Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year

Been off the blogging circuit lately. Been a fun summer watching some newcomers tear up the ultra circuit. Anybody notice that Yiannis broke yet another record? With a new year I'm re-motivated to train harder and get after running again. First race on deck is the Sarasota Marathon in February. Hope to be in the 3:00 - 3:05 range. Then it's knuckle down time until Umstead 100 in April.



Monday, May 12, 2008

Rambling thoughts on training: Running Tired

This past weekend I had big training plans. Run 5 hrs. on Saturday and maybe run 2 -3 hrs. on Sudnay. It was to be a busy weekdn at the beach filled with house maintenance chores and quality family time. I knew this was going to be a challenge but a challenge that I would reap great fitness benefits.

Well 4 am Saturday morning came around and the alarm went off. Hit the snooze. At 4:15 it goes off again. Hit it again. When it went off at 4:30 the alarm neraby became one with the fishes. The 7 am am wake up call brigade (Emily and Amdanda) was much easier then getting up at soemthing-dark-30 to go running for 5 hrs. Before I knew it was in the midst of making breakfast and Elmo refereeing.

Call it lack of motivation, call it laziness. Whatever. I simply did not want to run on Saturday morning. It was a productive day one none-the-less with lots of chores being accomplished and the kids getting quality time with their aunts and grandparents. I managed to squeak in a 3 hr. run in the afternoon and felt strong.

Mother's Day started off great. Family time in the morning followed by completing household chores in the afternoon. Tired from Saturday's run but wanted to get in another 2 - 3 hr. run. Not to be had.

In past years I have run on 'tired' legs as I thought it was good training for ultra's. A bit older now (and maybe a little more wiser!). I avoid the 'back to back' long runs. I simply do not like running tired and would rather take a day off, rest up and run strong at the next long run. Rest is best!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From 30,000'...

'Window seat please'. I almost always make this request when flying. As I travel for my job I have the opportunity to see and experience new cities across the U.S. Flying today is anything but a the pleasurable 'jet-setter' experience it was portrayed as 30 years ago. Longs lines, lost luggage and flight delays are the norm. Despite travel inconveniences and grievances I am still fascinated by flight. I love the window seat. I can stare out the window for hours, looking at the earth below, the rivers and lakes, mountain tops and plains. It's all fascinating. Who needs a movie when there is endless eye candy below?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Life is Motion...

Race days don't come any better then this past Saturday. What started as an idea over dinner and vino six months ago morphed into a finely tuned classic event. The women of the charitable East Oreland Neighborhood Association (EONA) had spent 6+ months organizing this local 5K, 1 mile walk and numerous children's events. The race directors instinctively knew that after a long, wet, dark winter nothing reinvigorates the soul better then being outside on a beautiful spring day. A day to shake the cobwebs out, reunite with old friends, make new ones, and run through the neighborhood. Race day had all the atmosphere of a friendly neighborhood block party.

The main event, a 5K, was a loop course through the East Oreland neighborhood. At 9:00 am sharp the runners were off bounding down through the familiar streets. Neighbors at every corner greeted the lead runners in their anaerobic haze. Mid-to-back of the packers were smart enough to hang back, breath, chat, smile and smell the flowers.

The 1 mile walk followed shortly after the end of the 5K. Jogging strollers, parents and kids of all ages participated in this multi-generational fun event. It was a rolling Baby's R Us promotion!

Finally there were the kids races. This was the 'real' main event. Well over 50 kids of all ages and sizes lined up ready to tear up the turf. Originally conceived as a non-competitive event, these kids were going for the gusto over a the distance of approximately 200 yds. Only the innocent laughs of children permeated the air as proud parents and grandparents looked on. They enjoyed the first race so much they begged for more. Round and round they went... 10+ times. Only the innocent laughs of happy children permeated the air as proud parents looked on. Their little faces flush red, legs a burning, and smiles from ear to ear they stood in line for their well earned medals.

Founded over 50 years ago, EONA represents the heart of a community. Over 200 participants, volunteers, and businesses helped raise $4,000 for the March of Dimes through the events on Saturday. This first annual, first class right of spring event can be summarized in three words... family, friends and fun. See ya next year!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bull Run Walk, Slog, Crawl... 50

‘The hills are alive with the sound of music…’

Well this will be short synopsis of this past weekend’s epic Bull Run Run 50 mile event ( Many came far and wide to participate in this annual rite of spring through the gentle hills of Virginia. Not to be disappointed, the blue bell’s were in full bloom, the grass was green, creeks were flowing and the weather near perfect.

An old friend form the south, Jill Hughes, broke out of her six year ultrarunning hiatus to join in the fun. Pre-race she was claiming she was less then ideally prepared. Fully knowing that there was a fighting spirit beneath her Southern charm I sensed sandbagging and called her bluff.

A new friend from the north, Deb Sutton, came way of Bull Run Run via Mrs. Hughes. There were pre-race rumblings of Deb’s injured leg. Hmmm. This doesn’t smell right. Although an ultra newbie, I knew she was a seasoned Ironman triathlete. I called her bluff as well.

There was no doubt in my mind that when the race began these two would be locked into a steely focus that would stop at nothing. Well on this day that adage was all so true. There were cool temps, warm temps, rain, sun, dry trail and wet trail. And one, maybe two tiny hills. From dawn to dusk these two soldiered on with family and friends cheering them on.

As the day wore on the clock kept ticking. International news correspondents were at hand to witness Jill passing through the last aid station (mile 45) with 30 minutes to spare the dreaded cut off. The clock ticked on. The cut off loomed. Tension filled the air. With less then 5 minutes to spare ESPN reported Deb sprinting into the aid station. Time is of the essence.

With the late afternoon light bouncing off the pond to the left, up and own the hills they go gutting out the last 5 miles. Across the fields, back down the creek and a nice meander through the blue bells ends the day. Then make a right, up a few steps, across a field and onto the road to glory. Jill Hughes, affirming her return to the ultra scene, finishes in 12:37. Deb Sutton, seeking challenges beyond the Ironman, finishes her first ultra in 13:17.

So how did my day go? It went great. I ran the first 20 miles then took a turn for the worse. I stumbled, fell a few times, mumbled, puked and groaned. However every time I saw Jill and Deb they were all smiles. They remained impeccable, hair in-place and ready for afternoon high tea. Inspiring. Head down, focused we all marched on. I hit the line in 8:50 a worn out, tired man. A few steps later I was under a picnic awning chatting with old friends sipping on a soda. The pure internal satisfaction of finishing another trail adventure etched a big smile on my face.

Congrats Jill and Deb. You know how to finish with style, class and poise. A gerat day in all, reconnecetd with old ultra-friends and making enw ones. See you out there again soon!



Monday, March 31, 2008

Running home!

The Ocean Drive Marathon ( A flat and fast, point to point marathon starting in Cape May, NJ and ending in Sea Isle City, NJ. I ran this marathon two years ago and had a great time. Ending in a seaside town that I spent many a summer in, I felt like I was literally running home. This year I managed to rope in a local friend of mine Dan Brown and he in turn returned the favor by roping in a bud of his from Richmond, VA, Mike Shourds. A second marathon experience for both of them!

Well the day started out just fine. We made the bus to the start on time and also ran into a work colleague of mine, Chris Schwyter. Together the four of us drank our coffee, chatted away and made our last minute race preparations en route to the starting line.

The starting line was perfect. temps in the mid-40's, sunshine and the beautiful backdrop of the Victorian Congress Hall on one side of the street and the ocean on the other. Oh... and a light breeze in the air. With a yell from the mega-phone the race began and we were off.

We'll those near perfect conditions lasted the first 1/2 mile. Than the wind hit us in the face. For the rest of the morning we ran straight into a relentless headwind. The Weather channel listed the official wind speeds ranging from 15 to 26 MPH. A conservative estimate was that we had a headwind for 24 of the 26.2 miles. This resulted in a higher then normal drop out rate for the event and 10 to 20 minutes off of the normal finishing times. Final results: Joe - 3:15:05, Dan 3:32:59, Mike 3:35:33 and Chris 4:13:47. Post race carbohydrate replenishment refreshments were had at the LaCosta bar & Lounge followed by dinner at Braca's Cafe. A good weekend had by all.

"The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind" - Bob Dylan

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lesson learned!

Mile 24 of the Tampa Marathon is when it happened. Yet another case of unraveling towards the end of a marathon. A classic case of going out too hard and paying the inevitable price. My hamstrings were shot and then seized, cramped, etc. Ran 22 minutes for the last 2 miles. Fortunately I had a week of vacation post-event to lick my wounds.

Three weeks later, marathon behind me, I'm back to the same routine. However my left hamstring is still noticeably tight. What do I do? Minimal stretching with what result? I pulled my left-side glute and lower back muscles and pinched my sciatic nerve so bad I lost a week of running. I was miserable.

A week off and I am back in the saddle albeit late in the training game, getting ramped up for the Ocean Drive Marathon in 10 days and Bull Run Run 50 miler two weeks later. I lost a week of training at a critical juncture. No excuses. I blame myself for not listening to my body, warming up, stretching properly and doing core strengthening exercises. Lesson learned from this recent injury escapade: Listen to your body, stretch and address issues before they become larger problems.