Monday, September 29, 2008

21 or bust

"My foot hurts. No really it hurts. This sucks. #$*&@$^(*!!!! Yeah, right here. )*(#^)#&^@!!!! I can't believe this. This is going to be the worst run ever. I'm not running. $@^&$%(!!!!! OK, let's go."

So that's how our 21-mile run started this morning. This was the last long run before the marathon. I pretty much came to the conclusion that I needed to do this run or I'd have no chance at the marathon. So, off we went.

The plan was to run a 12-mile loop from the Bowdoin field house, stop to refuel and then head out for an additional 9. Simple plan. I wanted to make sure I got enough fuel as I think not getting enough was a major factor in the disaster of the 19-mile run.

First of all, it's hard to describe a long run. It's long. It's the same. Nothing really happens. A ton happens. There are ups and downs.

We started out, and my foot still hurt. It went away...rather it moved. To another part of my foot. It went away...rather it moved. To my other foot. It went away...rather it moved. To my calf. You get the picture, I had various pains moving from one part of my body to another throughout the run. By the last few miles pretty much all the distress had settled into my hamstrings. Not pain, but it was serious work with each step. Gee, running is so much fun!

Not much to report from the first loop. I had a Hammer Gel—Espresso with caffeine!!!!...just like sipping a morning coffee (not at all)—at about an hour in. The view at Maquoit Bay was beautiful, then we began the forever and ever uphill back towards town. It's not a particularly steep hill, but it just keeps going. Following the steep hill, there's a long straight stretch...long...straight...long...long. Can you tell I don't really like this section? Eventually, we made it back to Bowdoin, and the car. I dropped two of the bottles from my Fuel Belt, downed a couple Clif Shot Bloks, drank a fair bit of water, and we were off within 30 seconds.

The next few miles were the hardest part of the run for me. Part of it was clearly psychological. We had just finished what I used to consider a long run. 12 miles. It took us 1:46:30, and we were heading out again? That's not right. The other part was in my legs. They were tired. It was some point in this stretch that I realized that I was in the process of running 30 miles in 3 days...all on the roads. So, perhaps it was all psychological. Luckily for me, the road along this stretch had a smaller shoulder, so we couldn't run side by side. I dropped back a bit. I told D I was jsut "relaxing," but I was mostly just trying to hang on.

Eventually, we reached the dead end at Simpson's Point. The view from here is great. This is where D cheated. Well, she didn't actually cheat. I stopped for a couple seconds to look at the view and get out another gel. (GU, Lemon Sublime...quite tasty.) It took me a long time to catch up. She just kept chugging along as usual, and it took me at least a half mile to get back next to her. It felt like 40 miles.

At this point, we had been on the roads for about 18 miles, and we were both feeling pretty good. We'd been chatting and making jokes for most of the run. But, we'd been on the roads for about 18 miles. ugh. Another .5 mile later, I vurped. Hmmm...that's unfortunate. Then I vurped again. OK, I'm mad. Seriously, this kind of ticked me off. The road narrowed, and I jumped in front so we didn't get run over. The car didn't move over quite as much as I would have liked and that made me even madder. And that was the end of that. I dropped the pace down a bit, and D said, "OK, bye." "I'm just gonna run up front for a bit," I said. But, something happened. I just kept picking it up. I'd told D earlier in the run that if I felt good in last couple miles I was going to "see what was there." I was partially joking when I said it because I mentioned it shortly after we started the second loop. But, I was feeling good, and I just kept dropping it down. I think I ran the last mile somewhere around 7:30. I finished in 3:03:00.

So, yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. Maybe I can do this whole marathon thing. But without question this is the last road marathon I'm ever doing. Running on the roads is bad. My feet agree with me. Hopefully, they'll hold up for another 3 weeks. It's taper time!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Junk Run

That's not a very good way to describe my run this morning, but that's what I've come up with. D and I did 3 miles this morning on an unexciting loop. We only did 3 to serve as a transition between yesterday's mediumish run and tomorrow's long run. It'll add a couple miles to the week and keep things moving. It was meh. A junk run.

Felt fine, still a bot out of sorts, but it was so short I barely noticed.

Last night, we went out and saw Burn After Reading. It was hilarious. Dark, but hilarious. Brad Pitt was perfect. George Clooney was great. And John Malkovich drops the F-bomb about 50 times in the first 2 minutes. Classic.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Strange Run and a Whole Pile of Random

This is going to be the most random post I've had yet...and that's saying a lot. What can I say? I was in the woods for over a week, so I had some catching up to do.

First stop on this tour was this afternoon's run. It was really strange. It started with a call to D. "Tell me I should go for a run...whine...whine...whine...whine..." She basically told me to stop being a baby and get out the door. It was raining, and I was running. Overall, I felt tight. I think the best description is not fluid. The plan was to just run 5, but I got to the turn around point and decided to run to the 3 mile point. At the 3 mile mark, I decided to just make it a full loop rather than an out and back. No one likes an out and back. We had driven this loop a long time ago, so I knew that it was about 8. I'm training for a marathon, what the hell is 2 more miles, so I went for it.

By the way, running on the roads is bad. First, it's pavement. Ouch. Second, there are cars, and they often try to hit you. Third, ego. This is perhaps the most dangerous as evidenced by my performance today. The loop ended up being 7.8. I finished in 1:01:45. That's 7:55's. Yeah, I have no idea. I do know that running down 196...sucked...and that I absolutely mashed the last hill. Oh well, I guess it's good that I could do that and have it feel pretty comfortable even when not feeling that great. Who knows? This running thing makes no sense.

So, while I was in the woods the American economy collapsed, which I guess is big news. But, did you hear that Steven Seagal has an energy drink? That's amazing. What's more amazing is that one of the "flavors" is called Asian Experience. I don't know where to begin. It sounds so horrible, I need to try it. Although, it can't be nearly as good as Powerthirst. (Not all language appropriate for all situations.)

(I could watch that over and over and over fact, I have. Powerthirst 2 is pretty funny, too...but even more inappropriate. So, yeah, I highly recommend it.)

Moving on, I heard a great interview on NPR the other night. It really shed a lot of light on U.S. - Iranian relations. I was fascinated...and terrified. I highly recommend it, so here's the link.

Speaking of real stuff, I watched the debate last night. Obviously, I already knew for whom I'll be casting my vote, but I really wanted to hear the two of them squabble. And squabble they did. To me, McCain came off as a big grump. I did think Obama said, "John is right," far too often, but I was impressed with the way he carried himself. I really hope he wins. It would be nice to be proud of a President again. I can tell you that I am definitely watching the Vice Presidential debate. I can't imagine that Palin won't come off like a moron...well, because she is. This isn't particularly funny, because it's so close to the truth.

I told you this post was going to be random. And continue with that theme, I leave you with something hypnotic.

I believe that's what would happen if Brian Austin Green, Crispin Glover and Potsie Webber formed a really "flamboyant" synth pop band.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chugging Along

First of all, I think I need to watch what I write here. I'm upsetting my grandmother. Grammie — I'm doing great. Don't worry. Thanks for the email.

Based on my last post, my grandmother sent me an awesome email. Why? Because my grandmother is awesome. Anyway, along with that email and my run yesterday at the trail running series, I'm feeling better. Still the big test is the long run, most likely Monday. But really whatever happens Monday, my grandmother thinks I'm going to do awesome in the marathon, so I'm going to do awesome. I wish I'd known this before all this training.

Plan for the trail running series was to run a 2-mile warm up and make a decision on whether to run or not and how hard to go. I felt pretty solid during the warm up, so I decided to give it a go. And, as anyone who has ever run a race before, as soon as you're being time, you go for it. But, you can also only kind of go for it. I only kind of went for it. In short, I felt pretty good, but my legs were really tight. My hamstrings especially. I'm not going to say I dogged it from mile 2 to 3, you know, because I was going for it, but I held back a touch. I didn't want anything to explode. I ended up about 30 seconds slower than my fastest and 30 seconds faster than my slowest. Overall, I'll take it.

I had a whole bunch of other stuff I was going to write about today, but I forgot about it. I bet it was hilarious.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Worst Run Ever

OK, so that's an exaggeration, but it wasn't far off. Plan was to run 5 miles today, and I had a nice 5.5 mile loop all planned out. From the first step, I felt bad. Nothing hurt. Nothing specific. The running motion just felt uncomfortable, as if I was asking my body to do something it had never done before. I had no energy. I ended up cutting it short and just running 3.5. I came inside and ate a bunch of Pringles.

Upon further review, I'm going to blame lack of fuel. I didn't eat anything less than I normally would today, but apparently, I'm still lacking calories after our hike. That's moderately shocking since all I did Sunday night and Monday was eat. Perhaps, I need to rebuild my ample fat stores. Or, maybe my nutrition sucks in general. I'm not really sure. Either way, I'm packing as much stuff in as I can tonight in hope of reversing this result. Plus, I'm supposed to run "fast" tomorrow in the trail running series. I may just take it easy, but I'll make that decision after my warm up.

Here's the real issue: I'm a runner and am, therefore, neurotic. This was only one run that in the grand scheme of things doesn't make much difference...BUT...the marathon is looming. This weekend, I'm going to do my final long run before the marathon. It needs to go well. It has to. If you remember, my last long run didn't go so well. If I bomb out again, I will have ZERO confidence for the marathon. I'm legitimately freaked out right now.

On a happier note, I need to report that the new Power Bar flavors are SO delicious! Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the wild berry flavor. Apparently, no one else was because I haven't seen it for years. The Berry Blast and Creamy Citrus flavors are awesome. Please send me some.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shaking Things Out

I had originally planned to take today off after our hiking trip, but I decided to go for a short run this afternoon. Everything was feeling good. It was a beautiful afternoon. And, I was itching to run, since I hadn't run since Saturday the 13th.

The run was pretty good. I ran the "usual" 3-mile loop in the Commons. I actually felt surprisingly springy. That being said, I was definitely tight. I could feel the effects of the hiking in my knees, calves and feet. Nothing serious and certainly nothing unexpected. What was unexpected was the strange feeling my right foot. I had a bit of tingling and slight numbness in a couple toes. I'm attributing it to the overall tightness in my foot. I'm not overly concerned about it, but I'm going to keep an eye on it. And, obviously, I'll will be stretching.

So, overall, I think it was good to get out get this run in. Good for my state of mind, and good to use some different muscles. I'm not surprised about the tightness, especially in my feet, since my boots were on their last legs. They had pretty much started to blow out by the end of the trip, but the hike up and down Katahdin killed them. My left boot was completely exploded on the side, and the right one wasn't far from my toes sticking out. So, I can't imagine that the midsoles were particularly supportive. Again, I'll be stretching, so I'm not concerned. It was a good shake out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Big K and the Hondo

We did it!

On Sunday, September 21 at 10:15am, we completed our section hike of the Appalachian Trail. It was a long four-year journey. The final section was the 100 Mile Wilderness and Mt. Katahdin. Needless to say, it was a great 8 days on the Trail.

You can read all about it here:
My reports: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
D's report: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Special thanks to...well, everyone. Extra special thanks to Mindy and Pete for picking us up in Baxter on Sunday. You guys rock!

Look for the exciting slideshow/video/montage/expose coming soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cliffs of Isanity

OK, there weren't really any cliffs, but things have been insane. It's been a pre-vacation insane, which I guess is a good thing.

Thursday was the second week of the trail running series. My result was better, but I'm still slow. (Pay no attention to my place. It's a really small pond.) My plan was to run the first mile, the crazy/fun singletrack one, slightly harder. Not much harder, just a touch. Then, really try to work the flat trails. Well, I was almost 30 seconds faster in the first mile, and, therefore, barely any faster in the final 2.3. Kind of discouraging. In all honesty, the flat section of the course is the hardest for me. I try to run fast, but I don't think I have a single fast twitch muscle left in my body. Again, this week, I did a 3-mile warm up and a 3-mile warm down. I was starting to bonk by the end of the warm down because it was getting late and I was hungry. But, it was a good solid day of training.

Friday was ridiculous. It was the classic day before a vacation. I was completely toasted when I got home. I could barely speak English. And, I developed a pain in my foot. Sort of in the ball of my foot at the base of my big toe, but I couldn't feel it by pushing on it. I could only feel it when my foot flexed. It was just sort of there all day. Needless to say, Thursday night was the last night for my 300+ mile trail shoes.

After a good night's sleep on Friday night that was bolstered by the fact that the Trail Monsters weren't meeting until 8:00, I felt good when I got up on Saturday morning. I knew that the plan was to mark the course for the Bradbury Bruiser on Sunday, but I sort of forgot it would be hard to really run and effectively mark the course. So, I showed up ready to run, but got in a nice 4-mile walk with Jim and Jeff marking a portion of the course. After the course marking extravaganza, I was lucky enough to meet up with Ian, and we headed out to run the non-O Trail portion of the course. He wanted to check the markings, and I still wanted to get a run in. We ended up running for about 1:20. I wore new shoes, and my foot pain disappeared. Let's hope good. I headed home, but Ian still had a lot more work to do. The lesson here: it sucks to be the race director. I joked with him that he won't get to race until he starts running the race tomorrow.

I have to admit I bummed that we won't be able to run the race tomorrow. It's an awesome race. And the course is so well marked! But, of course, we're excited to be on vacation and off to the 100 Mile Wilderness. We are just about at the end of our AT journey. It sure had been a long one. It's a wilderness, so don't expect any blog posts until Sunday or Monday of next week. Of course, I wouldn't want to leave you without something to watch over and over again next week.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Four Turkeys and a Beaver, Shaken Not Stirred

Had a moderately crappy day at work today, so my goal for this run was to feel better and not take it out on the run. Did pretty well. Kept it at a very reasonable 8:45ish pace for my 6+ miles. Although, there were a couple times where I could feel myself getting cranky and picking up the pace. Luckily, the trails are hilly enough to keep me in check.

The best part of the run was that I saw a beaver. I stopped briefly to pee/stretch, and there he was just doing laps in the swamp/pond. It was pretty darn cool. Later on, I saw the family of turkeys I've seen on a couple other occasions. Needless to say, I was pretty hungry by the end of the run. OK, that might not be related to the wildlife sightings. Probably more related to the fact that I didn't get out until after 5:30. It was chilly then, too. Ah, sweet fall.

OK, I a fully stoked for the new James Bond flick. I really, really liked the last one, so I can't wait for this one.

Worst title of all time. "Quantum of Solace"? I get it. It goes with theme of the movie. And, you couldn't call it "James Bond is Kinda Sad." But, "Quantum of Solace"? This is way better:

Monday, September 8, 2008

We Didn't Have To, But I'm Glad We Did

Everyone else thought that we could stay home this weekend. We had hiked this section of the AT before, but not in our quest to hike the entire AT. The remains of Hurricane Hanna was moving through, so we had a good excuse to stay home. We went out anyway. It was great. We had two great days on the AT.

Fog. Crazy Winds. No Views. All Smiles. YUP! (No one said we were normal.)

D's report

My report

Only 114 miles to go!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Way back in day, I worked at Sunday River. One of people I worked with had the all time best/worst way to measure snowfall. "Forecast calls for 6 to 8? OK, say that 14" fell. I just add the two numbers together. Close enough." (And ski industry types wonder why people don't trust ski reports.)

Today, my plan was to run somewhere between 5 and 8. So I ran 13. Just add the two together and call it good. Why not?

I (barely) dragged myself out of bed to meet the Trail Monster crew at Pineland. After almost getting a speeding ticket on the way there, I arrived a couple minutes before the 7:00am start time. (These people get up waaaayyy too early.) Good sized group, about a dozen. Including Mindy, who despite being unable to run due to injury, came out to walk on the trails. I have to admit, I admire her drive. There's no way, I'd be able watch the group run away as I went out for a walk...especially not that early. Hopefully, she gets the green light to run next week!

Run was great. I found myself all over the place in the group. I chatted with Ian for a bit, but mostly ran with Jamie and Jim. (And some guy named Kyle?!?!?) Both Jamie and Jim are running the MDI Marathon, so we chatted about that quite a bit. Jamie has run it the past 3 years, and he kept using the phrase "gargantuan hills" to describe the last few miles. Yet he also kept saying that it's going to be a blast. I don't think he's right in head.

I hadn't run at Pineland since the race in May, and I have to say the more I think about that race the more I've come realize that I really sucked that day. Big time. Don't believe anything I wrote in that post in May. I sucked. Payback is coming next May. (I wish the movie announcer guy could say that for me.) To illustrate that point, my watch read 2:00:29 for 13 miles today, and it felt pretty easy. That's 9:16 per mile. In May, I ran 8:59 per mile for 15.5 miles and was near death. I sucked.

We ran the lower/bigger loop first mostly following the race course, just avoiding the unmowed fields, which was fine with me. We arrived back at the parking lot, and it was starting to rain. So, of course, I decided to keep going. I was feeling great, and I really like the Oak Hill Loop. So, off we went.

I was running along with Jim and Floyd talking about the fun and suffering that is the Mt. Washington Road Race, when all of a sudden I was on my back. I had almost reached the bottom of Gloucester Hill, and both feet went right out from under me. I hit pretty hard, and I was simultaneously laughing and trying to catch me breath. It sort of knocked the wind out of me, and it took me a minute to get up. I didn't realize it at the time, but I have some pretty sweet "trail rash" on my back. After we finished Jim said to me, "Yeah, when your back hit the ground, it made a really loud thud." I actually remember seeing my feet in the air. That was pretty much the end of the excitement for the day.

By logging 13 miles, that put my weekly mileage at 40.5. (Plus a 14.3-hike on Sunday.) That's a great week for me. It's the most mileage I've done in single week since college (seriously), and best of all, I'm feeling good. Well, hungry, right now. So, off to eat lunch.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Politics are Fun!

Focus groups have shown that politics is not the main reason that you, the viewer, comes to Snowman Says (bungled Google search, primary traffic source), but I can't resist this:

I really don't watch the Daily Show very much. It's great, but I rarely watch it. Probably because I don't like to get angry while looking for comedy program with sound American family know, like Living Lohan.

I'm Not Fast

Yesterday was the first night of the trail running series at work, and it was full of ouch.

First a word about the course, it's about 3.3 miles, and it's really 2 courses. The first half is awesome. Hilly, really technical, singetrack. Sidehills. Switchbacks. Small stream crossings. It's great. The second half is nothing but hamstring popping, calf exploding carriage roads. OK, there are 2 short singletrack sections, but the majority is baby's bottom smooth carriage roads with small rolling hills. Gee, guess which half I like better?

I did a 3-mile warm up. Then I did my "race." It hurt. I don't have a single fast twitch muscle left in my body. I felt great for the first half. Trying to run "fast" on the singletrack was a blast. The second half was a whole other story. Every time I tried to push it I could feel my entire body tightening up. There's was a distinct threshold of pace where I felt like my body was going to explode. It was a really strange feeling. And, by strange, I mean painful. Everyone was worried about the first half, but I was worried about the second half. And, I was right. I am decidedly not fast. Then again, I haven't been training for fast. I've been training for survival. But this was ridiculous. My final time was 26:33, which works out the a moderately embarrassing 8:02 per mile.

I want to say I don't care because I haven't been training for such a short distance, but that would be a lie. I care. And, I'm kind of cranky about it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

12 Miles and More Random Stuff

Apparently, I've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately, since the random stuff posts are increasingly. I think that's good because otherwise this would be boring. "Today, I ran 12 miles. I felt good. I tied my shoes in double knots." Blah, blah...that's lame. If I ever get so one-dimensional that all I think about is my running, my lap splits and my resting heart rate...shoot me.

Speaking of shooting me, this is my new favorite photoshop job of all time:

This woman scares the crap out of me. She's potentially scarier than Dick Cheney. McCain is older than Yoda, what if she becomes President? Terrifying. Then again, I must be sexist because I can't handle a strong woman. Actually, no. I can't handle ultra-conservative, inexperienced, creationist, vice presidential candidates who was clearly chosen only to woo former Hilary Clinton supporters. Maybe she and Cheney should go on a hunting trip.

Can anyone guess who I'm voting for in November?

So, anyway, I ran 12.5 miles or so on trails yesterday morning. It was 52 when I headed out the door. Felt like fall. Ahhhh. Nice. Run was great. Hilly. Good stuff.

And, yes, I'm clearly just lifting the elevation profile for my runs via screenshot from Incidentally, my love affair with mapmyrun may have been nothing more than a brief infatuation. The end result is really cool, but the site features and usability aren't stellar. Maybe we'll just stay friends. It's not you. It's me.

Trail running series starts tonight. So that means speed work. Yikes. I don't think I've run a mile under 8 minutes since June. Should be painful. Course should be sweet, though. We're using some new singletrack. The first 1.5 miles are hilly, twisty, really cool singletrack. Second half is basically all carriage road. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Easy 5 and Random Stuff

Ran an easy five this evening after work. I wore my new shoes, and I must report that they are still really freakin' white...much like me. The details of the run are few. It was nice. I felt fine. Little tight in the calves, but they are my calves after all. It was a bumpy run, but I'm OK with that. Since the embed thingamajigger isn't working on mapmyrun, here's the elevation profile:

It looks really hilly, but it didn't feel really hilly. I'm hoping that's a good thing. I'm also hopeful that the despair of last week will be the low point in my training. Fingers crossed.

Onto the randomness...

The movie voice over guy died. That sucks. Do you think he knew when he was doing the voice over for a trailer that a movie was going to be terrible?

Football is here! Season starts Thursday. I'm fairly excited. I've already had my 2 fantasy football drafts. I like one of my teams. I don't like the other. I'm certain that by the end of the season, the feeling will be reversed. The lesson here: fantasy football is total crap shoot. (Unless you spend 4 hours a day working on your teams...which I used to do. Not healthy.) In honor of football season, here are people getting the everliving schnikies hit out of them. Good times.

I've made a decision. I love Pringles. Are they gross? Are they bad for me? Do they even contain potatoes? Well, I don't care. I love Pringles. They're especially tasty...well, all the time. Lately, I've been enjoying the Bacon Ranch flavor. I've yet to see the Loaded Baked Potato variety, but I'm willing to bet I'll love them.

12 miles on the schedule for tomorrow. Eating Pringles also on the schedule.