1775 Tips and Last Second Prep

For those running the Marine Corps 17.75K on Saturday, let me provide you a few pieces of advice for those who didn’t read my race recap from last year.

Flowers for Friday on Thursday

Flowers for Friday on Thursday


1. Go ahead and kid the Marines that they are part of the Navy.  Marines love to be kidded.

2. If you see a guy with a crew cut and an assault rifle, he is probably not a valet parking attendant so don’t toss him your keys.

3. There isn’t much in the way of people cheering on the course, so be prepared to crank up your tunes, or enjoy the conversations with you fellow runners.

4. The course is hilly.  When you go through the first two miles, remember that you will go back the other way at the finish.

5. Yell “Charge” at the base of every hill or start singing a Taylor Swift song.  Either way it makes the hills seem shorter.

6. Since the race is a couple of weeks earlier than last year, for the first couple of miles you may not want to wear your sunglasses since the race starts around sunrise.

As for my last second prep.  I did a couple of runs this week.  On Tuesday I ran 7 miles with the middle 3 being at a 10 miler race pace (or what I think 10 miler pace will be a couple of weeks from now).  Thursday I did a slower paced 4 miler to let my legs rest a bit before the race.  The temps today were in the 70s and it felt nice to have a run that actually felt somewhat easy.  I haven’t had that feeling since before my 24 hour race.

So what are my goals for 1775K?  Last year I set my goal I as went to the start line (which worked out OK truth be told).  This year I would like to knock 5 minutes off my time from last year.  Will that happen?  Tune in Sunday for my race report.

Have a Pigtastic weekend all!




Honesty is not the best policy

Its a picture of yellow flowers.  It is zero to do with the post.

This picture is purely for WordPress readers and Blogloving so people will click because of the pretty picture. Suckers

With my first race of the year coming up this Saturday, like many runners, started to finalize my playlist for the race.  In fact, I put more effort into my playlists than I do into managing my 401K (and the ultrarunners are now thinking about how many miles 401K is (the rest of you are thinking how crazy the ultrarunners are).

While I started putting together the list, I wondered what would happen if your playlist had to reflect reality.  Here are a few songs that would be on my playlist I had to be brutally honest about it (and no, Beck’s Loser isn’t on the list, so just hush).

Help!- The Beatles

Send in the Clowns- Judy Collins

American Idiot – Green Day

Over The Hills and Far Away – Led Zeppelin (to describe where the finish line is)

Crawling- Lincoln Park

Super Freak – Rick James

Sad But True- Metallica

Blank Space- Taylor Swift (to explain the space between my ears when I signed up for the race)

Take Your Time- Sam Hunt

Jealous (of every other runner) – Nick Jonas

Slow Motion – Trey Songz

After I finish the and I don’t do very well, then I would have to end with

It’s The End of the World (and I will feel like blogging about it) – REM



Into the Breach Once More

So next Saturday I will open my account for the racing season at the Marine Corps 17.75K (talk about your low-interest accounts).  For those who aren’t big into conversions that works out to around 11.03 miles.  I ran the race last year, so other than the fact that the parking isn’t as close to the start line this year there isn’t too much new (and they run shuttle buses so the further distance only matters if I end up running back to my car like I did last year).

Although I want to do better than I did last year at this race, it is not my “A race” goal for the spring (in face it would be my “C race” out of 4). So I didn’t cut back on my long run on Saturday which was 14 miles with a couple of half marathon race pace miles thrown in toward the end.  This is certainly not a week before a race long run (well, if you are me anyway).

This type of long run is great for my training for the Frederick Half Marathon, but after a crappy night of sleep Saturday night (I think I had less sleep than my NCAA bracket had winners (barely)), I woke up Sunday tired, with my legs feeling dead.  On Sunday I typically do a short shakeout run but I really didn’t feel like running.  Here is how the conversation went inside my head.

Me-“I don’t want to run.”

Me2-“What kind of badass are you if you skip a 5 miler?”

Me-“NOBODY thinks I am a badass.”


Me-“How about a walk instead, it’s a nice day.”

Me2-“Walking? What kind of workout is that???”

Me-“Think of it as course recon for GW Parkway 10 miler and we can stop and get cookies afterwards.”

Me2- “Sold!”

Me3- “COFFEE!!!!!”

This is why I don’t share my thought process on a regular basis.

So I drove off to the Mount Vernon Trail south of Old Town Alexandria (city motto- “Suck it Arlington”) to walk the some of the lower part of the Mount Vernon trail. The George Washington Parkway does run next to the trail so it I didn’t lie to myself I could do some course recon.

It is a picture of the sky and a couple of trees.  it  was a pretty day.

It was a nice spring day. Yup, that’s all I got.

Since like all runners I am utterly obsessive about data, I did bring my Garmin along even though I wasn’t going to race walk.  I may or may not have had my heart rate monitor on as well.

So off I went on the trail.

Off I go the trail.  GW Parkway is on the right. Its pretty flat at this point.

Off I go the trail. GW Parkway is on the right. It’s pretty flat at this point.

I was walking around 15 minute/miles and then would stop to take pictures or text or DM someone (because you can’t just sit there and enjoy a walk, you HAVE to multitask).

Wooden bridge over a swamp

Wooden bridge over a swamp

Although with the breeze I was starting to wish I had a worn a jacket, I did pick up the pace a bit and quickly warmed up.

View of the swamp and the Potomac River.  There isn't much clever I can say about this other than it has nothing to do with course recon.

View of the swamp and the Potomac River. There isn’t much clever I can say about this other than it has nothing to do with race  recon.

Then just as I warmed up, I stopped to take pictures and sit in the sun for a bit and just relax (well to the degree I am capable of relaxing).

It is a another picture of a swamp with a few solitary trees.  It is the type of place a mud runner would like.

At least one of you is wondering if they are going to set up a mud race here.

Considering this was frozen solid a few weeks back, probably don't want to go swimming (unless you are Canadian in which case non-frozen=swimming temp)

Considering this was frozen solid a few weeks back, probably don’t want to go swimming (unless you are Canadian in which case non-frozen=swimming temp)

Around the half way point of my walk there is a short hill to climb up.  In the spirit of course recon I noted that it would be downhill during the race.

Then I turned around and headed back to the car.

This time I will call it a marsh instead of a swamp.

This time I will call it a marsh instead of a swamp.

After 4 miles of walking I was hungry so I grabbed a sandwich and some fruit for lunch.

It is a picture of a bunch of fruit in a grocery store.


Afterwards I did some foam rolling and stretching. As for the course recon, well…



Felonious Friday




Kim over at Kim Runs Miles with Smiles did a runner profile of me for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Blog if you want to take a look.  Kim did a great job with the into to the piece and even got and reference in to the Pig.

I know everyone was in eager anticipation on part 2 of my goals once I attempt to break a 2 hour half (OK, nobody cares that much, but it helps my motivation to pretend that you do).  Then I got hit at work with two new projects.  I’ve been fortunately in the last 6 months that my workload has been light enough that I haven’t had to work nights and weekends very often.  That is going to come to a crashing end.  So I am now looking at my time management and looking at ways to try to squeeze out more time running and more time at work without sacrificing sleep and turning into a zombie (OK, it might make blogging more fun to read, but other than that being a zombie doesn’t sound like a great deal (well maybe I could get promoted to management).

Signed up for the Frederick Half Marathon

Signed up for the Frederick Half Marathon. This will be my attempt at a sub-2 half, Thank you for not laughing

So i am now looking at running to and from work a couple of days a week and/or taking advantage of the telework to free up my 45 minute to/from work commute time.  I am also analyzing my weekends to see how I can be more efficient with my time.  Because, let’s be honest, he may be cute, but the Pig is not much of a housekeeper.

It is a picture of a toy pig in a bright blue chair.  The Pig is ready for Summer!

Somebody is ready for warm weather and not for using the vacuum.

I’m doing this because I don’t want to give up on dreaming big, but even (or many especially) big dreams take time and time is going to be a more precious resource for me shortly.  So I am in analyze mode.

Flowers for Friday from Philadelphia (for you alteration buffs) A picture of a bunch of yellow flowers in a field

Flowers for Friday from Philadelphia (for you alteration buffs). Picture is from last year.

So while I am slicing/dicing my time management, have a pigtastic weekend!




Trite and True

The world is full of trite sayings, “Where there is a will there is a way”.  But I have done some further investigation and many of these saying their roots in running. So here are the results of me making up stuff while drinking beer of my exhaustive research:

1.The best offense is a good defense

Although you think this has nothing to do with running, it is really trying to say that you shouldn’t go out too fast in races.

2. You sometimes have to take a step backwards to go forwards.

Do your backward lunges and you will be a better runner.

3. A stitch in time saves nine.

Not sure, but I think it has to do with the calculation of VO2 max.

4. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I guess this is why we keep signing up for races.

5. It’s not over until it’s over.

Dammit, when will it be over?  This is applicable to running as well as meetings at work.

It is a picture of a pig inside a clear beer stein from Across the Years.  The 6 day part is visible which actually has something to do with the post

Although you would think this has nothing to do with the post, it sort of will

6. Slow and steady wins the race.

Only in a 6 day race.

7. You say Toque, I say Touque

Whether it is 13.1 miles or 21K– it’s a half marathon.

8. Cheaters never win.

Well, once the urine test results come back.

9. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

The only reason I think that people do Yasso 800s.

10. Silence is golden



How to Pick a Training Plan (or not)

When you sign up for a race you have a few options on determining how to train.  You can wing it and just see what happens.  You can pay a coach to come up with a plan for you, or you can scour the internet to find a plan to take you to the finish line.  Personally I think it is important to have a plan, because if your race doesn’t go the way you want, you must have someone to blame and why not choose the person who wrote the plan (conversely if it goes well, trust me, it was ALL YOU).

For those who decide to scour the internet looking for a plan there is a wide array of options. There are running three-day a week plans, 6-7 days a week plans and the Cat Walk to 10K plan for supermodels (oh, the lengths I go to help my blog readers).  So how do you picks from the myriad of options out there?  Well here are a few tips.

1. Know what distance you are running and choose accordingly.

These may seem patently obvious, but don’t take a 5K plan and multiple by 10 for a 50K, or take a 100 miler plan and divide all the runs by 10 for a 10 miler plan.  Although these are silly examples (this is my blog after all) there is a temptation to take a plan you like and are familiar and modify it for the distance you are running.  However, shorter distances tend to require more speed work, longer distances more long steady state runs, and for the super model plan I guess you need to do some super modeling (which I can only imagine is the Yasso 800s of modeling).

So what do you do if you have multiple goals like a 10 miler and a 12 hour race?  If you are in that situation, then DM me on Twitter and I will tell you how I train for cases like that.  Then, take my advice and do the exact opposite.

So you know the distance you are running, what next?

It is a picture of snow.  I am glad it is gone.

Good riddance Winter!

2. Pick a plan that is right for you.

“Why the <bleep> would I pick a plan that isn’t right for me?” you may be thinking?  Many plans have beginner/intermediate/advanced is a tendency sometimes “upgrade” or “downgrade” your ability when picking a plan.  If you are consistently running 15 miles a week, picking a plan that has you running 40 miles week 1 probably isn’t your best bet (unless you goal is to become injured in which case, go for it). If you only run 3 days a week, don’t pick a plan with 6 days of running.  You know your life (or in my case lack of one) so look for a plan that fits your life.

3. It’s a plan not a set of commandments

Training plans are just that—plans.  Sometimes you get sick and can’t run, sometimes there is a Pauly Shore marathon on TV (which BTW does NOT count in Earthathon even though it has marathon in the title), and sometimes you decide to give up on speed work because you are tired of your pig kicking your butt every time.  You need to flexible and realistic and accept that sometimes you will have to tweak your plan (and deal with all your Facebook friends taunting you for changing your plan from the comfort of their couch).

It is a picture of a toy pig with wings tucked into a warm bed.

The Pig is demonstrating how rest days are done. For the record the Pig is not on Facebook.

So now that you know some of the elements of a good plan I bet you are wondering:

4. What plan do I use?

I’m currently winging it with a couple of tempo runs T/Th, a long run on Sat and a recovery run on Sun.  However, I’m working on a 100 miler plan for supermodels.  Any volunteers to test it out?






Phalanges Friday


Running is a numbers game.  There are numbers like distance, pace, and most importantly how many doughnuts can you eat after each run (or beers you can drink if you are an evening runner).  One of the advantages (or disadvantages depending on your perspective) of having fairly stagnant race times for the last 20 years is that each of my training runs is run at a familiar pace.  It’s not like that pace is easy for me, (for many of you it would be cause for a hospital visit) but it there is a familiarity in running a long run around the same pace year after year.

Last year was really no different for me until the Army Run when I surprised myself in a good way and actually PRed that half marathon.  I wondered what was possible from a speed perspective but then went into marathon, 50K, and 24 hour race training and speed was put on the back burner (and trust me, the back burner NEVER gets used in the Running Lonely household).

After my 24 hour race, my recovery was fairly slow (insert me being slow joke here) and although I knew I could improve on my 10 miler time as a goal for the spring, my expectations were modest. I went out Tuesday to run my race pace effort and surprised myself with the first mile having a first digit that I hadn’t seen since, oh, 1994 or so (and back in those days it was sundials that measured time (OK, that was the 80s)).  I surprised myself, and then I further shocked myself by doing it for the next 3 miles as well.  I slowed down a bit for the last 2.2, but it was the best 10K time since the 80s.  Sure it was still 10+ minutes off my PR for a 10K, but the digits were smaller than in a long time.  All of a sudden it clicked in my brain that all my runs recently were faster than in previous years.

And you wondered how I was going to work phalanges into this post.

A picture of Krocus?  Flowers for Friday

Flowers for Friday. Better pic than normal for this blog.

So my running game plan is beginning to become a little more in focus.  Though I have to admit, in focus is a relative term.

I signed up for Marine Corps 17.75K which is in two weeks.  For those not in the DC area, 1775 was the year the Marine Corps was founded.  If only it had been something like the year 320. Since 17.75 K is fairly close to a 10 miler (11.03 for those keeping score at home) I should be able to run it fairly easily since I was already training for a 10 miler. The hills give me some pause since I haven’t been training on hills recently, but I think it is doable despite the short time frame until the race.

After that will be the CUCB 10 miler.  I’m shooting to knock at least 5 and maybe 10 minutes off my time from last year.

Two weeks after that I have the George Washington Parkway 10 miler.

I am going to  make a run (pun intended) at breaking a 2 hour half marathon.  Since I don’t do well in heat, I am looking at signing up for a half in early May (Frederick running festival half marathon probably).  This gives me 4 races in 5 weeks.  I will have to meter my effort (or kilometer my effort as the case may be) in at least a couple of the races.  For sure the GW parkway 10 miler will need to be more of a training run than a flat-out effort.  My current thought (and I can only have one at a time, so be patient) is to run 1775K fairly hard but not flat-out, run CUCB 10 miler flat-out, GW Parkway 10 miler as a training run, and then trip the light fantastic for the Frederick half marathon.

Of course this plan is total BS because I will scream out like my hair is on fire for all the races and won’t understand why it doesn’t go my way.  It makes me feel better to have a plan, so just all pretend for a moment that I might execute it.

Moment is over.

I realize this isn’t the smartest racing strategy if my real goal is to break a 2 hour half.  But I think the digits on this one are in my favor and I can pull this off without resorting to raising the middle one.  Next week I’ll talk about my plans for the rest of the year (assuming I figure them out between now and then).

Have a pigtastic weekend!




My Imaginary Tour Of Runner’s World

I’ve never been to Runner’s World Headquarters in Pennsylvania, but after a discussion with a Jen at Crazy Cupcake Runner about how meetings would be different if runners were in change; I wondered how things must be working at Runner’s World HQ.  Here is how I imagine it:

1. There is a start banner on top of the entrance and “Eye of the Tiger” is playing on the loudspeakers.

2. Unless injured, NOBODY takes the elevator.

3. The hallways are made of the same material as a track and have lane markers.

4. There are no coat racks, but they do have bag check.

5. There are no candy jars, but rather jars full of GU packets.

6. Saying you are going to a meeting is code for a group run.

7. Don’t worry, they drew the line at porta potties.

8. When every issue of Runner’s World is published, all employees get a medal.

9. The gym has a ton of treadmills and one very lonely rowing machine.

10. The cafeteria is like the ultimate in carb loading.

11.Training plans are mandatory.

12. Employees get foam rolling breaks.

13. Every day is casual Friday, though if you have to dress up, you wear compression socks.

14. Not only do the water coolers have electrolyte-infused water, they have interns passing out cups of water.

15. Except interns are called “volunteers”.

16. The drink machines have every sports drink imaginable.

17. You can tell the newbies because they run in place at the copier machine.

18. Tables with bananas and bagels are everywhere.

19. The office numbers are old race bibs.

20. Post-publication massages are the norm.

21. The exit has a finish line banner over it, but like most jobs, I doubt you get an award for finishing first.



OK, the Pig in snow has nothing to do with Runner's World other than the Pig would like to visit.

OK, the Pig in snow has nothing to do with Runner’s World other than the Pig would like to visit.

Cherry Blossom Training Update and A Pig Unicorn Selfie

As you have probably noted by now, I changed the header from my InkNBurn sugar skull shirt to the Pig.  Why?  At Running Lonely Central we try not to ask questions like that (the puzzled looks get to be too much after a while).

It is odd writing a post where I know the first thing most people are going to do is look for the Pig unicorn selfie. Well, I can’t really blame you. Even I find my training updates less exciting (probably because of the level of training), but hey, with a side of Pig unicorn selfie, it at least is a little more fun.

The training for the CUCB 10 miler is going reasonably well given the weather in the DC area (snowy).  The weather caused me to bring my training indoors during the week for two treadmill pace runs.  The Tuesday ones have been around 7 miles with Thursday being closer to 6.5.  We the reemergence of light in the evening and banishment of ice,  I will probably go back to the Mount Vernon trail for at least one of my weekday runs so I won’t have to compete with the lacrosse/soccer teams for the lighted fields.  The soccer fields have been good for getting my hips to get more used to lateral movement but I get pressed for times at least on Tuesday from teams using the fields (and my desire to get thumped by a lacrosse ball is limited).

The long runs are up in the 12 mile range.  I may move them up to 14 or so before I start backing my mileage off for the race.  Sunday runs have inched their way up to 5 miles or so with swimming at least one day a week and biking one day a week (I’d swim two days a week if they would stop having swim meets).

From a mileage perspective I am doing better than last year.  From a pace perspective I am doing better than last year but still need to hone in at what pace I will attempt for the race (like it matters, we all know I will get fired up at the start, scream out too fast, and then hang on for dear life for most of the race; just let me have the illusion of having a plan).  I feel that knocking 5 minutes off my time from last year’s race is doable. I am starting to wonder how much more I can do than that.

All in all the training is going well for the 10 miler; the better question is what comes next.  For that, we will stand by to stand by.

Now here is what everyone really wants to see.

Telling you it is a Pig unicorn selfie probably doesn't help much.

Pig unicorn selfie with Washington monument. GW would be so proud.  I like the reflection of the Pig on the car.

And a bonus pic.

Snow cave and the Pig

Snow cave and the Pig, something every 49 year old male wants to blog about



Phantom Friday

Fortunately for all of us Friday isn’t a phantom, but is real (unless you are reading this on Thursday night then all bets are off).

I mostly publish this blog 3 days a week (Sun night, Tuesday night, Late Thursday/early Friday).  Since much of what I write is made up (just in case you were wondering if I eat half a pizza before my races) I will put together drafts of posts together in advance. However, sometimes my brain kicks in and I leave the post in permanent draft state.  Sometimes the idea is decent but I have not figured out the hook to make it sufficiently funny (long time readers of this blog are wondering just how low a bar that is).  An example of this is 50 Shades of Foam Rolling.  The idea is good, but so far the execution is flat so I am holding off on this one.  Another example of a draft state posts are ones that I think I know what will happen, but it doesn’t happen that way.  The best example of this was I had written months in advance the intro for my Marine Corps Marathon post.  When I wrote it I expected to get my butt handed to me (and yes, it would take a crane).  However, the race went better than that (though not exactly great either) and I ended up writing the post from scratch.

A picture of a pink rose with some purple flower I can't indentify.

Flowers for Friday

What does this have to do with running?  I feel like this year is still in draft form.  After last week’s post a couple of people suggested that I find a new goal for the year.  I have been trying to come up with a goal, but nothing really is capturing my attention.  I keep toying with a half marathon since I think I can break 2 hours finally after coming up surprisingly close at last year’s Army Run in Ottawa.  There is a one in Virginia Beach in a few weeks but I can’t get excited about it.  I also thought about a 100 mile race, or placing in my age group in a race (a Running Lonely can dream can’t he).  Nothing is capturing my attention like my 24 hour race did last year.

So i guess for now I will just hit save and think see if any of these ideas hit the light of day or if they just stay in draft form forever.



Picture of Yellow Tulips.  This one I can identify.

Bonus Flowers for Friday