Fall TV Season For Runners

Rumor has is that some of you have friends or coworkers that aren’t runners.  If you happen to encounter one of these individuals they may want to discuss a TV show (which is an odd name now that everyone is streaming it on all sorts of devices but Tablet Show sounds like something out of the Old Testament). Since you are a runner, the last TV episode you watched that wasn’t a sporting event was the finale of Friends (or maybe Game of Thrones but that is basically a sporting event).

Well I am here to help you with those awkward conversations by providing a basic summary of some TV shows so you can fit in with those co-workers/spouse that want to talk about something other than running.

The Flash

A dude runs really fast and makes poor strategic decisions. I know you might be tempted to watch this show to see if there are tips that you can use to run faster. However, it turns out that you need a particle accelerator accident (I’m on my third one with little success).

The Blacklist 

This show is about people caught doping.

Orange is the New Black

A runner decides to try to wear something other than black running clothes. Turns out that tights were not a good choice to start wearing orange.

The Bachelorette

A bunch of sweaty guys hang around the three women at an ultra.

Mr. Robot

 Heck if I know what this show is about. Heck if anybody really knows what this show is about. If asked about this show just say “Is this real?”

Hawaii Five-O

This is about a runner doing a 50 miler in Hawaii.

Motive

This Canadian show is about the motivation needed to kill your next workout.

The Late Late Show

No runner has a clue what this is about since we are all in bed by 8:30 pm.

So what are you supposed to do if someone brings up a show that isn’t on this list? Be like me and start talking about your last training cycle. That should drive them away before it gets too awkward.

Later,

Marsden

Like some much of life, I have no clue what this is

Like some much of life, I have no clue what this is

Picture of Camelback Mountain, Nothing to do with washing machines,

The Washing Machine

In looped trail races there is a concept of “washing machine” style  when you do a loop of the course in one direction and the next loop in the opposite direction. This allows everyone to see everyone else on each lap (I always go to see everyone when they passed me but it is nice to see people from the front than from the rear (I know what you are now thinking and remember that Santa is taking note).

Picture of Camelback Mountain, Nothing to do with washing machines,

Picture of Camelback Mountain, Nothing to do with washing machines,

Life can be a lot like a washing machine. Back and forth and if you are lucky, maybe you come out cleaner on the other side.

Right now I feel stuck in a cycle. I may talk about why in the coming weeks (or I may stick with The Pig and my adventures (OK, this is even more interesting to me)).

I may have to pull out the monster knee brace again. For those who are newer to the blog, back a long time ago in 2014 (hey if you are 30 that 1/15 of your life (if you are me there are a lot of zeros right of the decimal place) I hurt my knee. Turns out I found out I had bone spurs in both knees and have arthritis (if you care to read about that you can read it here: Survey Says).

The funny thing is after a little rest I bought a monster knee brace to help stabilize the knee. I ended up running a 24 hour race in that knee brace so it must have done a pretty decent job.  Turns out the doctor’s prognosis certainly didn’t turn out to be worst case. Later the next year I was able to wean myself off the knee brace and ran a 12 hour race and 50 miler without it.  However, in the last couple of weeks my knee is starting to click and I have dug the brace out of closet (it was under my winter clothing). Hopefully it will be a short-term thing, but being a runner my medical opinion is always going to lean to the “I can do that” side of things even if I can’t do that.  Gives me something to dwell on other than being in the washing machine.

Hope everyone one has a Pigtastic weekend and gets some fall weather!

Later,

Marsden

Old picture of the Monster Knee Brace (MKB)

Old picture of the Monster Knee Brace (MKB)

Potholes of Memory Lane

I started to reminisce about when I started running on a regular basis. Well I say reminisce because it sounds better than waking up from a nap and not being sure what century it is. Anyway I thought about a few of the nice things of running in dark ages.

  1. Since it was before the invention of time, how long it took to run a distance was more of an estimate. So, when I say that I ran 6 idias (distance wasn’t invented either) in 30 tobs, just assume that was fast (hey, I can see your eyes roll!).
  2. No Race Photos. Oh sure it sounds nice to have a picture to remind yourself of a race, but more often than not it ends up right after you start to cough, or you look like you are about to pass a kidney stone. On the off-chance you do take a good photo, you will be photobombed by someone picking their nose (no, that someone wasn’t me, I was the guy who was projectile vomiting).
  3. There was less clutter in the old days. Back in my day (there were so few people in the old days everyone got a day (including dogs which is where the expression “every dog has its day” came from (and you thought you learned nothing from this blog))). Where was I? Oh yeah, back in my day when you ran a 5K all you got was some water afterwards and a pat on the butt (hmmm, this is making me rethink my high school years (yes, they had high school even back then but without a system of time it was hard to tell when you graduated (I have derailed this blog post so badly at this point I should just DNF))). The nice thing about not getting medals, or t-shirts, or blankets, or steins, or cups or belt buckles or race iguanas  from every race is that you don’t have to build an extension to your house to keep all your bling (note cleaning people are not big fans of race iguanas).
  4. Pre-internet (yes there is such a thing) the race results were stored on stone tablets, or later on parchment paper.  These records have long since decayed and are no longer available. On an unrelated note I won most of the races I entered pre-internet. On and equally unrelated note, I have to keep a plastic surgeon on retainer because my nose keeps growing.

I am somehow guessing this is not making anyone want to use their time machine to go back in time.

Later,

Marsden

Well some of this captures what most of you are thinking at this point (and it isn't the breakfast part)

Well some of this captures what most of you are thinking at this point (and it isn’t the breakfast part). I would like an order of WTF with a side of toast

Running Lonely’s Guide To Fall Running

Given the title, and this being me, you are probably wondering if this blog post will be about my propensity for tripping, or about running during Fall.

Yes, I used the word propensity

So you are thinking, why do I need a guide to running in great weather? You probably don’t, but you have gotten this far into the post, so why not hang in there until the end. Think of it as mental training.

OK, the weather is nicer but…

 So the overbearing heat and humidity of summer is over, and that is a good thing (well unless you are going to the beach).  Although the weather may be super nice, you have to worry getting too enthused and starting your runs WAY too fast (not that I have ever fallen in this trap (please note the fall pun I just put in (editor’s note: if you have to explain your jokes, they aren’t funny))).  The good news is after a couple of runs you will know how much you can turn on the jets.

There’s a cold wind blowing

After several months of relatively light wind, falls brings blustery gusts of wind. Running in a wind is much like running hills (minus being able to brag about “vert” (well you can try to brag about running into a 46km/hour headwind but people will just think you are dumb))

Dress for Success

After running several months in the minimal amount of clothing (hey, I apologized for the thong so let it go) there is a tendency to wear too much (like 3 layers) and by mile 3 you are going to feel like it was July again. They say you should dress like it was going to be 10 F degrees warmer than it is outside (I don’t know what they say if you are a Celsius person other than if you are in Canada you should probably already be reading Running Lonely Guide to Winter Running.

Falling

With fall there are fall leaves and under fall leaves there is all sorts of stuff to trip on (you knew I was going to throw in a fall pun at some point). Also, with there being less light, if you don’t wear/carry a light you increase the odds of going sprawling when some half-awake cyclist mows over.

Tights

It is a toss-up if I hate singlets or tights more (I feel ridiculous in both), but make sure you dig yours out of the closet because it’s no fun the first time it is below freezing with the wind blowing hard and all you have is your shorts.

Maybe it is time for a trip to the attic to dig out my fall running clothes. Well, once it is cool enough for me to go up there.

Later,

Marsden

Proper way to wear a headlamp

Proper way to wear a headlamp

Light Em Up

It was my birthday this week. I am old enough to know better, but somehow always manage not to.

It was odd going through my race reports earlier this week. I seemed more optimistic back then (2 years ago lol). In some ways I was. I didn’t know better and I charged forward blindly.  Sometimes with good results and sometimes with results that had consequences.

My focus has changed over the last few years from half marathons to ultras. Recently though I’m wondering what’s next. I know that chasing higher and higher mileage as a fool’s errand. Even if I could run a 100 miler(debatable) it’s not like I go chasing 300,400,500 milers or go racing across the country. OK, a race across the country could be cool but the entire making a living thing gets in the way.  So as I talk about last week am drifting from a running perspective.

I started this blog and at first kept the world at arm’s length, not even using my name on the blog. Then I tried being more social but I find that my introverted self is pushing me to go back to being more isolated.

If life were a mile race on a track (or 1600m for my Canadian friends) I might not be on the last lap, but I am certainly close to it. I am increasingly aware of my limited time. I’ve figured out that I’ll never know what I want to be when I grow up (that would require growing up), but I don’t know what I want to do with my remaining years (well other than chess matches against The Pig). Being introverted my inclination is just to slowly fade away and stay in my bubble, but even after all these years I am never quite sure if that is in my best interest or not.

I know this sounds somewhat depressing but I don’t completely look at it that way. I have a blank canvas to paint what I want. I don’t have kids (so if you were looking for something to be thankful for today, glad I could help), I make a decent living, so I can pursue any goal I choose (well within reason, my dream to be 1st baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates died years ago).

So I have canvas and can buy the paint (so to speak), but what to paint (or do I want to be minimalist and leave it blank forever).

Maybe I go back to half marathons, maybe I stick to timed races, attack the trails, or try to race in every Canadian Province. Will running take a back seat to some yet to be found passion.

Usually this is the stuff that never makes it past the draft stage, but I felt the need to let this one escape the electronic trash bin. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

bgevideo-001

No this picture has nothing to do with the post

Race Reporting

I have had 22 race reports since I have started this blog back in 2014 (excluding the race I volunteered or the race from 1986 (give me a break I’m slow)). I decided to do an analysis of my race reports. Think of it as a race report report (or think of it as me running out of ideas and chunking something together).

Number of times I have talked about the race being too hot-15

Number of times I have talked about the race being too cold-5

Number of times I have talked about the race being too just right- zero

Number times I was unhappy with the result-16

Number of times I had a picture of a porta potty in the post-12

Number of selfies-6

OK, I’m not sure what it says that I have more porta potty pictures in my blog than selfies, but it is probably not a good thing.

From my new book: The Runs, Race Porta Potties

From my new book: The Runs, Race Porta Potties

Number of races that gave out medals 15

Number of races that gave out fleece blankets – 2

Number of races that gave our beer steins – 1

Number of times I won my age group-1

Number of times I won top male in a race-1

Number of total miracles-3 (I’m counting PRing my half at the Army Run because it was a total surprise)

Number of trail races -3

Number of times I tripped out wiped out- 1 (maybe I should add one to the miracle category).

Number of timed races – 6 (3 six hour, 1 eight hour, 1 twelve hour, 1 24hour)

Number of Marathons -2 (though one was part of my Make your own 50k)

Number of half marathons-5

Number of 5Ks-1

Number of 10Ks-0

Number of 17.75Ks-2

Number of people who ran like hell when I spoke to them during a race-2

Number of times I started out too fast-19

Number of times I didn’t – 3 (and two of those were really training runs more than races)

It has been way too long monkey blanket

It has been way too long monkey blanket

Number of times I walked to the start line from where I was staying-5

Number of times I ran home from the race -3 (though only once did I walk to the start and run home (Marine Corps Marathon).

Number of PRs – 13

Number of PRs because it was the first time I ran that distance – 9

Number of races over 13.1 miles – 9

Number of times I had raced over 13.1 miles prior to 2014- 0

Number of times I was passed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man-1

Number of times I was passed by a person in a neck brace -1

The Pig would never be passed

The Pig would never be passed

I would like to that all the volunteers in all of my races.  Without you I am running by myself which makes all those photographers around really creepy.

Later,

Marsden

Zoning Out

Training by heart rate can be a great way to maximize your training (and by heart rate training I don’t mean–If I have a heart rate, I’m training :))

To train by heart rate you have to determine your max heart rate and from there calculate your heart rate zones.  There are many ways to determine your max heart rate–from the empirical (running like hell to find out your max) to the theoretical (formulas based on age) to the touchy-feely (based on how you feel (I wouldn’t recommend the touchy part while running in public)).

No matter how you calculate your max heart rate, you then can calculate your heart rate zones and use them to maximize your training. Here is my guide to the heart rate zones.

Zone Zero (The Taco Zone)

Most heart rate training zones go from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest (funny how that works)).  These plan forget zone zero, The Taco zone. In The Taco zone you aren’t doing anything. Think of this as the zone where everything is good and you are at peace. Of course you are, you are eating tacos. Remember, rest is important too.

Zone One (No longer Taco zone)

You are actually moving now and you are no longer in the Taco zone. You feel like you could go all day. You can’t mind you, but you won’t figure that out for 10+ hours and then your legs give out and you are back in The Taco Zone.

 Zone Two (Easyish but still no Taco)

In zone 2 you aren’t doing a light warm up any more, but you aren’t breathing so heavily that people can hear you from 500 yards away.  Think long run in zone 2.

Zone Three (Hardish and definitely no Taco)

Hey, you are starting to work here (or in my case this is what happens when I try to get out of bed in the morning). In this zone you are starting a serious sweat.  You are earning your post run tacos (or in my case my post get of bed tacos (you think I have tacos on the brain? (admittedly it would be an improvement over the current empty space)).

Zone Four (Working too hard to think of tacos)

In zone 4 you are running hard, you are racing, you are kicking butt and taking names (or as I call it “running for the train because you took too long to get out of bed”).  This is also known as the lactate threshold zone. Lactate being a French word roughly translated as “almost hurling tacos”.

Zone Five (Hurling tacos)

Zone 5 (or as Kenny Loggins refers to it as, “The Danger Zone”) should only be attempted for short periods of time because you are pretty much at your max. If you stay in zone 5 for too long that pre-run taco is going to be hitting the street pretty darn soon.

Zone Six

There is no zone 6 you over achieving suck up!

Now everyone go back to zone zero and enjoy some tacos.

Later,

Marsden

Me trying to get out of bed in the morning. The struggle is real.

Me trying to get out of bed in the morning. The struggle is real.

Free Falling

My original plan was to be in Phoenix this weekend for Javelina Jangover as a prep for Javelina Jundred. No Jundred, so No Jangover (though the good news is that spell check will be happier without all the J words). I find myself struggling with my motivation to get out the door and run once again in the hot, humid conditions that I despise and don’t run well in.

The funny thing though is that my runs have been going fairly well recently. I don’t want to run but it seems to be working for me.  Maybe I should dread winning the lottery.

Like many of you I am a big fan of fall. Not only I a big fan of the cooler temps, but my vacation tends to be back loaded in the final 4 months of the year so I have 3 weeks of vacation to burn between now and January and I hope to burn every last second. I need the vacation since I am fairly burnt out on all levels. I need a goal that interests me (well other than sleeping in on Sundays because that hardly counts (OK there is pumpkin muffin season but that is hardly something I can put down with a Earthathon hashtag (#PumpkinMuffinEarthathon (told you)).

I am hoping the new season jumps starts me. Until then I will go with the northern wind flow and see where it takes me.

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend.

Later,

Marsden

I ruin a perfectly good tree picture

I ruin a perfectly good tree picture. Can’t wait for fall.

Ask Running Lonely (again)

Yes it’s that time again where I open up the ole mailbag (or inbox as case may be) and answer some of your running questions.  I have been told there is no such thing as a stupid question, I am proof positive there is such a thing as a stupid answer.

———————————————————————————————–

Dear Running Lonely,

Where should line up when I race?

-Fangirl in Frisco

Dear Fangirl (there’s something I never thought I would type),

I usually line up near the finish line because I can get to the post race food that much faster.


Dear Running Lonely,

What is your favorite speed workout?

-Bozo in Boise

Dear Bozo (something on the other hand I type daily at work),

My favorite speed workout is running out the door at work on Friday afternoon.  This is about the only time I come in the top half of my age group.


Dear Running Lonely,

How do you recover post run?

Napping in Naperville,

Dear Napping,

You have the right idea–napping.  The body needs rest after a hard workout (and for me getting out the door is a Herculean task, so I think all workouts are hard). In fact I tend to take a nap the second I am done with my run. Sure, it looks a lot like collapsing to the average person, but I am starting my recovery as soon as possible.


Dear Running Lonely,

You are making all this crap up.

Peeved in Peoria,

Dear Peeved,

Later,

Marsden

The Pig and I and I think that is a monster truck in the background

The Pig and I and I think that is a monster truck in the background

This Post is For the Guys

This post is for the guys.

Hey, it’s just us guys, so feel free grab a beer, to kick back in the recliner, and curse at sports teams all you want.  Since it is just us guys here, I want to talk about breast cancer.

GET BACK HERE

I know, I know–next month is the pink month and you will be bombarded with everything pink including the NFL.  Many males will look at the statistics of getting breast cancer (1.3 in 100,000) and completely tune it out.  Well, I’m here to tell you not to. Although rare in men, overall breast cancer is more fatal in men than in women.  Why?  Because men don’t think it happen to them so by the time they do anything about it, it is too late.

I become surprising close to being one of those stats

It was three years ago when I was in bed and I turned on my right side and felt a big lump in my breast. “What the hell” I thought.  I’m a dude.  This can’t happen to a dude–even a totally wimpy dude like me.  It was the Friday before Labor Day and in a panic I set an appointment with my Doctor for the following Tuesday.  Needless to say it was not the most fun I have ever had over a three-day weekend.

When I went to the doctor and he didn’t seem overly concerned, but to be cautious sent me to get an ultrasound.  So two days later I went to a place that specialized in breast ultrasounds and when I got there they asked me when my wife was coming.  *sigh*

They started the ultrasound and I knew something was wrong when the tech felt the need to let the senior tech look at the ultrasound.  The senior tech took one look and rushed out to get the doctor to look at it.  I really started to worry when the doctor looked at the ultrasound, flinched, and calmly said she if it was OK with me, she was going to contact my primary physician to see if we could do a biopsy.  Next thing I know I am in a room with 5 women staring at me like I am exhibit A while they performed the biopsy.  I was stupid enough to watch the monitor while they jammed the biopsy needle in me to get samples.

Don't do this at home.

Don’t do this at home.  Pretend most of the picture is solid muscle.  As long as you are pretending, pretend to be amazed by my blazing running speed.

After the biopsy the doctor said she was recommending a mammogram.

BECAUSE MY DAY DIDN’T SUCK ENOUGH

All I will say is that if there are any women who have had a mammogram still reading this, I now understand why “And don’t breathe” isn’t funny.  At the end of it all the doctor said not to worry, they would let me know the results.

So I went home and did what I do best–I worried.  It turns out it isn’t easy to get interpretations of breast ultrasounds on the web, but I found a Canadian web site that showed ultrasounds of various types of tumors (thank you Canada).  I narrowed it down to two options.  Given the size of my lump (later described as lemon sized (I don’t look at lemons the same way again)) one option was benign, the other was near fatal.  Both were incredibility rare (literally 1 in a million (and why did I have to use those odds for something like a tumor as opposed to something like putting together a decent blog post or setting a 10K PR)).

I made the decision not to tell my parents or brother and waited for the biopsy results (and you think I am about bad about sharing stuff with my blog readers).  After about a week, I worked myself into a sufficient frenzy and called the doctor to ask WTF what was taking so long for my results.  After being put on hold for a while, they finally came back and told me that the results were being sent out to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. For those not in the US, Johns Hopkins is one of the leading hospitals in US for cancer treatment.

It did not make me feel better to hear this information

I’ll spare you the details of the next 5 days, but eventually the news came and it was good news– I had myofibroblastoma ( yea benign!) and I would get to have surgery to remove it.

Funny what qualifies as good news

When I met with the surgeon to discuss my surgery, I remember asking how soon I could run after the surgery.  It struck me as odd thing that I would wonder about that since I was only running 5-8 miles a week and it really wasn’t a big part of my life.  I started to run a bit more after the surgery.

Then I got hit by a car, but you know about that

Which somehow led to me wanting to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler which lead up to Marine Corps Marathon, a 24 HR race and now I even placed 1st in my age group in a 50 miler.  Suffice it to say that the last three years was an improvement over that year.

So what is the point of all of this?

OK guys, breast cancer isn’t the most likely of things to happen to you, but take the 10 seconds or so to do a self exam every so often.  Or ask your significant other to feel your massive pecs.  Ask them to be super handsies about it.  Hopefully it leads somewhere a lot more fun than an operating table.

Later,

Marsden