Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Some are good:  Godfather II

Some are not so good:  Caddyshack II

I wouldn't say it's as bad as the worst movie about caddies, but Again To Carthage is definitely on that half of the spectrum.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Go to this website, let it load, scroll all the way down to the bottom.

I'm #2952.

Then poke around and see just how impressive me running two marathons in 15 days's impressive, don't get me wrong, but not that much when you look at some of the others.

3 miles this morning.  First run since GR.  Felt incredible.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

That Makes Two

I've had the last three days to mull over, review, rehash, breakdown, dissect, and ruminate on the Grand Rapids Marathon and my performance.


Pleased as punch.

See, I knew going into this that most likely the goal for GR would be to just finish.  But then after my day in the twin cities I thought that a more directed effort might elicit a finish time that would be more memorable than just finishing.  In layman's terms, a PR.

Really, what the fuck was I thinking?

The conditions couldn't have been better - weather was ideal!  Temperature in the low 40s at the start, sunny and warming throughout the day with a predicted temperature at noon of 55F.  PERFECT.

I was properly fed and hydrated prior to the race.  I had a perfectly dialed in nutrition and hydration plan for during the race.  That plan was executed flawlessly (with a MAJOR assist in that department by T).

My pace plan was sound:  go out easy, aim for a 10:30 average pace so I can take it easier on the "hilly" part (there's one small portion of the course that has some rolling hills in it, no major climbs at all, but some rolling terrain), see what you have at mile 22ish and see if a PR would be within striking distance.  Sounds good huh?

I executed that right up until about mile 19.  Nope I didn't see the wall.  Mentally I felt good, but my legs weren't tired.  Nope.  Not at all.  They were fucking dead.  They hurt.  They didn't cramp.  They were just painful.  Feet were okay.  My quads and hip flexors just decided that many miles in that short of time weren't in their contract.

That resulted in a finish that was less than I'd hoped for that day.  But it isn't always, okay seldom, about the numbers on the clock at the finish of a marathon and it wasn't that day.

I took what I learned at Twin Cities and made some changes for GR and had success with those.  I learned some things at GR that I'll apply to the next time I take on the challenge of 26.2 miles.  So what did I learn?  In no particular order:

  • My running volume needs to increase.  About 10-15 miles per week in order to have the type of success (it's not always about time) I want to have at this distance.
  • I need longer long runs.  I need to cross that 20 mile barrier and get closer to 22-23 at least once in the training cycle.
  • I need to make sure my quality runs (e.g. tempo runs, intervals, etc) are of higher quality.  This goes hand in hand with the need to increase my overall volume.
  • I need to be taking better care of myself overall.  I need to be doing more ancillary stuff - overall along with running specific strength and I need to address some deficiencies in some specific areas.
  • I need to incorporate solid food later into my long runs and will need time to experiment with that.
Old Man Marathon may have beat me about the head and neck Sunday but I'm not done dancing with him yet.  Well I am done dancing with him in the short term.  As of today I'm not planning on running a marathon again until 2012.  There would be two circumstances that would change that, and those would involve two specific people asking me to run with them (and I seriously doubt either one of them doing so, but it's not impossible.)  That makes 2011 the year of the half marathon and I've got some races circled on the calendar and some goals at that distance and some others.  Details to come on that.

There you have it.  I'm very happy with how things worked out and I did accomplish something Sunday that I'll blog about in a few days.

Oh, one more thing?  Today is Wednesday.  It's the first day that I've walked, just walked, without pain. This has been the sorest I've felt after a marathon.  I'm planning on running tomorrow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Down

I was informed today that I've been remiss about posting any sort of race report following the Twin Cities Marathon last week, so here goes.  I'm not going to give a mile by mile breakdown (or even post my splits) because that's not as important as some of the overall themes of the day and the lessons I learned.

First of all I'd like to thank Craney and the Original Sherpa for free accommodations and transportation for the weekend.  A big shout out goes to Goon and Moonie for the company during the race itself, but more on that in a minute.

Race day started out totally uneventful.  The weather forecast was pretty much ideal - cold in the hours prior to the race and warming up into the 60s by the early afternoon.  Okay, so not "ideal" but a high in the 60s is so much better than a high in the 70s or god forbid the 80s.  The prerace staging took place at the Mall of America Dome (the dome formerly known as the Metrodome) and you'd be shocked at how small and narrow the concourses in that place are!

The weather, it was in the mid-30s when we got to the dome, set the stage for the first two lessons that I learned that day:
  1. I was dressed perfectly if the forecast called for it to stay in the 30s or even the 40s.  Long sleeve cold weather Nike mock with a short sleeve shirt over top.  Remember though that the forecast called for it to warm up, plus it was a bright sunny day which made it feel even warmer.  Dressed to warm.
  2. We stayed in the dome too long before we made our way out to the start corral.  By the time some of the group dropped off their bag at bag drop and we entered the corral we were behind the 5:30 pace group.  We were able to worm our way up to just behind the 5:00 pace group but we were surrounded by people who would be running much slower than us which made it hard to get into a smooth rhythm in the first mile or two.  Too far back in the corral.
The race started fairly uneventful.  I was running with two fellow members of the 30s on KickRunners, Goon and Moonie.  Goon and I were hoping to finish between 4:16 and 4:30.  Moonie was running with us to try and help us to that pace.  The miles actually were clicking off fairly easy.  We were a bit off our pace goal but feeling strong.  I actually caught myself mentally saying "these miles are clicking off almost too easy."  The next lesson came just after mile 11.  I had to stop to retie a shoe - it felt like it was loosening up and my foot was starting to slide around a bit and I wanted to fix it - and told Goon and Moonie not to wait for me I'd try to catch up.  I'd been running just about a 10:30 pace up to that point.  I then proceeded to run mile 12 and 13 in 9:26 and 9:27 respectively.  That is not a pace I could maintain for the rest of the race.  I caught 'em just before the 13.1 mark and settled back into a more reasonable pace.  But the damage was done.  Wasted too much energy catching up to them at that point.

The next 3-4 miles were uneventful but I could start to feel my energy wane a bit and needed to stop just before mile 18 to use the port-o-potty.  How the hell I managed to find the one port-o-potty with no line I have no idea.  In/out as quick as humanly possible.  Again told 'em not to wait for me, but as I exited the port-o-potty I knew there was no freakin' way I was catching them.  So I was on my own from there out.  Just over 8 miles to go.

Crossed over the Mississippi River and headed for home.  My stomach was not feeling great due to the next lesson:  Powerade sucks.  ***Science Note***  Gatorade is a 6% sugar solution.  Powerade is an 8%.  Ever wonder why most people who drink Powerade water it down?  I can tell you - it's too fucking sweet.  But that's what they had on the course.  Combine that with the 4 GUs I had on the course and while I wasn't nauseous I wasn't feeling great.  Which slowed me down as I headed into the toughest part of the course - the last 6.2 miles.

Everyone who has run this race, or who lives in the Twin Cities will tell you about the Summit Ave hill.  It's long, but it's not that steep...more like a really long 2-2.5% incline.  But the real reason it sucks?  Immediately preceding it is the St. Thomas hill where you gain about 100 feet in about a half mile or so.  That sucked.  Even after the Summit Ave hill there were still rolling hills from about mile 23 past mile 25.  Rolling hills that rolled steadily higher.  At least the finish was downhill.  This was one tough course.

So there you have it.  What I learned during 4 hours, 42 minutes, and 16 seconds as I ran from Minneapolis to St. Paul.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Almost Here

Just under 5 days (4 days, 23 hours as I post this) until TCM.  The nerves are starting to kick in...normal business at work but at least T got home safely last night.

Time to start the packing process:  load of laundry tonight, make sure all the crap I need for the race/weekend is ready to go, etc.

I mailed some of my pre-race nutrition to MN on Friday.  As long as it makes it there all things should be good.

Nothing but easy runs this week.

Nothing but easy running and stressing out this week.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

60 Freaking Miles

She's made it!  Her text said "exhausted and elated".

Just sucks that she won't be home until almost 10 pm tomorrow!

To say I'm extremely proud would be an understatement!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Komen 3 Day Walk - Day 1 in the books

Talked to T last night and this morning.  22.5 miles in day one.  One blister.  Some tired legs but overall things are great.  She actually sounded like she was having a good time.

21.5 miles today.

She is my hero.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Weekend #1

All is quiet in the house.  Well relatively quiet.  The cats are doing there usual night-time-crazy-routine and I've got iTunes open (Shawn Mullins - Lullaby currently playing) but it's just me here.

T made is safely to Seattle this afternoon for her 3 Day Walk.  To all of you out there that donated, thank you very much.  To those that haven't donated - there is still time!

She is supposed to update me at the end of tomorrow.  21+ miles on day one.  20+ on day 2.  15 on day three when they end at Memorial Stadium in Seattle (right by the Space Needle).

(Dave Matthews Band - Why I Am playing now)

I'll post updates from her if I can remember to - probably via facebook/twitter.

But all this "quiet" makes me a bit introspective.  About the last year, about what I've got coming up in the next few weeks, my running in general, life in general, the variety (or what some might say the lack of) in my music.  You know random shit.  But it's nice to spend some time in your head occasionally.  Gives you perspective.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Healthy Respect

I've worked outdoors in some fashion most of my adult life:  caddied in high school, the last 19 years in athletic training, etc.  As a result I healthy respect for what mother nature can throw at us and have a pretty well stocked gear closet to deal with those various conditions.

Rain is no problem.  Heavy rain, who cares.

Lightning?  No fucking way.  Seek shelter.

So today that's what I did.  As we were making the 30 minute drive to Spring Lake this morning it started to rain and lightning was visible in the distance...the distance that we were heading straight into.

Get to the race.  It's raining.  No big deal.  Not the conditions I'd hoped for, but ok.  Then the lighting picked up.  REALLY picked up.  They announced a 15 minute delay.  When that delay ended they announced an hour delay.  I conferred with my personal safety committee, T, and went to registration table and turned in my chip.  The look on the lady's face was priceless - sort of bewilderment and surprise.

See, I know what the current standard inclement weather policies are - and what the race director was proposing wasn't in line with those, IN MY OPINION.  So I came home.

Running is fun...but it ain't worth dying for.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Even if tomorrow will be the 9th half marathon (okay, it will really be the 8th, and one 25k, but really does it matter?) I'm still a nervous wreck tonight.

I'm poring over the Hourly Weather Forecast Graph on for the race location like an engineer at NASA trying to figure out how to get the astronauts home and all I'm doing is trying to figure out if I need to wear long or short sleeves tomorrow.  Long by the way.

I'm not even racing this!  It's my last workout before TCM and if you have to do a bunch of marathon pace miles you might as well do it in a race if you can:  water/gatorade on the course, a t-shirt (even if the large they gave me is probably a child's large), and a beer mug instead of a finisher's medal.  So there shouldn't be this much race anxiety...should there?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not As Tough As Expected

August 22.  What's that, three weeks ago?  Maybe it's because I've been so freaking busy at work - sometimes, like last week, too busy to get my runs in.  I don't know, but the whole no-alcohol-until-the-marathons-are-done as been surprisingly easy.  And there is the added bonus of it actually helping me accomplish what I was hoping when I started:  the weight is down.  Consistently down.  Not as low as I've been hoping (thanks to the lack of running) but I've been consistently at 180 the last two weeks.

18 days until Twin Cities...and the nervousness is starting to hit.

I have my last workout this Saturday.  The plan calls for a 15 mile run at marathon pace, so I'm running the Spring Lake Half Marathon.  That way I can do my pace run, and try to hold my goal pace for the half, while having everything taken care of for me...timing, water, gatorade, etc.  Plus I get a long sleeve technical t-shirt and a finishing mug.  All for $40.  Not a bad deal.

After that it's just easy miles for the next two weeks and then Twin Cities.  Have I mentioned the nervousness is starting to hit?

Monday, August 30, 2010

One Week Down...

Not the best week of running.  That's what happens when it's the first week of classes, administrative stuff out the wazoo, and two games on back to back days your schedule gets full and some things take precedence like sleep.

But, I still managed 37 miles (okay, 36.9).  However, 20 of those were on Sunday.  I know, I know, not the smartest plan.  You do what you have to do.

I did have some success this week though.  Not sure if it's the absence of alcohol or the combination of that and a 4 hour run yesterday but the number on the scale was a pleasant surprise this morning.  179.  It's been a good two years since I've seen something like that.  Now if I can just keep it there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Course Corrections

Everyone does it.  You take a wrong turn.  You miss a turn.  What do you do?  You correct, go around the block, flip a U-turn, etc.

That's what those two weeks of preseason felt like to me.  I got trapped in the left lane and wasn't able to merge quick enough to take the exit I wanted.  Lots of cursing, pounding the steering wheel, etc.  Call it circumstance-rage.

The last couple of days have been totally different.  Even though the pace picked up at work, the amount of time at work has drastically reduced.  I've found a nice person in the middle lane who let me over and I see the next exit ahead.  I'm pretty confident I can find my way back to the road I'm supposed to be on.

Oh, and 39 days until Twin Cities.  That shit is coming fast!

Monday, August 23, 2010

53 Day Challenge

I'm taking on a personal challenge over the next 53 days (or from now until Oct 17th when I finish running the Grand Rapids Marathon).

You see, I've been trying to get my girth down a bit for the last few years - I was at a perfect 175 lbs in the early summer of 2008.  Not sure I can get all the way back there, but I'd like to get close.  So starting this summer I had about 9 lbs to lose.  Well, I'm down to 181 now and I'm in need of a little kick, push, or jump-start to get that number moving down again.

What's the kick?  I'm going dry for the next 53 days.  That's right.  No alcohol.  I had my last beer (hopefully, you never know I might lose will power a bit but I'm setting my goals high) last night with dinner.

I think it will help me cut some unneeded calories out of my diet and help my running (which desperately needs it now) both.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

6 weeks until Twin Cities!

Monday, August 16, 2010




This post will be about overt religious acts and the sporting world, this topic might offend, and please read with caution and the knowledge that this is my opinion, and my opinion only.

So I'm watching the Bengals-Broncos preseason game last night on the NFL Network.  Much better performance by the Bengals, but I noticed something strange.  Every time the Broncos punter, Britton Colquitt, punted he would run off the field pointing both fingers up at the sky.  Now, I know I'm making an assumption here, but it seemed to me that he was indicating some sort of acknowledgement to God.


Does God care that you just did your job?  Punting.  That's what Pat Bowlen is paying you to do.  Colquitt didn't boom an 85 yard bomb of a punt that was downed at the 1 yard line.  It was pretty routine punt that was returned for a bunch of yards by Shipley of the Bengals.

First of all any type of celebration after the completion of a play annoys me, so I'm not just picking on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes crowd here, but constantly drawing attention to your religion gets old.  Quickly.

Let your actions of every day life be the example.  If someone asks you about your religion, then they're giving you free reign to expound.  But stop the overused, trite gestures.  Please.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hey, Summer?

Fuck you.

You've worn out your welcome.  I know it's supposed to be warm, but really, this warm?  And this humid?  For days on end?

Sept 22, 2010 can not get here soon enough.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And It Begins Again

It's that time of year again.  August.  The return of college (and high school) athletics.  Why they call it "Fall Camp" is beyond me...last time I checked (about 10 seconds ago) fall doesn't start until Sept 22, 2010.  But I digress.

What began June 1 with high hopes and grand expectations of accomplishing many, many different things (both personal and professional) and segued into accomplishing a few select things (mostly personal...sorry employer!) and a lot of not doing anything but traveling.  But it was a very good eight weeks!

So I've been back to work for 11 days now, and the kick in the shorts comes tomorrow when soccer practices start.  A week and a half later classes start.

I'll do my best to update in that time, but don't be surprised if things are a bit quieter than usual around these parts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You versus them...and great music.  Anyone recognize the music without looking at the comments on YouTube?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacation 2010 Recap Part 3

DC here we come!

Again, utilizing the Bolt Bus to make the trip to DC was key. No major problems besides the bus being delayed (most likely due to traffic) about 30 minutes. If nothing else it gave us more of an opportunity to people watch in NYC.

In order to cut costs some we decided to stay outside of DC proper in Bethesda. The hotel was a short (10 minute?) walk from the metro station and made it easy to get back and forth from DC. I know that the cost of the metro fares in now way came close to the $$ we saved on the hotel, plus we got to utilize mass transit again.

In all we had two full days in DC, plenty of time right? Maybe...

Day #1:
Made out way to the National Mall right around the time the Smithsonian Institute opened. We spent a little bit of time in the Castle orientating ourselves before heading over the Museum of National History.

Magically, 3 hours or so vanished. Okay, we're nerds and we spent time in the hall of mammals, Human Origins, Sant Ocean Hall, Bones, Written In Bone, and a brief few minutes in the Dinosaurs. That was the morning.

After lunch we walked over to National Air & Space Museum. Again, we're nerds (however I enjoyed this one waaaaaay more than T) and spent about 4 hours taking in as many exhibits as we could.

Finishing up there we ventured to the east end of the mall to see the capitol building. I know, I know we see it on TV all the time...nope, doesn't compare. WAY more impressive. We then made our way down Pennsylvania Ave just taking in the buildings, eventually stopping at the US Navy Memorial (it was about here that we started to run low on camera battery so we started being more conservative in the number of pictures we took the rest of the day). It's located directly across the street from the National Archives, also an impressive building.

Having been on our feet most of the day, we found a place to grab some dinner, made our way back to the metro and Bethesda - side note: The station at Bethesda is DEEP underground. As in it took us over 2:30 to make it up the escalator and a pretty damn steep angle I might add! I snapped a photo, it's in the gallery.

Day #2:
Back to the Mall on the Metro. We only had a couple of hours in the morning because we were going out by the Zoo in order to have lunch with another kickrunner friend and her daughters - just enough time to spend some time in the National Museum of American History. Made it about 1/2 through before leaving to meet R. After lunch though we came back and finished it up.

So, in about a day and a half we checked off three museums in the other words? Barely scratched the surface.

After finishing up at American History it was time to head to the west end of the mall to see the monuments. Side note: we were there 6/29, 6/30, 7/1, 7/2, so as you can imagine they were setting up the for the big Independence Day celebration, which made navigating that part of the mall challenging.

Washington Monument - Check
Korean War Veterans National Memorial - Check (very impressive)
Lincoln Memorial - Check (yes, we took the time to read his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, and the view back towards the Washington Monument? Hard to put into words)
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Check (every bit as impressive, emotional, and moving as I thought it would be)
The Vietnam Women's Memorial - Check

We then headed up Constitution Ave, turned north up 17th and made our way over to Pennsylvania Ave. You know, where the White House is?

White House - Check.

Again, after being on our feet most of the day we made our way back to Bethesda to get ourselves organized for the bus ride back to Philly the next day.

Very impressed with our nation's capital. Remember how I said two days should be enough? Wrong. We needed at least one more day. We missed out on the Marine Corps War Memorial (you know, the Iwo Jima flag raising) and Arlington National Cemetery, plus the rest of the Smithsonian Museums (least of all the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvair-Hazy Center!). Needless to say this won't be our last visit.

Not much left to tell about this expedition...well a few things that tie it all together, but that will have to wait a few days.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacation 2010 Recap Part 2

The original purpose of going to Philly was for continuing education. While there spent some time with some friends from Oregon, one of whom evidently had the same idea we did: spend some time in NYC. However our paths there couldn't have been more different.

We're sharing some stories over drinks in Philly when she told us she was taking the train to NYC. I was flabbergasted she paid over $80 for a round trip ticket. She was shocked that we paid $62.50 TOTAL for our travel to NYC to DC and DC back to Philly. How did we manage to be so frugal you ask?

Bolt Bus and Megabus. Phenomenal ideas.

We took the Bolt Bus from Philly to NYC and from NYC to DC. Cost a grand total of $40.50 for both of us. It's operated by Greyhound - wait, stop right there. We're talking new buses and Wi-Fi here! Couldn't have been a better trip.

Arrived in NYC right by Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. Met up with M, a kickrunner friend, and immediately jumped on the subway and headed to her neighborhood (she lives in Hells Kitchen, VERY close to Central Park) to drop off our stuff and grab some eats. Then we hit the subway again and then walked all over the west side of Manhattan. Walked on the High Line, went by the Chelsea Piers, and walked along the Hudson River for a bit. Did I mention it was like 95F? Sweated through my clothes!

Made it back to M's and then chilled a bit before heading to The Stanton Social for dinner with Maria, her guy J, M#2 (another kickrunner friend), her husband and a former student of T's. Phenomenal food. Tapas. Check out the menu.

While we were enjoying our meal, M#2 offered us some water tour tickets that they were unable to use. Jumped at the chance. So that was on the agenda for Monday. But first I got to do something very cool.

I went for a run in Central Park. Granted it was hot, humid as hell, I was running with M (mucho faster) the first two miles and then we both met up with M#2 and her puppy for a few more...thank god M#2 is like 8 months pregnant! Her pace was much more comfortable. All in all ended up with about 6 miles.

That morning T, M, and I walked around a bit - hit the M&M's store in Times Square, T bought her an "I Love NYC" shirt, and then we got a great slice of pizza before T and I headed to the pier for the water tour.

The tour: very informative, learned a lot of history I had no idea about, got to see all the important landmarks of NYC, AND it got us out on the water and away from the inferno of the city. Plenty of pics were taken!

Afterwards T and I successfully navigated our way back to M's on the subway (felt very cosmopolitan!) to chill a bit before we headed to dinner with M and J. Again small plate style but fabulous. Ended up the night with a walk around a bit (unfortunately Magnolia wasn't open) before calling it a night.

Sort of a whirlwind tour of NYC, but with only a limited amount of time we did pretty good.

Next stop, DC.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reading List Update

Just added the two most recently finished books to the list over there on the right.

Both were excellent books - eye opening and moving, they just took different approaches.

However, both need the following caution: not for the squeamish. One for the subject it depicts and the other for language. Read 'em both and see if you can figure out which caution belongs to which.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation 2010 Recap

This year's vacation took on a theme.

2010 East Coast Tour.

See, when we learned the NATA Annual Meeting and Symposium was to be held in Philadelphia we decided to use that as an opportunity to see parts of the country never visited (at least for me) before.

So in addition to Philly, side trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. were scheduled in addition to some fun in and around the greater Philly area.

We'll approach the travelogue from a tour stop perspective:

Philadelphia - my god, what a dirty place. Sorry Philly Pholks, but it's true. Too many panhandlers. Too many aggressive panhandlers. Our first day there a guy tried his best spiel on us and when we told him "No" he began a profanity laced tirade on us. Then later that night we were with a friend (You were a godsend Solar!) who was kind enough to drive us to a grocery store. As we're getting back in her car a woman walked up and asked us for a ride. When told "No" she stormed off muttering something about "typical Americans".

We did have a good time. Stayed right downtown, literally across the street from city hall. Ate some good food - and before you even ask in the comments, no, I did not get a cheesesteak. I'm a loser. Deal. - and had a good time at the conference. AND got to do some touristy stuff: visited the Constitution Center, saw the Liberty Bell (okay, through the glass - we didn't feel like waiting in a 2 hour line) and Independence Hall. We didn't get to go in Independence Hall due to conflict in our schedule and the National Parks Service tour schedule.

I highly recommend the Constitution Center.

Jenkintown, PA - went to visit a kickrunner friend who lived north of the city. Got to participate in his hometown 5k. Brutally warm/humid and a hilly course, but had a great time.

There were some side trips in New Jersey that week, but that pretty much sums up the first week.

The next two legs of the tour in the next few days...

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Safe and sound.

We arrived back from the East Coast Tour Sunday. Details of the trip, and the excitement at home upon our arrival to follow in the next few days.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Leaving On A Jet Plane!

Departing for Philadelphia on Sunday to attend the NATA annual meeting and symposium which runs Wed-Fri.

Afterwards, T and I are embarking on a whirlwind tour of the east coast.

A couple of days in NYC, about 4 day in our nation's capital doing all of the touristy stuff.

So it will probably be quiet around these parts while we're gone, but look for a trip recap and pictures the first week of July.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Twin Cities Marathon - Week #2

June 7-13

This was the first really good week of training I've had in at least 2-3 months. Everything clicked this week. Well, most likely clicked because I took a realistic approach to scheduling things this week.

I knew going into the week that Saturday/Sunday (my weeks always go Mon-Sun) would present challenges to getting any kind of run in since we would be in Cincinnati visiting my family. So I scheduled my 31 total miles for the week Mon-Fri. Which meant that I would have to do my long run on Friday before we left. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Mon/Wed/Thurs were just easy runs of 5 miles each. Monday and Thursday I ran my normal downtown route which comes out right around 5.4 miles so I was a bit ahead of my weekly goal.

Tuesday - quality workout of 6x4 minutes HARD pace with 3 minutes recovery with about a 2 mile warm-up and cool-down. The plan was to go about 20-25 seconds per mile faster than my tempo pace since the 3 minutes would allow almost a full recovery between bouts. Executed this workout perfectly and ended up with 8.2 miles for the day.

Friday - long run, with a twist. 2 mile warm-up then 5x5 min tempo pace with 1 minute recovery followed by an hour easy. This run, while completed, was not a ringing success. I struggled to hold my tempo pace (8:45-8:50) for the first two and was nowhere near it on the last 3 - but my HR was in the 180s so I know I was working. Chalking it up to a less than ideal dinner the night before and the temp/humidity. But I got 10 miles done. Then sat in the car for 6 hours.

Total for the week: 34 miles.

Two weeks down, 16 to go.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


From The American Heritage Dictionary (courtesy of

man·tra (mān'trə, mŭn'-), noun.

  • Hinduism A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

  • A commonly repeated word or phrase: "Today's edutainment software comes shrinkwrapped in the magic mantra: 'makes learning fun.'" (Clifford Stoll).

  • Now I don't believe that anything I come up with will be scripture or have mystical potentialities but I've landed on what will be my phrase to focus me over the next 17 weeks as I prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon. My theme, if you will.

    Do the work.

    It's as simple as that. I always have a good plan in place. I'll have the running planned out, with the appropriate workouts and paces I want/need to hit. I'll figure out what to modify/drop during the three weeks we'll be traveling this summer. I'll have the ancillary stuff penciled in - the strength stuff, the foam rolling, etc. I'll have a plan to try and shed the 8-10 pounds I need to lose. At times I might have too many plans.

    This year it's not about the plan, it's about executing the plan.

    Do the work.

    No bitching or complaining. It's time to put aside the momentary gratification of just one more beer, or staying up late to finish the movie, or being lazy and not eating at home (which usually leads to the "just one more beer") and making sure I do the work.

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    The Only Way to Start A New Training Cycle

    Is with new shoes.

    They are the Nike LIVESTRONG Lunarfly. Wore 'em for the first time today. Remind me very much of the original Lunar Trainer from 2008. Very light but feel very cushiony.

    Also added a countdown over there -------> for the Twin Cities Marathon in Oct., so everyone will know how little time I have left to get my ass ready for it.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    2010 Bayshore Half Marathon

    As previously mentioned here, I pulled the plug on a race effort during the Bayshore Half Marathon this past weekend and instead ran with T in hopes of helping her to a PR.

    Weekend started off great with an easy drive up north. This was the first time either one of us had been to anywhere north of Muskegon so we were both a bit excited to see if the area would live up to all the hype. It did.

    Checked into the hotel - Comfort Inn, HIGHLY recommended - and sought out a place for an early dinner. Travino's was recommended by the staff at the hotel. Great food, very decent prices. In/out just in time to head over to the expo. The expo may have been the most understated thing ever - would be better to call it a packet pickup and it was roughly the same size as some of the 5ks here in town. Super simple to pick up our stuff though. The race shirt was a great Brooks short sleeve tech shirt: they even had women's versions! and different colors for the different races. First of many high marks.

    With the wake up coming early we set out our clothes and various things we would need in the morning and called it a night. 4:30 a.m. comes early!

    By 5:30 a.m. we were at the hotel next door boarding the shuttle bus to the start/finish area so we could board a different bus and be shuttled out to the half marathon start line. The marathon is a true out/back course and the HM is a point-to-point starting at the turn around. Only drawback is that we made it to the start line with about 90 mins to kill and neglected to dress properly, but that was our fault, and if we ever do this race again won't be repeated.

    7:30 a.m. race start - had the usual national anthem, etc, and we were on our way. There were no signs indicating where you should line up, so it was a bit congested at the start. About the middle of mile 2 I experienced the same problem as during the Riverbank Run: after standing out in the cool air, I had to pee. At least this time I stopped at the porta-potty. I managed to catch up to T just around the 2 mile mark.

    Her goal for the day was to run 11:00 pace for the first 5 miles (hitting the 5 mile mark in 55 minutes) then drop to 10:30-10:45 pace for the next 5 miles (hitting the 10 mile mark at 1:47:30-1:48:45) and then pushing as hard as she could for the last 3.1 with the hopes of being around the 2:20:00 mark, which would be just over a 4 minute PR.

    My plan was to help her with this...a plan which I executed miserably. We were cruising the first 5 miles. 10:30ish pace. Which means we had almost a 3 minute cushion. We went out way too fast.

    The second 5 miles the pace slowed a bit and around mile 9 some physical issues started to rear their ugly head: some IT band problems and some foot pain.

    BUT, we pushed the last mile or so, the temperature started to climb and we were both feeling the effects - only major complaint on the day was that the aid stations were too spread out and the sports beverage, not sure if it was Gatorade, Gu Brew, Powerade, etc, wasn't mixed correctly. I nearly had to resort to draconian motivational techniques when T started walking in the last mile. She thought we were closer to the finish line, was overheating a bit, needed some water. About 100 feet ahead of us was a photographer on the course. I was on the verge of "motherf*cking" her and telling her there was no way we were walking by the photographer when a volunteer on the course beat me to the message. And she did it in a much more positive way. But we started running again.

    Rounded the corner and finished on the track. With the exact same chiptimes: 2:21:31. Just about a 3 minute PR for her. And a PR is a PR. So while I didn't do a good job of helping her meet her goal, I did thoroughly enjoy being out there with her. Every step of the way.

    My reward: This lovely Brooks jacket. That actually says Bayshore Half Marathon!

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    What Can We Do?

    There's a link I'd like to post.

    A link that will take you to a website where you can help someone important to me, and help a worthy cause in a long, not ending any time soon fight.

    As those of you who regularly read this know the last 10-11 months have been a tough period. Friends lost unexpectedly. My father-in-law losing his battle with cancer, and most recently my mother losing her battle with breast cancer. Tough times are typically when people are called to action. We each do what we can.

    T is doing what she can. She, along with her mother (because the fucking disease has touched her family as well), are participating in the Komen 3-Day for the Cure, in Seattle this September. What is that exactly? They will walk 60 miles over 3 days and raise money to help fight this disease that has touched each and every one of us.

    They are doing what they can.

    What I'd like to do is post that link now, so that if you've felt the cold touch of this disease and are able, you can do what you can.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    I made a tough one this morning.

    The lungs aren't quite there yet...still working way too hard to move air when my effort increases. I ran a hilly route this morning and my HR shouldn't be in the high 160s at the pace I was at, even running uphill.

    So, not wanting to totally crash and burn Saturday, I'll be running with T trying to help her finish in what could be a huge PR.

    Time to shift my focus to the fall now.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Not Encouraging In The Least

    The last entry I mentioned the run on Saturday that ended up being much harder than it should have due to me suffering from a cold. Remember that one?

    Well, even though I'm feeling mucho better and am on my second day sudafed free the way I felt on my run today is not giving me a lot of encouragement for Saturday.

    Now, granted it was hot/humid out - my own fault, I violated Summer Running Rule #1 today but it should not have felt like it did. My legs were okay, but my lungs were not up to it, plus my heart rate shouldn't be hitting 170. Nope, not encouraging.

    I'm going to get out there much earlier tomorrow and see how it goes, and if that run ends up the same as today's then most likely Saturday's goal race becomes a long run that I get a t-shirt for finishing. Not ideal, but is looking more and more like the intelligent move.

    Damn that person who passed on the cold to T.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    The Thing I Dread The Most

    Having a cold in the summer. It seems like that is the only time of year I get sick anymore. Okay, also having a cold 5 days before a goal race.

    I don't advise doing hard effort running while on sudafed (and I don't be the PE shit) or on a day when there is a 98% humidity level. That was Saturday. Completely wore me out.

    I think I've turned a corner though...just hope the progress continues.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    As Promised: 5/3 Riverbank Run Race Report

    The 5/3 Riverbank Run is a tradition here in Grand Rapids. 2010 was the 33rd running of the race, and the race serves as the US Track & Field 25k Road Race National Championship which means there's a good chance of catching a glimpse of recognizable elite athletes. Every year we've been in Michigan I've been asked: are you running Riverbank? by anyone that knows I'm a runner.

    In the past I've run the 5k and the 10k they hold in conjunction with the 25k but until this year I'd shied away from the big boy.

    With the half marathon at Bayshore being my goal race this spring (Memorial Day weekend) I thought the 25k (which by the way for the metric challenged equals 15.5 miles, 2.4 miles longer than a HM) would give me a great chance to run a bunch of goal pace miles to gauge my fitness level and do it with a bunch of people and support along the course. Plus registration was only $30. That's right, $30, and that was up until about a week before the race. Bargain.

    Race day started out perfect. Weather was cool, some rain in the forecast - which held off, and the only thing not working in our favor was the wind. 20-30 mph predicted, not ideal for running in.

    We did have a nice moment of hilarity on the walk to the start line. The race course starts and finishes in downtown Grand Rapids, so the city's finest were out directing traffic and closing off roads. We pass an intersection with two, that's right two police vehicles blocking the street and two police officers standing we're walking across the street a young woman swerves and zooms past the officers, goes under a bridge and stops at a red light to make a left turn (her left turn would have put her right on the 5k course). One of the police officers throws his hands up, looks at all of us crossing the street with a "you've got to be kidding me" look and proceeds to walk up to her car and knock on the window. No idea what was said to her, but the fact the police officer was pissed and she was on her cell phone it probably wasn't causal pleasantries.

    The goal for the race was to run the first 2.4 miles easy, around 10:30-10:45 pace as a warm-up and then hit the lap button on my garmin and "race" the last 13.1 miles in an attempt to see how long I could hold my goal pace of 9:30/mile.

    First miles went by with out incident - except for a bathroom break due to cold diuresis - and as we hit the 2.4 mile mark I wished T good luck (she was also running the 25k and trying to execute the same type of plan I was), hit the lap button and took off.

    It was a pretty good feeling passing folks, because that's pretty much what I did for the next two hours. I walked a few water stops, but for the most part I held a pace between 9:30 and 9:45 until I hit 3.1 miles to go when I tried to push a bit. I had to take a walk break right about 1 mile to go, hit the lap button as I crossed the sign telling us 1 mile to go and took off for the finish running a 8:45 pace for that mile.

    Chip time: 2:34:29
    Using my garmin (which auto paused when I stopped to pee and retie my shoe) times and taking out the first 2.4 miles it worked out that I ran a 2:06:21 HM. Not great but not shabby either.

    I was very pleased how the day went. Loved the course - a significant portion of the course is also used for the GR Marathon in the fall, just in reverse - and can definitely say I'll be running this race again.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    The End is Finally Here

    Due to a craptastic weather forecast last Friday evening (the weather reality was not of the Minnow wreaking proportions predicted) the conference track meet was postponed until today.

    Starting at 4 pm. That's right, 4 pm. Which means the meet will end approximately sometime around 10:00 pm.

    BUT, it is the last home event to be covered. So that is a positive.

    Also, there are only 11 work days left. That, is also a positive.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Long Weekend

    We had a long weekend, not in the sense of an extra day or two included in the weekend, but a jam packed weekend of fun and frivolity.

    Saturday was the first goal race of the spring for me - the 5/3 Riverbank Run 25k. More on that in an upcoming post.

    T and I planned to see Iron Man 2 on Sunday, so that took up a good chunk of the late morning/early afternoon. Good movie by the way. Excellent sequel that avoided the usual traps that befall sequels to big budget blockbusters. Then we had tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls Sunday night.

    Great show - second time I've seen 'em - that capped off an exceptional weekend.

    The weekend set the tone for the upcoming week, and really for the rest of May as things slowly wind down for me at work. God, it's nice to see the calendar turn to May.

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Nature vs Nurture

    It's an age old debate, nature vs. nurture, with some convincing arguments on both sides.

    Read The Talent Code. It's not a lot of pages, easy to read, but there is a wealth of information there to be mined. If you're in any profession where you teach or coach you need to read this book.

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Something To Think About

    Mental Toughness

    Yet another great post by Vern Gambetta that makes me think not only about the athletes I have worked with in the past but also the ones I see everyday, plus it makes me think about my own current fluctuations in training.

    It certainly feels like I've lost a bit of the edge when it comes to training I had a few short years ago. Yes, I'm logging miles but I'll have a great week followed by a week that I take 2-3 days off. The uncertainty of my work schedule plays a role but I think a big portion of it is simply that I'm letting myself off the hook too much. I'm not bringing my "A" game.

    I don't want to just go through the motions so as things wind down at work over the next 10 days or so my goal is to figure out exactly what my "A" game is and working on making my mental discipline a bit better.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Treading Water

    I have a love/hate relationship with the spring.

    Love: the weather, cool and crisp mornings that turn into beautiful days with the temps in the 60s, nights with no bugs, general rebirth of the frozen wasteland that this place becomes in the winter

    Hate: the spring sport schedules. All of them are weather dependent, have no time limits, and take on average 5-6 hours to complete on a daily basis.

    So that's why I've been scarce with the posting, I'm trying to tread water and not drown in the chaos that is my spring. Life will return to normal (for the most part) in two weeks. A fortnight. I can make it through that! Can't I?

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    "Only One Way Out Of The World"

    Interesting title huh? Comes from the song "Why I Am" by the Dave Matthews Band and is extremely fitting for a blog post where I sum up the events of the last 6 weeks or so....

    We said good-bye to my Mom on Tuesday. Her battle with cancer ended on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at approximately 11:05 a.m. The latest rounds of the battle were fought over the last 12 months or so, and while she fought valiantly, ultimately that bastard of a disease won. Her chemotherapy treatments really took their toll on her since about August or September and six weeks ago she received her last treatment. After that it was just a matter of time, since there is only one way out of this life...

    So you can understand that things sort of fell by the wayside as my family began to adjust to, and cope with the reality of her final days. I was able to have a great visit with about two weeks before she passed, and I am grateful I took advantage of that visit to tell her how much I loved and appreciated her efforts into helping make me the person I am today.

    She celebrated her 72nd birthday last Thursday. Late that afternoon her condition warranted moving to the hospice care facility where she would spend her last hours surrounded by her friends and family. She left this world the way she had expressed to me that she wanted to: she went to sleep and didn't wake up.

    I'm still coming to grips with the gravity of the situation, and I miss her dearly, but I am very thankful that her ordeal is over.

    The event that resonates the most with me from Tuesday: Over the last few years my mother gather with a group of women that she attended elementary school with, that's correct, elementary school, for lunch on a regular basis. I had a great conversation with one of those women who related to me how much she admired my mother's strength as she confronted the disease. That meant so much to me...that and she told me that my Mom was extremely proud of me. What more could a person want?

    She leaves behind a husband of 48 years, three children, and three grandchildren. She touched many lives. She will be remembered by many.

    I will miss her. I will try to carry her spirit with me and demonstrate it in my daily life. What better memorial could there be than that?

    Thursday, March 18, 2010


    Learned a valuable lesson yesterday.

    This time of the year, spring sports seasons, I have very little control over my schedule due to a variety of factors: weather, spur of the moment scheduling changes, events that have no time limits, etc, etc.

    The lesson? I've got to make my stuff a priority when I can. No putting of a run until the afternoon because the afternoon while clear on my calendar might be spent at the baseball field. No putting off that phone call, or paperwork because I might have to be at a softball game. You get the idea.

    I'm fortunate that my work day typically doesn't start until mid-morning, so I've got the time. I just need to spend that time more judiciously.

    I need to be a bit selfish. Me first. Because if I take care of me first, then I'll be in a better frame of mind to tackle the events of the rest of my day. Then everyone wins.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010


    I need to go on the record with an apology.

    I haven't been able to update this as frequent as of late due to circumstances beyond my control. My family is dealing with some end of life issues right now, and while I will at some point talk about all the stuff bouncing around my head right now because of that I'm unsure of how to do so without airing familial dirty laundry and violating privacy.

    Right now it's hard to put things into words, so I'm going to refrain for the time being.

    I'm still alive and kicking and trying to get ready for my two goal races this spring, and I'm updating the reading list over there on the right just so all 4 of you don't think I've fallen into a giant hole and can't get out.

    I promise there will be an update this weekend - excellent chance there will be great news to share after a 5k on Saturday.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Grading Scale

    In the classes I teach the grading scale says that 87-89.9% is a B+, 90-92.9 is a B, and 93-100 is an A. (Don't get me started on +/- grading scales...still haven't been able to get anyone to tell me why there isn't an A+ and if there really is a big enough difference between an 86.9 and a 87 to warrant that little "+", and no it's the grading scale the Athletic Training Education Program uses so no, I can't change it.)

    Sorry for the diatribe.

    87%. A solid, above average (no matter what scale you use) effort we would all agree? Good.

    Then I had a solid, above average week of running last week. Schedule called for 32 miles and I ran 87% of that amount, or 27.8. Most importantly though, I learned some things, most of which fall under the I'm not doing all that I can to give myself a chance to succeed category:
    • I need to get more consistent sleep.
    • I'm not eating good enough throughout the day
    • I'm definitely not refueling correctly after runs, especially after hard, quality runs that are on my schedule now.
    • I'm not doing enough ancillary work (foam roller, strengthening, etc).
    • I've totally abandoned any other form of workout besides running.
    So what am I going to do with all of this knowledge you ask? I've already made on small change to re-incorporate some general hip/leg strengthening back into my regimen and I'm working on adding back in some of the other things that have fallen to the wayside - slowly. I'm trying to avoid throwing so much stuff at myself that I can't get it all done. Add one thing each week and then build on it.

    One thing I'm working on this week? Lights out at 10 pm. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Friday, February 26, 2010


    I realize that some time has passed since my last post here...not for the lack of anything to say, just not enough time to say it, and not sure how to say it.

    But I'm not giving up on this, just waiting for things to settle down a bit.

    So check back in a day or two.

    Friday, February 05, 2010

    What We Need

    I'm not really a fan of sports.

    Okay, I am, but I don't buy into the cliches people like to banter about regards sports. You know things like "sports build character", "sports teaches life lessons", "sports show us that if you work hard you can be a champion". Makes. Me. Want. To. Puke.

    Sports do teach us lessons, except they are things like this: if you're talented people will fawn over you, if you're talented the rules don't apply to you, if you're talented you can be lazy and not have to work and still be successful, if you're talented people will make excuses for you, and most importantly if you're bigger/faster/stronger than your opponent 7.5-8 times out of 1o you'll win.

    Why this post?

    Because of this post.

    That's the problem with sports. The inmates are running the asylum.

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Ponder This

    Lots of not-so-fun-but-part-of-being-an-adult-so-get-your-big-boy-pants-on-and-deal-with-it stuff going on in my world as of late.

    I'm a regular listener to the Phedippidations podcast and last week's episode talked about this essay by Dr. George Sheehan, "Is Running A Religion?"

    We all deal with things differently, seek solace in different places, but take a few minutes to read that essay. I know running has been, and continues to be, a place that I find renewal. Well, that is when I'm able to do it.

    Then ask yourself, what is that place of renewal for you.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    A Return

    So after spending the first two weeks of 2010 in a boot (self imposed) and the first three weeks of 2010 not running my ankle/foot/shin finally responded.

    Yesterday was my first official day back in training - okay, so I ran a whopping 2.57 miles last week over three days to see how it would respond - and I actually got to run outside. You can only guess what happened then. That's right, it snowed last night. Have I mentioned how much I love the winters here in west Michigan? So back to the hamster wheel it is for me. Sort of reminds me of Punxsutaweny Phil, see the white stuff scurry back inside. Boring yes, but infinitely less likely to be injured.

    The goal this week is about 20-25 miles. Yes, I've had to totally redo my training plan to accommodate a lower peak training mileage (still not pleased about that, but that's what injury forces you to do) but still have the same goal for the HM at Bayshore.

    The one positive from all this? I've actually used my portion of the YMCA membership! That and I've gotten in the habit of getting up and getting my workouts done...well, that is until today.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Off The Recent Topics, But of Vital Importance

    I saw this link on a friend's blog. Clicked it and after reading it, I've got to post it here. No idea if anyone will follow it and read. I hope they do because it is simply the most cogent defense of gay marriage I've ever read.

    No matter what your stance on the subject, or how you came to your opinion, take the 5-7 minutes it took me to read it and at least be open to hearing the argument.

    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Progress? Maybe...

    Well at least I don't have an x-ray or a MRI in my future...yet.

    Had a great conversation with our team doc (and personal physician) today after the basketball game. After a thorough evaluation she agrees with me that while we can't ignore the bony tenderness she thinks it's a soft-tissue issue that has irritated the bone.

    I'm supposed to continue to wear the boot and I can cross train, and we will re-evaluate the situation on Wednesday (another home basketball game) and decide if diagnostic testing it warranted.

    I also sat down an looked at the calendar: I want at least 16 weeks of training leading into my spring goal race Memorial Day weekend, which means I could push back the re-start of training until Feb 8. So I have some time to let this heal properly, BUT I need to get my ass to the YMCA and try to maintain my fitness.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Setbacks, Nothing But Setbacks

    I'm really beginning to develop a loathing for the month of January.

    Second year in a row that the ice/snow of West Michigan has thrown me an injury curveball for a called third strike.

    I'm officially on the shelf. Well I've been on the shelf since 12/29/09 and tried an easy run yesterday (on the TM of course) that did not go well, so not only am I back on the no running plan for another week but I'm also in a boot. Desperate times call for drastic measures!

    Last year it was a run on Jan 8. This year I go into January with an injury. I think I narrowed it down though - all the pain started after I ran outside on 12/23 and 12/24 - so what does that mean? As much as I might not like it, I'm inside until the ground is clear enough to run. So maybe March? April?

    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

    I've had a great day. Spent the morning at work/practice - okay maybe that part wasn't great - and then the rest of the day with T. Our original intentions were to see Sherlock Holmes at the 3:30 showing. When we arrived at the theater the parking lot looked like it was Dec 23. The amount of people inside waiting to buy tickets reminded me of a Friday night at 10:00 p.m. when I was in high school so we decided that waiting in line and missing the first 10 minutes of the movie was something we could do without.

    Neither one of us wanted to head home, so a trip to the new Barnes & Noble at the fancy mall was in order. Both of us are people that could spend hours in a bookstore - PNW people: goddamn do I miss trips to Portland and Powell's. We managed to kill most of the afternoon there before coming home and fixing a nice dinner and just spending the rest of the night like old, boring people.

    But here's the thing: I absolutely loved it.

    Then in wanting to kill some time before I headed to bed I went back and read the first year of this thing...1) I can't believe I've got 3.5 years worth of entries on here, 2) people still read the thing...and I realized just how much things have changed, but are still the same: I'm still trying to relate mundane things of my life in a funny way and Erin is still reading! Thanks, big guy.

    In all seriousness, 2010 is here and it may still be the hangover of 2009 lingering but I'm not sure it's going to be a good year. I'm going to do my best to make it one, but some things in life are beyond our control, as 2009 reinforced for me. My hopes are high, so you'd better not kick me in the teeth 2010.