Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Are My Chances?

I have wanted a chance to run the Boston Marathon since I started running 8 years ago. I figure if I wait until I am 99 years old, I will probably be able to qualify.
I am pretty sure all runners that age are just handed an entry number no questions asked. Qualifiying is being able to walk 26 miles.

Well, I may not have to wait that long. I entered a lottery to win a slot for 2010.
What do you think my chances are? I know it is a long shot, but I fear without some real strong luck, I will never have the opportunity to run Boston.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.....lottery..right? You see I have bad luck with percentages, if I am givin a 50/50 chance, I will pick the wrong answer 100% of the time. I never get in the right line, wether it be the checkout at the store or the tolls on the highway. When it comes to names out of a hat, I think my name is always written in invisible ink.

My chances are nill yet I still have a glimer of hope....deep down inside I am thinking, perhaps this will be different, maybe my luck will finally change, it could be my time to win. Of course if I do win, I will still have to pay the $250.00 entry fee...I should start saving up this week!

Ran the 2.5 loop with Mrs. Pathfinder. She was bit tired as she had already worked out after work (something called Zumba). Still though she ran negative splits which shows she is getting stronger as a runner.

2.5 miles @28:18 (11:20 pace)
12:05....124-134 (long hill)

As you can see by my heart rate, the hill was actually a rest for me.It was tough for the mrs. but she recovered good.


Ran Tempo at pineland east side then an easy run after.

4.1 miles @34:33 (8:26 pace)

8:10...154-161 (hill)
7:59...160-162 (kick@7:40)

2.2 miles easy @24:48 (11:16pace)

Suprisingly it didn't rain like the weather forcast said but the air was quite chilly. I must say that the 4 mile run was quite enjoyable and I didn't realize I was running at that fast of a pace.

Even though the east side at Pineland is more of a wide X-country course than a technical trail, I still feel quite good when I manage under 9 minute pace there.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hitting A Trail Caldesac

It dawned on me that I never posted a picture of my 50K cowbell, so here it is.

I started out 2009 with a certain idea and goal in mind. Training for the 50k as a strong base that would catapult me into some fairly fast shorter races and perhaps even a few new PRs.

I figured staying off the roads for most of my running would ward off injuries and not only tone up the core muscles but put me in great shape for a few road races. In the end I had hoped to be peaking for the Bradbury Trail Series.

In my mind it seemed like a straight trip, bee-lining to speedy races. or perhaps more like a pyramid with the winter running and 50k being the large base of it then progressing to a point as the summer turned to fall, thus reflecting my peak.

With all that behind me, I have some time to reflect. I didn't really reach the speedy finishes I hoped for but still had a pretty good year. Though I did have numerous surgeries that slowed me down at times, I actually had no injuries other than the normal aches and pains.

The suprising thing in the end was the trip. Instead of a staight line or even a pyramid, I realized if my 2009 running and racing was laid down flat on a map, it would be much more like a trail caldesac or a protrayal of a lost person in the woods with no compass.

I started out determined with a certain vision in mind. I felt as though I was traveling straight and during the trip would have stated ademately that I was heading point to point. Instead, I meandered for a while then without realizing it, I came full circle.

It was as though I set out to climb this great mountain The signs kept stating "summit this way" It sure seemed like I was climbing up and that the summit was just around the next corner, but suddenly I ended up back at the trail head with out ever reaching my goal.

I did pretty good all year but never quite made it to great. So, here I am contemplating my late fall and winter running, gearing up for long slow distance and thinking back to this same time last November as I came off a fairly large surgery.

I am almost in the exact same place as last November. It went by so fast and I feel now that I didn't take enough time to enjoy the moments. Other than the 50k I don't feel anything else stands out over the rest. They were all just a bunch of fun races
that were more like training runs used as stepping stones while I headed toward the great race......only the great race never happened.

Perhaps I didn't put in enough effort, I should have pushed harder at those key races. Is it possible that training for long slow distance has changed my racing attitude? Maybe I no longer possess that drive to hindge on the edge of oxygen deficit.

The two years I ran my fastest races, I trained for speed in every run. I was so used to running on the edge, that it seemed natural. Even in my long runs I didn't slow things down, I still ran at the edge. I also had chronic injuries during that time and because of that, my only enjoyment when running was at the finish line.

I embraced the suffering days after the race as a trophy of my accomplishments. Because I didn't train properly for my body to recover, I was in pain constantly.
I am sure I was not training right and feel that I have a much better handle on it now. Do I have to give up that speed as payment for feeling good and enjoying my runs?

Again that is exactally what I said last November and that is when I thought the long slow distance training for the 50k was the answer that would give me both pain free enjoyment and eventual speed.

Right now I am not in a hurry to critique this delema as I plan to enjoy some great fall running with no goals other than gaining as much enjoyment as possible. It seems the best place to allow my brain to solve this is on a nice long easy trail run.

easy run with the Mrs. who by the way ran at a pretty fast clip beating her best time by a couple seconds.
2.5 miles @ 26:57 (10:47 pace)


I hit the road early in hopes of beating the heaviest rain while still geting in at least an hour of running. It was a cold rainy start, yet I was enjoying the run from the first step onto the road. I opted out of trail running today as it was youth hunting day.

I decided to just run whatever felt comfortable and left the garmen home (though I did wear the Nike as a timer and to show splits) I felt great on this run and the splits show that. I was however looking forward to a nice hot shower when I finished.
There is something to be said for an easy road run as I didn't have to think about foot placement and obstructions, so my brain was allowed to wander for a while.

9.8 miles @1:28:42 (9:04 pace)

9:38 (Oakhill)
8:02 (7:30 kick)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slow poke Rodriguez


I spent most of the spring and a good part of the summer running track on Tuesdays. The speed workouts were difficult and It was quite tiring, yet I felt accomplished after. I honestly did not notice a difference in my trail racing performance and my road races were mediocre at best.

Near the end of the summer I started speed workouts on the trails. I think that helped more than track but still not a huge improvement. It seems I should re-think my training for next spring. I just am not sure what I need to do to bring back my lost speed. I'm not sure, but it appears training slow for the 50k has changed me.

I ran at Pineland and honestly felt like slow poke Rodriguez. It was a tempo run and I felt like I was pushing but no exciting results. I did enjoy the run and I felt like I worked quite hard .......I just had no speed.

I think I am lacking focus for what type of running (racing) I really want to be doing. perhaps it is time to take a break to just run for fun for a while and let my goals come to me rather than chasing them.

It is only October but I am already stressing about the hunters in the woods. I guess I have no trust in people anymore. Even though I ran at Pineland (where there is no hunting) I became nervous after I heard gun fire near by.

Now, I know that they can only use bows right now and gun fire probably means practice shooting, but when I heard the shots, an image of Homer Simson flashed into my head. I think there are a lot of "Homers" out there hunting nowadays.

The next thing that flashed into my head was the thought of my white hair and how it might resemble the white tail of a deer as I am running through the woods....think I should wear a hat till the end of November?

I am sure an arrow or bullet through the side of my head would slow down my running quite a bit. I am seriously thinking about singing loudly while I am running trails. Of course then people would think there was an injured animal close by and I would probably attract more attention than I want or they would shoot anyway to put the poor animal out of it's misery!

Recent runs:

2.5 miles (road)with Mrs. Pathfinder
28:48 (11:31 pace)

Pineland trails
3.5 miles @32:17 Tempo(9:14 pace)
8:42...157-161 (kick@8:02)

1.75 miles @18:52 easy/cooldown (10:46 pace)

Mrs. Pathfinder ran by herself on her 2.5 loop.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gloves...and Hats....and Pants...Oh My!!


I knew my only chance to get in a good run this weekend would be early Saturday morning, anything beyond that would be pure luck. I had a busy schedule and I honestly did not cherish the thought of running in a cold rain. I woke up at 6 am and saw the reflective sparkle of frost on the vehicles as I switched on the outside light.

As much as I didn't want to give in to the weather change, it dawned on me that I would be smart to wear my cold weather gear today....this meant things like gloves and long running pants. I didn't want this, I wanted a nice sunny 60 degree run through the woods.

I am in my recovery season and am concentrating on base running. Normally I don't start recovery and base until after Thanksgiving, but ths year I am changing things up a bit.

The good thing about no immediate racing goal is the chance to run for fun and not have any guidelines to the run. As I stepped out the door and felt the cool briskness of the air, I could feel my nostral hairs freeze as I pulled my first breath into my lungs. I knew immediately this would be a great run.

I slid on the gloves and headed for the trail. I had no expectations other than wanting to run for at least an hour. I felt absolutely fantastic as I watched my frosty breath being forced out into a fog then slowly expanding until it dissapeared.

It was about 7 tenths of a mile to the pit road which gave me a chance warm up the bones a bit before hitting the trail. As I rounded the corner, the gravel pit wall was to my left and before I knew it, I was scaling the damn thing.

I remember thinking that this was not what I anticipated for an easy run yet I did say I was going to have fun .......what is more fun than climbing a loose gravel incline that tries it's hardest to send you sliding back to the bottom?

The pit wall is steep enough to force the climber onto all fours at certain points and as much as I tell myself not to grab at small vegitaion for support, I instintively grabbed a small tree and quickly found that it did not have enough root support to help me hurl my body up the slope.

Luckily I caught myself before barrel rolling the whole way back to the bottom, but still had gravel and dirt all over me. By the time I reached the top, I felt like I had run a marathon ... there wasn't enough air in the world to satisfy my lungs cravings.

I rambled around the pit trails for about 4 miles then ran a dirt road to the base of my killer training hill....Oakhill doesn't look like much and it isn't really that long but for some reason it is tough to run.

After cresting the hill I hit the Mushroom trail which for some reason was the slowest mile of my run. Usually the hill is my slowest and I pick things up in the trail. Perhaps it was the pit wall climbing catching up to me.

Anyway it is a mile on the road to finish this run off as I was already beyond my hour mark. Though I don't cherish road running, I was looking forward to the easyness of it. I was ready to just let my legs fall forward without thinking about foot placement. Sort of a cooldown I guess.

As I turned down my driveway, it dawned on me that a run with the Mrs. would be a perfect cooldown. It did not happen though as she had already taken her shower and getting her to run now would be fruitless.

I piled my clothes up semi neatly just in case she changed her mind or I got a chance to squeeze in a short run later in the never happened, which is why I try to get my runs in first thing. Schedules tend to overlap and the running is suddenly pushed to the wayside. I guess this what happens when you have a family and obligations.

8 Miles 1:20:10 (10:02pace)


12:22...147-160(I am suprised but this split....not sure why I slowed down?)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Need Either A Bigger Engine, Or A Smaller Body.

I Want To Be This.........

But I Feel Like This!

Of all the things I could do to, increase my stamina, race better and run stronger, it is my weight that probably matters the most. I have a cumbersome spare tire and a lot of bouncing causes not only fatigue but also chaffing. Since there is no way to buy a bigger engine and searching the internet has not produced an add on human turbo charger, I suppose I will opt for a smaller body.

I have been pretty level as far as weight for the last 4 or 5 years. Only fluctuating 6-8 pounds through winter and summer, but still at least 10 pounds heavier than I should be. I want to lose the extra....what I refere to as my "Wide Load"

In the construction industry we need to obtain a special permit to travel the roads with a wide or oversized load. That is how I feel with my running. Since I can't secure a special permit to allow me a "handicap"(thanks Jeff for putting that word in my head) when running, I must find a way to trim the excess unneeded pounds.

I was down to Florida a couple years ago running without my shirt on and a car full of girls drove by. One had her head out the window and yelled...."euwww, put your shirt on!" They were all laughing.....but I wasn't.

Now, don't get me wrong and don't get A mental picture of a beach ball waddling down the side walk, knocking over innocent pedestrians and blocking traffic. I am not really overweight by todays standards and at work I am actually considered a skinny guy, but for running efficiency I am hurting.

It's funny how relevant things are all depends on what you are comparing to. So, compared to the average fast and efficient runner, I am out of shape and no matter how much hard work I put into my training, I will not reach my maximum potential until I find a way to trim up and shed at least 10 pounds.

I say all this merely minutes after devouring a nice french toast breakfast sprinkled with cinnamon, lathered in butter and saturated in maple syrup (what's wrong with this picture?) Of course I threw it away and ate a peach instead.....YEA......Right!

Now that I have decided to sideline my racing goals and concentrate on my running, I am determined to solve my weight issues......I have all winter to transform into a lean runner that can run shirtless without causing the passerbyers a puke fest.

In my training I feel that if I lose the weight, everything else with automatically fall into place. I know this to be true because I looked back at my history and found that most of my fast PRs were in 2003 (my second year of running) and looking at my success at the time I noticed that I was quite a bit lighter .... about 10 pounds to be exact......Hmmmnnn...that number does sound familiar.

I have been running the roads quite a bit in the last week and I suddenly realized how much harder the surface feels and how the body fatigues much quicker than on trails. I was thinking about ways we could soften up road running when I came across this photo (below) would work and it qualifies for the new "green" movement. We could go green ...literally!

Ok, I suppose I have to leave room for my running stats....

I ran 2.5 miles with Mrs. Pathfinder as a warmup and then strolled off for a faster paced workout.

2.5 miles @27:52 (11:08pace)
didn't get splits
4.4 miles @36:01 (8:12 pace)
8:34....155-159 (hill)
8:32....151-155 (hill)
7:55....156-159 (kick@7:11p)
1/2 mile cooldown.


Another run with the Mrs.
2.5 @28:39 (11:27 pace)
1/2 mile cooldown walk.

I was going to bang out a faster run after but something came up and it didn't happen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Is Here.

I love fall....but I hate to see summer end. I worked the chute yesterday at the Craig Cup X-c race. I sure missed running it. If only I was fast enough to run it and still help as I promised. You see if I came in first, I would already be in the chute area and I then could assume my duties. The real trick would be finding a turbo foot rocket to add that needed speed.

Though I didn't run, I did get a chance to socialize a bit. It is funny how much mare you can connect with others when not running. I worked the chute with Val and her husband Rick......what great people. Though I have run with Val on accasion and I have seen Rick at many races, I didn't really get a chance to actually talk in general.......they are both pretty darn cool.

I had hoped to get a run in but with the leaves falling and the threat of brisk winds, I went home and did the unspeakable deed........I finally covered the pool. BOY did I hate to do that. It means that I have finally given in to the season change .......oh not that I don't love fall, because I do. I guess with the limited sunshine we received this summer I am just plain not satisfied!

The volunteer group yesterday also talked a lot about 50 mile and 100 mile races. I must say it got me pretty excited and I got thinking that I do want to attempt a 50 miler next year. I think I will start planning.


I wanted to run somewhere different today and decided to try Lowell Preserve. From what I heard it was quite nice and I quickly found out that statement was true. I loved it especially the singe track parts. I was a bit suprised though to come accros some very wet areas of standing water. I didn't cross paths with a soul.....though sometimes, that is OK.....I needed some time alone to just bond with nature. I got that today.

I have noticed lately how many acorns are falling everywhere. You know the Indians had a way to extract the bitter toxins from them and found it was a great source of protein.....perhaps we should learn how to do that, with budgets so tight right now, we could use a food that is so plentiful. Why havn't we done that yet? Nothing wrong with free food.

5.3 mile trail run
53:26 (10:05 pace)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

What If doing The Right Thing Is Wrong?

I think of myself as relatively fit. I run a lot and am very physically active. I try to eat right and I shun medicines when ever possible. I actually can't remember the last time I had a cold or the flu. Other than about a dozen surgeries this year for a work related accident, I have not had a need to see a doctor.

So, I should be all set, no problems right? Well, as it turns out there is a problem.
and it partially stems from me trying to do the right thing. I recently found out I have very high blood pressure. In most cases this is not a good thing....well in all cases I guess.

From what I have been told, HBP can be caused by many things but is usually related to heart problems as it causes the heart to overwork and possibly bring on heart attack or strokes. Not something I look forward to!

So, my doc says the normal course of action when one realizes they have HBP is to lose some weight, increase exercise, avoid salt and eat healthy......problem is, I am already doing that. The Doc ran an EKG and found that my heart was perfect(that's good news!!) Absolutely strong, healthy and no problems. He even showed me the long lapse between the readings indecating a low resting heart rate that one usually finds in an active athelete. Mine is 48 which has kicked the alarm at every surgery. By the way, he told me Joan Benoit Samulson's was 36.....crazy huh?

The doc asked me a lot of questions and had all of my surgery paperwork. One thing that suprised him was that I didn't take the pain medications after surgery. I told him that I felt the meds interfere with the bodies normal healing process. Also as a runner, we use pain as a gauge to tell us when we have done too much or gone too far.
I heal quite fast and am usually back to my normal activities in no time.

Come to find out, by not taking medications and having so many surgeries, my body has adjusted cronically to high blood pressure. So, by doing what I thought was the right thing, I helped cause this problem. Not making sense? Well when your body is injured, the pain signals trigger some type of enzyme to the liver and the liver reacts by creating calcium which increases blood pressure to force more blood into the damaged area. This sends a large supply of oxygen and also carries away toxins.

The medications not only mask the pain but also the signal to the liver. This proves that medication slows down the healing process. In normal cases, refusing medication is very helpful to healing, but in my case with so many surgeries, it has a byproduct.

The constant liver calcium combined with the blood pressure rise during stressful times like surgey and the fact that I have so many surgeries this year has caused a steady rise of Blood pressure to a point that does not have time to settle out then ends up at quite dangerous levels.

In the end, it is good to hear that I have no heart problems but I still have to address the blood pressure. I am sure it has curbed my performance this year. The doc seems to think it will settle back to normal after all the surgeries are over (I have two or three more this year). I am hoping, with that behind me I can work on a solid running base this winter and kick off some good PRs next year.

I did get in a nice trail run last night (though it was interupted for a short time) I was searching for my Ipod transmitter as it somehow fell out of the holder on my foot. Luckily I found it sitting right in the middle of the trail. I actually thought I would be running in the rain but it stopped about an hour before I went out. The weather was perfect and the woods were peaceful. I can't think of a better way to release the stresses of working.

3 mile trail run
25:07 (8:22 pace)
7:52....151-163 (7:01 kick)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shattered Schedules

What is it about fall that makes it so hard to create a usable schedule? It seems this happens every year. Perhaps there are reasons other than the obvious but I think there are forces in play that snicker as they change the speed of time.

I suppose the fact that we are hitting the peak of the Nascar racing season, Redsox baseball, the excitement of the Football season, the daylight disappearing faster each night,the many things I need to do around the house as I prepare for winter, All these things play their part in my in-ability to fit every thing in.

I guess I am just not meant for racing in the fall.....I barely have time to actually run! Matbe it all boils down to me creating the excuses I need to make me feel better about not running? maybe it is a subconcious choice?

I did get my cross training in on Saturday as I played in a golf tournement. It was fun yet I would have traded it in a flash to attempt the Badass run at Bradbury. I say attempt as I probably would not have finished maybe it would have been only half bad.

I did enjoy the golfing though and smiled to myself as everyone complained about the rain. It didn't bother me at all...these wussies wanted to quit because is was wet and harder and uncomfortable. It was all of those things, but it also is those difficult times that create a great memory, you need some adversity to burn the whole experience into long lasting memory.

In the end the golfing was a pretty good workout and I labeled it a 2 mile cross train in my almost like going for a run...but not. I know all my muscles felt it on Sunday morning. I couldn't tell if my muscles were whinning about the lameness or screaming for a run. Most of you avid running know what I am talking about.

It was one of those morning, I felt lame and I wasn't sure I wanted to roll out of bed and bang out a run. Sometimes it is just that (a good run) that forces the lameness out of the muscles. I think this was one of those mornings.

I decided to just plan a short 3-5 mile run, hit the road and let my body dictate the pace and eventual distance. It really is a great way to start the day as there was no pressure and I knew I could stop when ever I felt like it(well within reason as I had a lot to do)but I had at least an hour window to work with.

I hit the road with the anticipation of an easy run and decided to run just for goals, no monitoring the watch (though I would still have it running for my stats) Just enjoy an early morning fall run.

In the end it was a lot of fun as I started on the road but darted into a few trails along the way. I wasn't breathing hard and with a little sunshine it would have been perfect. Sunshine was not to be though.

6.2 miles @1:01:20 (9:54pace)
heart rate....139av....154max