Tag Archives: Run

Memorial Day Weekend and Vermont City Marathon Wrap-up

So, Marathon number 4 is in the bag, and, I think I’m finally proud to have finished one.

First, I cannot recommend the Vermont City Marathon highly enough – this is the third year the family’s headed up for the race, and we’re yet to be disappointed. Memorial Day weekend, Lake Champlain, and a set of phenomenal races – what’s not to love?

Saturday is the kid’s race day at the YAM Scram. Woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. The kids love it, as it’s one of the few times they get to have Fruit Loops, and I’m a sucker for unlimited coffee and fruit salad. Then, it’s down to the waterfront for probably the best run kid’s event I’ve ever seen. The YAM scram uses the same area as the Marathon finish – same gate, same announcer’s booth, same finishing chute – which is a real hit with our boys. Nate rocked the half mile this year, looking seriously at Melissa before the start and saying “Mommy, I think I need to run it by myself”. And Jake did a great job at the mile, not stopping once.

We changed up Saturday afternoon a little bit – stopping for lunch at the farmer’s market on the town green, and actually lingering at the Expo. The expo’s great – a pretty big space for a medium-small race, so there’s room to move around, and a great walkthrough of the course running continuously. I was pretty psyched that Small Dog Electronics was there – best Mac blog around, and apparently an excellent computer store. I was sorry I’d remembered to bring my power supply with me. Supper was at the Vermont Pub and Brewery, who gets extra credit for selling half pints at half the price of a pint, which is especially handy the night before a race.

Sunday morning was the race – plenty of parking in downtown Burlington. The wife and kids hung out with me in Battery Park for the start of the race, and then walked around downtown while i ran.

Repel the Yankees from New Dork!

About mile 6, I realized that 4 hours wasn’t happening in any way, shape, or form. It was phenomenal seeing the crowds through downtown Burlington, and great to see Melissa and the kiddos.

Second time down church street

Battery Hill, the race’s crux, just before Mile 16, felt great going up just after seeing the family and the drummers at Mile 15, but in Battery park, about 200 yards past the top of the hill, both of my calves siezed, and I battled cramps the rest of the way. 16-21 were really rough, but once I hit the bike path along Lake Champlain, the end was in sight.

Recovery after the race was good. We stopped by the Magic Hat brewery, which rocked, then sat by the pool and wiled away the evening.

At the Magic Hat Brewery

David Shares My Pain

Over at The Thin Trade, David’s struggling with the same thing I am: Namely not getting up off of the couch and into the rack every evening.

This week, though, I’m doing pretty well. I’m posed to hit all of my mid-week runs (One shifted by a couple of days, but still), and really looking forward to tomorrow’s long run. I’ve been doing the Men’s Health Two-Minute Drill after most runs, and it seems to make a difference.

Last night’s run was a good case in point. I got home late, and really, really didn’t want to. But, I jumped on the dreadmill and got it done, and felt tons better as soon as I was finished.

On the belly front, I’m not doing too well, but I haven’t lost any ground since Christmas. Lent for me is going to be giving up soda and fast food (Fast food loosely defined as anything with a white bread bun and french fries). Even though I usually drink diet soda, I’m beginning to believe in the studies that have shown that sugar-free soda tends to just stimulate your appetite so you overeat to compensate for the calories that aren’t in the soda.

Another trip at the beginning of next week – must prioritize exercise for the nights I’m out of town, or the workouts will be replaced by beer.

Hip’s advice last week was well timed – stop thinking about or trying to do stuff and just freaking do them. I do control the little stuff in my life, and can turn my concerns over the big stuff over to God.

Here’s to New Orleans – could this be the biggest Mardi Gras ever?

Not-So Speed(y) work


First real week of travel this month, and man, can I feel it.

Work’s been great, but travel schedule throws me for a loop. Even though I can pretty much eliminate the commute part of the day by staying close to my colleagues, the additional cruft of eating out and the soul-sucking nature of airports and motels makes it tough to get into and out of bed.

Actually, the motel’s mostly tough due to having comfy beds.

Anyhoo, I made Tuesday’s 3 miler, skipped speed on Wednesday, and tried speed this afternoon before heading to another airport for another town.

And the workout STANK.

I ended up doing only 3 out of the 5 total miles. I’ll probably do another 2 when I get to the hotel this evening, and make up the last distance run tomorrow morning.

But – I got it done. BLEH.

Status Update

Been Working (Day job and on the house), Running (As if it were a priority), and Sleeping (instead of blogging or wasting time).

Largely in that order.

Though I did watch It Might Get Loud. And can am left only with the thoughts of the Beastie Boys:

If I played guitar I’d be Jimmy Page.

The girlies I like are underage

Wait… forget that last bit…

Now, to find a track on which to run in the AM.

Does that count, Hip?

Running Reboot

Missy CRUSHED the Houston marathon. I’m so completely proud to be married to her.

At the same time, it’s painfully apparent why she makes things work and I don’t – consistency. I’ve got none; she lets Amtrak know when the trains are off schedule every time she heads through downtown on a run.

So, more than anything, my goal for the Vermont City workup is to hit my workouts. Actionable things to accomplish this:

  • Get to bed before 11. Ideally before 10, but that’s just not going to happen.
  • Get up by 5:30 on workdays, ideally by 5. If I’m up by 5, I can get almost any run up to 6 or 7 miles done before I need to be on the road to the office.
  • Simplify my gear setup. By this, I think I need to get in the habit of wearing my Nike+ watch as a watch, so I’m ready to go every morning. Also, I think I’m going to quit the alternating shoes thing during the week – maybe i’ll have a pair of “long run” shoes for the weekends.
  • Set out gear before I go to bed. I’ve been doing this, but not getting to sleep on time tends to negate this.

So, I’m good for two days this week. Let’s see if tomorrow happens.

2010 Continued

Man, I’m loving life.

First, the Twitter (via William Gibson of Neuromancer fame) spits out this link about neo-cavemen (cave people?) in NYC. Absolutely fascinating, and Nassim Taleb makes an appearance (You have read Fooled by Randomness, right?). So, in one 5 minute diversion, I’ve got:

  • Meat.
  • Exercise
  • Math
  • Stickin’ it to the Man
  • References to squirrel hunting
  • Making fun of Vegans
  • Frenchies.
  • Ex-Navy guys about my age

Fascinating article, but I’m afraid it’d ask me to give up beer.

In other news, I had two great runs this weekend. The first was Saturday afternoon – I went long-ish from NAVSTA Newport to downtown after drill. Was just really, really nice to be out, and in the zone. Highlight was when a pre-family co-worker flagged me down across the street from the post office and introduced me to his girlfriend. She was nice, but the best part was being a decent enough person to work with to be flagged down socially.

Sunday afternoon, I went for a short run to blow out the carbon after the long run. The first half-mile was tough, but I stuck with it for 30 minutes, and felt GRATE! by the end of the run, and woke up feeling great this morning.

Tonite, I made it back to the Y pool for the first swim of 2010. Seems like the Mystic Y raised the pool temp about 5 degrees – it wasn’t painful to get in. I actually broke down and did about 600 yards of drills that I remembered from last winter’s swimming for dummies (Triathletes) class in addition to the standard warm-up/cooldown.

Let’s see about other stuff:

  • One of my running partners for the VT City Marathon training is on DailyMile with me. Very much like the RBF works to motivate me, knowing that there’s someone else out there getting fitter and faster than me is a huge motivator.
  • Similarly, I’m determined to figure out how some of the new “New Media” works. Want a Google Wave invite? Leave a comment.
  • Likewise, I’m all about the MIT Opencourseware Project. I set up a $99 monitor with an Apple TV and a VGA jack for my laptop, plopped my bike trainer in front of it, and I’m reviewing linear algebra and its application to computer science. All for the price of nothing (I’d bought the monitor for something else)
  • Found out that a high school classmate of mine is going to retire from the Army this year. Odd to think that I’m old enough to have retired friends. Happier to think that I can retire from the reserves in about 4 years. And thankful that there’s men and women in this (and other) countries who are willing to dedicate themselves to making the world safe for democracy.
  • Did the final cleaning on the old house. Scrubbed all the applicable floors with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and had a trip down memory lane to scrubbing the floors at the fraternity house on Sunday mornings (morning being loosely translated as noon-ish) after parties.

OK, that’s probably close to enough. Things I still owe:

  • Resolutions
  • Training plan for VT City
  • Pictures of the new house

ENOUGH! Go run.

EDIT: Two more quick things –

  • I’ve got a current intellectual crush on Karen Armstrong. Her book on The Bible is a great and short read. (And it’s out of the same Atlantic series that spawned PJ O’Rourke’s brilliant book on “On The Wealth of Nations”, so it uses small words). God is good, and expects us to be good to each other
  • Bag Balm. I’ve been suffering from some excema on my foot for about 9 months. Peeling, cracking, itching. I’d tried steroids from the doc, and some fancy stuff that Melissa recommended, and it just kept getting worse. Then, as we’re moving, I come across this tin of Bag Balm that we’ve had for a decade or more, since we treated a dog who’d had a run-in with a pricker bush. I figured “What the heck?” and smeared it on, and about 2 weeks later, I’m close to convinced that I’m finally going to get better. Just further proof that everything good comes from Vermont.

Bail-Out Plan – What’s yours?

Jon(was)inMichigan has a good post up about “What-If”, as in “What-If my running partner knocks herself unconscious when we’re out in the middle of nowhere?”

The general consensus is that one ought to run with a cell phone, or failing that, run where there’s lots and lots of people around.

Missy and I both do that for long runs (my short runs are usually on a Navy base, so there’s ALWAYS people around; hers are usually down River Road in Mystic, where she can flag someone down pretty easily). The other thing we’ve gotten in the habit of doing, especially before long runs, is letting the other know where we’re going, and how long we expect to be out.

I’m a big fan of previewing my route in Google Maps, MapMyRun, Nike+, or DailyMile so that I can plan out:

  • Bail out points (IE, where can I cut the run short if I feel like crap)
  • Fuel points (gas stations, convenience stores, coffee shops, and places to get carbs-(there’s a pub in the basement))
  • Scenery

Anyway, it’s something to think about, especially for those of us north of the Mason-Dixon line who are blessed with cool in which to run for the next couple of months. I don’t wanna hear about any lost fingers, toes, or lives.

Billy-Off 2009, Week 1, Day 2

First, a bit of admin – there’s 4 days of Belly-Off each week: M-W-F and a Saturday challenge. So, saying “Day 2” doesn’t mean Tuesday, it means Wednesday.

Anyway. Day 2. Holy crap, I woke up hurting today. Seriously considered taking a pass on the workout. But, then I jiggled my belly and figured out how to make it work.

The Wednesday workout was considerably tougher than the Monday workout – four “SuperSets” instead of three, and the introduction of a couple of stability ball exercises that I pretty much tanked. I managed about 75% of the reps for each set before the form fell apart. I decided to declare success on the manly part of the workout and head outside for intervals.

The run was good – I was tasting lunch again by the beginning of the 4th interval (5 minute warm-up, 6×30 second max effort with 30 seconds recovery, 5 minute cooldown), but managed to keep everything in my tummy through the end. Running intervals is kind of a new experience for me – it’s difficult for me to gauge the effort at which I need to go into the first couple to be recovered by the end of the recovery period. Which I suppose is partly the point.

But, MAN, could I feel every part of my body by the end. I’m feeling better tonight, but am kind of worried about waking up sore tomorrow. Especially my ab (as there’s currently only one mound of lard there. A pony keg instead of a six pack, if you will). BellyOff seems to be very, very core intensive. Ibuprofen would probably be a good prophylactic; however, I’m gonna see if I can muscle this out.

Tomorrow’s just the 2 minute drill in the AM. Though I’ll probably try to spin on one of the bikes at the office gym during lunch.

New York Aftermath

So, much like Danny*, I did the annual withdrawal from the NYC Marathon this weekend. There’s a long and tragic series of events leading up to not running; the short summary of which goes:

  1. This was probably my best summer’s training ever. July and August were AWESOME, and I PR’d New Haven, breaking a streak of really, really tough runs. September started great.
  2. September at the office turned into a zoo. After New Haven, I averaged one (1) run per week from Monday-Friday. And those were all about 3 miles, due to a combination of being time-crunched, on travel, or sore from the long run.
  3. Long runs – I made about 60% of them, with an absolutely disastrous 20 miler 3 weeks before NYC. One of my Sunday Schoolers (High School Junior) mentioned to me that she almost stopped to give me a ride that day.
  4. I mis-trimmed my left big toe about 2 weeks ago, and it’s a nasty, sore, oozing mess. I’m tempted to put up a picture, but man, is it grooody and painful.

In the end, what put the nail in the 2009 Marathon coffin was coming down with the Flu a week ago Wednesday. I spent 3 days completely in bed, and still am not quite right. But, I decided to bag the race. I don’t have the cool cancellation message, as it was the 29th by the time I was conscious enough to realize I wasn’t going to run, and you can’t withdraw electronically after the 28th. No huge deal – I think that I’ve realized that I need to do my big race focus in either early September or after the New Year from now on to allow training to mesh with work.

The flu kind of ended up being a relief. I could have finished NYC, but there was no way it was going to be a good race. Not having to go through with the race just ’cause I’d paid (through the noise) for it made life a bit easier.

But there are positives – I dropped the 5 pounds I’d put on over the summer thanks to 104+ degree fevers and not eating for a couple days. And I had an awesome weekend with my parents and kids – Ma and Pa Jank had come up from Texas to watch the youngn’s, and I got to spend a delightful weekend with them, including a trip to Clyde’s Cider Mill on Sunday for kettle corn, donuts, and hard cider.

So, RBF, there you go – true confession, I blew it for this race.

* I mention Danny only because we’ve been swapping emails with sob stories for the last week. Misery, turns out, really does love company.

End of the summer runs?

Maybe, because as I’m typing this, there’s 60 degree air rolling in through the kitchen window, and it’s supposed to hit 55 tonight.

I snuck out of the office at lunch yesterday for the day’s 4 miles; a beautiful summer day on Narragansett Bay – 80, sunny, brisk breeze from the south. And the run was good.

I’m not back to the point where I was before San Antonio – runner’s high setting in at about 2 miles in, but I think I’m starting to get sniffs again. There’s something different about this cycle – it’s been just harder to get going. I don’t know if that’s because I have been better this time about sticking to the schedule, or if I didn’t take a long enough recovery period after Mooseman. Regardless, it’s 2 months to New York, and I think I’ll make it.

So, that’s it, except for this: Nate (youngest) comes downstairs early this morning, all sorts of excited. “Daddy, where’s Mommy?”

“She’s out running, why?”

“I wanted to show her the turkeys in the backyard cleaning up the mess at the birdfeeder.”

Man, I love those kids.