Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big Brother

This run was from this morning but the report is delayed since I've just now gotten my interwebz working. Turns out I was lucky over the weekend to get a connection. So now that things are flowing smoothly, I can share my ritualistic diatribe about my run.

Went out to our local rail trail this morning for a short little jaunt. Some of our trail friends reported some heavy ATV use (which is illegal) in this section so I thought I'd be nosy and see for myself. Turns out, they were right. It's not just being used, it's being used heavily. Here's to hoping we can stop them.

The run itself was fairly uneventful. I had to battle the horseflies about a half mile into the run. Wasn't fun but I did get to practice breathing in through my nose. I've choked (and puked) on one too many bugs to know I don't want to do it again.

That's the trail on the right and the illegal access point the ATVs use on the left:

Temps were 70F to 75F. Humidity was high. Sun was out.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt and water. During the run I had a bottle of water with ice and a bottle of Hammer Fizz with ice. Recovery was chocolate ZICO followed by a breakfast burrito, eggs, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Biggest pain was the horse flies. They're out in force now.

No special gear except for my phone.

Codename - Big Brother
We reportedly have surveillance cameras on the trail to document and catch the trespassing ATV users. But I couldn't find them today. But it was nice to at least try to find them.

Mile 1 - 11:54
Mile 2 - 13:39 (includes taking pictures)
Mile 3 - 14:04 (includes taking pictures and a pee break)
Mile 4 - 12:14
Finish - 51:53

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PR Family

Today was a family race day. At the last minute we decided to all run today. Elizabeth (my daughter - age 8) and I signed up for the 10k while Yvonne (my wife) and William (my son - age 4) signed up for the 5k. We got to bed early last night and got up early this morning. I was impressed with everyone's ability (including my own) to get our butts out the door on time. We parked near the finish, grabbed our fluids, and headed to the start. We stopped for the bathrooms, realized there was no chip timing for the race, and said hello to Karyl-Lynne T. , Melli H. , Michele S. , and Jenny (I don't think she's on DailyMile). We also spotted a fellow youth runner we've seen in year's past, Buffy, and said hello to her as well.

After wishing each other good luck, we went to our separate starting areas and waited for the gun. Elizabeth and I started at the back and fell into a comfortable pace. After clicking off the first mile I gradually picked up the pace a bit until I saw that she wasn't hanging on. So we slowed down a bit and took more walking breaks. She did great until Mile 3.5 when she started to fade. So we took more walking breaks until about Mile 5. She caught a bit of a second wind and did great at running a bit more. This was about when I got a text from Michele saying the ladies were at Cracker Barrel. Knowing we wouldn't make it, I just kept running, doing my best to coax and cheer Elizabeth on.

My favorite part was the last few blocks. I was proud of her already for doing such a great job despite being tired. But the last few blocks were awesome. As we got close to Mile 6, she saw the finish line. I asked if she could start running from the Mile 6 mark to the finish. She decided to start before that and took off at an average pace. I easily caught up and had to remind her to finish to the right side. After a couple course corrections to get her to the right side, she upped her speed a bit. Then a little more. By the time she heard my wife and son cheering for her, she was going at a pretty good clip. I could keep up but I was approaching my sprinting gear. I didn't expect her to go much faster and actually expected her to fade. Turns out, she had another gear and took off at a full sprint. So as I got to my wife, I ditched her bottle and mine and took off at a sprint as well. I could barely catch her. She faded half a gear right before the finish but kept going through the finish line. She probably had a tough look on her face but I was smiling like a little kid. It was so fun to race with her!

All in all, I had a good time. I was a bit worried around Miles 4 and 5 but she toughed it out and finished strong. I wasn't in this race for any PR and was happy to help her get both a distance and a time PR. My son meanwhile was super-depressed that he finished last in the 5k race. But I gave him a big sweaty hug (which grossed him out) and told him I was proud of him just for finishing. My wife said he walked nearly all of it but I'm still proud of him and his new distance and time PR.

Temps were about 70F to 75F. Sky was clear. Slight breeze. Humidity was high.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was coffee and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of plain ice water and a bottle of Hammer Fizz with ice. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by a full breakfast of a Power Sandwich, cheese danish, and frozen mocha.

Aches and Pains:

No special gear but I did have my phone just in case.

Codename - PR Family
Well, only two of us got PRs today but it was fun playing crew chief and cheerleader. Our finish times were:
William (5k) - 1:11:32 (PR)
Yvonne (5k) - 1:11:34
Elizabeth (10k) - 1:28:27 (PR)
Neil (10K) - 1:28:28

Mile 1 - 11:48
Mile 2 - 13:11
Mile 3 - 13:00
Mile 4 - 16:18
Mile 5 - 15:40
Mile 6 - 16:46
Finish - 1:28:28

Friday, May 25, 2012

Williamsburg Trip in Pictures

Some of the pictures from our trip to Williamsburg that didn't make it into my race report.

My son William waiting to cheer on his mom, his sister, and the "guy with legs" that was in a wheel chair. Yup, that's what he said.

The Girls just after Mile 1.

Elizabeth running the final curve!

Yvonne running the final curve!

After my race, we headed to the local mini-golf joint for some fun.

Then we headed to Jamestown for more fun. This guy made a lot of noise and blew a lot of smoke, but I think everyone learned something.

And finally, Elizabeth tried on some armor.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Today's run helped flush a few things out of my system. Unfortunately not quite enough of the toxins have been evacuated to improve my mood to where I want it to be. But progress is being made.

After dropping the kids off at their respective places, I swapped cars and headed to the trail. Once there I immediately noticed a medium sized turtle in the parking lot. Turns out he was dead. It also turns out he was just the first of many animals I'd see today.

I headed from MM 8.5 down to MM 11.0. About half a mile into my run I realized that I didn't bring any fuel along with me. Which means there wouldn't be any chance of my making it to the 12.5 mile marker like I had hoped to. So instead I sucked it up and carved out some energy to make it to Mile 11 and back.

Normally I say there wasn't much exciting on my run but today was a regular menagerie of animals. I saw two deer from the get-go. Then two more. Then two turtles. Then another turtle. Then a beaver. And some geese. Sheesh. It was a zoo out there.

Outside of the plethora of wildlife, the run was pretty static. Fluids and fueling were in the green. Bathroom breaks where in the yellow (no pun intended). Trail was in the green with a few spots that needed attention.

Temps were about 65F to 70F. Humidity was high because of the recent rain. Sun was out for the most part but was hidden by the trees. No noticeable wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water, yogurt, and a Wegmans breakfast burrito. During the run I had one bottle of water and one bottle of Hammer Fizz. Recovery was chocolate ZICO.

Aches and Pains:
None to speak of.

No special gear beyond my phone to take pictures with. Although I did use some bug spray to keep the ticks away.

Codename - Vocabulary
I love the word "plethora." I have no idea why. I also like "palindromes" and "ephemera" but that's mostly because I like palindromes and ephemera (look them up if you don't know what they are). So it was with great joy that I could use the word "plethora" in my report today!

Insertion (car to MM 8.5) - 2:25
Mile 1 - 12:21
Mile 2 - 13:43 (includes pee break)
Mile 3 - 16:13 (includes dropping off a MacGuffin)
Mile 4 - 12:28
Mile 5 - 14:07 (includes another pee break and staring at the beaver)
Extraction (MM 8.5 to car) - 3:47
Finish - 1:15:07

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run for the Dream Race Report

The Spoiled Brat vs. The Depressed Fool
My family will no longer accompany me on any trip to any of my major races. Why? Because I didn't get what I wanted during this weekend's race. Actually, make that this weekend overall. Does that make me a spoiled brat for not getting what I wanted or does that just make me a practical runner that leaves the baggage at home and takes a mini-vacation from life? Or does that make me some sort of depressed fool that can blame everything on a chemical imbalance? Who the hell knows. But I do know that this weekend, as a whole, was not fun. Sure, there were moments of fun, but overall, it wasn't fun. At all.

Pre-Race Race
Friday afternoon the family loaded up into the SUV and headed south. We took the interstate instead of the usual Route 17 but it all worked out the same in my book. It was faster, just more boring. Once in Williamsburg, we headed straight to the expo for packet pick-up. Like last year, the expo was, in a word, weak. Very boring, very small, and very limited. The volunteers were helpful and things were a bit more organized than last year. It was easier to find your way around, go through the steps needed to get your stuff, and generally much better than last year. So kind of a mixed bag. My wife got her race info, I got mine, and my daughter got registered for her first ever 8k. Meanwhile my son did pretty good not freaking out too much on the stairs.

After the expo, we headed to the hotel, checked in, unloaded the car, headed back to the expo to clarify some last minute questions, then headed to dinner. At Panera. And while I completely understand the need to choose something safe, it was a bit boring. But as we say in our house, boring is good. No sense having anybody get sick before (or during) their race.

Saturday's race was an 8k for my wife and daughter. My wife has done just a few at this distance and my daughter hasn't done any. So with plenty of coaching beforehand, my son and I dropped the ladies off for the start of their race. We parked way over in the Visitor Center lot, hoofed it back to the predetermined viewing area, and waited patiently. The girls came by just after Mile 1 in the race when we saw them the first time. The second time they were at about Mile 2.5. Both times we had a blast cheering for them. The third time we managed to catch them just after Mile 3. I was surprised to see them just ahead of us coming out of a side-street. I scooped up my son and did my best to run half a block to catch them. We ran about 5 strides with them before I couldn't take the massive weight in my arms and had to stop. We swung around and went into the stadium where the finish line was and watched both finish. I'm not sure how excited my son was but I was pretty stoked for both of them.

The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning up then heading back to Williamsburg where we walked around, checked out the sites, and generally had a good time. One side note though, we went to The Trellis for lunch and while the service there was great, the food was average. Don't spend all that extra money on the mediocre food. Instead, head over to Retros for better quality and much cheaper prices.

The Race
Race day started out like any other. An early wake-up call, quick shower, getting dressed, and then I was off to the races. The biggest difference was I ran/walked to the start from the hotel. Just shy of 2 miles. No big deal since I had planned for it and didn't really expect it to be a problem. I made it to the start, went to the bathroom, and chilled in the corral. Seeing nobody that I knew, I just fell into my podcasts and zoned out.

Race start was pretty uneventful as were many of the first few miles. Although, the early stages of the race are the best. You see the old parts of Williamsburg and there are even a few people there to cheer you on. By Mile 2, you're on your own and on a boring road. Only random volunteers, some stoic police officers, and the aid station workers are there for you. Just after Mile 4 is a short stretch of gravel. I don't remember it being labeled last year but it was this year. It's pretty short though and no big deal. By this time my coffee is kicking in and I'm actively thinking about using a tree or looking for an outhouse to drop my load in. Lucky for me, there's outhouses available shortly and, despite the nerve-wracking angle of the hill, I was able to do my doodie and move on. This section is also slightly different than last year's as we run around behind a shopping center. A wee bit lame in my mind.

After this is the first major climb of the course where we hoof it up a long hill. I was able to run the entire thing and feel good about it by the top. Tired, but good. After this hill we enter the Colonial Parkway for an out and beck section. From Mile 6 to Mile 11, we are on the Parkway dealing with rollers, cross-winds, and the painful river rock set in concrete. I was expecting this foot-eating monster and dealt with it fairly well. The hills weren't a problem until right around Mile 11 when I started to get tired. The winds weren't that bad and actually felt nice from time to time. And I ran in the grass periodically to help save my feet.

The final miles were run more in the newer part of Williamsburg and were so-so. There were more crowds there to cheer you on but it was about as exciting as any college campus is on an early Sunday morning. The finish was great. You come into the stadium and run about 300 yards/meters around the track to the finish. The last 200 I ran a bit faster but not my usual all out sprint to the end. I just didn't feel it and I wasn't near any sort of PR. After the finish I snagged my medal, a water, and headed to the post-race bash. Once there I grabbed some more fluids and food before hauling it back to the hotel a good 2 miles away.

After the Race
After the race I downed some food, cleaned up, and made myself semi-pretty. The weather was turning a bit (I had a few light sprinkles during the race) but we stayed pretty dry. We hit the mini-golf area, headed to Jamestown Settlement, and generally tried to squeeze in some sight-seeing. Jamestown was wildly different than I remember. But it's been a few decades. At the end of our tour there, we were facing some heavier rains on the return trip to the hotel. But we got lucky and again, stayed pretty dry.

Back Home
Monday we headed home with a detour to the outlet mall. I don't know what made me think of it, but I vaguely recall seeing a news report about how outlet malls aren't really that good of a place for finding cheap prices so I paid extra attention to the cost of things and noticed that most of what I wanted I could have gotten online or in any local store for the same or less.

Bottom Line
Aside from not getting what I wanted, I did have a few moments of fun. I have yet to decide if I want to run this race next year. The course isn't as much fun as the Marine Corps Historic Half (granted, this race is only 2 years old while MCHH is 5 years old). The race organizers didn't advertise the Patriot's Challenge very well (the option to run the 8k on Saturday and the half on Sunday to get a special third medal for doing both). I like Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, but rarely have I had the time to go see what I wanted, when I wanted, and at the pace I wanted. So I'm still undecided for next year. Maybe I need to do it in a costume or something.

Temps were a nice 60F to 65F. overcast skies. Humidity was a bit  high and eventually I'd feel some light sprinkles near the end of the race. Winds were pretty light but noticeable around Miles 7 through 9.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was half a bagel and a small amount of coffee. During the race I had two handheld bottles. One with Hammer Perpeteum and one with Hammer Fizz. I refilled my Fizz bottle at least 3 times. I also grabbed some ice around Mile 9 for my bottle. I took a Hammer Gel around Mile 8 and another around Mile 11. After the race I grabbed more water and then headed back to the hotel. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by a breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, oatmeal, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Right knee started to hurt around Mile 10. Feet began to hurt around Mile 7 but that was mostly because of the road surface. My left outside calf hurt the day before the race but a few minutes in the hot tub seems to have helped.

Nothing really special. I did listen to some podcasts on my iPod which may account for some of my fouler moods and slower speeds.

Codename - Coke Depression
I think I've mentioned it before, but I've noticed that Coke sends me into a 48 hour depression. This weekend added further proof and continued to show my why I need to avoid that stuff at all costs. I had a Coke every day if not more than once a day while in Williamsburg. Not at all within my normal diet and it showed. From the outset I was in a bad mood and things still haven't improved much.

One final note. These photos were of the helicopter that hovered over our heads as we crossed the bridge around Mile 7. By far the most awesome thing of the race.

Start - 1:13 (took me this long to cross the start line)
Mile 1 - 11:15
Mile 2 - 12:17
Mile 3 - 10:52
Mile 4 - 11:19
Mile 5 - 14:04 (includes my bathroom break)
Mile 6 - 10:55
Mile 7 - 12:17
Mile 8 - 9:43 (course flattens out here)
Mile 9 - 13:30
Mile 10 - 11:56
Mile 11 - 12:30
Mile 12 - 11:22
Mile 13 - 10:45
Finish - 2:33:51

Monday, May 21, 2012

Podcast - Mile 31 - Special How To Guide

Since this is Mile 31 of my podcast, I thought it would be fitting to step outside of the norm since we're at the ultra distance of 50k. How am I stepping outside of my norm? By doing a video instead of the usual podcast. It's a bit long for a video but just like the podcast, it lasts about the same amount of time as it takes me to run a mile. And the only scene cut you'll see here wasn't planned, it just turns out I maxed out the memory card on my camera.

So sit back and enjoy a little instructional video on how to make your own miniature version of the Hammer Fizz (or NUUN) tubes for your electrolyte drink tablets. Sure as hell is easier to carry around 4 tablets instead of 13. Anyway, here's the step-by-step process for making one of your own.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lewis & Clark

As a favor to one of the Wellness Directors at the local YMCA, I went out to scout some trails for a future race. Once I cleared all the hurdles with property owners, land leasers, hunting parties, etc., I made my way into uncharted territories today. The trails are primarily used by dirt bikes for races, scrambles, or whatever it is they call it. Which means most of the trails are single track. There is a main fire road down the middle of the property but the majority of what I ran on was single track dirt. Although after three days of rain, it was mostly wet dirt with plenty of puddles and mud mixed in. The trail itself was a combination of flat, hilly, and insanely steep. Obstacles included rocks, roots, puddles, deep trenches, spider webs, and one turtle. Somehow I didn't fall but I did have three major slips. One was running downhill too fast at the start and I had to catch myself with my hand. The second was while I was walking and not paying attention to what I was doing. The third was coming out of a deep puddle (to my knees) and trying to power up a short hill. Turns out the hill was so slick I ended up running in place for a few paces. Literally running in place. Like a cartoon.

Outside of that, the worst was the spiderwebs. And the steep hills, which thankfully there were only a few of. After that, it was just challenging in many different ways. From terrain to navigation to fluids and fuel. But I made it through. Getting lost for nearly an hour (about 3 or 4 miles) didn't bother me too much. I knew the trail would eventually spit me out somewhere on or near the fire road. And if it came to a worse-case scenario, I had enough supplies to blaze to the nearest river/road/house. And in an emergency, I had my phone/rape whistle/space blanket.

Overall, it was tough going. I lost motivation and at one point finally told myself that I was lost and just wanted out. I had a few false moments of hope when I saw a clearing that I thought was the road only to have it turn out to be a swamp. No moments of panic except for a few seconds when a deer made a much louder than normal dash for cover. I literally put my fists up like I was going to fight off a bear. Dumb ass.

There were a few moments when I thought of Lauren ( and how she always takes photos during her runs. In an effort to mimic some of her style, I took photos here and there. I just don't look as happy as she does when I run.

Temps were 65F to 67F. There was a breeze off the river but I only felt it at the very start and finish of the run. Under the canopy it was a bit warmer and more humid due to the rain from the last three days and the lack of evaporation. Sun was out with a few clouds. Overall humidity was low but, like the wind, only noticed it at the start/finish.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had my hydration pack with 1.5L of plain water, of which I drank about half a liter. Had one bottle of Hammer Fizz, drank all of it. Had one bottle of Hammer Perpeteum, drank about 3/4s of it. I rotated drinking between the three types of drinks. If I felt extra thirsty, I'd drink more Fizz. If I felt sluggish, I'd drink more Perpeteum. If I felt just plain thirsty, I'd drink water. Took one Hammer Gel around mile 5 since I had no idea where I was or how much further I'd be going. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with chocolate ZICO.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really to speak of. Just felt slow at certain points, likely due to low fuel levels.

Took my Salomon hydration pack loaded to the gills with gear for a long run. Never knew what I'd need but figured it would be safer to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Took my phone for the GPS, camera, and emergencies. Turns out I also checked my work schedule to make sure I would arrive on time (I did). Started to run but turned back after a few paces to spray my legs with bug spray. Thankfully I found only one tick and I found him before he got any closer to the no-no zone.

Codename - Lewis & Clark
While at times I felt like Lewis and Clark off exploring the wilderness, most of the time I thought about other things. Like the Barkley Marathons and blazing trails. Like how much skinnier the trails were than the ones at HAT. Like how similar but easier these hills were than those at HAT. Like how much I wanted to get out of the woods but also how much I needed to not panic because I was lost.

Splits are from RunKeeper and may not be correct.
Mile 1 - 18:10
Mile 2 - 15:30
Mile 3 - 19:19 (includes bathroom break)
Mile 4 - 19:44
Mile 5 - 16:04
Mile 6 - 16:03
Finish - 1:46:19

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I've got a bad feeling about this

Just a short run to get something on the books even though I didn't feel like it. It wasn't a pleasant run but it's still done. Biggest fight was getting out the door and I eventually had to tell myself out loud "don't be such a pussy, just go." It apparently worked. But I still aborted the mission early. Keep reading to see why.

Temps were 65F or so, very little wind, no sun, and a constant drizzle. Thankfully it was light.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz which I drank about 75% of. Recovery was eggs, breakfast burrito, and iced coffee.

Aches and Pains:
None to speak of. Felt a bit like a hangover run near the end but I didn't drink that much last night.

This is why I quit early. I thought about doing my 5 mile route but opted for the shorter 3 mile route before I even made it out the door. Once I started down the road I was about half a mile from home when I realized I had forgotten two key pieces of equipment. My RoadID and my lucky charm. The RoadID isn't that big of a deal but I've become a bit OCD about my lucky charm. Turns out more OCD than I thought I was. Once I realized it was gone I was able to quell the looming panic but also quickly decided to not run the entire route. But I did do some good out there by moving a box turtle to the side of the road and forcing myself to run to the top of the hill. So at least I got my hill workout in for the week. But I was constantly looking around waiting for the hammer of doom to fall on me like a nail.

Codename - I've got a bad feeling about this
Yeah. Turns out I'm pretty damn OCD. I don't have to count to 100 before entering a room or drive around the block 5 times before I leave the house. But I guess I do have some issues.

Outbound - 13:12
Inbound - 13:37
Finish - 26:49

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chance Part II

I took some photos that were supposed to be part of my Chance post but couldn't get them to show in my post that I made through my tablet. So I'm dropping them here for your visual pleasure. You can read about the rest of the run in the link above.

The local farm had a sign out announcing the arrival of a filly. No idea if it's a human or horse though.

Have you played the MacGuffin Game? If not, you should.

Finally, the farm tractor (it looked like a sprayer to me) that had very tall tires.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Podcast - Mile 30 - Reintroductions and a Review

I start out with some introductions should any of you be new to the podcast. Hopefully it gives you an idea of who I am and what I'm about and why I podcast. If it doesn't help, well, tough shit. I'm doing this more for me than for you.

But don't get me wrong, I'd still love to hear from any listeners out there.

Anyway, this episode covers Myke Cole's Control Point novel. While he's a novice author, he comes out swinging with a unique premise and an almost never-ending flow of action. As the jacket describes the book, it's like a cross between X-Men and Blackhawk Down.

Download or view on Podbean.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I miss you

Today's run was long, hard, hairy, smelly, and fun. Kind of like me in bed. Wakka wakka wakka!

But seriously, it was nice to be able to get this run in with my lack of running this week and my mother in town for the weekend and Mother's Day all wrapped into one. So I took the opportunity and ran with it. Literally.

I started out early this morning and ran from my house to the local YMCA. The weather was nice and cool to start but warmed up enough after a mile that I could strip off my arm sleeves. Once I got to the YMCA I was warm enough to take off my gloves. I got there a bit too early but I wasn't sure about my pace and timing and how fast I could get in and out of Sheetz (a local gas station - kind of like 7-Eleven) so I was okay with the big cushion. I registered for the Domestic Violence 5k at the Y, ran into a fellow runner (Wayne) I met a few weeks back, and just chilled out.

Once the race started I just took it easy and ran. I wasn't in any rush to win a prize despite the small field. There were plenty of walkers but also plenty of speedy runners so I settled into the middle of the pack. I was surprised to come across the one mile mark so fast and could feel some sluggishness settle in just before mile 2. My pace was a bit slower but I managed to keep at it through mile 3 before picking it up just a hair. Not only did I manage to run the entire 3 miles without a single walking break (very rare for my fat ass) but I also managed to snag an unofficial PR. I don't know the final results yet but I think I shaved off about 20 seconds.

After the race, I chilled out a few minutes before heading back home. Nothing terribly exciting on the way home so no amazing stories to share.

Temps started around 55F and warmed to about 65F or 70F. There was a nice cool breeze blowing around 5 to 10 mph. The sun was out the entire time. Humidity was low.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water. I started my run with two bottles, one with Hammer Perpeteum and one with Hammer Fizz. I took a Hammer Gel around mile 4 when I got to Sheetz. I had finished my bottle of Fizz by then and refilled it with another bottle of Fizz. I had about half my Perpeteum left by then. Once at the YMCA, I didn't take anything before the race. After the race, I ate half a slice of a blueberry bagel with butter and cream cheese on it. I also refilled both bottles with some water and added more Fizz to one of them before heading back to Sheetz. At Sheetz I grabbed more water and topped both off before heading home. This watered down the solution for both the Fizz and Perpeteum but it wasn't too bad. Plus it let me make it home the last 4 miles. Before I left Sheetz I also had another Hammer Gel. My recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by chocolate ZICO.

Aches and Pains:
My knees started to hurt around mile 10 or 11. Outside of that, things felt pretty good.

I ran with no special gear but did take some extra "stuff" just to make sure I could make it. First, I had money. Some was for the race registration and some was for fluids at Sheetz. Second, I had my iPod. I listened to a lot of podcasts but kept things safe by only having one ear bud in at a time. Next, I had gels. I stuffed a few in my handhelds' pockets and one in my shorts. Also had a small stick of Body Glide. And I had my arm sleeves and gloves which I eventually ditched, I also ditched my shirt for the last 4 miles. And I had a Mini Fizz on me too. I'll explain more about that in another week or two when I show you how to make one.

Codename - I miss you
Catherine , if you're still out there, shoot me an email. I'd love to catch up.

These splits are going to be confusing, so read the details.
Home to Sheetz - 41:26
Sheetz Aid Station - 3:54
Sheetz to YMCA - 15:36
YMCA Pre-Race - 32:03
Race Mile 1 - 9:48 (a bit faster than expected)
Race Mile 2 - 10:13 (slowing down a bit)
Race Mile 3 - 10:18
Race Total - 31:09 (unofficial 5k PR)
YMCA Post-Race - 15:14
YMCA to Sheetz - 18:15
Sheetz Aid Station - 3:24
Sheetz to Home - 41:34
Total Time - 3:22:37 (an adjusted time of 2:35:20 for just the running portion)

Official results are in and I scored a 3rd place in my age group as well as a time of 31:08. This is a new PR, beating my old one of  31:10 from 10/10/2010.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Managed to get out for a lunch run today. Finished up with work early and left my son with my mom (she's in town for the weekend). The run went well but I had a few chance surprises along the way. More on that later. Overall the run was nice and the weather was awesome. Wind picked up a bit more than I wanted but the temps were cool and the sun was out.

Temps were about 65F to 70F. Humidity was low. Sun was out in full. Wind was 5mph to 20mph.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt, coffee, burrito, and oatmeal. During the run I had two Hammer Gels (one at mile 1 and the other at mile 4) and two bottles (one with ice water and one with Hammer Fizz). Recovery was a bottle of chocolate ZICO followed by leftover meatloaf and potatoes.

Aches and Pains:
Stepped on a few sharp rocks but otherwise felt good. Got a little winded at the end but figured that was due to lack of training.

Ran with my iPod so I could listen to some podcasts. Took some pictures on my phone.

Codename - Chance
Right out of the gates, I chanced upon a dead baby turtle. A mile or so later it was a bike rider on a gravel road. Then a die in the road. Like the kind used in Vegas (I had a 5). Then a farm tractor with giant tires. Then a green snake (the little fucker damn near gave me a heart attack and damn near got stepped on). Then a dead baby mouse. Phew!

Outbound - 45:59
Inbound - 46:05
Finish - 1:32:04

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Acting Out

At a recent work function, I was "given" the opportunity to social with my peers. While it may surprise those of you that don't know me, I'm actually fairly anti-social. I'm by far more comfortable communicating online and through means other than being face to face. So when my boss said I was going to go to this function, I agreed, but was hesitant.

Turns out, I had fun. As the photo shows, I felt much more comfortable around my peers. Even those I rarely meet or speak to. So when I acted out during the photo shoot, I felt in control and comfortable doing so. Afterwords though, I felt like a bit of an attention whore. I got everyone to look at me, laugh at me, and pay attention to me. But why? To make sure they all knew that I still worked with them? To make sure they liked me?

I don't know. But I felt great when I did it and felt good when I was at the function. I didn't feel out of place and only had one or two awkward moments instead of a solid two or three hours of awkward moments. I had more confidence than I normally do and I'm not sure if it was because I've been so far removed from the workplace by working at home or if it was because I'm becoming more confident due to my running. Maybe it's both but I'd like to think it's mostly because of my running. I've learned so much more by running, not just about running but also about myself.

So, while I wrap up this post about self-discovery and acting out at work, feel free to have a good laugh at my expense.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Went to work early so I could run during an early lunch so I could make it to all my meetings today. The weather and overall mood of the run was great. Not the best but pretty damn great. Sun was out, cool breeze was blowing, and I was in a good mood before I even started my run. Which means by the end of my run I was overflowing with good vibes.

As for general excitement during the run, biggest accomplishment was being able to run about 70% of the first hill and 100% of the second hill. That went a long way to making me feel great. Second tidbit of excitement was on the last tenth of a mile or so I managed to pass some people out walking. Always feels good to pass people and I used it as a bit of motivation to finish strong.

Beyond that, fairly boring but pleasant run.

Temps were about 65F at the start but warmed to about 70F by the end. Was warm enough to ditch my shirt by the end of the first mile. Humidity was moderate but not really noticeable due to the wind. Wind was cool and about 15mph.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt, water, oatmeal, and a bean and cheese burrito (these last two are from Wegmans). Had some minor burping from the burrito during the run but no more than maybe 5 burps and this was after 2 hours of digesting. During the run I had two bottles of Hammer Fizz, one was Lemon-Lime and one was Mango. Thankfully the Mango flavor was a sample because I didn't much like it. In fact I dumped nearly all of it on the way back. I finished nearly all of the other bottle though. recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by an iced coffee.

Aches and Pains:
None. Yay!

Took my phone to take pictures and to listen to some music. Don't know why but I felt like listening to some Edward Sharpe (aka Alexander) and the Magnetic Zeros.

Codename - Honeysuckle
When I was a kid, I learned from another kid in the neighborhood that you could get just a smidgen of honey out of a honeysuckle plant; specifically the flower. Haven't dared to try it since then but on today's run I ran down the road next to an empty field and suddenly smelled the blossoms. It hung there almost like a cloud so I had to stop and enjoy the moment.

Outbound - 20:41
Inbound - 18:28
Finish - 39:09 (current PR for this route is 38:44 making this my second fastest)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Podcast - Mile 29 - Relentless Forward Shuffling

"Relentless Forward Shuffling" is a poor play on words in reference to Bryon Powell's Relentless Forward Progress book on ultra-running. As you can tell from most of this episode, I'm doing the death shuffle in my run (if you could call it that). But at least I was moving forward.

And be happy this is a podcast as I come upon a snake and freak out like a little girl. Can you hear the tension and fear in my voice? Yeah. I fear snakes that much.

Download or view on Podbean.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Yard

Today's run was brought to you by the power of DailyMile. Specifically Karyl-Lynne T. , her friend Jenny, Biddi , and Michele S.  Without them, I likely would have struggled through a much shorter run. Instead I pulled 12 miles and felt pretty good at the end. I did break on cardinal rule but so far there seems to be no ill effects.

I stashed some water at the Mile 4 parking lot (along with some baby wipes and gels) then headed to the rendezvous point at Mile 0. Biddi arrived shortly after me and we chatted a bit waiting for Melli H. After a bit we decided she wouldn't be joining us so we headed out. As usual some people had to pee right away and some of people waited a bit. Scary part was I expected KL and Michele to be way behind us but I think they sandbagged a bit when they were talking about their pace. Why do I think they sandbagged? Because when I stopped to pee, I had to rush because they were right behind us!

Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect to leave them in the dust but man, they were hauling out there today. Jenny and Biddi kept a pretty solid gap on me the first 4 miles or so. They waited for me to catch up and refill my bottles before we took off again. They pulled away but not quite as fast as the first leg. At the turn-around we chilled, chatted, then decided to head back and catch up to KL and Michele and run with them back to the turn around point. Turns out they weren't that far behind us. Maybe a quarter mile. So we all posed for a picture (you're welcome - I zipped up my shirt) then headed back.

On the way back I was able to keep up with Biddi and Jenny and did a fair job of keeping their gap to a much smaller gap. Jenny took a spill around mile 7 or so but came out okay. Just a small scrape on her leg. Guess it really does look worse than it feels. Another pit stop at mile 8 and then we were headed back to the cars. The ladies put a nice gap on me as I stopped to take some pictures and that was it.

They left and I hung around until KL and Michele came in a few minutes later. In fact as Biddi was leaving the parking lot I could see them about a half mile or so down the trail. They say they walked the last two miles but they must have been sandbagging again. Or maybe they walk faster than I run (which is certainly possible).

Overall, I felt good. Fueling and hydration were nearly spot on. The company was great. Lots of chatting and lots of alone time.

Temps started around 60F but warmed to about 70F. Mostly overcast eyes but some sun later in the run. Humidity started about 100% (not rain but seriously heavy condensation) but dropped a bit to maybe 60%.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was iced coffee, yogurt, and one cinnamon roll. During the run I had my hydration pack with 1.5 liters of plain water and drank maybe 200 mL. I also had a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum which I finished up around mile 10. And I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz which I refilled with more Fizz every 4 miles. Recovery was a bottle of beer (the one cardinal rule I broke, having a beer even though I didn't run a half marathon). I also had a bottle of Hammer Recoverite.

Aches and Pains:
Developed a side stitch around mile 9 or 10 which was odd. It passed after a quarter mile or so. Other than that, the only other issue I had was when I went to "flick" a stick off the trail and misjudged the distance and instead "kicked" it. Ouch.

Ran in my Salomon hydration pack loaded to the gills. Even though I didn't drink all my water, I figure it'll be good training. No other special gear.

Codename - The Yard
Turns out, my run was just my warm up. I figured I could "bribe" my way to a relaxing afternoon of doing laundry by getting my wife a Cherry Coke but instead I ended up getting her a Cherry Coke then coming home to yard work. But it worked out. We got more flower beds cleaned up, more mulch spread out, and more plans made for eve more yard work.

Mile 1 - 10:49
Mile 2 - 13:06 (includes pee break)
Mile 3 - 10:55
Mile 4 - 11:28
Aid Station - 1:58
Mile 5 - 10:14
Mile 6 - 10:46
Turn Around - 3:31
Turn Around - 4:03
Chit Chat - 8:12
Mile 7 - 10:30
Mile 8 - 13:48 (includes refills)
Mile 9 - 10:39
Mile 10 - 10:53
Mile 11 - 12:28
Mile 12 - 11:35 (includes taking photos)
Finish - 2:35:01

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Steam Punk

Went out for a run during lunch and got a good bitch-slap for my effort. I know I didn't like it but I think I needed it. I thought it was warm a few weeks ago but today came out and said "up yours!" and proceeded to prove to me that today was not only warmer but also more humid. And the sad part is it's a mild day today compared to what we'll see later this summer.

Anyway, along my run today I saw some odd things. First, a dead snake. A small one mind you but still creepy. A few miles later I did my Heisman Trophy dance/jump when I thought I saw a much bigger snake. Turns out it was just a crack in the road. I also saw a dead baby turtle. While not as scary as a snake, it's just as creepy. Then I saw a deer (alive) take off into the woods. Made me slow to a walk to watch and then promptly jump when a huge turkey takes off just a few feet from where the deer was.

Outside of the wildlife, it was a fairly normal run. Had to deal with some hydration and heating issues but I survived. And got a refresher in running in the heat.

Temps were about 80F to 85F with humidity around 50% to 60%. Skies were mostly clear and there was a light breeze around 10mph.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a new type of burrito from Wegmans, yogurt, and iced coffee. Pre-run fuel was a Hammer Gel (Raspberry - which gave me some acid reflux, heartburn, and burping). During the run I had a bottle of plain water and a bottle of Hammer Fizz. I had about 5 ice cubes in both bottles and they lasted about halfway through the run (and made an awful clunking noise along the way). I stashed my Fizz bottle around mile 1.5 instead of my usual spot around mile 2 and promptly had to ration my water until I got back to it. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite in the shower followed by left over hamburger and some shredded mini wheat things.

Aches and Pains:
Around mile 4 I started to get the chills which I've learned is my body's way of telling me I'm overheated. I slowed down on the return leg and still struggled to keep a solid pace going. My biggest saving grace was the shade from the trees and the light breeze. No other real pains.

Ditched my shirt around mile 1.5. Took my phone to snap a picture along the way (of the hill at the turn-around point for this route). No other special gear.

Codename - Steam Punk
It was steamy out today. And I felt it because I ran like a punk. I thought I knew what I could handle but Mother Nature was kind enough to remind me of a few things. Like stash the water, not the electrolyte drink. Like wear sunscreen if it's hot. Like don't bother wearing a shirt if it's hot. Like don't be a punk ass bitch when it's hot outside.

Outbound - 34:22 (went out way too fast)
Inbound - 37:43 (suffered through the heat)
Finish - 1:12:06

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Podcast - Mile 28 - The Meadows

I was on "patrol" on our local rail trail making sure everything was where it needed to be. I carefully skirted my mental issues but hint at seeking therapy. I'll keep you posted on that one. I also not-so-carefully skirt a tree and screw up my thumb. Thankfully it happened before I started recording so you don't hear me whine and whimper like a baby.

And I still have yet to figure out if it's the church, the cemetery, or something else that makes me feel "spiritual" at the far end of the trail. Oh, and I have diarrhea of the mouth too so feel free to ignore me as usual.

Download or view on Podbean.