It’s Not You, It’s Me

I have never been a monogamous guy. I try to stay loyal to one, but somehow, at some point, I stray.  I have many dalliances over years.  I don’t even have a type, since at one time or another I have loved a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.   Yes, I have worn the Asics Nimbus since 2004, but I would rotate another brand of shoes at least one day of the week.  First it was a pair of New Balance, then a sleek Saucony model, but about 4 months ago, I started wearing a pair of Hokas (or moon boots as I call them).  It was a casual affair until June when I hurt my knee while wearing the Nimbus.

Was it my fault? Was it the shoe’s fault?  When you are hurt sometimes you blame those who are closest to you and in my case it was the Nimbus.

Me and my original sole mate (with pig)

Me and my original sole mate (with pig)

When I started running three weeks after the knee injury I ran in the Hokas.  The extra cushioning was nice for my joints and it pushes you to strike more mid foot which also good for my knees.  So I was exclusive to the Hokas through my race at the end of July, but after the recovery from that race, I felt slow.  Things didn’t feel right so my thoughts went back to my old love, the Nimbus.  I tried a speed workout in them but we couldn’t rekindle our old flame.  I begged the Hokas for forgiveness, but being a pair of shoes, they said nothing.  I guess they forgave me because the next run the spark was back and I ran the Mount Vernon Trail faster than any time since May.

My new flame

My new flame

Will this be the one that lasts?  It might, but I have seen a new pair of shoes and my heart is beginning to wander. Those Saucony’s are cooing at me and telling me they’d feel so good on my feet.  To top it off, they promise not to take it slow.





Hydration Packs

First off, I am not getting paid for this review. There were no free samples or any other enticements involved.  One of my early on followers, @natatopia ,requested a product review of the Nathan Hydration pack after I posted a picture of the pack on Twitter.  If you have been following me since the beginning, I think you deserve something out of the deal.  Since I was going to review the Nathan HPL 020 Vest anyway, I thought I would throw in a comparison to my Camelbak Rogue 70 oz Hydration Pack. If you don’t care about hydration packs (or my humor, or Canadian trivia), see you next post.

Picture of two hydration packs.  This has something to do with the post. VICTORY!!!

Picture of two hydration packs. The Nathan is the one on the right.  This picture has something to do with the post. VICTORY!!!

Although summer is coming to a close, there is plenty of hot weather left for those south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Since my sweat rate resembles a water fall, a bottle isn’t going to cut it.  I tried fuel belts, but hated the way they bounced, so this summer I started trying hydration packs.  They weigh more than fuel belts, but have pockets for gels, phone, keys, and the really important things like my Starbucks gold card.  Hydration packs also give a certain ultra runner vibe.  This vibe hopefully causes people to think that the reason I am going so slowly is that I am going a few hundred miles.

I started with the Camelbak and have used it in training and for my 6 HR race.  It holds 70 oz of water, and has two pockets that will hold just about anything you might need.  I generally like it.  It is light, doesn’t bounce much, and it’s quick to refill.  One downside are all the pockets are in the back so unless you are double jointed or VERY flexible, you have to take the pack off to access the pockets.  Which bring me to another issue.  For me the front clasp would come undone about 1/3 time I took the pack off.  Now it isn’t hard to reattach the clasp, but when you are in the middle of a long run it can be a bit of a pain (particularly when your brain is operating at 1/100000th capacity like mine typically is toward the end of a long run).  The reservoir can be a dog to close (get it??, get it??).  Actually the design makes it very quick to open and close which is great when you need to refill it.  However, if you don’t close it correctly, and happen to pick up a gel wrapper off the ground, you might get an unintended shower.  Not that it occurred to me.  Nope, not me, EVER.

The Nathan weighs about the same as the Camelbak (maybe 1/2 oz more). It is shorter and thicker and has two pockets that are on the front straps as well as a larger pocket in the back.  One of the pockets in the front is open-ended (Nathan says it will fit a 20 oz TrueFlex bottle (I don’t have one so it doesn’t do me any good)). Not having to take the pack off is a big plus when you are on the run (OK, that pun was below even me).  The reservoir is opened and closed by removing a clasp at the top of the bladder.  This makes it easy, but time-consuming, to refill the bladder.  With a 2L capacity, maybe how quickly you can refill it matters a bit less.  I took the Nathan out on  6 miler and a 10 miler so I don’t know how it would feel after 6, 12 or 24 hours.  The Nathan did move around a little bit while it was full, and after 10 miles my shoulders were feeling a bit tight.  In the Nathan’s defense I didn’t spend much time adjusting the pack to the optimum configuration (and it has plenty of strap to configure).  I suspect even better configured, it wouldn’t sit as well for my body frame (big guy, tall torso).  Also, there are a lot of straps that flop around on the Nathan which might get annoying after long periods of time. I will say the front pockets were darn handy and I was able to unzip one pocket, grab my gel, and not accidentally run into the Potomac River. #2victory.

A look at the two bladders.  The top of the Nathan as a clasp. The Camelbak has the blue screw top.

A look at the two bladders. The top of the Nathan as a clasp. The Camelbak has the blue screw top. My days as a hand model are probably over at this point.

So what is the bottom line? (a question that many of you are regularly left wondering in this blog).  I like the Camelbak better mostly because it sits better on my shoulders.  I don’t plan on returning the Nathan and will use it for runs where I want access to items quickly or need to bring everything this side of a foam roller.  I currently plan on using both in my 24 hour race.

Canadian Trivia:

In 1961 the average French Canadian only earned about 60% of their English speaking counterpart in Quebec.  This lead to reform of the educational system in the province.



More Friday Confessions (sorta)

So it is time for another Friday blog post with info from/about me.

High Five for Friday

High Five for Friday


1. Would anyone be interested in guest posting here?  You don’t have to be a blogger, just have an interest to post.  Would prefer something vaguely running related (and if you read this blog, you know it can be rather vague).  If you are interested, let me know via the various means (email, DM, cosmic thoughts).

2. Finally had a couple of decent runs this week.  I have had problems recently getting my cadence consistently over 170, but I was able to do a couple of tempo runs this week and was able to average around 176 for the tempo portion of the runs.  This makes me feel a little better about my half in September, but worries me a bit that it takes this long to recover from a hard race.

3. On Tuesday I lost 6 lbs of water weight in a 6 mile run.  That includes drinking 24 oz of liquid during my run.  I managed to sweat through my shirt, shorts, and socks.  This sharing stuff doesn’t sound so great now does it?

4. I was again asked by Active Life DC to be part of their “Ask the Blogger” Series.  They ask a question and provide the answers from DC area bloggers.  I like doing it, but I can’t help but wonder if asking me about running is a little bit like asking an Amish person to explain the intricacies of nuclear fission.

5. My blog traffic used to be 75% in the DC area, but has dropped to a 50/50 split.  I find it amusing when people assume this is big blog (big ideas yes, big traffic not so much).  Although the days of zero hits seems to be in the past, 50 hits is a big day for this blog and 17-20 a day is the average of the last month and a half.  Traffic has doubled since April.  This is partially that more people follow me on Twitter and a bigger part is that I am posting three days a week (yes for you out there who told me to post more often, consider this acknowledgement of “I told you so”) .

6. I like to make lists.  Have you noticed?

7. I mostly think of people by their Twitter handle or by their blog name.  During my last race, I thought I recognized a blogger I read (and I knew was running the race).  However, there was NO WAY I was going up to someone and ask “Are you Dog Lick Baby?”

Canadian Trivia:

The Alaskan border wasn’t particularly well-defined when the US purchased it from Russia.  There was a dispute between the US and Canada on where the border should be drawn.  Since at that time Canadian foreign policy was still under England, England agreed with the US that a 5 member commission be named to resolve the dispute. In 1903 there was a vote.  The two Americans voted for the US position (duh).  The two Canadian members voted the Canadian position (duh).  The English rep voted for the country they didn’t want to go to war with (remember Teddy Roosevelt was the US President at the time and he was looking to stop speaking softly and use his stick).  Canada needless to say felt rooked by the deal and this fueled the fire for a completely independent Canada.


Race Photos (or duck and cover)

I was DMing with someone on Twitter and commented that “I have determined that race photos are taken by people that got paid by your exes to make you look bad.”  Now when I started racing, they didn’t have race photography.  There was a guy who was drawing on a cave wall and if you wanted to keep the drawing, you chiseled your pic out of the wall and coughed up a couple of pelts (so if you are ever in the Tennessee in a cave and see a drawing that might resemble Running Lonely as a young lad, well at least you know why it is there).

At some point the camera was invented, and you would get the in mail (or snail mail to most of you) a small thumbnail photo to entice you to buy a bigger package.  The only race photo I actually like is a thumbnail from a 5K about two week before I blew my knee out.  The picture made it look like I was passing everyone at the finish (I was) and winning the race (I wasn’t).

Eventually digital photography and the internet made the process much easier and somehow a boatload more expensive (well I have never purchased a race picture, so it doesn’t cost me a dime).

But no matter the format, the result is usually the same for me–a photo that makes me look like crap.  The usual culprits are:

1. My face is scrunched up like I want to kill someone, or worse I am attempting to smile.

2. My face looks just fine, but my running form looks like I am having very strange muscle spasms or maybe having a stroke.

3. The Claw (you will just have to trust me on this one).

4. Everything looks OK and in alignment, but I am sweating out my sunscreen and look like Casper the Ghost in a snowstorm on his deathbed (don’t think about that one too much).

I stopped even looking at my race photos and videos, until a recent trend of races that actually give away the race photos.  I have had two races this year (the Oddessey Half in Philly and the Endless Summer 6 HR Race) that have given away photos.   I have included a race photo at the end of this post from the Endless Summer race, so for those who don’t want to know what I look like (and skipped the selfie) you can stop reading now.  You will miss out on Canadian trivia, but hey, life is nothing if not a series of trade-offs.

Canadian trivia

A Canadian, Captain Arthur Roy Brown, is credited with killing the famed Red Baron during WWI.

So here is the pic:

It was not "almost there".  I still had 22 miles to go.  Total BS if you ask me.

It was not “almost there”. I still had 22 miles to go. Total BS if you ask me.  OK, now you understand “The Claw” (aka my hand)



My 6th Month Blogiversary

So it is my 6th month blogiversary. OK, that sounds bogus even to me, but it gives me a chance to reflect on my running and this blog. For starters the anniversary date was 10 days ago, so like my running, I am a bit slow getting this post out.

Honestly I had no clue what I was doing when I started this blog.  I didn’t know what I really wanted to say or how to say it.  It took about all of two posts to figure out I didn’t particularly enjoy writing serious (or even semi-serious) posts about running.  After the serious I tried my hand at pure humor posts.  This brought some hits (run-chat-answers-a-psychic-post) and some misses (What would have been my acceptance speech for best long run).  It took a while to find my voice which is an odd combination (insert you own snarky comment here) of the humorous and the serious.

This blog energized my training. What started as a push for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler turned into 6 races and 5 more planned the rest of the year (and although 11 is a really great number, I am thinking of how to fit in a 12th race to average 1 per month).  This will be the 2nd most races for me during a year (only to 1992′s 22).  Blogging about races makes the successes (1775K, Endless Summer 6 Hour Race)  more sweet but also makes the failures (like busting my knee during a half marathon) just a little bit harder.  Though I will say even with the disappointments, that support I get from my readers helps me turnaround my focus and move forward in a positive direction (or what passes for positive in my world (which not too dissimilar for what passes for intellect in Bevis and Butthead)).

Picture of a monkey blanket, duh

We were WAY overdue for a picture of the monkey blanket

So where do we go from here? Yes, I said WE— you aren’t getting out of this that easily. Well the tough part of my racing schedule is coming up so that will be good for a few laughs blog posts.  Coming up will be my 2nd foreign race, first marathon race, my 8K/Marathon make-your-own 50K, and the year-end finale in a 24 HR race (plus whatever race I squeeze in).  More importantly I will start meeting readers/Twitter followers at a more rapid rate in the next few months (not that it would take much to do better than 1 out of 900 in 6 months).  Drop me a note if you want to add yourself to the list (or conversely would like sufficient warning to be out of the general area).

Double trouble.

Double trouble.

But the best part of the blogging for me has been you (yes, I am talking to YOU).  I have enjoyed the interaction with you through the blog comments, via Twitter and Instagram.  You have pushed me out of rut I was in and gave me the confidence to challenge myself on a regular basis.  No matter how the year ends, I have accomplished more than I would have dreamed when I started this blog.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for reading this blog as well as for the feedback and support you have given me.  I look forward to where the journey goes from here.



<Canadian trivia will return in the next post>

More Friday Q&A

I noticed that my last post didn’t look right in Chrome.  No idea why, since it looked fine in the 3 other browsers I tried.  I will see what I can do.  I think it has to do with the numbering which unfortunately for you, this post has a lot of numbers.


So today we are going to mix things up (and face it, this blog is pretty darn mixed up already).  I am going to tell more stuff about me, and then I am going to ask some questions of you.  For your answers feel free to tweet them, comment on the blog, or email me at  I can feel the excitement already, or maybe that is just the frayed power cord I am standing on.

1. My Granddad on my Dad’s side was a civil engineer.  My Dad was an electrical engineer, so it doesn’t come as a shock that I ended up as a mechanical engineer.  I originally thought of being a civil engineer, but I am a poor drafter, and back in the day you needed to be able to do that if you were going to be a civil engineer. I picked what I thought was the next closest profession without any real idea of what a mechanical engineer does.  I am still not entirely sure.

2. Remember to warm up before you aqua run.  It is just like actual running in the fact you don’t walk out the door and go full bore (or even 7/8th bore).  This isn’t new fact about me, but I thought I would throw it in since I know a couple of people who are injured and are aqua running.

3. No lie– I accidentally set myself on fire in college and was sober at the time it happened.  I was using a blow torch (raise your hand if you think someone should be fired for letting ME have an operational blow torch–you can all put your hands down now) and the sparks caught my jeans on fire.  You really haven’t lived until someone has come up to you and said “Excuse me, your pants are on fire.” I was able to kick the fire out before too much damage was done (well ignoring the damage to my self esteem).

4. There was a software system at work we were purchasing, and I was the project manager assigned to the project.  It was for audience response for training classes and I hated the project. So I gave the project a name that the acronym that spelled out ARSE.  I spelled out the full name in status reports and nobody ever figured it out.  Sticking it to the man!

5. My running has been increasingly frustrating in the last month.  The difference between what I think I can do, and what I can actually do is growing.  I realize my knee is the problem, but it is frustrating anyway.

6. A New York Times metro reporter is following Abby and The Pig .This beats the NATO General that follows me in the odd followers category.  No I have no idea why a metro reporter would be interested in a DC pig or a dog from Ottawa.

Pig with another of my InkNBurn Shirts.  Just putting a picture in for the pig lovers out there (OK, that is most of you)

Pig with another of my InkNBurn Shirts. Just putting a picture in for the pig lovers out there (OK, that is most of you).  Maybe a metro reporter is interested…



1. Despite my recent selfie explosion (and FYI if you use your computer to look at Instagram I kinda had one already  here. Of course that was back in the day when I had 20 followers and most of them were just being polite by not unfollowing.   Anyway, there is a question in here somewhere.  I wasn’t thinking of changing my twitter or blog AVIs, but any thoughts if I should put a real picture in either profile?

2. OK, who is from Burlington, Vermont?  Although I don’t know all the DC area people who visit the site, I generally have a pretty good idea of the ones elsewhere (doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is from Vaudreuil-Dorion).  I am just curious since Burlington has overtaken Ottawa for number 3 on hits on my blog (get it in gear Ottawa).

Top 10 cities that should have something better to do than read this blog

Top 10 cities that should have something better to do than read this blog

3. So who is the oddest follower that you have (excluding me)?

Canadian Trivia:

Kim Campbell was the first (and only so far) female Prime Minister of Canada.  She was only Prime Minster from June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993.   She is also the only Prime Minister born in British Columbia and she never actually sat in Parliament as Prime Minister (this was due to the summer recess and fall elections (and for my US readers—you thought our Congress took big breaks)).




A Selfieless Love

<note, this post isn’t really running related, so if you are here purely for my running oriented posts, come back later in the week>

For those who have been reading this blog for a while (stop laughing, there are people in that category) you have noticed that I don’t post a lot (read any) selfies.  On  Twitter I have bantered many an excuse for not posting selfies (I don’t want to break mirrors, there are laws against it, hey people are eating here), but I have noticed among my readers that I am getting more questions about the subject.

Before I launch into this discussion, I would like to say I have nothing against selfies as long as I am not the subject.  I am on Instagram and like plenty of selfies so this really is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me”.

So there are two main reasons I haven’t done selfies.

1. I still am not going out of my way for the people at work to figure out this blog is mine.  Yeah, you know who I am, but I don’t plan on making it easier for the rest of the world.

2. I don’t particularly like looking at myself in pictures.  My personal opinion is I’m pretty much average for a 48 year old male, I just slightly recoil every time I see picture of myself.  So this isn’t limited to selfies, I am not a big fan of pictures of myself period.

I have decided to post a selfie for two reasons.

1. I am going to start meeting a lot more followers in the coming months and I am not going to be as rude as to not take pictures with them if they are so inclined (Will they be? Probably.)

2. I realize that in blogging there is a certain “relationship” between the blogger and the readers (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone).  After the 6 HR race I thought about how I didn’t bother to blog about the race or mention it on Twitter  until several days after the finish. I knew I needed to be more forthcoming about my life in this blog.  I don’t completely understand why people want to see a picture of me, but there is a lot of life I really don’t completely understand.

So in the spirit of being more open, I decided  to go ahead and publish a selfie.  So then I needed to decide which of the one (of the maybe 6 that I haven’t deleted) I would go with.  I have one that I refer to as my bad ass one which would be the natural choice. However it really isn’t representative of me any more than Spiderman is of Peter Parker.  So I decided I would pick one just after the 6 Hour Race.  You should be happy that Instagram doesn’t have a smell component is all I have to say. So if you want to see what the heck I look like after 6 hours of running/walking in the heat, go to (or click this link and it takes you) and it is there.  If you don’t, I am cool with that too.

Solar powered pig on the other hand has not issues with being photographed

Solar powered pig on the other hand has no issues with being photographed

Canadian Trivia:

There is a story that Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, was picked by Queen Victoria as the Capital by throwing a dart at a map to pick the new Capital (lucky she hit Canada and not the US).  This isn’t true.  It was picked because of its river access and it was far enough away from the US border to reduce the chance of it being invaded like Montreal was during the US Revolutionary War.  A piece of Ottawa trivia– Ottawa is near a fault line and gets magnitude ~4-5 earthquakes every so often.



More 24 Hour Thoughts

In the last month I have been pushing the possibility of a 24 HR race to the back of my mind, but finishing my first 6 HR race has brought it back to the forefront.  My 2nd thought after the horn went off for the end of the 6 HR race was, “If this was a 24 hour race, you would still have 18 hours to go”. For those who are curious, my first thought was to make sure I planted the flag to mark my position at the right place so it didn’t look like I was trying to cheat and get an extra 6 inches.

So what if I did have 18 hours to go?  I can’t imagine having to go 18 more hours, on the other hand, until this time last week, I would have put money against being able to go 6 hours.  The 6 hr race has made me both more and less confident at the same time.  More confident in the fact that I can push myself further and harder than I thought I could.  Less confident because I was enough of a bloodied mess after 6 hours and 18 more wouldn’t make it any better.  As I have blogged about before, I will be (injuries withstanding) in better shape come December, but I won’t be in “Let’s kick butt in a 24 HR race” shape.  So I decided to go back to my May post(link)   where I set out my 24 HR plan and see where I was compared to the plan.  I decided to make you suffer along with me. I provide some mid-term grades just to be random (like this blog wasn’t random enough):

1. Get more efficient at running.  Grade C: I have made some improvements in my bio-mechanics but my knee limits some of the other improvements I would like to make.  Need to work more on my hips to help my gait.

2. Run slower – Grade B:  I found a pace that works for me, but need to get in better shape so I can hold it longer.

3. Walk faster.   Grade B plus: I did get under 14 minutes/mile (my goal back in May), but I think I can do better (and need to since I will do more walking than planned).

4. Learn something about ultras and 24 hour races in particular. Grade B: I have been reading some books and articles.  I have learned a lot.  Need to look more into my specific race and read some accounts.  The race can be hot during the day and cold at night.

5. Resolve muscle imbalances.  Because of my knee surgery, my left quad is smaller than my right and this causes all sorts of torques that need to be eliminated in the longer distances I will be covering. – Grade F: I have somehow managed to make this situation worse.  I think it is because my right leg compensated for the left while the knee was hurt.  This one is going to be tough, but I need to start scheduling my strength workouts for my legs and tracking this.

The place I get my massages.  If only that had been on my list.

The place I get my massages. If only getting massages had been on my list.  Enjoy the flowers if nothing else.

6. Get serious about stretching.  – Grade D Minus: Very haphazard when I find time for this. Need to schedule and track this one as well.

7. Really do some strength training, particularly for my weaker leg. – C Plus.  I have worked on my left leg, but not consistently enough.  Same for upper body work.  However there has been some overall improvement, so at least there is some progress.

8. Figure out hydration/fueling.  – Grade B minus: Decent for fueling, more work needed on hydration.

9. Let go of work.  – Grade Incomplete: I have done this mostly, but it is causing problems at work.  They are used to me doing the work of several people and only doing my work is causing increasing amounts of friction.  This friction is hard on me because much of how I define myself via my work.  This one will need some special attention.

10. Get used to the fact that at the end of this process I am not longer anonymous. – Grade A minus:  Done deal in my mind.  Still working on the selfies.

11. Cringe at the fact that this sounds like rehash of New Year’s resolution list – Grade A plus.

Well, it looks like I have some work to do, but I will at least acknowledge that there has been some progress as well.  Right now I don’t plan on signing up for Across the Years (the 24 HR race, not the 6 day one) until the fall, so I still have time to make another assessment or two (great for blog posts).

Canadian Trivia:

This year Civic Holiday is Monday August 4th in Canada. Although nationally known as Civic Holiday, it is known as Simcoe Day in Toronto,British Columbia Day in British Columbia,and New Brunswick Day in New Brunswick.   The concept is that the holiday can be named for each local area if they so desire (Peter Robinson Day any one? (side note Peterborough was named for Peter Robinson (side, side note Peterborough is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas))). The holiday is not generally observed in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador or Yukon.  Not celebrating a holiday is not too civic if you ask me.





More Friday Personal Crap with Some Running Stuff

Seems like Friday is the day for me to talk about myself.  OK, I do that all the time, but I mostly manage not to say anything.  So here are some interesting and not so interesting tidbits about myself.

1. I am dyslexic.  They didn’t figure it out until 3rd grade.  Up to that point I was in the “developmentally challenged” class (this being the 70s you can guess what they really called it). I’m not using it as an excuse for the numerous typos and misspellings in this blog.  I realize that 2 of the last three posts haven’t been of the greatest quality.  Thanks for reading it anyway.  I am working on catching more of the typos.

2. I really didn’t want to write about the 6 Hour Race and almost didn’t blog about it.  Part of the reason is I don’t get the same feeling of accomplishment that most people do at meeting or beating a goal.  I felt good about the race for about a day and a half and then the feeling was gone and I was looking down the road at the training for my next races.  The sad part is that a day and a half is a long time for me to feel good about a race.  Usually the good feeling (if the race went well) doesn’t last until I get home.

3. The other reason I didn’t really want to blog about the race was I knew once I posted, I was no longer anonymous (or if you can’t figure it out at this point, you would suck as a stalker).  It makes me exposed to my bosses at work (those boss/work tweets would not be so funny to them).  I knew the day was going to happen. I just figured it would come when I ran the 24 hour race.  But there is a part of me that is relieved as well.  I don’t feel the need to hide my bib number, or tweak my split times in races.

Pic of a toy pig on a bike

I’m thinking the pig may want to rethink triathlons.  Back to the pictures having zero to do with the post.

4. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to attempt a 6 hour race until the day before the race.  Even then, I only told one person who cares about running in the least.  I feel guilty about it.  I crank out this blog 2-3 times a week, look at the stats daily, yet I don’t share something as obviously important to me with my readers (and friends).  I need to work on this aspect of my life, so I pledge to try.  Time will tell if I succeed.

5. The 6 Hour race makes me feel both more confident and less confident about doing a 24 Hour race.  I will blog about this more detail during the next week.

6. I tried to go for a run on Thursday and it didn’t go well.  The knee didn’t feel great, and my left hip wasn’t feeling that great either.  Rationally I know I will be OK.  In the dark corners of my mind, I worry about it (OK, they are not so much corners as rounded, but “dark rounded areas” just sounds silly).

7. My Mom has about 8 times more followers on Twitter than I do.  She is a Hall of Fame garden writer (yes, they have a Hall of Fame and it is harder to get into that than the Pro Football Hall of Fame).

Canadian Trivia.

The population of Canada has been around 10% of the US since the 1700s.  Short and sweet trivia.  Enjoy your weekend.



6 Hour Race Lessons Learned

A wise co-worker once told me there is a big difference between lessons learned and lessons taught.  Despite the fact he was laid off a month later, I have taken the advice to heart. I am trying to look at my 6 Hour race last Saturday and figure out what worked and what didn’t.

Here’s the short list:

1. OK, it helps to train for a 6 hour race.  I got away with it this time being under trained, but I don’t think I should make this a standard practice.  I will say that given my state of training, I had a decent strategy of run/walk so I did learn a lot that will be useful down the road.

2. I need to need to drink more during hot races.  I lost around 8 pounds (out of 190).   I started well hydrated (fortunately) but I need to start setting an alarm to remind myself to drink more during races.  If I had gone with the optional weigh-in, I’m not sure they would have let me keep going.  I felt fine, but I was definitely dehydrated.

3. If you are going to walk, learn to walk.  Courtesy of the internet I learned some about proper race walking form.  With a little bit of practice (and this is me we are talking about, so it is going to be a little bit of practice) I got my walking from 15-16 minutes/mile down to 13 minutes/mile.  I was one of the faster walkers on the course and that helped me gain valuable mileage (even if I looked like a goof doing it (OK, I look like a goof running so there really isn’t a change)).

Don't ask

I really need to take a picture of the pig with the monkey blanket. This was taken near the start line of the race, so this is almost relevant to the post. Shocking, I know.

4. The clock is running even if you aren’t. Set up a plan on when you are going to stop for supplies and have it set up so you can access what you need easily.  For me I need to list out ahead of time what my plan is for each time I plan to stop.  Maybe next time I will remember to swap shirts when I planned.  This is really a subset of, “the brain stops working at a certain point” (don’t even think it).

5.  Get a crew if you can.  You can save some time by having someone hand you food/water/shirts/bandages instead of having to go pick up your own stuff.  They can also do things like spray you with sunscreen after you sweat it all off (red is not my color).

6. Ultra runners are a cool bunch (mostly).  I can’t imagine a road race where a leader would slow down for a few seconds to talk.  Or the race director would go out on the course to check on how all the runners were doing.  The volunteers were ultra friendly (see what I did there) and cheered everyone each lap.

The race director is on the left.  Pic stolen from

The race director is on the left. Pic stolen from

7. Figure your fueling.  I found that taking a gel (or equivalent) every 45 minutes worked for me for this race along with one small cup of Gatorade each lap.  I’m lucky because I can eat any brand of gel and it seems to work.  I used a flask of EFS mocha gel because it fit nicely in my pockets and held 4 servings.  I used GU Roctane before the start and at lap 3 and 5 and one packet of Sport Beans.  The variety of taste was nice for me to break up the effort, but use what works for you (Sorry if that sounds way too much like advice. I know no one comes to the site looking for advice (at least the good type)).

8. Having a mantra of B-G-E rocked.  A mantra helped me keep focus.  Side story, I was hearing this odd noise during the last couple of laps of the race and couldn’t figure out it was.  Finally figured out it was me wheezing because my allergies were acting up.  The fact it took 6 miles to figure this out should give you an idea of my mental state.

9. Just because your cool InkNBurn shorts have two gel size front pockets doesn’t mean you should use them for everything.  Like the cars keys I put in that pocket maybe should have gone elsewhere (or it could have been the edge of the spare Hammer gel).  I will spare you the picture of the scrapes on my thigh.

10. Don’t bother hitting on anyone who hasn’t run the race.  You smell like an odd cocktail of dumpster and sunscreen.  Well, I like to think that was my problem anyway…

The return of Canadian trivia!

When the Canadian Federation was originally formed, it did not include a big part of what is now Canada.  Rupert’s Land was not part of the Federation and included parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and even a bit of Ontario and Quebec.  It was owned by the Hudson Bay Trading company. The government realized this wasn’t a good long-term plan and bought Rupert’s Land in 1869. This purchase allowed for economic expansion westward via a transcontinental railroad.  Hey, it’s trivia. I didn’t promise exciting trivia.