Monday, April 28, 2008

Pineland Run

D was really itching to get out for a run at Pineland Farms in preparation for the race at the end of May. I was also anxious to go for my first run on trails in what seems lke about 40 years.

Success for both of us. My calf felt fine. Really, I barely even noticed it. My quads seem to have atrophied in the last month. Apparently, not running does have negative effects. Who knew? That being said, it was only my third run back, and I made it through 5 miles pain free. Good stuff.

D put in about 11 miles and toured more of the course. Apparently, the part we ran together, the Oak Hill Loop, is the easier section. It is hilly, but the treadway is smooth. Mostly grass. The other trails that D hit were much rougher. Should be fun. And by fun, I mean not fun at all. And, really, running a 15.5 mile trail race after a month off and only 12 or so miles a week is a brilliant idea. Can't wait.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

3-Mile Run

D and I ran 3 miles from my parents' house this morning. Yes, running 3 miles is still news. Calf felt good. No complaints.

We're going to run at Pinelands tomorrow. D has 12 on the schedule. Yes, I'm jealous.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Off vs. Off-Calf

Today, my training log reads "Off." That's a good thing. There are 22 other entires this month that read "Off-Calf." 22. That sucks. Today's day off from running is much more pleasant. And, in calf related news, I am happy to report that my calf feels fine after yesterday's run. That bodes well moving forward.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Ran!

(You had to know that was coming.)

Returned to the scene of the crime, the bike path, this morning. Yup, I even ran in the morning. I couldn't wait to try the thing out. Overall, I'd consider it a success, and I remain cautiously optimistic. I felt good, not great. My calf didn't hurt and wasn't tight. But, I could tell that something was there. Not sure how much of that was due to the fact that I was completely focused on it the whole time. But, that being said, I'm pleased. Actually, my quads felt tighter than my calves.

I ended up with 3 miles in 26:34, and was barely breathing throughout. Even though it was a real easy pace, it's good to know I didn't lose all my fitness this month. As far as the plan goes, I'm going to take it easy for the next two weeks and see how everything feels. With today's trial, I'm feeling comfortable enough to get onto some trails, too. That will be really nice. Looking ahead, I'd still put all my race plans up in the air. We'll just see how it goes.

So, for now, I'm back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The good side of being injured...

Um...I take that back. Being injured sucks. SUCKS

But, I have somewhat consistently been doing my core exercises. I hadn't been doing them when I was actually running. Hopefully, I can keep it up. I am super buff now, and I wouldn't want that to slip away.

Another of our friends, Clearwater, is heading off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail tomorrow. He doesn't have a trail journal like Patch because he is afraid of the Internet. He's afraid he'll be inundated with low-quality porn. He only likes the high class stuff. But I digress. If Clearwater completes his thruhike of the PCT he will have hiked 7600 miles from 2005-2008. That's a lot of walking. No wonder he's such a stud.

Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials

Races are cool. High-level races are even cooler. World class races are off the charts. Add into the equation that you know one of the athletes...well, let's just say it was crazy.

The day started early with Dunkin' Donuts and the T. Ah, Boston. We arrived at the Hynes Convention Center T Station about 30 minutes before the start of the race. It's always tough to come up with an optimal strategy to watch a race, and it's even tougher to move through the crowds to get to the prime viewing spots. This race was no exception, and, really, that's what made it cool. There were only 146 women running, but there were thousands of people out to watch. Awesome atmosphere.

The course was not the traditional Boston Marathon course. Instead, the course involved a short loop around Boston and then 4 loops across the Mass. Ave. bridge into Cambridge. It made for great spectating. We positioned ourselves a short way down from the start to get a glimpse of the first few moments of the race. After the race went off, we maneuvered our way to the corner of Mass. and Comm. Aves. We knew this would allow us to see the racers, well, specifically Blake, about 8 times. The race was really exciting. In fact, it was tough to watch. Tragically, as has been over-documented, Blake finished 4th in the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2004 after leading for much of the race—missing an Olympic team spot by one place, so, needless to say, we were pulling hard for her.

Long story short: She kicked ass. She ran a great race and finished in a very strong third place. We're thrilled for her and Jon. We know it's been a tough four years. As she has said many times, she didn't want her claim to fame to be a fourth place finish. No need to worry about that anymore.

From our perspective, our plan worked perfectly, and we were able to see much of the race. Unfortunately, at the finish we were crammed in and didn't really get to see anything. We could watch the monitor, hear the announcers and hear the cheers, so we knew what had happened. What an atmosphere!

With only 146 women racing, the crowd started to thin following the race. We hadn't seen Jon or Blake before the race, so we really wanted to try to see them. More so, now that she was an Olympian! So we just wandered into the finish area. There were a few athletes, coaches and family members milling around, but no Jon or Blake. We wandered to the end of the athlete tent, and just as we reached the tent exit, Jon and Blake popped out under police escort. I wove my way between two cops and grabbed Jon. Luckily, he gave me a big hug, so I didn't get tasered. We were able to congratulate them, but we were slowing down the progress. Blake was on her way to the official post-race press conference. So, in order to keep things moving, we jumped in behind them, and with the police escort, we went in the Fairmont Hotel. Suddenly, we were part of the event. We walked right into the press conference with those guys, and Jon and I tried not to disrupt it by cracking jokes. It was pretty cool. We hung out with them for a bit, but Blake was trapped in a whirlwind of media and ceremonies. We were able to meet up with the family and hang out for a bit with them before Blake had more "duties." "Hey, you just ran a marathon, let's make you walk around a lot, talk to a million people and not eat anything" Kind of annoying. Then again, it's better than the alternative.

It was a crazy, exciting and tiring day. Hopefully, a day later it's starting to sink in for her. Well deserved. Congratulations, Blake!

Here's my video recap of the race:

On a personal note, I was able to walk around Boston all day, and my calf doesn't feel any worse. That being said, watching that race was especially hard knowing that I'm on the shelf. It was really inspiration, and probably could have run at least a half marathon off the adrenaline. OK, maybe only a 10k.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

She Did It!!!

Congratulations, Blake! You're going to Beijing!

More tomorrow. What a day!

Friday, April 18, 2008


The Women's Olympic Marathon Trials are coming up on Sunday. D and I are heading down to Boston to cheer on #17. I encourage all of you to cheer for her, too. (She foolishly married my best friend from high school. I tried to warn her.)

Sleep is for the Weak...or the Active

Hello, ceiling. How are you this fine evening? Really, that's fascinating. Well, I've really enjoyed staring at you for the past 4.5 hours, but I think I'll try to get a little sleep now. Good night.

Hello, wall. How are you...

The last couple nights, I've had some trouble getting to sleep. Needless to say, the lack of activity is causing a bit of an issue. It's not so much that I'm not tired; it's just that my rhythm is all thrown off. It's kind of a hassle. Now, I know that those of you out there with 6 children under the age of 11 months are rolling your eyes: "If you had all these babies like I do, you wouldn't even remember what sleep is. I haven't slept since I was 4 years old. A good night's sleep for me is 18 seconds of quiet during The View. Barbara is so smart..."

Anyway, I'm hoping that this trend changes.

In other news, Patch starts hiking the Pacific Crest Trail tomorrow. Let's hope he doesn't get any scorpions in his britches!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 25

Does everyone know what Friday, April 25th is?

Of course, you do. It's Arbor Day!!! I'm certain your celebration planning is moving along swimmingly.

But, it's also the day that I'm going to run again. Mark it down. I will actually run on that day. In the meantime, I will not run. I have also painted all the windows black, so I can't see how nice it is outside.

My calf is feeling a lot better. (Thanks, Shannon!) No pain at all. As it continues to improve, it's going to be essential that I resist the urge to go run too soon. Hence, the black paint. But, it is feeling much better. Good stuff.

I also attribute that to good vibes I've been getting. Avid reader, my grandmother, who has been granted #1 Fan Status here at Snowman Whines, sent me a great email the other day. And, she's right: I'm going to heal and kick ass once again. (She didn't exactly say that, but that's what she really meant.) It was just what I needed to hear. Grandmothers are good like that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It sucks being that kid. You know the one. The kid that always gets hurt on the playground. The kid that the other kids always have to take home because of some injury. The one kid on the block who always has some sort of malady and can't go out and play. That's me. I'm that kid.

It's not because I'm clumsy or uncoordinated. It's not because I'm reckless. It's just that I'm kind of unlucky. But, it's not just luck. It's a bit of body type. I'm naturally unnaturally tight. It's my particular personal hurdle.

This year was meant to be an experiment. The goal was to learn about my body and how it could hold up to a full training schedule. As I've been telling people, it's the first time in 10 years that I've been both interested in running and not injured. Well, scratch the latter. That being said, the experiment is by no means a failure. I've learned that I can't just run. I need to run. I need to stretch. I need to get massage. I need to strengthen my core. I can't just jump up and go. So, really, I've already learned quite a bit. Just not in the manner I had hoped.

Right now, I'm on the shelf. My right calf is officially strained, and I'm taking about two full weeks off from running. I'm heating and icing it, right now. I'm stretching. But, I'll also be doing core work. And, I'll still be planning. For summer racing, April is an important month. My April we be practically devoid of running. Not exactly ideal. Hopefully, I'll still be able to run the Pineland Farms 25k. Hopefully, I'll still be able to run Mt. Washington. Neither of them will probably be as fast as I would like. But this year is an experiment. Good results would be nice, but not necessary.

In my mind, I know I have the ability to break 1 hour for 10 miles. I just have to convince my body. I know that I have the ability to run a 3:30 marathon. I just have to convince my body. Or, I need to work with my body to figure it out. I have a really long list of things I want to do: trail runs, races, long mountain runs and other crazy stuff. I just need to work out an agreement with my body that gets me there. We'll come up with some sort of treaty.

That being said, being injured still sucks. I'm getting really cranky. It's too nice outside to not be running. April showers? Um, not when I can't run. CRAP.

I also looking at a new training plan:

Anyone know where I can get some KGB agents to chase me?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Introducing..."Snowman Whines"

Welcome to "Snowman Whines" with 50% more whining than the original "Snowman Says."

Due to the recent events taking place in my right calf, I've decided to take this blog in a whole new (or exactly the same) direction. Daily (or almost) you'll be treated to my random whinings about my calf and the progress (or not) of its healing. So, be sure to check in daily (or almost) for a little dose of sunshine.

Coming soon...not running the Merrimack River Trail Run. Sure to be thrilling.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm Out - UPDATE

My calf still feels like shit.
I'm still not running tomorrow.

Perhaps I will run again, though. Upon further research by D, I think it's a Grade 1 calf strain. Or maybe a Grade 1.3. More rest. Then maybe.

I'm Out

My calf feels like shit.
Not running tomorrow. Perhaps not running anymore. Tired of this.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Questions Than Answers

Just finished up a 3-mile run on the bike path. So, yeah, the good news is that I just ran 3 miles. The bad news is that it wasn't perfect.

I ran about a 1/4 of a mile and stopped to stretch. Everything was feeling fine. Went through 1 mile, still good. I stopped at 1.5 miles and stretched. No pain, but I definitely knew my calf was there. On the other hand, everything else felt great. I was cruising right along without much effort at about 8-minute pace. The effort was definitely wind aided as the breeze was in my face on the way back. With about .75 miles to go, I could feel my calf tightening. Just slightly, though. At about .25 miles to go things got tight. Not tight as in I haven't run in about 10 days, but tight as in this kinda hurts and I wonder if I'm going to have to walk. I didn't have to walk, and reached the car in 25:10. Stretch at the car, drove home and now I'm icing as I type.

I have no idea.

Honestly, I don't think I'm going to be able to race on Saturday. I have bigger fish to microwave this summer, and I don't want cause any long term problems. Mt. Washington is only 2 months away, and I think I might need to train for that. That being said, I'd really like to give it a go. It is an out and back course, so I could also try it out and just call it if I need to. Then again, I certainly won't be running fast on Saturday. What a hassle.

However, I did wear shorts on my run for the first time this year. My apologies to everyone on the bike path today. Speaking of that everyone, it's spring, it's beautiful out, cheer up people! What a bunch of grumps out there today. Many, many unreturned hellos. Maybe it was my legs. "Oh, the glare!!!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This is killing me. It's beautiful out, and I'm not running.


Calf feels better, but it felt better before my 2-mile run on Saturday, too. Not good times. My new personal massage therapist, Shannon, worked on my calf on Monday night, which kicked ass. It also kicked my ass...well, my calf. It's still a little tender. She really got in there. The theory is that my soleus (actual name of a muscle) is the problem, and it's not playing nice with my gastromontremius (may or may not be an actual name of a muscle). The end result is the pain and suffering leading to inability to run. I've been heating, icing and stretching and will continue to do so. Besides, the rolled up pant leg and heat/ice pad is quite a fashion statement.

Test run tomorrow. Right now, I'm 25/75 (in/out) for the Merrimack River Trail Run on Saturday. If it goes well tomorrow, I'll upgrade myself to 50/50. If not, I'll go to 1/99 or Out. That would make me grumpy(er).

In happier running news, I thought this story from the Portland Press Herald was pretty cool. Good stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I have the day off. The weather is perfect. Great day for a long run.


That's the most frustrating part about having an injury. Even when conditions are perfect, you can't do anything about it. In the past, it hasn't been as frustrating, since I hadn't really been training for anything. I'd just sit on the couch with twinkies and sausage gravy and say, "Well, maybe next year." Now, not only is it frustrating, but I'm denying myself of my endorphin fix for the day. So, there's also a chemical reason that it sucks.


I still haven't completely ruled out racing on Saturday, but it's not looking too good. The good news is that I'm in the process of negotiating a high level deal with a massage therapist. I can't really discuss it here because...well, she's one of my 3 readers.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

That Didn't Go So Well

I ran 2 miles on the bike path today. Well, I ran 1 mile, and then stopped to stretch because my calf was feeling tight. After I stopped to stretch, it felt worse than it did before. So, wisely, I turned around and ran back. I stopped twice on the way back to stretch. More heat, more ice, and D massaged it tonight. It...well...hurts. Not good times.

Friday, April 4, 2008

"It's better than Christmas..."

I hoped and prayed, but I never thought this day would actually come.

If anyone needs me, I'll be practicing my high-pitched squealing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

March Recap

March was awesome. The best month of training I've had in a really long time. What could go wrong?


Aside from the whole calf explosion that has made April a big fat 0 so far, I'm failrly pleased with what I was able to do in March. I think it's going to be a solid base for the rest of the summer. That's assuming the calf is just a minor set back, which I'm pretty confident it is. I might try to run tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'm going to have the time with my work schedule. Either way, it's feeling better, and I'll definitely get out on Saturday.

Here are the numbers:
Miles: 76.5
Ski Days: 9
Hours: 19.75

Wow. That's almost real.

Here's the question: Either I'm doing enough to be on my way to being a real runner. Or, my calf is telling me that the totals for March were too much. Needless to say, I really hope it's the former. With that in mind, I have a race in 9 days. *gulp*

Am I Injured...Again?

"Success is a funny thing. When you’re having it, it feels so natural that you can’t imagine things going any other way. When you’re not having it, you wonder if you’ll ever experience it again."
- from Runnerville.

Stupid calf.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rinse and Repeat

Heat. Ice. Stretch. Heat. Ice. Stretch.

That pretty much sums it up. My calf feels better today. Thanks go to loyal Snowman Says reader and massage expert with lots of official letters after her name, Shannon, who traded tasty dinner for calf examination and massage last night. No running today, and probably no running tomorrow, so my take-it-easy week is turning into be-sedentary week. Oh well. The good news is that it doesn't seem like a serious injury—just a giant, painful lump of waste material in my calf. Tight calf, less blood flow, metabolic waste build up, pain, blah blah blah. I'm going to take a couple days off, and then get back at it.

The upside is that today I actually did some strength work. Those core exercises that I said were essential to my "training" after the Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic—I've been really doing a good job with those. And, by good job, I mean I haven't done them once. Yup, I'm a slug. A stupid slug. Instead of running, today I did crunches, the bird dog, the weird pelvic thrust thing, push ups and a couple other things. It sucked. I hate strength exercises. It's a good thing that I'm so naturally buff.