On the Prowl

So I don’t know what to do with my Friday posts (well other this is being published on Thursday night).  I have been doing the alliterative thing on Friday (nice job Marsden using a word like “alliterative” and following it up with the thoroughly descriptive word “thing”).

Flowers for Friday stays

Flowers for Friday stays (even if it is Thursday)

I’ve had an either allergies or a cold this week.  Nothing too horrible, except tomorrow I have my first real trail ultra (my first fake one was Decker’s Creek Half Marathon and that was mostly on rails to trails so hardly counts and The Nutcracker 12 Hour Race was also rails to trails).  Icy-8 (8 for eight hours, icy for well…icy and muddy and all the thing hard-core trail runners love (me, I prefer warm sheets)) is on Saturday.  I have figured out a way to deal with work and be able to run the race (by figure I mean I just will run on three hours of sleep).

My cold probably won’t keep me out, but I may try to play it smart (a first) and not run all 8 hours (whenever I talk about playing something smart I almost invariably do the dumb thing).  Now that I am typing this, it sounds like I am coming up with a pre-excuse.  Well, I may not be a great running, but when it come to coming up with lame excuses, it is a core competency of mine.

Not sure which shoes I am going to wear.  I am likely to break the first rule of running by wearing something new on race day.  If it is icy/snowy I will wear yak tracks or my Salomon Speedcross 3s for the first time.  Hello blisters!  I wouldn’t typically try a new pair of shoes on race day, but I don’t have occasion to wear the Speedcross in standard Mount Vernon Trail running (it’s paved).  So, I figure I am better trying something new if the trail is crappy than wearing a pair of shoes that isn’t suited to the course.

If you are wonder why I am bothering with a race that is so not in my wheelhouse I am trying to get some experience with trail running and more importantly adapting to changing trail conditions (instead of tippy toeing through 1/8 inch puddles on the road).  This will help (I hope) with getting ready for Umstead 50 miler in April and eventually Javelina Jundred in October.

Another, just because.

Another, just because there is enough ugliness in the world so enjoy the beauty where you find it.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with Friday posts (maybe move to Selfie Saturday? (maybe not)).  If anyone has any brilliant ideas, I would love to steal them.

Hopefully I will have excuse filled race report next week.  Until then I hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden.

 

2 Year Blogiversary

Well it has been two years since I have started this blog.  It simultaneously seems like a very short and very long time ago.  When I started this blog, I hadn’t run more than 6 miles at once in over a year and a half, and had never entered a race longer than a half marathon.  Contrast that to this year where I have already signed up for 3 ultra marathons. OK, so my so-called sanity hasn’t improved over the last two years but at least my long runs are longer.

Is the blog the reason I am able to do this? Maybe or maybe not, though I will admit that ultras lend to funnier race reports (if you are out running for 12 hour something funny is bound to happen (though being honest, this being me, a 5K is probably long enough for something catastrophic/humorous to happen).

For me running is a very solitary pursuit (the origins of the name of the blog), but this blog (and social media in general) allow some connection between my running and the rest of the world. I know that if I want to pull the cord at hour 5 of a 12 hour race I will end up having to blog about it so at minimum I have decide whether it is easier to keep going for 7 hours, or come up with a sufficient excuse to why I stopped (aliens ate my Buick).  Well all that and it gives me a chance to be a smart ass, and I always enjoy that given the chance.

When I started the blog I had less than 100 Twitter followers and less than 10 people read my original blog post (feel free to read it if you want) when it was first published.  I had no idea what I was doing when I started the blog.  I still don’t, but I least readily understand that now so even this old dog can learn a few new tricks (like for instance my long runs are indistinguishable from playing dead).   There are some followers that have been here from the start (Hi Kevin and Christina), some have come and gone (and come back again), and there are always new followers who will stop by and check the blog out. A few don’t even run away screaming (and to those who do, I like to think I am helping them with their speed work).

I realize this blog is a tad on the unusual side. It can be funny (sometimes), serious (on rare occasion), and it can be both within a two paragraph span.  The audience is small, and I have pretty much gone out of my way to keep it that way (introverts unite! (maybe not)). This blog will never be compared to Mileposts, but I have The Pig, so I have that going for me.

Another way of dealing with guys who wear too much cologne

The Pig is having a bang-up time

In these posts I usually ponder where I am going to take the blog next, but this time honestly I don’t know.  I need to come up with a new format for Friday (don’t worry I’ll keep the flowers).  I should redesign the site, but that takes time, effort, and by this point you have probably figured out I don’t put too much of either into this blog.  Maybe I’ll do a redesign if I start selling The Pig T-shirts and compression shorts.  In either case I will keep using smart-ass tags for the blog posts (look at the bottom of the post if you haven’t seen them before).  I will keep trying to be funny with the hopes that one day I may get it right.  There will be race reports, bad running song posts, pictures of The Notorious P-I-G and a selfie or two thrown in just to keep people on their toes.

I want to thank you for reading the blog.  Without you, I would just be talking to myself. Although my friends and neighbors are used to it, it is better to have the responses not be me using a falsetto voice.

Monkey Blanket!

Monkey Blanket! 

So, thanks and here’s to another year of blogging!

Later,

Marsden

 

 

 

 

 

Talk to Your Doctor

You know how drug commercials have disclaimers? (side effects may include bleeding from your eye sockets, death by squirrel, and a desire to listen to Kenny G) However, running generally doesn’t come with its own set of disclaimers.  Well, other than talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.  Does anyone actually do that?  Here is some ways I imagine the conversation going:

Me: I am thinking about going taking up running

Doctor: Hell no, I need you to be in as crappy shape as possible so I can keep the payments up on my yacht.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Me: I am going to start running.

Doctor: <snort>

Me: <STARE>

Doctor: Oh, you were serious.  Sure, knock yourself out. Well, not literally, that would be malpractice and I have yacht payments to think about.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Me: I have started running ultras, I ran a 24 hour race.

Doctor: Like straight?

Me: Yes. But I am not sure what my sexual orientation has to do with it.

Doctor:

Me:

———————————————————————————————————————-

Me: I am going to start running.

Doctor: If only I were a chiropractor, I would soon be able to buy my own island.

———————————————————————————————————————

Me: I may start running.

Doctor: It doesn’t mean you can eat everything in sight.

Me: Oh.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Me: What do you think about me taking up running for exercise?

Doctor: Sounds smarter than most of your life choices if your blood work results are any indication.

———————————————————————————————————————

Aren’t you glad you aren’t my doctor?

Fortunately for me blogs are not required to have disclaimers (side effects may include bleeding from your eye sockets…)

Later,

Marsden

Factory Friday

For those who don’t follow my Twitter or Instagram accounts (and there are some of you oddly enough) I survived the couple of feet of snow we got the last week.  It was bad enough that the National Weather Service couldn’t find the board they use to measure snow because it was covered in snow.  Yeah, try to explain that one to your boss.

From the National Gallery of Canada (where a piece of my artwork was displayed (no I am not talking about on the bathroom stall))

From the National Gallery of Canada (where a piece of my artwork was once displayed (no I am not talking about on the bathroom stall)). Per the norm around here it has nothing to do with the post.

Since it doesn’t look like I will get to run Icy-8, I was looking at ultrasignup for other races and ran across this race. https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=36851  I have heard of a beer mile and even a beer half marathon, but a 24 hour race where you have to drink a beer every 4 mile lap? That is a case where you would need to watch your pacing in more than one respect.  If you need a good chuckle, read the levels of membership. 

No, I won’t be running it since it is the same day as my 50 miler, Umstead.

I am however looking at the Naked Bavarian (hmm that sounds dirty.  I think just saying I am entering the Naked Bavarian is going to cause some issues).  NB is a 40 miler and is a trail race and would be good prep and would make for a blog post as long I didn’t post pictures of myself.  I thought about TJ100K for a moment, but I am too much of a wimp at the moment for that course and it is probably too close to Umstead to allow for proper recovery (no, I don’t know what Naked Bavarian recovery looks like, but I will leave it to your imagination).

Well, I have hopefully elicited a giggle or two so I will leave you with your Flowers for Friday.  Have a Pigtastic weekend all!

 

Flowers for Friday. This is from my trip to Ottawa. You are still thinking about the Naked Bavarian aren't you?

Flowers for Friday. This also was from my trip to Ottawa in 2014. You are still thinking about the Naked Bavarian aren’t you?  For the record I was born just outside of Bavaria in Frankfurt.  Not that such a fact really matters in this discussion.

Later,

Marsden

 

 

Agony of de Feet

If you are a runner, your feet are really important.  Let’s be honest, this is where the rubber hits the road.

Yes, it is going to be one of THOSE posts

 But let’s be honest, runner’s feet are not the most attractive part of their body.  Well, to be blunt, a runner’s soul mate doesn’t have a foot fetish.  However, as bad as it may be, there is no sense going out of your way to make it worse (not that it ever stops me in other parts of my life).  Here are a few tips to help keep you on your toes when it comes to your feet (I did warn you it’s one of those posts).

Shoes

First and foremost, wear running shoes. I know there is a whole barefoot movement but if you live somewhere where there is glass and other debris on the street, I would recommend wearing shoes unless you want your feet to resemble a pound of ground round (it is also one of THOSE posts).  Now that you have made the big step to wear running shoes, then what?

What does this have to do with your feet? Absolutely nothing, but who wants to look at some nasty looking foot pics?

What does this have to do with your feet? Absolutely nothing, but who wants to look at some nasty looking foot pics?

Heresy Time

What I am about to say is heresy, but you will get more mileage out of your feet if you do the following—DON’T CHOOSE YOUR RUNNING SHOES BASED SOLELY ON COLOR. Before you get your pitchfork and torches out, let me try to explain.  There are several qualities in a shoe beyond color that will help your feet:

  1. Type of shoes–don’t choose the Speedcross 3 trail shoe is you spend all your time on the road and don’t take your Nimbus to Hardrock 100.  Pick the type of shoe that works for the type of running you do (though in my case they don’t make slow shoes (but do make snow shoes).
  2. Try them on.  You don’t want to squeeze your foot like it was in a sausage casing (sorry if this brought up an image in me in compression tights).  Equally you don’t want so much extra space that you slide into the front of the shoe and turn your toenails as black as a bottle of Jack Daniels.
  3. Try them out. If I had a dollar for every time I had a pair of shoes that felt good in the store, but not on the road, well, it wouldn’t matter because I would just spend it on more  running shoes.

Blisters

The number 18 question I get on this blog is “How do I prevent blisters?” Well I smother my feet in Trail Toes to the point where they resemble something out of the movie Alien, but hey, that’s just me. Just don’t use molasses.  Just don’t ask me why I know this.

 Socks

What is the number one cause of blisters?  If you said tequila, you are wrong, but I like your one track mind. Moisture can lead to blisters, so don’t use cotton socks unless you like looking like you are always walking on hot coals.

Any Other Advice?

Never get involved in a land war in Asia?

Later,

Marsden

Award Season

The Academy Award nominations are out and only my legs are whiter. Despite my qualifications, in a time-honored tradition, I didn’t get nominated for squat.   My yearly rejection by the Academy (who I might mention has not cornered the market on rejecting me) got me to thinking about awards they should give out in running.  I’m not talking “Runner of Year”.  That would only add to my rejection list.  I am thinking about award that I might have a shot at.

Best Excuse for a Bad Race

Anyone can come up with an excuse like “The weather was bad”, but to win this award you have to be creative like “I was tired because I had to stop Kenny Rodgers from stealing a panda”.

Best Excuse for a Bad Training Run

Hey you can’t expect to make up a good excuse for a bad race if you don’t hone your craft (or crap as the case may be) in training runs.

The Pig makes a snow fox. Well I think that is what it is. I have learned the hard way not to ask these types of questions of The Pig.

The Pig makes a snow fox. Well I think that is what it is. I have learned the hard way not to ask these types of questions of The Pig.  No, that has nothing to do with awards.

Best Use Of Duct Tape During a Run

 Duct tape can be used from everything from nipple guard to keeping sand out of your shoes.  But only the best use will get this award.

Best Flying Pig During an Ultra

Well we know who will win this one.

The Pig flies around the Across the Years course. Unfortunately he found the food tent and that was the end of his race.

The Pig flies around the Across the Years course. Unfortunately he found the food tent and that was the end of his race.

Best Running Wardrobe  

Don’t pretend you have never thought about your running outfit.  If you are going to do it anyway–own it.

Best Snack During a Race

Oh, great—now I am hungry.  Well maybe I should go eat something and work on my running excuses.

Later,

Marsden

Fully Friday

So it is going to snow in the DC area this weekend.  For this area that is a reason to go into full panic mode much like when you find out your favorite running shoe is being discontinued.

The forecasts have been from 12-40 inches.  Neither are likely, but even 15 inches would be the number 9 snowstorm of all time in this area (for those who care 28 inches is the top one and was in 1922 (Snowmagedon was 17.8 inches and is number 4 on the list) ). 12 inches is bad, but at 40 inches this might be the last you hear from me (Oh, stop rooting for that. There are perfectly nice people who would be impacted, not just me (like The Pig)).

The snow may cause havoc on my long run.  20 miles in the snow sounds badass, but collapsing and not being found for a week  would be a risk, and probably not one worth taking. Then again, doing 3-4 hours on the treadmill sounds about as enticing as a kale flavored gel.

My next race, Icy-8, may be in jeopardy due to a work obligations. I have to be a part of something called continuity of operations planning (COOP) which is a nice way of saying that your entire network isn’t working due to <fill in your favorite disaster here> and you have to go to a back up site. It requires me to be available and running an 8 hour race doesn’t really fit that very well. Stay tuned for developments.

So I hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend.  Stay safe and enjoy your flowers for Friday.

Later,

Marsden

 

Flower for Friday. Yes I could have edited out my foot, or turn the picture but I didn't. Maybe is is Flowers for Friday plus a foot (hopefully not of snow)

Flower for Friday. Yes I could have edited out my foot, or turn the picture to the correct orientation, but I didn’t. Maybe is is Flowers for Friday plus a foot (hopefully not of snow)

Blog comment fun

#protip Don't play King of the Snow Mountain with the Pig

#protip Don’t play King of the Snow Mountain with the Pig

Unless you say something totally outrageous (as in threatening to kill me, not like “hill repeats are fun”) I will allow just about any comments be posted on my blog. I figure if you went to the trouble of figuring out how to comment on the blog (it’s not easy) then you should get your comment published.   The one exception is SPAM which I automatically block.  Honestly my SPAM filter is the only one who does any real work around here.  However, I have noticed that my SPAM sometimes is more interesting than my blog posts, so I thought I would post a sampling of the comments I get.

“This is an nice weblog around here. I think I will visit your website again if u post more of the information. Thanks a lot for posting this info.”

OK, NOBODY reads this blog for info.  Almost nobody would describe this blog as “nice”. So obviously SPAM.

“I see, that your blog needs fresh and unique articles.
I know it’s hard to write content manually everyday,
but there is solution for this…”

OK, they have me pegged, but anyone reading this blog knows I wouldn’t spend any money for content. A new pair of compression socks–yes. Content–no.

“The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if
it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad
is now broken and she has 83 views. “

So is it your iPhone or iPad? Make up your mind and next time tell your cousin to try it from at least 100 feet. Hell, this blog can get 83 views with somewhat less destruction.

“If I attended a nearby restaurant for lunch I would ask for a sign up for box at the beginning of my meal.”

Good for you! Bad for the English language! (I know, pot-kettle, kettle-pot)

“I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I
never found any interesting article like yours.”

You need a new surf board.

“we think ur weblog was much helpful for me. when you keep up this perfect work I’ll visit again to ur website.”

When I saw the spam was from sexdating, I knew right away that there was nothing on this blog that would be helpful (well if that is not the case for you, let’s just keep that special fact to yourself).

“No one can do it better than you.”

Now if only that came from sexdating…

Later,

Marsden

Are you a real runner? The third definitive quiz.

There has been some confusion and discussion in the running community on what constitutes  a “real runner”.  Well I have put out two quizzes in the past to help once and for all determine the “gold standard” for a “real runner”.  Alas, those quizzes didn’t seem to end the controversy, so I have drunk a six pack done exhaustive research and have come up with a new quiz guaranteed to determine if you are a real runner (I’ll give you one hint, if anyone asks if you read this blog, the answer is NO!).

Here is how the scoring goes for the quiz:

For each A answer give yourself 1 point

For each B answer give yourself 2 points

For each C answer give yourself 3 points

For each D answer, slap yourself because there are no questions with the answer “D”

Remember no cheating.  The pig is watching and will enforce the rules to the letter.

OK, maybe he isn't watching too carefully, but don't cheat anyway.

OK, maybe he isn’t watching too carefully, but don’t cheat anyway. 

1. For a training plan you…

A. Plan to sometimes run, does that count?

B. I go on-line, find a reputable plan, and use that.

C. I hire a coach and talk to them on an hourly basis to optimize my training.

2. When hitting the ground, you want to hit on…

A. My forefoot

B. My heel

C. Anything but my face

3. It is 5 minutes before the race starts and you have to pee. You…

A. Hold it. I am not going to miss the start.

B. Stay in line for the porta potty. That is why chip timing was invented.

C. Scream there is a zombie attack and then use the porta potty when everyone leaves screaming.

4. Your pacing strategy for races is:

A. Start out full throttle and hang on for dear life.

B. Start out a slow and then pour it on in the 2nd half.

C. Get to the finish line with a minimum of vomit on your shirt.

5. Your knee started to hurt a bit in your last run. You

A. Take a couple of days off to let it heal.

B. Foam roll your knee until you roll it into submission.

C. Turn yourself into a KT Tape mummy and post pictures on Instagram.

So the moment of truth has arrived.  I know everyone is nervous, but total up the points and let the chips fall where they may.

0-4 Points. You either thought this quiz was so stupid you refused to participate, or you are very bad at math.  However, you got this far in reading this blog, so you are a real runner.

5-9 Points. Congrats! You are a real runner.

10-14 Points. I can tell you have been doing this a while and you indeed are a real runner.

15 Points. Although sometimes you are a bit nuts, you are a real runner.

Over 15 Points. You are either bad at math or actually want to try your luck in a cage match with The Pig.

What did I score? I wasn’t able to add up my points after my head started ringing when I kept answering D.

Later,

Marsden

Awards all around!

Awards all around!

Flipping Out Friday

This week I was in meltdown mode.  Stress from work, training, and life in general all spiked at exactly the same time.

Fortunately for all of us, other than the first two sentences I dismissed my original musings with a tap of the delete key (if only I could use that in the rest of my life).  Not because they weren’t feelings I had, but because they weren’t about the me that I believe who I am.  I have a tendency when things go wrong to let my mind spiral out of control. I have to remind myself that things are rarely as bad as it seems (or as good).  It’s a bit like running that way.  One moment you can’t run another step and the next you are charging up a hill (or my version of it anyway).  I prefer charging up hills.

So here’s to the weekend.  Hope you all have a Pigtastic weekend!  Here is your Flowers for Friday.

Later,

Marsden

fff

I have no snappy caption for this photo. Deal.