Dear Diary (pause button version)

Because of my being dyslexic, I try to write my blog posts at least 6 hour before I publish them so I can come back to it and better proof them.  What struck me with the post below was how dark it came across even though I tried (and maybe to some degree succeeded) to make it humorous.

It kinda hit me that not running and the blog and social media were adding more stress to a life swimming in stress at the moment (OK, it’s a dumb analogy, but you get the point).

I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks off from the blog and from social media in general.  I think I need the break to regain focus on the things that matter (like which of my compression socks can double as dress socks and can you use Nip Guards as part of super villain costume).  Also, my plague recovery is going slower than I expected and need all the energy I can get.

Anyway, for the three of you who are still reading this, here is the original post I wrote.  See you in a couple of weeks.

—————————————————————————————-

Dear Diary,

It is day 5 without running and I am no longer sure who I am.  That isn’t exactly true, what am I worried about is that I know exactly what I am–a person whose fitness it disappearing as quickly as a drawing disappears after shaking an Etch A Sketch.

I have discovered something called weekend mornings.  I mean I knew mornings existed during the weekend, I just forgot they could be used for something other than running.  The cruel twist of fate is that I have the time for relaxing a cup of coffee on the porch, but I can’t eat anything with it with the lack of running calories to spend.

I stare longingly at my running shoes (all 10 pairs).  They whisper that a short run wouldn’t be all that bad. I bend over to put on my shoes and a 3 minute coughing fit ensues.  That will teach me to listen to the siren song of my shoes.

It is weird not to obsess about the minute by minute weather.  I haven’t checked out my 4 weather apps in days and it is feels like void that happens when you get dumped.

I debate reading running books.  Just the time savings of not having to wash my running clothes should give me the time to read.  Well, that would be the case except I realize that my casual wardrobe is 95% running clothes.

My listening to Demi Leovato is way down along with other pop music.  I still find myself occasionally humming Taylor Swift.  If I am lucky, it is not during a presentation at work.

Even swimming sounds good.

Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t be writing in my diary.

Later,

Marsden

Nope, has nothing to do with the post.  Some things don't change.

Nope, has nothing to do with the post. Some things don’t change.

 

 

Mashed Potatoes

When I was in high school there was this kid who didn’t curse.  When the rest of us were dropping the f-bomb every three words or so, when he got upset he would say “Mashed Potatoes”.

Mashed Potatoes

Well my plague has partially returned and my doctor was concerned about my cough which was starting to asphyxiate me (well, not totally, I would just get light headed) and that my fever started to return ever so slightly.  He decided he wasn’t going to mess around and now I am on 10 days of antibiotics, 2 weeks of prednisone (starting at 40 Mg and working my way down to 10 MG) and a cough suppressant.  That goes with the inhaler I already have.

The combination of the antibiotics and prednisone make me particularly  susceptible go the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture and this could last over a month (first time I have gotten an FDA black box warning).

Mashed Potatoes

So my running will be sidelined  for somewhere between two weeks and month and half.  This will mean I will have been off running for two-three months total so I will be back at square one when I restart.  Unfortunately exercise in general is frowned on so I can’t even do pool running.

Well, at least I still have my health.  Oh wait, I don’t.

Mashed Potatoes

I’m trying not to think about all the races I will miss and how after two years of busting my ass, I will be back where I started more or less.  I guess if I look on the bright side, I was smart to run the 24 hour race last year, because you never know what life will throw at you.  I do realize that many, many people have it far worse than I do and I am just whining because, well, it’s my blog and I can.

Flowers for Friday blue version

Flowers for Friday blue version

I have to think about what this means for the blog in the interim.  I know this is only tangentially a running blog, but without running truthfully I don’t have much to joke about (don’t ask about my work).  It will give me something to think about in all the time I used to spend running.

Sorry to sound like a bummer today.  Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend and has no cause to say “Mashed Potatoes”.

Later,

Marsden

Bonus flower

Bonus flower

Still Searching

Once Google stopped letting WordPress see the search terms that caused a person to end up on my blog, I lost a good source of entertainment, but for the few people that use Bing, I still get to find out what people searched for to have to the misfortune of landing on this blog.  Most of it is what you would expect (Cherry Blossom 10 miler race report). Here are a few of my favorite search terms.

1. Running Lonely

I get a kick out of the fact that people are actually searching for my blog (or the Carol King song).

2. War Pig Plane

Uh, this has occurred more than once.  Sometimes you just don’t want to know.

3. Icons of the four legs of the awesome race 2015

No freaking clue why 4 times someone search for this.  They ended up my Cherry Blossom race recap from this year.

4. worst songs for running/worst running songs

More people search for this than you would imagine.  This is why my Worst Running Songs post is like the 5th most popular post of this blog despite only 20 or so people reading it the first time.

What does the Pig and a running shoe have to do with this post?  Nothing, but maybe someone will search for it in the future.

What do the Pig and a running shoe have to do with this post? Nothing, but maybe someone will search for it in the future.

5. Meaning of it is not you it is me

Not sure what is scarier: Searching this site for running advice or relationship advice.

6. RDA of tequila shots

My parents would be so proud.

7. Sexy calves picture

Boy did they end up on the wrong blog.

8. carlye knoxville tn nude selfie

This one doesn’t frighten me because of the misspelling of my first name, but rather that I did live in Knoxville.  For the record, there are no nude selfies of me out there. It’s going to stay that way.

9. Poems about Pig Running

How to I compare thee to a mud running pig…

10. Pig War US and Canada Border

I did have a “Canadian Trivia” about the near war between the US and Canada that started over a pig.  All I can think is that some kid out there was doing research for a term paper and ended up on my site.  Somebody got a D- I’m betting.

 

Later,

Marsden

Back in the Saddle

Well sort of.  I have only ridden a horse once in my life, so saddle may not be the greatest analogy.

What I want to do is document my return to running after being sick for 2+ weeks and I how I am approaching it.  Honestly, I hope this isn’t useful to anyone because I wouldn’t wish my illness on anyone (well, almost anyone).

So my last run pre-sickness wasn’t pre-sickness at all in retrospect (which seems to be the only way I learn these days).  I just didn’t know I was about to be felled.  I ran hard and pegged my heart rate during a 6 miler.  Afterwards my heart rate slowly came down and my lungs felt like they were on fire. I figured it was a combination of heat exhaustion and allergies.  When I got home I started to have chills, and I went straight to bed.

Wow I was stupid

The next day I was tired but otherwise felt fine.  It confirmed in my mind I had just overcooked myself during my run and I would be OK.

Wrong

Well I ended up with a fever over 100 for more than a week, ended up in the emergency room for a short stay, and was out of work for a week and a half.

So when to return to running?

Well I wanted my cough to be mostly gone and I knew I needed enough energy to actually run.  The 4th of July holiday in the US was a good time to try to see how running and I would get along after the layoff.

Start Slow

I decided to start with one mile, no Garmin, just to see how I would react and if my muscles remembered how to propel me forward.  It felt weird to run after the longest break in running in a year.  But hey this is me, I am used to weirdness, so I called the run a success since I didn’t feel worse afterwards and didn’t hack up a lung.

Go Slower

On Friday I wanted to go between 4-5 miles.  This time I was wearing my Garmin because I didn’t want to overdo it.  I warmed up with one mile of race walking and then started my run. I started out too fast (nice to know some things don’t change) and had to slow down.  I finally found a comfortable pace that was about 1 1/2 minutes slower that I was running my long runs at before I got sick.  My heart rate was still higher than I would like (zone 4).  I had to walk a couple of hills to keep my HR down.  I started to get tired at mile 3 so I called it a day at 4.25 miles.  I have to admit it was a humbling experience, but I focused on the positive that I could run rather than I was the slowest person out on the Mount Vernon Trail.

The Next Day

So I was gunning for 6 miles and got 6 miles.  My heart rate average was slightly lower (by 5 beats per minute) and slightly faster pace (by 5 seconds per mile (must have been a 5 kind of day)).  Hard to tell if it was actual improvement, or just better weather. Either way I’ll take it (like I have a choice in the matter).  I was able to run more of the “hills” but still had to walk some.  Still felt like I was running in molasses, but at least it was running.

The Plan for the week

It is just dawned on me that this post sounds frightening like a real running blog.  I feel the need to make a porta potty joke.

Instead I will settle for why you should not have your iphone with you when you are running a fever.

Instead I will settle for why you should not have your iphone with you when you are running a fever.  Or maybe why I shouldn’t own a camera period.

Sun: Rest Day. I was going to cross train, but thought better of it.  My legs are sore for the first time since Across The Years, and I figured rest was the way to go.  I got reacquainted with my friend the foam roller (OK, friend is pushing the concept).

Mon: I am off from work and plan 6 miles on a soccer field.

Tue: Cross train bike or pool.

Wed: Cross train bike or pool.

Th: Run 5-6 miles

Fri: Rest Day

Sat: 8 miles

So that is the plan, but I will try to be smart about it if I don’t have the energy, or my heart rate gets too high.  I say that, but we all know being smart isn’t exactly my forte. I’ll report next week how it all went.

Later,

Marsden

Hoping this is the picture that shows up in the WordPress reader and on Blogloving because otherwise I am about to have an increase in unfollowers if the other pic is featured.

Hoping this is the picture that shows up in the WordPress reader and on Blogloving because otherwise I am about to have an increase in unfollowers if the other pic is featured.

Frying Friday

Well this has been some week.  Finally started to recover from being sick and being out from work for a week and a half.  It was a darn long time and I had tons to catch up on.  That and add doing nothing on a move coming up at the end of the month and I feel like I am a 2 cylinder engine in an 8 cylinder world.

Flowers for Friday

Flowers for Friday.  Why not get to the good stuff early on in the post?

As for running I ran for over a mile for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks.  I ran for 4.25 miles (with a mile of race walking before and after) and it felt very tiring but good to run again.  I took it slow and the muscles were fine, but my aerobic abilities seem to be on permanent vacation.  Hopefully runs later the weekend will be better.  If not, I will get some run/walk practice.  I know I am complaining, and I do realize I am just lucky to be out there at all and I am thankful for that.  I try not to forget how lucky I am to be running period.

There are other things going on in my life as well, but I think I need to have the better perspective that time provides before I go into that mess. (ah, crap, I just turned into one of THOSE bloggers).

In other news, I decided to join earthathon this time through.  I’m on #RunderfulRunners so you can either join or avoid that team as appropriate.  I think the reason I joined is to embrace the communal concept of running (without that whole having to talk to people).  I will need to make sure I don’t try to feed the mileage monster to help out the team.

I hope those in the US have a great 4th of July weekend and that everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later.

Marsden

 

Summer Blockbusters

When you are a runner, you spend a lot of time of running, working on strength, stretching,  foam rollering, and probably don’t have time to go to the local movieplex and spend 2 hours watching a movie when you could be doing hill repeats, or heck even cross training.  Not to mention, 10-20 bucks that buys more than a couple of gels, so going to the movies is just out of the question.

This poses a quandary though because you are likely from time to time interact with people who don’t spend every waking second running and every dime on running (you are likely to interact, me, I avoid these people like…well they were me and didn’t run).  With these interactions non-runners it helps to go with the flow and be part of the conversation.  However, it is hard to talk about a movie that you haven’t seen, and that is where I am come in.  Here is a short summary of the summer blockbusters.

1. The Avengers- Age Of Ultra

After saving the world yet again from some super bad thing, the Avengers enter a 100K.  Can the Hulk stay angry that long?

2. Pitch Perfect

The story of a person looking for just the right hill steepness for hill repeats.

3. Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is the time/place when I will return to speed work and will start doing yoga in public.  Wait, that is Neverland.  Never mind, no clue what this is about.  Just talk about the great CGI because that always works for summer movies.

He isn't part of a summer blockbuster, but he is a cute little guy.

He isn’t part of a summer blockbuster, but he is a cute little guy.  Maybe he will star in a film next year.

4. Mad Max-Fury Road

This is what happens when a 5000 person 5K doesn’t have a corral system and everyone is mixed up for the first mile.

5. Inside Out

A movie in super slow motion which goes over how you feel the last half mile of every race.

6. Insidious

This describes the weather every time I go for a long run.

Hope all of this helps!  On the other hand, taking social cues from an introvert such as me may not be the best plan.

Later,

Marsden

The Year So Far (Mid-Year New Year Resolution Check In)

Bloggers love to write “year goals” posts because it gives them something to write about in January when no one wants to run, gives them another post in June to do a mid-year check in and finally one at the end of the year triumphantly declaring how great they did (or just not writing the post if everything went to hell).

Well back in December, I wrote my ambitious set of goals as part of my New Year’s resolutions.  Well it is time to see how I am doing.

1. Set a PR in the half marathon.

Check.  I accomplished this in May on the first attempt.  Probably the last time I try to PR the half though to be honest.  If it happens in the course of training for other distances, great, but I don’t think I will focus on trying to lower my time.

2. Beat my 1775K time from the year before.

Check. I did this by several minutes though in true Running Lonely fashion, I didn’t feel all that great about it.  Oddly enough, that wasn’t part of my goal.

3. Set a 9.39 Miler PR

Wow, what are the odds I would actually run a 9.39 miler?  Well I did and I did PR it (and would have PRed 10 miles had the race lasted that long).

Blossoms from the 9.39 miler.  I miss those days.

Blossoms from the 9.39 miler. I miss those days.

4. Do better at Oddyssey than last year.

Well I did do better, but still managed to have my training halted afterwards (this time by pneumonia instead of a knee problem).

<for those who are smelling a rat at this point, I would encourage you to look at the link above and read all the way to the bottom>

5. Set a PR in the marathon

Well, I was on track…

To be honest if I can restart my training, I should be able to do this.  Hey, gives me something to shoot for during the 2nd half of the year along with:

6. Survive “Swine and Dine”

The Pig, alcohol, and Disney.  What could go wrong?  This may be my toughest challenge yet.

7. Set a 12 HR PR.

This may be one of the goals that mysteriously disappear in the December year-end update.  But hey, isn’t that what goals are for?

Later,

Marsden

Finally Friday (returning version)

So I have been offline for the last week plus.  I had a plague-Ebola-Black Death-Really Nasty Paper Cut combination which put me in bed (with a short detour for the hospital) for the last week and half.  As nasty as the last days were, I will say that running did help me survive.  Here are a few of the ways that running helped:

1. When you have a fever, you sweat a lot and all those tech shirts you hoarded over the years, come in very handy.

2. You have a ready supply of carb drinks and gels when you can’t eat solid foods.

3. 103 deg F fever really isn’t that much different from running in DC summer.

4. Coughing is great core work.

5. Compression socks make a decent makeshift scarf in a pinch.

6. The doctor commented that my running must be doing some good given my heart rate.

So, I don’t know how much I am going to be posting in the coming weeks. I need to slowly recover and get ready for a move at the end of July (and a 6 hour race I am steadfastly (or steadslowly given my condition) ignoring). So things may be bit more random around here.

Here is your Flowers for Friday and I hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!!

Flowers for Friday

Flowers for Friday

Later,

Marsden

 

More Infrequently Asked Questions

Well, like summer blockbusters, sometimes a blogger runs out of ideas, so you recycle your old ones.  Last year I wrote a blog on Infrequently Asked Questions and I cleared up next to nothing about me (well, other than I am a guy, and most of you figured that out (or at least the “you go girl!” comments have mostly stopped)).  So here is another batch of questions you didn’t think to ask.

1. Why don’t you do more pictures of the Pig?  He is SOOO cute.

Give a pig and inch, and he’ll take a mile (or maybe it’s give a pig a cm and he will take a km since he was made in China).  Either way, I don’t want the blog to be about the Pig.  I have noticed my Instagram pictures get more likes with the Pig than when I do a selfie.  I am sure that makes my parents proud.

2. You ran a 24 Hour Race last year.  Why not something bigger this year?

Although I did fairly well at my 24 hour race (85.03 miles) I cracked badly in the last 8 hours and I need to become a stronger runner before I try that again.  I will be running a 12 hour race in December which should allow me to gauge my ability to go after a 100 miler or 24/48 hour race in the following year.

3. Are you crazy?

For running a 24 hour race, having a toy pig, or using the word lachrymal to describe my weekend?

Garmin needs to make a smaller version for some animals.

Garmin needs to make a smaller version for some animals.

4. What happened to Canadian trivia?

Well after the pig wars, I went to Canada and stopped the trivia.  Since I am going back in the fall, Canadian trivia might return.

5. Are you as weird as you come across in your blog?

My personality quirks are a curious mix of me being profoundly introverted with an active imagination which usually presents itself in my unique sense of humor.  Or in a word–yes.

6. What is your favorite distance race.

Probably the half marathon though I have an increasing soft spot for the 10 miler.  I basically like running a hard effort, but not so hard as to kill myself.

7. What is your favorite timed race?

I have only run 6 hour and 24 hour.  I have high hopes for the 12 hour though.  It is a time I can run without totally killing myself.  Yes, I worry about killing myself in races.  Basically I like running, but don’t like feeling like crap (or dying).  My mantra is “Please don’t die”.

8. How many times have you sprained your ankle.

I stopped counting around 30.

9. Can you help me with my corrupted data set?

Yes, at 110 dollars an hour.  Truth be told I not worth that for any task (well, maybe pro-rated).

10 .Did you really make me google “lachrymal”?

Later,

Marsden

 

 

Oddyssey Half Marathon Race Report (2015)

Last year when I ran the Oddyssey Half marathon in Philly I went to run it as a long run but in the back of mind I thought I could turn in good time. Then I hurt my knee at mile 3, and then became dehydrated, and then I barely finished the race and spent the entire 3 hour ride home berating myself for my “performance”.

So would this year be "Bad Neus" or would I have an happily ever after ending?

So would this year be “Bad Nues” or would it be happily ever after ?

I returned to the Oddyssey Half Marathon this year, and although my goals weren’t overly ambitious, I figured I could at least improve on my time from last year.  (the race report part of this blog is after the Pig video if that is all you care about).

So on Saturday the Pig and I packed up the car (OK, I packed, the Pig mostly drank coffee and supervised)

So off we went.  I already had my bib sent to me, so I didn’t have to go to the expo (side note, they hold the expo the weekend before the race for the people in Philly and the smaller one the day before the race for out of towers like myself).  Last year when I went to Philly I did the Art Museum, ran the Rocky steps, and generally stuck to that side of town.  This year I decided to go to the area around the Liberty Bell.  Living in the DC area, I come to loathe tourist (or tourons as I like to call them) so it was a bit embarrassing to be taking pictures of this

Sigh, I am a touron. Picture of Independence Hall.

Sigh, I am a touron. Picture of Independence Hall.

I wasn’t going to stand in the long line for the Liberty Bell, but I was willing to elbow some foreign tourist out of the way to snap this pic.

Yes, it is a crappy picture of the Liberty Bell but it isn't great but standing outside on a hot day the day before a half marathon wasn't my idea of genius.

Yes, it is a crappy picture of the Liberty Bell but standing outside on a hot day the day before a half marathon wasn’t my idea of genius. For the record I did see the Liberty Bell as a kid if you are worried I missed out on the experience. OK, no one was worried.

Next I went to the National Constitution Center where they have a copy of the Bill of Rights that I was the only person  viewing because everyone else was taking selfies with the statues of members of the Constitutional convention.

Sigh.

Sigh.

After looking at the exhibits I went to the Jefferson Science and Exploration Museum. It was interesting to look at some of his contributions to science and his attempts to convince his “old world” friends that the Americans was not a wasteland for plants and animals (before my Canadian readers start snickering he was defending you as well).

T-Jeff in the house

T-Jeff in the house

So after being a tourist I went to the Franklin Fountain to get some ice cream.  OK, the Pig was the instigator.

Maple Walnut ice cream is what we had if you are curious

Maple Walnut ice cream is what we had if you are curious

Then in the name of carb loading I had some cheap pizza.

The Pig did share (a little)

The Pig did share (a little)

I will spare you the rest of the evening other that after dinner, back at the hotel the Pig was head banging to tunes to pump me up for the race.

So I got up at 4:30 AM on Sunday, took a quick shower, brushed my teeth, foam rolled, packed the car and it was off to the Please Touch Museum for the start of the race.

I got there, parked, walked about a half mile to the start, warmed up and was ready to start when they announced that there would be at least a 30 minute delay to the 7:00 AM race start because of a “traffic issue”.  So it was off to the porta potty line, more warm up, and a generally cursing the later start time.  I knew the race was going to be warm and humid (it was) but a delayed start was not going to help matters.

Delayed flight time.

Delayed flight time.

Then the race organizers announced they were going to start the blue wave (faster people) and then would start the other waves after that. It was about 25 minutes late.

My game plan for the race was to run something akin to marathon pace and see if I could hold it in the heat (I wilt in the heat like lettuce at the bottom of a container of Chinese food (@midpackbiped I told you I would steal that one, but I will tell people you have a new blog, so consider us even)). The first three miles went a little faster than I wanted (try to contain your shock) and I was averaging around 9:20 per mile.

Elevation profile.  Kick in the pants after mile 5 and that hill at the end feels worse than it looks

Elevation profile. Kick in the pants after mile 5 and that hill at the end feels worse than it looks

The fourth mile was fine but my heart rate started to climb so I backed off during mile 5 and then had to be careful on the hill not to overcook myself and repeat the mistakes of last year.

After mile 6 I picked up the pace a bit, but then hit a sunny patch and dropped right back down in pace to keep my heart rate down.  The course itself is mostly tree line and much of the race is along the Schuylkill River.  It is a  pretty course and I was able to appreciate it more than when I was limping along the course last year.  They also have games you can stop and play along the course (I preferred the “Don’t Die Marsden game” and kept going).

I won’t bore you with the rest of the race other than to say the hill just after mile 12 was more fun this year since I wasn’t about to drop from heat exhaustion unlike last year.  Of course there is a fun limit on a hill right before the end of a half marathon.

I finished in 2:05:57. 737 out of 2433. I was the top finisher with my last name, so I will declare victory.

The good:

1. I was able to run something resembling a marathon pace despite not being a very good warm weather runner.

2. I managed to stay hydrated using a water bottle and stopping at EVERY water stop.

3. The misters at the water stops were very nice to have.

4. I did set a course PR for myself by over 10 minutes.

5. The medal for the race doubles as a bottle opener.

The Bad.

1. My time was 10 minutes slower than my PR.

2. My heart rate got higher in the last few miles than I would have liked (which is nice way of saying I couldn’t have held the pace for a marathon in those conditions which makes me wonder if it is really a realistic pace goal).

3. My cadence was lower than I would like. That has been a problem for my last couple of races and I need to work on that for my fall races.

So after the finish, it was off to the beer tent (free beer glass!), drink a beer, grab my race shirt, and then drive back to DC.

 

The Pig and the race medal

The Pig and the race medal.  I have a better pic of me and the pig, but it didn’t show the race medal.

So all in all I accomplished what I was looking for out of the race and now it’s on Endless Summer at the end of July.

Later,

Marsden