cheering was awesome and, I thought: "almost out of the woods!" Oh wait, we have to snake back up a hill over the ridge again before spilling out onto the field.  Thanks so much, Mike! Just what my legs needed. 

As we emptied out by a skate park onto the field area for the final push (400 m or so?), I began licking my chops.  I closed in even more on the two guys ahead of me (Jonny and Chris G.) but quickly realized--that was all she wrote.  No more ground to be made up here.  They took off and I ended up finishing 4-5 seconds behind them.  Either way, it was super fun trying to catch them at the end.  Not enough oofda in my legs but it was crazy enjoyable finishing up like a XC race (open field into the chute).  I thought I would hate this part but actually really, really liked it instead.  Unfortunately, although Jonny finished 5th, I was 6th, and Jeff was 7th, (two TNT guys ahead of us) it wasn't enough to overtake the Turtles.  They won the team division again.  Damn.  Results here.

Mason managed to come in at a near death crawl in 35:08.  He was really upset with his performance but I'm super proud of him.  I tried to explain that it was a trail race, and NOT an easy one at that--this ain't no easy road 5K, boy.  Having never raced in the woods, especially single track, he had no idea what he was in for.  He was really upset about falling in a few mud bogs, stopping to have to strip off clothes because he was so hot, and getting passed so much : "Dad, people kept pushing me outta the way yelling, 'On your left!' I almost fell off a bridge into a river that was 50 feet deep!  Although we debated the veracity of his water depth assessment, he was right to be frustrated.  Trail races are frustrating.  But that's what makes them so friggin' awesome!

Tired little boy...

Doesn't matter though.  He'll be back.  He said he's already looking forward to the Resolution 5K in several weeks.  So am I and, I'm assuming, so are my teammates.  I've even developed a new plan to try and battle the Turtles. It's genious and pretty much fool proof. I really think it may work.

It's wicked simple:  Run f*^%ing harder!   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Countdown To Extinction

This  morning on the way into work, NPR had a very brief follow up piece regarding the recently escaped (month ago) Nilgai, a large Asian antelope, in the woods of southern Rhody.  If you haven't heard, the details are as follows:  it was rescued and brought to a farm in Hopkinton before being shipped elsewhere in the US.  Federal and state laws mandate that before exotic pets can be shipped across state lines, they must be tranquilized and tested for various diseases and problems.  When DEM officials shot the nilgai, instead of getting stoned, eating a bunch of food, and then going to sleep, it jumped/crashed a fence and took off into the woods.  It hasn't returned since.  Officials warned hunters not to shoot it as it looks very much like a large deer.

Apparently the large ungulate is still on the lam. Officials think that if it hasn't returned home yet with its tail between its legs, it has probably perished somewhere in the woods and is now coyote and mountain lion food.  As luck would have it, the farm is in close proximity to a small parcel of state land, Black Farm Management Area.  NPR also mentioned the original land owner's name.  I've done some cyber stalking and the property/farm, the management area, trails, running/adventuring and every other aspect is just too perfectly aligned together like a jigsaw puzzle in this case to pass up.  My hypothesis: the nilgai is currently in Black Farm Management area, either hunkered down and hiding or its corpse is in the same area. 

Either way, what better excuse to go run in the woods?  If it's alive, I think I can take it down.  Or perhaps I can at least snare it, or at least mount it and try riding it back to civilization.  However, if its dead, what then?  Well, haven't you guys seen the movie Stand By Me?  If said nilgai is now a mutilated corpse, I'm going on an adventure to find the body---not poor Ray Brower, just poor exotic nilgai. 

All I wanna know is, who's comin' with me?

Gordie Lachance

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas 10K (a.k.a. "Damn you, Turtles!!)

Today I, along with my WTAC teammates, got to take another stab at the Christmas 10K in Newport.  It's a fun, rolling course that can be a beast in some years (wind and weather) and amazingly perfect in others (2011).  Either way, no matter what the conditions, going into this one I had a clear cut goal of going under 36:00.  I knew I could do it (36:08 last year in perfect race conditions).  It was just a matter of not being stupid out on the course. I thought about having a "B" goal, just in case but in the newest issue of  Running Times, there is a good quote from a sports psychologist: "Having a Plan B is the best way to sabotage your Plan A-- kill Plan B."  Ok, Plan A or bust.

After a warm up in Ballard Park with Galoob, Jonny, Gazelle, and Seth, I changed up into racing flats and made my way down to the start line about 150m from the school.  As an individual, my plan was simple: run 5:43ish and don't blow up while as a team, our plan was to beat out TNT for the team title (they field a much larger squad-- A, B, and C teams for the guys).  Some small talk and familiar faces at the line were followed up by the gun --Let's do it!

It was nice to see a "slew" of WTAC singlets take off as I settled in with Jonny and Gazelle at what seemed to be a good pace.  In a pushback move of obstinance, I refuse to wear my gigantic, outdated Garmin (the size of the head of driver in Tiger Wood's golf bag).  As a result, I was forced to ask Gazelle about 0.5 - 0.75 mile in what our pace was.  Feel is different from fact.  When he replied "5:40", I thought it was perfect (for the gradual downhill beginning) and kept chugging along.

At mile 2 marker, I was still feeling pretty good.  The field had started to separate out and I just focused on keeping my form and pace steady.  I could still hear Jonny behind me and knew he was going to help push me to a good race and keep me honest.  Unfortunately, I had delusional thoughts that maybe, just maybe, as we turned ENE along Ocean Avenue (just after Brenton Point State Park) there would be no wind.  No such luck.  It wasn't a killer but it was enough to force one to buckle down and work harder than necessary to maintain goal pace. 

The discomfort started to set in around the mile 4 marker.  I felt like I was working hard but was slowing down.  Somewhere close to the mile 5 marker I started to hear the familiar pitter patter of my fellow teammate closing behind me.  As we turned onto Carroll Ave. I was undergoing a series of mixed emotions: I was really starting to struggle and had very little left but was pumped that Jonny was pushing it and running a huge PR for himself.  Awesome!! Yet at the same time, I couldn't help but get pissed too-"What the f*%k is he doing closing on me, breathing down my neck, coming for the kill at this point of the race?!?" Happiness mixed with hatred.....a rather strange and conflicting emotion.

I started to feel worse and worse as we ascended back to make our final left hand turn towards the finish. The footstriking felt/sounded like it was right behind me : Jonny the Not-So Silent Assassin -- Crusher of Souls.  We turned and the course dives down into a gully to the 6 mile mark before a short climb back up to the school and a turn into the finish.  On a regular day, this hill would be nothing significant but on tired wheels, it's not fun. 

I was able to push it in and finish in 35:47 (a 21 second PR), good for 11th overall.  Jonny was right behind me, sub 36 also.  From there it was a matter of trying to get it together so I could observe the other finishers: Gazelle (36:22) and Seth (38:13) both with monstah' PRs as well as several WTAC ladies too (Galoob had finished well ahead of the rest of us in 34 mins+).  Good times, indeed! My splits: 5:40/5:48/5:38/5:51/5:55/5:43.  Definite slow down at miles 4 and 5 but at least I was able to hang tough the final mile.  Still, a tiny bit slower than I wanted (shooting for 35:30 or so).  PR is still a PR though so stop bitching. Results here.

A short cool-down and we all waited inside (for what felt like hours) for awards ceremony.  I quickly glanced at the results and saw that we potentially had beaten the diabolical Turtles (our top 3 came in before their 3rd OA finisher).  However, it was not to be.  The TNT guys were just too far ahead of WTACs finishers to compensate.  The scoring system utilized a summation of the top 3 team members' times overall vs traditional XC scoring (places).  It all turned out to be a moot point because we would've finished 2nd either way.

At least I know I can drink more beer than those Tuesday Night Reptiles. Looking forward to South County 4th Season .  Hope TNT and NRA and everyone else come to these races.  Off road always makes the fun more fun than normal fun.

 Either way, no matter what, it is still always fun.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Silly Rabbit, LSD Is For Kids

This morning I had the privlege of running with 3 other WTACers (Gazelle, Jonny, Mike B, and Tom).  We had decided to run a familiar loop that mixed in hilly roads, leaf covered trails, and options to add or subtract miles as necessary.  Given that my last three runs had been rather unenjoyable, I was looking forward to a longer run with the guys.  I figured that slower pace with a lot of conversation would be just what the doctor ordered. 

We left the Westerly YMCA parking lot at 0600 and immediately settled into a slightly quicker pace than I had anticipated.  No big deal.  However, as we wound through the empty downtown streets and into the North End, instead of slowing down a bit everyone picked it up a little more.  I must admit I had been expecting slow and easy, with pleasant chit chat. I wasn't ready for choppy, abbreviated, "wow, I'm having to work here" conversation.  Despite everything, the run was still enjoyable.  As everyone knows, running early on cold, dark mornings is awesome and pretty much the only way to roll.  Just chilly air, curious cows in fields, and a few runners cranking along.

The pace definitely slowed as we entered a tiny section of trails that wind through a small parcel of Land Trust acreage (Whitley Preserve).  I welcomed the deceleration, however, as soon as we got back out on the asphalt, somefrigginbody had the great idea to do some pick ups (2 telephone poles hard, 2 easy) for the foreseeable future.  Great.  My hamstrings and calves protested but managed to hang.

After a long climb up into the Westerly Town Forest, we scrambled around on leaf-littered trails down along the Pawcatuck River.  I love it in here and of course, cherished the slower pace.  Unfortunately, what we lacked in pace we made up in twisty contour lines.  You essentially drop down a couple hundred feet to the river and come back up, with a bunch of parallel trials intermixed.  Enjoyable yet again but I was humbled as Jeff pulled away from me on a winding, slippery climb up the red trail.  My legs were really starting to tire at this point.

We made it back to the roads for the final couple of miles back to the cars.  I'm guessing it was due to the down hill grade for the first quarter mile or so but my running mates felt the need to gradually pick up the giddyup again.  This time however, they thought it appropriate to keep accelerating so that everyone was cranking at close to T pace.  Doesn't sound like much but at that point I was a healthy dose of tired with a dash of grumbling! 

As we finished up, (read: I finally caught up to Gazelle and Tom because they were done!), I realized that was the hardest I had worked on a longer run (2 hours or more) in quite a while. We all agreed that running hard at the end of longer distances is rather difficult.  That's how you feel at the end of races, I guess that's how you gotta do it sometimes on non-race days too.  Don't get me wrong, long slow distance is great.  I realize that there is definitely a time and a place for  LSD for everyone: hot and humid summer morning runs, running on really tired legs, running with a large group, 3 day music festivals(?).... Long and slow is good and definitely necessary.  But I'll continue periodically doing the Saturday morning ball busters just to keep me honest, keep me humble, keep me tired, and keep me fit. .

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The title sums up my attempted workout yesterday at CHS track in terms of what I felt like (UGH!) and what I felt like I was wearing for footwear (UGGZ).

After taking yesterday off I figured I could fly solo for an afternoon session at Chariho's track.  I knew there would be kids there training (indoor season) but I didn't care too much.  Laugh at me and my form all you want.  Although I was really wishing that I had a partner or two to help me along, I was feeling confident that it would still be a good workout.

2 mile warmup then jumped into (what I thought would be): 3 x 200, 2 x 400, 1 x 800 up, then reverse order back down the other side--all at somewhere between I and/or R pace.

Clearly I was intimidated by the HS track guys because I went out way too fast on the very first 200 and immediately felt weird in terms of form and body (hamstring and calf knots).  Oh well...easy 200 jog then rip another one.  I knew after the just the second 200 that it wasn't going to be a good day.

Ultimately, I struggled through the first 800, skipped the second one, and dove into the descending portion.  After the second 2 x 400 set,  my body was aching, my head was pounding, my hamstrings were knotted up like baseballs and I just felt like the world's biggest pussy.  I ran a cooldown in annoying clockwise direction around the oval so I could watch other runners and judge them and their forms (damn, they're smooth & fast!), and then called it quits. Despite my split times actually being rather good,  [34, 36, 36/74, 75/2:43/76, 76], I felt awful.  Pretty humbling, especially given my recent runs.  Perhaps I just pushed it too hard.  Who knows?

I've realized that as you're running a 74 second 400 and think "No way could I do that for 3 more consecutive laps!" [to race a hard mile], the day is probably not going to be your best.

Oh well.  There is now a need to shoot for a longish tempo effort run on Friday just to feel better about myself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Naught Rest (a.k.a. Homer Simpson Is My Shepherd)

Exodus 31:15 -- For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death
In keeping with my general lifestyle of doing pretty much the opposite of what religion tells me to do, instead of resting, I did some track work with Jonny at CHS this morning.  Homer Simpson would approve given that a speed workout on a Sunday clearly makes it "Opposite Day", one of his favorites.

Before you smote me, stone me, or whatever it is that you may intend on doing after judging me, pleast note that I'm NOT condoning murder, theft, or any of that stuff that "God" tells you not to do (yet somehow is allowed to do or lets others do).  I simply find all the crazy stuff in that book to be just that--man made and absolutely crazy.  No need for all the rules and anti-rules, commandments, etc.  I do pretty decent with 3 simple guidelines: 
1. Plant seeds. 
2. Sing songs. 
3. Don't be a dick.
Anyway, about the running.....
I had originally had a loose goal of running something like 3 x 200, 2 x 400, 1 x 800 and then repeat in reverse order back down again, all at hard effort.  Jonny offered a new 10K sort of workout that we agreed would be better, or at least more interesting:  3 x 1600 (@ 10K pace)/ 3 x 800 (@ 5K pace)/ 3 x 300 (@ mile pace).  Although this doesn't sound that hard, it really wasn't easy and forced you to try and stay controlled and work on pace, yet still get progressively tired as the workout went on.  Plus, distance-wise, it is longer than our normal cumulative totals of approximately 3-3.5 miles of hard effort. 
It was a little windy but we did a good job and, after an easy 3 mile w/u,  accomplished a few tasks, in order of increasing difficutly:
1. figure out the complicated running math to determine split times/goals 
2. run the actual intervals 
3. complete the whole workout. 
My splits were as follows:
5:49, 5:41, 5:36 / 2:47, 2:44, 2:44 / 54, 55, 54 
(400m recoveries after each except 200-400 varied between the 300s).
Overall, good fun and I'm really glad I did it.  Those 300s at the end were a bitch (essentially 200s with a N.B.F.D. extra 100m thrown on at the end of each).  The session gives me a little more confidence plus decent mileage for the day (11 total), when, initially, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do. 
Good, honest, hard work on the Sabbath.
Don't tell the Lord......

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Li'l Rhody Runaround 8 Mile Trail Race

A gorgeous day (sunny, clear, 50 degrees) today for yet again another annual installment of WTAC's signature event, L'il Rhody Runaround.  This 8 mile mini-adventure is super fun as it follows the Vin Gormley Trail around Watchaug Pond in Charlestown, RI.

I arrived at 0900 to help the club set up and prepare for the record runners (300+).  Once my duties were taken care of, I was freed to go and run my warmup.  I ran an easy couple of miles with Greg and Jonny then changed into my racing shoes and realized that although I was working registration, I never picked up my bib! The race announcer blared "6 minutes to start" as I frantically tied my shoes and sprinted back to the registration area.  They were just packing up and, after several moments of confusion (forgot I had signed up as Muddy Puddin' instead of  CENSORED, I was able to get squared away. A few strides at the start and I lined up, ready to rock n roll.

At the gun I took off and settled into about 8 or 9th behind Jonny and Gazelle.  The pace felt perfect, exactly what it should've been at that point.  Unfortunately, 2 minutes in I felt my left shoe come untied (no double knots in the panic surrounding registration) so I had to stop for 5 seconds and retie.  Good thing I'm to knot tying what Josh Ferenc is to dominating life (you think you know but you have no idea).

We crossed through the campground (my least favorite part of the race) and entered back into the woods and single track for a long time.  I was right behind Jonny, and although the pace was good/spot on, I became frustrated by not being able to see the trail and its rocks, roots, and who knows what else.  I threw in a short surge to get around him and the next runner ahead of us and then found myself by myself  (Austin Powers?) in about 6th place.  I was glad to be opened up but also nervous because I was already fatiguing.  I'm not sure why but at this point I made a mental note to  catch the guy in the white hat about 30  meters ahead of me.  I didn't think it was realistic at all but it gave me something to focus on besides my tiring legs and fat kid breathing.

 I love some of the short, ankle rolling root and rocky sections.  The guys in front of me (strictly road runners?) definitely slowed down here, and I was able to gain some ground.  However, I was frustrated during the short turnout onto Buckeye Brook Road and its asphalt.  I watched the ground I had made up slip away as the 2-3 guys in front of me pulled away again over this 0.25 mile stretch. Damn it!! Luckily, as you turn back into the woods after this stretch there is some rocky, rolling elevation change and I was able to close the gap again.  On one of the uphills I gobbled up a "leader" and pulled away.  I had to use some precious fuel in the tank to maintain my hard effort here but I felt it was worth it/mandatory--a lot of predators behind me .  Redline the rest of the way?  OK, I guess.  No choice.  6:10-6:15 pace, although slower than tempo pace, is really grueling for me through the technical trail stuff and today was no different.  Just grind yourself down into the dirt and hope to hang on at the end.

I slowly snuck up on the two guys within sight of me as we worked our way along the north side of the pond.  Just before Pastore Liesure Center (and the ensuing turnout onto the final stretch of road) the two runners in front of me exhibited a distinct drop off, albeit minor.  I took the opportunity here, although I was hurting, to throw down another surge (a surge that slows down?!?!?) and moved around them.  Once we turned onto the road for the final 0.7-0.8 miles to the finish I opened up my stride and tried to pick it up to what felt like 10K pace.  With no juice left, it was hard.  I felt like I was in panic mode: "Don't let them get you! Don't let them catch you! They're right f*$&ing behind you!".

Luckily they didn't and as ugly as I'm sure I looked, I was able to kick/stumble home to the finish in 49:17 for a huge PR (last year 51:45) for 3rd OA.  I'm pretty happy but as with every race, it was far from perfect and there were things I could've/should've done more intelligently.  Oh well.

I'm actually more pleased with the huge showing by WTAC teammates and fellow LVL Legion members.  It seems like almost everyone else I'm associated with ran big PRs as well.  It's awesome knowing that my running club is growing in size/membership, fitness, and representation.  If you do the math, ("multiply by two, carry the one, find the linear regression, etc), that equals fun and motivation!  As I stood and scanned down the list of finishers (Results here) after the race, I couldn't help but wonder how many entrants are LVL followers.  I wish there were some way to tell.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NY Cowboy Tearful Tunes With Some Running Mixed In

MON.- 5mi. -- easier run on newly blazed trails in Grills Sanctuary [37:02]

TUE. -8mi. -- 4 x 200,  4 x 300, 2 x 200 @ CCMS track with Galoob, Gunshow, Gazelle, & Jonny.  Varied the pace throughout (gliding vs very hard).  Good workout. Fun with a lot of guys there.  Splits: [37, 35, 36, 30/52, 51, 50, 52/36, 35]. Cool down on trails of Spring Forward course.

WED.- 0

THU.- 11mi.  -- Rhody to Conn. back into Rhody. [1:20:02]

FRI.- 8mi. -- Vin Gormley recon with Gazelle and Crutch.  Legs felt like shit for first couple of miles then we picked it up.  A few blow downs and bad sections left but WTAC Wood Choppaz will take care of it.  Tired and not feeling well but a good run nonetheless.  [62:XX]

SAT.- 4mi. -- looking to double down before leaving for NY, I slipped in a short quicky before the 3.5 hour drive.  No run later in the day.  C'est la vie. FYI: if you're in that neck of the woods, hit up Olde Saratoga Brewery.  They serve free samples (3 oz. glasses) and you can "try" unlimited samples from their 17 brews on tap....I gathered A LOT of data (and walked back to the hotel).  [30:10]

SUN.- 5mi. -- ran with Mandy in Saratoga Spas State Park.  After a few miles, I saw a lot of runners with bibs on.  Holy shit!! I stopped and asked a woman directing traffic if there was indeed a race about to go down in the park.  A Firefighters Veterans 5K (or something like that--no results on Cool Running website).  I sprinted back to the van to get my wallet to sign up for it, given that the start was 8 mins away.  Unfortunately, it was locked (why does my wife run too?--see the new issue of Level Renner out right now).  Oh well.  Continued on around the pathways until I heard fireworks (BIG ONES!) announcing the start.  Definitely strange running around SPAC--the last time I was there it was a Phish show last year...rather different from running, eh?  Several minutes later I met up with Mandy and as we tried to drive out of the park, we had to pause for the race.  We sat in the van and watched the leader go by (at about 6:55-7:00 pace!).  Damn it!  I could've won!  Oh well, at least I got to leave my mark on the park (in the woods) --picture a whiny country music ballad "I Left My Socks In Saratoga".  Followed up the runs with some small but solid mountain treks [36:10]

--> a low mileage week but I still got to escape from my spawn for a few days (if that sounds awful, try raising 3 children), drink a lot of beer, hike some small mountains (2600' or less), and have a few days of peace and quiet.  The world would be a better place if everyone got "high" (elevation) on the weekends.  Interesting side note: I have a doozy of a  chest infection with some hardcore coughing but I try not to let it interfere with my running or decadent lifestyle too much.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"I will call him, Mini Me(et)".

Finally found (thanks to Level Renner on Twitter) specific dates and times from USTAF-NE regarding this December's BU mini meets. 

Ever since running last year with Boj, I've been intrigued by these mini feats of running fitness and I'm itching to take a stab at one (or maybe two).  I've never raced indoors and I'm thinking that I would probably hate it.  Normally I'd have no desire to compete with "real" runners however, I've been informed that you can jump into heats specific to your goals and abilities.  That is, I'd be able to race in the 5:00 mile heat(s) and not have to embarass myself by running agains 4:10 guys (or lower). Please, someone correct me if this is erroneous. Can I really just show up, register, pay a small fee and try to kill myself by running in ovals?

Why do it? My response would be, 'Why not?'.  I'm really close to breaking five minutes.  In July, I struggled on an outdoor track during warm, humid weather to run a 5:01.  What's 2 more seconds, right?

15 December is the day before the Old Mountain 5k Trail Race so that one is out but the following Saturday looks really promising.  22 December fits my schedule nicely. Anybody up for chasing a fast mile on a tiny oval with me?

No indoor spikes.  No experience on a tiny indoor track.  No clue what I'm doing.  No worries.

4:59 or bust.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week of 10.29.12 - 11.4.12

MON.- 6mi. -- first 2 miles slow with Mason "in the hurricane". Felt pretty good day after 5K PR attempt [43:00]

TUE.- 6mi. -- CHS track.  10 x 200 @ R pace. Most 35 & 36, but two 34s (wind aided of course!) Could've been worse I suppose (e.g. buried under water and salty sand).

Photo of Misquamicut (Gazelle Country) courtesy of some guy in a plane.

WED.- 8mi. -- a.m.. had fun running at a decent pace in cold drizzle on yet again ANOTHER no-school day (UGH!). [56:01] /// 4mi.--p.m....easier stroll (escape from the house).  [30:05]

THU.- 0

FRI.- 6mi. -- roads around home [42:05]

SAT.- 9mi -- did my husbandly duties by dropping off the van at end point (for Mandy and my sister-in-law's final 20 miler) and then ran home from near Green Fall Pond.  Chilly and enjoyable. [67:50]

SUN.- 16mi.--fun chilly run in Burlingame with Jonny, Sandals, Seekell, and John from C-town. Slow at times and faster for others.   Perfect weather with a minimum of hunters. [2:04:XX]

--> a rather strange yet productive and fun week.  A "super storm", no school for three days, and some Halloween mixed in with running and fun size candy consumption left me feeling happy yet somehow unfit.  It's was really a microcosm of my existance in general.  I drink too much.  I eat too much of my children's candy.  But at least people tend to entertain me by being creative in general. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It Doesn't Matter.......

Mon. - 5mi. -  sort of too fast
Tue. - 7mi. - 10 x 200 @ CHS.  All at 35 and 36.  Great conversation with Coach H afterwards.
Wed. - 8mi. - good fun in the woods on a dreary birthday afternoon (which all of my immediate family forgot about!!).  Pachaug from Green Fall Pond is rough. Crossover then Nehantic back.
Thu. - 0. 
Fri. - 6mi. - should've been longer but life caught up with me.
Sat. - 6mi. - easier run to my parents' house for a Kids' Halloween Spooktacular.   Made sure they had beer there and I drank a lot of it in case there was a beer drinking prize. Think I won.
Sun.- 8mi. - Charlestown FOP 5K.  2nd OA. 17:12.  I worked hard and I'm a tiny bit disappointed.  WTAC all over the place today.  Wind made it tough. Still good fun.

--> I know I haven't been doing weekly mileage reports on here but my life is just not very exciting lately.  I run-- between deviant behavior.  I try not to lose fitness.  But I was reminded today of why it was all fun when I ran against/with WTAC guys.  Today's short race was a harbinger of what is to come -- time to get ready for windy running.  Who among us doesn't want to run at least a little bit in the inclement weather that is fast approaching?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Iron Oxide Removal

Looking back through my running log, the last time I did legitimate speed/track work  was 21 August with Jonny at Chariho.  My how time flies.  I've stated in a previous post that I feel sluggish and slow right now, which is really probably more mental than anything else.  The marathon feels pretty much out of my legs and I've nothing really to focus on in the immediate future other than a 5k in a few weeks and L'il Rhody Runaround in November.  With that in mind, I headed to the track to try my hand at a few 400s.

When I pulled into the lot I was discouraged by the sight of a girls JV (or possibly even middle school) soccer game about to commence.  Is it creepy to have a balding, "old man" running laps around the track in front of teens and their parents?  Probably.  But Muddy's gotta do what Muddy's gotta do.

After a 2 mile warmup I set out for (initially) 8 x 400.  After the first one I realized the plan would more likely be 6 x 400, possibly even 4 x 400 if sh*t got really bad.  I managed to run 6 x 400 (all at 75 and 76) with easy, 400 recoveries.  My form sucked on the last 2 but what are you going to do?  Ignore speed work and strength training for 2 months and that's what you get, ding dong! Alas, I can't complain too much. Although rusty, I did hit my targets. On the final lap of my cooldown, a young girl along the fence yelled out "Wow! How many laps is that?".  My response was clear and concise: "Enough."

The highlight of the afternoon was talking to Coach Haberek after the workout.  He's a great guy with tons of wisdom and a man who really just loves to talk running.  After chatting about intervals, marathons, conditioning, and a plethora of other things, he offered me the opportunity to workout with the team.  "We run a lot of 800s but if you're doing 75s you'll fit right in."

I didn't know he was watching and clocking my splits.  Not sure if I should feel honored, humbled, worried, happy, or a little of all four. Either way, I doubt teenage boys would want a creepy dude training with them.  Plus, on that lung searing, lactic acid producing final 800, who would I be able to commiserate with about intervals and then dream about the delicious pale ales I was going to imbibe when the workout was over?  I think there are laws against that sort of thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trail Amnesia

This morning I ran with Jonny and Gazelle in Pachuag.  We met up and started at Green Fall Pond through the ravine. 

After winding around the pond (along the orange trail) we picked up Nehantic until we switched over to Patchaug-Nehantic Crossover trail.  After turning onto Patchaug, we hoofed it up to Beach Pond where we proceeded to move rather quickly along Rte. 165.  I think our pace was elevated here because: 1.) It always feels good to briefly stretch your legs out and turn them over before ducking back into the woods and 2.) because roads suck and all three of us wanted it over quickly. 
Upon reentering RI and the woods we picked up Tippecansett trail before following it back down near the Boy Scout camp.  In the end we probably did about 17 miles (2:10:XX).  Nothing stellar however, I really, really, really enjoyed this run.

Man, I needed this one. Apparently, I had forgotten how awesome "leisurely" runs with friends on trails can be.  DeMar training had me so focused on pace, hitting splits, and consistently running roads that I didn't realize how much I missed this.  This was truly the first run since my marathon that I felt great the entire time (probably the first run since the marathon that I smiled a lot too).  As a result, I'm really looking forward to more jaunts in the woods over the course of the next several months. No goals.  No specific distances. No worries. 

Running is supposed to be fun and doesn't always have to be focused.  Although, as I type this, my racing flats are sitting across the room, silently mocking me, asking me 'when exactly was the last time I did speedwork?". 

Oh well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Humble Pie

After two days off, some stretching (even a little is a major accomplishment for me), a lot of stick rolling, and some beers and Vitamin I; I felt ready to head out for a short easy shuffle on local roads.The marathon was more than 2 days in the past.  I felt great today at work and found that I could go up and down stairs with only a modicum of effort and pain.  I must be "recovered" and ready to start shaking out the legs so I can get back after it.

Wow.  3 lonely, slow miles of fatigue, burn, stone legs, and frustration. Post run I found myself a whimpering, whining, little bitch again.  My poor, poor muscle fibers.

Perhaps I need another zero or two, a lot more rolling and stretching, and copious amounts of beer and Ibuprofen.

Until next time......

Monday, October 1, 2012

Clarence DeMar 26.2

Yesterday I ventured through 5 out of 6 NE states to meet Greg and Jen, my gracious hosts for the 35th Annual Clarence DeMar Marathon.  It's a very small marathon in the southwestern region of NH that starts in Gilsum and ends at Keene State College in Keene, NH.  This year, only about 300 runners or so were expected to compete in the event.

I met the Hammetts at their house before we drove over to Stoddard to stay at Pard's Love Palace in the hills near Pitcher Mountain.  We relaxed, ate some sweet homemade burritoes, drank a few beers, and turned in early. I slept great and awoke at 0415 to Greg cooking breakfast in the kitchen.

After nervously pacing around, we drove over to pick up some crazy fit guy named Wolverine.  Jen dropped us off at the start and after some small talk and my usual "Oh shit, I'm not ready for this" last second jitters, the gun fired and we were off.

I made sure not to go out too fast as I knew there was some great downhill action the first couple of miles.  I settled in with about 5-6 guys that appeared to be running my pace and we started clicking off the miles.  We moved back and forth with one another until the first decent uphill during the 4th mile.  2 of the guys slowed down here to take it easier up the hill but I wanted to keep the effort the same, despite having the pace drop.  I pulled away from them and never saw them again (until the turnaround at Surry Dam).

The first 1/2 of the marathon was by far my favorite as you spend a substantial portion running along the Ashuelot River.  Around mile 5, the pack of three guys I was hanging with picked up the pace.  I let them go here as I was keeping an honest 6:30 pace and was definitely not ready for  running 6 and teens (will I ever be?). From here on out I basically ran solo and was alone with my thoughts and suffering.  Good times.  I began fatiguing a little bit around mile 8 or so and this was really disheartening.  I began to worry a little bit knowing that was not really a good sign.  However, as with life and everything else, it ebbed and flowed and I was able to remain calm and carry on and start feeling better again.

Around mile 11-12 the course makes a sharp left hand turn and you climb up and run across the Surry dam.   It ends at a turnaround cul de sac and you return back along the top of the structure.  This is pretty cool for a few reasons: you get to see the runners ahead of you and behind you (as you return back) and the view is pretty sweet.  As I entered onto the dam, Wolverine passed me.  I uttered encouragement but I don't know if he heard/recognized me.  I didn't really care as it was here that I began reeling in one of the guys in the 3 pack that had left me earlier.  He was slowing a little and I was able to make up ground. I figured I'd get him soon enough.

Surry Dam, minus the runners.

I crossed the 13.1 mile/halfway mark in 1:25:XX, just several seconds back now behind the guy in front of me.  The thought of "Wow, 2:50 pace" popped into my head briefly but my quads reminded me that was not going to be possible.  Don't do "future math", just focus on what's in front of you.  Be here now.  We begain running along Brettwood Golf Course and I was able to pass the guy just ahead of me as we climbed up a long, drawn out hill (one of the longer ones on the course).  It always feels good to pass people on hills. I didn't see or hear him again.

The race kept on keeping on as we wound around and through the western part of Keene.  Around mile 16 I caught up to a kid that told Greg at the start that he was going to try and run a 2:30 (!!) and hang with him.  Obviously, if Puddin' catches you, you're a hurting unit.  He seemed delirious.  I offered up some cliche words of encouragement but they went unheeded.  Again, I didn't care because a few moments later the 5th separate comment was thrown my way about my "awesome shoes" (ugly, neon blue and gree Asic Gel Lyte 33).  Whatever.

All alone on side streets, I consumed my 3rd Gu, knowing that somewhere around here there was supposedly an aid station that offered up Gu replenishments.  I never saw it (did it even exist?).  Unfortunately, here I started to wear down.  This was strange because in my marathon last year I felt pretty solid until mile 22 before my soul was crushed by "The Wall".  It was definitely a new experience to instead slowly waste away a little bit at a time.  Some complicated man math and thinking added to my angst because I'm a believer in the power of exponents.  In other words, I feel like this now, I'm really effed around mile 23 and beyond as my pain simply doubles, then doubles again, ad nauseum.  However I managed to push the thought out of my mind.  Worrying is like a rocking in a rocking chair--you can do a shitload of  it but it still gets you absolutely no where.

The fade and burn continued through a park (Wheelock?) and along a bike path.  I continued feeling shittier and shittier until I finally caught another runner.  It was a guy who looked really strong earlier form the original pack of three amigos that had pulled away from me.  He turned and said something as I pulled up to him, sometime early on in mile 22.  I asked him about the phantom Gu stop and he said he missed it too.  I complained that I was dying and he offered me one of his.  I declined, stating that I didn't want to take his last bit of fuel.  He informed me that it was cool, he had 2 on him. Absolutely awesome, dude! Thanks!!  I possibly owe him my first born child in return.  I gobbled it down and as I pulled away he joked that he would try to keep me in his sights.  I laughed a little bit at the thought of me pulling away from anybody at this point.  However, as we entered the cemetary portion of the course here just prior to the mile 23 marker, I realized I was putting some distance on him. 

Ah, the cemetary-- how appropos.  At mile 23 it was so fitting as it was the place where Muddy (and many other runners I'm sure), go to die.  The Death March  had begun around mile 22.5 (see splits), but it was full fledged in the graveyard.  I wondered why marathons weren't 22 miles--sounds so much nicer than 26.2!  As we wound through, there was a decent winding downhill which really ripped up my quads big time.  I knew from a partial drive through of the course the day before that there was a short, steep ball buster of a hill, followed by an immediate down hill and then another short, upward dream crusher.  What they lacked in length/distance they certainly made up for in timing/location.  At any rate, I managed to survive, still all alone, and turn back out onto the roads and shuffle up to the 24 mile marker.

OK,  it's soul searching time.  "Only 2.2 miles.  Anyone can run 2.2. miles".  Although the spectators/course marshalls were doing their best to encourage me, all I could offer up were grunts and spitting.  I hated every single one of them at that point.  The fatigue and pain in my quads was substantial and my pace had slowed quite a bit (again, see splits below for absolute and definitive verification).  I struggled through mile 25 and began mentally chanting "All right, dickhead, only 6 laps around the track left."  Suprisingly, despite really, really hurting, I was able to pick up the pace, (at least it felt that way despite what the numbers say),  along main street and at the mile 26 marker, kids ringing bells and yelling and screaming enabled me to push it (slightly) and finish upright and smiling.

Unfortuantely, as I turned onto the Keene State campus, I heard the announcer call my name and hometown.  Also, as an added bonus, when you sign up online they ask you to provide a piece of information that is interesting--something the announcer can say about you as you finish.  I had provided a tidbit of trivia that I had forgotten all about until I heard something to the extent of: "He is a writer for the new running magazine 'Level Renner'."  On cue, I decided to try and throw up the LvL gang-sign (guess I'll post it another time for a visual).  I failed miserably as in my brain drained state, I couldn't figure out how to do it, although, admittedly, I've practiced dozens of times as a joke for my wife and kids.  Can't wait to see the pictures of me looking like an idiot doing a joined hand, flipping of the bird motion to the crowd around the finish line.  What an a-hole.

Ultimately, I finished 5th OA in 2:54:53.  My splits below (overall results here):
1. 6:22
2. 6:40
3. 6:35
4. 6:35
5. 6:23
6. 6:34
7. 6:30
8. 6:28
9. 6:32
10. 6:32
11. 6:37
12. 6:31
13. 6:15 [1:25:28 @13.1]
14. 6:39
15. 6:45 (golf course hill)
16. 6:17
17. 6:40
18. 6:32
19. 6:38
20. 6:37
21. 6:26
22. 7:13
23. 6:55
24. 7:15
25. 7:13
26. 7:18
Finish: 2:54:53

I was greeted by Greg (2nd OA), Boj, and a lot of the other Keenyans where I stumbled around, rehydrated, ate a little and marveled at how crappy I felt. A new PR and some sore hips and quads.  Although I thought several times during the last 4-5 miles "Who the f*#k would ever do this voluntarily?", I'll probably run some more marathons......maybe. 

But seriously, who in their right mind would find marathons to be "fun"?!?! I really think that training your body for 10 miles - 1/2 marathon is the way to go.  It offers up everything: weekly speedwork, creative medium runs, trail runs, tempo runs, long slow runs, and everything in between. It also gives one the flexibility to jump in just about any race, of any distance (within reason), at any time, and be fairly successful.  Right now I feel slow and sluggish, heading into some upcoming 5Ks and future short races.  

Anyway, it's over.  But the moral of the story is this: marathons are just idiotic and simply for those people who are gluttons for punishment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Importance of Not Running

Recently, Level Renner shared an article on Facebook about Bernard Lagat and how he stops running entirely for over a month (read it here).  Five whole weeks?!?!  I know that most competitive runners would find this very, very difficult to do (myself included). Yet, after I read the article I thought about it a lot and I am intrigued by the concept.

No, I don't plan on ever taking an entire month off but I like the idea of scaling back and resting briefly.  Disclaimer:  I'm just a serious beer drinker with a running problem so there really isn't much of a need to scale back from my "monster" 50 mile weeks.  However, over the last week and a half, I've cut back my mileage from the unorganized, chaotic, up and down, yo-yo training I've attempted over the last couple of months (e.g. 63-57-20-60) and it's been fine.  I'm always worried that reducing my running will make me antsy and worried.  It hasn't. In fact, it's reminded me that it is actually important to not run sometimes.

Today, instead of getting home from school, snacking like a pig, and then lacing up my trainers and heading out the door, I simply sat on my front steps.  I laughed and played with my (almost) 2 year old daughter and waited for my other two children to get home off the bus.  Then Mason and I headed out on the water and crushed stripers outside of the center wall in Pt. Judith.  They were stacked up like pancakes and as a result, we were busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.  Simply awesome.

Did I gain any fitness from this evening?  Absolutely not.  Did my mileage stats increase?  Nope.  But it sure is awesome to not run sometimes.  Besides, when the alarm goes off tomorrow at 0500, I know there are lonely, dark, double digit miles waiting for me.

I wonder if Bernard Lagat likes to fish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week of 9.10.12 - 9.16.12

MON.-6mi. (road) -- surprised myself again with "base pace".  [40:53]

TUE.- 8mi. (road) -- amazing weather. Ran in the afternoon.  Felt a little fatigued but still kept up decent pace for most.  I could use a day off already.  Tired from running but also from crushing false albacore in East Matunuck with Mason earlier in the day. Fat Alberts everywhere!! Very few things beat a 9 year old boy's squeal when hooked into a tuna torpedo.  Good times. [58:31]

9 lb Euthynnus alletteratus

WED.- 0

THU.- 6mi. (road) -- continuing to surprise myself with regular pace on these runs. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. [41:37]

FRI.- 5mi. (road) -- forced myself to go slower given my recen "base pace" runs.  Thought I was turning out 7:45 but it turned out I was off in my estimates by about 20 secs per mile.  Oh well.  [37:00]

SAT.- 3mi. (road) -- this time slow and easy for sure. Easy shakeout before race. [22:48]

SUN.- 17mi. (road) -- "Surftown Half Marathon"The second year of this race.  Great course just somewhat lacking in organization and production.  I ran really well and I'm pleased.  I think I finished 7th OA in 1:19:33 (still waiting for official results to be posted).  Gazelle PRd and all of WTAC apparently represented!!  Awesome.  However, space watch confirmation from several others that the course was actually 13.25 miles.  WTF?!?!?  Upset with the Hartford Marathon/ING group for several reasons.  Still no results posted yet (24 hours later) so not sure what the exact details are.  Guess I'll follow up with more specifics in another post at a later time.  Good race either way....


-->Surftown was a pleasing test of my abilities.  I felt really good (until the final mile but that's to be expected).  Still....wrong measurements bother me.  Easy week coming up with very easy week to follow before DeMar.  I guess I'll try to squeeze in 1-2 medium uncomfortable runs @ MP to keep me honest.  I've really no idea what I'm doing but whatever.  It doesn't matter anyway. I'm having fun, feeling good (other than that pesky abdomen/nut thing). 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Week of 9.3.12 - 9.9.12

MON. - 6mi. (road) -- a.m. - Why not?  No pain, just standard dull ache.  Just go with it. [42:58] ///// 4mi. (road) --p.m. - legs a little tired but just a filler run to get out of the house. [29:44] 

TUE. - 9mi. (road & trails) -- some awesome exploration (awful dense, humid air) in the new, unofficially "opened" Grills Sanctuary, part of the Hopkinton Land Trust.  A ton of cleared single track trails in there but I'm not sure how large it is or if I was even in the actual sanctuary the entire time or trespassing.  Either way it is cool to have more trails, along the Pawcatuck River, only 2.75 miles from my house. A-town, what? [67:22]

WED. - 10mi. (bike path) -- from Kingston in the miserably warm and humid afternoon.  1 mile w/u then 8 miles @ MP.  I hope DeMar is about 30 degrees cooler and much drier or I'm seriously fuct in 3 weeks. Splits: [6:39/6:27/6:17 (oops)/6:34/6:44 (stupid climb up the ramp back onto bikepath)/6:32/6:25/6:35].  Continuing to run with this abdominal/groin "toothache" [68:01]

THU. -0

FRI. - 6mi. (road) -- quick sweat fest in this disgusting humidity.  Back at school?  Bring on the fall weather.  Pleased and very suprised with pace. [40:37]

SAT. -20mi. (road & trails) -- from home in a creative run to end at Ninigret for Mason's first "football" game.  Looped through Richmond and some Carolina Mgmt trails before grinding out Kings Factory Road and into soccer craziness.  Miles 17 and 18 at MP (13:12) but unbearably warm and humid on the exposed, crumbling tarmac of Ninigret. Chafing is Mother Nature's gift.  Still a good run overall.  Recovered really quickly.  Love that 20 miles followed by no downtime is not a weekend wrecker.  [2:33:12]

SUN. -5mi. (road) -- 8-10 turned into only 5 when I realized how tired my legs were. Quit so that I could get back home to watch my fantasy football team devour the souls of those around me.  [36:03]

--> Despite nagging (minor) pain in my lower abdomen and manly parts, I'm still able to go so....go it is.  I'm not sure if it is mental but it seems to hurt a little less.  Sort of makes me feel like a pussy complaining about it when I know it is not even an injury but it is an inconvenience.  Either way, less than 3 weeks until DeMar.  It appears that  my training has been a little unorganized/scattered and as a result, is quite half-assed and less than stellar.  But at least it still has existed.  Surftown this coming Sunday will tell me where I'm at physically and mentally. Also of note, I don't get to fish.  Not sure if my boat is even floating or if it is simply floundering at the bottom of the channel in Jerusalem.  Probably should try and check in the next few days.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week of 8.27.12 - 9.2.12

MON. - 8mi. (road) -- ran this hilly one at a solid base pace on tired legs.  Glad I did it. [58:44]

TUE. - 0

WED. - 7mi. (road)-- *Roger Schonning 5k* .  Ran this small 5K sponsored by the YMCA that is sort of cool.  Run directly through downtown Westerly, RI.  Pretty neat to have them stop tourist traffic "for me".  I took off too fast and lead wire to wire.  Happy I finished 1st OA but not at all happy with how I ran this one.  Stupid!  Mile 1 in 5:15 (too fast) then mile 2 in 5:55 (WHAT?!?!?).  Fell apart at the end and finished in 17:41 overall.  Gazelle ran a PR in 17:49--pretty pumped for him.  Don't look now but WTAC finished 1,2,3...very cool.  Still, cannot help but be a little pissed at myself with how I ran and with my time. It's rather annoying (non-runners just don't get it/understand at all) to have your name and picture in local newspapers but know that you ran a shit race. 

Even Mason said he didn't run that well and felt terrible.

THU. - 5mi. (road)-- terrible run.  Legs tired and interuppted 2x with bathroom issues.  Great. [untimed]

FRI. -0 -- doctor and fantastic news.  Sulked over beers at an evening beach picnic with family.

SAT. - 0

SUN. - 0

--> Well, what can I say?  No running the last 3 days.  I'm really leaning towards saying screw it and just running again, (starting tomorrow?), regardless of what the doctor(s) find and/or say. If it doesn't bother me really while running and the dull pain doesn't increase, screw it.  There will be plenty of time to deal with it in October.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ain't That A Bitch?!?

Went to the doctor yesterday and he is pretty sure that it is indeed a hernia (inguinal?).  He's amazed that it doesn't really bother me while running (just that constant dull aching reminder).  Orders:  no long run this weekend (as I type this my counterparts are just finishing up a 20+ miler on trails in eastern CT).  He advised me to not do anything really long or particularly strenuous but he did say that as long as I remain pain free it would probably be okay to go for short, easy runs.  Perhaps a pair of compression shorts would be helpful too.  Although, he really advised me to stop running fully.  Great. This in turn lead to a slightly heated debate between the two of us about the merits of running vs. its detrimental effects (e.g. "See, this is what you longer distance guys get for running so damn much").  I was and remain adamant that this is not a running injury. THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! THIS IS NOT A RUNNING INJURY!! Another visit early next week and if nothing changes, he'll schedule me with some specialists and a surgeon to explore other options. 

So, in turn, I zeroed yesterday.  I also skipped the long run this morning.  I may try something really short and easy tomorrow, simply for sanity sake.  The looming dilemma is:  do I want it to be an operable situation so they can get in and fix it (hurry up and heal) or let it simply be one of those vague medical "strains" and have it take forever to heal?  Also, once again, keep running, run only a tiny bit, or stop running entirely? Not sure.  I'm left holding the bag either way.

The upcoming week will be really insightful as to my options.  If it is not a hernia, and am still able to run relatively pain free and nothing increases, I'll simply grind it out and hang on for Clarence DeMar.  I guess I'm hoping this is what happens. 

In an all too ironic twist of fate, yesterday I received a pair of shoes from Mizuno as part of their Mezamashii Project.  I love the idea of getting to be a test subject and take part in a "scientific study".  They sent me a pair of their Mizuno Be shoes.  They're a little funky and in actuality, they're not even running shoes--really a shoe for runners to be worn when NOT running. They have a strange, "dangling"/overhanging toe set up to supposedly strengthen toe, foot, and lower leg tendon and ligaments.  Sure, I'll be a lab rat.  However, I doubt that in my "Thought Journal" as I record my data and observations I can write: "My running life fu*$#ng sucks right now!!"

Mezamashii: Japanese for "Your running lifestyle is in jeoparday"
So in summary, the paradoxical situation is as follows: 
~ Don't run but you can run but don't run long or hard.  If it hurts, stop but if it only hurts sort of, keep going but stop if you want to. However, I advise you to stop running but do what you want, within reason. Also,  wear your new freak running shoes that aren't really running shoes at all but are for runners to not run in and just exist in a nebulous state of purgatory until who knows when. Hurry up and wait.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pain, Pain Go Away

I'm starting to get a little nervous.  For the last 3 weeks I've had a dull ache in my lower abdomen and right side (ahem) "nether region".  I jokingly said that this pain is probably a hernia but really thought I had just tweaked something and it would eventually go away.  However, instead of ebbing the pain is growing.  I know that rest would probably cure this but I'm playing the ignorance is bliss card because I have a 5K tonight (paid $ for), a half marathon in 2.5 weeks (paid $ for) and, most importantly Clarence DeMar in 31 days (paid $ for).  This is frustrating because I don't feel as though it is a running injury at all.  Perhaps its more of a parenting injury (lifting, bending, turning, holding, buckling, changing, etc.)

Uh oh. I'm very conflicted.  Do I stop running and take a few weeks off to try and cure?  Maybe I should just tough it out the next month and then go see a medical professional. Not sure what to do. Although I've no PhD, I know exactly what the diagnosis will be: "You've strained something.  No running for 2-3 weeks and then come and see me again." 

No thanks.

For now, its manageable.  I'll just continue running, hope nothing gets worse, and wait until 1st of October to worry about it.  Just like sh*t vehicles I've owned in the past, with numerous problems I was unable to fix myself, if I just ignore it maybe it'll go away.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Last Week of Unofficial Summer

MON. - 7mi. (road) --ok run.  A tad tired from Sunday run. [51:04]

TUE. - 8mi. (CHS Track) -- had to go solo at CHS in the morning but Jonny showed up.  Ran 4 x 400, 8 x 200, 2 x 400 (200recs,400 between 2s and 4s).  Ran them hard.  I was beat but happy we did them.  [77,75,77,76,/36,35,36,35, 35, 36, 36, 35/ 74, 75].  Wobbly legs in final 100m of last two.

WED. - 0  WTAC final fun run.  Good day.

THU.- 8mi. (bike path) -- from Kingston.  1 mile w/u then 6 miles @ suspected MP, 1 mil c/d. A "NFW" (No Effin' Way) run.  26.2? Happened last year and was also discouraging, and I'd like to do a couple more to humble my spirits in the next few weeks. [6:27-6:37 each] ///// 4mi. (road) -- easy run.  Maxson and relaxin' in the evening.  [ain't no watch]

FRI. - 6mi. (road) -- ran this one angry.  As a result, 6 miles of No Man's Land.  I'm a pouty bitch sometimes.  Don't run angry, friends. [40:12]

SAT. - 20mi. (road, trails, & track) -- from CHS down Pine Hill Rd, 112, NS Trail, Kenyon Hill, Richmond neighborhoods, Pine Hill II, Carolina Mgmt. Area, and finally CHS track.  Got a late start (0715) but still felt good for this one.  No knee pains or troubles.  Ran last 2 miles on the track, a la Olympic style final lap.  Ran mile 19 @ MP pace (6:33), then easy final mile. Good run. [2:32:XX]

SUN. - 4mi. (road) -- easy recovery run squeezed in between family time during the middle of the day. Loosened up pretty well. [30:20]

--> three quality runs this week again despite missing my mileage goals by a little.  Whatever.  The summer unofficially ends in about 7 hours when I go to bed.  Back to school.  Mentally, I'm ready for it and sort of excited.  Hope it doesn't interfere with running too greatly. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nothing Like Waiting Until (Almost) Last Minute

I finally pulled the trigger and officially registered for the Clarence DeMar Marathon in/around Keene, NH.  It's a tiny one but that, along with some picturesque scenery, makes me like it even more.

I've procrastinated for so long that I really haven't been doing any organized marathon training but I have a decent enough base with longerish runs/hours on my feet.  Just sat down with a calendar and mapped out (roughly) the key long runs and MP runs that I need in the next 5 weeks.  Surftown Half Marathon on 16 September should be a fantastic indicator of my fitness two weeks out.  Either way, I'm out $80 anyway no matter what my fitness level is. At least I didn't blow the four Andrew Jacksons on cases of Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPAs.

No sense in worrying now.  I should be fine.....

(...until mile 22)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week of 8.13.12 - 8.19.12

MON. - 6mi. (road) a.m. -- felt good to be running normally again. [43:04] \\\\ 5mi. (road) -- legs felt a little tired during the evening session.  Worked outside all day and definitely didn't hydrate nor eat enough.  Underfueled. [36:05]

TUE. - 8mi. (track) a.m. -- CHS with Jonny, Mike, and Gunshow.  Ran 4 x 1000 with the first 200 at hard mile effort then ease back a bit into approximate 5K pace for 800.  We were originally going to do 6 but with only 200 recoveries in between, four of them was bitch enough. I still managed to give it a good go and run consistently, which was a key goal of the workout: [36, 2:40/37, 2:40/36, 2:40/37, 2:42]. \\\\ 4mi. (road) -- mid afternoon shakeout.  Legs a little tired but the heat and humidity bothered me more. [30:39]

WED. - 0 -- in Gazelle's absence I got the chance to yell stuff through a megaphone and walk around with a clipboard at the WTAC Fun Run.  Didn't get to pace Mason so he got to run his first 5K solo and ran a 28:09.  When I asked him how the hell he PRd by so much on his own he implied that the old man had been slowing him down. Wiseass!

THU. - 9mi. (road) -- creative workout with Mike and Gunshow in and around the village of Shannock.  On a loop that was about 2.25 miles we ran 4 x 1 mile repeats at a hoped for 15-30 seconds slower than 5K pace (three short hills along the mile helped tucker you out).  Gunshow aptly described the goal of the workout: first one fast, second-faster, third-fastest, fourth-most fastest.  Once again aimed for consistancy: [5:56/5:52/5:53/5:48].  Hurting on the last one.  [68:XX]

FRI. -5mi. (road) -- felt tired.  Legs understandable from previous day's workout.  But whole body fatigued and mental brain drain.  Only 5-6 hours of sleep each of the previous 4 nights.  That'll catch up to you.  [36:11]

SAT. -7mi. (road & some woods) -- awesome drizzly, cool weather.  Nice run around usual loops with some wooded trespassing thrown in.  My final run in normal Asics DS Trainers--those friggin things are toast! Napped like an Olympian in the afternoon....something about cool weather, with drizzle and overcast skies spells ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. [51:50]

SUN. - 19mi. (road & trails) -- with Gazelle and Mike B through Carter Preserve, Shannock, and Caroling Mgmt Area.  Good run.  Felt great throughout (minus Shannock Hill) until the final mile around turf fields.  The others stopped at 15 but I decided to tack on a few more by looping up to Chariho and around.  Even snuck in 1 mile on the track around MP just to see what it feels like when fatigued (6:28).  A tiny bit of left, lateral knee discomfort and IT band crap the final 1.5 back to car.  Good end to the week. [2:27:XX]

--> a good week but Gazelle reminded me that I'm indecisive and need to make up my mind with the marathon thing.  Still haven't signed up.  Still leaning towards DeMar or Baystate--both have pros and cons.  Not going to pull a Scarecrow and do the "some people do go both ways".  Unfortunately, I haven't really done any focused marathon training yet I'm also feeling like saying "F*#k it.  The base is there.  You've done short speed work.  Just continue with long runs and jump in one.  You won't PR and will definitely be a blubbering mess at the end but isn't that what is supposed to happen anyway?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Suck It Hard, Apple!

Sorry. A totally non-running related rant:

Recently, Apple updated their iOS software to the "amazing" 5.1.1.  OK, so what?  Who cares?  I noticed a few small appearance changes and layouts in apps on my iPhone but no big deal.  However, I also own an iHome docking station so that I can listen to music via pretty decent, but small, speakers.  Since this update, I have been unable to operate the iPhone in the docking station.  Instead, I receive the following message "This accessory is not supported by iPhone". Note: this is also the case now with the ipods of my wife and my son.


I've been scouring the internet and the Google machine reveals basically, too bad for you.  This is fairly common whenever the Apple Gods update software or firmware.  Even Apple support offers nothing.  Sometimes, if enough people complain, they'll go back and reupdate the update.  Usually, however, they do not.  Individuals that own devices and accessories that formerly worked are then S.O.L. They have to accept that their "toys" are now obsolete and must purchase the newest sh*t that is compatible with the newest operating system.

Awesome. Shouldn't this be illegal?!?! Imagine if your other appliances in life did this (i.e. refrigerator, stove, washing machine, car, etc.)

Thanks, Apple.  I hope Steve Jobs is in hell.

Maybe a long, sweaty run will fix my attitude.......

PS-if anyone knows of a fix, (other than buying a new iphone), PLEASE comment below and let me know. Hopefully I'm just stupid and there is a really easy fix.

PPS-if I disappear from the face of the Earth, know that the SS division of Apple (who are surely monitoring everything) have come to my home and relocated me to an "education camp"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week of 8.6.12 - 8.12.12

MON.- 3mi. (road) -- intended to be easy shakeout and first of two runs.  Instead, I got two miles out and had unbearable lateral, left knee pain/IT band probs.  Awesome.  Turned around and made it one more mile before having to walk/limp home.  [untimed]

TUE.- 0

WED.- 4mi. (road) -- really easy at WTAC Fun Run.  Paced Mason again.  He was upset with a non-PR but what are you gonna do?  [9:11/9:49/9:36 --29:39].  No real knee pain.

THU.- 5mi. (road) -- a fairly normal run.  [35:41]

FRI.- 5mi. (road) -- 0530.  Had to sneak in a shorty before Mandy left for her long run.  Struggled and felt like I was working way too hard on this one.  Hills gave me more trouble than they should have. Humid as shit. [37:56]



TOTAL: 17mi. (wow!)
--> yup.  That is not a typo or a glitch with  17 miles with double goose eggs over the weekend.  I chose to not run either day.  Sort of a baby mentality--the week was shot to shit, my legs were feeling crappy so I opted to spend all of my time doing fun things instead.  Start over again next week.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week of 7.30.12 - 8.5.12

MON. - 5mi. (road) -- I think I was happy to be "recovered" from the Blessing and running a regular base run again.  Went a little to fast.  Felt good though.  Was going to double again in the late afternoon but took a nap instead. [34:40]

TUE. - 9mi. (track) -- CHS track with Jonny and Mike.  After warming up without a concret plan we ended up doing 3 x 1600 at 5K pace.  I was able to run really consistently without overdoing it (which is usually something I struggle with). [5:28/5:28/5:27].

WED. -6mi. (road) -- A.M. Legs were tired a bit from yesterday. Humid (again...obviously).  Just tried to focus on form. \\\\\ 5 mi. (road) -- P.M. WTAC Fun Run. Paced Mason again to yet again another PR.  He ran much better this week and was able to kick it in.  [8:50/9:36/9:36 --29:03]. 

THU. - 0 -- Lake Compounce cross training. I can't handle wooden roller coasters like I used to.  Banged up with a headache.

FRI. -7mi. (beach) -- had to run in midday (Mandy ran long in the morning).  I was in a bad mood and it was so damn hot I decided to run barefoot on the beach.  I hate running on the beach. So hot and humid and crowded with tourists.  I hate running on the beach.  I decided to make this my 3rd "interesting" run of the week so ran 6 miles at MP pace (perceived effort really--probably closer to high 6:00/low 7:00). I hate running on the beach.  Probably looked like an NFL RB weaving in and out of people. I hate running on the beach. Quick swim afterwards. I hate running on the beach.  [48:22]

SAT. - 4mi. (road) -- early morning run before heading out on the boat.  So humid I quit after only 4.  Ugh. [30:18]

SUN. - 22mi. (trails) -- Arcadia sweat and sufferfest with Jonny.  Parked at DEM HQ and looped up around all the usual trails.  I don't think I ate enough food yesterday.  Only an hour in my quads began protesting.  I tried to keep up on the hydration and managed to do a pretty decent job.  Jonny is an animal--he never fueled at all and never struggled.  He kept pulling away from me.  I'm starting a committee to look into allegations that he is doping.  Pretty sure he might be.  Knees started hurting the last half hour (probably due to tired quads causing me to get sloppy with footstrikes on rocks).  I'm luggage now.  [3:00:XX]

--> a pretty good week.  Today's run (Sunday) was a little humbling.  The last several miles sucked.  My legs were dying.  Hopefully it was due to the high dewpoint and high 70s/low 80s temps.  Runs like that shouldn't crush me and have me feeling like I was in a bad dream out there.  I'll have to try again in a few weeks (or months) when temps. drop a little.  I'm also going to force Jonny to spontaneously jump into a road marathon this fall (October? November?)  so he can crush it.