Decisions Indecisions

So I am trying to decide whether or not to run The Nutcracker 12 hour race next week. I ran the race last year and managed to do reasonably well (race report if you wish to refresh your memory I’m not sure I want my memory refreshed since I seem to recall it was rather warm and I got a couple of blisters).  November was an off month for me mileage wise, and I haven’t had a good long run in over a month, so it is a bit risky to go out and try to crank out 12 hours on the trails.

On the other hand it would be a useful yardstick for where I am compared to last year at this time (for those under the age of 50, Google what a yardstick is).  There are a couple of new ultra strategies I would like to try out (no, not going out too fast is not one of them).  It also it good mental training to keep moving for 12 hours.  As an added bonus the Christmas lights are fun to look at during the last 1 1/2 hours of the race.

However, it’ s with 6 hours of driving each way to the race and if I bomb out I’ll feel stupid spending the time and money to crash and burn (you think I would be used to it by now, but somehow it always comes as a surprise). Plus then I get to blog about my misery which is entertaining for you, but a bit less so for me.

So that is what I will be pondering this weekend (well that and if Die Hard qualifies as a Christmas movie).

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

Wondering how I run 12 hours and he ends up with the race medal

Wondering how I run 12 hours and he ends up with the race medal

Not the Standard Gift Giving Guide

It’s the time of year where running bloggers will start churning out Holiday Gift Guides like Starbucks cranks out Gingerbread Lattes (but hopefully with a bit less whipped cream). Most of these guides are intended to help you find running related gifts that you will mostly turn around and buy for yourself (#oopsie)

My Guide is Totally Different (much like me)

This is a guide to what gifts you can give me.  Without such a guide, most of you just sent cash (and I am still trying to figure out why there are so many one dollar bills with hearts on them (OK, it’s for the Pig (or at least I hope it’s for the Pig).  To save everyone the hours trying to find me the perfect gift, this year, I thought I would take the guess-work out so here is my guide to giving me gifts.

You can tell he has been doing his squats. Not wonder he makes it rain.

You can tell he has been doing his squats. No wonder he makes it rain.

Race Entries

What better gift than the gift of racing?  I will take race entries to just about any race that fits my schedule (and I’m stupid enough to do lots of back of back racing).  I even won’t take it personally when you sign me up for either the Canadian Death Race or Georgia Death Race .  Heck, I’ll even do my first 6 day race if someone else pays for it.

Running Clothes

It’s a good bet that I almost always need running clothes.  OK, need is a relative term, but I think we can all agree that I should wear clothes, so why not running clothes?  I can always use an extra pair of Smartwool or CW-X compression socks.  Also despite that fact they make me look like a sausage casing, another pair of CW-X tights would be appreciated. However, whomever sent the Pig a pair of boxers decorated hearts and a note saying “I would like to get in these” let it be known that such innuendo causes the Pig to blush. It also causes me not to want to open fan mail.

 Fuel

Tailwind, GU gels, Vespa, Skratch Lab chomps are great for fueling and my dentist appreciates the extra money he earns by my ruining my teeth.

Sponsorship 

I will note that sponsoring opportunities for Umstead are still available (if you could see me typing this, you would see me giggling at this point (think Santa and a bowl full of Jello)).

Alcohol

Given my race results, I spend a lot of time drowning my sorrows, so the gift of beer or other alcohol never goes unused.  The Pig is always willing to help me drink, so think of it as two for one gift.

Yup, he drained it. I need to do a better job monitoring him.

Yup, he drained it. I need to do a better job monitoring him.

Later,

Marsden

More Translations

It’s not always easy to understand the real meaning behind what runners (or race directors) say and what they really mean. Here are a few examples:

The race didn’t go to plan– The race was a total Sh*# show and I bonked during warm-up. I only finished because that was the quickest way back to the car.

The race is flat– The race has more hills than you would think.

The race is rolling– By rolling I mean mountainous.

The race is hilly– Bring oxygen.

The aid stations didn’t have a great selection– They didn’t have the gel I use.

I did OK– I PRed but before I rub it in your face I want to make sure I did better than you.

It was just a training run– I spent half the race in porta potties.

The weather was frightful– There was a raindrop at some point.

The post race atmosphere was great– There was free beer afterwards.

Do you have any to add? (I mostly ask this so I can steal them for a later post).

Later,

Marsden

As usual, this picture has nothing to do with the post

As usual, this picture has nothing to do with the post

What if Runners Were in Charge of Thanksgiving

Somehow the calendar has accelerated and the holidays are actually here (remember how recently we were all complaining about how hot it was (or cold for my Australian and New Zealand readers))  How the heck is it almost Thanksgiving already?  Like that weird uncle that nobody wants to talk to at the dinner table at Thanksgiving, I thought would postulate on how Thanksgiving would be different if runners were the ones running the show (pun intended). <please note for my Canadian friends who have already had your Thanksgiving, save this blog post for next October and then remind yourself that you can be thankful you aren’t me>

Postulate Time!! (like Hammer time, except with less dance moves).  Here is how Thanksgiving would be different if runners were in charge:

1. Instead of a table you would get your food at an aid station.

2. Turkey trots would be mandatory (why do they name it that?  Who wants a turkey with the trots? I hope nobody was trying to eat while reading this blog)

3. Salted Carmel GU for dessert. Oh, wait, that’s the same as any other day.

4. Over the river and through the woods would be a course description for a trail run, not the way to grandmother’s house.

5. Football players would watch runners on TV.

6. Only running stores would be open on Thanksgiving.

7. No kids tables, only kids races (OK, I’m just happy if my parents let me in the house).

8. Pecan Pie and Sweet Potato Casserole Flavored Gels.

9. Wednesday would be the feast of carb loading for the Thursday race.

10. Friday would be a holiday to aid in race recovery.

For my US readers I hope you and yours have the happiest of Thanksgivings.  For everyone else, I will be posting less often next week, so at least you have something to be thankful for as well.

Later,

Marsden

Yet another example of why my family does not admit to my existence

Yet another example of why my family does not admit to my existence (and yes, I agree it is one of my better selfies).

Marathon Tracking

Most major marathons let you stalk track runners’ progress throughout the race. A few of them will even let you tweet your progress on your own Twitter account. I have always been somewhat leery of tweeting out my progress (or lack thereof). I always worry it would end up looking something like this:

Molasses Marathon Alerts:

UR signed up for race alerts for bib 666 (Marsden Lowe). U will get a good laugh out of this because we have seen his past race results.

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Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

OK, in Marsden’s case “athlete” is pushing it but this is an automated text so we can’t really customize the alert. BTW we think he passed the start line at 8:03AM It was hard to tell with all the people trying to get out-of-the-way.


Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Marsden Lowe has reached the 5K point in 25:11. He has started too fast and is going to pay for it later.


Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Marsden Lowe has reached the 10K point at 1:02:22. We told you he went out too fast. When will he learn? Well, never if you ever looked at his past race results. We are mostly just hoping at this point he won’t need medical attention.


Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Marsden Lowe has reached the 13.1 mile point in 2:18:11 and looks like he took a shower. Given how the others runners are avoiding him, we are assuming it’s sweat and that he makes our porta potties smell good in comparison.


 

Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Marsden Lowe has barely reached the 30K point in 3:45:16 The good news is that he is still upright. The bad news is we are taking bets on how long that will last. Text us if you want to get in on that action.


 

Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Marsden Lowe has not reached the 40K point yet. Looking at the buzzards circling the course we think he is around 38K or so.  Either way we are closing the course soon.


Molasses Marathon Athlete Alert

Nope, still nothing. If he has collapsed and you happen to run across him, we would like our timing chip back.


Yeah, I think I will keep the auto tweeting of my races turned off.

Later,

Marsden

If this were a race photo I would be curled up on the ground

If this were a race photo I would be curled up on the ground

Retraction

Running blogs rarely offer retractions. No matter how stupid the advice–“Eating 5 pounds of dark chocolate and 3 gallons of beet juice will help you PR” you aren’t going to get a retraction that it’s a great way to spend your race in a porta potty (where you may set a PR in activities you don’t want a PR).

This did get me to thinking (dangerous as always) about what retractions would look like if indeed they were published in blogs. Here is what I think it would look like for this blog:

There was error in the blog of Sept 10 where the author suggested that you start races at a full sprint. The Running Lonely Blog regrets any vomiting this strategy caused.

The April 2nd blog post said that Marsden ran Umstead 50 miler. Witnesses forward saying that instead of a run it resembled a slow amble or a fast ooze.

In the Oct 29th blog posting, the blog mentioned the fun of taking your rental car and doing donuts on the National Mall. The Running Lonely Blog is trying not to laugh at you or your mug shot.

During the Cherry Blossom 10 miler report the blog accidentally took “blog transparency” to include choice of race kit. We apologize for any adverse effects this caused on other runners.

For the models who tried the “Runway to 100K” training plan put together by this blog and injured themselves in the process, the Running Lonely Blog takes full responsibility for this error and suggests that next time to read Ultra Magazine.

In the Dec 12th edition of this blog the picture of US Capitol was incorrectly labeled as a porta potty. We sincerely apologize for this error to the porta potty industry.

In the April 3rd edition of this blog The Pig was incorrectly identified in a picture with Ms. Piggy. The pig in the picture was actually The Pig’s brother, Oink.

So what retractions would you like from this blog (or others).

Later,

Marsden

NOT a porta potty.

NOT a porta potty

 

The Return

<queue the Rocky Theme Song>

So after 8 days that felt like 8 weeks (much like this election season in the United States) I was finally cleared to run. However, this being me, things didn’t exactly go smoothly.  Someone told me it would like riding a bike. This someone obviously has never watched me on a bike because it usually ends up with me on the ground (heck, I managed to crash on a trainer once). So here is the blow-by-blow of my first run.

Where are My Shoes?

I thought for a moment that my shoes had gone on an extended vacation and hadn’t come back. Given my sweaty fungus lab feet, you can’t really blame them (and I am sorry for those out there who were trying to eat while reading this blog (you should know better)).

Eventually I did find a pair of shoes–> both left feet. Although this is appropriate for my dancing skills, it doesn’t work as well from a running perspective. I finally found a right shoe, but of course it was for a different pair. The Pig started to giggle and I mentioned that if I had to spend all my time looking for a pair of running shoes, I wouldn’t have time to fix pasta for dinner and we would have kale salad. Magically my shoes reappeared.

Properly dressed (yes, I even remembered to put on shorts so that police siren you heard had nothing to do with me) I was ready to start my pre-run routine.

Hello Old Friend

 So after some dynamic stretching, I brought out my old friend the foam roller (OK, it is more like a frenemy). After about 3 seconds I hit a spot which caused me to scream like someone had chopped off a finger.  Everything else I had to say to my foam roller has been redacted because this is a family friendly blog (though I can only assume that parents let their kids read this as example of what happens if you don’t apply yourself in life). Eventually I stopped with the torture log and was ready to rumble.

Out the door

So it was time to go run. I stepped outside, locked the door, walked about 30 feet and determined I needed to pee.

Back Indoors

I’ll spare you the details.

img_8631

Out the Door (take 2)

Properly relieved, I went out the door and went to start my Garmin for my warm-up. At that point I realized I had left it charging on my computer.

Back Indoors

The Pig gives me an eye-roll when I come back in but doesn’t say anything because he knows he wants me to cook pasta for dinner.  The Garmin is right where I left it. I put it on my wrist and left.

Out the Door (take 3)

It was starting to get dark (yes I remember my headlamp so there) as I went outside and started warming up with a walk/run to the Four Mile Run Trail.

And I’m Off (well, more so than usual)

Finally after my warm-up it is time to start my run. I take a deep breath, and start my run. Now every muscle and tendon screamed out in unison that of all the activities I should be doing, running was not one of them. I reminded my muscles and tendons that we could go swimming instead and the threat of the humiliation of being passed by kids with water-wings quickly quieted things down.

A close call

Things went fine for the first three miles. I basically run .7 miles on the trail, turn-around, and then run .7 miles the other way. I know this sounds boring, but I run timed races with multiple loops so I am used to going over the same ground over and over.

I was near the turn-around point when I cyclist came up a hill. The person was on his phone and was turning around to check behind him for some reason I don’t know.  Unfortunately his ability to steer straight was compromised and he came straight at me. I had a coin flip on whether to dive left or right. I went right, he went to my left and then I calmly let him know he just took the title of world’s dumbest human from me.  To add emphasis to his title I took and finger and showed he was number one. OK, I MIGHT have used the wrong finger for number 1.

Well at least I got my heart rate up

I finished the run without incident. Made it back home, stretched, ate pasta and drank beer with The Pig and survived 8 days of no running. My rest day streak is now officially over.

You can stop with the Rocky Theme song now.

Later,

Marsden

Blogging Problems

Looking at the title most of the long time readers of this blog (don’t worry I won’t reveal who you are) are probably thinking that the title describes most of this blog (other than the pictures of The Pig).

However true that may be, today’s topic will be about one of the problems with blogging itself.

I’m an introvert’s introvert. As a humor blog, I hardly ever talk about my non-running life and don’t talk much about my race goals.  The goals part is partly because sometimes I don’t come up with goals until I hit the start line (yes, I AM the type of person who comes up with goals after the training is over (come to think of it, maybe I should just set my goals post race and that way I would always meet my goals (yes some of you are thinking that I could even screw that up and you may be right but I would like to remind you that this is the time of year that Santa is paying particularly close attention))).

The other reason I don’t talk about goals that much is that it takes a lot of guts to sit there and announce to the world that X is your goal without having a clue if you have a realistic shot of achieving X (or in my case zzzzzzzzz). I have made big pronouncements  which turned out just fine (running a 24 hour race, beating my half marathon PR) and some that fizzled like a cheap sparkler (not even getting to the start line of Javelina).

I admire bloggers that can put big audacious goals out there even when the outcome is uncertain and take their readers along for the journey.  I usually don’t do this because I don’t like sharing stuff about myself in general and I hate failure (you would think I have gotten used to it by now).

Now on some level this is silly. Nobody reads this blog to read about my athletic accomplishments (if there are, please let me know who you are; I will try to let you down gently on this subject). When I ran Across the Year, if I finished with 70 miles, 80 miles, are 93.252 miles it wasn’t going to change how anyone viewed me (except for the people who would want me to run an even number of miles). If I don’t PR in a 6 hour race I don’t get tons of hate mail telling me my effort was less than perfect or that maybe I should not go out too fast for once in my life.

I have been thinking about goals now that I my skin cancer has been, burnt, lasered, scraped and cut away.

In September I signed up for Umstead and this time I signed up for the 100 miler. I know I can “just” run the 50 miler and heck I even won my age group in the 50 (so for those that read for my athletic accomplishments there ya go). This time I want to finish the 100 miler. The weather is more conducive to my aversion of heat, the course is trails but not so technical that I would fall off a cliff, and with the 12.5 mile loops it lends itself to being crewed by The Pig (note to self, this year put all the Jelly Belly Sport Beans in your drop bag away from HQ).

I wasn’t going to bother and tell anyone about this race until after the fact (if indeed it turned out to be fact) but I decided that I would throw it out into the universe and at least occasionally provide updates on my training when I can’t think of any porta potty jokes to tell.

So there it is. Umstead 100 miler. It is totally a coincidence that it is on April 1st.

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

umstead-022

I think that “endurance” should be assumed in reference to 100 mile race.

Rest Day Streak

Well last week I had my Mohs surgery on my head for skin cancer. The good news is that instead of having to wait 10 days without running it looks like it will be only 8 days. I tried to lawyer my way into being able to run sooner, but no-joy.

The bad news is that for first 48 hours I wasn’t able do much of anything exercise-wise. I couldn’t drink beer and or even bend over to tie my shoes.  However, I could still blog (OK, I didn’t ask specifically about blogging, but anyone who has read this blog knows that I don’t exert any effort blogging (or proofreading). So I thought I would chronicle my rest.

Rest Day Streak Day 1

I know that I take rest days all the time (it’s the only way I can try to party with The Pig). A rest day is OK, enforced rest days are an entirely different matter. I want the freedom to be a sloth, not be forced to be a sloth.  As you may have guessed I have a history of clashing with authority figures (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!). However, I will be smart and listen to professional guidance.  Day 1 ends with a dull pain in my head from the surgery.

Day 2

About mid-day my body is going, “Uh, aren’t you supposed to be moving some”. I counter with “Hey, I got out of bed” but my body is having none of it.  Even though I look like a Halloween reject with my bandage on my head, I feel a jolt of jealousy when I see a runner go by. How am I going to survive 6 more days of this?  The Pig is drinking a beer and says he is just looking out for my health—-right.

Day 3

The bending over restriction is over so I no longer have an excuse not to pick my dirty clothes off the floor. I tried to get The Pig to clean up, but his response was “It will still be there in a couple of days”. He’s right, the clothes were right where I left them.

Day 4

My running shoes are mocking me.  They taunt me whenever I get close.  I pick them up and put them at the bottom of my dirty clothes hamper. That should shut them up. Fortunately, there is not a Geneva Convention restrictions on what you can do to running shoes (and before you get too smug about this, think about your sweaty black toes wallowing in your shoes).

The good news is it is the weekend. The bad news is that with all the people in town for Marine Corps it is a reminder than I am not going to run the race. I get a nice long walk before I have to log in at work so at least I can enjoy the crisp fall day for a bit and actually meet my step goal.

Day 5

I would say I am getting stir crazy, but this is really just a subset of my standard crazy, so I really shouldn’t complain.  The Pig leaves early for a mud run (he comes in 2nd (he says he was just doing it as a training run (I pretend that’s the truth))). I go for another walk.  The temps warm up quickly and I think about if I was running how I would be sweating my butt off (if only you could sweat your butt off).  At least the fall leaves are pretty. At this point I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am just hoping it isn’t a train.

Fall

Fall. My rest has made my captions even lamer.

Day 6

I have another surgery to remove another skin cancer in my left forearm, but at least the day starts off better. I get to meet follower Jennifer who was in town to run Marine Corps Marathon and find out what was up about her Twitter handle (cool story). The Pig got to meet Jennifer and Mojo.

Mojo and The Pig. <photo credit to Jennifer Jamison

Mojo and The Pig

I was my typically awkward, introverted self, but managed to have a conversation without her running away screaming (well that may have been because I put my fingers in my ears after saying good-bye but let’s call it a win anyway).

So later I go off to get my arm hacked on. During my surgery the doctor is telling me I can’t exercise for 48 hours (which nicely overlaps with my other restriction). I talk about ultra running and the doctor can’t really comprehend running a 50 miler.  When I ask about walking, she says it is ok as long as it is at a normal pace and “don’t intentionally walk 50 miles”. I almost tell her there is no way I was going to “accidentally” walk 50 miles, but since she is holding a scalpel, I think better of it.  She patches me up and tell me not to doing any lifting either. I don’t bother telling her that the last time I lifted anything heavier than a beer was during the Truman administration.

Since it is Halloween, the Pig and I are giving out candy. I am dressed up as an elite runner so no one will recognize me. The Pig mentions that protein is important for healing wounds. Snickers has protein right? We tear into the bag of Snickers.

Day 7

The Pig and I wake up from our sugar coma and I am almost late for my doctor’s appointment.

Time to get the sutures out of my head.  The time driving back and forth between the appointment takes longer than the appointment itself and the appointment is uneventful other than I have officially added to my scar collection.

I go back to work for the first time in a few days and the world hasn’t collapsed.  Makes me think that maybe I should take vacations more often (without the scars).

There is one more day I will have to rest and I think I can make it. Well, assuming my running shoes haven’t melted from being in my clothes hamper.

Later,

Marsden

And the Nominees Are…

 

Some blogs are like eye candy. Mine is more like eye kale.

—————————————————————————————

As a blogger sometimes you are given utter bogus awards or nominations that really double as chain letters. However, the other day I got a comment on the blog from the Run Ultra website that I had been nominated for Best Ultra blog. Although I had heard of the site, I went to the link with a sense of trepidation figuring it was sort of prank. I mean my blog is reasonable and all, but it is hardly the best ultra blog in the world (though if I win I do get a pretty spiffy watch so I am willing to play along and pretend I’m awesome if by miracle I win).

Here is the list of currently nominated blogs:

Best Running Blogs 2017

Of course my odds of winning this are about my odds of winning an ultra (near zero for the statistical oriented people reading this blog).  But like an ultra, I get to compete with a bunch of elites (or I am going to get my butt kicked by a bunch of elites). Looking at the list of blogs they are well-known ones like The Ginger Runner, Zach Bitter’s blog, Scott Jurek’s blog, Sally McRae’s blog, Killian Jornet’s Blog and Joe Grant’s blog. If you are starting to think that one of these things is not like the others, you would not be wrong.

There are some normal non-elite bloggers as well, but none that have The Pig on the masthead of their blog, so at least I have something none of those other bloggers have (and I bet Killian is SO jealous).

Blogging is a strange animal indeed. Not a clue how I ended up on this list (if you nominated me, thanks) but I’ll take a few extra hits the list will create.

I don’t even have to name three people to get this award and answer questions of if I prefer coffee or beer (I’d chew off my arm if I couldn’t have both).

So hope everyone had a good weekend and starts the week in a good place.

Later,

Marsden

We all know the real reason anyone reads this blog

We all know the real reason anyone reads this blog