Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Money Where My Mouth Is

A lot of money.

A lot more than I planned.

A lot more than I imagined.

As is often the case with me, I know what I’m supposed to do, but don’t always put that knowledge into practice.  When it comes to marathon training, this is especially true for cross-training.  I lift and do core work 2-3 times a week, but that’s a force of habit from before I decided to try running marathons.  I’ve ended up at the orthopedist after each of my three marathons, for three different reasons.  I know I need to be cross-training to work complimentary muscles, create balance, and counter the repetitive-use issues that I get from running, running, running.  My obstacles, or more accurately excuses, have been that I don’t have a pool available to me beyond the summer, I don’t own a decent bike, and I really, really dislike riding the stationary bike.  My wallet and I have addressed these excuses, so now things get interesting.

Swimming – I went straight from the parking lot of my orthopedist to a local Lifetime Fitness with multiple pools and signed a contract.  I don’t love distance swimming, but I’m learning to like it.  So far I get there a couple times a week and usually do something between 1000 and 1500 meters.  I swam swim-team for 10 summers as a kid so I have a decent stroke, but I’m unlearning a lot of my sprint habits and learning a stroke and cadence more conducive to extended sessions in the pool.  I know I’ll never ‘enjoy’ swimming like I do running, but it’s growing on me and it’s a nice way to burn off some steam after the kids are in bed, since the pool is open 24 hours.  The swimming (so far) hasn’t required a big $ investment … cycling, on the other hand….

Cycling – After far too much research, and a bad case of sticker shock, I invested in a Scott CR1 Team road bike 2 weeks ago and am now officially menacing the highways of NC.  I didn’t realize how much bikes can cost, and this has made my investment in running, which before I thought was fairly high, look like a drop in the bucket.  The upside is that having invested the dollars is more than enough impetus to get me to invest the time to get a proper return on the investment.  So far I’ve only done a few long rides, but I really enjoy getting out on the roads and exploring.  Too soon to tell if it’s helping my running, or helping me avoid too much running and thus stay healthy, but it’s a fun alternative.  Buying a new bike in December is probably not the best timing, but the weather has been pretty mild this winter which is nice.  It’s also made it very easy to come up with a wish-list for Santa.  Maybe too easy.

Right now I’m not officially training for anything, just mixing things up and trying to stay healthy.  With my run this morning I passed 1,000 miles for the year, which wasn’t a goal or target of mine, but is a nice little milestone.  Considering I lost all of January, half of February, and all of November to injury I’m glad to have been able to get that many miles completed.  The only race on my calendar right now is a half-marathon in DC on St. Patrick’s Day for which I’m not planning to specifically train.  I’m planning to spend some time over the holiday break figuring out what I want to do in 2012.  I’ve got all the ‘raw materials’ now for a triathlon, but not sure I want to head down that road … yet.  The lure of an Ultramarathon is still very strong, and I think that might be where I end up sometime next year.  For now I’m enjoying not being on a specific plan, but once the new year rolls around I know I’ll be yearning for some structure.

Since my blog posts have been far too sporadic lately, I probably won’t get another post up before Christmas and/or New Years, so Happy (and Healthy) Holidays to everyone.  If you see me on the road on my bike please take pity on me and give me a wide berth.  My technique has a long way to go to catch up to my intentions.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Runner. Present Tense.

Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since the Marine Corps Marathon, and would have marked 4 weeks with no running.  Two weeks out from the race I ended up at the orthopedist (yet again) to see if my calf/shin pain was the dreaded stress-fracture.  The overall soreness from the race had passed after about 4-5 days, but my calf/shin issues lingered.  Not sharp or shooting pain, but definitely not feeling right.  The good news was the x-rays showed no damage, so I got the maddening advice of “if it hurts don’t do it”.  I went straight from the doctor’s office to a nearby gym with a pool and signed up so I could get some cross-training going and hopefully not lose all my fitness.  I’ve stuck to a good mix of swimming, stationary cycling, and lifting, but badly missed my old friend running.

Yesterday was a study in holiday-induced sloth.  My inlaws had been visiting for 5 days, and rolled out of town around lunchtime.  After a gluttonous mound of leftovers for lunch, all my good intentions gave way to lying on the couch alternately reading a book and watching TV.  Finally, around 3:30, I snapped out of my coma and decided it was time to test my leg.  The doctor had said probably 4-6 weeks of rest would be advisable, and I was within shouting distance of 4 weeks, so I needed to roll the dice.  I wasn’t very optimistic based on past experience returning from an injury, but my leg was feeling much better, so I went through my stretching routine, laced up the Nimbii, and gave it a shot.  The first step is always the worst, so I braced myself for the pain, took the step, and …. nothing.  No pain.  No tightness.  No worries.

I kept myself in check and did an easy 3-mile run, but overall my legs felt good.  Definitely felt like I hadn’t run in a month and my calf is a little tight/sore this morning, but knocking on all things wood I think I may be over the hurdle.  By the halfway mark in the run my brain had already shifted from inspecting every aspect of every step to thinking about what my next race might be.  I’m shutting that thinking down now as well until I’m sure my leg is back in business.  I’m meeting a friend from work for a bike ride around lunchtime today, which should be interesting.  I’m borrowing his Fuji Cyclocross bike, with the intent of seeing if I might want to invest in a road bike or tri bike to further force myself to cross train and break the constant running that seems to leave me broken.  I haven’t gone on a bike ride of any distance in probably 20 years, so I’m anticipating a whole world of sore tomorrow.

Sore is good.  Sore is my friend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon Recap – Death by Chocolate Gu

The Before:

Cold.  Really, really cold.  Cold and snowy at the Expo on Saturday.  Car encased in ice at 4:45AM when trying to head to the starting line.  Huddling in the Metro station at the Pentagon with hundreds of my closest friends all trying to avoid the inevitable escalator into the 25 degrees and wind outdoors.  Icy walk to the runner’s village and on to the starting corrals.  My wife’s youngest sister was running the race too, so we made the chilly adventure together before the race.  Although it sounds bad, it was all pretty funny.

Knowing you’re just one of thousands getting your cold on makes it a lot less painful.  Some pre-race stretching, music blasting, paratroopers landing about 30 feet from us (very cool), quick words from Drew Carey, and off we go.

The During:

My goal for this race was a 3:34, so I fell in with the 3:35 pace group right from the start.  The pace was fast and the space was tight.  Quite a jump from a 2,000 runner race to a 35,000 runner race.  I truly felt like I was racing and pushing, rather than simply running.  I thought the number of people would mean a slow first couple miles, but I was wrong.  The first roughly 9 miles of this course are hilly, and we were taking full advantage of the downhills.  I glanced at my Garmin a couple time during the first few miles and we were running well under 8:00/mile pace for several stretches.  Mile 4 was the fastest of the race, with a 7:35 pace.  It was one of 7 miles run under an 8:00/mile pace.
Miles 1-10 .... faster and hillier than I expected
My left calf/shin felt pretty rough for the first couple miles in the cold, but settled into a dull ache around the 2 mile mark.  I ran without music partly because I wanted to soak in the crowd and the atmosphere, but also because the pack was so tight I needed to concentrate pretty hard to not trip someone or be tripped.  Found that for the first half of the race I didn’t really miss the music.  By about a mile in the cold wasn’t even noticeable anymore.

Spectator support along the course was outstanding, which was impressive considering how cold it was.  Lots of funny signs, and lots of cowbell.  For the first 10 miles I was feeling good – holding pace, hydrating properly, and finding relatively few aches and pains.  My family, my wife’s parents, and my wife’s sister’s family were waiting for us around the 10 mile mark.
Feeling strong at mile 10 ... apparently stiff-arming an imaginary tackler
Always an energy boost to spot my family.  Normally I swap out Fuel Belt bottles with them around the halfway mark, but today was just running by and waving.  I knew I would need every minute to have a shot at my goal.
Miles 10-17 - still feeling strong, until ....
Miles 10-17 were fairly uneventful.  I generally felt good, but I was feeling the pace.  I hadn’t gone more than 12 miles at my goal pace before, and my legs could tell.  One of my best childhood friends, and the best man from my wedding, was meeting me somewhere around miles 18-19 with a fresh set of Fuel Belt bottles, so at mile 17 I ate a Chocolate Gu and chased it with the last of my water.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Within about 5 minutes of eating the Gu my stomach decided to do a backflip.  I’ve never had any trouble with gels or Gu in the past, but for some reason my stomach wanted nothing to do with that Gu.

My friend joined me around mile 18, and by that time I was feeling like puking was inevitable.  I was already getting pretty tired, and my guts going nuts was killing my confidence.  The rest of the race was a struggle with my stomach.  I had to stop and walk around mile 20 for the first time to either settle my stomach or make myself puke.  I’d end up walking 2 or 3 more times over the next few miles thanks to my guts.  I didn’t end up throwing up, but might have been better off if I did.  My friend was a HUGE help keeping me going during this stretch.  Haven’t seen the pictures yet, but I’m imagining I was a few different shades of green.  Mile 20 was run/walked at a 9:08 pace.  I was never able to get back to my target pace from that point forward.
Miles 17-26.2 ... Houston, we have a problem
With my stomach jacked up, I couldn’t get any more gels down, and was having trouble getting any liquids down as well.  With no gels and very little fluids for the last 9 miles of the race I knew what might be coming, and sure enough around mile 24 my right quad seized up for the first time.  I ran through it as best I could, but when it balled up the second time I had to stop and stretch it out.  I had to do this 3 more times over the last 2.2 miles.  I’ve never had any issues with cramping before, so this was new territory for me.  Again, my friend was a huge help since he gave me something to hold onto while I tried to get my leg loose.  At this point 3:34 was a lost cause, since I had lost the 3:35 pace group when I first had to walk around mile 19.  3:45 still seemed like a possibility, so that became my new ad-hoc goal.
The final climb to Iwo Jima
The finish of the race is a long gradual uphill, followed by an abrupt steep uphill as you approach the finish and the Iwo Jima Memorial.  My buddy peeled off the course just as we hit the steep part, giving me one last psych-up speech and letting me enjoy the finish on my own.  I pushed as much as my quad would let me, and happily crossed the finish.  Official finish time:  3:45:26.
Yards from the finish - my pacer friend Brandon peeling off in all blue
The After:

The Marines don’t mess around with post-race organization.  We were quickly shuffled through medals, space-blankets, post-race photo at the Iwo Jima memorial, bag of food/drink, and on to the crazy long walk to the bag drop area.  I’m not sure how far the walk actually was, but it felt like another half-marathon.  Stepping down off the curb onto the street my quad cramped again.  When I got my drop bag I sat on some stairs to change into some warm clothes.  Trying to pull on my compression socks my quad cramped again.  Pulling on the other sock my foot cramped.  I was so tired at this point I just had to laugh.  Despite the cramping, I was done, life was good.  My stomach was still a trainwreck, but I managed to drink half a bottle of Gatorade, which I desperately needed.  Aside from my quad being sore/tight, and my calf/shin issue from before the race screaming at me, my legs felt pretty good.  IT Bands were ok, and no hip issues.

My stomach never really recovered on Sunday, so the celebration dinner of burgers and beers became half a burger and most of one beer.  I made up for it the following night, however.  Looking back at the race I’m happy with my time, and really enjoyed the ‘big race’ experience.  I’ll always wonder what I might have been able to do without the stomach and cramp issues, but I’m pleased with myself for pushing through those issues.  I was right on pace through mile 19, with mile 19 run at 8:09.  The worst of the miles was 22 when I fell to a 10:09 pace and desperately needed/wanted to throw up.  Mile 23 I was able to push back to an 8:41 pace, but when my quad started cramping during mile 24 the pace dropped again.  Despite the cramping and stretch breaks miles 24, 25, and 26 were 9:22, 9:58, and 9:53.  My Garmin distance showed 26.57 miles for the race, and the last .57 miles were at a painful 8:54 pace.  There was definitely nothing left in the tank once I crossed the line.

A week later all of the race-related soreness is gone, and my legs feel pretty good.  The calf/shin issue is still lingering, however.  I’m planning to do no running for 3 weeks total, and start some light cycling at the 2 week mark to see how my leg feels.  If things aren’t responding at 3 weeks I’ll be paying another visit to my orthopedist.  Would really like to get through one of these without visiting a physical therapist.  I’m not sure what’s next for me in 2012, but there will definitely be something going on the calendar.  For now I’m just focused on healing, and rehydrating …. one beer at a time.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Survived the MCM.  3:45:25 finish time.  Didn't hit my goal time, but not for lack of trying.  9 minute PR, so no complaints here.  Recap coming soon.  Stomach then quad decided to make it interesting for the last 8 miles.  Stomach was so screwy I couldn't even enjoy my post-race celebration beverage on race day.  However, in the spirit of finishing what I started, I'm 'refueling' properly tonight:

Congrats to all that ran the MCM, and a huge thanks to all the volunteers and spectators on a very chilly Sunday in DC.

Big thank-you to all the support I got and continue to get via twitter, Facebook, etc.  The running community it truly a remarkable support group.  You've all made a great experience even better.

Happy Halloween .... and Cheers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can't Lose.

The time has come.  Three short days until my only race of the year – the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’ve been officially training for this one for 36 weeks now.  I managed to stay healthy through the bulk of those weeks, yet I find myself dealing with a calf/shin issue in my left leg that is forcing me to skip my final training run today.  Lots of ice massage and ibuprofen these last few days hoping for the pain to let up a bit.  I don’t think it’s anything serious, but it’s seriously annoying and will be seriously trying my nerves on Sunday morning.  Not going to let it rain on my parade, however.  Come Sunday AM I will be drinking in the energy and setting out to try and lay down another marathon PR.  If you’re going to do it, you may as well try and do it a little better every time.

As soon as I finished my first marathon last year I knew I’d be doing more than one, and I knew that sometime along the way I’d be running the MCM.  I spent the bulk of my youth in Northern Virginia just a short drive from the start of this race.  My father was in the Navy, so the military draw is strong.  Something about this race just speaks to me.  I don’t like crowds, yet I can’t wait to get swallowed up by the thousands of runners moving from the same point A to the same point B.  Bring it on.

Lots has transpired in those 36 weeks, some good, some bad … such is life.  The constant has been running, and it never fails to focus my mind and improve my mood.  No matter how warm that bed may have been, or how ugly the weather may be, I always feel better after a run.  Better about life, and better about myself.

I know there are an abundance of fellow bloggers who will be in DC running this race as well, and I’m hoping to stumble upon and meet some of them on Saturday at the Expo, or Sunday before/during/after the race.  Even if I don’t, I’ll draw energy from just knowing they’re out there gutting it out with me.  We’ve all put in the time, and we all understand the lure of the marathon.  I hope I have my wits about me enough around mile 22 to spot the recently-engaged Morgan cheering us on.  The story of her proposal is guaranteed to brighten your day.  After all her struggles with running injuries she still goes and cheers for others to chase their running dreams.  Her spirit is inspiring.  She is a better runner, and a better person, than I.

For those keeping score at home, I’ll be wearing bib# 11782.  I’ll also be wearing a frighteningly bright green tech shirt during the race.  I brought my daughter along with me to buy my latest pair of running shoes, and asked her to pick out a shirt for me for the race.  Probably should have narrowed down the color choices before I set her loose.  The truth is, it could be pink mesh with sequins and I’d still wear it if my daughter picked it out for me.  Fully wrapped around her finger … guilty as charged.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend in any race, at any distance.  I'll be cheering for you with every shared step.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fortnight to Semper Fi

Two short weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon.  14 days left for fine-tuning and incessantly checking  14 days to figure out where I’m supposed to go and when I’m supposed to be there.  2 weeks to prepare myself for more than 15 times as many runners as I’ve ever run a marathon with.

This morning was 14 miles of hilly trails, and it wasn’t pretty.  Not especially bad, but my legs were very heavy and dull.  Had this been race day, it wouldn’t have been very enjoyable.  I’ve had a mild calf strain for a couple months now, and for some reason it really flared up this week.  I was concerned about this morning’s run, but the one upside to the run was my calf felt much better than expected.  Not great – but better than I thought it would.

I think this morning’s run proved that although my mind isn’t crazy about it, my body may just need a nice taper to be ready to go on 10/30.  It was a beautiful morning, perfect temps, beautiful sunrise … but my body was having none of it.  Sometimes you’re the windshield …..

On the professional front, after completing my sixth interview (my company is nothing if not thorough) I was offered a new position in my company on Tuesday.  Haven’t let anyone other than my current boss know at this point, but I’m very excited to head in a new direction in my career.  Major departure from what I’ve done for the last 20 years.  A chance to switch back into learning mode rather than continuing to apply the same knowledge over and over again.  Old dog …. meet new tricks.

Checked on the MCM website to try and start working out race day logistics, and discovered in the FAQ, contrary to what I had been told, that iPods are in fact allowed during the race, but not encouraged.  Now I have a decision to make – go with the tunes or soak in the crowds sans music.  I think I may bring it along with me in case I need a little jolt later in the race, but try to go without for the bulk of the race.  Depends on the weather as well – don’t want to fry another one during a downpour.  That was an expensive lesson to learn.

I think the most important thing for me to do in the next two weeks may be getting some sleep.  Still not getting enough for my mind and body to recover every day.  I don’t seem to be applying this lesson-learned very well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The End is Near

2011 has been a roller coaster year for me and my family.  Turmoil in areas we least expected, and calm seas where trouble has historically emerged.  Health issues, job issues, etc., we’ve been burning stress for fuel far more that ever wanted or expected.  In the last couple months we’ve taken some steps to try and get back in control, and we may be at the tipping point for the better.  Professionally my wife and I are both proactively working to change our situations.  Health-wise, a string of bad news has been followed by relative quiet, and no health news is good health news right now.  As for running, after running my first 2 marathons in 2010, the only race on my schedule for 2011 is the Marine Corps Marathon, which I’ll be running 23 short days from now.  2011 has been a long road figuratively and literally, but hopefully by the time I cross the finish line in DC at the end of the month we will have crossed the finish line in other areas of our lives as well.

After starting off the year bonding with my orthopedist and therapist again, and spending most of January and February on the sidelines trying to get healthy enough for training, I got started on 36 week plan to build a solid base back up, and then train hard to try and cut another 20 minutes off my marathon time.  I’m in the 33rd week of that journey, and although you never know what race day is going to have in store for you, I’ve done everything I intended to do in that plan to get me ready to race.  There have been pains and setbacks along the way, but I’ve managed them with as much common sense as I can muster, and kept them all from forcing me to shut things down.  Unfortunately I lost my training partner along the way – he’s still alive, and I didn’t actually lose him … I know where he is – but he developed a calf issue and had to defer his entry.  After adding tempo/speed work to my training for marathon 2, I’ve embraced hills and trails for this one, and actually enjoy the hilly long runs now more than the flat ones.  Go figure.

July, August, and September were strong training months.  Hot …. but strong.  21 runs in July for 143.38 miles, 19 runs in August for 146.11 miles, and 19 runs in September for 131.79 miles.  Not as much speed work as I would have liked, but more hill work than I had planned.  I’m hoping the hills are building more quad strength for me, which in turn will stabilize my knees more so I’m not running this race with any braces.  So far so good.

I’m starting to get excited for the MCM.  I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so this should be a pretty wild experience, as I’ll be surrounded by a crowd for hours and hours, all heading for the same place.  This is one of a very short list of marathons that have specific meaning for me and are ones I want to do before I find another pursuit to rob me of sleep and beat my body into submission.  Just need to stay healthy for 3 more weeks.  The end is near …

Friday, September 16, 2011

Still Plugging Away

How has it been so long since I’ve posted to the blog?  Perhaps my ‘surfacing’ claims were a bit premature.  Despite continuing to try and fit 10 pounds of life into a 5-pound capacity calendar, I’ve stuck like glue to my training plan.  Midway through week 11 of the plan, with 6 weeks to go until the Marine Corps Marathon.  Crossed over 750 miles running for the year this week, and I’m mostly still holding together.  My right knee is giving me some attitude, which wouldn’t be overly alarming except that’s the knee that unraveled 2 weeks out from my last marathon, so I’m paying very close attention to what it’s trying to tell me.

Knocked out a great 21-mile training run this past Sunday.  Decided to really test my fitness, and ran it on the path used for the Umstead Ultra, which is a 12.5-mile loop that the runners do either 4 times for the 50-miler, or 8 times for the 100.  This is a path known for hills, both the long gradual rolling kind, and the steep, abrupt, bikers-stop-to-walk kind.  My long-run training partner is on IR with a calf injury, so I was going this one alone.  I ended up falling in step with a guy for about 7 of the middle miles, who I learned was training for his 5th 100-miler.  Very interesting talking to him about his path from non-runner to ultra-runner.  Have to admit I’m intrigued by the notion of an Ultra, but I’m staying 100% focused on MCM and trying everything I can think of to stay healthy – or at least my version of healthy.

Another cool development that came out of the drunken fiasco that was our Fantasy Football draft is that one of my best friends growing up, and the best man from my wedding, is going to meet me at mile 20 of the marathon and run with me to the finish.  He ran his one and only marathon at the MCM about 8 years ago, and still does some running and shorter racing.  Should be a good time, and we may have to sample an adult beverage or two for proper recovery.

Hoping to get back into more frequent blog updates as we move into the Fall.  I’m way out of the loop as far as blog reading goes, but eagerly looking forward to catching up.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Ascending slowly from the depths of this Summer’s ocean of stress.  This past week was the notification week for the layoffs at my job.  Fortunately my job was not impacted.  Doesn’t lessen my workload, and actually increases it based on the reduced headcount, but considering the alternative I have no complaints.  One less thing to worry about in the short term.
Running has been going well for the most part, but my lack of sleep and pace of work has caught up with me, and I’m seeing it in my training.  I’m getting the miles done, but seeing little to no improvement in pacing, etc.  I know I’m shortchanging my body in terms of recovery, and I’m trying to make rest a priority moving forward.  I like sleep … sleep is my friend … and I miss my friend.

After a disappointing 16-mile run last Sunday, I decided to challenge my legs with an 18-miler on a hilly local trail.  It was hot, it was challenging, and it was just what I needed.  Didn’t worry about pacing, just focused on attacking the hills.  Mission accomplished.  The best part of the run was around the 10 mile mark, when my legs were getting angry and my brain was trying to convince me the humidity wasn’t the equivalent of running underwater.  A bike passes me on the left, followed by another right behind it.  Nothing unusual with all the bikes on this course, but right behind the bikes, moving just as fast, comes a woman who may be the picture accompanying the definition of runner in the dictionary.  She moved past me like I was running backwards, a blur of compression socks, ponytails, and effortless speed.  I’ve made a (brief) career of getting chicked on a regular and prolific basis, but this took things to a whole new level.  It was an amazing thing to behold.  Sadly the inspiration didn’t make the next 8 miles any less hilly, but it was inspiring nonetheless.

I’m weeks behind on blog reading, and pretty out of the loop with running in general, but hoping to catch up soon.  I can only assume we’ve progressed beyond barefoot running, but I’m a little scared to find out what body part we’re now supposed to use for running.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And Still I Run

This has not been a ‘Summer to remember’ in the Evolving family world.  Abundant stress and pressure in our professional lives has spilled over into our personal lives, and it’s just not much fun.  Just do a Google search on ‘Biggest layoffs IT’, and you’ll see the main source of stress.  I’m averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night, and my family is going on our beach vacation next week without me.  And still … I run.
Training is going very well ... a nice oasis of something I can control in a boiling sea of things which largely force me to react.  My usual repertoire of injuries is mostly contained, and I’m in a nice groove where I’m disappointed and antsy when the plan tells me not to run.  Currently in the middle of week 3, and week 4 kicks off with a 14-mile long run that I’ll be tackling at my new hilly running destination that I’ve come to love/hate.  Looking forward to sweating out some worry.

I’ve been horribly out of the loop with blogging, both in terms of reading and posting, so I hope all is going well with all my virtual friends.  Hopefully some sanity will creep back into my world soon.  Until then, I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

110th of 111 Males In My First 5k ... The Perfect Race

Prior to Saturday morning, I had never run any sort of race other than a Marathon.  Didn’t run track in high school.  Never managed to sign up for a 5k, or a 10k, or any flavor of metric racing.  Nothing against the metric system … I loves me some Canada … just never made it happen before I started marathon training, and hadn’t worked it into my training plans despite my best intentions.
I had visions of my first 5k being a stunning discovery of my inner Prefontaine – tearing through the course with fabulous short shorts … a blur of sideburns and  70’s mustache.  Unleashing my inner racer, versus my inner survivor that emerges by the time I've dragged myself 26.2 miles from the start of what seemed like a good idea at the time.  My first 5k did not exactly align with this vision.  It was much, much better.

Those that subject themselves to my blog on a regular basis will recall the virtual 5k that my son and I completed a couple weeks back.  From that experience my son expressed an interest in running a real-life 5k, and on Saturday that became a reality at the DennysChallenge 5k.

Contrary to its name, the DennysChallenge did not involve copious amounts of bacon.  No Maple Bacon Sundaes.  No bacon of any kind.  Not even a stray pig.  Really a missed opportunity to find out if in fact everything is better with bacon.
Actually, the race is a memorial race for a man named Denny who lost his fight with melanoma in 2009, and near the end of his life challenged everyone in the room to a fifty mile race.  Last year there were 132 runners.  This year there were 221.  The event was very well organized and everyone seemed to have a good time.  Kind of a cool feature was awarding prizes to the first 16 finishers, since they collectively covered the 50 miles that Denny had challenged his friends and family to race.

The boy and I got up bright and early, and did some pre-race fueling together – bagel with peanut butter and honey.  I stretched and he teetered on the edge of awake and asleep, we got decked out in our matching shirts, sweatbands, and disoriented early-morning expressions, and off we headed to the race.  We checked in, chatted up anybody who would listen, and soon we were off.

We started out running, which lasted about 3 minutes, then we alternated walking and running for the first mile.  Fair to say my son is not a natural athlete with a  great deal of stamina, so by the end of the first mile he was already hurting.  There weren’t a lot of volunteers on the course, but the cool thing is that every one of them called him out by number shouting encouragement and telling him how great he was doing and what a good thing he was doing supporting the cause.  He got a little embarrassed with the attention, but it gave him a little shot of energy every time it happened, which was so great to experience.
Mile 2 was actually surprisingly hilly, so the running decreased and the walking increased.  He apologized once for going so slow, and I explained that it wasn’t about where we finished, it was about being there helping fund the fight against cancer, and about the two of us doing something together that was good for us and for others.  That really sunk in, because he didn’t complain or apologize again.

Mile 3.1 was mostly walking, and unfortunately we were far enough behind that we didn’t really see any other people, which I think would have helped keep his spirits up.  My wife and daughter were waiting near the finish taking pictures and cheering, so we ran the last .2 miles to the finish line.  Our finish time was around 52 minutes, but the best part of the finish was him telling me how much fun he had, and that when he gets older he’d like to do a Half Marathon.  It makes me proud to know that he probably wouldn’t even know about Half and Full Marathons if I hadn’t started training for and running them, so my example is fueling a interest in my kids.  That’s better fuel for my training than any Gu could ever provide.
Overall a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and next time out we’ll be going to get three matching shirts, since my daughter wants to be a part of the action now.  Happy Dad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

17 Weeks of Semper Fi

With the first step of a humid, mid-tempo, fairly unremarkable 10 mile run on Sunday, my training for the Marine Corps Marathon is officially underway.  I am so looking forward to both the race itself and the many weeks of training.  With so many stressful variables swirling around in my life right now, running is one of the few things where I feel I am in control.  Injuries may come along that knock me down for a bit, but I make the plan, I execute against the plan, and I drag myself across the start and finish lines on October 30th.
I am definitely in better shape going into this training plan that I have been for the prior two marathons.  I put together a 19-week base-building plan, and with the exception of one week of no-running to deal with an ankle issue, I stuck to the plan.  I completed 379.29 out of 407 planned miles, and kept up with upper-body lifting 3x weekly, and lifting legs (mostly) weekly.  Most of my nagging injuries (calf, hip, ITBand) have gone into hiding, but I am dealing with some recurrent soreness/tightness with my left groin that I’m monitoring.  Not any true pain, but it’s letting me know that it is not entirely happy.

As for the next 17 weeks, the key will be finding the intersection of what I know I need to do and what I actually put into practice.  For example, I know I need to x-train, particularly with some bike training to hit my quads where running doesn’t seem to do much work for me.  However, I’m doing a lousy job of this so far.  Bad runner …. bad.  I know I need to hit the gym and include core work, and I’ve been really good about doing this as much as 3x a week so far.

Other ‘need to do’ items:
  • Need to stretch – before and after runs, and on non-running days
  • Need to ice bath after any run longer than a half-marathon
  • Need to drop 5 pounds – gotta get more lean – cut down on amount of weight when lifting (and amount of food when eating)
  • Need to include more speedwork in my mid-week runs – this was a big positive training for M2
  • Need to slow my pace on my long runs
  • Need to stay diligent about mid-foot strike form at all speeds
  • Need to work more hills into my collection of running paths
  • Need to do more long runs without my iPod – no earphones allowed at MCM – pretty sure Marine snipers take you out if you get caught
  • Need to continue fine-tuning my hydration/fuel plan – didn’t execute on this terribly well in my last marathon and my stomach wasn’t pleased with me by the end of the race
  • Need to sign up for some races between now and MCM – 5k, 10k, Half … something
  • Need to get more sleep – I’m very bad about doing this, and I know I need to get better.  Find myself dragging by Thursday afternoon after consecutive days of 5AM runs.

The list goes on and on.  I’m pretty good about most of these things, and I’m pretty good about knowing what I need to do.  It’s all about the execution.

In other news, following the great success of the ‘Sweat Your Thorns Off’ 5k (and the great comments I got – all of which are greatly appreciated), my son and I will be running a real-life 5k this Saturday morning.  We went and got matching C9 Technical shirts at Target last weekend, and he’s been ‘training’ all week.  I don’t think any course records are in jeopardy, but it should be a lot of fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweating Our Thorns Off - Virtual 5K With My Boy

Sometimes a race doesn’t go as we planned.  Sometimes race day brings unexpected twists.  Sometimes the strategy and goals go out the window.  Usually this is not considered a good thing.  This morning it was a great thing.

For this morning’s ‘Sweat Your Thorns Off’ Virtual 5K, I had planned to give it a real go and see what kind of time I could pull off.  I’ve never run a 5K, so I could combine a strong tempo run with another running first.  As I was finishing my pre-run stretching, I was explaining a virtual-race to my kids.  When I finished explaining, my son asked the last question I would have expected … “Can I run?”.  This is one of those questions that regardless of circumstance or consequence, the answer is simply “Yes”.  Thus, today my son and I did our first Virtual 5K together.  Since I had already printed off my race bib, we made a couple quick adjustments and printed one off for my son.
All smiles prior to any thorn sweating
A quick drink of water and we were off.
Game faces on .... or we need more fiber in our diets
We did not set any land-speed records, and we’re not anticipating any sponsorships based on our results.  The first mile was equal parts run and walk, and the rest was mostly walk with a sprinkling of run thrown in.  The boy was definitely struggling, and around mile 2 I could tell he was regretting his decision to come along, but he never said it out loud, and he kept marching on.  I was having a great time.  Even if there wasn’t a whole lot of running, it was still a ‘run’ with my son, and those are still a rare treat.
I couldn’t talk my daughter in to coming with us, but I have a feeling she’ll come around in the not too distant future.  We put her in charge of race photos, and even let her use the ‘real’ camera, so she was loving life.  She also surprised us by creating a finish-line for us while we were out running.  Boston’s finish line has nothing on ours.
BAA - she is available for finish-line consulting
A great way to start the weekend.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.  A big thank-you to Adam @ 'The Boring Runner' for organizing the race and getting my boy and me out on the road together.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Horseflies and Handgrenades .... and My Father

Apparently we are under attack.

While we foolishly concentrate our attention on mosquitos with their West Nile virus, and deer ticks with their Lyme disease, and lions, and tigers, and bears, the horse flies have been silently building a squadron of terror, patiently waiting for the perfect time to unleash holy hell on the running paths of the world.  It would appear the time is now.
My last three longish runs on my familiar trails have been marked by repeated strafings from these aerial demons.  They are large, and they are many.  And, at least on the trails of NC, they are pissed.  I haven’t been bitten yet, but it only seems like a matter of time.  May be time to invest in some sweat-proof bug spray.  I recall from swimming at lakes as a kid that horse fly bites are no joke.  I’m hoping the conflict doesn’t continue to escalate, or you may find me rolling down the trails in a giant hamster ball by the end of the summer.

As for the hand-grenades, we’ve had a series of short, severe thunderstorms over the last couple weeks in the area, and the trees have taken a beating.  Last night we were poised for another blast, but it was mostly just an abundance of wind.  Net result is this morning’s trail run was as much about dodging branches and debris as it was about knocking out the miles.  We could use some rain, but ideally more of a sustained storm than a Chuck Norris roundhouse-kick of wind/rain/pain.

Despite the kamikaze flies and the obstacle course of dismembered tree parts, this morning’s run was a thing of beauty.  Great weather, and someone had replaced my regular legs with Folger’s instant legs that were ready to rock.  Had planned on a nice steady 10-miler somewhere around 9:00 pace, but my legs were feeling so good that after 5 miles around 8:30 pace, I decided to step it up and throw in a 5k somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00 pace.  I may have slightly overestimated how good I was feeling, but I got through the next 3 miles at 7:51, 7:34, and 7:32, then closed it out with 2 miles at 9:00.  I was put-a-fork-in-me done by the 10 mile mark, but it was a great way to start the day.  I have a slight groin pull/strain that has been acting up over the last couple weeks that I may need to dial down my training a bit to get healed, so this will probably be my last tempo run for a week or two.  Considering it wasn’t intended to be a tempo run, I’m happy with the results.

Today being Father’s Day, I find myself less focused on my own role as a dad, and thinking more about my own father.  I’m blessed to have two healthy parents who have always been incredibly supportive and influential in my life.  My dad has always been an important person in my life, and as I’ve gotten older I consider him one of my best friends.  So many of my interests are a reflection of his.  My passion for home-improvement and woodworking are born of hours watching him build and/or fix anything and everything.  I’ve yet to see anything home-related that he can’t do.  I drove a ’65 Mustang in college that he rebuilt himself.  We bought the house we live in now in foreclosure and badly in need of far too much work.  My dad showed up and he and I spend two solid weeks redoing everything in the house with the exception of the kitchen cabinets.  Neither of us will ever set any speed records for project completion, but the finished product rarely disappoints.  He is one of the best fishermen I have ever seen, and the majority of my favorite memories as a child revolve around fishing.  Thanks to him I enjoy and have moderate skill at fishing, and I’m now able to share that with my own kids.  This past year, I had the unique pleasure of seeing a reversal of the usual pattern, when my interest in running sparked his interest in walking to get back in shape and lose some weight, which culminated in our both finishing the Outer Banks Marathon in November (me running the full, and my Dad walking the half).  One of the best days of my life, and another great memory shared with my dad.
He is by no means perfect, but who is?  It’s the imperfections that make us all unique, good or bad.  My wife often comments how much I remind her of my dad, and I take that as a compliment.  He was career Navy, but passed up several promotions so we could stay in Northern Virginia and my sister and I could go to good schools.  As a senior in high school I had scholarship offers for soccer, and an ROTC scholarship.  One fateful collision towards the end of my senior soccer season resulted in a gruesome shoulder dislocation, and I would never again play another game of soccer.  The athletic scholarships disappeared, and when I got to college I was unable to complete the ROTC physical test while I was rehabbing my arm, so the ROTC scholarship was in jeopardy.  Without missing a beat my parents stepped in and offered to pay for my tuition, all four years, and insisted that I drop the ROTC scholarship and end the drama.  I own them both a great deal, and hope that I am carrying on their legacy as a parent.

Happy Father’s Day to my father, and all the dads out there.  Hug and be hugged as much as you can today.  You’ve earned it.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Having a hard time finding time to spend in the blog world lately.  Reading, writing, etc. - all of it is just out of reach.  Work is soul-crushingly intense right now.  Impending layoffs, poor quarterly results, and survival-mode instincts make for a pressure-cooker climate.  More stressful than any time I can remember.  Compounded with some bad health news for a family member, the blood pressure is not in a good place.
Thankfully running/training has been going well.  Still trying to adjust to the sudden onset of Summer, but I've been sweating out some of the stress, which is therapeutic.  Logged my first week of 30+ miles last week and my body held up as well as can be expected.  Started the week with 9 miles (almost) at target marathon pace (8:15/mile versus marathon target of 8:09), and it felt good.  Exhausting, but good.  After an injury stalled start to the year, I've finally crossed 300 miles for the year, and I feel like I've got a solid base going for the start of official marathon training in July.  Injury is not an option ....  "ain't got time to bleed".

Unofficially I'd like to find some sort of race to do in June.  This would be my first foray into anything other than a Marathon, and I'd like to diversify a bit.  Ideally I'd try a half-marathon at my target full-marathon pace, but I haven't found anything reasonably nearby in this timeframe.  I'll keep looking.

Back to work .... deep breaths ...... serenity now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heatmiser ... You Don't Scare Me

I have tremendous respect for hot weather, born from some bad/stupid experiences, but I am not afraid of the heat.
Raleigh jumped from temperate-Spring to surface-of-the-sun hot in the blink of an eye.  We hit 94 today with swamp-like humidity, and I'm definitely not adjusted yet.  My wife is out of town for a few days, so my early-morning run became an after-the-kids-are-at-school run, and the heat was wilting.  It added about 30 seconds a mile to my usual non-pushing pace, and I was dragging by the end.  Not really a complaint, more just an observation.

I like running in the heat.  I like to sweat.  I'll get acclimated, but for now the heat has me on the ropes.  A worthy opponent, but I'll start gaining ground soon.

I felt a little tweak/twinge in my right hip after my 9-mile run on Sunday, so I actually listened to my body and skipped my run on Tuesday to let myself recover.  A year ago that's something I never would have done.  Despite what my wife and kids say, apparently I am able to learn something new.  No hip issues in my run this morning.  Sometimes being a better runner has nothing to do with what your Garmin tells you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Me No Pace Good and I've Been Twittered

I readily admit that pacing, and being able to 'feel' my pace, is not something I'm very good at.  I've been working at it, and thought I was getting better, so I decided to test myself a bit last night.  Running has been going pretty well for me lately since the week off to rest my ankle.  It still gets a little sore, but the pain hasn't returned.  I suspect I've got a little tendinitis going on, but feeding it ice seems to be keeping it happy.  Left calf and shin are generally grumpy these days, but I'm opting to strangle them with compression sleeves and not listen to them.  Something always seems to hurt, so the wheel-o-hurt seems to have settled on lower left leg right now.  All part of the joy of running/aging.

I had to do a late-night run yesterday, so I decided to try a tempo run for the 5 miles on the plan.  Planned to go-out with a moderate pace for the first mile, then do 3 miles at around marathon target pace (shooting for 8:00/mile), then slow things down again for the last mile.  Since it was dark anyhow, I decided not to look at my Garmin throughout, and just listen for the beeps at the mile-marks to know when to hit the gas or the brakes.

Net result - I still suck at pacing.  It ended up being a really good run, but way faster than it should have been.  I'm still anticipating ankle pain every time I step with my left leg, so I think that is screwing with my ability to just 'feel the run', but other than that I don't really have an excuse.  Pacing for the run:

Mile 1 - 9:04
Mile 2 - 7:46
Mile 3 - 7:32
Mile 4 - 7:20
Mile 5 - 8:23

Too fast starting with the first step of mile 2.  Oh well - I do pretty well with this if I'm checking the Garmin, and I have no problem looking at that thing every 10 seconds.  If I paid all that money for it I want to get everything out of it I can.  I'm a slave to the machines.

9 mile long run on the plan for Sunday, and I'm returning to the path where my knee unraveled before my last marathon.  Not typically superstitious, but I'm a little nervous about running there again.  Hopefully uneventful.
Thanks to my desire to follow along with Emz and her 100-mile treadmill ownage, I have been officially sucked into the world of Twitter.  For someone that spends most of his life working on computers for a networking company, I'm pretty slow on the uptake for social media.  Have to admit Twitter is pretty amusing, and seems to have more momentum than Facebook these days.  Also nice to be limited to only a couple sentences worth of characters if I just don't have anything blogworthy to say.  If you want to find me in Twitterland I'm @EvolvingThruRun. If I say anything embarrassing, or more embarrassing than usual, it's all Emz's fault.

Best of luck to all running races this weekend, especially the folks getting after it in Fargo.  Mind over Miles. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Date Night aka Seafood Coma

This week has been a mixed bag.  Can't seem to get the personal and professional world on the same page.

This week was pretty good on the personal front, highlighted by no more kidney stones, and a successful return to the world of running.  Apparently the week off did a body good.  Got through two runs without any recurrence of the mysterious ankle pain.  Maybe it was ankle stones.  Don't want to think about how exactly those got passed.

On the professional front, this was a rough week.  Our company announced impending layoffs, along with a timeline that takes them all the way through the summer.  Talk about a dark cloud of stress hanging over everyone for days on end.  No fun.  This recession can kiss my arse.

Tonight, however, should be an epic display of my dining prowess.  Tonight is a rare date night with the lovely and talented Mrs. Evolving.  That alone is cause for much rejoicing, but we're talking dinner and a movie, and the dinner is a 'Seafood Extravaganza' with some good friends from the neighborhood.  Words can not express the depths of my love for seafood.  I get a little lightheaded just thinking about it.  I could happily grill a Spongebob-kebab, follow that with a plate of fried Squidward, and still have room for some Patrick bisque.  To pick a favorite from the world of seafood would unnecessarily diminish the glory of any item.  Seafood's dial goes to 11.  Tonight's menu:

I've already apologized in advance to the folks who will be sitting with us for the display they are about to witness.  Apologies also to King Neptune and the Little Mermaid. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ankle Bones and Kidney Stones

Sometimes I do the right thing.  Sometimes I let my brain win out over my body.  Sometimes, when my wonky legs start talking, I actually listen.

Today marks one week without running.  Self-imposed exile to hopefully stop some slowly building ankle pain from reaching full crescendo.  Thanks to the comments from my last post regarding my shin/ankle issues, I removed my head from my rear and shut things down.  I’m 6 months out from my next marathon, so doing something stupid now that would continue to bother me for the next 6 months would be foolish.  Fairly typical for me, but foolish nonetheless.

I can’t really tell if the time off has helped or not.  The ankle still feels a little ‘off’, but not especially painful.  I don’t know that ‘rest’ is exactly the right term for it, since I spent countless hours hauling 25 cubic yards of mulch all over the place trying to make our yard presentable.  More accurately, 25 cubic yards of mulch were delivered.  I think I managed to get through about 15 this weekend.  I’m trying to do a true rest-day today, staying off my feet as much as possible.  Tentative plan is to try a short run tomorrow morning and see what happens.  I’m itching to get back to running, but dreading the possibility of no progress in the healing once I really test it out.

As a fun activity to pass the time while not running, my body decided to focus its efforts Thursday on moving a kidney stone from inside my body to the outside world.  Fly … be free.  This is the fourth fun-filled episode of kidney stones I’ve dealt with, but the first in nearly 7 years.  Made for a long day, but thankfully I birthed that little bugger Thursday night, so the pain didn’t linger beyond the 10ish hours on Thursday.  Called my doctor in the midst of the stone-party to schedule an appointment, and they were kind enough to fit me into the schedule 8 days later.  Where’s the love?  Went to see a different doctor on Friday, and the xray didn’t show any more lurking in my kidney, so I think I’m safe for a little while.  Ahh … the wonders of the human body as we get older.  A fine wine I am not.

Weather in NC is crazy beautiful today.  If the run goes well tomorrow I’m looking forward to some sunny, cool, early morning Spring runs.  Much love.

Couldn’t close this out without a mention of the 100+ treadmill miles in 24 hours that Emz threw down in her charity run for the Sojourner Center on Friday/Saturday.  You can still donate to the cause HERE, and I hope you will.  Such a good cause …. Such a good person.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

RUN EMZ (Throwback Training Tunes - Emz Edition)

Not much that I could say today that would be more important, meaningful, or physically impressive than what Emily will be undertaking less than 24 hours from now.  For the few that don’t already know about this, starting at 6AM Friday morning she’s doing a 24-hour treadmill run to raise money for the Sojourner Center, which supports victims of domestic violence.

Check out her blog today for a news story about the run.  Yes, she is a TV star as well as a running star.  If you have the means, please make a donation as well.  Great person, great cause.
‘The Stairs’ – INXS (1991) Today’s only entry to the Throwback Tunes is a longtime favorite of mine from one of my favorite bands.  As far as training songs go, this one has a long, slow, building intro, followed by some surprisingly thought-inspiring lyrics.  Originally written about living in a busy city, I think it says a lot about human interaction, and our desire to find our place in the world.  It’s a great song for starting out a run, or for when you need some inspiration during a run on a slightly deeper level than a driving bass-line or catchy guitars.  There are several lyrics in here that I think apply well to what Emz is doing, and really anybody that tries to connect with and help other people, and in turn helps themself.  My favorite verse, and one that I’ve borrowed from in the past for a blog title:

Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves with quiet grace

Go Emily!  24 hours of making the world a better place.

You’ve freaking got this.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hmmm ... That Doesn't Feel Quite Right

The good news is that I got my first double-digit mileage run since November completed on Saturday, and it was great.  Actually only planned on 8-9 miles, but ran in a new place with a friend of mine who will also be running MCM (a rare non-solo run for me), and when all was done we had done 10.02 miles at 9:00 pace.  The run felt good, and the pace felt a little slow, which is a good sign.

However, a nagging soreness on the lower interior of my left shin has progressed to a little more than nagging, and when I did 4 miles on Sunday there was actually some accompanying pain on the interior of my left ankle for about .5 miles in the middle of the run.

Thus, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.  I don't think this is something terribly serious, but despite my repertoire of injuries to draw upon for self-diagnosis, this isn't something I've experienced before.  I'm supposed to run 4/6/4 miles on Tues/Wed/Thurs, but I've already decided to skip the Tuesday run and lift legs (just quads, nothing weight-bearing on the ankle) instead.  I'll probably give the Wednesday run a go, but I'll just see how it feels Wednesday AM.  I don't want to get myself injured again, but I'm also in a great groove with the training where I find myself craving it.

Me and my frah-gee-lay legs.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Throwback Training Tunes vol. 10 - U2, Rush, Foo Fighters

Continuing the construction of a ‘Running Tunes’ playlist featuring at least one song from each of the last 20 years of the 20th century.  Today’s additions to the playlist include songs from 1985, 1987, and 1997.  I’ve got several others currently being ‘auditioned’ on my training runs, but I’m always looking for more suggestions, so don’t be shy about passing them along in the comments.

Here’s the list as of the last update (click on song titles for links to videos):

’Slide’ – Flesh for Lulu (1989)

And for today’s additions:
 ’Bad(Live)’ from Wide Awake in America – U2 (1985)  This song, or more accurately this version of this song, is one of my all-time favorite songs.  Not just for running, but for any reason.  I literally wore this tape out when I originally bought it based just on listening to this one song.  This is a staple of most any running playlist I make, and usually is the first song I listen to since it has a nice slow build which goes nicely with the start of a run as my body decides which parts are going to mock me over the next several miles.  I’m not that crazy about the studio version of this song from the Unforgettable Fire album, but this live version has an energy and emotion that somehow never gets old for me.  There are days when the intro and first few verses still give me the chills, after hundreds of listenings.  U2 at their finest.

’Time Stand Still’ – Rush (1987) Rush is a highly underrated band in the grand scheme of things.  Geddy Lee has an unusual voice, and there are lots of people who really don’t like their music, and probably even more that have never heard of them.  I wasn’t a big fan of theirs back when they were big, but I’ve grown to appreciate their music and their influence on others bands more as time has passed.  This is a great song for running, with some pretty poignant lyrics that are more meaningful to me now than they ever could have been back in the late 80s.  “Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder.  Children growing up, old friends growing older.  Freeze this moment a little bit longer.  Make each sensation a little bit stronger”.  I can certainly relate to that sentiment. 

‘Everlong’ – Foo Fighters (1997) Can’t have a training playlist without some Foo.  This isn’t my favorite Foo Fighters song (that would be DOA for those keeping score at home), but it is a great song for some energy while working out.  I’m partial to the studio version as a running song, but I really like the acoustic version of this as well that has appeared on a couple of Foo Fighters albums.  This is one of my favorite bands, so I have to resist the urge to add more and more of their songs.  This song will definitely get you fired up, and I never seem to get tired of it regardless of how many times I hear it.  Pointless trivia – lead singer Dave Grohl attended and dropped-out of the same high school that my wife attended.  To my knowledge she was not to blame.