Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ten Simple Rules for Training

Read this blog and I generally agree.

1. Show up
2. Run hard twice a week
3. Go fast when you feel good
4. Don't chase numbers
5. Race your friends
7. Appreciate the good ones
8. Forget the bad ones
9. Enjoy
10. Believe

I would add:

11. Stay Healthy
12. Stay Consistent
13. Stay Motivated
14. Mix it up from time to time
15. Don't be afraid of the weather

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Glue Holds Us Together, Circa 2013

Personal Records in life are hard to achieve. Had once, the onion must be peeled back to find deeper levels of commitment, excellence, motivation, health, consistency, ad nauseam. Normalize by age, the unparalleled feeling of skill and determination needed to continue to PR in distance running races toes the tightrope of overtraining and burn out, to that of rest of recovery. Strike when the iron is hot; sometimes, sometimes not.

This year has been an incredible walk, this running thing. Circa 2013 feels like I’ve been lured into a spider’s web, at first a seemingly safe and comfortable zone soon struck with pain threshold and newfound hunger. An incomparable emotion this year has raised motivation levels to train harder, faster, higher, and stronger; I really love this running thing. It has made all elements of my life more satisfying. And all elements of my life today have made running even that much more enjoyable.

Helping fuel the ambition this year I have seen three different 5k PRs, and finally breaking the 17-minute barrier down to 16:40. The mile smacked me around at Goucher College, racing 4:51.7, ouch! I still cannot put together the right 10k race, but the 10-mile was 60:24 at Club Challenge, and the DC National Half saw 1:19:09 were nice PRs. The Boston Marathon this year on April 15th brought on its’ own challenges, but the 2:50:34 PR effort produced confidence. In total, I think seven (7) PRs this year have all come with the price of admission. Even the 2:57:25 PA Grand Canyon Marathon yielded a happy result, my highest finish at a marathon (3rd), and just an overall fun day on the hardest marathon course I’ve ever raced. A week of recovery and it was back to the training table Galloway with a 75 mile effort in a week, and several more 60-mile weeks thereafter.

Yet still, something feels wrong. It’s not my fitness, or training, or health, motivation, not any of that. It’s the “sport” of running and competitive racing. Why is the sport running out of steam? I’ll tell you why. It’s those darn WTF Runs”, you know the Color Run and the Savage Race. Oh wait, not those, it’s the Mud Run and the Tough Mudder. Or perhaps the issue is the Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniac, and Rebel Races? No, it’s got to be the Down and Dirty National Mud Run Series. Or the Flag run. Are you freaking kidding me, this is everything BUT running and racing.

Then you take an organization like Competitive Group Incorporated (CGI), who recently announced they are removing prize money, travel expenses, and other perks for elite runners. The sport of running already suffers; but then add stock holders and dolla dolla signs, and who really cares about the pesky train their butt off runner. The runners whom run 14 miles with 10-miles at Tempo pace on a 90 degree day because it’s on the schedule, the ones whom double a few times a week, and the ones who consistently run tired or on the verge of pain every day, just what about them? I tell you, it’s those darn WTF Runs. It’s killing the sport.

Take for instance, the recent Ravens 5k I just ran. With Jamal Lewis and Matt Stover at the starting line, the Ravens 5k had most everything, and almost a race. Matt Stover kicked a ball to nowhere as the starting gun, and the spectacle of a race was off, and what a joke it were. Racing up the Hamburg street bridge I felt strong and focused, and led the race from the start. Continuing in front through the hairpin U-turn (seriously, wtf CGI, we came to an abrupt stop on the turn around a cone stop), up the Ostend Street bridge & through the first mile in (5:06.40) to about mile 1.2 where I was getting drafted heavy and just killed pace to quit doing all the work. That only lasted another quarter mile & I fell back, beyond 1st and 2nd place as I was sucking wind bad in the 2nd mile. At one point we got ahead of the lead, and almost (literally) caught the pace car and nearly had to swerve?? We are the runners! Came through mile 2 in 5:42.63 (10:49.03) in a new 2-mile PR, but didn't fall apart in the stretch. In the Ravens Parking Lot I didn't know to turn left or right, because there were no markings or course marshals, and 4th place was very close behind and closing fast. I had to dive deep, and really deep. My feet were on fire the whole race, and up on my toes. Entering Ravens Stadium down the Shute I floored it past the cheerleaders, coming through mile 3 in 5:14.37 (16:03.4), entered the stadium with a strong 5-second lead, and they handed me a football with 1/10th mile to go & had to finish holding a football? Final 0.12 mile in :38.06 (16:41.46) on my watch, official in 16:40.00. WTF. The result was an immediate Lung collapse and snot nose, and sneezing. They took the practice ball in exchange for a piece of paper award.

I was happy with the work I put in, and ultimately ran a 28 second PR, got an Autographed Jamal Lewis #31 NFL football, a Ravens #1 Jersey, a medal, my first time under 17 minutes ever, met the Dunbar track coach, and got VIP dinner w/ CGI folks. All the perks for a local competitive runner, but I had mixed feelings. I was very happy with the work I put in, and I could not have run one (1) second faster that night. The issue I had is had there been any of a dozen of my teammates who showed up I would not have banked 3rd place overall. I would not have won a ravens jersey, an autographed Jamal Lewis #31 football, and I likely wouldn’t have run hard enough to PR by 28 seconds in the 5k. I ran angry, PO’ed. But why would I do such, and get so upset? I’m never going to be an elite runner, a runner that get’s their way paid. I’m not an entitled runner.

But I will tell you why. The sport needs it, and at a race with 2,500+ finishers, I should not get 3rd place overall, that’s why. It’s not because I don’t want to pump up my ego, Lord Jesus knows I have a large enough ego. It’s because we are losing the element of one runner toeing the line against another runner, and running to see who’s the fastest. Without competition, we lose zeal, zest, essence, the love of the unparalleled feeling of knowing I have the will to try something difficult, a task that most do not start, and having the skill to accomplish it. This isn’t something I ask for in one night; it’s something that has taken 13 years of nothing but distance running to help mold. It’s taken 28 years of competitive sports to mold. It doesn’t happen on the couch.

So, keep running your heart out, or go eat it Rick Springfield. This Rowdy Rowdy Piper is going to go rip a piece of Two Forty Something X in his next marathon; or go down in a blaze of guts trying. After all, it’s just racing. And for the record, the Maryland Marathon in 1978 saw my running mentor Irv Zablocky race a 2:48 to gather up only 152nd overall marathoner. Z was 34 years old in 1978. In 2013, I’m 34, running the same roads, and I’m gunning for you Z! Sadly, given recent results, if I run 2:48, I’ll finish in the top 40. And without an elite field this year, call it top 25, or so I predict. It’s not a slap on why I’m not a good runner. I’m just a local competitive runner, but all that other running fad is what is and has begun going wrong with racing.

Here’s a tip CGI / Et. Al., take your finishers medals and keep them. I run to Make Z Proud and for strength from Jesus, because sometimes the Z’s on my knees, the wonderful name of Jesus, and a pile of road to trudge on forward is all this aging racer craves. So lace ‘em up and God Bless, because on October 12th I’m going to wonder where have all the good runners gone while chasing the Ghost of Z.

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Thirst, My First Sermon

March 29th, 2013 I gave my first sermon ever from the Pulpit.  During the Good Friday services I spoke on Jesus' 5th word from the Cross during His Crucification.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crave the Motivation of 2012

Growing one small step at a time has rung my bell this year.  2012 was a year in my life I am truly grateful of having the opportunity, the grace, and patience, strength, and courage, to keep working hard each and every day.  Today is all I have.  Today is a blessing.  I am grateful of those in my life.

This year saw my health turn up and down.  The Chambersburg half marathon saw my fastest 1:22:10 PR to date. 

My spirit was crushed during and after the 116th Boston Death March. As motivation turned to agonizing reality, spirit crushed I reached to do what I was taught.  I put effort into to other things: my land in PA was one.  I planted 40+ trees, cleared brush and mowed the field.  I stacked the stones, cleared the logs and branches, and stained the shed with Christa.  I’ve tried hard to help others, and ventured out of my comfort zone.  Picking up some others in the pits to help them have been a joy and a gift of life. 

I spent some time with family, visiting my cousins in North Carolina.  What a fun trip.

Church is so filling and rewarding helping out youth and giving back.  Not taking, as I always seemed to know best.  Giving is a grand gift, and a joy.  Blessings flow abundant.

Reaching the Summit of Mount Rainier, the Columbia Crest at 14,410’ above sea level (some 2.7 miles vertical) with Casey on August 31st was a test of every ounce of strength, mental, physical, spiritual, 4th dimension; all I could summon.  I loved the challenge.  I hated the pain.  I did it.  I am not sure what it means; maybe a bit stupider, bolder, and tougher – still the crazy I know, yet so much less insane. 

Canada and couch surfing with Christa was new and exciting and something I had never dreamed.  The Pacific Northwest is awe inspiring.

Goooo  O  R  I  O  L  E  S  !!!

Work has prospered.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my job in the past year.  I have found peace and purpose.  Life is a joy.  God wants me to work, and wants me to show up every day.  I have begun to take the Sabbath a bit holier.  No more intentional “work” on Sundays.  It’s very simple J  Simple, and the truth, will set me free.

Why not tackle a 50-miler?  I can do it, just plan the work, and work the plan.  It’s simple, nothing to it: just go run 50 miles, and then I’m done.  Well, Tussey Mountainback USATF National 50-mile Championship yielded me 12th place overall in my first crack at the race distance.  Maybe I have some more digging to do.  Nostalgic is an understatement of how that felt.  Without emotion; Grey: Blithe.  Just what does it all mean, Bazzle?

Hunting is freaking fun!  Cold, tiring, and also serene and peaceful, this task is so much more fruitful when I am focused.  Two 8-points and one button have been harvested this 2012 year.  What a joy.  What a yummy freezer.

It’s time to get fit again.  Back to the training table Galloway!  Name that tune?  You can’t hotdogs…

My motivators that keep pushing me forward:
·         Serenity Prayer
·         “Always Do What You Want To Do” - Irv Zablocky
·         “In order to succeed, you must know what you are doing, like what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing”  - Bill Rodgers
·         “Laugh Every Day.  Think Every Day.  Move Emotions to Tears Every Day.  Do that every day and you’ll live a full life.”  - Jimmy V
·         “Be Impeccable with your words, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.”  - The Four Agreements
·         Three things you can never get back – Time – Lost Opportunity – Words Spoken
·         The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants in life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it’s possible.
·         Great moments are born from great opportunities
·         DEA FAST Alpha, Chad L. Michael.  February 22, 1979 – October 26, 2009.  RIP
·         “I believe that any hero does what they are asked to  do, regardless of the consequences.”  Army Master Sgt., Sean M. Thomas.  33 years young on March 27, 2007.  RIP
       ·         Thoughts, Treasure, Time, Touch
·         “Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness, Absolute Love” – The 4 Absolutes
·         Lord’s Prayer

“And you set goals and work to achieve them, not because the goals are intrinsically important, but because they keep you on task and pushing toward greater excellence.  And in this excellence is joy:  the unparalleled feeling of engaging in a difficult task and having the skill to accomplish it.”  - Jonathan Beverly, Editor-in-Chief, Running Times Magazine

I can’t wait for the joy of the present; the right now; the serenity of now.  What a grand year.  Thank you for being part of it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


God let Mother Nature lose a relentless, blistering dose of summer heat on April 16, 2012, during the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.  At one point during the race the bank thermometer read 87 degrees.  Pavement temps soared to at least 96 degrees.  In denial of what I would encounter, I started the race with absolute blinders.  Blinders fell off fast. 

This story should have been written sooner after the race.  Time has now passed and I’ve already forgot much of the pain.  “Hello me, it’s me again (Sweating Bullets).”  The story will go just that way, as my head authors to myself.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011 – Miami Marathon
“I just ran 2:51:21!!!  31st overall runner!  25th male!  Yes, NYC Qualified!  18 minute PR!  In MIAMI??  WOW!  Denial.  How much faster can I get?”

Sometime in the summer of 2011 leading up to Wednesday September 14, 2011
“Boston 2012?  Entertain the Boston thought even before NYC 2011?  It’s all those damn runners.  Why do races fill so fast?  If I don’t do Boston 2012, I may not ever have a faster qualifier.  Eh, I can always sign up and not run it.  That thought is a pile of crap – you know you’ll run it.  But if I don’t sign up…?  May just miss my chance...?  AHH ok, sign up.”

Sunday, November 6, 2011 – NYC Marathon
“2:55:32 @ NYC.”  Not my best, but definitely a victory for the day.  “Yes!”

Winter 2011-2012 – Training Blues
“Be patient.  Understand the purpose of every workout.  Push through the pain.  Endure the workouts.  Man, this is a warm winter.  Why on earth am I doing Boston again?  Lift weights.  Eat healthy.  Run the workouts.  Run the easy days.  Run a lot of miles.  Lift weights.  A couple of 5k’s; Track work.  Long, hard workouts…!  Get on the bike.  Gwynns Falls Trail; NCR Trail; Columbia Club Challenge; race the races, work the workouts, rest the easy days.  A couple of good days followed by a couple of bad days – and so the story goes.  Lower back pain; right leg pain; it’s just painful most days.”

Saturday, March 10, 2012 – Chambersburg Half Marathon
“Drive to the Chambersburg half marathon and raced a solid PR – 1:22:10.  Finally, a solid cold weather race in 30-degree air temps and low 20’s with wind.  Definitely no overheating – and I have confidence!  Confidence; and I’m fit, in shape, and ready for a final push.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012 – OE Buttonwood to Waterville
“Oregon East Buttonwood to Waterville in 2:44:43 – that’s a 6:52/mile, and take out the last 2-miles at 8:15/mile pace, it’s a solid sub 3-hour marathon effort.  13.4 miles in 1:26:14, through terrain, at a solid and consistent marathon 6:25/mile pace.  That’s a sub 2:50.  I’ve got Confidence.  CONFIDENCE!”

Monday March 26 – Sunday April 15, 2012 – The Taper
“My right leg hurts.  It’s in pain.  I have nerve pain.  Isolated pain in my shin bone – pain.  I have to recover.  I made it all the way through training, in shape, uninjured, but I have to recover and taper; I have to keep cardio.  Bike; swim; run – no, scratch the run; bike; swim; yoga; eat healthy; stretch; rest.”

Monday, April 16, 2012 – The 116th Boston Marathon
“I’ve done everything right.  Trained, tapered, readied myself, and had a strategy.  I was relaxed before the start.  I’m not scared.  I have no idea how my leg will respond?  I can suck it up, if my leg hurts.   I’ve only run 1 time in 2 weeks prior to the race.  Only 50-miles since Buttonwood to Waterville – but I’ve kept my fitness.  I can still go sub 2:50.  This heat won’t affect ME!  I’m not going to wear a watch – I don’t need it.  I’m either going to feel good, or I won’t.  Denial?  No.  Right?”
"Stay Relaxed and Cool At The Players Village"

“First running steps in a week, from the players’ village to the starting line.  It’s hot out here.  I’m sweating pretty well, and the gun is about to go off.  I’m calm, and ready to drop it hard.  My leg doesn’t hurt.  It’s not feeling chipper.  But I can run.  I can race.  Confidence and race energy = excitement.”

10:00AM – Sound of the Gun

Mile 1 split:  6:47  “Slow – but no worries, it is warm, and I have to warm up”

Mile 2 split:  6:51 (13:38-ish)  “Ut-oh.  First water stop.  Get water.  The pace just slowed to a crawl.  Everyone is getting water; a mad dash.  My pace just plummeted.  No worries, get settled, and relax.”

5K Split:  21:19  “6:52 pace – not terrible.  Keep running smart.  Dang, it’s hot”

Mile 4:  “Missed the time – better that way – run off feel – starting to feel it.  Slug a gel; and slug more water.  Keep working the hills.  Run smart.  Where is the water?”

Mile 5: “just crossed in about 34:30-ish.  This is not going as planned.  It’s hot.  Slug more water, more Gatorade.  Pour it over my head.  Rolling out of the small road we open up.  There is little shade.  My wheels are falling off.  I’m off pace.  Fail.  Am I really thinking fail?  Yes, Fail.  I have 21-miles to go.   Fail.  Shut up head.  Fail.  DAMN IT.  Hot.  Not fun.  Only mile 5 – okay, hang on, pull it together.  2:50 is out of the question today.  I can go sub 3, though, and I may start to feel better?  Really?  Hot.”

10K Split:  43:13 (last 5k in 21:54) (Last 5k pace 7:04/mile) (Overall pace 6:58/mile) “Still sub 7-pace.  Sun is blistering.  It’s just hot.  Drink more fluid.  Eat an orange.  Ugh, my stomach doesn’t feel good.  Roll through Mile 7 is somewhere around 50-minutes and change.  My wheels are falling off.  I have no pickup.  I have no energy.  Need to eat & keep energy, take a Gel.  My legs are turning, but my system is rejecting this.  Why am I doing this?  This is not fun.  I’m thirsty – get more water.  Conserve energy.  Ugh, am I going to quit?  Am I going to drop?  I know I can drop at mile 16.  I don’t quit.  What am I going to say to people?  Fail?  Did I fail today?  I am not having fun.  Pain.  Hot.  I feel like puking.  I have to puke.  Oh, that sprinkler and water hose feels good. ”

15K Split:  1:07:07 (last 5k in 23:54) (Last 5k pace 7:42/mile) (Overall pace 7:13/mile) “I’m stopping.  I have to puke.  My stomach is rejecting this.  Blahhhhh!  Fun!  So much fun!  I’ve now stopped.  Stopped at mile 9.3!!  What the heck am I doing?  Okay, it’s not a problem, just take the next 5k easy, and roll from 20k onward.  I can negative split, still, right?  I mean, if I sleaze it easy until 20k, then I can just drop it down for a respectable finish.  Terrible thoughts – get moving.  Quit wasting time.  Start running.  My stomach hurts.  It’s hot.  I’m thirsty.  I’m hot.  This is miserable.  Water!  Gatorade!!  Gel!  Bathroom pit stop; just disgusting.  HOT” 

20K Split:  1:37:49 (last 5k in 30:42) (Last 5k pace 9:54/mile) (Overall pace 7:53/mile)  “I don’t even know how to read this split, but I know it’s slow.  Time doesn’t matter.  Get to Welsley – use the crowd energy.  It helped.  Except, my stomach is in knots – have to ‘go’ again.  Stop.  Water!  Another water sprinkler.  Throw up.  Terrible.  Just terrible.  Hot.  Sun.   My left leg is starting to cramp up, in the upper quad.  It’s mile 12. Pain!”

Half Split:  1:43:26 (Overall Pace 7:53/mile) (Projected finish 3:26:52) “Not good.  This is not good.  Fail.  Shut up head.  Succeed.  No, fail.  Drop out.  No, don’t quit.  You can still negative split.  Pull it together.  Get motivated.  I’m drenched from pouring water on my face and head.  I have a hat on.  I need to get this wet shirt off.  It’s hot.  Ahh, that feels nice – I feel lighter – just tuck the shirt on your head and use it as a Lawrence of Arabia hat.  Bathroom.  Ugh, I’m so slow.  I am crawling.  I’m starting to cramp.  Wait, I am cramped.  My body hates this.  My mind is shot.  Not fun.  Hot.  Thirsty.  Take a drink.  Bathroom, again?!!!  Now I’m just freaking depressed.”

25K Split:  2:10:29 (last 5k in 32:40) (Last 5k pace 10:32) (Overall pace 8:25/mile) “No way I negative split.  I’m cramping.  My stomach will not let up.  Haa, there is Remus…  Remus is walking and complaining about his blisters because he took his socks off.  Idiot.  Back to my own pain – it’s hot.  I cannot stop using the bathroom.  Pit stop, again.  Time to puke, again.  I think I’m around mile 18.  I’ll just stop right here and puke.  Thank you Mr. Medic, I’m okay, I’m just a stubborn runner who won’t quit.  I’m not quitting.  I have a flight to catch.  I have to just puke all over your tree and keep running.  My legs hurt.  There is a runner laying on the sidewalk with an IV needle in his arm getting medical attention.  My system is hot.  It’s hot.  Where is the wind, today?   Another sprinkler system.  Anohter water hose.  HEAT!  SUN!  HOT!  Bathroom, where is there a porto pot?  Death March.  This is the Boston Death March.  I see mile 18 and know I’ve been at mile 24 before.  Fail.  Hot.  Thirst.  Is it over?  Are we there yet?”

30K Split:  2:47:40 (last 5k in 37:11) (Last 5k pace 11:59/mile) (Overall pace 9:00/mile) “It’s 30K, the infamous the ‘race begins’ point.  I’ve been here, before, in just over 2 hours.  This is death.   I put my shirt back on.  I’m hot.  The cold shirt helps for about 2 minutes.  I certainly can still run under 4-hours.  Right?  I have a flight to catch.  The Newton Hills don’t even matter right now.  It’s painful.  My system has shut down.  I’m cramping.  I need a bathroom.  I just can’t recover.  At least my shin doesn’t hurt that bad.   Mile 20:  3:00:XX.  My last 2 marathons didn’t see 3-hours.  I’m on the third hill.  Look at that runner puking.  Another runner is lying on a medical stretcher.  Carnage!  Now I’m on Heartbreak Hill.  Heartbreak doesn’t matter – I already broke 15+ miles ago.  My wheels long ago fell off.”  To another runner I look and say, “Well, this is Heartbreak Hill”.  They respond, simply, “really?”  I continue my thoughts “As if it matters.”  I see another runner, and we both realize “we’ve stopped sweating.”  “It’s carnage along this Death March.”

35K Split:  3:21:56 (last 5k in 34:16) (Last 5k pace 11:03/mile) (Overall pace 9:58/mile) “I have 7-Kilometers to go.  I’m cramped.  I’ve puked 3 times.  I’ve gone to 5 porto-pots.  I can barely run.  My legs hurt.  My system is shutting down.  I’m getting emotional.  My chest is grasping.  It’s gripping tight.”  I look over at a Boston College Student holding a sign that reads ‘Pain Now, Beer Later’.  That should really read “Beer Now, Pain Later”, I think.  “More thoughts of quitting – don’t do it.  Just struggle and deal.  It’s atrophy – attrition.  There is carnage along this course.  Runners are walking everywhere.  Everywhere.  Carnage.  More runners laying along the sidewalk with intravenous needles from medics.” 
"Pain of Disappointment"

Mile 23:  “Pain!  It’s over.  Just Walk it in team.  It’s certainly over.  I just can’t run any more.  I’m seriously no more than dead weight.  I’m a dried shell.  My heart hurts, chest, and I’m not a statistic today.  It’s not worth it.  I gave it a good go.  Just walk.  Try to pick up into a run.  Nope.  I can’t breath.  Hot.  So Hot!  Water!  Gatorade!  Hate this race.  Holy crap, finally, it’s the Citgo Sign.  I forgot to even look for it.  Disappointment!”

"It's Over.  Just Walk It In"

40K Split:  4:09:07 (last 5k in 47:11) (Last 5k pace 15:13) (Overall pace 10:02/mile) “Almost done.  Look for Meg McNew.  Maybe I’ll see her around mile 25.5.  Maybe not.  It’s about all that I have to look forward to.  That - and not missing my flight.  I have a 5:45pm flight.  It’s already after 2pm.  My hotel is 2-miles from the finish.  This just sucks.  I need a bathroom.  My body hurts.  It’s hot.  This is a death march.  No Meg McNew.  She probably had a flight too.  No worries, get through the tunnel, and onto the final 600 meters stretch.  Last road.  I can see the finish.  I walk.  I am walking.  I’m holding a water bottle, carrying my last of life.  It’s not fun.  I’m crying.  Crying, because I’m discouraged; broken; shattered.  Crying because I’ve trained so hard.  Crying because I’m upset, sad, lonely, and frankly feel cheated.  Running is a terrible God.  I’m crying across the finish line. 

Official Finish:  4:33:09 (Official Pace 10:26/mile) (Overall 14638, Gender 9126, Division 3416) “I’ll just stop right here, and wallow for a minute.  I’ll cry to myself, stretch my calves.  Quads are shot.  Stomach is a disaster.  I look into the med tent and see eerily reminiscent signs of Vietnam MASH.  Carnage.  This race left us all shattered, Carnage.  The B(os)ton Death March Continues.  I need to get back to my hotel and get my crap, and get to my flight.  It’s another 2 mile walk.  The death march continues.  My stomach is swirling.  The flight home was nausea. 

The Hotel, Airport, and Shuffle of Final Energy Home
I made my flight, and I got home in 1 piece.  The day took its toll.  I’ve completed 10 marathons, and 4 other Ultra distances/trail marathons.  This was the worst.  I’ve never been so demoralized.  I write this, now 10-days later and still haven’t run.  I’m taking time off.  My right shin hurts, and I fear I have a stress fracture.  Time will tell.  But, for now, I can say I finished the 116th Boston Marathon, and also the 111th in the Noreaster, and the 112th in normal weather.  

Fight Another Day

Marathon History
3:44:xx – Harrisburg 2002
3:59:03 – Pittsburgh 2003
3:09:39 – Frederick 2006
3:09:59 – Boston 2007
3:20:xx – (DNF) Marine Corp 2007
3:23:54 – Boston 2008
3:08:47 – Baltimore 2008
6:30:xx – Megatransect (24.9 Miles) 2009
6:24:xx – Catoctin Mountain 50K (35 miles) 2010
14:11:57 – GEER 100k (63 miles) 2010
3:23:xx – TusseyMountainBack 50-mile relay (28 miles) 2010
2:51:21 – Miami 2011
2:55:32 – NYC 2011

4:33:09 – Boston 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blithe Road Ahead

Typically I’m positive, optimistic, and cheerful; today I’m a negative ion gathering dust on the plastic rod.  I feel beaten.  Knowing I must scrape myself up and push onward I’m trying to look beyond the dull blithe road ahead and find some color in the horizon.  Tomorrow will be bright. 
With just over 6 weeks until Boston, in all aspects the marathon is rapidly approaching.  This is no time to get deflated, lose confidence, and forget about motivation.  Unfortunately, right now, the Debbie Downer storm clouds above my head are pouring. 
Just a few days ago I raced my second fastest 10-mile time ever at Club Challenge.  62:41 over the grueling course at 6:16/mile pace pushed my limits enough to puke repeatedly no longer than 20 seconds after I crossed the line.  But I still had more in me that day.  My legs are just not turning over the way I expect, or hope.  My right leg has a nerve pain that is radiating and leaving my step without power, and occasional numbness.  My gate is suffering, and I’d be fine if that were it. True nerve fatigue is taking its’ grip on me; that illusive mental lapse, mental nerve breakdown, mental fortitude.  I don’t quit.  But sometimes I just feel like, quitting I still might, why do I put up this fight, why do I still…RACE?
The tightrope of marathon training is wobbly right now, and it’s hard to walk, let alone toe across.  I’ve been here before, so my blinders are transparent.  This is not new ground, but blithe vision has gray on grey shades of black & white.   Numb; I wish my leg & foot wasn’t frequently.
After next Saturday’s Chambersburg Half marathon, where I am shooting to PR sub 1:23:40, I’ll be 37 days out from Boston.  That is plenty of time, to muster another strong push, including several workouts and key 24-miler along the Buttonwood to Waterville route, a recovery and ramp up, and final taper period.  I’ve been here before.  Stay on the path. 
Sometimes I need to write it down; let another one know where I’m at.  Marathon training is lonely.  Unlike training for a shorter distance race where you may find yourself in that race 5 or 10 times in a season, it’s stack all your chips, all in, for one day.  All for just a three hour stand.  The stress of that alone is tough.  Put it in perspective, since 2010 began I’ve run about 4,500 miles – yet only 52.4 miles have been during my two road marathons.  That’s a lot of training for two pay outs.  Sure, I’ve run other races in the last two year journey…  But right now it’s all about Boston and the pursuant sub 2:50 effort I train. 
This tuned up Dodge Dart is simply trying to keep focus and drive unbroken. 
Try a little harder and Make Z Proud  Because the only thing that stands between a man and what he wants in life is often merely the will to try it, and the faith to believe that it’s possible.  Today is day 1 of training.