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 …