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

Ritual and Guesswork

If I could figure out what it takes to have a great race each time out, I would sell my secret and make a fortune (and would be on a beach somewhere and wouldn’t be blogging so it would be a win-win all the way around).  However, even after 33+ years of racing, I don’t have a feel for when races will go well (Army Run) vs. when they will go in the crapper (Philly half).  Even when it is obvious I should not do as well in a race (running 1775K on a tougher course a week after a hard effort in the Cherry Blossom 10 miler) sometime I crank out a good race (for me, in absolute terms, middle of the pack).  I obviously don’t understand (or execute) the science of running properly, so I rely on rituals and guesswork to get me to the finish line.  Here are some of my mojo tricks:

1. Race Outfits

Yes I wear InkNBurn to each race, but I base which shirt/shorts combination I wear based on training runs and how previous races have gone in that outfit.  If the weather dictates, I will wear a singlet if I have to (side note, I don’t like singlets and hate the way I look in them, but since I did OK in the Army Run, they are on the approved list if the temp is going to be warm enough).  Socks are equally vetted with a pair of white socks that have done well in the past for light-colored shirts and a pair of black (varies based on my best training run for that cycle) for dark-colored shirts.  The Monster knee brace is the same for all races (and come to think of it I have PRed every race I have used it in (2)). I have white and black visors if the temps are warm and it may rain (which oddly enough I usually reverse the color of the shirt).  If it isn’t going to be warm I won’t wear a cap unless it is really cold then I wear my lucky red cap.  I wear compression shorts if it isn’t supposed to rain, but I did well enough in my last race I am considering ditching them (don’t worry, I will still have shorts on– I don’t look THAT stupid in a singlet that nobody would notice I am not wearing shorts).  Of course Marine Corps Marathon is a longer race, so maybe I should keep them.  Not sure on that one.  Basically what I am trying to say is that I spend more time picking a single race outfit than I do in picking a month worth of work clothes.

2. Shoes

I have gone from the Hokas back to my Nimbus but before the Army Run I had to choose between the Nimbus 15 and 16.  I did several very unscientific runs in both of the versions to determine which to wear in my last race.  However, my last pace run went great in the Nimbus 15s, and that is what I wore to the Army Run despite the fact that color of the shoes would best be described as Bozo the Clown Nose Red.

Nimbus 15 in BTCNR with a standard pink pig with solar powered wings

Nimbus 15 in BTCNR with a standard pink pig with solar powered wings

Between the shoes and my singlet, let’s just say I didn’t make any of the women in Ottawa swoon (maybe it was because it was raining).

This is a much better looking outfit, but I got my ass kicked the next day at the race so the shirt has been banded from races

This is a much better looking outfit, but I got my ass kicked the next day at the race so the shirt has been banded from races.  Mirror selfie, so classy.

3. Pre Race Food

I’m too lazy to wake up two hours before the start of most races to eat a pre-race meal. I am starting to rethink this based on my last two races where I actually had breakfast (almond butter sandwich for one and peanut butter sandwich for the other (and I PBed!).  This is washed down with a sugar-free Red Bull (or as one of my followers calls it–Poison).  Then for races of double-digit miles, I will take a gel right before the start.  Note to those reading this who may be may not to be at the front of the race (OK that is only me).  Don’t take the gel until 15 minutes or so be YOU will be running.  Take into consideration how long it will take you to actually hit the start line once the gun goes off.  Many people who actually eat a real breakfast don’t take a pre-race gel, so consult your ouija board.

4. Fluid

For long races I use a hydration pack.  For less than a marathon distance (oh, you don’t know how weird it is to type that statement) I will carry a bottle and pitch it at the first water stop after 4 miles. What is in the water bottle?  It had varied.  At the start of the year I had an interesting combo of Beet Elite/Red Bull/HDX Hydration mix.  In the last race I just used a packet of Scratch Lab Emergency hydration (used for people who sweat profusely like me). Having a bottle helps avoid the crush at the first couple of water stops (or if they run out of water at the first couple of stops).

5. During race gels

I will typically take a gel every 45 minutes or so (based on where the water stops are).  I am fortunate in the fact that most any gel works reasonably for me.  I have recently been using GU Roctane and Hammer Gel with Sport Bean for longer races.

6. Post Race

OK, at this point my mojo has either worked (yea!) or not–blog time :(    However, I try to get some calories in quickly after the race.

If none of that works, I sacrifice a rubber chicken.  At least this way, I understand why nobody talks to me after races.

Later,

Marsden

My Running Leash

I don’t like to drive my car to go running unless it is  far away enough to justify the drive (like into the mountains to escape the heat of DC summer).  Because of this, I have what I call my running leash (and you 50 shade fans are going to be disappointed in the explanation).  Basically I walk about a mile from my home to the Mount Vernon trail entrance at Crystal City (in Arlington VA for those not from this area).  Once I reach that point, my runs and running routes are limited by how far I can run and then turn around and get back home (thus my term running leash). Now the good news is that 6 mile radius can take me to a lot of interesting places (well, to the degree the Capitol is interesting).

No, Congress hasn't started decorating for Christmas yet.  It's from last year.  Got the moon in the back ground as well.  Though in two months it will be up and lit.  In three months it will be 2015. In this sentence I took the joke too far.

No, Congress hasn’t started decorating for Christmas yet. It’s from last year. Got the moon in the back ground as well. Though in two months it will be up and lit. In three months it will be 2015. In this sentence I took the joke too far.

I can also run through Hains Point which is great during Cherry Blossom season and pretty nice the rest of the time (bathrooms AND water).

Cherry blossom.  A rare shot without a tourist in the background.

Cherry blossoms. A rare shot without a tourist in the background.  Fun to run if you get there before the hordes (or you like weaving in and out of hordes).

But this week I went 17 miles so my leash got a bit longer (same choke collar though).  Given my new-found freedom, I decided to go on the C&O Canal Path ( Chesapeake & Ohio Canal )for those who like to have their acronyms spelled out) and the Capital Crescent Trail.  No pictures (still haven’t quite gotten in that pictures while running mode) but maybe next week.  Although my routes don’t vary that much(I  can draw you a picture of just about every crack in the path around the airport), I actually like running new places. Running somewhere new may make me rethink my no driving to run policy. Then again, maybe I just need to figure out how to run further without screwing up my knee.
Since I disappointed at least some of you with my leash talk (and greatly relieved others), I will throw some “stuff Marsden does when he isn’t running orbloggin”.  Aftermymassage on Saturday I went to the Del Ray Art Festival (the festival was right in front of the place I getmymassage so it wasn’t like I could avoid it). One, it made me feel a little better about my art.  Not that I could sell my stuff (or would try in any case), but I felt that my creativity was just as good as anyone else there (other than the person selling t-shirts of a sloth taking down the Titanic–that is just inspired).   I didn’t buy anything (I REALLY thought about the sloth shirt). It was also just nice to walk around the festival and enjoy a nice sunny day.  I know normal people do this stuff all the time, but I typically find myself feeling more alone in crowds but yesterday it wasn’t so bad.

Del Ray Art Festival.  I was around people and lived to tell the tale (at least as long to post on my blog)

Del Ray Art Festival. I was around people and lived to tell the tale (at least as long to post on my blog)

Don't ask.

I did not attend how to make a shark out of a sock. Wonder how that shark soup would turn out.

Long run went OK this weekend, but my legs were shot by the time I stopped at mile 17.  Given the long-term weather forecast for Marine Corps Marathon (warmish for October) I may need to rethink my goal pace.  I will give you the low-down in another post (and you thought you had nothing to live for).

One last note.  Get a flu shot (for those places that have it available).  No, it is not perfect for preventing the flu, but it provides some protection.  If nothing else, think of it as some race insurance.

Later,
Marsden

Friday Gut Check, I Mean Pour

Well it is Friday and it has been a couple of weeks since I poured my guts out about personal stuff (sorry if you were eating while reading that).   This time it is more stuff I am thinking about (which I guess by definition is personal even with my so-called mind). So as they say, here goes nothing.

1. One of the nice things about my trip to Ottawa was that I didn’t think about work for 5 days.  I can’t tell you how unusual that is for me (but this being a blog, I am going to try anyway).  Usually it takes 2-3 days on a vacation for me to unwind and not think about work.  As soon I left for the airport, my work angst just flew away (it didn’t have to get a boarding pass) and didn’t come back, even when I tried to explain what the heck I do for a living (note to self, don’t try to explain it next time, just say you work with computers for the government.  Better they think you are a spy than a drooling idiot).  I think part of the reason I didn’t really think about work is that Ottawa was a new place for me to visit and I had to think the last time I went somewhere new (OK, Virginia Beach in March, but before that it had been a while). I wondered why that was and I decided to look up the top 50 cities in the US by population and there is only 1 east of the Mississippi I haven’t been to (Detroit (not high on my list of places to go)) .  Since I am babbling, there are 11 places west of the Mississippi on the list I haven’t been to, but only a couple that I have much of an interest in visiting.

2. I have been thinking about next year’s running goals (to stop me thinking about this year’s running reality).  Part of me wants to make a run at another half marathon PR (and part of me thinks that I went 21 years between PRs the first time, and 10 years since last time, so maybe next year is kidding myself). Other ideas I have been kicking about is doing a half marathon in every Canadian province in one year (10 if you are counting). Sounds cool, but there is the money factor (1K+ per trip minimum) and Prince Edward Island in February isn’t my idea of a fun race.  Still sounds like a cool goal.  I could see how many states I could run some sort of race during one year.  That would be a ton of driving on the east coast (and some trips out west).  Cool in some respects, but with my age recovery is more of a challenge, so I kind of doubt that racking up races is the right challenge for me.  Maybe overseas races?  If it turns out I like timed 24 HR races, I have scoped one in Iowa and one in San Fransisco for next year (and if I don’t like them, I have scoped out where my couch is).  I know I want to run the Mount Washington Road Race (motto, “only one hill” (should be “only one 5000 ft climb in 7.33 miles”). Well, I have some time to think about it and I always take suggestions (including “please avoid my city/state/hemisphere”(just send money)).

3. It still irks me that Canada gets pumpkin scones and we didn’t in the US until this week.  To top it off, the US had a new scone formula which isn’t as good.  I guess when you eat poutine Starbucks figures a little trans fat isn’t a problem.

The Pig doing his Godzilla imitation in Ottawa.  He didn't eat the city, but did enjoy the poutine and Thai food.

The Pig doing his Godzilla imitation in Ottawa. He didn’t eat the city, but did enjoy the poutine and Thai food.  It’s bad when your pig is funnier than you are.

4. I need to be more careful about my post race recovery.  I walked around 8 miles the day after my half and it wasn’t a smart thing to do.  I have margin time wise to recover before my next race, but I only have three weeks between Marine Corps Marathon and my Richmond 8K/Marathon/Make Your Own 50K so I will have to be smarter about my recovery.  I know you have been waiting since February for me to be smarter, so maybe this time will be the trick.

5. My blog stats suffered while I was out of the country.  I had the worst week since I started posting three times a week (July for those counting at home) and actually nobody visited the site the day I ran the Army Run.  Of course I did well in the race, so I am just assuming that instead of reading the blog, everyone was sending good vibes my way. In other news, Ottawa is back in third place in the cities that read this blog.  Running a race in a city is good for your blog stats BTW.  Also, the gap between Arlington (where I live) and DC is shrinking.  No idea why.

OK, nobody cares, but it allows me to make humorous comments in the caption, so deal

OK, nobody cares, but it allows me to make humorous comments in the caption, so deal. If you want to make the top 10, just hit reload a lot.

5.5 OK, maybe it is just me, but does a Dunkin Donut Munchkin sound good to you at mile 24 of a marathon?  It makes my stomach churn a bit just thinking about it.  I understand corporate sponsorship, but unless mile 25 is sponsored by a mop company, it just seems like a bad idea.

6. During the Army Run, I saw a woman was wearing the InkNBurn Dark Forrest Shirt  with the Robot Capris.  As I passed her, I said, “I like the InkNBurn combo”.  She gave me a look that I would describe as a combination of having the Grim Reaper show up at your doorstep and stepping in dog crap. I like to think it was that she was from Quebec and didn’t speak English.

Later,

Marsden

The ways to PR (or PB)

One of the many problems of aging is that it becomes harder and harder to run a PR (or PB if you aren’t from the US or you just like thinking of peanut butter all the time (or both)).  The most typical way to set a personal best (see, I WAS thinking of peanut butter) is to just run faster than you ever have before in a race of that distance.  This plan of attack requires hard work, hours training, and if you are me at my age, isn’t likely to happen.  However, since tossing away dreaming of records can be a demotivator, I have figured out a way to set PRs even though I am WAY past my prime.

1.  The yearly PR

This way of setting a PR is basically a “This is my best 5K of this year”.  This works best as a motivator if you run a lot of a certain type of race.  The nice benefit of this way of looking at PRs is that every year is a new set of PRs that can be set.  A variation of this theme is “this my best 10K since 2004″.

2. The Distance PR

The first time you ever run a race distance you get a PR (and maybe eat PB afterwards).  The problem is after a while you have competed most race distances.  Fear not, it is a odd world out there and there are two distance measurement systems to help you out.  1775K anyone?  Are you a Canadian with the same problem?  Well, here in the DC area we have a ton of 10 milers (The Cherry Blossom 10 miler being one).  30K anyone? Then there are timed races that can be as short as 6 Hours (and as an added bonus you get the same finishing time as the winner of the race (yes I will keep telling this joke)).  So there are a lot of options to come up with a distance PR.  Just don’t be like me and do them all in one year.

Pack Your Bags for a Locality PR

This one takes some planning and a little bit of luck.  You are reading the blog of the Illinois state champion at the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon in 2004.  OK, I was the only person from Illinois running the race, but even so, I was the champion. In my recent Army Run half Marathon I was the top placed male from Virginia (and yes a woman from Virginia blew my doors off to take the mythical Virginia title).  For this type of PR is it best to travel away from your home town and look through the past race results to determine if anyone who lives in your state/city/country has run this race in the past.

From the National Gallery Of Canada.  Doesn't really have anything to do with running.  It is pretty though and doesn't the world need more pretty?

From the National Gallery Of Canada. Doesn’t really have anything to do with running. It is pretty though and doesn’t the world need more pretty?

Race PRs

If you run one race often enough, you can also see what your PR for that particular race is.  This helps to motivate you to run courses that are hilly where you might not otherwise get a PR.  It also gives you a reason to start a tradition and run some races every year (which in my case mostly just reminds me of how old I am).

PR By Turning Your Garmin on during an Airplane flight

Wow, this lowered my 1 miler PR down to almost nothing.

Later,

Marsden