Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Over It!!

There comes a point it time when one has to realize that there are many things in this world that can not be controlled or changed. Our only recourse is to come to grips with the reality, accept the direction we are given and work with what we have.
Soooo... I am not running Boston in 2010 but I am making plans!

One thing I decided is to throw my hat into yet another lottery and shoot for a spot at the Mount Washington Race in June. It seems fitting that I punish myself with an uphill run for over 7 miles....hey why not?

At the same time, I am opting out of the Beach to Beacon. I hated the sign up process this year and though I absolutely love the race, it has become too conjested and a logistical nightmare. Instead I would much rather run the Bitch to Bacon, assuming it is run again next year.

I figure I will use the wait and see approach for Pineland and decide the best race for me after the winter. If I get enough time and miles on my feet, perhaps I will do something crazy like the 50 miler?? Rest assured, I will run one of the Pineland races.

Right now, I have decided to put racing on the back burner and run for fun. I want to enter events for the pure fun of it. I am not going to dwell on time and will use the rest of this fall and winter to work on a solid running base.

If I can start out the 2010 year with a PR at the Irish Rover then I will feel my racing is on track. From there I hope to spring board to some good races results for a change. It seems quite obtainable and not unrealstic at all to expect some 5k and 10k pr's yet still run the long trail races.

So, running for fun does not mean I won't be working hard as I plan to prove at the Hell race this weekend. Who says pure Hell can't be fun? I haven't ironed out my schedule completely yet but it looks as though I will make it....I am pretty excited, but my body is a little worried.......I have been lying to it....shhhhh..I told it the whole thing was flat with a downhill finish!!

Last night was cardio/ weight workout and I am starting to settle in pretty darn good. The workout felt a bit easier though the bicycle crunches are still a killer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Official, My luck Sucks

Well it's official and I was not one of the lucky winners in the Boston Lottery. On paper my chances were pretty good.....2 out of 23 are great odds! For some reason I was feeling pretty confident. I am not sure why as I never win at such things, but deep inside I felt this was my time.

I had already planned some of my runs and made out a graph for my training....yeah I was getting quite excited about it. I even went out for a couple runs working on down hills.

I don't know why I was so excited about it, I suppose it is just the attention the race gets and most non runners equate the Boston race with running. It always seems to be the first question......"Oh, you are a runner, have you done the Boston Marathon?" I suspect if you haven't done it then you are not a real runner.

So anyway, at least I can say my luck is consistant and I don't have to worry about which way it will go.

Lately, I have been working on more muscle groups and trying to change things up a bit. I am hoping that a core/cardio workout will help my running for the spring. I really need to drop some fat to be at a good racing weight and honestly I can't seem to cross that threshhold. For the past 3-4 years I have been fluxuating about 8-10 lbs between winter and summer, the lighter side still being about 8-10 pounds heavier than optimum so the heavy side is much, much too heavy.

At least the running has kept me from adding on the pounds most older people seem to pack on as their metabolism slows down. Now I need to change the eating habits and cut some fat. I hope the cardio/weight workout will do the trick.

I can say at this point (about two weeks into the program) I have felt it in the legs, midsection and arms. I have seen no results physically as far as appearance goes and the weight hasn't changed. I think it must be hidden underneath my soft shell of flab. You can't tell by my appearance but I am one lean mean racing machine ...kind of a sleeper I know like when they used to put these high horsepower racing engines in crappy/ ordinary looking cars. Well that's me (yeah right!!).

I had a fairly active weekend and was still able to fit in some quality running.

This morning it was treadmill hill running then cardio/weight workout(it was dark and cold at 5:00 am and I just didn't feel like hitting the road) I found it nice to be able to watch the history channel and drink my morning coffee while getting in my run. Is that a sign of getting old or just plain becoming lazy?

I did a four mile hill run fluxuating between 6 and 10% grade, then the workout program. The work out seemed much tougher after running and I was sweating up a storm by the time I finished. I then had just enough time to eat breakfast, take a shower and head to the state championship class A football game.


I was looking forward to a trail run without worrying about hunters. My goal was somewhere around 10 miles at pineland or bradbury. As it turns out, I decided to run near home in the essense of saving some time. It was destined to be a very warm day for november standards and I still had a lot of things to do around the yard to prepare for winter.

I woke up a bit lame lame from Saturday's workout but didn't feel it would affect my run too much. Right off the bat, my legs were heavy and I felt fatiqued. Damn, that workout must be working out after all. I hoped to feel better as I settled in and put a few miles in the bank but it just wasn't materializing.

The run felt long and the hills felt hillier, I got to a point where I could feel heavy fatigue settling in and decided to cut the run short. I was still able to knock off 7.5 miles and felt the fatigue running was probably good training. When I realized how good it felt to stop running, I knew it was the right decision.

Total miles 7.5 @ 1:14:17 combination dirt road / technical trail(9:55 pace)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No News Is Not Always Good News

Some days I sit at my desk and can almost feel the fat multiplying around my midsection. I didn't have the normal bounce in my step and though I usually run up the stairs when going to the stock room, I merely walked up them today.

It is funny how numerous days of good exercise does not discount the guilt of one lazy day. Our bodies seem to be geared toward the latter, when I am running hard or working out the body cries and complains but when I am lazing around, it is happy as a clam .......Oh, I might get the occasional "we should be doing something" but no drive to change things.

I waited in anticipation today to get word about the lottery for Boston Marathon.....No news is usaually considered good news but in this case I think it is not so good news as I didn't hear anything about the winners. I suspect the winners are the first to know.

I didn't actually realize how excited I was about this chance until the day wore on and I started preparing myself to believe I wasn't one one the lucky ones. The more hours that ticked by, the lazier I felt. Perhaps it was a mini depression or maybe just football lag from watching the game Sunday night, but surely I was not feeling too energetic.

I felt for sure when I got home and threw on the running clothes, I would cheer up but I felt like a criminal as I had to break the news to my wife that we should turn in our lease car. I had thought about it long and hard. Did it make sense to keep it with the economy in the hopper and winter lurking?

It is a beautiful car and my wife just loves it. The lease is up this month and we would have to finance it to keep it. My heart says "lets do it" but my analytical brain is screaming "what...are you crazy!"

We have two other vehicles and she acually doesn't drive the car in the winter. That proves how special it is to her yet also proves that we don't need it. It is so humbling to say we can't afford it, yet in this unstable economy, we really can't. It is a luxury to have the opportunity to give it back.......but we don't want to.

So, even though it seems people only write in their running blog when they run, I felt it unfair to my non running day to be dormant. Things need to be aired reguardless. that means I didn't throw on the running clothes and did just laze around all evening. Is that so bad?

As I was preparing to hit the sack, I became increasingly mad at myself for not getting in my planned run. The weather was fantastic (for November) and it was a clear night. I would have easily dulled the days discouragements with a nice evening run.

I found myself asking, does one really need to be running around the woods, climbing rocks ledges, sliding down sand pit walls,negotiating trails and roads to be healthy? I found the answer a bit enlightening. I don't need to be doing those thing to stay healthy, there are many ways to stay in shape ........But I WANT to do those things. I choose to because it has somehow become part of me.

IN the end, the day was not lost after all as I dreampt about a nice trail run with some friends ........and a great run it was.

Monday, November 16, 2009

When Is The Rain Coming?


I woke up Saturday morning fully prepared for a good trail run in the pouring rain. I was actually looking forward to it! I was a bit disapointed when I didn't hear rain on the roof as I rolled out of bed but figured it was only a matter of time.

A warm blanket of fresh damp air gently brushed against me as I stepped out of the door. Though it wasn't raining yet, it sure felt like it would at any moment. The air was so warm and fresh smelling....almost spring like, I shuddered with anticipation of the planned run at Cathance preserve.

I ran there once last year and though it was severely cold that day, I enjoyed the terrain a lot. It seemed smart to bring a compass as I remember getting lost in the first mile last year (even though I was following a group at the time) That's what happens when you are the "slow" guy. Anyway, the plan failed as I somehow could not find my compass.

I was hoping to meet Scott there anyway and he knew the trails very well. As plans are made to be broken (Murphy's Law) I got sidetracked longer than I figured loading my truck with my friend Mike's stuff. He had recently moved out of Brunswick and there were a few things left. Sure seemed like a perfect time to run in that area.

We arrived at 8:30 and saw Scott's truck sitting there and empty. OK, so no trail guide and no compass.....I would have to use memory and landmarks to navigate :)
As we headed in the trail I studied the tower at the top of the hill. This would take the place of my compass.

I was prepared for at least 8 miles and Mike thought he was too. In the end it was a bit more of a struggle for him and I suspect he would have rather stopped at 6 miles. Problem is at mile six we were lost and debating what direction we should go.

It happened because after running the Heath trail, beaver trail and rappid trail Mike was getting fatigued. We saw a gravel truck heading down a dirt road and decided to follow it as it appeared to be the Evergreen loop. Well it wasn't and we ended up in a housing developement. I scanned the horizon and pointed to a tower on a hill that looked to be about a mile away. "That is were we need to head" I repeated until he finally listened to me.

This part was actually a lot of fun (for me) as we bushwacked a bit until we came across a powerline trail which was a very nice run. One thing that kept nagging at me was the fact that we were in open woods and there could be hunters there. I had to convince myself that my bright floresent yellow vest and Mike's bright green sweatshirt would probably stand out enough to keep us from being shot.

The powerlines lead us toward the tower so I knew we would be able to find our way back eventually. I guess this was the point that I realized it was probably good that it didn't start raining as that would make the bushwacking a bit more difficult.

We got to experience some pretty cool terrain and did finally come across the cross- country trails around the tower. I loved this run today, it was different and exciting. I was glad to realize that I could navigate with out the compass.

Though it didn't start raining until later in the day, this run was near perfect. There were a couple moments that my mind drifted to visions of a phone booth (yeah in the woods...??) though I don't who I would have called. Instead I followed my instincts and was happy with the results. I would have liked to have climbed the observation deck next to the tower just get a view of where we ran but it was locked behind a fence.

Total run 8.75 miles @1:48:41
Heart Rate 138 average ....159 max



I decided to do a tempo run today on tired legs from yesterday. I wasn't sure how I would feel but actually it was fine and though I could "feel" the trail run from yesterday, I enjoyed the faster pace.

4.54 miles @39:03 (8:35 pace)
heart rate average 150 max 162

7:58 (6:17 kick)

Friday, November 13, 2009

You're Out Of Shape Fatboy!!

I got home later than normal last night and on top of that I had to put a surpintine belt in a Saturn......(not my car!!)remind me never to buy one of theses cars! No wonder they are shutting down. Normal parts are so expensive and everything is a chore to replace. Muffler $400.00, mass air flow sensor $400.00, alternator $300.00.....geesh! You have to remove a motor mount to replace the belt.

OK, enough whinning about why I was in a bad mood and had little time to run last night. Honestly after working on the car I had frozen hands and chills traveling through my body. Besides that I drew blood in two places as my hands landed against solid metal objects.I surely didn't feel light running out doors and started contemplating a barefoot treadmill run.

I shuddered as I visioned feeling like a barefoot rat with headphones running absolutely nowhere......running in circles for no apparent reason with some dumb human watching and thinking how cute it was that the animal actually thought it was going somewhere.

I thought for a moment to just skip the run all together until I walked past my racers and could have sworn they were making fun of me. I didn't see their mouth move but I am pretty sure they called me fatboy!

That was all it took and I grabbed them mouthy shoes and threw them on my feet. "I will show you!" I screamed as I envisioned them cringing and groaning while I stomped through a 5K tempo run on the treadnill.

I wanted to show no mercy so I opted to watch a Rambo movie instead of easy listening on the Ipod. As Rambo beat the crap out of an army of solders, I stomped extra hard and pushed off the toes with great force. I figured I could train fast turn over and high kick, while at the same time causing great pain to them racing shoes with massive treadmill belt burns!

After a 5k run I was sure I heard the shoes crying and begging me to slow down so I stopped just long enough for them to think the slugfest was over.....but it wasn't. I put the incline right up to 10 % grade and run uphill on them whinny shoes for an additional half mile.

I was smiling pretty good as I watched rambo climb into the chopper after beating the odds of 1 against 100 and high tail it out of there. I felt the same satisfaction and laughed out load as I slowed down to a cooldown pace for a mile. I suspect these shoes will never talk back to me again!

All in all, it was a pretty good workout. Something was missing though and I finally realized what it was......there was no head wind from running. The thing that tells you your are running and even though it creates resisitance, at least it cools you down as a byproduct. That is what I miss and probably one reason why the treadmill is not that equivalent to actual running.

I didn't have time to do my new workout routine tonite so in lieu of that I worked the upper body and arms with three pound weights as I jogged my cooldown. It is suprisingly harder than it sounds. The arms tend to want to move in time with the legs I struggled a bit but was able to multitask......good thing I wasn't chewing gum too.

3.15 mile @5% grade 25:51 (8:12 pace)
7:35 kick

.5 mile hill run 10% grade @ 5:52 (9:37 pace)

1 mile cooldown with upper body weight workout.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Muscle Bound And Lean

I have been looking for something to replace the easy run on the treadmill this winter as I just don't like running on that thing. I am OK with the hill workout, intervals or even an occasional long run with a movie on the tread, but the easy run is only a short cardio workout with no other benefit.

So, I picked out a workout routine that is designed to give a well rounded jolt to the core muscles. It is easy when reading about the intended results to vision a muscular looking body with too many mounding muscles for the average man to count or even name.

Though I do not acually plan to become muscle bound as that would be detrimental to my running goals, I do think strong core muscles will help tremendously. At the same time my jiggly areas do need some attention so I kill two birds with one stone.

I started last night. Routine #1 seemed like it would be fairly easy and I assumed I would have to step it up quite a bit to gain results. I figured I would probably have to jump right into #3 after the first night.

The workout is actually quite short so I planned on doing it twice the first time. It is well rounded with a warmup, cardio, muscle tone, cardio and stretch. The fact that it was to last only 20 minutes seemed like a waste of time, but you don't know until you try.

OK...I stand corrected. How can a body that runs all the time be so out of shape? Halfway through the workout, my muscles were crying and whinning. You would think it was the first time they ever had to work!

What I thought was going to be rediculously easy turned out to be on the cusp of killing me.....hey...only 20 minutes? It felt more like hours. The worst was the crunches. Even though I didn't see anything, I swear there was a 200 lb. invisible person jumping up and down on my abs.

I was so glad to finish and honestly I felt like a whimp. The thought of doing a second workout was long gone and only a wisp of a memory now. I guess what it does prove is that I need the work. The only thing that didn't bother me was the cardio, I was winded but not on the edge.

Today I have lame hamstrings, lame arm muscles and lame abs, they remind me of the hell I put them through eveytime I try to move......I guess that means I did some good huh? Even though it was only 20 minutes, the fact that I used weights and did not rest through the workout is why it is so tough.

In retrospect, I feel this routine is going to work well. I can't wait until I have a couple weeks behind me and I can tackle it with a bit more drive. I can only assume it will help immensely for trail running.

I suspect by spring no one will recognize me and I will have to introduce myself every place I go.....and then there are the women that will be throwing themselves at me...I guess I will have to learn to deal with that too. I am wondering though, if I run shirtless, what creates more wind resistance, a flapping flabbyness surface or a rock solid mass?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Girl Talk and Tough Chicks

Most people reading this probably know I am not one for much conversation when running. You see I do nothing but talk at work, so when I leave the office, my mouth gets a break and honestly I know my job so well, I could talk confidently for hours straight, but it is for work.

When on the trails one might hear some yes and no's with a few three word sentences thrown in from me,but nothing of much concern or consequence. I make fun of my wife when she gets on the phone and talks for an hour straight. I couldn't fathom what they could talk about for that long, but hey, that's girl talk right?

Well, I honestly do not know what happened, but Sunday I somehow ended up girl talking for an hour and a half! It's true.....I went to Bradbury for what I planned to be an easy, semi long trail run. I wanted an hour or so of running at no specific pace but not tempo or race pace.

Val and Linda were the only ones there when I arrived, no one else showed up so off we went. Linda was a bit worried as we started out, she had not run on these technical trails since September when she fell and hurt her back. She was apprehensive about falling again and we assured her that we would keep the pace managable.

Linda remarked that my slow was equal to her fast, then I said that Val's slow was my fast........somehow we let Val lead??......I know, it didn't make much sense but actually it worked very well and Val did and exellent job of not leaving us behind.

So a mere minutes after hitting the trails, we are suddenly talking up a storm and I couldn't seem to keep my mouth shut. We talked about a mother's feeling when raising kids, all kinds of stuff about being pregnant and having multible chidren, empty nest syndrome, Etc.

Suddenly, it dawned on me........this was ..well..girl talk! Now don't get me wrong, I am not being sexist or anything, but when the subject matter hinges on mother's emotions and such......well, most men are distanced from those conversations. Not because we don't care but probably we don't understand.

Not being a girl, I am sure I said many things that probably didn't make sense. Val and Linda were very kind and didn't bring my attention to it. Now we did hit on other subjects like coyotes, dogs and running, but still, I talked for the whole time.

These two are some tough chicks, Val second guessed a mud pit and smashed her knee on a large tree root. I could see by the look on her face,that it hurt pretty bad. She got up, checked to make sure her knee was still pointing in the right direction and went right back to running ......Damn, I am pretty sure I limped with psycological pain for at least 10 minutes.

Then Linda went down hard as a root grabbed her foot, she not only got right back up, but she also won the battle as she managed to rip the root right out of the ground. Hey, I want these two around for my next bar fight!

In the end, I had a perfect run and perfect company. The pace was just what I bargained for and I felt great....well except for over dressing, but who knew it was going to be summer for one day? I should have been wearing shorts, one less layer of clothing and no hat.

I know Linda felt she was pretty fatiqued near the end but when I looked at the splits, I understood why. We acually picked up the pace in the last three miles and she was working much harder than she thought. We ended up with a good workout and with almost negative splits.......any coach would be proud.

Total miles:
7.24 @ 1:32:54 (12:24 pace)
12:03....140-153 (average HR and Maximun HR)
12:10....145-154 (last .24)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exploring Naked Running (feet)

I read someone's blog the other day about training barefoot on the treadmill. The fact that I don't have Vibrams and that I am too much of a wuss to try running the trails with naked feet, I thought I would at least try the treadmill approach.

It seems to be a good way to expose the feet and body to the running change and work up from there. Of course I can't see myself running Bradbury but perhaps a course like Pineland would be OK.

Last year when I was on vacation, I did try running barefoot on the beach and experienced some pretty tight and sore archilles. The soft sand might have ben part of the problem, but also I think that is a weak spot for me as I had some severe problems with the right one a few years back when I was concentrating on speed and ran a lot of 5ks.

I would like to gain the benefit of running more on my toes and changing my natural posture to run better with or without shoes. After running a couple miles on the treadmill, it felt similar to the look of the Pose style of running except my stride was longer.

By two miles I started noticing hot spots on the balls of my feet and decided that was probably enough for the first time. As I was putting on my socks, I noticed how dirty the treadmill made my feet.....I guess I will have to wash the belt. I put on the running shoes and finished my workout with a one mile fast walk on 10% grade.

I guess I will continue this training one day a week and see how things go. I suppose this will fit in well with the times it is severely cold, a heavy blizzard or I just don't feel like running outside.

I finally pulled out my head lamp and ran Tuesday night. It was a great run as the air was fresh, crisp and the moon was still almost full. The only thing I struggled with was the extra heavy traffic which I contributed to the voting.


4.03 miles @34:49 (8:39pace)
6:27...158-165 (kick)

.4 mile cooldown jog


Naked feet treadmill run
2 miles @ 18:59 (9:30pace)
1 mile hill (fast) walk 12:28

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Think My Tape Measure is On A Diet!

This is not my best time of year when it comes to exercise and eating. My schedule is very hectic, so getting in the runs are difficult. Halloween brings all that fantastic candy, Thanksgiving brings more goodies, Christmas even more crap......on top of all that, I am pretty sure my tape measure is on a diet.

What is it with all this food that is bad for us but we can't help but devour all that we see? I am beginning to think that manufacturers are putting some chemical in the formular that tricks our brains in some way.

Lays potatoe chips actually used to advertise "you can't eat just one" HHmmmnn, perhaps they knew something we consumers didn't. It makes sense, because I can't eat just one of anything bad for me.

Hey, tabacco companies did it by mixing silica in the chewing tabacco to roughen up the skin in the mouth and promote faster obsorbtion thus causing a faster dependancy on nicotine. So, why wouldn't other large companies do something?

I actually thought that perhaps if candy companies were forced to make their product less atractive, it would help.....well then I realized even that wouldn't work when I came across these products...

Kids eat this stuff?

This is awful to say and yes, there was a picture but I couldn't bring myself to post it here. There is a candy that consist of a paper diaper with some type of chocolate in it. OK, that is just going too far! If that doesn't stop kids from eating candy, I don't think anything will.

I totally planned on running last night. I had my head lamp ready, yet when I arrived home in the pitch dark, I just didn't feel like running. What is up with that? I am not training and surely not pushing myself, so shouldn't this be the time when I want to run just for the fun of it?

I don't understand, I have no problem saying no to foods that are good for me, I can say no to a refreshing nightly run under the full moon that is so good for my health, yet I can't say no to the peanutbutter cup. Instead I eat one while chanting to myself, "I will only eat one, how can that possibly hurt me?"

I say the same thing when I eat the second and third one, "hey, only one more and that will be it." Lucky for me, I have been leaning more toward dark chocolate as they say it is good for you.....hey all kinds of good stuff like antioxidants and much less surgar.....finally, a healthy snack that I like! I found out the other day that Reeces now has a peanutbutter cup with dark chocolate....Yeah!!!

You see, I can get the antioxidant value from the chocolate and the protein from the peanutbutter. So if one is good for you then 10 or so is 10 times better ...right?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daylight At 4:10AM

Each morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is turn on the ouside light as there are usually deer eating the apples that drop from one of our "wild" apple trees.
I am pretty sure at one time they were very fruitfull tress but now they bare some pretty nasty apples and are not edible (for humans). The deer love them though and this time of year there are apples all over the ground.

I was suprised this morning because I didn't even have to turn on the outside light as the full moon was lighting things up like crazy. If only I had time for a run this morning, it would be absolutely beautiful and I wouldn't need the head lamp. The ride to work was breath taking and I just couldn't stop staring at that bright moon. With all the talk lately about coyotes, I have expected to hear one howling!

I also forgot about hunting season, of course I wouldn't see any deer. It is so weird as I see deer crossing the road in three different places just about every morning. I actually drive with my high beams on, it seems to freeze them and then I don't end up hitting any.

When hunting season arrives, they disappear and I rarely see one in the morning. It is so strange, almost like someone posts warning signs to go into hiding for a month.
Of course if they were really smart they would set up camp right at the road edge as the hunters can't shoot them there.

It was an odd weekend for me as far as running goes. I planned a long run Saturday and hoped for an easy short run on Sunday. All together I wanted to get my weekly miles back up to the high 20s-low 30s. It didn't happen as it never seems to this time of year. I have so many things going on in November and December, I should know better.

Easy 2.5 miles with the Mrs. I didn't even bring my watch and we had a great time running and talking. I surely have come to enjoy these runs.

The battle plan was a long run but instead it was more a full body workout as I decided to stay off the trails and couldn't bring myself to run long on the road today. In the end I logged 3 miles and some very lame muscles from all the work around the house (who needs a gym when you can dig ditches instead?)


Decided on Bradbury Mountain for a hill workout. I am not sure what I was thinking as I knew I would be a bit lame from Saturday. All in all it went pretty good though I did cut the run a little short from what I was planning. The mountain seemed extra tall this morning and managed to slam me down onto a slippery rock on one of the downhills sections. Yes, it drew blood and I think I ruined one of my running shirts.

5.3 miles @1:01:42 (10:39 pace)

It was such a beautifull day we drove down to Goose Rocks Beach and spent the afternoon walking and running around with my daughter's cute pup....
2 easy sandfilled miles with some wet salty water mixed in.