Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bad/Good news


I received Bad/ good news yesterday....... Finally something is happenning with my teeth and jaw. I went to the oral surgeon and we have scheduled next Friday to remove all the tooth fragments from the accident.

About 6 weeks after that, they will schedule surgery to remove bone from my hip and graft it to my jaw. This will create enough bone to support the implants. The graft will have to heal for a few months then they will put in the "base" inplants. That will have to heal for a few months then the teeth are placed on the base.

All good the bad? Well after the surgery removing bone from the hip, I can't run for at least 6 weeks. That will be scheduled sometime in the end of June/ first of August. I have scheduled races including the B To B so I will have to see how the schedule affects the races.

I will probably get to run the B to B, but probably not much racing after that for a while and surely not enough training to do the October Marathon (which I was toying with doing).

SO....another fall with interference.....I feel I will never get to have a solid year...........I guess time will tell.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

easy run


First run since Pineland trail challenge. The legs felt good at the start with just a little discomfort in the left ham. I decided to do the pit loop trail with hitting the right side hill twice.

At first I was worried about the quads and calfs because my legs felt tired, but once I warmed up I had no problems. I figured I would pick things up as I went along and see how things felt as far as a kick at the end.

The trail running felt great and I kept pushing the Heart rate to a peak of 169 without any problems in the legs. I think I have re-couped well from the 25K. My ham is still a little sore and it surprises me that it did not bother during Pineland.

My pace for the 3.5 mile loop ended up @ 8:16 and I am pretty happy with that. I only got extremely winded during the last half mile with I pushed the pace to 7:03 with a slight kick.

I figure to have two runs this weekend. One at Bradbury running the 6 mile Scuffle course and then a long run of at least 8-10 miles.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Post Race Thoughts


I decided not to run track last night as my legs were still quite sore. I did walk two and a half miles and that felt pretty good. I will probably run tonight.

I am not real happy with my trail run after the 10 mile mark. Though I did ok in 11 and 12, 13-15 were horrible as the cramping basically stopped the consistency of my pace and I lost somewhere around 6-8 minutes total.

As I think back and critique my performance Sunday, I have many questions to answer. My race plan seemed right and I executed it well. In my training runs, mostly 5-8 miles in length on Pineland trails, 6-13 miles on the road and a 15 miler on somewhat easier trails, I experienced no muscle fatigue or cramping in the quads or Calf's.

I geared my training along the lines of a half marathon except I ran longer miles on the long runs. Most of my training runs other than the 15 miler was at a faster pace than my 25K average.

The only other time I experienced the cramping in the quads was the marathon in 2006. So what do these two races have in common that would explain the cramping?

In both races I supplemented with endurolytes, I drank Perpetuem paste that I washed down with water at the aid stations, I also ate a gel pack every 45 minutes and drank Gatorade at the stops.

I felt at the time that I hydrated and fueled properly. One thing I did notice, is that I didn't sweat as much as usual but at the same time my pace was slower and my heart rate was lower.

I did walk a couple hills in the 6-7 mile area to keep my heart rate around 150-155.
and I did feel some muscle discomfort before the 10 mile mark but it did not slow me down or concern me at the time. Actually I was worried about my Hamstring causing problems and that was fine through out the race.

Is it possible that I ran too slow in the beginning or that I hydrated too much? Perhaps I didn't train right, maybe for a race this difficult I should have trained on the scale of a marathon instead of a half marathon? Run longer periods of time.
My longest run was 2hours and 40 minutes, the second longest was only 1 hour and 50 minutes and then a lot of runs in the 1 hour to 1 and a half hour range.

I guess before I run another long race, I should figure out where I went wrong. At least now I have a PR to beat in the 25K trail race.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pineland 25K trail race

I had a great strategy for Sunday's race. I planned my miles, I prepared the right fuels and drinks, I trained to the best of my knowledge. I tapered well and showed up itching to run.

The 25K didn't start until 10:00 am but I showed up at 7:30. I wanted to watch the 50K group start out and cheer some runners on as I mentally prepped for my race. As I walked up to the start area, the music was the first thing I noticed. It was country/blue grass and the notes rang sharp but tranquil in the clear morning air.

There was a John Deer tractor hooked up to a hay trailer all set up and ready for the country entertainment. The whole area seemed very organized. Everything in it's place, well marked and easy to understand. What a great job they have done here.

Within a few minutes, runners started showing up, stretching and warming up for the 50K. It is mind boggling to think of running 50K and especially 50 miles .....which had already started at 6 am. No, I would be happy enough to say I finished the 25K.

It seemed weird to watch such a slow start as I am used to watching shorter races where runners shoot out of the start area like their pants are on fire. It was cool to watch them ring a cow bell for the start.

I didn't get nervous at all while waiting for my start which is unusual for me. I wondered to myself, is that a good or bad sign? Was I feeling confident or more likely preparing for the worst. Perhaps I was already resigned to a slow time. This course is constant up or down hills with twist and turns enough to play havoc with any one's sense of direction.

I cheered on dozens of runners as I waited for my race to start. Some seemed so fresh and they had already run either 23.5 or 10 miles depending on which race they were running.

Finally the warning cow bell rang and we all scurried to the start line. There were at least 200 hundred people in this race and they were all ready to go. As the cow bell rang and we started out, it was so much different than the shorter races. We stayed in a pack as we hit the trail. It sounded like a herd of cows as they were lead to pasture. The dust rolled up into the air as our "herd" rounded the first corner.

The cloud dust made breathing a little difficult and I found the pace too slow. I worked the edges to pass and get my speed up a bit. The hard part was to watch the ground as there were many rocks and crevasses on the edge of the trail. My main concern early in the race was to not twist an ankle (which I did numerous times when training here) A severely twisted ankle is the one thing that could cause a DNF. I have never had one yet and I didn't want this to be the first time.

My plan was to forget about mile pace as it is not an accurate means of monitoring effort in a hilly trail race. Instead I planned on keeping my heart rate between 140 and 150 for the first 5 miles then picking the pace up a little in the next 5 to 155-160 and if all goes well push 160-165 for the remainder.

My first mile HR was right on at and average of 142 and a peak of 152. I was surprised to see my pace at 9:05 (I know I said I wasn't going to monitor pace, but hey I can't change overnight.) Anyway, I was pretty happy with the first mile. ONLY 14.5 more to go!

2nd, 3rd and 4th miles went well though my HR did get a little high as my average was closer to 149 and the peak at 159. I decided to slow a bit and get the HR back down. In mile 5 and 6 I hit some of the bigger hills. My mile pace dropped to 10:59 and 12:48 but I maintained my HR and kept the peak below 158.

Mile 7 and 8 were great! I picked up the pace to 9:22 and 9:58 and still not reaching 160 as a peak. I felt very good and thought I had this race licked. I was running strong, my plan was working perfectly and I knew a good start like this one would help me weather the heavier terrain to come.

Mile 9 I dropped to 12:15 but picked right back up to 10:54 on the 10th. I came out of the woods and ran past the start/ finish line feeling good. My energy peaked a bit as I picked up to an easy sprint and passed Don P taking photos. I felt I would look pretty good for the picture and waved as I passed.

I was a little surprised as I crossed the street to do the 5.5 mile loop to finish. My hamstring had not bothered me at all and besides a little cramping in my right quad, I felt 5 miles would be no problem. I was prepared to walk a couple hills if I had to to maintain my HR and felt it would not affect my mile time as long as I picked it up on the downs. My estimated pace for the whole race was 10-11 minutes and right now I felt I would surely be much closer to 10 maybe even in the high nines.

I crossed the field and stopped at the water station. I decided drink a water and a Gatorade just to be sure I didn't bonk. Mile 11 and I dropped down to 10:02 pace with my HR staying the same. For sure I was working on negative splits and could almost imagine every one's face as I sprinted across that finish line.

Mile 12 something odd happened, my right lower quad stiffened up and cramped. This caused my right calf to cramp and I Struggled to maintain pace. I was on a downhill at the time and walked the next hill. Once I got to the top, I stopped and stretched out the legs. The only time I ever cramped in the quads was during my Marathon run.
I surely did not want to go through that again. I can run through pain but when a quad cramps, it stops your legs from moving. This had me worried but I still managed 11:28 pace. I could tell I was not running to my ability though as my HR dropped to an average 142 and a peak of only 150.

13 and 14 were more of the same except my left quad was acting up too. I continued to stop an stretch them out and kept passing the same runners over and over again as I worked through the pain. I felt I could hang on this way to the end but at the same time was disappointed as I was not running the speed I should be able to. I was happy to pull off an 11:13 and 11:35 for those two miles. My average Heart rate only running around 145.

Mile 15 is when the bottom dropped out of my race. I should have been ecstatic as a mile is usually nothing but in this case a mile was forever. Both quads and both Calv's were stiff and aching. It was a chore just to walk never mind running. I don't know how many people passed me. That was discouraging and the only comfort was that I was not alone. There were a few others struggling like me. Not that I wished for others to
struggle but a person likes to be able to blame something else for their problems. This allowed me to assume the toughness of the course was to blame and not my training or decisions during the race....just human nature I guess.

I spent most of mile 15 stumbling more than running. Sort of like a shuffle step and just trying to put one foot in front of the other. I scanned my brain for answers...What did I do wrong? Not enough E-caps? The wrong fluids? Improper training? All much easier to answer if I done this type of race before. This is going to take some studying to figure out what went wrong. Mile 15 was only 13:45 pace and 139 average Heart rate.

Finally I hit the road and decided to force myself to start my sprint as it was only 300 yards or so to the finish. As I crossed the road my leg muscles cramped all at the same time and I almost fell on my face. This is the first time during the race that I actually thought I would not finish. Perhaps I could find it in me to crawl across the finish line.

I leaned up against a tree on the side of the road and stretched out my Calv's, then my quads. I did this twice for each then just took off running. I didn't even think about it, I just did it and somehow I kept going and actually had a pretty good kick (considering) crossing that finish line. It felt so good to stop and stretch.

My next thought was to get that free beer! After this much struggle I couldn't leave without drinking that beer. I don't know what went wrong but I must say this was a great race. I am so glad I entered it and take my hat off to these 50K and 50 mile runners. Also, the whole event was so well organized. I don't know all the people involved but high fives to Eric and Ian ......well done! I am sure this race will become more and more popular as the years pass.

My finishing time was about 2:45:00 so my pace was still respectable at 10:30. It could have been much worse, lucky for me that I did well in the beginning to counter act the last few miles. Next year I will either try and better my time or possible even run the 50K ....who knows?

Friday, May 23, 2008

On The Outside Looking In.


I know I have minimal readers but still feel compelled to write my thoughts. I suppose it is a way to cleanse my brain and evaluate my own feelings.

I feel I am on the outside looking standing in the doorway of a cool party. As I look inside, I see a bunch of friends and aquaintences enjoying each others company. They seem so friendly as they interact with each other.

They deserve to be in there as they are an elite group of radicals ....I say radical in a good sense as they do things most of us wouldn't even dream of. Running 50 miles or 100 miles...ON PURPOSE!

I can understand what drives these people as there is a running soul in all of them....something that is hard to explain to those who are not runners. In their case the running soul is looking for extreme accomplishments and they reach that.

I, on the other hand am just a recreational runner in comparison. I wonder if they remember how it felt when they ran their first 15K, 25K or Marathon. I wonder if they realize how amazing they are to run these long distances ......I don't think mankind was designed to run that far.

I am about to run my longest trail race of 25K. I can imagine how these runners feel when they train and embark on their 100 milers. I feel the excitement and apprehension, my brain questioning my own motives as I prepare to run 25K for absolutely no reason other than to cross the finsih line (still standing).

I know I can make it.....that is given as I have completed one Marathon. But will I be happy with my performance? Will I follow my plan? Can I impliment it well enough to finish with my head high and murmering my own Hoorays under my breath?

I suspect this is how these extreme distant runners feel...though perhaps on a smaller scale. Everything is ability and task for this race in comparison to their ability and task is very relative.

So.....I am on the outside looking in.....not really a distance runner by their standards.....but radical in comparison to 5K runners. Is this my first step longer races? Or will I be humbled by the undertaking.

To clarify my feelings, I am not saying these runners are not welcoming new comers. Surely they are chanting "come forward Grasshopper, let us light your way" No, it is by my own apprehension and hesitation that I stand at the doorway. Will I join or just visit for a while?

That being say, I will, for the record predict my outcome. My plan is to start out fairly slow and allow myself to warm up a bit. Once I have settled in and if my ham feels OK, I will try to pick up the pace a bit at 5 miles or so. Hopefully continue to force the pace through the next 5 miles....

Then if all is going well, I plan to race the last 5 miles...if not, I will continue for a couple more and race the last 5k. In the end I hope to at least pull off a 10- 11 minute mile pace. If I accomplish that...I think I will be content ...for now.

My only problem right now is to find something to do for the next two days to keep my mind off running.....I want so bad to just get up in the morning and hit the trails for a couple hours...instead I just get up and ....well ..not run.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Am I Crazy?


This may be premature and probably crazy, but I am contemplating the possibility of running the 50K next year. Assumming I do well at the 25k that is. I am not sure I have it in me as the training is time intensive.....but I just NEED a cowbell...what can I say.

I wish the 25k would give out something...maybe a little tiny know like a miniature cowbell? Just to get us short distance runners a kick in the butt.

I am not sure what is drawing me to this type of running as I have always thought speed..speed...speed in the past and longer distance, though some are speedy at it, is a lot slower in comparison.

Besides the fact that I enjoy running off road, My initial reason for running the 25k was a way to train better for my 10K races. I wanted to try and PR this year in the LL Bean 10K, The pat's 5 miler and the Beach to Beacon. My road training always seem to lead me into to overtraining injuries.... I thought the longer trail running would be a good approach to combat that.

As luck has it, I do have an injury right now from running track...not the cross country.....Perhaps I just push too far in track? Perhaps I don't really need the speed workout. I didn't run track in 2002 and 2003 which is when I accomplished most of my PR's. Including a great PR in the half marathon.

I guess I will see how I feel after the 25K.....if I am still walking ... I suspect it will be tough!

So why was it I wanted to run the 50K? I don't know, I have only run one Marathon up till now maybe I don't know what I am getting myself into... Maybe I am crazy after all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

race pace


I decided to skip track and rest the ham so I ran a 4 mile x-c at 10k race pace. I started well at about 7:35. I was caught by a local runner at about .5 in my run and we talked for about another half mile. Funny he runs this route all the time and he lives right down the road but we have never met before.

The first mile went good and judging by how winded I was, I figured it was fast enough. Problem is that my ham started bothering a bit and I figured to cut the run short. After the left rim part of the loop (that felt very good and quite fast), I hit a bit of a wall when I ran the field path to the 2nd station and still felt winded on the gravel road.

By the time I hit the left rim hill, I felt a little more in control of my breathing but the ham still bothered. I headed back toward home at this time and cut the run short to 4 miles.

I did push a little kick at the end of 6:55 pace for the last .3 miles. Overall a little disapointed as I felt I should have been able to keep my origonal pace throughout the run and I faded pretty bad in mile 3 & 4.

I don't feel ready for the 25K....perhaps I should have done more long runs in my training? Anyway, I hope to meet up with Steve agin and perhaps we will find time to run together more. His pace is faster than mine so it would help me pick it up a bit.

Probably, I will only run something short and easy before the race Sunday......

Monday, May 19, 2008

taper this weekend


Ran with Amanda this morning.. figured it would work perfectly as she is trying to step up her runs and I am starting to taper for pineland 25k.

We ran the 5 mile pit was her first time as she usually only runs the 5k loop. It was a perfect morning and the run was very peacefull.

Amanda kept up very well and I let her lead a bunch of times ot see how she was handling pace. We ended up at around 8:30-8:40 pace which is quite good for her on trails.

It is so much fun to share these types of traffic....nothing to worry about other than tress, branches, rocks, sticks, water and the occasional animal

I will probably not run tomorrow.....that is going to feel strange!

Worked on tearing down the old garage next door with Matt and Nate....then went swimming for the first time this was 61 degrees....that cooled me off quick...the water was crystal clear..just a little junk on the bottom..I will vacuum again tomorrow. No one else joined me...wonder why?

I am still worried about the 25K ....still some soreness in the left upper hamstring from track running.....I think I have re-avaluated my estimated time to be 10-11 minute pace. Seems slow when I write it down! I have never run a race that slow before. But I also have not run a cross country race longer than 5k before.

We will find out next weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What pain? To run or not!


I spent the day trying to decide whether I should run or not. I was still was pretty sore in my left upper hamstring which was more aggravated if I sat for long periods at my desk. Besides that, the right inside of my ankle had throbbing pains when I walked almost like the feel of shin splints but above the ankle on the inside.

I rationalized all day about getting the lawn mowed and the fact that it is supposed to rain this weekend. The sun was out and the weather was perfect. My thoughts shifted to going home and just running an easy pit loop with Amanda.

It is so hard to decide.....would running tonite work against me and jeopardize my race next weekend...or if I don't run will it affect me in the race......I felt that some type of run had to take place, I planned to run a lot slower and if the pain continued I would just quit the workout and go home.

I decided it was a good time to locate the river loop at Pineland and run that part of the course. The fact that I was running slow would give me the opportunity to navigate that area as I didn't know how well marked it was.

I wasn't too sure at first, even running slow (11min pace) the ham and the ankle bothered a little. I decided to at least run a couple miles. I found the path heading behind the barn into the field and as I rounded the corner, A fairly large deer was apparently startled at took off.

What a sight as I was only 15 or 20 feet from it. I heard the rustle of the brush then, Bam! this deer was flying past me at least 6 feet off the ground. It seemed as if it were going to take off and instantly reminded me of the way the reindeer take off in the Christmas movies.

It was so graceful as it landed and sprung back into the air again. The whole time it's white tail was standing strait up and wagging. It seemed funny to me as I thought of the waving of the white flag when one surrenders. Only this guy was not surrendering but more like challenging me to try and keep up.

Well, he had nothing to worry about as compared to him I wasn't running fast enough to beat a tree! My mind took sort of a snap shot as he bounded his third time. There he was suspended in mid air , waving at me with his tail, a large green field around him, huge pine trees as a backdrop and stuck right in the middle of it all was a pure white barn with a green metal roof. If only I had this vision as a camera shot. I would frame it and display it for all to see.

I found the river loop and headed down the trail. This was actually more of a trail than I expected. Quite wide and well groomed. There were plenty of hills and the difficulty seemed more than the Gloucester hill loop across the street.

I came across and area were a buch of trees had fallen. The overpowering aroma of pine flowed in my nose and it brought so many memories to mind. I love the smell of wood. Isn't that a crazy thing to say? But it is true, the smell of fresh cut wood, the smell of the forest, even the smell of burning wood, it just triggers something inside of me. I felt tranquil.

I suddenly realized that I had settled into my run quite well (though still slow) and there were no pains to speak of.....was it the deer sighting, the oneness with wood or just the fact that I had warmed up? I am not sure but I was feeling great! I am glad I ran today but we will see if it catches up with me tomorrow.

I finished the 6 mile run with a little kick and was surprised how tired I was since I ran so slow.....tired but satisfied. As I slowed to a walk, I took stock in my aches and pains....Hmmnn....nothing out of the ordinary..I actually felt pretty good. I walked back to the truck and did a few stretches before heading home. Funny, even though there was a hint of discomfort in my ham, I had less pain then when I just never knows.

This had me thinking heavy about next week. Both times I ran track, I experience pain in my left upper ham. I really feel it derives from running in a constant circle at near top speed. I am seriously considering not running track next week as the race is next weekend. I want to go in injury free and I fear that I will aggravate the ham if I run Tuesday......I will think about it I guess.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

5/13 Track


Track practice last night. The workout was 200,400,600,800 @ 90% of mile time....100 recoveries and 2 sets. My splits were set up at .54, 1:49, 2:43, 3:37

I ran a 1.5 mile warmup at level 2 (80%) the we did stretches and form running. Because of new people that were not familiar with interval workouts, we did 3x200 with 100 recoveries as practice.

I was in group 2 but once we started I felt I should have been 2.5 as I was a bit behind the group. Now group 2 includes 6 min to 7 min pacers. My mile time was 6:36 so I should have had some people behind me but I didn't. I pretty much ran alone.

Last year I would have stayed with the group but I decided to try this year to stay within the workout and run the proper paces. Perhaps I will not end up with injuries this year. I am OK with running alone and my splits worked out pretty well.

I did a 1.5 mile warmup and a 1 mile cooldown then stretches. During the workout, my left upper ham/glutes began hurting. I think from running around the track. I tried not to push too hard and hoped it would pass. It didn't feel too bad when I was stretching but this morning it was quite sore. We will see how it feels tomorrow before I decide what my run will be.

Monday, May 12, 2008

weekend runs


This will be different as I ran my long run Friday instead of this weekend. Ran the Gloucester hill loop at pineland. This is the first time I ran the whole loop of 4 miles then turned around and ran reverse plus 1 mile to make 9.

It seemed the reverse should have been easier but I guess I didn't notice how many downhills I ran on the first loop. This will be the part of the course at the end of the 25K so it was good to run it and know what is in store.

I actually planned on a 10 mile run tonite but ended up 9 XC and 1 mile cooldown on the road. The run was quite tiring but I feel that finishing the 25K will be no problem......getting a good time..well that is a different story.

I keept most of this run in the 145-155 Hr range with some peaks on the hills. This will be the pace I should be able to maintain on during the race so I guess my pace should be around 10 minute. This makes it about 2:35 to 2:40 as the time to shoot for.

If the weekend goes well, I should be able to get in a short run...possibly Sunday.


Great early morning run....about 7:15 am and I was lame and sore. I knew a run was what I needed so I ran a quickie at the pit loop rim. this is about a 5k and I started quite easy at 9:27 pace, picked up the second mile to 8:57 and the third to 7:54......finished with a kick at 5:42.

The whole run felt great though it was a little cold to start out. I love the pit rim loop it is one of my favorite XC runs and ending on the road allows me to get in a good solid kick at the end. I had a lot to do this day so I was glad to start it off with a run.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

1st time trial


Greeley track for time trial. I was quite disappointed as the high school was deep in practice when I arrived. It seemed that they owned the track and I had no right to interrupt their social sessions as they stood on the track and talked. There was mostly in field practice of Jav, high jump and disc, going on. Only two kids practicing sprints. I had to constantly negotiate around uncaring bystanders in the first two lanes.

Besides that the workout was tiring. I felt a little slow I was a step behind...never really got into any type of comfortable grove or zone. My left hip became sore as I ran and as a result, I ran my cool down reverse direction.

My warm up was 1.5 miles at 8:09 pace (included a lot of weaving around people)
Time trial felt labored and I was a little disappointed with the time. My pace was 6:38 (on the garmen) but 6:48 on the nike....not sure why they were so far off. Apparently I didn't start them very well. The garmen showed an accurate distance so I went with that time.

After the time trial I did 4x400 at 10 second pickup per lap and apr. 200 meter walk between laps (down to 120HR) my splits were 2:04, 1:49, 1:40, 1:33.

1 mile cool down @ 8:27 pace then .5 walk to settle HR to 96, stretched and quit.

I am not that comfortable with the workout....quite tired after and my leg muscles feel dead this morning. I started having some pain in my left hip and ran the cool down in reverse as I felt it was from the circle running. Still sore this morning.

I don't usually run on Wednesdays so that may account for the dragging feeling.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008



Ever ask yourself a question that you just couldn't seem to answer? I have a good one……Why am I a runner? What is it about running that kicks my butt off the couch and sends my unwilling 52 year old body out into every adverse weather condition imaginable?

It seems that many runners I talk to were always active, they were in sports when younger and most have a long history of running. It makes sense that they will continue running as they age. It is in their blood, it seems they have no conscious choice. They would no sooner quit running as they would quit breathing.

Why me though? I did not participate in sports when in school. Oh, I wanted to but honestly I had no talent. It was more of a dream than anything I could really accomplish. It seemed that all the sports kids were so good, like they had been doing it all their lives. I did try out for Basketball one time but was cut in the first round. I wasn't even good enough to be a "bench sitter".

I remember hearing about cross country when my oldest son started soccer and thinking how stupid that was…….running 3 miles in the woods….for what reason? It didn't make any sense to me. I remember thinking, "what, they can't find a real sport to do?"

I should have understood because running was one thing I was actually pretty good at. I could catch all the kids on the playground I could beat anyone in my family and even when running around playing games with my friends, I always could beat them. I suppose if I realized that running was a sport, I might have tried it but I don't remember there being a track team when I was in school. I am sure there must have been, I guess I just never crossed paths with them.

So, I have no history, how did I start running? My oldest son decided to run track in high school and the younger ones started running too. It was a little hard on me at first because I coached Baseball with all of my kids (for eight fun years) and when they gave up that for track, I felt lost. How could they leave me hanging like this? I even thought about continuing coaching anyway. I rallied up though and like any good father I got involved. I supported the kids and went to every meet. I have more taped footage than a TV station.

I started to love the sport of running. It was so different than all the others. No one "sat on the bench" every one could participate. It was the only sport that held a spot for every level of ability. The coach's son didn't get the best position, kids earned that recognition through their own sweat, desire and effort.
I gained a huge respect for the athletes and enjoyed watching the kids excel throughout the season.

Even with the awesome State Championship wins and the excitement of the track team, It still did not dawn on me to start running. Then one snowy day in February of 2000, my son asked me to run the Clam Festival 5 miler with him and his brothers. Without a hint of any thought or reason, my mouth shot out a loud yes, as if I was fully trained and was just waiting for the opportunity to strut my stuff.

Problem is, I had no stuff. I hadn't even run a mile never mind 5 miles. I put myself in quite a spot this time. I can't back out on my word but at the same time, I don't want to embarrass my kids (and myself) by not finishing. It became my task to make sure I finished that race. In March of 2001 while on vacation with my wife, I ran three miles….OK, I slowly jogged three miles.

Even at a (very) slow jog, I experienced all the reason's not to ever run again. My breath was heavy and labored, my lungs hurt, my quads burned, sweat was pouring into my eyes causing them to burn, I felt so slow. My brain screamed for me to stop this nonsense. What am I doing? I am 46 years old not a teenager. I kept telling myself I shouldn't be doing this, I am too old, and too out of shape. I began to think of all the excuses I could use when explaining my failure to the kids.

Suddenly, I was back at the hotel. Wow! I made it. Emotion was bubbling to the surface. I felt great, it was an amazing feeling. Tired and sore but excited and full of energy all at the same time. I had this fantastic feeling of accomplishment. I looked around half expecting a rush of clapping and hurrahs from the crowd, but no one even seemed to notice me except for one couple walking by that actually had stunned looks on their faces as if the sight before them was surely some crazed idiot with a history of delusional behavior.

I get it now…..I understand…..I walked into the hotel with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Surely a little more alive than one hour ago. I continued running and on May 6, 2001 I ran my first race. It was a 5k, The YMCA Race Against Racism in Portland. I didn't win or come in second. Actually I think it was more like 130th, but as I cheered for the next 100 people crossing the finish line, suddenly it hit me. Even though I did not run that fast, I was tired and sore, I was not last. I also realized that all these people are just running at their own level. In essence really only competing against themselves. that is when I realized I was a runner and I didn't need to be the best to master this sport, I only had to get out there and run……that's all.

So here is the strange part of life, I remember, as I stood in the shadow of those Baseball, soccer, football and other high school heroes, how I envied them.
They were in the lime light getting cheers from everyone. They were on top of the world. Where are most of those people now? What do they do to be involved and stay active when they get older? Well they run and bike…..they do triathlons, they run marathons and ultras……….they are the people running with me in these races. Some are in front of me and some are behind me. Ironically, we all ended up in the same place, running from point A to point B as fast as we are able.

As a parent, we lead by example and hopefully encourage our children to learn how to make smart and responsible decisions. They see what we do in life and strive to be like us… is human nature. Many kids through time have been heard saying, "Oh, I am doing this because that is what my dad or mom did." Sometimes…..just sometimes, the tables turn and we realize that we can learn from them, we can follow their lead and make some smart choices too.

Well, to answer my question, I am a runner because that is what my children did. They showed me the way to be involved with their interest and become much more healthy at the same time. They taught me something that surely has increased my quality and probably quantity of life. Sometimes, kids are so smart!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Am I there yet?

Saturday 5/3/08

7Am.......Geared up for my long X-country run. Perpetuem mixed and gel packs...packed...too bad it is overcast and raining....surely the trails will be wetter than last weekend. My goal was to run slower and get at least 14 miles in.

Started on the pit loop which was really nice. Even though it was sprinkling the air was warm and the pace though quite slow was actually quite enjoyable. So many sights I seem to miss when running faster. I ran both sides of the pit and emerged at approximately 4.7 miles.

I ran 1 tenth of a mile up the road and hit the old railroad bed. It was about 45 minutes into the run so I took an endurolyte and sucked down a gel ....I figure to take another one in 45 minutes. Within a quarter mile I found the power lines and headed south. I spent a lot of time snow shoeing this power line and thought it would be quite easy to reach the (east/ west) railroad track and end up at twin brooks.

I immediately hit some slippery conditions and lots of standing water. I had to slow down quite a bit to stay on my feet down the muddy slopes. Once I crossed the snowmobile bridge It became a little easier to negotiate the wet spots.

This was a little tougher than I thought and I found myself wondering if this route was a mistake. Then I crossed Doughty road and headed for the gravel pit....this was much better...though the sand was soft, at least it was fairly dry. I took this chance to circle the pit and explore some of the 4 wheeler trails here.

This pit part of the run was very enjoyable ....I found myself wondering why I had never run here last loop put me down in the bottom of the pit and right in the bottom I found a huge way around it and I didn't want to double back so I decided to climb the pit wall. It was quite steep but actually lots of fun as I remembered my younger days pit wall jumping and sliding down the wall on old car hoods.....problem was dragging them heavy hoods back up the wall!!

I left the pit and headed for the railroad tracks. Running through the open field I could see I was parallel with route 115 heading toward Yarmouth. I could finally see the tracks ahead as there was a train sitting there. Then the heavier rain started and I found some difficulty.... very wet ground.....jumping from high spot to high spot....zigzagging through the brush...was not helping my pace and also was not keeping my feet dry. The closer I got to the tracks the more I thought I wasn't going to make it with out swimming.

I started wishing they made some type of floaties I could mount on my shoes and skate across this swamp! I was not willing to give up as I was so close and besides it would be a long way back so I kept sloshing ......finally...I made it to the tracks. The train was just sitting there and I could hear the engine idling.

As I ran past the engine, the tracks opened up and there was an access road to the left ending at a switch station. Standing there was a guy with a backpack...I figured he must be from the train. As I ran past him toward what I figured was Greely road, A taxi drove by the access road, stopped, backed up and headed my way......I snickered as I thought, hey what service, a ride home...Anyway it wasn't there for me but was picking up the guy....pretty weird to park your train and call for a taxi...wonder if it was shift change...or his lunch break?

Well I turned up Greely and two tenths down the road I hit Twinbrooks.....Here I ate my second gel and endurolyte .....the trails here were nice compared to the power lines. I trotted around the trails for a few miles and then ran over to Tuttle and route 9 to head for home. At this point I was at mile 12 and the fatigue was settling in. I felt great in the trails but the minute I hit the road...bam...I realized how tired I was. I kept plugging and once I settled into the pace, things were OK...I guess the transition from trails to road just hit my legs hard.

Made it home with out collapsing or dieing so I guess it was a good run. I feel much better about my conditioning now as this run had some unforeseen difficulty and was able to continue...I was surely ready for a cup of coffee and a shower at this point. I ended at 15 miles and 2:35 hours so the pace was around 10:20 seems awful slow?

I walked about fours tenths of a mile as a cool down of sorts which put right back in my driveway. Felt good to turn down the driveway and think about sitting down. I did have a couple muscle spasms once I sat down to undress but after stretching, I felt ok...But very cold and tired.Ended up going 15 miles pretty happy with that. Not sure if I will run tomorrow...perhaps if it is not raining......

Friday, May 2, 2008


I feel I havn't had enough off road training for the duration of the 25K. Even though I had time restrictions, I decided to get in a tempo XC run today. Things started ok but I felt tired and a little lame. Right lower back and upper hip hurt a little.

I settled in pretty good and in the second mile was picking up the pace well. Went from 9:20 to 8:38 pace. There was minimal spots of standing water but quite a bit of softness as I pushed off my toes.

Things were going good until about mile 1.8 then somehow I twisted my left ankle and rolled off to the left side of it. There was no snapping sound which is good but pretty sharp pain. I slowed down and kept running to push myself through it.

I felt if I stopped it would swell up and if I could keep running it should stabilize. It was painfull for at least a half mile then it started feeling a little better unless I was going down hill or landed on uneven ground. I tried to land pretty square and looked forward to the uphill as it din't bother much then.

I finished the run and managed to speed it up a bit with a decent kick at the end. I walked about a half mile cooldown and the pain was not too bad. I hate that this happened as I was planning a long run this weekend on the trails. I am not sure what I will do. If it bothers quite a bit I will adjust the trainning.....maybe the long run on the road instead.

When I got home and took off my sock, I was happy to see it was not swollen. We will see how it feels tomorrow.