Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Carbs No More

Ok... I'm finally giving in. After finding relative success with the no carb diet and being bullheaded towards trying any other way, I've decided to take the advice of pretty much everyone and change my eating habits to a more training friendly variety. Starting June 1, I'm going to be incorporating weight training into the schedule. I have purchased a training log (as if this site isn't enough) and am going to be lifting three days a week. The program will have a very regimented 12-week lifting schedule. I will be doing a three week loop of workouts, meaning if I do a certain exercise Week 1 than I won't do the same exercise again until Week 4. I will be focusing on the same muscles each corresponding day of the week, but mixing it up. I blame Adam Waters(see below) for this addition to the training.

In order to give myself the best chance at success, I need to eat the right foods. Good nutrition, or bad nutrition, is the best friend or worst obstacle to reaching any fitness goals. The eating plan will include 6 or 7 light meals a day. I will have around 15-20% PROTEINS, 20-25% FATS and the 60-65% CARBOHYDRATES. I already know this is going to drive me nuts. I'm hoping to plan my week's meals out a head of time (at least for the first 12 weeks). This will be difficult to do during the Summer, but is there ever a "not difficult" time to completely change one's bad eating habits. I've finally reached the Mendoza line and I don't plan on getting back on the scale again until Fourth of July. I expect that by adding muscle I will gain weight, so looking at it daily or weekly could only end up distracting me. Like cavemen before me, I'll go on how my clothes fit and how I physically feel to judge my weight.

So... there it is. I will be getting into much greater detail in the week ahead. I'm gonna have to get over my lifelong objection to eating vegetables. I'm gonna stock up at Costco on chicken breasts, tuna, brown rice and oatmeal and try to give this a go. Just know ahead of time that I'm not gonna enjoy it and come September 1, if I don't see the results I hope for(see top of post), I'm going back to a steady diet of eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, more cheese, steak, ham salad and cool whip.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

136 days to go...

Last week was a 'step back' week and step back I did. It was the first week that I didn't run more than the scheduled mileage, but I'm ok with that. Following the Shamrock Duathlon, I spoke of taking it easier for the week ahead. I was scheduled to run a total of ten miles last week and that is what I ran. I took an extra day off and ended up running two miles Tuesday, three miles Thursday and the 5 miles on Sunday in Boston. This week I'm gonna pick it back up again. The plan calls for runs of 2mi/4mi/2mi/5mi and a total of 13 miles run. I'm hoping to compete in the Iron Horse 10k in Simsbury on Sunday which will be close to a 6.4 mile race. This will be the longest straight run I'll make yet. I've considered really pushing it and attempting the half marathon, but I don't know if I'm really ready for that. In five weeks time, I am now at a somewhat respectable 9:00+ minute/mile pace and I'm going to use this weekend's race to build up some confidence and attempt to finish it in under an hour.

Since April 21, I've now logged in 52 miles running and 25 miles on the bike. Slowly but surely, we're getting there. Only 136 days to go til Marathon Day. To give you an idea what sort of transformation can happen in 136 days - check this guy out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What I Missed...

The magic of You Tube is that you can find video of anything and everything you can imagine. This is the video of the start of the Boston P.D. Run to Remember Half-Marathon. The Half started at 8am and I was somewhere near Framingham on the Mass Pike while this was going on. As you can see, the weather could not have cooperated any better for everyone and the crowd was just enormous. Plus, what says "I'm ready for a run for charity on a Sunday morning" better than a little 50-cent "In Da Club".

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Boston Police Department Run to Remember - 5mi - 46:18

The Boston P.D. Run to Remember certainly was. The race is in honor of Massachusetts police officers killed in the line of duty and brought out close to 8,000 people. You can choose between a half-marathon or 5-mile run. I decided on the 5-mile and had an absolute blast.

The run started at the Seaport World Trade Center and went through the North End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, around Boston Commons and back to the Seaport. It was very well organized and had an amazing amount of people on the street cheering you at every turn. The morning could not have had better weather and the city was shining.

The day started a little hectic. I drove to Boston yesterday morning to register and pick up my bib, timing chip and swag bag. I couldn't make it back to Boston last night, so set my alarm for 6 am. The alarm went off as scheduled, but I fell back asleep. I woke up around 6:45 and freaked out knowing it was an 8:15am start. I was showered, dressed, on the road, drinking coffee and pumping gas by 7:00 and on the Pike by 7:20. I never really looked at the speedometer, but was off the South Boston exit (Exit 25) by 8:20 and snuck into a "permit only" parking spot by 8:25 (figured no officer was gonna ticket me at this race). Gratefully, the race started 11 minutes late (Thank you, Lord) and I was there at the exact time the gun went off.

There is an excitement you feel running in a race with thousands of other people that is tough to explain. I seemed to run the first two miles with less effort than any other race I've done. My pace was right at my personal best for the first 5k but I felt as though I was exerting half the effort. I think the flatter terrain, the thousands of people cheering you on and the sense that this was much more than a race to many of the people running alongside you made it that much easier to push through any potential wall.

Many people had shirts on with names of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. They were running alone, in small groups or in herds. No matter who you were, it was difficult to not feel the pride everyone had to be competing in it. The coolest part of the race was the finish. For the final quarter mile, people were ten deep lining the streets. I finished stronger than I had ever finished any race and I know it was solely because of the support from everyone in attendance. After crossing the finish line, you went into the expo center where thousands of bagels, oranges, water bottles, gatorade and smiling(and sweaty) faces awaited. Each competitor was awarded a medal and an experience they won't forget.

In the end I ran a time of 46:18. This was by far my best time yet. Out of the 1836 people who competed in the 5-miler, I finished in the front half in 782nd. This was still 135th/203 for my age division, but definately a step in the right direction. If I can get to a point where I am running this pace in October's marathon, than I should finish right around four hours. That would be well ahead of my goal of finishing under 4:30:00.

Following the race,my medal and I took a quick $25 shower (needed to purchase a day pass) at one of the Boston Sports Clubs and had a victory brunch with a friend on Newbury St. I couldn't ask for a better day and can't wait to take on the half-marathon next year!

After taking it easier this week, this race was perfect because it has inspired me to push it a little bit more this week. My pace was at 9:16/mile and I know I can push it harder and faster in next weekend's race - the Iron Horse 10k in Simsbury.

The official photos of the event are here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

City of Runners

After getting scolded for the non-running post from last night, I feel the need to reel myself back on track. I didn't go on the scheduled run last night because of a last minute trip up to Boston. Getting home after 11, I didn't have the gall to wake up Main Street with the barking of canines at that hour. However, I did find myself contemplating the differences between our area here in CT and Boston.

It is not uncommon to see a dozen or two people running in the course of a day here in North Central CT. As the weather gets nicer, I expect to see even more. The amazing thing about the city of Boston is that as you drive through it - EVERYONE is running. Going through Newton and Chestnut Hill, there are literally hundreds of people running at any given time within a five minute drive. Driving through Washington Square or Brighton - hundreds more. I didn't pass by the Charles River at any point yesterday, but my guess is there were thousands of people running between the hours of 4 and 9pm.

Is this just because of the shear numbers of people who live in the city compared to rural CT or even Hartford? While I'm sure that's part of it, I still believe the percentages of people working out on a daily basis in Beantown far outnumbers the percentages in this state. Is it that by seeing others getting out there running motivates people more? While the reservoir around BC and the the Charles River are beautiful areas to run, we have some beautiful trails and areas to run here, as well, so I don't think its just for the scenery.

Making our state more bike and runner friendly should be a priority for town and urban planners. Having these concentrated areas where folks could come together and run or bike in groups could only help change the perception of where we live by giving people the opportunity to change the perception for how they feel individually. Feeling good about yourself can be contagious. So if you wanna feel better about where you live, grab a buddy and hit the streets. It may just inspire others to do the same.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kris Allen - American Idol 2009

In what many people considered to be a surprise, Kris Allen was crowned this year's American Idol. I, on the otherhand, nailed this pick weeks ago. It was pretty much over when the final three came down to Allen, Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. With Allen and Lambert being within one million votes out of 88 million in the final 3, it was pretty obvious the Gokey votes would go towards Allen. I thought Lambert blew any chance of winning after 'Country Week' when he gave a forearm shiver to the Johnny Cash song, "Ring of Fire". In the future, potential Idols should know to never mess with the South. More importantly, never mess with J. Cash.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shipping up to Boston

Looking around Connecticut, I couldn't find too many races for this upcoming weekend. So I found the Boston Run to Remember. This is a Half Marathon or 5-Mile race going through the city. After running in the dreaded Salmon River Run and dealing with the hills, heat and trails that 5+ mile race brought, I figure a five mile run on the flat streets of Beantown would be a piece of cake. Plus, this gives me an excuse to go to a Sox game.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Four Weeks Down...

Heading into the fifth week of training, I'm feeling pretty confident. I've been able to exceed my goals for each week and have gone from not running in years to competing in three 5K's(slowest time- 31:27 best run- 27:54), a 5.5 mile race(1:00:10) and a duathlon (2 5K's and 28K bike in 2:37:47) in less than a month. Most important is I enjoy it and I've managed to make working out a part of my daily schedule.

This past week called for runs of 2mi/3mi/2mi/4mi. I ended up running 2 miles Tuesday and Thursday, 3.2 on Saturday and 6.4 on Sunday. I also mixed in bike rides of 8 miles on Friday and 17 miles on Sunday. The scheduled total for the week was 11 miles and I ended up with 13.6 miles run and 25 miles riding. My legs are feeling it today and I expect to take things very easily the next week or two.

With all the rain we've gotten this month, the runs have been relatively comfortable. I'm curious as to what effect the heat will have day in,day out as we head into Summer. The air quality has had a major effect on me towards the end of some runs when the weather was hot. How will the recovery be? Will it deter my inspiration to get out there.

We will soon find out I guess. As for this week. The runs call for 2mi/3mi/2mi/3mi. The schedule calls for weeks like this every three or four weeks. The actual mileage is a step back from where I was the week before. Judging by how I feel physically feel today, I am pretty happy to be taking a step back.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

To the Victor goes the...

... guilt-free double scoop peanut butter chip and vanilla hot fudge sundae.

Yes - this is what I earned from today's Shamrock Duathlon.

That and some soreness and pain in places I never knew I had.

The fact that I finished 254 out of the 267 competitors means nothing to me right now. From the beginning, this whole charade had nothing to do with time. I only hope to finish and if I can improve with each race than all the better.

The basic run down of the day went like this...

I woke up at 6:00 am, geared up and headed down to Glastonbury High School. It was a freezing 37 degrees and raining. The first thing I did was take the bike out and inspect it. Of course, this brought the first dilemma. My front wheel was locked. After playing around with it, I noticed the brake wire was split. I tried to hook it back up but to no avail. I figured, "What the hell? This is a race. I don't need brakes," and disconnected it.

As I strolled into the transition area to set up, I realized the second issue. My bike couldn't fit into the allotted bike rack because the tires were too think. As I looked around at the other 300+ bikes, every other one fit perfectly. I started to wonder if I was really setting myself up for a disaster come the second leg. So I shimmied by bike up against the fence and played through the plastic bag with my i-pod, helmet, map of the route, water and power bar. Right then they called the runners to hear the instructions.

It was at this point that I noticed NOBODY with an I-pod in their hands. Yep - you guessed it. In multi-sport events no I-pods allowed. That means I will be spending the next two hours plus with only the voices inside my head to push me through. No problem though. I mean, Paul Revere didn't have an I-pod (or it was probably a Sony Discman at that time) to pull him through his ride. Forrest Gump- No I-pod (plus he ran in Dockers). So why would I need one.

As I approached the starting line I just kept telling myself, "Finishing is Winning." I also thought of those who have pulled me through before - mainly the dogs along Main Street, The Wizard, The One Legged Princess, Miss Hilary (who kicked ass in the two running legs of this race as part of the relay team), and this guy - and thought of all the laughs we would share this week as I recounted the forthcoming tale.

The first 5K was solid. The official time had it at 28:12. I found a comfortable pace and wasn't dry heaving as I entered the transition area to start the bike route.

It wasn't three minutes into the ride that I noticed something strange. I was pedaling like crazy, but everyone was passing me. These people weren't pushing any harder than me. My bike just wasn't meant for road races. All the things people told me about how difficult riding with such a bike started to make sense. That's when I saw it....


Just for shits and giggles, next time you're driving on Rt 2. from Hartford get off the Neipsic Rd exit and take a left. Then drive the next five or six miles. It is straight up hill. This isn't a gradual hill; it's ski slope steep. It must have taken me 40 minutes to go the first 5 miles. No matter what I did I couldn't go faster than a snails pace.

This is when the next dilemma revealed itself. This being an official USTA event, the rules state that if you don't finish the first 5k and 28k bike in 2:00:00, your time doesn't count. Now, I know that I wasn't concerned with time, but I wasn't gonna allow a DQ to show up next to my name. As I took the final turn into Glastonbury High, I saw the clock hit an even 1:59:00. I entered the transition area with seconds to spare and a bike time of 1:29:07. Amazingly, it was spot on to what I thought it would take me to finish pre-race. I know I can shave at least 10 minutes off that time with the proper bike next time.

This brought on the next issue. I couldn't feel my legs from the ankles to my thighs. My calves were ready to explode and I still needed to finish the final 5k. I can't describe the feeling of exhaustion that had overcome my body. Mentally, I felt fine and knew I would finish, but physically I was in trouble. So i just went as far as I could running. High fiving Miss Hilary when she passed as I was about a mile into it and she with a mile left helped a little bit, but it was ugly. I'd stop and walk up any hills, then pick it back up on the flat area. As I took the turn into Hubbard Park, the clock was at 2:37:00+. The final time ended up being 2:37:47. My final 5k took 37:33, but I didn't care.

I took advantage of the bratwurst, Ten Penny Ale and free massage. As I headed home the cramping started, but I didn't care. For now I am a duathlete! And ready for the next race that I am ridiculously unprepared for.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bring It On...

On any other weekend (at least over the last month) I would be throwing my feet up and basking in my run of 27:54 in today's Kiwanas Shad Derby 5k. This was a personal best and three and a half minutes better than the Glastonbury River Run only a month ago. However, tonight is different. I'm getting mentally prepared for tomorrow's Shamrock Duathlon. I registered this afternoon at Cycling Concepts on Main Street in Glastonbury. There were at least a dozen other competitors registering alongside me. They were excited, optimistic and talkative. I, on the other hand, saw it as the start of the battle. I elbowed, bullied, scratched and stared down each and every person. I made it clear that the roads were mine starting right then and there and if they obeyed I would consider sharing them. Rest tight, kiddies!

This race is billed as the "premier racing event in the region". I know that I'm in NO way prepared for this race, but that didn't stop me from drawing the line in the sand a day early. I found out that the first 5 miles of the bike is straight uphill. I'll get some relief for the next 6 or 7 and than its a mix. I know that my hybrid road/mountain bike is not the ideal vehicle for this type of race, but you gotta play with the cards dealt, right?

I have no clue what to expect. That is the exciting part of this race. If I can remind myself that finishing is winning, than I'll be fine. Giddy Up!

Now for the run down of today's Shad Derby 5k...

The Windsor Shad Derby is the official start of Summer. It takes place in the Center of town and is always a fun event. The 5k has been a staple of the weekend for 39 years now. There were somewhere between 150 people walking or running in this race. I showed up just in time, i-pod in hand and just looking for a warm up run. Well - warm up I did. The race went along Rt 159, to a gorgeous trail along the river, through the campus of Loomis Chaffee and ending back in the center. Three songs into the run (guessing just over a mile) my i-pod went dark. It was around this time that I realized there were no mile markers or water angels in this race. I just plugged along. As I took the final turn( about .2 from the finish) I saw the clock at 26:56... I turned it up a notch. I was going to break that 28 min mark if it was the last thing I did. By crossing the line at 27:54 I reached my goal, grabbed a water and in my best Tim Dunphy from "Outside Providence" fashion just quietly exited the scene. I was happy to reach my goal, but my focus was already on tomorrow.

Bring it on Glastonbury Farmlands! Bring. It. On.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Twenty Five Weeks sponsored by Brooks

To be a champion, one must dress like a champion. That is why I am excited to announce THIS future champion is being sponsored by Brooks. This sponsorship starts immediately and the new running gear will be debuting in Sunday's duathlon. For all of you (well, the five of you) faithful followers here is a sneak peak on what you can expect to see running, pedaling, sweating, swearing and tumbling through Glastonbury on Sunday.

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9's can only be compared to running on clouds. It was love at first fit as these gifts from God were ever so gently slipped onto my feet. I wore them to sleep last night and may for every night from now til Marathon Day.

The Brooks White with Blue Stripe Rev T is the runner's first defense against the dreaded "fire in the nipples". Not only stylish, but incredibly comfortable.

The Infinity Notch shorts will be replacing the ol' reliable Nike Carolina Blue polyesters. These were by far the most difficult impulse buy I've made in years. Not because they aren't useful, but because I have spent my entire life making fun of people who run around in short running shorts. This buy confirms the total transformation from non-runner to full time marathon trainee. I will no longer whisper under my breath every time I see that old skinny guy wearing the Kurt Rambis-esque twin huggers. From here on out, I will applaud him on his great set of getaway sticks and know the comfort he is experiencing first-hand.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flexibility is key

Flexibility is key in marathon training.

This week will serve as a perfect example of this.

Not only flexibility of your muscles and joints, but also with your schedule. With this in mind, I moved yesterday's three-mile run to Saturday. With the decision to make a go at Sunday's duathlon, I figure it's important that I get a little sweat going and a good stretch the day before.

The next 148 days will demand a few things:
1.) That I stay healthy and without injury. Missing one week could set me back months. It is the gradual build up of confidence and endurance that will allow me to get from start-to-finish come Marathon Day. The training plan calls for a certain amount of miles to be completed each week, however it is not set in stone. Keeping this in mind should allow me to never get too far behind.

2.) Understanding that in order to move two steps forward, at times I may need to take one step back. I need to acclimate my body to the daily grind of working out. There will be days and weeks that I test my limits and days and weeks that I just maintain my current pace. The exciting part of this first month is that I have no expectations. I'm not concerned with time, only with finishing. Also, every race up to this point has been better than the previous. I will hit a plateau and can't get frustrated if I don't set a new "personal best" with each race.

3.) I'll need to remember this is fun. If it stops being fun, I need to seriously reconsider what I'm doing. As time goes on, the training will require a serious time commitment. I'm fortunate to have some great people to go along for this ride with. It is pushing each other and knowing when to give the other a swift kick to the rear or when to throw them on your back and carry them along that will determine success. Everyone will have good and bad days and keeping it all in perspective is vital. Its important to be flexible not only with yourself, but with those around you.

So with that - I'm off to Fleet Feet in West Hartford. Time to gear up and start to look like I've actually done this before.


I couldn't make up my mind as to which race to run in - The Shad Derby 5k or the Shamrock Dualthlon. So, I decided to consult "that guy". He says he'd do both. So thats what I'm gonna do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To Duathlon Or Not To Duathlon...

...that is the question.

"Umm.. hey buddy! Ya-you Shoeless Joe! You forgetting something there."

This Sunday is the Shamrock Duathlon. It is held in Glastonbury and features a 5k run, followed by a 26k bike ride and finishing with another 5k. I can think of every reason why NOT to compete in this. There is the 7:30 a.m. start time. There is the lack of training for such a race. There is the fact I don't own a bike and the only one I can think of borrowing has a bell and basket on the front with a dog in it. I could go on...

The only reason I can think of to actually participate is the nagging voice in the back of my head that whispers, "Why Not"?

I spent some time looking through last year's results. I tried to find the results of the people who ran the first 5k in 28-30 minutes. I couldn't find even a 28 min 5k until after the 200th finisher. A quick look showed that less than 20 people out of more than 250 ran the first 5k in more than 28 minutes. This shows that this is a serious race and I don't know if I'm ready for a serious race yet.

The other issue is I haven't rode a bike since I got my driver's license. I have no clue how long 26K will take me. Again, judging by the past results, it will probably take around 1:30:00. However, that is for people who have most likely tried this since 1994. Also,the elevations for the bike ride seem pretty steep.

This will take some soul-searching in the next day or two. On Saturday, there is the Shad Derby Kiwanis 5k in Windsor. This is a family event, most likely with as many walkers as runners. This race is probably more my speed, but not nearly as challenging.

Pssshhh... why not? Let me get back to you on that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

From My Doorstep to the TPC River Highlands...

View Larger Map

... is about the distance I have logged in the first three weeks of the training. The original plan called for me to be at a total of 23 miles heading into Week 4. We are somewhere around 28.5 miles following the Salmon River Run on Saturday. If I were heading north, 28.5 miles would take me to the campus of Smith College in Northampton, MA.

View Larger Map

I feel as though I've come a long way in three weeks, but when put in perspective to the final goal - we are still a LONG way from the finish line. However, at the very least, I know I could start running now and make it with time to spare to see the opening round of the Travelers Championship.

This week calls for a total of 11 miles, with two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, two on Thursday and a four-mile run on Saturday. This should also be the week I retire these pathetic sneakers. It won't be a day too soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Salmon River Run - 1:00:20

"So, where the heck are we again? Just go over the river and through the woods? ok!"

Finding and running in the 5.4+ mile Salmon River Run was a challenge.For one, I haven't run over 5 miles in one day since the Clinton Administration. Second, It was a course made up of some pavement, some dirt roads and a whole lotta trails. Third, the weather was muggy, humid and HOT.

"Stretching it out and feeling confident pre-race"

All these factors made this run difficult. It also made completing it that much more gratifying (sorta).

"Not so much Post-Race"

The Course
Salmon River State Park is a beautiful area to fish, take the dog for a walk or bike. It is very difficult to run. The first mile and a half was pretty much straight up hill. While I hate hills, this wasn't all that bad because I was filled with a patriotic fervor not previously experienced in my brief road racing career. The race started with the National Anthem being played by some very talented fifers. Or players of the fife. Or fifettes. Not quite sure what the proper title is. At the completion of the Anthem, as if our spirits weren't lifted enough, the race starter declared, "Ain't this a great day to be an American". By the time the four over-sized men in Davy Crockett suits shot their muskets into the air the forests of Colchester and East Hampton were echoing with chants of "USA, USA", Amanda and I were high-fiving, and it was GO time.

It didn't take long for the combination of hills and heat to take its toll. The second, third and fourth miles of this race took us off road and along a trail that runs along the Salmon River. It was truly one of the most beautiful trails I've ever been on. Dozens of fly-fisherman were thigh deep in the river to our right and dozens of waterfalls, covered train bridges and blatter relieving runners to our left. The second mile seemed to take forever. I had actually convinced myself that in this race, mile markers were only going to be at every other mile. So when we got to the Mile 2 marker it was like a punch in the gut. Thankfully, the water angels were somewhere around the 2.5 mile marker and by the time we got to Mile 3, we knew we'd eventually get through it.

While the first 4 miles were pretty much all uphill, the last mile and a half was pretty much all downhill. Now, I'm not a fan of up or downhill runs, but coasting that last 7800 feet down Mt. Colchester was much more appreciated than the way up.

We approached the finish line, at an even 1:00:20, we were both very happy to be done. Amanda had decided that this race was FUBAR and she would never consider running it EVER again... until the post-race cookout, when her apparent love of pulled pork sandwiches and orange soda overshadowed the one hour of hell. All was completely forgotten by the time she negotiated the last fun-sized race t-shirt from the organizer, jumped on a picnic table and declared May 9 "Salmon River Run Day" and proclaimed it a day from here on out that people of all ages and sizes would celebrate with blue grass music, beef brisket, pulled pork, cole slaw and Orange Crush.

"I promise pulled pork and cole slaw in every pot..."

As for myself, I enjoyed the event (except for the actual running part of it) and can't wait to cheer on Miss Hilary in next week's duathlon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Bad...

Following the self-inflicted beat down I dropped on myself Wednesday, I'm back to where I'm supposed to be mileage-wise heading into the weekend. High-Five!

So on to last night...

I didn't hit the damp streets of Main Street until close to 11:30pm. First, I'm really enjoying the late night jaunts. It's a great way to end the day and gives me time to evaluate whatever happened throughout that day and to prepare for whats to come tomorrow. Second, it allows me to hit the sack feeling I have accomplished at least one of the days' goals. And third, I get encouraged to run faster by the chorus of barking dogs that seem to be telling me "run faster", "you can do it, G" and "roof, roof, roof."

Yes, this running schedule is beginning to influence the good people of Suffield's sleeping habits. While this shouldn't be funny to me, the echo of dogs barking as I float up and down the street is inspiring (and sort of funny). It took me awhile to realize it, but I must have woken up every single person along Main Street last night. I sorta feel bad about this, but my guess is these four-legged friends will become accustomed to my unorthodox schedule and not bark quite as violently in the future.

My runs will all but guarantee I lose my hometown again in any future elections. Only time will tell...

Gonna award myself with the scheduled day off today and get ready for the BIG 5.5 mile Salmon River Run in Colchester/East Hampton tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Kid is Back...

After a couple days of wallowing in my own self-pity towards running, I got my groove back. I ran a little under 4.5 miles last night and could have gone another few miles without skipping a beat.

I can thank the Wizardstress for this. The blog post concerning how to properly breathe while distance running has literally changed my entire outlook on this challenge. By simply changing the routine from breathing through my schnoz to breathing through my stomach, I was able to find a comfortable pace and just keep on trucking.

I think I may have hit and plowed through my first "wall". "Hitting the wall," is a normal occurrence while training for a marathon. What is important to remember is that you can keep on going. This game is mental. If you believe you can finish that run, you will.

One quick non-running story. Its last Saturday around 5pm and I'm grabbing a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant. I strike up a conversation with the table next to me about the Kentucky Derby starting in the next hour and a half. I ask the guy who he likes in the race. He tells me he doesn't know anything about horses, but he likes the #8. This guy doesn't even know the name of the horse, but he says," Over the last few years, the #8 has won more than any other post position. Under my breath I say to myself, "oh sure, you might as well just pick the horse your girlfriend thinks looks prettiest."

Well, we all know what happens next. The #8, 50-1 shot, Mine that Bird pulls off one of the greatest upsets in Derby history. Psshhhh....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Excuses are like...

Before getting into all the reasons why I only ran one mile instead of the scheduled two last night, I need to comment on the brunch I had with some friends this morning. It's not everyday that I run into four elephants just chillin' on Trinity Street in Hartford. The most shocking thing was how healthy these guys were eating. They had carrots, bananas and leafy greens. This is much different than the breakfast I had today. It made me seriously question my a.m. eating habits.

It also reminded me of the clown joke.

Back to last night. I can blame the weather. I can blame the lack of energy. I can blame American Idol Rock night or the Red Sox-Yankees game.

But I won't.

I just didnt have the heart. I lacked the will to run those extra two laps and thats what is eating away at my soul today. Even Krystina, with one leg, high heels and a tiara showed more dedication.

This can only mean one thing. I gotta push it tonight. That three mile run has now been bumped up to four. That scheduled rest day for Friday is now a run day. That 20oz sirloin is now a sloppy joe.

Until then...

...if you're running around Bushnell Park - watch where u step.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Gotta be honest... today I'm just feeling kind of blah.

Gonna run the planned two miles tonight and not much else to report.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hump Week

As I noted last week, Week 2 of every other workout plan had been a disaster. Not only was THIS Week 2 a success - it has actually fueled my fire even more for this challenge. In ten days, I've gone from fearing the streets to wanting to tackle them more and more each day. I have run in two 5k's and all of the sudden I am planning my vacations around different races .

The original schedule had me running a total of 7 miles last week. I ended up running 1.2/2.5/1.8 and the 3.1 at Sundays Baja 5k for a total of 8.6 miles. Week 3 has a plan for runs of 2mi/3mi/2mi and the weekend run of 3mi. I'm considering running in the 5.5 mile Salmon River Run on the Colchester/East Hampton line. This will be almost double any run I have previously done and is somewhat over ambitious for where I may currently be in my training. However, I have manged to get over the hump mentally as to whether I can do it. There is no doubt in my mind that I can finish the race. Do I expect to keep the 9:30/mile pace I was at Saturday? No, but distance is a much greater priority to me at this point than time.

So this week will be hump week for me. Getting to a point where I can comfortably run three-miles a day will be a big step.

Is this what you were expecting, Gutterbrain?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hotel California Baja 5000 5k - 29:34 (new personal best)

I was much more confident heading into this Baja 5k than I was heading into last weekend. I had only one goal and that was to finish in under 30 mins.

Mission Accomplished!!!

This race I ran solo. Amanda was battling the plague and Hilary couldn't make it so my partners from last week were out. I'm pretty sure I would have shaved an extra minute off that time by running with others, but it was good to push myself through on my own.

Many factors made this weeks run more productive then last week...

The Weather - It was a comfortable 60 degrees today compared to the 115 degrees it was last weekend. This made a huge difference for me the last mile. I wasn't nearly as exhausted at the end and actually feel as though I could have run another mile or two. That was a first for me.

The Course - This course was much flatter. I ran the first mile in 7:58 and was shocked. Some of the veterans said it was a 'short' mile and I may or may not believe that. While I did stop twice to walk for a few steps, it was only to drink water at the 1.5 mi point and to stretch out the calves at the 2.5 mi mark. The first mile pace cost a little in the last mile but gave me confidence I could break the 30 min mark.

The Mindset - I knew I was gonna finish this race. Last week, I wasn't sure until I had finally crossed the finish line. Knowing how I'd feel when it was over was the overwhelming motivation. It didn't help that I loaded up on scotch instead of carbs last night, but lesson learned.

I would say there was close to 300 people in the race. The winner finished in 15 minutes flat, which is insane to me. All and all, it was a successful day and progress is still being made. New goal for the next 5k is to see if I can break 28 min. This one may take me a few races to reach, but I think it can happen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Funnies #2

Swine Flu? Pirates? Loiterers? I know who to call... Allegiance Assemble!!!