Friday and my ‘Effed Up Thoughts

Well here are more semi random thoughts in semi coherent fashion.  Just remember, you are the folks you wanted me to be more open and talk about myself and what I was thinking.

1. I haven’t commented on the blog about the tragedy in Ottawa, but it scared me to worry about all the people I know there (and there are quite a few) and the reality of such a tragedy occurring somewhere I had visited and run right by during the Army Run only  a month earlier.  Then it saddens me to think of the impact it could have on Canada.  I love the US, but I like Canada because it isn’t the US.  I hope these events don’t cause a longer term change in the Canadian identity because that identity is pretty special.

2. I signed up for my 24-HR Race, Across the Years.  This caused me concern for two reasons:

A. I signed up for a freaking 24 Hour Race.

B. I already had a user ID and password for Ultrasignup.com

Both are equally scary to me considering this time last year my long run was around 4.5 miles.  As part of the registration, I had to submit a bio.  Here is what I gave them:

Marsden has run half marathons, full marathons, a 6 Hour Race, and a race where they gave a monkey blanket out to all participants.

Oh shit, I signed up for this.

Oh shit, I signed up for this.  I really wear a medium these days, but decided on large for some reason.

2. There were several things about Marine Corps Marathon that I found as learning experiences.

A. I spent the last 20 years (since my knee surgery) assuming that I couldn’t run a marathon.  In April I decided to challenge that assumption and it makes me wonder what other assumptions I have made about life are wrong.

B. Although I got smoked by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, I did look up his final time and I did beat him in the end.  Still, “beat Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Marine Corps Marathon” is not going on an updated bio for Across the Years.

 

Hi trail.  Not today, sorry.

Hi trail. Not today, sorry.

C. I need to work on my race walking more because anything beyond 50-60K and I will be relying on my walking skills a lot more.  My legs just don’t have the stamina to run much further.

D. My fueling and hydration plans worked well for the race.  I ate a sandwich the morning of the race and took gel/sport beans every 45 min- 60 min and drank around 80oz of liquid (lest you think that is nuts I lost 5 lbs of water weight by the time I got home).  So hey, I am taking credit for doing something right.  If only I had not put it so low on the list that no one is still reading.

E. Although my ankle did its collapsing trick around mile 11, I was able to work my way around it and it wasn’t a big factor in the run.

F. Eating dinner with other runners made me realize I don’t really notice what is going on around me as much as other runners seem to do.

3. This blog has its best day ever this week and it is the first time I have had more than 100 hits. This is mostly because I had several people with a much larger following than mine either retweeted or commented or my blog post.  In the grand scheme of running blogs it is still peanuts, but hey, I’ll take it.  The post was the MCM race recap and I thought it was a decent encapsulation of my roller coaster humorous/serious blog style.  To give you an idea of the recent spike in traffic, I will end up with more hits in October than the first 4 months of this blog combined.  In other news, DC took the number 1 city spot away from Arlington.  I suspect this is purely because of the # of DC runners looking at all things Marine Corps (or maybe they are just looking for another reason to feel superior over Arlington).

4. While drafting this post I found out a friend of mine from work has uterine cancer.  Sometimes life just sucks.  In times like these I just try and remember that on balance the positives in life outweigh the negative. For the record she is taking it all in stride and I will leave you with words she said today, “If I die tomorrow or 40 years from now, I know I will die having lived my life to the fullest”.  A good way to live life indeed.

Have a good weekend folks and best of luck to those who are racing.

Later,

Marsden

 

The Weekend Around the Weekend

One of the great things about having a major marathon in your backyard is not only do you get to run a race like Marine Corps Marathon, but you can meet your Twitter runner friends that come into town to run the race (although I am wondering if the race is my backyard, why do I still have to mow the grass?).  One of the people I got to meet was my good friend Steph, aka Goobermonkey78 (the name is a combination of nicknames of her children).  Steph is in the middle of (trademark pending).  Most of us or happy to win the lottery to a single major marathon, but Steph managed to enter and win entry to Chicago, Marine Corps, and NY Marathons (and if 3 marathons in 4 weeks wasn’t a challenge enough she is running Disney Wine and Dine and the Space Coast Marathon).  All of these races on this:

#gimpyfoot A marathon foot with its own hashtag

A marathon foot with its own hashtag, #gimpyfoot

So I have played tour guide for an afternoon when @halfmarathonmel came to town, but this time with a marathon coming the next day I didn’t think walking a lot was a smart idea (contain your shock I went the smart route) so on Saturday I picked Steph up and we drove into town.  With a limited amount of time we picked the American History Museum to see the flag that was at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 which inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

They don't let you take pictures of the actual flag.

They don’t let you take pictures of the actual flag. You are going to have to trust me that we saw it.

And we saw some pieces of American nostalgia such as Dorothy’s red slippers from the  Wizard of Oz.

There is no place like home.  They do let you take pictures like this.

There is no place like home. They do let you take pictures like this.

And the chair Archie Bunker used in All in The Family

Nobody but me is old enough to know what this is.  Nice stains.

Nobody but me is old enough to know what this is. Nice stains.

Then it was a quick walk over to the White House (with a marathon the next day we chose not to jump the fence)

Yes I am too lazy a blogger to remove the person's elbow.

Yes I am too lazy a blogger to remove the person’s elbow.

and then over to the Washington Monument (sorry no unicorn selfies) to do a review of part of the race course (I left the part out about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man running by you and making you feel like an idiot (OK, actually that happened several miles earlier).

Then we made our way back to Alexandria’s waterfront to take in the view and talk about things like my blog since I hadn’t had a drink yet and my conversational skills are well about as you would imagine while sober.

Then it was off to a carb loading dinner at Gaelie Thai (yes the food is MUCH better than the website). Not sure why I end up eating Thai food with blog followers. I had the Pad Thai and we took the obligatory selfie.

Someone complained my selfies didn't look a thing like my Twitter AVI, so here ya go.

Someone complained my selfies didn’t look a thing like my Twitter AVI.  Glad to oblige.

Pad Thai with Chicken

Pad Thai with Chicken

OK, here is the real one.

OK, here is the real one.

Then it was back to hotel for her and the storm drain I call home for me to prep for the race.

Sunday was the race and you can read my race report here: Stay Puft kicks Marsden Butt Before  the race I saw Chris, @DopeyRunR, who was pacing Steph for the race and during the race I got to say hi to Jamie, @dcrunster (well actually I yelled “JAMIE” across Rock Creek Parkway because I look crazed enough during races without yelling “Hi” in a seemingly random fashion).

After the race Steph was getting together with @DopeyRunr and @kvinnm for some burgers, beer and fries at Good Eats and invited me along. We shared stories about the race (and I found out running part of the way home was probably the quickest way home from the race).  We all found the Michael Jackson singer to be really creepy. The evening was demonstrated one of the great things about the running community: You can take 4 people (OK, three people and me) from different parts of the country and have a great evening based on the common bond of running (and dislike of creepy Michael Jackson singers).

Come on, we were 4 people post marathon, did you really think you were see the food and drink before it disappeared?

Come on, we were 4 people post marathon, did you really think you were going to see the food and drink before it disappeared?

On Monday Steph wanted to get cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes before lunch:

Reality TV or no, the pumpkin cheesecake one rocks

Reality TV or no, the pumpkin cheesecake one rocks

We had pizza for lunch at Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizza, yum.

Pizza, yum. Being the day after, this lasted a bit longer.

Next was visit to the Exorcist Stairs in Georgetown. Now parts of the Exorcist were filmed in Georgetown and unfortunately Google Map took me to the TOP of the stairs that were used in the movie. My post marathon quads didn’t really want to go down all stairs, so I asked if she REALLY wanted to go down to the bottom. She said, “It will be fun!”

"Fun" was not the F-word my quads were thinking of the days after a marathon.

“Fun” was not the F-word my quads were thinking of the day after a marathon.

Here is the view from the bottom. If there was audio you would have heard my quads whimpering.

Under construction exorcism

Under construction exorcism

Steph did stand on the left momentarily on Metro, but I am happy to report that when I pulled out the stun gun, she quickly remembered my Welcome to DC post and quickly scurried to the right.

Such much for my cupcakes

Such much for my cupcakes

Then it was off to the airport for Steph and off for a post race massage for me. So my number of Twitter followers met went from 3 to 7 in one weekend. At this pace I should meet all of you somewhere around the year 2118 (progress!).  Even with a slightly below goal run, it was quite the enjoyable weekend.

So anyone out there running Richmond?

Later,

Marsden

Marine Corps Marathon (2014)

So I ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.  Although I did a 6 hour race in July, I really didn’t have an idea of how my body would react to actually trying to RUN a marathon since this is the first one I had signed up for.  My training wasn’t what I wanted when I signed up courtesy of my knee injury in June, but I had a decent Army Run Half in September, so I had a least a smidgen of confidence going into the race. So on Saturday night I set out the flat Running Lonely.

It really isn't all that flat when you think about it

It really isn’t all that flat when you think about it

Then after taking the picture, I promptly threw all of it in a pile of my bedroom floor. I woke up Sunday morning at 4, so I could get some foam rolling in, collect my stuff, fill up my hydration pack, and get out the door.  Oops, forgot to get dressed, sorry about that.  After putting on my running clothes I went out the door.  I had the choice between picking up Metro at Pentagon City, or just walking to the start, and I chose the latter.  Yes, it is nice being able to walk to the start of a major marathon.

Once I was there I checked my bag, visited here a couple of times.

Another entry for my book on pre-race bathroom facilities-The Runs

Another entry for my book on pre-race bathroom facilities-The Runs

Did some stretching and some light warm-up running and then went to corrals.  The wind was already pretty high and I was shivering in my singlet.  Fortunately the wind calmed down a bit and wasn’t too bad for the first 11 miles.

So we waited:

Trashbag chic.  Waiting in the corrals.

Trash bag chic. Waiting in the corrals.  Obviously these women do not read my blog or they would have moved elsewhere.  Well I guess they could be tweeting that they were standing next to Running Lonely, but I really am guessing not so much.

As the howitzer went off to start the race I reminded myself of a very important thing:

I will have bad penmanship

I have bad penmanship

So the first three miles are net uphill and I have a tendency to start out too fast and I have a tendency to run up hills too fast.  What do you think happened when the two of these things are combined?  Well Mile 1 I looked at my watch and I was going 6:05.

 Did Anyone Really Believe I would not go out too fast?

Of course the 6:05 was km/min.  I decided to switch to km on my Garmin to get more readings and to keep myself from starting too fast.  The first three miles were 10:15, 10:13, 10:01 (the 3rd mile included a pretty steep downhill onto Sprout Run). After Sprout Run we ran through Georgetown (it was too early to get cupcakes so I didn’t go to either Georgetown Cupcakes or Baked and Wired).  After jaunting through Georgetown we then turned onto Rock Creek parkway.  If you are fast, you get the see the leaders coming the other way.  I was only fast enough to see pretty darn fast runners.  I felt bad for anyone who saw me coming the other way, for so many reasons.

My basic game plan for the race was to keep a solid pace to take advantage of the cooler temps, shade and less wind in the first half of the race, then hang on for dear life in the 2nd half of the race.

The Rock Creek Park piece seemed to take forever to get to the turnaround but finally I got there and on the way back got to see DCRunster and she shouted encouragement.  This helped for the next mile until one of the more humiliating things in my running career happened:

I was passed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

Actually I was passed by him twice since he stopped at a water stop.  *sigh*  Miles 4,5,6, came in at 9:45 (some downhill) 10:10 and 9:40 (downhill again).  The course at this point is short ups and downs and I found it difficult to find a good rhythm.  I had carried a water bottle in addition to my hydration pack and tossed the water bottle to the side at the water stop past mile 6.  At first I was wondering if a hydration pack was overkill, but I ended up using all but a couple of ounces during the race and sucked it dry post race so it was a good decision to drag it along.  I would also like to thank the race organizers for handing out  Vaseline at several points on the course because my nip guards fell off at mile 1 and 2 and well, that isn’t a site that anyone really wants to see (and you probably didn’t even want to read about).

So back to the race– leaving Rock Creek Park  we made our way past the Kennedy Center I finally hit a rhythm  with miles 7,8 and 9 came in at 10:06,10:08,10:07.  It was a good pace but we were starting to hit patches of sun and I was starting to notice the wind.  I probably over compensated by trying to go a bit harder for the next two miles were 10:00 and 9:55.

A serious moment here.  At mile 12 there fallen service members are commemorated with their picture and along the roadway and it also decorated with American flags.  Somewhere around mile 11 there was this woman passed me carrying an American flag.  When I got to mile 12 I turned off my music and took everything in.  I notice the same woman on her knees holding one of the signs of a fallen service member and she was sobbing.  It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have seen in my life and I will never forget it.

I hit the half at just under 2:12,  Now Hains Point has been a bit of a nemesis for me in the past, and after the halfway point Hains Point took another swing at me.  The next two miles were 10:13 and 10:25.  After mile 14 I tried to concentrate on my pace a bit more as we made our way past the Lincoln Memorial on onto the National Mall (no shopping just history). Miles 15 and 16 were both 10:10.  The kick up on Madison on the mall seems to take a bit out of me and the runners around me.  I noticed more and more that a lot of people around me were walking or slowing down so I was weaving in and out of people more than I would have liked.

Living in the DC area I run the Mall from time to time so it doesn’t quite have the same impact on me that it does on those from out-of-town.  That being said I did get a kick out of seeing the awed faces of the runners around me seeing our national monuments and museums.  Mile 17 came in at 10:12 and that is about where I ran into trouble (not coincidentally it matches up with my longest long run).  Mile 18 and 19 were 10:40 and 10:36 and I felt my goal of 4:30 slipping away with every step.  I got to the 14th street bridge and mile 20 and I slowed to 10:50.  Then the bridge was seriously windy and the sun was in full force at the point.  I mentally gave up on my goal and just wanted to hang in for the best time I could put together.  Miles 21 and 22 were 10:40 and 10:50.

We made our way into Crystal City and at this point I really just wanted to have the crowds go away so I could suffer in silence (ok, suffer with my music but that sounds sorta silly (no surprise for long time readers of this blog)).  I am glad they had the mist sprayer set up because I really needed it.  Miles 23 and 24 were 10:45, 11:05.  I was slowly crumbling at this point.  At mile 24 was the doughnut ball stop.  Although the race was well-organized, I would give this tip to them–if you are going to hand out doughnuts holes, you should have something to drink as well.  I wasn’t going to have them in any case, but I can’t imagine being at mile 24 and eating one of those things with no water.

So it was off to the finish line and I limped in the next couple of miles at 10:45 and 11:00.  Then there was the final 100 ft hill to the finish line (got to love those Marines).  I got up the hill and picked up my medal and jacket.  I missed my time by just under 3 minutes, but I won’t complain too much given I didn’t train appropriately and the weather didn’t favor me.  I was in the top half of my age group which is unusual, but hey, I’ll take it.

Stuff

Stuff

I have mentioned before that I really don’t have a sense of accomplishment that most people have when finishing a race.  Well if you ever wondered just how broken a human I am  in this regard, let me demonstrate.

I kept my watch going through getting my medal, bag pick up and tweeting to those who sent encouragement (thanks for that BTW!).  Then I started to go to Metro but decided I would walk the Mount Vernon trail down to the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop.  It then dawned on me that I could break my 6 HR PR from July if I picked up with walk pace and threw in some walk run (while carrying bags in both hands).  Although I was trying to beat my timed PR, I did stop to appreciate the fall foliage that has started to peak out.

Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves

Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves Leaves

When I got to Arlington Cemetery, I still had time left before 6 hours and I thought I could cheer on my friend Steph (AKA Goobermonkey78) just before mile 26.  I was able to beat my 6 HR PR by .6 miles by doing laps by the side of the road.  Then I got to cheer my friend toward the finish.

So then I walked up to Arlington Cemetery Metro stop (only walking past it once in my post marathon haze) and then went home.

Mission Accomplished.  Well, until my 8K/Marathon (make you own 50K) in Richmond in less than three weeks where hopefully I can add a new PR or two to the list.

I would like to thank everyone for their support.  It is much appreciated.  Now on to Richmond.

Later,

Marsden

 

Final pre MCM Thoughts

Well Marine Corps Marathon is Sunday and when I drafted this post (yes, I draft this stuff, you can’t produce a blog this bad on the fly), I whined about the expected 65-68 deg F when I will be finishing on Sunday, whined about the head cold I have, whined about my fears of my shy introverted nature causing me to make a bigger fool of myself than usual. I even belly ached about scaling back my expectations (and we all know how good I am at that).

MCM logo

MCM Race Shirt.  Brown, really????

MCM Race Shirt. No, I would not have picked brown.

I was coming home on Metro from picking up my MCM race shirt at packet pickup and was texting with a friend.  I was focused on texting and as I started to exit the train and a miracle happened (no, nobody hit on me).

Excuse me Sir, is this yours?

The person was holding my MCM bib which had fallen out of my bag and dropped to the ground.  I thought three things almost simultaneously:

1. Dropping my bib on the ground and having someone use it was probably my best chance of qualifying for Boston.

2. My bib had been on the floor of Metro and is now the most disease ridden race bib in the world.

3. A local human being was nice on Metro.  For those who have never ridden on Metro before, nice is to Metro as sandpaper is to toilet paper.  This is a big time serious miracle.

It caused me to pause for a second and about how I was grousing about just about everything.

Yes, I used the word, grousing

Maybe I needed take my advice when I decided  I decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon even though the odds(feel free to click the link and help my blog stats) of me being happy with the outcome were at best 30%. I need to continue to bet against the odds and bet on myself.  Sunday I will go out and hopefully prove my optimistic April self right.

Later,

Marsden

Good luck to those running the race!!

No.

No.

Searching For

One of the odd things about having your own blog (no, I am not the odd thing (OK I am but it’s not what I am talking about)) is the search terms people will use to search on my blog or how you can find my blog on search engines. Here are a few examples:

 War Pig Plane

War Pig Plane was actually searched for on my site and I am not sure what the deal with this one is. When I was in Ottawa, the Pig and I went to Canadian War Museum (there is a sentence any 49 YO male would be proud to write). I also went to the Canadian Aviation Museum (sans pig). I did have a War Pig burger while Ottawa (don’t tell the Pig it had bacon on it). Why did someone search this combination? Got me, but I did laugh when I saw it.  For the record, no way, no how would I get the Pig his own plane.  The limo is bad enough.

Army 10 miler split times

Well I didn’t run the Army 10 miler this year and I have no clue why anyone would want to see my split times. Maybe some people want to feel better about their race and just needed someone slower to compare themselves to. Maybe they are confused between the Army 10 miler and the Army Run (the difference being 3.1 miles and a border).  Either way, somebody was sorely disappointed.

“Worst running songs”
If you Google “worst running songs” (in quotes) my blog is the first entry.  I am not sure why someone searches on this at least once a week, but it is my only blog posting that people consistently look at over time.  To the people rocking your run to Kiss’ Beth, I salute you.

Outstanding in a field

Outstanding in a field.  Why do people read the captions to these photos?  They are as pointless as my Valentine’s Day restaurant reservations.

Idiot

Yes people search for this on my blog.  For the record it has been used in 7 posts (now 8).  I would have guessed more.  Yes, if you Google “running lonely” idiot I’m the first entry.  OK, the 2nd too.  Stupid is in 13 posts on my site.  ‘Nuff said.

 Beyonce Dumps Jay-Z for Marsden

Courtesy of search engines,  “Beyonce dumps Jay-Z for Marsden” will be part of the internet tomorrow.  If it is part of the internet, it must be true– right?  Don’t bet your War Pig Plane on it.

Later,

Marsden

Marine Corps Runners, Welcome to DC

The Marine Corps Marathon is a DC tradition. Many people come into town for this destination race, and what good am I if I can’t offer some tips to my out-of-town blog followers.  Even the locals may pick up a thing or two here.  So here are few tips to keep in mind while you are preparing for and running this great race.

Welcome to DC, now spend your money and stay out of the locals way.

Welcome to DC, now spend your money and stay out of the local’s way.

METRO

If you are on Metro, stand to the right on the escalator or the DC residents will kill you on the spot and you will never get to the race.  Don’t say you weren’t warned. I personally might spare you since you are a blog reader of mine, but even then expect a rude forearm push followed by cursing.

But should you get on Metro at all?  Well if you are flying in to Reagan National Airport it provides a convenient way to reach DC/Arlington/Alexandria hotels.  If you are flying into Dulles, Metro is scheduled to starts service in the next 4 years so it is a crap shoot if it is better to wait for service to start in 4 years, or take the bus to the Silver Line and hope it is running on time.

What is the alternative to Metro?  There is driving.  Think of the Mad Max movies if you slowed the pace down to one inch an hour.  Traffic sucks and everyone drives like a madman.  But there is a special category of crazy.  If you are so unfortunate to see someone with Maryland plates immediately head for the shoulder and wait for them to pass.  To say Maryland drivers are bad is like saying the universe is kinda large. Personally I am convinced that to fail a Maryland drivers test a felony has to be committed during the test.

But if you drive, where should you park for the race?  Little known pro tip, the Pentagon is actually the world’s largest parking garage, just drive up to the front door and hand your keys over to the nice young man with an assault rifle and you are good to go!

Are the VIP Toilets Worth 200 bucks?

If it gets you out of my line for the bathroom, then the answer is yes.  If you don’t believe such a thing exists, then check out this link.

SO WHEN SHOULD I SHOW UP?

The Marine Corps website recommends you get there 2 hours in advance.  Why do that when you can wait 24 hours and avoid the crowds all together?

Any Tips for Interacting with the Marines?

Whenever you see a Marine remind them they are actually part of the Navy.  That joke never gets old for them.

Seriously thank them for their service.  They do a great job protecting our country (and for my Canadian readership keep in mind we are the only thing standing between you and an invasion from Mexico).

Where should I eat?

DC offers choices from the 300 dollars a meal at Barmini  to vending machines and dumpsters.   I would say you could show up at my place, but my cooking is rivals my swimming (which is to say it could kill you (actually I’m a pretty decent cook, but do you really want to risk me talking to you about this blog?)).

Any Tips for the Race Itself?

If you are dumb enough to come to this website to get tips on running Marine Corps Marathon, I am smart enough to provide them to you.

1. The first three miles are uphill.  Great time to go full-out– you will have 23.2 miles to recover.

2. The Smithsonian museums are open during the race and they will subtract time spent in the museums from your final time.

3. The beer and Oreo guys don’t show up in Hains Point for Marine Corps, darn it.

4.  Crystal City is not made of crystal so you don’t have to tread lightly.

5. The Pig is not running MCM.  His advice is to squeal a lot.

6.  Ignore everything I just have told you and have a great stay in DC and a great race!

Later,

Marsden

PS Anyone wants to meet, feel free to DM me.

 

Another Friday Another Random Thoughts Post

First, no one won the free dinner contest. In retrospect I think the person who yelled “Running Lonely!” on a Metro platform was not, as I thought, saying “hi” to me, but rather warning my fellow passengers. My blog readers are such helpful people.  The good news is that it saved me 30 bucks on dinner.

I think the best blogs show the journey of the author over time.  Their hopes, challenges, highs and lows.  I ran across one of these types of blogs the other day. Usually if someone new follows me I will check out their blog if they have one. Earlier this week it was a blog of someone whose partner had committed suicide several months earlier. Reading from the beginning you could see the changes in the author over time. I know of other bloggers I know where it is equally true that you see how the blog author changes and grows over time. It got me to thinking about my own blog and what it says about me over time. I went back and re-read some of my seminal posts (OK, even I don’t think I have seminal posts (maybe Tequilla Shot Date)) I came to a couple of conclusions:
1. Wow, I have a lot of typos in my posts.
2. I don’t see much of a change in me. Maybe there is some zig-zagging but I basically end up back in the same place.  I may be more open in my blog now (like I could have been less open and not been the NSA) but I still feel like the same introverted, over thinking, hyper self-critical wise ass I was 8+ months ago. Maybe you can’t see change when you are this close to it. Maybe nothing has changed.  Maybe it doesn’t matter and I should stick to jokes about porta potties.

Well I am tapering for MCM. My ITB and knee have been an issue recently and for the 2nd time in a week I had to stop a training run short.  My chiro/PT even went so far on Wednesday to tell me to stop running if it hurt (which I did on Tuesday(didn’t think I had the brain cells for it did you (don’t answer that in the comments section))).  My Thursday run went fairly well but not as many miles as my original training plan.  I am not as nervous about it as I would expect, but I think that is mostly because I have done over a marathon distance(albeit while being severely untrained) and I know I will end the year with that in the accomplishment list.  I think this now, but come Tuesday if it looks dicey for running MCM on the 26th of the month, I will ratchet up the crazy (yes I have higher levels).  Conversely if it gets better then it will dawn on me that I am actually running the race and I haven’t trained all that much better for this one than the last one (OK, I’ll grant you my longest training run was over 6 miles this time).  Maybe I will hit some Zen state and none of it will get to me.  Yeah, I will start my next race at a sane pace.  At least I bothered to tell everyone I was running this race unlike my 6 HR race, so that has to count for something.

This blog had it’s biggest day this Wednesday.  Don’t know what drove the increase (other than the post Tuesday night was above average funny for me).  The weird world of blogging baffles me because my previous biggest day was also a Wednesday even though on average Friday is my biggest traffic day.  In even odder news, Ottawa is almost taking over 2nd place from DC in the cities who read my blog.  The stats show there has been some carry over from my visit to Ottawa (probably people just wanting to get sufficient warning to get out of town if there were to be a return visit).  But hey, thanks for reading.  I do appreciate it.

Pumpkin at a BBQ joint.  Nope has nothing to do with this post.  You should be used to that by now.

Pumpkin at a BBQ joint. Nope has nothing to do with this post. You should be used to that by now.

I hate jerks.  OK, most people do, but twice this week I have become incensed about them.  On Thursday my friend Steph was trying to get the cable fixed in her office after it broke 10 minutes after the tech had left to fix it.  She tweeted the cable company and the response was basically suggesting that maybe one of the guys in the office could fix it.  Needless to say Steph pointed out that maybe making sexist remarks wasn’t the best course of action and then customer service doubled down on the dumb.  The problem of attacking a blogger with 3500 Twitter followers is that bad word travels fast and even Abby and the Pig got in on the action.  In the end Bright House Care spent a lot of time apologizing, someone fixed the cable, and maybe there is one less moronic customer service person out there.  But not all stories can be tied up so nicely.  Earlier this week it was my boss’s birthday.  Despite my snide comments on Twitter, my boss is a fairly decent person.  Her boss decided to bring some cake in for a “surprise” birthday party.  How did her boss get her to show up for the surprise?  By calling her and telling her she was going to get fired and to get in the boss’s office now.  What kind of scum does this?  I know my discussing it with HR is going to cause me a world of trouble (retaliation in the US government is the stuff of legend), but sometimes things just infuriate me so that I can’t sit by.  I don’t know how this one will turn out, but I suspect that Abby and the Pig won’t be of much help in the battle ahead.

Both of these incidences came on run days and running angry is a dumb idea for me.  It causes me to go faster but with much less attention to my form.  I shouldn’t have even started Tuesday much less have gone 3 miles (though my brain cells did kick in enough not to go the scheduled 8 miles). Anger is not your friend when running (probably not even your frenemy).  As a side note, this is the first year I have used the terms LOL and frenemy in a sentence.  Maybe there is some change in me after all.

But hey, it’s Friday.  Time for a reset and time to look forward.  Last long run coming up for MCM and a nice massage planned for Saturday (and most importantly for you– the blog post running up to Marine Corps should be less glum (yes nobody but me says glum anymore).

Have a great weekend!

Later,

Marsden

 

 

 

Sunday Funday and I ran too

Sorry, no pig pictures but I do have a few pictures on my run today.  At 4:30 AM this morning I was awoken by the PA system test for the Army 10 miler. I live about a mile as the drone flies from the Pentagon but I will say it still surprised me that it woke me up.  A pair of earplugs later I went back to sleep.  Guess I won’t have to worry about an alarm clock for Marine Corps in a couple of weeks (it also starts by the Pentagon).  Since I didn’t want to get caught up in runners using the Mount Vernon Trail to go home from the Army 10 miler, I jumped in my car to go to the part Mount Vernon closer to Mount Vernon.

Potomac River looking toward Woodrow Wilson Bridge

Potomac River looking toward Woodrow Wilson Bridge

MVT trail but further south than I usually run.  No I did not catch the guy in front of me.

MVT trail but further south than I usually run. No I did not catch the guy in front of me.  No this does not surprise you.

As I talked about in my last post (promise no fluid dynamics this time) about going with the flow.  I have been struggling since the Army Run Half to find a flow to my running.  My knee has been more unstable and I have haven’t been able to combination of stride length and foot strike that seems comfortable.  Today was the first time I started to get some flow to my running where my pace felt more natural.  I know I didn’t find a flow for the half until the week of the race, so maybe there is some hope yet.

Pretty picture and it actually was a nice day for running.  Not it didn't keep me from being drench in sweat (yeah, I know you were really looking for that image).

Pretty picture and it actually was a nice day for running. Not it didn’t keep me from being drench in sweat (yeah, I know you were really looking for that image).

How would you like to open your window and see this?

How to play a practical joke on your roommate.  This is over a store in Alexandria that sells stuff for dogs.

How to play a practical joke on your roommate. This is over a store in Alexandria that sells stuff for dogs.

Canadian Trivia (the Return of).
Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada. Much like the US holiday, Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest and blessings of the year (like for instance hockey season has started). First celebrated in Newfoundland in 1578 (which is ironic given that it is an “optional holiday in Newfoundland now), it is much like the US holiday (complete with pumpkin pie, football, and parades). However the date of Thanksgiving wasn’t set until 1957 (and one year was even celebrated in May). Since it is on Monday, there is no Black Friday associated with Thanksgiving, so I guess they miss out of the fun of freezing to death in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  So even if you are in the US, take a moment to share a piece of pumpkin pie with our neighbors to the north (any excuse to eat pumpkin pie).

Later,

Marsden

Friday ‘eff Up (not part of a linkup)

The last 10 years the majority of my runs have been near bodies of water. This isn’t because of any particular love of running by water (though I do like it), but rather the luck of geography with respect to where I lived and where the local trails are.  The field of fluid dynamics is both rather simple (the river flows in a certain direction) and extremely complex (the chaos theory can be used to attempt to quantify fluid flow).  In the simple version there are a series of equations,  Navier-Stokes, which does a decent job of explaining the flow (hang in there folks, I am going to get the point shortly).  The problem with simple is you have to know the parameters of the flow (velocity, trajectory, etc)  at the start and just being off by a bit screws up the end result big time. This is why concepts like chaotic advection are used to explain dynamic flow.  Great for explaining the flow (if you can get through the math) but it introduces the idea that it is harder to determine where a certain drop will end up given its start location.

OK, enough of the fluid dynamics lesson (or what I remember from almost 30 years ago).  My running recently has felt more like chaotic advection and less like a straight line flow.  I know where I start, but I have been struggling more and more with how each individual run or part of a run will go.  I feel like I am adrift in Lagrangian space (I know at this point you are laughing at me, but the joke is actually funny).  Running is a highly variable sport for many of us, but lately the ups and downs have been even more severe and my confidence spins around when it should be sky-high after my last race.  I will sometimes start a run well, but fall apart in the middle or start slowly, but end well.  To make matters more frustrating this week my knee and hips have been bothering me more.  Not enough to keep me from running, but enough from running strong.  Maybe I just need to relax a bit and go with the flow.

I told you in the title it was Friday ‘effed up.  It’s your own fault you got this far in the blog.  However, since you did, just imagine me trying to explain the fluid flow of cheese on a pizza.  See, made you laugh (or stare at your screen blankly (if you are in this category, here is a pig picture)).

The pig is on a tropical vacation.  OK, he was in a hotel lobby

The pig is on a tropical vacation. OK, he was in a hotel lobby

After Marine Corps in a couple of weeks I will go ahead and sign up for Across the Years (my 24 hour race).  This is under the assumption that knee handles the marathon OK (which I am expecting).  I have a hotel/car reservation and I am looking at flying out on Christmas and flying back sometime after the New Year.  Some of the scheduling will depend on what my airline miles will get me.  Making the reservations made everything seems much more real.  I’m not panicking, which is causing me to panic somewhat.  So me don’t you think?

To end on a lighter note, I was in the metro on Tuesday sitting next to the window and as the train pulled out of the station someone on the platform yelled “Running Lonely!”.  I had never had this type of experience before and let me tell you it is an odd one.  If the person who yelled it, reads the blog, send me email at rl@runninglonely.com, tell me the station you were at, and I’ll buy you a beer (or other appropriate drink).  You deserve something for being willing to yell that out on a crowded metro platform (well other than the odd stares of the fellow commuters)   For the rest of you, enjoy your three-day weekend (if you get one).

Later,

Marsden

Marathon Checklist

Marathon season is upon us and I thought I would help my blog readers by providing a checklist for the day of the race of important items (Sorry to all you Chicago runners who were deprived of this).  Please note that this assumes you are within driving/walking distance of the race. If you need a checklist to find the city the race is in, I would suggest you stick to running on the treadmill.  The checklist works for shorter races, though I suggest you don’t commit a felony to get gel for races shorter than 10 miles.

1.Set up the Flat <insert your name here> the night before.  Only tomorrow will your realize your socks don’t match.

1.5 Set your alarm the night before.  Check obsessively.

2. Set your back up alarm the night before.  Check obsessively.

3. Have a restless night because:

A. You are thinking about your alarms.

B. Your partner snores like a band saw (see there are advantages to sleeping in a single bed).

C. Your neighbors decide that the night before your race is the perfect time to throw the kegger to end all keggers.

4. Panic when you wake up late because you slept through your two alarms because you put ear plugs in.

5. Rush to put your running stuff on only to realize you woke up from a dream about being late and that it is actually an hour before your 2 alarms will go off.
6. Finish putting your clothes on (please, I’m blushing here) and eat breakfast.
7. Try to go to the bathroom. #fail
8. Give up and leave for the race.
9. Go back home when you realize you desperately need to go to the bathroom.
10. This step will depend on if you are the type who like who likes to arrive early, warm up, and get to the start line in plenty of time before the race, or the type of person who likes to show up just before the race and go.

A. If you are the type of person who likes to show up late you will somehow manage to get there two hours early and freeze.

B. If you are the type of person who likes to get there early you will end up parking in Uzbekistan and rushing to make the start.

No I am not a vampire and I don't carry blood on my runs.

No I am not a vampire and I don’t carry blood on my runs.  That statement has nothing to do with this post or really this picture, but as loyal readers of the blog, nothing here fazes you.  #ImakeUTougher

11. Get in line for the porta potties.

12. Repeat step 11 more times than you thought humanly possible.

13. Realize you dropped your gel in the porta potty and start pick-pocketing other runners while they stand in line for the bathroom.

14. Warm up so you can cool off in your corral for 45 minutes.

15. As soon as the gun goes off, think the thought that comes to every runners mind:

I have to pee

Later,

Marsden