Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Wassup Guys 10 Years Later.


I always liked the Superfriends version the best:

Thus ends your flashback for today. Stay tuned next time for clips from the Arsenio Hall Show!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Headed out today at lunch for another easy 3-mile recovery run. In the first couple steps, I could feel a difference. I immediately felt like my pre-marathon self with a bit of spring in my step. Very good sign. Still taking it easy this week, though, as the goal is still recovery, but it's always nice to be heading in the right direction.

I did a run today that I hadn't done in a long time, but it was a staple of my return to running regimen. It's a hilly, trail/road mix that's right from the front door. Good stuff.

Look at's groovy new elevation profile! Now with pretty colors! WHEEEE! I guess when you return to running by running a hilly loop regularly you like running hills. Hence, MDI success. Yay hills on what I call the Mt. Ararat 30.

30, because it takes about 30 minutes to run. I have no idea how long it took today. I forgot to hit my watch when I started/hit the wrong button/I have no idea what happened. Regardless, I didn't look at my watch once while running, so I didn't realize I didn't have a watch on it. Another good sign that I'm feeling good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recovery Scuffle

Is there anything more theraputic than running through mud, puddles and muddy puddles?

D and I headed to Bradbury today for a 5-6-ish trail run. We decided to run the Bradbury Scuffle course...very easy. After last night's rain, things were really messy, and with all the fallen leaves many of the squishy parts were hidden. Perfect conditions! It was really nice to not be on the roads, and we made our way slowly along. Still feeling tired, but this run was as much about mental recovery and it was physical. We decided to cut it a bit short and turned for the parking lot at the Link Trail giving us almost exactly an hour of running. Nice day in the woods.

On the negative side, I wore my official MDI Marathon Finishers shirt. Dear t-shirt designers: Don't screenprint a big green blob in the shape of Mount Desert Island on the front of the shirt. It sort of defeats the whole wicking thing. And, it's kinda heavy and scratchy. Then again, all the chicks were digging it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Apparently, Pants are Optional

As I was nearing the end of my run this afternoon, I passed through a four-way intersection in the trail in the Commons. This intersection is less than a half mile from the parking area. As I crested a small hill and began to run down into the intersection, I realized there was a woman sitting on the bench directly across from the direction from which I was approaching. The woman was partially obscured by a bush, but I could tell that she had her pants pulled down. But, sadly, this is not the start of a Penthouse Forum letter. The woman in question do I put, heavy set. Yeah, that's it. She stood up and pulled up her pants, as I tried my best to avert my eyes, but I was caught in a bit of the "train wreck factor." She said in a friendly tone and very matter-of-factly, "Hi, how are you?" I'm not sure exactly what I said, but I was really just hoping the entire situation would just end. I ran a little faster.

Speaking of the run, I felt exactly the same way D felt on her run this morning: it felt like waaaaayyyy more effort that it should have been for a slow, 3-mile run. I guess I must have run a marathon last weekend. To be expected while recovering I guess. I'm still pretty tight, but, again, that's no surprise. Slow and steady the next couple weeks.

Nothing new to report on the toe front, but I bet you're all happy that this new post pushed that picture below the fold!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Toe

Per request (in other words, this is all Ian's fault), here's a picture of the toe:

As you can see, it really doesn't look that bad. OK, all the toes look bad, but only one of them hurts. It's the fourth toe with the issues. It feels like a mashed it repeatedly with a hammer. Or ran 26.2 miles on pavement. One or the other. Pretty certain the nail will be falling off.

So, there you have it. Hopefully, you're not eating.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back At It

Got out today for my first post-marathon run. I even had to relace my shoe that I'd attached my timing chip to. I wore shorts. It was in the 40's. I'm wicked tough. Overall, I felt good. A little tight, but nothing out of the ordinary. Seems like that's a good sign.

The only negative is the awesome toe. It's not so awesome. It kinda hurts. It doesn't look that bad, but it doesn't look that good. I hope another day off of it tomorrow will be a good thing.

By the way, winter's coming. Here's what Mt. Washington looked liked today:

There's even a few patches of snow on the ground at the base of the mountain. Back to those shorts I wore today. Yeah, I think it's time for me to get actual running tights. I have some heavier pants, but they're only good when it's really cold. I didn't think I really deserved real tights recently, since I was just a dabbler. But, I think I'll get a pair. Look out, ladies!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More MDI Thoughts and Looking Ahead

As if my 60,000 word race report wasn't enough, I still have more thoughts from the MDI Marathon.

Most importantly, stairs are no longer the enemy. I can walk down stairs without any assistance today. I've taken the last three days off, which has been a good call. But now that I'm not sore anymore, I'm itching to run. Plan to get back at it tomorrow.

The awesome toe looks much less awesome. It was purple and gross after the race, and at some point on Tuesday it drained. Ewwww. I had a little bit of bloody ooze in between my toes. Ewwww. Now, it just looks beat up. The nail will most likely fall off...but who know when? Maybe I'll start a pool.

Couple more thoughts on time. Final time was 3:43:03 for an overall per mile pace of 8:31. Goal was to run 8:45 per mile. The time at the half was 1:54:02 for a per mile pace of 8:42. Second half was 1:49:01 for a per mile pace of 8:19. I'm not 100% certain of the 20-mile split, but let's go with 2:53:30. May have been in 20's, but let's go with that. Which means that the last 10k was 49:33 for a per mile pace of 7:59.5. And, no, I refuse to round that up. The conclusion here is that I probably could have run faster. Am I disappointed? No way. (More on that in a second.) But it has certainly got something churning in my brain. And that something is the desire to run another one. Just not yet.

Since this was my first marathon, I didn't know what to expect, and in fact, for this whole year, I haven't known what to expect. I know I've talked a lot about time and goals, but my goal for this marathon was to prove that I could do it. Eighteen months ago, I never would have guessed it would have been possible. About a year ago, I entered the Bradbury Bruiser basically because we had a couple friends who wanted to do it. I didn't think I would survive. I did, and I decided it was time to get back into running. Since then, I've been seeing what I could do. Testing the waters. Getting back into it.

Full disclosure: I used to run a lot. In fact, I used to even be kinda fast. Then one day in 1997 during my senior year of college, I was running a track workout indoors. It was 800 meter repeats. It was before outdoor track started. In the middle of one of the 800's, I stopped. I'll never forget those last few steps. I walked off the track, showered and never went back. I was done. I had been running competitively for all of high school and college. I'd had a mediocre, injury-riddled college career, and running just wasn't fun anymore. So for about 10 years, I stayed away. My ego believed I was still a runner. I dabbled a bit. But, really, I wasn't a runner anymore.

This year has changed that. Sunday really changed that. It's time to get serious. Running is fun again. So, let's have some serious fun.

Jamie threw out the idea of running the Hyannis Marathon in February. The course is flat, so it's very tempting. But, I don't really want to run the Hyannis Marathon. It doesn't sound...well, you Plus, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to be that guy. You know, the guy that runs 12 marathons a year. I'd like to remain as injury-free as possible. However, there is a flattish, fastest marathon in my future. I'll also no doubt run MDI again. It's the perfect marathon for someone who likes to run trails because...well, just trust me. It's a cool race.

So, what's the plan?
(This is where I start to sound like D. Help me!!!!)

Short term: Recover. I'm taking it easy for a couple weeks. Then on Thanksgiving, D and I are running the Feaster Five in Andover, MA. It's a few minutes from my parents' house. No expectations, but I might try a sneak some speed work in. All depends on how I feel. The best part is that my sister is going to be running, too. Her first race ever. Should be good times.

Medium term: Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic. I'd like to run kinda fast here.

Long term: Pineland Farms 50k. Yup, you hear that 25k? That's me extending my middle finger to you. Time to step it up. I'd like to...well, run kinda fast here.

I'll be more specific about what kinda fast means as soon as I figure out what exactly I think it means. But, the bottom line, is that I'm going to come up with a real training plan. This year, I proved to myself that I can actually be a runner again. Now, it's time to find out how good. Most all, I'm going to keep having fun and make sure I don't just step off the track.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Official MDI Marathon Race Report

On Saturday, D and I headed for Bar Harbor, and immediately broke from tradition: we stopped at Tim Horton's instead of Dunkin Donuts. The results were positive, and a sign of things to come. Remember, kids, it's all about proper nutrition.

Saturday was uneventful, but a perfect pre-marathon day. We picked up our race numbers at the race expo where we bumped into Jamie and his dad and stepmother at the Expo. We made plans to meet up for an afternoon run, then we headed out to drive the course. There was much less cursing by me on this go around, which I guess was a sign that I was ready to go. We ate lunch in Southwest Harbor, and then met Jamie for a short 2-mile-ish run. D's parents arrived just as we finished our run, and we hung out with them until it was time to head to the pre-race pasta feed. The pasta was tasty, and the company was great as we talked with Jamie and his dad about what else? Running. My parents arrived later in the evening, and our official race crew was set. Time to hit the hay.

Sunday morning dawned downright chilly. D and I hid in our hotel room, which was right at the start, until about 10 minutes before the race started. Good mornings and good lucks all around, and we found our place on the starting line...or rather back in the starting pack. At some point, we decided that we would run as much of the race together for as long as we both felt comfortable. We'd done all our long training runs together, so why not run the race together. In the end, this proved to truly be the key to our success.

And we're off...

After standing at the start line, for what seemed like a month, it was a relief to hear the gun go off. A couple minutes in, we commented that our feet were cold. I'm not sure what the temperature was at the start, but it definitely wasn't above 40. The plan was to run 8:45's for as long as it felt comfortable. First mile: 8:42. Nailed it.

Miles 1-6: Just Getting Warmed Up

Not much to report from the early miles, aside from the brilliance of our pacing. We were both feeling very comfortable and warming up as we went. Miles 3 and 4 are hilly, and it seemed like a number of people were passing us. But we just stuck to our plan and stayed relaxed. At 5 miles, I said to D, "Can you believe we're already at 5?" The response: "Shhhhh." Really, the only annoying part about these first 5 miles was all the spectators drinking coffee. Thanks for cheering, but please hide the coffee mugs next year. It was way too tempting to pull over to the side of the road and curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of coffee. Feeling very comfortable, we hit mile 6 in 51:58ish.

Miles 6-12: That Wasn't Too Bad
At mile 6, I had my own form of coffee—Espresso Hammer Gel. Then we hit the hill before mile 7. Bad name, grouchy little hill. In the course description, they say it "runs easier than it looks." I don't necessarily agree, as it was definitely noticeable. We were still feeling good as we ran through the high rent district of MDI. There was also more uphill from mile 7 to 8 than I remembered from our course drives. Oh well, still feeling comfortable. Our amazing race crew (our parents) was at the 8.5 mark in Seal Harbor, and it was great to have some early cheers. The next part of the course was tough. The climbs in this section, up until mile 10, were tough. We managed our way through them comfortably still running the same pace. I hit a low point between mile 10 and mile 11. It felt like it was taking forever to get to mile 11. I was dragging more than I wanted to admit, but as soon as we went by the "11" sign that feeling went away. We saw our parents again just before the 12 mile mark, and it was another huge boost. We hit mile 12 and the aid station at 1:44:50ish. We'd slowed a touch, but we were still right on target. My plan was to stop at this aid station, drink a cup of water and "regroup." I ate a couple Clif Shot Bloks, Margarita flavor, walked and stopped to stretch a bit.

Miles 13-18: Where is Everyone?
D didn't quite understand, when I said I was going to stop and take a break that I was really going to stop and take a break, so she got quite a bit ahead of me. It took me a little bit to catch up, but we were soon together again weaving through the mean streets of Northeast Harbor. We hit the halfway mark in 1:54:02, and now it was time to get serious. Soon after we hit halfway, the roads got very quiet. There were a couple people around us through here, but for the most part we were alone. It was very strange. In these miles, we passed a couple people, but never any packs, and no one was running with us. Just before mile 14, my shoulder/neck started to tighten. I have a "thing" that happens when I carry a backpack and sometimes on long runs, and it can be pretty painful. I spent a lot of time from miles 14 to 15 trying to stretch it out. I was very concerned that it was going to get progressively worse, which I knew would spell disaster since when it gets painful it hurts so much it constricts my breathing. It's an angry thing that I should probably get looked at, but for now, I just hope it lies dormant. Needless to say, it faded away through my stretching and rubbing, and by mile 15, I was cautiously optimistic. It certainly didn't slow us down, though. I don't remember the split from mile 15, but I said, "Well, that was kinda frisky." D agreed, "Yeah, that might of been a little fast." We decided that we were still both feeling very comfortable, so we didn't get too worried about it. I think that the pace I was running when I was trying to catch up to D after the Mile 12 aid station must have just stuck. As we went past the "famous tree" of MDI Marathon logo fame, we were right along Somes Sound, and a stiff wind started to blow in our faces. Not only was it an unwelcome challenge, but it was also cold. I'm certain that subconsciously we wanted to just get through this section, so our pace didn't slow any even though we were starting to get into some hills. At mile 16, I had a GU packet (Lemon Sublime) as we were climbing, and climbing, and climbing. At about 16.5, I heard from behind: "Anybody need a box of wine?" It was Mindy and Pete on their bikes, and they couldn't have shown up at a better time. The hills, the wind, the being alone were starting to be a drain on us, and it was really great to see some friendly faces. Thanks, guys! It was a huge lift, and before we knew it we were at mile 17. They'd totally taken our minds off the hills, and we thanked them as they rode away. Shortly after we hit an intersection, and there were our parents again. This double shot of cheering and good karma was just awesome. I high-fived my Dad, and off we went. It was a good thing we saw them because the next piece of road sucked. It was slightly uphill and into the wind all the way to mile 18. We were able to ride the adrenaline wave to turn off onto Butler Rd.

Miles 18-21: OK, We're Tired
Shortly after the turn onto Butler Rd., D said, "I need to pee." I had been fighting a slight urge to pee for a few miles, so I didn't complain. We were in and out of the woods in a few seconds, and right back at it. By the way, at the other end of Butler Rd. there are porta-potties. After 18+ miles of running, we found this pretty comical. Now, the course gets really tough. We worked hard on these hills. Really hard, but we were holding our pace. The hill that closes out mile 19 is downright mean, but we pushed right through, even passing a couple people. In fact, after mile 14, no one passed us the rest of the way. Our parents once again gave us a lift right at the nasty hill at mile 20. Another great boost. We hit mile 20 at 2:53:30ish...well ahead, of the projected 2:55:00 to finish at the 3:49:00 goal. Everyone says the marathon starts at 20, so I was prepared for something terrible to happen here. Nothing terrible happened, in fact, I was still feeling pretty good. My plan was to use from 20 to 21 to "regroup." I took stock of how I felt, had another GU, and we kept on going. There was a short steep bump as we headed through Somesville, and I thought to myself, "D looks much stronger than I feel. I think she's got me." I told her that she shouldn't worry about me and just go if she felt good. Unfortunately, she couldn't really respond because she was half choking on a Shot Blok, but the message got through and she mumbled the same to me.

Miles 21-26.2: "Release the Hounds!"

Again, since this was my first marathon, I was somewhat terrified of the final miles. Having watched and run with D in the final 4 miles of the 2006 Maine Marathon, I saw firsthand what these final miles can do to people. As I waited for her that year at the aid station at 22 miles, it looked like a mash unit. Downright ugly. Plus, the MDI Marathon has some big, mean, nasty hills in the final miles. So, I think it was prudent to be fearful. That being said, I had hoped in my best case scenario planning of this race, that once I hit 21, no one was going to pass me. That was my hope. We passed someone right after the 21st mile. He tried to run with us for a few steps. We dusted him. It was on. Also at this point, you can see a long stretch of road in front of you. In my mind, I told myself we were going to catch all those people. We did. Before I knew it, we had climbed one of the bigger hills in this section, and we were really moving. At one point, we passed a guy who said, "Wow. Release the hounds!" Yup, we were serious. We were picking people off left and right. I lost count at 15 around mile 22.5. My brain was too oxygen deprived to count any higher. Sometime around mile 23, we started climbing another hill, and I pushed ahead a little bit. As I surged, I extended my hand back to D, which she slapped, and I was off. I yelled back to her at the top of the hill hoping she could catch back up, but I had just a little more juice. For the first time today, I was alone. I pondered this for a couple seconds because it felt really weird. I guess part of me felt bad, but I know she's really tough and would stay right behind me. Of course, I still didn't want anyone else to pass me because I had told myself no one was going to pass me. So, my head was down, and I kept catching people one by one by one by one. Then all of a sudden I saw the "Top of the Hill" Restaurant, which is indeed the top of the last hill. Where were all those hills that were supposed to be so hard? Had I missed them? I had a brief "holy crap, I'm actually going to finish this thing, and finish it well" moment. I pushed that aside quickly, though, because I still hadn't crested the hill and I was still worried about keeping it together. So, after that short celebration, I put my head down again and really dropped the pace as best I could. There's a long downhill after the restaurant, and you pass the 25-mile mark. My quads felt like they were going to explode. I kept pumping my arms, but hands looked they were detached from the ends. The whole experience was surreal. Oh, and it was really starting to hurt...a lot. A whole big pile of hurt. I started to really worry that all those people I had been passing were going to come back and pass me...making me look like a fool. "Hey, there's the guy that went too early." I didn't want to be that guy, and since I'd never run this far before I was still worried that I was just going to melt down. At 26 miles, you can see the final .2. You can see the finish banner. It was the longest .2 ever. Not a single step of this final .2 felt natural. It didn't even feel like running. I'm sure it looked even worse. I can't say I particularly cared because, well, I was finishing my first marathon! Just before the finish, my Mom was jumping up and down cheering, and I cracked a smile the best I could. I ran across the line, staggered a bit, and turned around to look for D. Of course, our parents wanted to know where she was. "She's fine. She's right behind me." And, then there she was. Hugs and congrats all around. Best. Race. Ever.

Final Results:
Me: 3:43:03, 139th overall, 10 out of 39 age group
D: 3:44:29, 143rd overall, 6 out of 44 age group, an 11-minute PR!

The Aftermath
After teetering and shaking for a bit under my heat sheet, I was finally able to put on some warm clothes. Mindy was at the finish, so we were able to thank her for her help at mile 17. We also got congratulations from Jamie's father and stepmother. And, we congratulated Jamie, who despite some bad stomach issues, still rocked out a 3:27. Best of all, it was so great to have our parents there. The boosts they gave us along the course were phenomenal, and it was just awesome to have them at the finish. They were the best race crew ever. Thanks, guys...and that's not enough. While walking back to the car with my Dad, he asked me, "So, would you do it again." Without hesitation, I said, "Oh yeah."

Today, I'm sore. Stairs are difficult. Really difficult. Getting into or out of a seated position is difficult. My quads hurt the most. (That last downhill destroyed them.) My ankles and hamstrings are sore, too. Also, a touch in my arms and back. Ready for an easy, relaxing week. We've walked a little bit, which has helped, but I don't exactly look fluid. I also earned an enormous blood blister on the fourth toe of my right foot. (Might have to post a picture of it.) It's gruesome and awesome.

Overall, as I think you can tell, I'm obviously really happy with my race. It went amazingly well. I'm so glad that D and I decided to run together as I'm certain that's the reason we both did so well. I definitely could not have run as well without her alongside. I most proud of the negative split. We ran the second half much faster than the first. Everyone who told me not to go out too hard: Thank you. And, thanks to everyone who supported from a far. Especially, thanks to my awesome grandmother for her awesome emails about me doing awesome...and, yes, I called my grandparents today. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

MDI Mini-Report

Full race report coming soon, but here's a Sunday night update.

Awesome day for us. D and I ran together for pretty much the entire race, which was not only amazingly helpful but a lot of fun. I ended up having a little more juice over the final hills to finish just ahead.

Me: 139th, 3:43:03
D: 143, 3:44:29 (A 10-minute PR!!!)

Right now, everything hurts. It hurts to wear socks...seriously. More to come soon...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Do This

Seriously, does anything fire you up more than Asia?

This will in all likelihood be the final post before the marathon. The cold is mostly gone. Not completely, but what can I do? There's a medical tent at this thing, right?

Despite what you may have read, I will not be deviating from my plan. I will still be going out easy, with the goal time of 3:49.
Here are the splits that I'm going to focus on:
1 mile - 8:45
6 miles - 52:30
12 miles - 1:45:00
Half - 1:54:38
16 miles - 2:20:00
20 miles - 2:55:00
21-26.2 miles - bring it

So, there it is. We're headed to Bar Harbor tomorrow to pick up our numbers and such. We'll probably do another drive of the course, too.

Say "HI" if you see me tomorrow. I will be the only guy NOT wearing running shoes, jeans (most likely a braided belt), a technical long sleeve from a road race (tucked in), a technical running cap and a Boston Marathon jacket. Seriously, though, why do runners do this? I get it. You run. Congrats. But you're making us look like tools.

Also, feel to say "HI" on race day. I'm not sure what shirt I'm wearing yet, but I will be wearing a gray hat and camo Moeben sleeves. Why? Because they're freakin' camo!

Now to really get fired up the Greatest Music Video of All Time:

If you fail to see the unadulterated awesomeness of that, it's just not going to work out between us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Burning the Second Grilled Cheese

I needed to run today. It was essential. I hadn't run since Sunday due to my cold, and I was starting to freak out. Additionally, I haven't been sleeping. Lots of staring at the ceiling at midnight. Good times. Tapering is awesome.

So, I got out this morning. Like the second grilled cheese, I was really looking forward to this run. It was meh. So so. I didn't feel very good. In fact, I felt downright sluggish. I had no energy. Uh oh. Of course, this is how you're supposed to feel when you're, right? I haven't tapered for so long, I can't remember. The real downside was that while I was running along feeling like boo boo, I started thinking the dreaded negative thoughts. "I've been sick, so maybe Sunday won't be my day." AHHHH! Be gone evil demons! In the last mile, I did a pretty solid job of exorcising those wicked spirits as I felt better and better as I finished up my run. How did I do this? I kept thinking about all the people I'm going to pass in the final 5 miles of the marathon.

I've also decided that marathon weekend is going to be awesome 80's dance party weekend. The iPod will only be playing tunes from the 80's. The drive to Bar Harbor is going to be so much fun! (D hates me already.) And, for your viewing pleasure, if bands sang exactly what was happening in their videos:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Are You Taunting Me?

The other day I made a grilled cheese. Have you ever been eating a grilled cheese and realized it was completely 100% awesome? It's so good that you decide to make another grilled cheese. This is exactly what happened. I finished the first magical sandwich, and then I made another one. The second one wasn't nearly as good. It just wasn't the same. I hate that.

Why does NPR list all the stations it broadcasts on? "You are listening to MPBN, WXYZ, 90.1, Portland, WABC, 90.3 Bangor..." And on, and on, and on, and on, and on. I clearly don't need this information at this time, since I've found an NPR station. I'm listening to it. And, there's no way I'm going to remember all those other frequencies. I'm not Rain Main. I really need those frequencies when I'm somewhere that my usual NPR station doesn't come in, but, of course, I can't get that information because NPR isn't currently coming in. More annoying than the mediocre grilled cheese.

OK, so I'm still sick...Or am I? Perhaps I'm just faking it to lull the MDI course into a false sense of security. It thinks I'm weak, so it will let it's guard down. Yeah, that's it.

That being said, if I was actually still sick. Who cares? I'm still going to win on Sunday. Yup, I'm totally going to win.

Speaking of the, what a surprise, it's on my mind...Anyway, speaking of the marathon, I've been thinking a lot about pace and strategy. I've laid out the plan, and I'm sticking to it. BUT...riddle me this...

Recently, Jeff turned me onto the McMillian Running Calculator, and I'm completely addicted to it. Essentially, it takes a performance at a specific distance and calculates your projected times at other distances. I think some math is involved. Out of curiosity, I plugged in my time from the Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic this past February: 1:12:15. I ran this race on an average of 12 miles a week, having done no serious running for the previous 10 years. I was fat and straight off the couch. (OK, not exactly, but I wasn't exactly fit.) According to McMillian, my marathon time base on that 10-mile performance: 3:22:22. That's 7:44 per mile. WTF?!?!?! I'm hoping to run 3:49. That's a minute slower per mile. By actually training, have I gotten slower? Less good at running? OR...should I attempt to run 7:44's? I'm not really considering it, but it's intriguing. Seriously, though, what the hell does this mean? Somebody talk me off the ledge.

I can't wait for this damn thing to be over. Sunday, stop taunting me. Get here already! Kill me! I'm heeeyah!

(I couldn't find the unedited scene from Predator, but, you know, any excuse to post something from the 80's...)

Monday, October 13, 2008

This Is Not Going To Help

D has a cold. She gave it to me. Aside from the whole contagious thing, I wouldn't recommend hanging around with us right now. We're cranky.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Official MDI Marathon Preview

That pretty much sums it up. After a ten year hiatus from running, I've gotten back into it this year, and I think I'm ready for MDI. I'm not afraid, but I don't really know what I'm getting into. I just don't whine as much as Luke.

Last weekend, D and I did our official course preview. It's going to be hard. The whole thing is bumpy, and there are a number of big hills. The biggest hills seem to be from mile 9 to 10, from mile 16 to 17, and from 19 to 20. Then it gets interesting. It's basically all uphill from 21 to 25. I have no idea who devised this course, but he was most likely dumped by his girlfriend the night before. It's definitely going to be a test. It's beautiful, but I doubt I'll appreciate it during the race.

Since this is my first marathon, I'm not really sure what to expect.

Oh, yeah, that.

Anyway, here's my basic race plan: I'm going to treat the first 12 miles as warm up. Twelve miles has become a real comfortable distance for me. There are water stops every two miles, so at the 12-mile aid station, I'm going to take a quick break. After this, I'm going to start to pick it up gradually from this point through mile 20. Just a touch quicker. Everyone says, the marathon starts at 20, so I want to feel solid at that point. I think with this plan I'll feel tired-ish, but ready to work. Mile 20 to 21 is flat-ish, so I'll regroup as best I can, then go to work. Every time I think about the marathon, which is often, I see myself running well on these hills. All my training runs have been hilly, and I ran up Mt. Washington this year. I'm sure I'll be playing that mental game with myself. In my last long run, I felt great the last few miles, so I think I'm ready to go. Again, I've never run this distance, but I feel ready.

As far as time goes, the number in my head is 3:49. That's 8:45 per mile. That's the pace I'm planning for the first 12. For a while, I was considering running without my watch. I don't want to get caught up time. I want to pay attention to how I feel. But, I know that without my watch, I'm guaranteed to feel great and go through 5 miles in 39 minutes. That would be really bad. I'm going to have splits for 6, 12, half and 20 either memorized or written on my arm. (Sorry, Ian, no pace tat.) Again, I don't want to get too caught up, but I want to have some kind of gauge. Ultimately, I'd be happy to be under 4 hours, but I haven't ruled out being able to run faster than 3:49. Not to sound like a broken record, but I just don't know what to expect. I'm optimistic.

I'm feeling good. The PF is minimal and shouldn't be a factor. D and I did our last long run today. Well, it wasn't long, but it was 8 miles. I actually felt a bit sluggish, but it was very comfortable. (The sluggishness could easy be contributed to the super delicious, homemade french toast and homefries for breakfast. Oh, bacon, too.) I think that's a normal taper feeling. I will admit to being nervous. My stomach was a mess a couple days ago, and I have more zits than a freshman gym class. But, if I wasn't nervous, I don't think I'd be ready to run.

So, there's less than a week to go.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playoff Baseball is Bad for Me

I didn't plan on it, but I stayed up last night and watched the Red Sox game. Why don't these games start at 7:00 like regular season games? I can't stay up until midnight every night. I'm way too old for that. I'm hoping for a blowout tonight, so I can go to bed early.

Ran 3 miles today. Nothing to report. Although it was really hard to keep it to 3 miles. It was way too nice out today to just be running 3 miles. Oh well, need to keep to the plan.

PF Factor: .01. Feeling better each day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kinda Easy

Plan for yesterday during the trail running series was to just run easy. No effort at all. Well, for those of you who have ever been timed for doing something, know that taking it completely easy is pretty much impossible. Damn ego. That being said, I did take it relatively easy. Easy two mile warm up, and then I just ran nice and smooth. Any time I felt myself working a little harder, I backed off. It was like a really mellow tempo run. I was really tight during my warm up, but everything seemed to smooth itself out during the run. Crossed the line and immediately went out for a 1-mile cool down. My time was about 2 minutes slower than my fastest time, but felt 1,000 times easier. Feeling good.

Took today off, and then it's a short run tomorrow. Plan is to focus on stretching and hanging out on the foam roller as much as possible this week to keep loose. Also need to keep loose mentally. I think I'm doing that. As a bit of a preview to my official MDI preview post, I have to say that I feel ready. To help me stay loose:

That will never get old.

PF Factor: .25 - I'm hopeful that we're reaching the last few installments of the PF Factor. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Out of Sorts

I've been feeling off for the last two days. Not sick. But, something just isn't quite right. Hard to describe. In all honesty, I could be worrying myself sick about MDI. It's pretty much consuming all my thoughts. I'm kind of a mess. But at the same time, I feel ready. Really. I think I might need another of my sleep a lot and eat constantly kind of days.

Easy 3-mile run this evening. Nothing to report. Other than it was effortless, and I felt great. Felt better during the run than I did the rest of the day. Then again, I was looking at budget sheets all day.

The fact that I don't feel great made my decision real easy for tomorrow. It's the last day of the trail running series, but I'm not going to push it. I already have first place locked up. (Really, really, really small pond.) I thought about going hard, but with the marathon just around the corner it's probably better to take it easy. I'll add a couple miles before to make it 5 or 6.

PF Factor: .25 - I don't want to day that it's gone because the PF can be tricky, but it's pretty minor. No pain and very little tightness at any point during the day. Didn't notice a thing while I was running. No worries here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Running and Eating on Mt. Desert Island

D and I just returned from an awesome 2 days on Mt. Desert Island, aka: pretty much the best place on earth. Normally, we hike on the island, but since I'm never hiking again, we ran both days. Both runs were awesome, but way too short. I wouldn't suggest going to MDI to run, when you're tapering. It's frustrating because both days I wanted to do more. Chock it up to another reason to go back. The other reason for this trip was to get a look at the MDI Marathon course, and spend a weekend on MDI and actually have fun...since marathon weekend isn't likely to be "fun."

We hit the road at about 7:30. I wasn't feeling all that frisky, after an evening of libations with the Trail Monsters at Novare Res. I only had 2 beers*, but things were still a bit hazy. The haze cleared along the way thanks to coffee, an egg sammich and a pumpkin donut from Dunkin' Donuts. We arrived at the Jordan Pond House shortly before 10:30 and headed out on the 12-mile "Around the Mountain" Loop on the carriage roads. The carriage roads are awesome for running. You feel speedy like you're on a road, but it's soft like a trail. Our guide book listed this route as "difficult" with an estimated time of 4 hours...on a bike!!! I have no idea who this book was written for, but we've hiked faster than 3mph. The book must be written for all the "less than trim" people we saw getting off the leaf peeper buses: the tourist cattle. "Moo!" Anywho, this loop was an amazing run. There was a fair amount of climbing, but you hardly notice it with the grade. We essentially circled Sargent Mountain. The weather was perfect: high 50's, sunny, and the views were stellar. We need to get a tiny, lightweight camera for runs like this: it was just incredible. The foliage is just starting to pop on the island, so that didn't hurt either. We didn't see a ton of people, but it wasn't dead quiet either. We knew when we were nearing a parking lot because the "traffic" increased exponentially. Of course, each time we saw people waddling along, D picked up the pace a bit. Show off. We returned to Jordan Pond and closed out the loop in 1:43 and change. Top 5 all time runs, perhaps. It was awesome. From a marathon training perspective, it was our last "long" run before the marathon, and we both felt great. In fact, it felt easy.

We stretched at the car and changed. In all our trips to MDI (we've gone at least once a year for the past 10), we've never done the legendary lunch at the Jordan Pond House. The timing worked out great, so we decided to try the world famous popovers. Eh, they were fine. Lunch was quite tasty, though. It's pricey, but you're paying for the experience and the view. Worth it.

Next, we drove to Bar Harbor to take care of the business portion of this trip: preview the marathon course. I'm not going into right now; I'll say more in my official MDI preview post. I will say that I swore a lot, and we ate some of the donuts left over from our stop in the morning.

The course tour worked out perfectly because we finished in Southwest Harbor, which is where we were staying. As I mentioned in my previous post, we had a reservation at the Claremont, a gift from D's boss. The Claremont is quite nice. It's not exactly our style, but it was nice. It reminded us a lot of the Balsams. It's not a well done or as over the top as the Balsams, but it has the same Dirty Dancing feel to it.

We checked it to our room, showered, wandered around the property, and then headed back into Bar Harbor to go to one of, if not, our favorite restaurant: Cafe This Way. I had the quail special. I'd never had quail was super tasty. After dinner, we wandered around Bar Harbor laughed at the tourists, strolled through a couple tourist traps, and I picked up a six-pack of Bar Harbor Brewing Cadillac Mountain Stout. (I'm drinking one right's pretty solid. I'd highly recommend it.)

Breakfast was included in our stay at the Claremont, so we downed the cheddar and broccoli quiche and waffles and headed back to the carriage roads. We picked out a short 4.5 mile loop that took us up Paradise hill, which offered great views of Frenchman's Bay. It was a bit chillier today, but still just about perfect for running. Despite it being Monday, it was busy on the carriage roads. Well, not busy further out, but busy around the major trailheads. There was a bike tour of about 2 dozen people heading out when we finished. Glad we missed that. Actually, crossing paths with bikers on the carriage roads can be a bit unsettling. 90%+ of the bikers have rented bikes in Bar Harbor, and they aren't entirely comfortable. You can see it on their faces as they head towards you. That's actually how we saw pretty much all the cyclists—head on; only one pair of bikers passed us both days. Anyway, today's run was just as awesome. Way too short, but it was beautiful. We both felt great. We finished off the last of the donuts at the car.

A quick stop at the very tasty Spot Grill in Bar Harbor for lunch, and we were on the road. We took the scenic route home—Route 1. Nice ride through the coast. All in all a really great two days.

PF Factor: I realized that I forgot the PF Factor in my last post. Well, let's go with 1. For the two days in Bar Harbor, Sunday = 1, Monday = .5. I felt it for about 2 minutes during our run on Sunday, but then it went away and felt fine. Barely noticeable on Monday. The taper is coming at the right time, so I'm not worried about it for the marathon. I have been using my massage ball and daily vitamin I.

*Full disclosure: Each beer was a liter of their special Octoberfest offering. Yeah, a a big glass mug. It doubled as upper body work.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

3 Miles...That's It

Ran a mellow 3 miles in the Commons this afternoon. That's it. That's all there is to report. Felt great. Weather was perfect. Things are good. Although, I was fighting the urge to run faster. I had to force myself to keep it easy.

D and I are headed up to Mt. Desert Island tomorrow to go for a run and do some official MDI marathon course recon. We thought it would be a good idea to check out the course before the race, and we also thought it would be nice to head up to the island on a weekend separate from the marathon weekend. You know, so we could actually have fun. D's boss was nice enough to give us a one night stay at the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor. Their website includes this photo:

Yeah, I'm sure we'll fit right in.

My hope is that it's some sort of hardcore Heathers fan club. "Greetings and salutations..."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Don't Get It

OK, smart running people, help me out.

Tonight was week 5 of the trail running series. With the rain and fallen leaves, the first mile of the course was full on sketchy. I really had to dial it back through all that single track. The result was a 9:24 first mile. Slow, slow, slow. But, I stayed upright and no turned ankles, which was key. I really worked hard once I got off of the single track. Really hard. Final time was 25:28. That works out to 6:58 per mile over the final 2.3 miles. (I know, 3.3 miles is a strange distance, but work with me here.) Here's the thing: the 6:58 average was brutally painful. On Monday, my 21st mile was a 7:30 and didn't hurt nearly as bad. Why is that? Am I at some weird anaerobic/lactate threshold? Am I a big wuss? Any ideas?

Whatever the answer is, I'm really happy with my effort today. Really happy. If the first half wasn't so sketchy and the rest of the course wasn't so soft from the rain, I'm pretty confident I would have gone under 25, which would be pretty solid on this course. Best of all, I felt strong. I was able to really dig for a little extra. Even felt smooth on the cool down. Overall, a good day.

I'm going to introduce a new feature here at Snowman Says: The PF Factor. Each day I post, I'm going to rate the badness of the plantar fasciitis on a scale of 0 to 5. 0 being no pain or discomfort. 5 being excruciating, unable to walk pain. That's the PF Factor.

Today's PF Factor: 1.
No pain at all today. Just a little tightness from time to time. Stretched the calves as much as possible. I didn't even notice or think about it while I was running. I paid special attention to how it felt when I started my cool down. I didn't feel it at all. Good stuff, and all systems go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is Planter Fasciitis Contagious?

If so, I blame Jamie.

I don't think it is, so he's off the hook. But, I do have some mild planter fasciitis in my left foot. I'd say we're on PF watch yellow...or chartreuse...or whatever level means we're aware of the threat and monitoring the situation, but not ready to blow up any civilians. We're at that level. In all seriousness, I don't think it will be a big deal. There's no pain (only a touch first thing in the morning), just tightness. It felt fine on my run today. What was strange was that it just kind of appeared. I hadn't felt it at all until Monday morning before our long run. The PF is a sneaky bastard.

Speaking of today's run, I ran 3.5 in the pouring rain. Not entirely enjoyed. However, I felt great. Really good. Very encouraging after running 21 on Monday. Of course, some credit goes to Shannon, the official massage provider of Snowman Says. I was able to get a massage yesterday, which was hugely helpful. I'm hoping I can squeeze at least one more in before the marathon.

Speaking of the marathon, I was starting to think about splits and times last night. My head exploded. I do have a be revealed later, but I think I'm just going to go by feel. I'm going to figure out the splits for a few key spots, e.g. halfway, but I'm not going to worry about each mile. I'm not going to worry about hitting certain times. I'm just going to run. The 21-mile run gave me plenty of confidence that I can complete the distance. The fueling strategy I used worked well, so I'm confident in that. It will be all about surviving the pavement, and I think with a nice, easy taper, I'll be in good shape there. It's getting close, and starting to feel real.

Not related to anything, I'm in love with the new Genius feature in iTunes 8. It's very cool. You pick a song, and the Genius picks an entire playlist, up to 100 songs, based on that one song. It's really found some gems for me. It's found some songs I forgot I had. Good stuff.